Calderdale College first to deliver virtual reality social care curriculum

Digital and Health T Level students at Calderdale College are embarking on a ground-breaking pilot to design and test virtual reality (VR) scenarios in social care environments.

The project, funded by the NCFE Assessment Innovation Fund, will assess the use of VR scenarios as a learning technique, alongside the use of Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s Simulation Centre.

The VR scenarios, known in the field as immersive technologies, are widely used across the healthcare sector to train workers using industry-standard experiences, testing their knowledge and skill ready for gaining qualified status. Calderdale College is one of the first to explore the use of technology within the social care sector.

Currently the use of VR technology in delivering and assessing curriculum is only offered at Higher Education level for health and social care courses however, through this project, the College is aiming to demonstrate the capability of 16-18-year-old students and highlight the need to have access to these teaching methods at college-level.

Working with industry experts from a range of social care employers, T Level students studying at the Halifax-based College will develop, build and test a VR scenario, which will also incorporate a Care Certificate Standard in this first-of-its-kind research project. Students will have the unique opportunity to test the scenarios at the Simulation Centre.

Ebrahim Dockrat, Director of Commercial Services and Partnerships at Calderdale College, comments on the research: “As a college, we’re proud to be one of the first to delve into this research within the social care sector with NCFE and offer our students a unique experience on their T Level course.

“Students at post-GCSE age have never had access to this level of learning before, so it’s a real unique opportunity, and we’re excited to be driving the research with NCFE and our key strategic partners Health Education England, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and local care providers.”

T Levels are a brand-new qualification designed by the Government to give 16-18-year-olds the current skills and experience needed to secure employment once they finish their studies. During the two-year course, students will undertake a 315-hour industry placement, giving them the opportunity to work on projects for real employers.

The College’s Digital T Level students will work alongside tech company and Unity Specialists, Taran3D, to build a VR scenario and develop the backend reporting which will be used to assess Health T Level students’ progress. Industry expert, Ann Sunderland RN|BSc (Hons)|MMedSci|SFHEA, Consultant in Clinical Skills and Simulation, will play a crucial role in supporting our students to develop the VR scenario scripts.  

To find out more about T Levels at Calderdale College, visit: www.calderdale.ac.uk/tlevels

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