Working with East Kent Colleges (EKC) Group to support the planning, commissioning and industry engagement of their new learning lab for demonstrating digital and sustainable technologies at their College in Canterbury.
WHO WAS THE CUSTOMER?
EKC Group are a family of six community-based colleges across East Kent with the mission is to play a leading role for developing the economic and social prosperity of the communities they serve. They deliver a wide range of technical and vocational education and skills programmes to 12,000 students.
EKC Group were successful in securing UK Department for Education funding for the development of a state of the art ‘learning lab’, consisting of the latest digital and automation technologies available to industry to create learning areas and technology demonstrators for industry and students to use.
WHAT WAS THE BRIEF?
HSSMI were commissioned as part of a Strategic Development Fund (SDF) project led by EKC Group to support 1) the development of their next generation curricula that addresses the needs of industry in terms of digital and sustainability skills development and 2) the planning and commissioning of their learning lab with the support of digital tools. The resultant learning lab will serve a dual purpose in that it will provide an advanced learning environment for students to learn and practice skills developed from their courses, whilst offering up as a ‘sandpit’ environment for industry to test and trial new technologies before considering their purchase and roll out.
WHY WERE HSSMI BROUGHT IN?
EKC pulled HSSMI in because of 1) our network of manufacturers and access to their digital
skills development needs, 2) our ability to coordinate and facilitate events and workshops, and 3) our digital skills capabilities, particularly in photogrammetry, layout design and 3D simulation modelling for supporting the design of the learning lab. This was the second time HSSMI has successfully supported EKC Group, following SDF 1 delivery last year where we made recommendations on what equipment and technologies should be procured for the learning lab.
WHAT DID HSSMI DO TO DELIVER THE RESULTS?
Curriculum development: HSSMI coordinated a series of online workshops where local businesses were invited to share and discuss digital adoption, digital skills gaps, disruption to roles, and engagement with further education. This, together with our own literature review and survey into the topic, gave us a rich insight into critical skills needs and how the curriculum can be best positioned to deliver maximum value to industry. These insights proved valuable in the definition of useful, practical.
Learning lab commissioning and launch:
With only an empty shell of a room to work with, HSSMI collected 3D CAD assets from key vendors, and generated new assets through conducting photogrammetry scans of the equipment. We then created a visually accurate representation of the room, and placed all 3D equipment in an optimised layout. Various simulations and model interactions were then generated in the model for which a user could experience and learn from when they access it through a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, or executable file on a computer.
WHAT IMPACT DID THIS MAKE?
The project culminated in a formal launch event, where industry representatives and students were invited to experience the learning lab and learn about the college’s plans for future course development and industry engagement (pictures below). The work that HSSMI has delivered is now being used as part of the formal teaching program and giving industry the opportunity to interact with and learn from the technologies in the learning lab.
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