22 May 2019 – Virtual reality (VR) technology has entered the vocational classroom, and students are loving the true life experience it creates. Immersed in the ‘real’ world, students are able to visualise, learn, and retain information effectively. For New Zealand School of Tourism (NZST) it creates a new learning opportunity for students to sample a new experience via 360-degree immersive videos that transport the user to anywhere in the world.
This is particularly helpful in the travel industry, where competition for customers is optimal. One of the biggest tour operators Thomas Cook, in the United Kingdom and Belgium, rolled out Samsung Gear VR headsets in a bid to entice customers back into its stores by offering to bring dream vacation destinations to life - it was a hit. Hotels are also providing customers with realistic expectations of what it’s like to stay at their accommodation, with an easy upsell to premium services, when a customer sees what they like.
With employers utilising VR, future employees like NZST students need to be comfortable using the technology as well. NZST aims to drive innovation through education within the travel and tourism sector. The classroom is the perfect arena to introduce and guide students through cutting edge technology.
Kelly Stevens, Quality & Audit Manager, NZST says, “The students are using VR technology to develop their skills and capabilities in the multi-media space. Through this, they will gain a better understanding of how the technology can be applied to marketing campaigns to support business development in the travel and tourism industry. What we love is that VR demonstrates innovation to excite and inspire; bringing the subject to life. Our students learn in a fun and interactive environment which is practical, while also gaining knowledge around the fundamental theories”.
As technology continues to evolve virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) are now familiar tools that tourism trade and consumers are using, so learning all about VR, AR and MR in the classroom will help students develop skills that may be part of their role. With these skills, NZST students are work-ready and world-ready when they graduate.