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3D learning in the lab

SAIT's Non-Destructive Testing Foundations (NDT) students will be the first in Canada to experience radiation course curriculum through a 3D simulated environment.

The pilot project, launching in September, is part of a larger gamification-based curriculum suite being developed by a 23-member team from SAIT's School of Manufacturing and Automation and the Centre for Instructional Technology (CITD).

"This type of learning gives students real-world experiences, and some of those include difficult decisions they have to make," says Curriculum Coordinator Wilf Schlitt.

The future of learning

Although this is the first of its kind for NDT, SAIT first integrated 3D simulated learning into the Electrical Apprenticeship program in the 2015/16 academic year.
Schlitt says the tool has received positive feedback from students and instructors — for good reason.

"When you have the ability to make right and wrong choices, and there are consequences because of those choices, there's this personal challenge to beat your best score," says Schlitt. "It's what I call accidental learning — students feel like they're playing a game, but they're actually learning a lot."

Schlitt says the addition of simulated learning allows students to experience diverse and dangerous scenarios they would otherwise only experience in the field. Simulated learning is delivered online, giving students unlimited access to potential scenarios.

Supporting student success

The project team, along with project partner Suncor, was recently awarded with the League for Innovation's 2015/16 Innovation of the Year Award.

Cathy Glover, Suncor's director of Community Investment, says Suncor Energy Foundation's support of SAIT's blended learning framework makes it easier for apprentices to complete their studies while in the workforce.

"Building a skilled workforce requires ongoing commitment and partnership from post-secondary institutions, government, and industry. That's why we're committed to investing in practical solutions to help build skills and knowledge for our current and future workforce," she says.

A world of potential

While Schlitt and his team will continue to focus on developing 3D simulation curriculum for Electrical Apprentice and NDT programs, he sees a lot of opportunity to expand this type of learning across campus and within industry upgrading.

"The potential is phenomenal," he says.

What is Non-Destructive Testing anyway?

Non-Destructive Testing ealuates the properties of a material and identifying potential mechanical and structural failures without destructing the object or system.

This type of testing is used across many industries, including pipeline and refinery, manufacturing and maintenance utilities and construction as well as transportation.


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