Conestoga news

May 30, 2024 10:52 AM

VARLab recognized globally for innovation and supporting mental health

Conestoga’s Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab (VARLab) was recently named in an international report that profiles key trends, challenges and opportunities shaping the future of teaching and learning. 

VARLab’s virtual Firefighting - Search and Rescue modules replicate real-world rescue situations.

The EDUCAUSE 2024 Horizons Report identified Conestoga as a post-secondary institution that incorporates educational practices with technology in meaningful ways, focusing on VARLab projects as examples that support mental health and well-being for students.

“The report affirms that VARLab is an innovative and world-class program that trains sought-after graduates who are highly regarded in their fields,” said Lisa Trimble, manager, DLX Pedagogy and Process Quality.

“It also reinforces the strength and practicality of Conestoga’s programs in preparing students for real-world situations on both physical and mental levels,” added Trimble.

The report focused on how VARLab’s virtual Firefighting - Search and Rescue modules replicate real-world rescue situations, helping students to practice critical decision-making scenarios and better understand the emotional duress they’ll face on the job. The report also noted how VARLab’s VConestoga - Virtual Community Learning and Climate Change modules create a positive virtual space to facilitate discussions and collaborations on important topics.

Conestoga is the only Canadian institution profiled in the Supporting Mental Health section of the report.

“We’re especially proud of how VARLab’s mention in this report highlights the importance we place on student mental health and well-being, ensuring that students are set up for success during their studies and beyond graduation,” added Trimble.

EDUCAUSE is a higher education technology association and the largest community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education.

Conestoga’s VARLab builds digital learning simulations enabling learners to access immersive learning content, remotely and on-demand, bridging the gap between campus resources and individual learning. VARLab incorporates intentional and evidence-based design in building community, creating meaningful reflection, and leveraging powerful affective experiences in learning simulations.