Embodied learning: A Glimpse into the Future of Skill Development in Emerging Markets

Conference Proceedings
Mehta, Nimesh.,Goyal, Rajat. "Embodied learning: A Glimpse into the Future of Skill Development in Emerging Markets", EduLearn 13, The 5th Annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona (Spain), 2013
Abstract:
India is in the midst of an unprecedented phase of demographic change. Nearly 63.38% (about 760 million) of India’s 1.2 billion population is in the working age group (15-59 years of age). In 2010,90% (437.4 million) of India's total labour force was employed in the unorganized sector. However, only 5-10% of this workforce has received any kind of skill training. Therefore, we have an urgent need to exponentially increase the seating capacity of skill training institutes to reach government’s target of 500 million skilled workers by 2022. To understand the problems faced by current skill training institutes in India, we conducted a survey and various face-to-face interviews with students, instructors and administrators at Government Industrial training institute, Sanathnagar, Hyderabad. From the data, we observed that among other reasons huge set-up cost (cost of tools, machines, raw material, etc.) of training workshops is the major reason which restricts the growth of such skill training Institutes.

   This paper looks towards embodied learning as a solution. Embodied learning in most simple terms is defined as using body for learning. It is a relatively new field which merges learning sciences and human computer interaction. It can be most effective form of learning in vocational training as the skills that are learnt are physical and involves body motion. We have combined research from multiple areas such as learning sciences, human computer interaction, simulations, and virtual reality to conceptualise our system. In recent past there have been significant  innovations in the field of body motion sensors which can help us build such embodied learning environment with very low cost. We are using Microsoft kinect for body motion sensing. In our system we have created a virtual workshop environment which is similar to an actual skill training workshop. In the virtual environment the user can move around, pick up tools, and control a process just as he would do in real life. First the user has to follow a tutorial in which the avatar shows the user sequence of steps involved in doing the particular task, after this the user has to correctly replicate what the avatar was doing by using his own body. Application of such system ranges from learning wood working, machine operation to high end skills training like aviation, medical and combat. The system will be able to reduce the cost of skill training by 60-80% as the user will not require raw material, tools and machines for basic initial training.