Mary Anne Culhane
Educational Technologist, Advance Centre UCD
Instructional Designer, Advance Centre ATU Sligo
The integration of teaching tools, such as VR/AR, in enhanced learning is revolutionising education technology.
The development of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) provides immense potential for SMEs in their digital transformation journey as graduates will already have experienced many of the relevant technologies during their studies.
VR and AR as digital teaching tools
One example is the Microsoft HoloLens AR headset being used in industry to create production and maintenance guides that enable operators to perform rare, complex or specialised tasks with hands-free operation.
In engineering programmes at Atlantic Technological University (ATU), lecturers are availing of training funded by the Advance Centre to incorporate AR headsets as a teaching tool to develop user guides for laboratory equipment, work collaboratively and create relevant use cases.
Identifying learning needs
In UCD, Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is used as a comprehensive term that supports a range of learning delivery modes such as blended, web-enhanced, fully online and face-to-face learning. TEL consultations offer an opportunity for faculty to discuss teaching needs and challenges while seeking to provide support to identify appropriate TEL solutions.
This approach is aligned with the UCD Strategy for Education and Student Success 2020–2024 to embed technology-enhanced learning in ways that are educationally appropriate, programme-focused, accessible, innovative and impactful.
Edtech designs learning experiences around
learning styles and concepts, which creates
a more meaningful experience for the learner.
Learner-focused teaching tools
Edtech designs learning experiences around learning styles and concepts, which creates a more meaningful experience for the learner. UCD utilises ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation) as the digital learning model. ADDIE is a cyclical process with ongoing evaluation. One of its benefits is that it delivers a clear, cyclical process for subject matter experts. Using ADDIE helps to build on learning needs and assists in outlining roles and responsibilities.
Making digital learning tools accessible
Many trends are impacting learning design, such as personalised and social learning, micro-learning and gamification. Technology trends are also changing, such as AR and VR, mobile learning and learning analytics.
The Advance Centre’s approach to digital learning further develops the range of support modules available through Brightspace Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in UCD and Moodle in ATU. Activities include developing a flexible approach to ensure that all students can participate fully; provision of captions for video content and provision of live and recorded sessions.
The Centre supports the development of inclusive information technology systems and infrastructure, which incorporate the principles of Universal Design — ensuring that they can be readily accessed, understood and used independently. By taking up a course with the Advance Centre, professional learners will have access to world-renowned academic staff, gain accredited qualifications and enjoy a transformational learning experience.