Virtual internship – IMTEL
About the project
The goal of the project is to help young job seekers getting insights into different professions via immersive and interactive virtual reality (VR) experiences, which we call "virtual internships". The main target audiences of the project are young job seekers who can be aided in selecting a career path at school or a welfare center, choosing the first or a new occupation, often after a period of being unemployed. The VR experience allows the user to explore and train in unfamiliar situations in a safe setting, thus mastering the same real-world situation with the goal of mastering the road to work. Although the concept includes the experience of workplace tasks and situations, the objective is not to learn how to perform, but rather to experience how it feels to perform such tasks.
In this project, we develop a concept of "Immersive Job Taste", an interactive VR experience of a workplace that aims to give a feeling of going through an average workday of a professional with elements of basic training. Instead of simply presenting information about jobs and professions, we seek to directly convey the experiences of being a trainee at a workplace. It is important to note that Immersive Job Taste is different from workplace training as it only provides a ‘peek’ into a certain profession without necessarily covering all the details and specifics.
Virtual Internship apps
The concept of "Immersive Job Taste" materialized into a design methodology with such components as a presentation of a workplace, typical tasks, feedback on performance, and advice on applying for jobs in the specific industry. Using the methodology, we are developing a platform with a catalog of VR simulations, each representing a workplace and a profession. The results received while evaluating the simulations indicate a generally very positive attitude towards the concept. We have examples of young unemployed who got permanent employment after trying the apps and discovering new career paths.
The development work continues in two directions: developing new features that can be embedded in all applications (e.g., multiuser mode) and developing applications for new professions (Tinsmith app is currently under development).
Fishery VR app simulates a large area of a fjord with several fish cages, a feeding station and a fish processing facility. The users can experience situations representing typical fish-industry workplaces, such as inspecting fish cages, feeding salmon, navigating around the fjord on a boat, sorting and packing fish as well as cutting fillets. The app has been designed under constant supervision and advice from the Norwegian fish industry.
Wind Turbine Electrician
Wind turbine electrician app simulates a typical wind turbine field, with a possibility to fully explore inside and on top of one of the turbines. The user is faced with a service task and has to perform several tasks, starting on the ground floor, climbing to the top and performing more tasks there. The app has been designed in partnership with a local energy company.
Road construction worker
The Road construction worker app simulates an urban area with ongoing construction works. The user is presented with different equipment and machines as well as a construction plan. The user has to start by securing the area, then work on an excavator and with a shovel to clear an area for underground pipelines. Finally, the user has to install a pipeline according to the construction plan.
The Car mechanic app simulates a typical car repair shop. The user can perform several tasks, including diagnostics, test of handbrake, adjustment of the headlamps and change of brake pads on one wheel. The app has been developed in cooperation with the local industry.
The Tinsmith app allows the users to experience common sheet metal working tasks in VR at a workshop, a private home, and outdoors on and around a tall building. The users are asked to select a tin plate model, and fabricate it using scissors and cutting and bending machines available in the virtual workshop. The user can learn to assemble a ventilation system using modular ventilation pipe pieces and to place a window fitting on the exterior of a building. Finally, the user is tasked with water-proofing a roof by placing metal sheets along the edges and fastening them with a pop-rivet gun.
The Job Interview VR app
The Job interview VR app provides an immersive experience of a job interview. The app can be used to train and prepare for a job interview. The simulation is based on a scenario that contains 12 main questions and 14 additional comments or questions that appear optionally depending on the answers to the main questions. In the interview scenario, the user takes the role of the job candidate and goes through a typical job interview. The interviewer appears in a typical office room, captured in a 360-video format from the point of view of the user. The interviewer in the app speaks Norwegian.
The app does not provide much guidance and instruction on how to perform at a job interview. Instead, the user is immersed in this situation and must react to it by answering questions from the interviewer. The app should ideally be used guided by a counselor.
The Job interview VR app can be installed on any modern smartphone with Android operating system. The app also requires simple VR headset that can be used with a smartphone.
The Job interview VR app is available in Google Play (direct link will be published soon).
The project is being implemented and co-funded by the IMTEL research group, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
The project has received financial support from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration:
- R&D grant of NOK 1.633.386 (April 2017 – March 2019)
- R&D grant of NOK 1.193.600 (May 2019 – April 2021)
Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland, Mikhail Fominykh, and Oscar Ihlen Ekelund: "Empowering Young Job Seekers with Virtual Reality", in the 26th IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces, Osaka, Japan, March 23–27, 2019, IEEE. DOI: 10.1109/VR.2019.8798179.
Mikhail Fominykh and Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland: "Immersive Job Taste: a Concept of Demonstrating Workplaces with Virtual Reality", in the 4th Workshop on K-12+ Embodied Learning through Virtual & Augmented Reality (KELVAR), Osaka, Japan, March 23, 2019, IEEE. DOI: 10.1109/VR.2019.8798356.
Mikhail Fominykh and Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland: "Job Interview Training in Virtual Reality: Evaluation in Laboratory Settings", in Dennis Beck et al. Eds. the 5th Immersive Learning Research Network Conference (iLRN), London, United Kingdom, June 23–27, 2019, Verlag der Technischen Universität Graz, ISBN: 978-3-85125-657-4, pp. 74–81. DOI: 10.3217/978-3-85125-657-4.