The further education college located across four campuses in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and Caerphilly, Wales, teaches 10,000 students across 400 courses. But their focus goes beyond their wide-range of courses, extending into offering support for the development of students' soft skills with the aim of encouraging success in employability and life beyond the classroom.
In an increasingly competitive job market, soft skills are more valuable than ever. While hard skills can lead to specific job opportunities, soft skills provide "career durability" - remaining relevant and highly transferable. They're also important for landing those ever-competitive entry-level roles, helping candidates stand out from those who may not have the same abilities in skills such as communication, teamwork, and conflict resolution.
How Immersive Learning Benefitted Both Students and Staff
Coleg y Cymoedd were drawn to Bodyswaps for the immersive and engaging nature of its experiential learning, seeing how they could harness its potential to help with the development of soft skills at the college.
"Bodyswaps has been fantastically impactful across the college. Really enthusing and engaging staff and students who perhaps wouldn't have actively engaged and participated as fully as they have. Also for us, in terms of our strategic vision, really engaging with a world-class provider within this space is giving us a longevity and a future that we're very much looking forward to."
Richard Fullylove, Strategic Information Learning Technology Manager & Head of Technology Enhanced Learning, Coleg y Cymoedd
Bodyswaps uses immersive learning to give users the chance to develop their soft skills through interactions with virtual humans, powered by AI. This not only engages students, by providing a unique and "real-world" experience, but it also provides a psychologically safe space through which they can develop their skills - reducing risks of performance anxiety and other hurdles that can come with the more traditional ways of teaching soft skills, such as in-person roleplay.
"Engagement has been massive for us. [Students] are even going as far as to download it onto their own devices, using it on a desktop, so they want to practice their soft skills, which is transferable across every sector and every department that we've got here in the college."
Rhys Williams, Lecturer, School of Public Services & Sports / XR Development Officer, Technology Enhanced Learning, Coleg y Cymoedd
Students aren't the only ones having the opportunity to develop their soft skills with Bodyswaps. They've also been engaging teaching staff in the immersive learning, building Bodyswaps into their Pathways programme where staff are able to use Bodyswaps to practice their interview skills. Coleg y Cymoedd plan to further integrate Bodyswaps into staff training in the near future, adding more modules to the Pathways programme.