Read about how Lifeliqe helped to establish XR educational and workforce development programs in public and academic libraries in Nevada.
Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records (NSLAPR), located in Carson City, Nevada, launched a demonstration project to place Nevada’s public libraries as a major part of the solution in providing the quality and quantity of workers needed to sustain and grow Nevada’s targeted industry sectors.
One of the main goals of Nevada libraries is ensuring all Nevadans have equal access to educational resources and have the opportunity to get a better qualification, and ultimately better-paid jobs. Today, these institutions, among other things, typically provide:
In the last decade, the application of extended reality (XR) has shifted from being used almost exclusively for gaming platforms into a powerful teaching tool. This technology includes augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and enables learners to immerse themselves into the subjects and lifelike situations. Thanks to that, learners are more likely to engage with the topic, understand important information, and improve their work skills.
A significant opportunity came in 2017, which provided seed funding from the Nevada legislature from which the library XR pilot program arose. To establish the program (later called Nevada XR Libraries), NSLAPR was looking for suitable partners – including a provider of quality VR content.
The requirements for the requested VR solution included:
For the project's first phase, Lifeliqe provided a license to their Lifeliqe VR Museum app. Lifeliqe VR Museum was the previous version of their current VR app, currently available on multiple mobile VR devices, as a component used at schools and libraries under the Corinth brand for K-12 education. This extension perfectly illustrates the possibility of XR teaching and was easy to grasp even for complete beginners. The distribution of the VR headsets and content to libraries was secured by XR in Libraries.
Along with 1 000+ 3D STEM models, the app contains many 360° thematic videos so the library visitors can experience walking with dinosaurs or floating with ISS, 500 km above the Earth.
The visitors use VR headsets to view this content in 3D. Additionally, there is also a possibility to project mentioned models and videos in 2D on a whiteboard, tablet, or notebook.
In August 2018, Lifeliqe conducted extensive all-day training for more than 40 librarians from public libraries in Nevada to help them understand the essence of XR education and how to navigate the app.
For the rest of 2018, libraries promoted the educational possibilities of XR and the Lifeliqe VR Museum app as a part of their Libraries=Education program. At the beginning of 2019, they began to cooperate with local high schools and progressively became an educational hub for their community.
In a 10-month pilot phase, librarians from 15 Nevada libraries and 1 planetarium assisted more than 1 600 patrons in experiencing XR through the Lifeliqe app and VR Museum.
In a 10-month pilot phase, librarians from 15 Nevada libraries and 1 planetarium assisted more than 1 600 patrons in experiencing XR through the Lifeliqe VR Museum app. Over 90 % of patrons stated they had learned new things from their XR experience and were prone to attend similar library programs again.
Even more critical results have come from integrating the XR and the Lifeliqe app into the school curriculum. 309 students attended an education-focused use of XR technology. The majority of them stated positive outcomes:
83 % of the students also strongly felt that extended reality can help them prepare for future STEM careers, and 93 % of them expressed a desire to see more XR content in their local library.
Overall, the Nevada XR libraries initiative has helped bring virtual and augmented reality to the public and laid the groundwork for its more massive use in libraries and education.
Phase II: Focus on workforce development
The first phase's success enabled the start of the second phase, which involved additional 14 libraries. NSLAPR also focused on the workforce development program made possible through a separate LSTA grant, “Accelerating Nevada’s Healthcare Workforce Development“.
In the second phase, the Nevada State Library partnered with the College of Southern Nevada’s Allied Health programs in Workforce and Economic Development to increase interest in and accelerate engagement with their dialysis laboratory technician program. Dialysis techs operate kidney dialysis machines and are responsible for direct patient care. More than 485,000 Americans are being treated for kidney failure in 2018.
Prospective students are provided a virtual field trip with XR technology. This makes it possible to efficiently explore the Dialysis Patient Care Technician (DPCT) program at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN). This tool will assess one’s individual aptitude for a DPCT career. Once enrolled, students will engage with 3D immersive content and learning modules provided by partners NCLab, Lifeliqe XR Libraries and the Medical Education Institute (MEI) as an adjunct to formal course instruction provided by CSN.
The XR equipment for the DPCT enrichment experiences will be an in-house public library resource. Access to the Nevada Career Explorer, a job matching software already provided to Nevada libraries, is actively promoted to increase DPCT job placements. The proposed program will address local labor market needs and training opportunities with the end goal of enabling jobseekers to potentially pursue employment training.
Accelerating Nevada’s Healthcare Workforce Development is the title for the second phase of this initiative. Nevada has 1.3 million library cardholders, with two-thirds of those in the Las Vegas metro area. This positions libraries as a prime leader in career exploration as they provide free internet and Nevada Career Explorer access.