The development of customized Virtual Reality training scenarios with the agricultural colleges in Ghana

VR project Ghana
VR project Ghana

29 March 2021

Operating tractors in a VR-environment

Imagine driving/operating a tractor in rural Ghana. Soon, this will be one of the options available to agriculture students throughout Ghana!  This February, CINOP organized a Virtual Reality (VR) scenario creation workshop for the agricultural colleges in Ghana, in close cooperation with Warp VR and Eugene Afful. The initial idea was to work with staff to develop a scenario within three days. This collaboration served two purposes; firstly, initial results would be concrete, and secondly, the capacity to continue to evolve these scenarios would be developed.

Why Virtual Reality?

With the rapidly growing enrollment of students at the colleges -there are hundreds of students in the current first year- the scarce resources and equipment must be used sparingly. VR scenarios can help to mimic real life situations, by providing highly practical and interactive trainings with equipment. This method results in a more scalable approach to practical education.

So, why not use plain and simple videos, or other types of e-learning already available?

Because, with the help of VR, the level of immersion is increased considerably, resulting in over 40% better retention of the subject matter. With the assistance of the Warp VR platform, which allows teachers to make the scenarios interactive, the level of learning increases. Students (or ‘players’ of the scenarios) can actually make mistakes in VR and experience the consequences of their choices. This degree of learning cannot come out of a normal video. Furthermore, hazardous, very expensive situations can be taught to students with little consequence, since the learning takes place in a safe simulation. Take for example a very frequently appearing tractor accident; someone tries to start the tractor while standing next to it, in front of the big wheel. It was in gear, and the handbrake was not pulled correctly, so the person was overrun and gravely injured. This can be staged very convincingly in VR, making it merely a scary experience and the learning much more effective.

Global VR Ghana

Last but not least, this form is digital learning is exciting, fun, and repeatable as much as desired. The opportunity for repetition lowers the barrier to additional learning outside the classroom and allows for more distance learning.

Our approach

The heads of department from all four agricultural colleges were invited to participate in this project. In addition, the IT staff member of Kwadaso college and the project coordinator participated. A lecture room with enough room to maintain social distancing was arranged, which included a beamer for the remote trainer of Warp VR. Two facilitators, one local and one from CINOP, were present during the training to support. Both facilitators were already familiar with the equipment and software that was used during the training.

Global VR Ghana

An introduction was given on VR, its benefits and example cases . Afterwards, the participants started developing their scenarios. The 360° filming started the next day after a filming course, to make the workflow easier. Finally, the scenes were edited, cut and uploaded in the Warp Studio to finish the scenarios by adding the interactive elements in the scenes.

The COVID-19 pandemic called for more innovative ways of learning; such as the simulation of real world situations via Virtual Reality. The VR Training held at Kwadaso Agricultural College has been a short one, yet practical and impactful. The training enabled me to create learning experiences using the fully immersive virtual reality for the first time.

Danlette Elorm Quashigah

The result

Results were tangible, as two scenarios were created by the two groups of participants in their own area of expertise. Initially, the scenarios were kept concise and in simple filming locations to allow for a rapid scenario development.

In the video below, you can see an example of one of the VR-scenarios.

What are future plans that involve VR?

The sustainable anchoring of this activity has been provided by training the participants to develop scenarios themselves with the supplied materials. Follow-up support will be given when needed. The future plans include working on scenarios for tractor operation, running an agribusiness, and working on crops.

Project info

This workshop was organized as part of the Nuffic-funded NICHE project NICHE-GHA-270.

Read more about WarpVR / CreatrHaus.

Related articles from projects in Ghana

Closing ceremony of project NICHE-GHA-270; strengthening the capacity of four colleges of agriculture

Four agricultural colleges will soon include mechanical education in their curricula