The Open University (OU) has secured funding of £5.8m from the Office for Students to develop extended reality studios to expand its teaching and learning with augmented and virtual reality, featuring Prof Wild on the management team and steering group, and as part of the bid writing team. The Open XR Studios will feature state-of-the-art equipment to capture, reproduce, and render 4D imagery. It will deliver immersive and reality-embedded learning to students in their homes, which will enable the OU to create authentic contexts for skills development.

The facilities will be applied first to nursing, science and sport. Students will be able to engage with practice scenarios in high-risk situations that would otherwise be unavailable, such as patient simulation or gaining access to impossible-to-reach learning environments, such as the heart of a volcano.

The studio will also serve as a research platform to better understand how to engage students across a range of extended reality learning scenarios. This will create partnership opportunities with the wider higher education sector, placing the OU at the forefront of utilising these technologies in a responsible and equitable manner.

Tim Blackman, Vice Chancellor at the OU, commented:

Tim Blackman, Vice Chancellor at the OU, commented: “The Open XR Studios and reality-based learning are the next logical place for The Open University to take digital education. This is a very exciting and innovative venture for us and we hope it will lead to significant collaboration opportunities within the education sector and more widely with public and private sectors.”