The relatively high rate of unemployment in the United States at the present time is often associated with reports on skilled worker shortage. There is consensus among business leaders, academics and other experts that a significant portion of the unemployed could find work if they possessed better skills.
There exists, however, a national crisis of reduced resources for teaching these skills in many school districts throughout the country. In this context, if part of the learning can take place in automated virtual learning environments, it would help to improve learning conditions and more effectively utilize teachers’ in-class time. More broadly, these learning environments may benefit learners in ways that traditional classrooms cannot provide, such as personalized learning.
This EAGER project is inspired by and aligned to the US IGNITE’s mission to foster the creation of next-generation Internet applications that provide transformative public benefit. The research will develop, implement, and evaluate a novel, scalable, and transferable virtual reality-based pedagogical ecosystem that provides learners with the relevant skill training to address existing skilled worker shortage in the area of green energy, and thus facilitate the growth of new jobs and training opportunities for entry-level positions in this sector. The educational modules resulting from this effort will be hosted in the cloud and made accessible through a web-browser.
This EAGER grant will fuel larger scale US IGNITE efforts in the future that will leverage the virtual reality-based research results accomplished due to this grant such as next generation networking technologies being researched via the GENI program, and municipal, federal, and corporate partnerships to deliver virtual reality-based workforce training to low income residents in Philadelphia.