Virtual learning becomes a reality

02 August 2016

Ten days, 1,000 virtual trains caught, 10,000 virtual passengers safely boarded onto the Caboolture train…

Well, it may not have been quite those numbers, but time spent at Queensland Rail’s Ekka pavilion highlighting Endeavour Foundation’s virtual travel training environment resulted in many happy customers – some experiencing train travel – albeit virtually – for the very first time. 

Throughout this year's Ekka, Service Development and Innovation Manager, Chris Beaumont and I stepped up to the yellow line and assisted people to don an Oculus Rift (virtual reality headset), grab an x-box controller and experience virtual reality (VR) via a number of virtual train environments. Users can see themselves represented on screen as they move around to top up their Go Card, "touch on" and "touch off" at the station, board a train and then hop off at the next station, all within a fully immersive, 360 degree environment.

Chris Beaumont, Qld Transport Minister Sterling Hinchliffe, Stewart Koplick

In collaboration with Queensland Rail, people attending the Ekka were able experience the sights and sounds of all things rail – from train buffs to lost souls looking for the platform – and then experience virtual train travel all within a safe, learning environment. 

And if responses from people are anything to go by – “that was awesome”, “so lifelike”, “man, that’s just cool!” (and that’s just from the adults…) - then VR is no longer the future; it’s today…

We’ve developed the Virtual Learning Environment in partnership with Queensland University of Technology.  It’s a ground breaker for people with a disability that we support, enabling them to experience multiple scenarios virtually and giving them the confidence and skills to try them in real life.  This can include leisure activities, meeting people, managing money and developing new skills – such as how to follow a recipe.

Jayden, 20, an enthusiastic use of the VLE was able to use it to take a virtual train ride further than his usual stop. “It gave me a bit more independence”, he said.  “I had a lot of fun, and highly recommend it people with special needs.”  We’ve taken his advice on board and are currently trialling the VLE in some of our Learning and Lifestyle programs.

Stewart Koplick is Endeavour Foundation's Learning and Development Services Manager.  He's passionate about the use of technology and innovation to bring new opportunities to people with a disability. 

Contact us to find out how we can support you

Share:    



Other blogs and information you maybe interested in

What is Autism?

We asked one of our employees, Alex, to write this blog. Alex has 28 years of lived experience with autism, which he was very happy to write about. It’s worth noting that these are his words.

How the NDIS can help you make and keep friends

Friends can be a wonderful part of our lives, enabling us to share fun times and activities together, as well as sharing our troubles.

Battle of the Bands rocks Brisbane

We held our inaugural Battle of the Bands Brisbane on 21 May — based on the successful Sunshine Coast event that was started six years ago — at the iconic Eatons Hill Hotel where the likes of Prince, Powderfinger and Rita Ora have performed.

TW Aerobic Ribbon Dancers 2019

A look at QArt

Envision a purpose-built art studio in the creative capital of Australia with nineteen professional artists at work. Welcome to QArt Studio.

How disability day services have changed

As the world has changed, so too has the calibre of disability supports. A perfect example of this is disability day services. These community-minded hubs are a far cry from the institutionalised settings of old.

Nambour Brushers

So much more than an art group!

Sally is part of our incredible Nambour team and she won an award for her art program, the Nambour Brushers. Watch the video to find out what makes this group so special.