AR and VR: How Can These Be Used To Develop 21st Century Skills?

Ahead of the 4th Annual Further Education Technology Forum on 24th September in London, Steve Smith and Frank McHale share some key insights on the feasibility of using AR and VR to develop 21st-century skills in our learners. Steve Smith is a Learning Outside the Classroom Project Manager and Frank McHale is a Learning Outside the Classroom Coordinator at Preston College.


21st Century skills are gaining attention for two main reasons;

  1. Enter the ‘T Level Learner’ – between now and 2022, half a billion pounds has been pledged by the government to develop new alternatives to A levels across 15 sector areas. The standards will be strongly influenced by industry leaders, and 21st Century work skills will take centre stage.
  2. Around 2022, ‘Millennials’ will become the largest segment of the workforce – some are already moving into leadership and management positions. Millennials are typically ‘tech savvy’, team orientated and ‘agile’ in terms of career progression.


What 21st century skills can AR and VR technology help to develop?

We have recently completed three AR/VR student centred projects which complement ‘T level’ activity and Millennial style ways of working.

The project areas included Hair and Beauty, Creative and Design and Health and Science. The barbering students devised a piece called ‘Shave the Planet’ which looks at sustainable, environmentally friendly work methods that the hair and beauty industry can adopt. Theatrical make up students made and published 3D scans of their models for their final assessments. Sports and health students used 3D modelling techniques to design new prototypes for football shirts and boots. We would love to share these projects with you on the 24th September and illustrate how these projects have encouraged learners to practice;


Creative thinking

Flexibility and adaptability

Advocacy above their grade or pay scale

New AR and VR technologies

‘Cloud’ technologies to publish and promote AR and VR products


We also want to share our ‘induction’ AR and VR projects to support learners who are new to our college.

Just in case you are thinking this is all high grade and expensive, our budget is also tight so we have used ‘consumer level’ AR and VR hardware and software that most organisations could buy and just a modest level of technical skill. We will bring these to show you.

Looking forward to meeting you all, Frank and Steve (Preston’s College)


This article was written by Steve Smith, Learning Outside the Classroom Project Manager and Frank McHale, Learning Outside the Classroom Coordinator at Preston College.