How do we convert students’ theoretical understanding of how to organise a construction site into practical experience useful in real life?
By letting the students arrange a construction site themselves in an environment as close to reality as possible - using VR.
Practical learning in a motivating environment
When carpenters and bricklayers work at a construction site, they must be able to organise the site efficiently. But during their internships, construction sites are usually already planned, and at school, teachers only teach theory. So, where do carpenters and bricklayers find practical experience from a construction site?
VR technology enabled us to create a learning situation focusing on motivation, entertainment, and the practical-oriented training that students miss out on.
This practical learning ultimately means that future craftsmen are better equipped for complex challenges on real construction sites – because they have tried it before.
The virtual construction site
We built the construction site experience as a learning game with levels and an animated character who guides the student through different tasks.
On a worktable of a 3D floor plan of the construction site, the student can organise the site. A building plot and a season are randomly selected, and now the student needs to deal with the weather conditions, place tents, lights, and items related to the building plot on the worktable. Then the student can go to the construction site, where it is possible to see what is planned at the worktable.
The student can move the site around and approve the chosen placements if they still think that the items are placed correctly after seeing them at the virtual construction site.
Right now, there are four subject-specific levels in the VR solution.
VR - a part of the strategy
Broader use of XR and real-time 3D models in learning situations is part of the strategy to upgrade the educations in Denmark. With this VR course, Cadpeople and The Knowledge Center for Crafts and Sustainability have created digital learning that:
- is based on the student’s level
- can have more students on the programs – and in time can be used by all students in Denmark within the field of construction, corresponding to approx. 25,000 students per year
- in the long run, can be made completely independent of instructors who can instead focus on the inclusion of more challenged students
When the students link theoretical tasks and practical experiences from VR, they get a better and more holistic understanding they can bring to the table when facing a construction site in the future.
Iver Gaarsted, Knowledge Center Manager at The Knowledge Center for Crafts and Sustainability