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"One to watch" in virtual reality

Congratulations to Associate Lecturer and Honorary Associate, Dr Katharine Jewitt who has been recognised in the Edtech 50 2020 Yearbook as “one to watch” for her research and work in using virtual reality in work-based learning. The nomination states that Dr Jewitt’s research is original. "Nobody else has utilised virtual reality to create a three-way partnership between education provider, apprentice and apprenticeship provider – the employer”.

"There are so many opportunities in the use of virtual worlds", says Jewitt, "related particularly to a three-way partnership in learning between apprentices and employees, employers and educational institutions: co-ordination of off- and on-the-job learning; real-time oversight for employers of their employees’ progress; use of virtual events at work to enrich learning, demonstrations of processes and development of learning communities.

The concept of creating and using virtual worlds to support informal learning has been developed by Dr Jewitt for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), where the resources for staff development in any one situation may be minimal. Jewitt continues, “The nature of academic life, higher education and work is changing. Most learning is informal, at work, under the guidance of non-educationalists."  I have been using virtual worlds to enhance work transitions both educationally and work-related with special attention to apprentices. The work has developed communities of practice in virtual worlds, transferring motivation and knowledge management.”

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