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.