Barco, a global leader in professional visualisation and collaboration technology, announced that it has joined hands with Steelcase, a global designer of furniture and solutions for workplace and education spaces, to create new interactive training and education spaces that foster enriched learning – whether in face-to-face, virtual or hybrid environments. Barco’s weConnect, a purpose-built platform for teaching and learning, will be combined with Steelcase’s expertise in reimagining spaces that bring to life next generation learning facilities in the Asia Pacific region.
The collaboration will enable Barco and Steelcase to develop standard and customisable configurations for local, hybrid and virtual classrooms that integrate three key elements for learning: Space, Technology, and Pedagogy. With these elements, education and training organisations can transform the learning experience of every participant.
Designing spaces and technology for learning
With the shift to working and learning at home, the explosion in virtual classroom solutions was inevitable. Although some students and employees are now able to return to campuses and offices, there are restrictions in terms of capacity and social distancing measures. As people adapt to remote working and competing priorities at home, creating a differentiated experience from standard virtual meetings is critical.
Educators need access to spaces designed to teach, coach or mentor a mix of local and remote participants. Facility managers also need to rethink how physical and virtual learning spaces can be combined or integrated to cope with social distancing and capacity restrictions. Designing programmes that include high levels of interaction and collaboration are necessary to make distance learning work and to harness the full capabilities of new learning solutions.
In response, Barco has strengthened its solutions through partnerships and collaborations for their Asia Pacific customers, helping businesses and higher education institutions deliver curricula in fresh and engaging ways that enhance learning outcomes and retention.
“Due to the pandemic, teaching went entirely online overnight. However, this approach is posing some challenges related to engagement and interactivity levels and the need to identify gaps in students’ understanding. Educators must now shift their mindset from having a quick digital replacement to long term digital transformation. There is not one way of learning, but a myriad which will be delivered in various blended ways: face-to-face, remote or hybrid, synchronous, or asynchronous. The ‘new normal’ in education is digital and flexible, spanning the globe, transcending spaces, and overcoming cultural barriers,” said Marc Remond, vice president of meeting and learning experiences at Barco Asia Pacific.
“The current environment requires innovative solutions to improve learning experiences and facilitate two-way interactions in virtual and hybrid classrooms. Together with Steelcase, we have co-created several learning ecosystems that integrate physical and virtual spaces, collaboration technology and pedagogy to help customers and partners accelerate their digital transformation,” added Remond.
Steelcase’s education studies show that classrooms designed for active learning have a significant impact on student engagement, demonstrating to educational institutions, architects, and designers that investments in integrated furniture and technology solutions designed to support active learning can create more effective classrooms and higher student engagement.
Commenting on the collaboration, Ambroise d’Hauteville, Education Director of Steelcase Asia Pacific said, “Hybrid learning is here to stay, so it is critical to create safe and interactive spaces for educators and learners that combine the proven merits of both virtual and in-person learning modes. Through our work with Barco, we will help organisations reimagine classroom spaces, making learning and collaboration more seamless and effective – whether it is through virtual or face-to-face interaction.”
Barco’s weConnect subscription-based software solution is designed to help instructors deliver engaging and effective trainings across the entire organisation whether on-site or online. Through this combined offering, organisations can tap on weConnect to expand an online instructor-led training to accommodate up to 300 remote participants. Organisations and businesses can also benefit from receiving analytics insights on engagement to further improve on their teaching and training programmes.
Barco and Steelcase invite customers to visit Barco’s office in Singapore to experience virtual and hybrid classroom solutions developed through this collaboration.