Can VR and AI improve students’ soft skills and improve their chances of employability?
Bodyswaps is an award-winning training platform that uses virtual reality and artificial intelligence to empower users to develop their soft skills through empathy and self-reflection. They offer immersive simulations on communication, teamwork, and job interview skills. Sandwell College has done a pilot integrating VR to improve student employability with Bodyswaps and the results proved successful. 84% of participants reported feeling‘ more confident’ ahead of interviews. 80% of participants reported they would suggest it to their peers. Jisc has partnered with Bodyswaps to bring these benefits to more members by running our very own Roadshow.
We have been in our homes staring at screens day in and day out for the past two years. Students started and graduated college without engaging with classmates and faculty. What does that mean for their soft skill development? I recently graduated and for a year and a half, I never met my teachers or classmates. Before we graduated, the careers team at my university walked us through applying for jobs.
Career services provided us with PowerPoints and blogs titled ‘How to prepare for an interview’. Though it helped a little I would say it was equal to reading ‘How to Swim’ from wikiHow. I assure you, you would have drowned at step 3, read it for yourself. The advice and guidance provided did help to some degree, but we never got to practice our skills. If I am being completely honest, I could have asked for it, but I did not want to look stupid in front of them. So, I read their blogs and joined in on their zoom calls where they told us about our elevator pitch and how to make our weaknesses sound like strengths.
Bodyswaps creates a virtual environment presented to our senses letting us experience it as if we were there. They have created modules that allow users to practice their soft skills and give feedback. Training your soft skills in a simulation offers a calm environment for the participants to work through mistakes without judgment. It eliminates the worry of wearing out the patience of faculty members when struggling to formulate answers. Further, it frees up the time of staff and allows them to focus on developing new ways to support the student experience.
So, what is the Roadshow?
We will visit five institutions and offer students the chance to try Bodyswaps for themselves. Bodyswaps offers a range of modules but we will offer modules from the Job Interview training series as it relates specifically to the job interview process. To make the experience easy for the students and institutions we will provide the headsets needed to do the modules. We will offer a brief training session on how to use the equipment. We will spend two days at each college to offer this experience to as many students as possible. Jisc will do an evaluation of the student experience and share our findings with our members.
All that is required from the institutions that wish to take part in the Roadshow is a large space that allows 6 to 8 students. They should be able to sit far enough apart that they cannot hear the training of other students. Additionally, we will need around 40 students to trial the modules.
If you would like to be a part of the Roadshow please register your interest by emailing email@example.com – deadline 27th April 2022.
*The Bodyswaps Roadshow has now been completed, read about the results of this pilot here.*
Find out more by visiting our National centre for AI page to view publications and resources, join us for events and discover what AI has to offer through our range of interactive online demos.
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