College student using mixed reality and a robot to learn engineering concepts

Mixed reality is preparing students for the collaborative workforce

Case Western Reserve is using mixed reality to produce students who are trained for the collaborative workforce

Is your college looking for a way to improve workforce development? Check out mixed reality.

At EDUCAUSE 2018, educators from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) shared how the university is developing and implementing small- and large-scale immersive augmented reality and mixed reality learning resources with great success.

The projects stem from the university’s Interactive Commons, which explores how cross-departmental teamwork and new technologies can foster innovation and new ways of teaching and learning. So far, they have yielded a fair amount of data, along with increases in student engagement, time savings, and more positive learning experiences overall.

“The workforce is collaborative, and we need to communicate across disciplines–curriculum has to drive those interactions,” said Erin Henninger, executive director of the Interactive Commons at CWRU. “We want to think about what kind of classroom we’re putting our students in in the future–the classrooms we’ve been creating for 100 years may be doing those students a disservice.”

CWRU is already using Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headsets with students, and will deploy 32 HoloLens devices in its new Health Education campus, slated to open in July 2019. They can be used in any number of ways, such as to help medical students explore human anatomy together in a mixed reality environment.

Related: Using workforce data to improve student outcomes

The Microsoft HoloLens gives students a new way of visualizing environments, from cadaver dissection to emergency response simulations and training.

“It gives us new ways to interact,” Henninger said, including virtual cadaver dissection, distance-based guided repair where a student is in one place and an instructor coaches him or her from another, telemedicine, and more.

Laura Ascione

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