How to Maximize The Potential of Augmented and Virtual Reality with Gamification?

Gamified Classroom of the Future for Learning Analytics and Student’s Profiling

Imagine this: Encik Ahmad, a Mechanical Engineering lecturer at Polytechnic specializing in Boiler with 20 years of experience. He is very passionate about inspiring his students on how the Boiler works by showing practically in his workshop. Unfortunately, during Pandemic, his student and himself cannot enter the workshop. Encik Ahmad has to go online, and of course, this is not the same as in front of the Boiler itself. He has minimal knowledge of IT. So sad, he cannot prepare any interactive digital content; the best he can do is encourage his students to watch Youtube and read user manuals.

Danial, one of En Ahmad’s students, was inspired to become a Boiler Man because it is a demanding job in the industry. Danial now in trouble. He has difficulty understanding how the Boiler’s works by just watching Youtube or manuals. More than 8000 TVET lectures in Malaysia shared the same difficulties as En Ahmad and about 225,000 as Danial from various TVET institutions.

Technology has and will continue to have a significant impact on education today. Following the advancement of technology, many new tools and products have been developed to exploit its benefits fully. A new generation of engineering students is entering higher education with significant computing knowledge and higher expectations that academic institutes will expose them to the required technology for their successful transition into industry. The possibilities are perfect for educational institutions responsible for equipping graduates to participate in today’s creative engineering and technical education requirements.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are great for introducing students to complex subjects, such as engineering design or mechanical machine components modules, where illustrations in books might not be enough to retain attention. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are ideal for exposing students to complex topics, such as the engineering modelling module, where diagrams in books or user manuals might not be enough to keep their interest.

UTM initiated a research program to study how to maximize the potential of Augmented and Virtual Reality with gamification in the Classroom of the Future? This research program aims to build a Gamification Platform for Engineering and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in teaching and learning. The gamification platform is a game-like experience for typically non-gaming activities to engage and motivate users to achieve goals. Learning Analytics is integrated with gamification as an effort to maximize student motivation. It aims to evaluate learners and their contexts to understand and enhance the teaching-learning process. Gamification applies all relevant game elements to inspire and engage students in learning environments. In line with this, the students’ actual talents will be monitored via the profiling technique.

Our goal is to create a gamified platform that can track student progress, understand the demonstration syllabus, and use the models to help students accomplish their coursework. More TVET lecturers and instructors like Encik Ahmad will be trained to develop their learning gamification material in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality as a translational impact of research. It would help many students like Danial pursue engineering and technical courses with more enjoyable and interactive methods.

To date, TVET lecturers and instructors from CIAST, Giat MARA, UniKL and the German-Malaysia Institute have been trained to develop Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality learning content through certified professional programs offered by UTM SPACE and MaGICX.

This initiative is in conjunction with the recognition by the Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of International Trade and Industry to UTM Media and Game Innovation Centre of Excellence (MaGICX) as the 4th Industrial Revolution Competence Centre that focuses on Augmented and Virtual Reality under the Industry4WRD initiative.

Prof. Dr. Mohd Shahrizal Sunar
Institute Director
Institute Human Centre Engineering

School of Computing
Faculty of Engineering
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia