Using technology to nurse lifelong learning

Education and Trade and Industry Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling trying a game at an exhibition at the Lifelong Learning Institute during the launch of iN.Learn 2020 and the opening of learning facility iN.LAB.
Education and Trade and Industry Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling trying a game at an exhibition at the Lifelong Learning Institute during the launch of iN.Learn 2020 and the opening of learning facility iN.LAB.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Practise the steps to resuscitate a patient or learn about post-operation care - all on a mobile app.

This is what some 500 Jurong Health Service nurses have begun to do, using a virtual reality game created in partnership with education technology company Playware Studios.

A new $27 million strategy called Innovative Learning 2020 (iN.Learn 2020), launched by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) yesterday, aims to foster more of such collaborations in adult learning.

Part of the sum, to be spent over the next three years, will go towards a new facility called the Innovation Lab (iN.LAB).

The WDA will fund up to 20 projects using technology in adult learning over the next three years through two grants, InnovPlus and the Continuing Education and Training Innovation Fund.

Education and Trade and Industry Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling spoke at the launch of iN.Learn yesterday at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Eunos Road.

"This will lead to a shift from the current predominance of traditional classroom-based learning," she said, adding that it will promote more "self-directed online learning".

iN.Learn takes place against the backdrop of SkillsFuture, a government initiative allowing Singaporeans to develop to their potential through lifelong learning, regardless of their starting point.

It is also the latest development in adult learning.

Since April last year, the Institute for Adult Learning has revamped its Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment programme to emphasise on active learning and the use of technology in aiding it.

According to WDA chief executive Ng Cher Pong, there are already training providers and adult educators making good use of technology. But this can be "more more pervasive" and effective.

The WDA hopes that by 2020, all Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications training providers will deliver at least 75 per cent of their full qualifications while making use of online and other forms of learning.

"Many learners, particularly younger learners, prefer (using) technology, to have the flexibility to learn anywhere, any time," Mr Ng explained. "Technology has now become much more scalable (as well). There are many examples where it is much cheaper now to use technology in learning, and to make it effective."

Ms Prema Balan, senior assistant director in nursing education at Jurong Health Services, said the virtual reality game it uses has helped to alleviate constraints in booking training facilities. "With this, you can just use it anywhere," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2015, with the headline 'Using technology to nurse lifelong learning'. Print Edition | Subscribe