TAFE NSW – VR Experimentation

  • UX Research
  • Usability Testing
  • Product Design
  • Design Thinking

The TAFE NSW Digital Learning Lab is at the centre of emerging technologies used in training, education and industry. Featuring state-of-the-art equipment and an expert team of technology, education and data specialists, the Digital Learning Lab helps shape the future of TAFE NSW’s delivery of world-class learning experiences.

Having identified the potential benefits of virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) in the education and training space, TAFE NSW is in the process of developing a significant number of immersive VR/AR experiences for use as an educational tool across the organisation.

The Opportunity

TAFE NSW Digital Labs was looking to produce consistent VR/AR experiences in line with the TAFE NSW brand as well as improve the credibility of the VR/AR experiences as an educational tool.

In addition, TAFE NSW was looking to understand the benefits of the VR/AR-based learning experiences compared with traditional learning experiences. This ensured that TAFE NSW could continue developing VR/AR experiences, making them broadly available across their courses.

What We Did

We facilitated an experiment comparing a selection of TAFE NSW’s VR learning materials (developed in line with the VR Experimentation Framework) against traditional learning materials, inviting 18 students across three learning experiences – plumbing, welding, and PPE – to participate.

The assessments were designed to reflect real-life environments – job sites, and welding bays – in order to assess the ability of the traditional and VR learning materials in a realistic setting. We also worked with TAFE NSW to design the traditional learning and assessment materials, ensuring each was representative of educational tools students would typically interact with during their studies.

The first part of the experiment students were asked to interact with a set of learning materials, half receiving a “traditional” set of learning materials, and the remainder trying out the VR learning experience. In the second part, students were asked to demonstrate their knowledge by completing an assessment measuring the level of accuracy, confidence and execution regarding the learning materials.

The Outcome

Students interacting with the VR learning materials outperformed students interacting with the traditional learning materials by an average of 35% across the three subjects, supporting TAFE NSW’s conviction regarding the benefits of the VR/AR-based learning experiences compared with traditional learning experiences.

To document the experiment, we created a video case study, earning TAFE NSW a Platinum Medal for gaming, simulation and immersive learning at the internationally recognised Learning Impact Awards.