4 virtual learning initiatives that COVID-19 prompted us to create

Since 2020, the pandemic has thrust schools, workplaces and organisations alike into a new virtual way of working.

Pictured: A student using a VR headset courtsey of Homesglen TAFE at the 2021 BGKLLEN Industry Expo.

During the days of home learning, remote classrooms and many distractions, LLENs needed to adapt and innovate on their existing initiatives to ensure great careers resources and information would continue to be accessible to students, especially during a time when work experience and SWL placements were on hold.

Here are five virtual learning programs that arose out of 2020-2021.


Virtual Reality Workplace Tours - GM VICE

GM VICE is a Virtual Reality platform in which students can explore different industries in a 360-degree view, interacting with different touchpoints along the way.

At each touchpoint, students are prompted to watch a video featuring a professional in their workplace. The subject gives a brief overview of who they are and what they do, as well as their adVICE for seeking out opportunities in their field.

Each touchpoint also includes an information card, outlining the feature job’s average salary, largest employers and pathways at a secondary, vocational and tertiary level.

Complete with an assistive chatbot, GM VICE was developed as an immersive way for students to explore different career options.

GM VICE can be accessed in two ways: via laptop or VR headset.

Following each session, students are emailed a report about their time spent in GM VICE.

Click here to find out more about GM VICE.

Virtual ‘Dollhouse’ Industry Tours - Goldfields LLEN

While the pandemic meant that many students missed out on excursions and tours, Goldfields LLEN has connected primary aged students with the opportunity to explore virtual spaces as if they were there physically, through a spatial data platform called Matterport.

The resource was produced as part of the Passions and Pathways Programs, which gives grade 6 students a taste of the ‘world of work’.

Through a series of meaningful experiences, Passions and Pathways aims to raise the aspirations of students through connecting their education with future career pathways, reinforcing the importance of completing their school education.

While the pandemic prevented students from attending workplace tours, Goldfields LLEN developed a series of videos and resources in which students were able to see workplace walkthroughs and hear from employees across a number of industries.

To keep things fun, each activity is also accompanied by a Kahoot! quiz, for students to test their knowledge in an interactive way!

Find out more about Passions and Pathways here.

Mobile Apps and Interactive Whiteboards - Future Connect

The co-design approach is at the heart of Future Connect’s work with young people as they explore their pathways. Using a virtual whiteboard called Miro, Future Connect created an innovative way to work with young people on co-design projects during the pandemic. Miro provided a virtual space for Future Connect to design workshops for young people to contribute their ideas in a variety of ways, such as through virtual sticky notes.

Virtual co-design workshops also leveraged a digital artist to bring young people’s ideas to life through live illustrations.

The virtual workshops proved to be a way for young people of all abilities to participate in the activities. Virtual workshops reduced accessibility barriers in terms of transport and provided an even more inclusive environment for young people who were non-verbal or who were otherwise not comfortable sharing their ideas in a traditional classroom setting.

Miro is a flexible platform to use, with Future Connect designing a recharge zone, which featured virtual fidget toys and tips for relaxation for young people to use during workshops

The majority of young people participating reported that they felt their opinions mattered and that the workshop was easy to participate in.

Miro has also been used by Future Connect to present virtual/online work readiness workshops, making screentime more engaging and interactive.

Additionally, the Future Connect App for School Leavers was developed to help young school-leavers in the region explore their next steps. The app covers everything from career exploration, further education, advice on entering the workforce, financial support and much more.

Find out more about the Future Connect app here.

Virtual Work Reality - Gateway LLEN

In response to the surge in podcast listening nationwide, and seeing an opportunity to connect to new audiences, Gateway LLEN recently developed two new podcast series.

Hosted by Jan Owen, New Work Bites explores the changing landscape and transition from school into work, providing leading-edge insights and valuable tips into different pathway options for students, educators, parents, and guardians. Career Bites, Gateway’s second podcast series, features interviews with people in a range of industries, including construction and electrical, hair and beauty, and health services, each discussing their unique career journeys.

Gateway LLEN also developed a suite of Masterclasses that are accessible online, featuring a range of videos and activities designed to aid students in developing their confidence to make decisions about their own pathways. The Masterclasses are mapped to the VCAL and Victorian Careers Curriculum Framework.

Students are also able to use the Virtual Work Reality platform to watch the Career Bites interview videos, arrange mock interviews, or schools can book local industry professionals to deliver a live Q&A online, via the industry speaker bank.

According to Bronwen Henry, Executive Officer at Gateway LLEN:

“The Virtual Work Reality platform provides secondary students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to think about their future careers. The Virtual Work Reality website was developed in 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing lockdowns and the challenges this posed to educators. Our school consultation at the time indicated the need for engaging online/remote activities so a resource was developed that was designed to provide professional development for teachers, direct employer engagement, VET exploration and employability skills. The utilisation of the resource and feedback from teachers (and students) has been fantastic and we hope to continue to grow the suite of available activities.”

Find out more about Virtual Work Reality here. 

Are you interested in learning more about the potential for technology to enhance student learning? Sign up for the free webinar, AR, VR & EdTech, which will be hosted on Tuesday, 14 December at 2:30 pm.

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