Benchmark Awards 2019 Finalists: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council teams HR with VR

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Benchmark Awards 2019 Finalists: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council teams HR with VR

Boosting engagement and empathy.

Building on its workforce engagement strategy and values-based culture, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council on the NSW mid-north coast has adopted virtual reality technologies to enhance the effectiveness of staff training.

Staff engagement was the primary focus of the VR Immersive Learning project, with plans to deliver a raft of professional development modules in a way that will help the information and ethos stick.

Council is particularly interested in delivering empathy-based training through virtual reality, billing the technology as the most realistic way for staff to walk in another person’s shoes.

Additionally, it provides a ‘safe place’ for staff to tackle challenging conversations and explore new topics.

The VR platform was developed in conjunction with Sydney start-up Equal Reality using a combination of HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus resources.

A graphics engine from Unity was used to maximise the interactivity, immersion and engagement of the virtual environment.

The next stage of the project will be to integrate a ‘data engine’ from Equal Reality to not only expand the range of learning experiences for staff, but to capture real time data to track and improve the uptake of knowledge.

This project has been named a finalist in the Emerging Technology category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2018/19.

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