Daily Archives

November 27, 2018

Business

How will virtual reality impact the education sector?

November 27, 2018

As technology continues to advance, so too does the way we can learn. While the internet has enabled us to conduct research on any subject at ease, our learning spaces and facilities are also improving. Virtual reality is gradually becoming part of many industries and when it comes to schools and colleges, it’s no longer a case of simply sitting at a desk with your books. Here, we look at how VR is impacting the education sector.

Guided tours

Virtual reality allows you to get to know your learning space before you’ve even set foot on the property. An Ofsted report for Newcastle College praised the establishment’s world class facilities, and students are encouraged to take a tour of what’s on offer online.

By offering virtual reality tours,you are opening up your institution to prospective students away from the area as well as those on your doorstep. It can make your centre appear unique and special, helping you stand out from the crowd and is a lot more engaging than simply using photos to promote your space and courses.

Virtual classrooms

Not so long ago, the bulk of the learning experience came from teachers standing at the front of a classroom and students working through a text book. Of course, this still happens, but there are a host of other opportunities available too.

With Open University (OU) courses allowing students to study outside of a classroom, lesson plans can take you anywhere in the world. For example, recently the OU took students to the Great Barrier Reef via virtual reality. The Google Expeditions technology allowed students to go on a virtual field trip to a location which would be near impossible for them to actually visit.

Professor of Learning Technologies and Social Computing, Shailey Minocha, developed the field trips for the OU and said: “Our previous research has shown that the high degree of realism now achievable in virtual field trips complements the physical field trip experience and in imparting fieldwork skills. Virtual field trips also make it possible to experience activities and locations that may be impossible, or extremely difficult, to arrange in real life.”

Reports found that students benefit from class trips, with 72% gaining a better understanding of their subject and two thirds would do better in their exams if they went on excursions. With virtual reality this complex situation will be a lot easier to organise, meaning that virtual trips could become a frequent part of teaching.

Hands-on experience

Hands-on training is key to a student’s learning. Doctors and mechanics, for example, benefit from carrying out ‘on-the-job training’ in work experience and in-class modules. However, due to its complexity, virtual reality can help when it comes to time, cost and controlling the health and safety aspect of this experience. If apprentices or students can take part in surgeries or engine changes in a virtual environment, their learning period will be significantly accelerated. This allows them to learn a potentially dangerous task in a safe environment.

Not only this, but hands-on learning helps to increase learner engagement, helping to activate more parts of the brain, which in turn leads to information being stored for a longer period of time.

If education uses virtual reality wisely, we will see students hugely reap the rewards. Technological advances are providing the tools to change the way we learn and teach, and virtual reality can be a big player in this.  

Sources

https://blog.concept3d.com/top-5-reasons-use-virtual-tours-schools-website

https://www3.open.ac.uk/media/fullstory.aspx?id=30596

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/impact-virtual-reality-education-parag-diwan/

https://www.halsbury.com/useful-guides/benefits-of-school-trips/

https://demmelearning.com/learning-blog/hands-on-learning-benefits/

Business

How to improve productivity in the workplace

November 27, 2018

Procrastination can come at a great cost for businesses. According to research, procrastinating professionals can cost a company up to 36 working days each year, with texting, shopping and browsing social media during work time being top distractions.

So, what exactly can be done to help boost your workforce’s productivity levels. We take a look here with Cliverton, specialists in insurance for dog walkers.

Improve office conditions

Did you ever think that the temperature you set your office at can have an effect on how productive your employees are? The optimum temperature is between 20-21C. Anything outside of this bracket may lead to distractions in concentration, as employees will be more interested in reaching an acceptable body temperature. This could include getting up to put their coat on or playing with the air conditioning system.

Also, the colour you decorate your office can have a significant impact on both morale and productivity. While we may say we are feeling ‘blue’, this primary colour is said to put you at ease in the workplace. It’s said to be an ‘emotionally comfortable’ colour, meaning you’ll be happier if your décor is awash with blue. Green has a similar effect and is most suited to those who are looking for a creative environment. Then there is purple; a colour which can encourage teamwork and creativity. You’ll likely find this, alongside red, in design firms.

It can also be worthwhile introducing standing desks to your office space. Not only is this concept a good way to boost your staff’s productivity, but it also has health benefits. By allowing a colleague to choose or alternate their stance during the working day, you will be showing that you care about their well-being.

Set realistic goals and targets

Introduce SMART goal setting into your workplace. This means you should be specific in your goal, making sure it’s measurable and action-orientated. It should also be realistic and time-bound.

Setting your colleagues targets that are achievable is crucial. Research indicates that goal setting can improve work performance by up to 25%. However, if you introduce goals or targets that aren’t realistic, morale and productivity will nose dive. It’s important that you keep staff focused and on the same track. This can be provided by giving them clear directions and an end goal that is clearly reachable.

Office pet

Have you ever wondered why some workplaces, including Google and Amazon, have their very own pet? Well, research has found that nine out of 10 dog owners are happier in life because of their furry friend. This is because they can help reduce stress levels, and this can also transfer to the office.

Nestlé UK’s head of HR, Paul Steadman said: “Having a dog-friendly workplace encouraged interaction and socialisation between employees who may not have crossed paths otherwise.”

This is important, as a good relationship with co-workers has been found as a major player in job satisfaction. And, as they say: a happy worker is a good worker.

Promote healthy living

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, male workers who are a healthy weight take two days less off due to sickness compared to those who are overweight. Therefore, company benefits, such as the use of a company gym and free fruit, can go a long way to improving productivity. In Google’s New York office, it’s even rumoured that no colleague is ever more than 150 feet away from food because they believe nutrition will keep the productivity levels high.

Team building activities

A good way of increasing productivity in the workplace, is implementing team building activities throughout the year. A day out of office during a busy schedule might not sound like a good idea but in the long run, having a more engaged and happier workforce will be worthwhile to the business. Team development activities should definitely be considered when looking at ways to improve productivity.

Flexible shift patterns

The work/life balance is something that is extremely important, especially to millennials, who are now dominating the workforce. It’s been found that 70% of millennials believe a flexible work schedule is a priority when looking for a new job. Head of Brand and Content at Remote Year, Emily Moyer agrees, stating that “flexible work schedules make you happier”.  

Thanks to flexible shift patterns, a colleague will feel less stressed due to the fact they can easily plan their schedule around their life commitments.

As productivity is crucial to any company, following the above advice can help keep your workers happy. In turn, this will benefit your business and you will reap the rewards. After all, as Richard Branson says: “Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Sources

http://www.onrec.com/news/statistics-and-trends/procrastinating-professionals-costing-businesses-to-36-working-days-a

https://businesstown.com/8-ways-increase-productivity-workplace/

https://www.arnoldsofficefurniture.com/the-3-best-colors-for-office-productivity/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/standing-desks-boost-productivity-not-just-health-study-finds/2016/05/31/b7948390-2358-11e6-8690-f14ca9de2972_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.93f27d0e38cc

https://cmoe.com/blog/improve-productivity-with-goal-setting/

https://smallbusiness.co.uk/office-dog-boost-productivity-2540616/

https://www.boostability.com/how-to-boost-office-productivity

https://www.britishgas.co.uk/business/blog/how-healthy-eating-can-help-boost-your-workforces-productivity/

http://www.talk-business.co.uk/2017/06/09/why-9-5-is-no-longer-the-way-to-make-a-living-flexible-work/

https://www.digitalistmag.com/future-of-work/2017/06/16/remote-future-9-to-5-thing-of-past-05147028