Home Articles Victorian Technology Profiles Oct/Nov 07

    Victorian Technology Profiles Oct/Nov 07


    Mass customisation meets e-learning
    Every business is unique in purpose, size, shape, culture and methods. So, arranging training courses customised to suit your particular business needs often involves time, money and effort in large quantities.
    This was certainly James Boldiston’s experience. As director of production house and e-learning provider NetEffective Media Group, Boldiston was delivering large, highly customised training modules to his larger clients, while the smaller to mid-size clients missed out.
    “Training packages were either really expensive or very low quality. I thought, ‘Why can’t we have high quality and inexpensive?’” says Boldiston.
    Combining skills as an IT engineer and film maker, Boldiston produced an intranet-based multimedia interactive training system that is economical, easy to use and customisable.
    “I call it targeted e-learning that’s simple to implement,” he says. “The learning software, the learning management system, the training – everything comes on one CD. The client doesn’t need servers or a network administrator and they can fully configure it. If you can use Microsoft word, you can use our training system.”
    The e-learning system provides the framework for the training course and the client provides the content by linking to multimedia files, including quizzes, videos and slide presentations. User needs are catered for with multilingual aspects and the capacity for touch screen assessment. Training activity is recordable, trackable and auditable for legislative compliance and staff protection, and activity reports can be sent to a nominated email address. The system provides the services and sophistication of a much larger training system, while the bulk of online content is managed by the client, keeping costs low.
    Boldiston says NetEffective Media Group is looking to form alliances with established distributors to further refine their product according to industry.
    “We don’t want to be all things to all people, but there’ll be some aspects of particular industries that we can cater for.”
    Room with a view
    Far from the days of dead insects neatly presented in glass cases, today’s museum visitor can more fully engage with the content using either physical or virtual interaction.
    Setting the standard, a Melbourne-based partnership, VROOMCo, invites the viewer to experience life, real or imagined, with the Virtual Room (VR), a revolutionary three-dimensional (3D) visualisation laboratory. The VR is a series of screens arranged in an octagon, presenting the content in a life-like, 3D format.
    VROOMCo CEO Bruce Whan says the beauty of the VR is its flexibility.
    “It’s state of the art in exhibiting artefacts, but you can change it with the flick of a switch. Content is developed as either real-world stereo imaging or computer graphics rendered animations,” he says.
    One of the Melbourne Museum’s most popular displays for the past three years, the VR has featured exhibits such as ‘Exploring Mars’, ‘Australian Polar Dinosaurs’ and ‘Think Big’ – an exploration of the human brain.
    Whan says the VR is best viewed ‘in the round’, completing a circuit of the eight screens.
    “With an exhibit of Phar Lap galloping at top speed, on one screen he gallops towards you, on the opposite side, he gallops away from you.”
    Seed-funded by a Victorian Government STI Initiative and developed as a partnership between a number of universities and private enterprise, VROOMCo is now co-owned by Swinburne University of Technology and Museum Victoria. As well as selling the VR hardware and developing and licensing content, Whan is keen to move into new commercial markets.
    “We are looking at big business. For example, an auto manufacturer can do a concept car in a virtual room rather than a real one. We’re also exploring rentals for museums, cultural events and commercial trade shows. We’ve had strong interest from leading US museums and international research institutions.”

    Congratulations to Polaris Communications, winner of the 2007 Victorian Australian Technology showcase Patrons’ Award for their Soundshield acoustic shock protection technology.

    The Victorian Government acknowledges and recognises patrons – Allens Arthur Robinson, Buchan Consulting, Deloitte and Invetech.

    Two For The Road editorial is sponsored by