RMIT is developing a new Certificate III in Individual Support which will be rolled out across metropolitan and regional Victoria, designed to qualify large numbers of individuals to work with people with disability and elderly people who are service users within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The qualification is expected to attract learners from various life stages and from diverse social, cultural and language backgrounds. Embedded in this qualification is the Virtual Reality (VR) component designed to enhance the quality of the learning and ensure graduates are ready to enter the workforce as responsive and compassionate support workers whose strengths include social awareness and an understanding of the ethics of care.
Yvette Wouters is the Unity Developer within the VE Design team working on the development of VR guided experiences. Yvette graduated from RMIT with a Bachelor of IT (games and graphics programming) and has worked for the RMIT VX Lab, was a staffer on the first VR RMIT booth at the Grand Prix in Melbourne and worked on educational VR experiences in curriculum projects including some for TAFE NSW.
While VR is a relatively new EdTech tool, early indications are promising for the VR medium. Its growing popularity may be partly attributed to its usability as VR experiences require minimal preparation for the user. For RMIT’s new Cert III in Individual Support, the VR-guided experience component is shaping learner’s understanding of support work, best practice and the importance of empathy.
As the cohort of learners will include many for whom English is a second language, VR is expected to provide a rich basis for individual and group learning beyond what still images, text and video can achieve. VR can imitate situations and display body language which can be followed up with conversations and interpersonal connections that are rich and empower prospective learners to succeed and be high performing support workers.
Written by Carole Demirdjian and Yvette Wouters