Immersive industry experience created by Leeds Met
The five learning tools, which are the first of their kind in the education market, were developed in collaboration with experiential learning company, Toolwire, and use specialist software to create interactive learnscapes that respond in different ways according to the choices made by the user. They are for use by practitioners and students in the areas of Social Work, Speech and Language Therapy, Healthcare and Sustainability, wishing to develop and enhance their skills through continued professional development, giving practical experience in the following work situations:
Caring for people with eating and drinking difficulties (Dysphagia) in advanced dementia as a healthcare worker;
Managing dysphagia in people living with dementia as a speech and language therapist;
Safeguarding children as a social worker;
Safeguarding adults at risk as a social worker; and
Evaluating an energy-efficient development as a construction, design or law professional.
One of the projects, which enables social workers to develop skills that will help safeguard vulnerable children, led by Senior Lecturer, Anne Llewellyn, has been shortlisted in the Times Higher Education Awards under the category of Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year and scooped a gold award at this year's Learning Awards, hosted by the Learning and Performance Institute in February.
Chris Hudson, Associate Dean Research and Enterprise at the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at Leeds Met, commented: "The beauty of this partnership is that we have combined the latest academic content with cutting-edge technology to generate a new way of learning, accessible from any internet point, at any time to suit the learner."
The purpose of all of the learning tools is to put the user into a real-life situation that they will encounter in their profession. They must interact with real-life characters, work in collaboration with colleagues, other professionals and family members and explore all of the issues necessary in providing the best possible service and delivering best practice, receiving feedback as they progress.
Anne Llewellyn said: "The learnscape has been piloted on about 100 pre-qualifying social work students at Leeds Metropolitan University and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with many commenting that they felt more confident about the safeguarding process after working through the learning tool.
"We worked closely with Toolwire to create the immersive online learning experience for our students to develop observational, communication and decision-making skills in the area of safeguarding vulnerable children. It takes them through observations and risk assessments and requires them to interact with parents, children and other members of the multi-disciplinary team who are engaged in the child protection process."
Professor Chris Gorse, Director of the Leeds Sustainability Institute, added: "The building performance Learnscape is the most up-to-date package of its kind, benefiting all those engaged in the production, design or management of buildings. By immersing and exposing students and professionals to real world gaps in building performance, the learners rapidly acquire an advanced understanding of construction problems and the consequences. The virtual site tool incorporates the latest research observations and embeds them within an advanced learning package."
During the launch, which runs from 5.30-7pm at the Rose Bowl, academic experts with representatives from Toolwire, who have created the learning tools will be introducing them to interested organisations including NHS trusts, local authorities, construction companies and other universities, through interactive demonstrations and one-on-one discussions about how they can be used.