We are going into Research: 3D Technology for Virtual Learning

Virtual Learning Concepts with Augmented Reality

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany are facing the major challenge of finding a solution to the growing shortage of skilled workers. Fewer and fewer young people are finding their way into the manufacturing sector and valuable expertise is at risk of being lost. We think this is quite worrying and are now participating in a two-year research project together with the University of Potsdam, IBAP, IHK, KIT and two other industrial partners to counter this development. Together, we are now researching what virtual learning spaces can look like to help connect generations and secure knowledge.

The Future of Learning is 3D!

"Age-appropriate, process-oriented and interactive in-company training in SMEs" (API-KMU for short) is the name of the research project that aims to deliver a solution to the shortage of skilled workers within two years. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the European Social Fund of the European Union as part of the program "Future of Work: SMEs - Innovative and Social". Our goal is to develop a digital tool that will serve German SMEs as a toolbox for digital trainings. For this purpose, the possibilities of Virtual Reality (VR) as well as the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) are being researched.

We are focusing on the question of how Augmented Reality can be used for training and further education and want to develop AR-based learning modules and virtual learning spaces for this purpose. In addition, an AR-based tutor system is to be developed that is specifically tailored to the learning and competence requirements of older employees in the digital transformation. The main focus here is on the requirements of older employees aged 45 and over. In practical day-to-day work, the aim is to examine exactly what an application needs to look like that is comprehensible and easy to use for employees with a low affinity for digital media. This should ensure that the results of the project can be used directly in practice.

How can 3D Technology be used to fight the Shortage of skilled Workers?

Our 3D platform was chosen as the basis for the digital training system because it has something to offer for every generation. The younger ones are attracted by the appeal of state-of-the-art technology. The experienced employees can be convinced by a very simple and intuitive user interface. In this way, training in the manufacturing sector should become more attractive again and the archiving of knowledge should become much easier and more intuitive.

Virtual environments can be discovered with VR glasses, for example. The impression is created that you are in the middle of the action, for example in a production hall or a classroom. In this way, any place can become a learning space. AR projections can make machines, components or workpieces appear directly in front of the learner. To do this, the camera image of a smartphone, tablet or AR glasses is displayed with digital 3D content, such as a CNC milling machine. The learner can walk around the machine, view its controls up close and click on info points. Descriptions, additional videos and tutorials provided by the master can then convey practical knowledge very effectively. Even special cases, for example in the production of plastic parts, can be demonstrated step by step in this way. Real production can continue in the meantime, as no machine has to be shut down for demonstration purposes. In addition, the content can be accessed from anywhere, so that practical knowledge can also be gained far away from the noisy production hall. In this way, valuable specialist knowledge is to be archived and made available at any time.

We are excited about the project and are looking forward to seeing where the research journey will take us. Check out our blog for the latest news!