A global college uses virtual reality to prepare its students for their first interview
George Brown College, a renowned college of applied arts and technology in Toronto (Canada), offers a wide variety of programs to over 107,000 students globally, of which almost 30,000 study on campus.
Courses and services range from design, business, community services, early childhood education, construction and engineering technologies, health sciences, hospitality and culinary arts, preparatory studies to specialised programs and services for recent immigrants and international students.
Given the diverse range of study types (full-time, part-time, distance-learning) as well as students’ level of experience and language proficiency, it has been a challenge to offer workplace and career skills training that is easily accessible and equally beneficial for all students.
In 2021, the college’s TLX (Teaching and Learning Exchange), which consists of teaching and learning specialists who offer faculty support including coaching and exploring ways of integrating technology into the classroom, approached Bodyswaps in search of a solution. It would not only have to be a highly engaging solution that is suitable for all students but it would also have to be easily scalable and deliver measurable results.
For Michael Avis, a tech-savvy Professor and Faculty Facilitator at the TLX, it was clear that any new technology would also have to be easy to adopt in order to be useful for his colleagues and students:
“One of the challenges as a professor is how do you really get the time to practise these soft skills? How do you simulate interviews, conflicts as a customer service representative or any kind of skill-based activity? That’s a real challenge for educators because it takes a lot of time and money. With virtual reality we are able to simulate some of those scenarios at scale.”
Bodyswaps uses virtual reality and AI to allow students to practise their interview techniques in a safe environment. Its unique learning format gives students the tools and confidence to apply newly acquired skills. As the name suggests, students can ‘swap bodies’ in VR and watch themselves back to see how they come across in situations such as job interviews.
In 2021, George Brown College took part in a partnership programme with Bodyswaps. After the first group of students had completed the Job Interview Simulator sessions in VR, confidence levels more than doubled.
“The confidence gained by the users was significant. We have a very large international student population and being able to practise in a risk-free environment is key.”
– Michael Avis, Professor and Faculty Facilitator, George Brown College
“It was a great experience. I learnt about my strengths, weaknesses and areas I need to work on in a safe and judgment-free environment.”
– Student, George Brown College
The college, which has been ranked as one of the country’s top three research colleges, aims to gradually roll out the solution to more and more students. It also successfully organised its first virtual reality interviews skills focussed event, Interview Ignite week, in October 2021 and has partnered with Bodyswaps to co-produce a series of new VR simulations.