The VR-based training develops students’ technical skill sets while promoting best practices for sustainable water management gleaned from both the public and private sectors. In doing so, the curriculum takes a holistic, systematic view toward water and wastewater management, so that up-and-coming water managers gain an appreciation of and familiarity with the complexities and trade-offs needed when municipalities, industry, and agriculture are competing for the same finite water supply.
While VR represents a new avenue for engaging aspiring water managers, H2O Maghreb’s programmatic emphasis on cutting-edge technology as a training tool does not end there. Thanks to the work of project business partner Festo Didactic, e-learning opportunities are made available to trainees and classes utilize a water management training system known as the Environmental Discovery System (EDS), which provides students with a thorough understanding of the hydrologic cycle and traces water’s journey step-by-step “from the source to the wastewater treatment plant,” says Bletterie. “This gives the students the opportunity to try out the different functions in the water cycle and directly see the interaction between these functions and how to influence them.”
The goal, project staff say, is to create a flexible approach to teaching that increases the chance that students will be responsive to at least one of the methods. “Each person has a different way of learning,” says Bletterie. “All these elements together with classical classroom training contribute to a solid and practical training approach that provides participants in the program with skills required for real-life working environment.” Furthermore, nowadays as employers in the sector seek staff that is appropriately skilled and flexible, training future recruits on a broad scale of topics using a variety of methods is a strategy aimed at maximizing their chances on the job market.
The objectives of this multi-pronged approach to learning, she says, are to both accelerate the training process while also ensuring the students are retaining the macro- and micro-level details concerning sustainable water management. “By offering different training modalities such as classroom training, training in the lab [EDS], training through VR, and training in the field the students will learn quicker, memorize easier, and get better practical skills,” which will in turn bolster their employability in the water and wastewater sectors of not only Morocco, but elsewhere across Africa as well.