In the spring of 2021, the Research and Educational Center "Digital Technologies in Education" (REC DTE), launched in partnership with VTB Bank, began work at the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU). The Center's main task is to create innovative educational products using virtual reality, artificial intelligence, big data, and other modern technologies.
One of the first products of the REC was a VR simulator for practicing public speaking skills. The test launch of the simulator took place in December 2021 with the support of specialists from the Ingria Business Incubator.
"The fate of any academic or business project depends on a successful presentation, and the opportunity to practice in public speaking is not always there. The VR simulator gives such an opportunity, and this functionality will be useful to any specialists, regardless of the field of activity. So technologies can play an important role in developing the soft skills of specialists, which, as we know, will be especially valuable for specialists of the future. Students will learn how to present their projects, aspiring entrepreneurs will hone their pitching skills, and startups will formulate project MVP for investors faster. We considered that using digital technologies only for teachers will help save up to a quarter of the time spent on conducting classes and preparing students for presentations. And we have not yet considered how much money technology will be able to save startups and large businesses," said Sergey Lukashkin, Director of the Research and Educational Center "Digital Technologies in Education" (REC DTE) Business school.
According to Rostislav Speransky, the project's curator, with the help of a VR simulator, it is possible to work out the skills of interaction with the audience, including the speaker can practice ways of responding to acute and conflict situations. All this is possible since the simulator reacts to the rhythm and tempo of the speaker's speech and monitors his contact with the audience.
There are plans for 2022 to hold five more similar training events using a VR simulator to work out the training format and improve the mechanics of data collection.