Meeting the needs
To address these challenges, the Digital Bridges project will develop an immersive 3D virtual environment, built on gaming architecture and driven by emotional AI, to provide a safe and readily accessible environment where Higher Education and VET students and professional social workers who deal with vulnerable people can learn by interacting with NPCs (Non- Player Characters) in a simulation of a real world service. Trainees will engage with simulations and be required to navigate their way through choices to arrive at the best resolution. Each simulation can be replayed and evaluated by the trainer/mentor and the trainee can use the same simulation as many times as required. We see this as offering a measurable, controlled environment where learners can gain a command of the basics of the job role they are training for with minimal resource requirements and zero risk to the public, thus providing a sound basis from which to progress to real work practice placement.
Priorities: Skills issues and policies are major features in the EU2020 policy vision. The ‘Agenda for new skills and jobs’ as well as ‘Innovation Union’ and ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe’ underline clearly the importance of skills and knowledge architecture that will be developed through this project demonstrated within simulated practice environments as situated learning. This project covers the 3 complementary fields of HE/VET education, the labour market and HE/VET policy making with technology partners to provide the simulation. The outcomes and deliverables of the project will propose innovative policy objectives and will address challenges related to professional skills, promoting competences such as digital literacy and multi professional skills. The outputs and products generated as part of this project will also contribute and connect with European and Global qualifications policies. Needs Analysis; the SSSC, the regulatory body for social services in Scotland, commissioned a needs analysis recently on the basis of this project and found that such an environment would be extremely beneficial in education & training but no such solution existed.
The Digital Bridges project is expected to result in the development of innovative practices in the training of social and healthcare students and professionals at organisational (public/private), regional, national and European levels. It will result in positive impacts for such people through (for example): improved competences linked to professional profiles (both for social and healthcare students and teachers of such), improved levels of skills for employability, a more active participation in society, increased opportunities for professional development through the existence of the simulated practice environment and, as a by- product, improved levels of digital competence.
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