DMU tests groundbreaking virtual reality platform to help students at work

Breakthrough technology tested at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will help students and graduates prepare for job interviews and improve their job prospects.

The three-month trial of Bodyswaps – an award-winning soft skills training platform – is a first green throw of DMU’s new digital transformation strategy, which places immersive learning at the heart of the university’s teaching approach.

DMU is one of only 106 colleges and universities worldwide to have received an Immersive Soft Skills Education Grant that provides access to Bodyswap, which offers a range of virtual reality modules from job interview anxiety management to simulations of job interviews.

During realistic scenarios that focus on skills such as answering behavioral questions and developing confidence, learners’ choices, words and body language are captured by the artificial intelligence-based platform to provide personalized assessments.

Bodyswap is available to all undergraduate and graduate students and can be accessed via bookable appointments and drop-in sessions at DMU’s newly opened Careers Hub in the Hugh Aston Building between the Stephen Lawrence Research Center and the Coffee House.

Tracey Jessup, DMU Chief Transformation Officer, said: “The vision of our digital transformation strategy is: data, technology and digital fit for a leading, innovative and enabling university.

“The Bodyswap initiative complements that vision and allows our students to experience the benefits of a technology-enabled environment that allows them to develop the digital skills and mindset to use today’s technology while preparing them for tomorrow’s employment equip.

“This effort is particularly timely as more graduate employers are using gamification and virtual reality as part of their talent discovery and recruitment processes. BodySwaps will allow us to provide our students with valuable insights into these types of immersive experiences.”

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The platform is also used to support students seeking a year-long industry internship, helping them stand out on competitive assessments and job interviews.

While all DMU students are eligible to access Bodyswap, the university encourages enrollment of those who face the greatest barriers to employment, including students with disabilities and students from Black, Asian and underage ethnic communities.

Richard Bowden, DMU’s Head of Careers and Graduate Success, said: “At DMU, ​​we pride ourselves on our diverse student body, including a high percentage of students who face specific barriers and challenges in advancing into highly skilled employment.

“We are committed to a level playing field so that all DMU students can be successful. Combined with our expert career support, Bodyswap provides them with the tools and skills they need to fulfill their potential.

“The platform is a safe place to make mistakes and learn from them in a realistic interview scenario to prepare students and graduates for real-world success.”

The body swap study continues DMU’s research into the potential applications of immersive technologies, funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and StoryFutures.

The research is being led by Professor Sophy Smith, Director of DMU’s Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT), who said: “IOCT is passionate about exploring the potential of new and emerging technologies to improve all aspects of our daily lives.

“We are very excited to be collaborating with Meta and Bodyswaps on this international project, exploring how immersive experiences can create new and engaging learning environments for our students.”

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Posted on Tuesday March 14, 2023