DMU trials pioneering virtual reality platform to support students into work

Pioneering technology trialled at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will help students and recent graduates prepare for job interviews and boost their employment prospects.


The three-month trial with Bodyswaps – an award-winning soft skills training platform – is a first green shoot of DMU’s new digital transformation strategy, which places immersive learning at the core of the university’s teaching approach.

DMU is one of just 106 colleges and universities worldwide to receive an Immersive Soft Skills Education Grant providing access to Bodyswaps, which boasts a range of virtual reality modules, from managing interview anxiety to job interview simulations.

During realistic scenarios focusing on skills such as answering behavioural questions and developing self-awareness the decisions, words and body-language of learners are captured by the artificial intelligence-powered platform, to provide personalised assessments.

Available to all students and recent graduates, Bodyswaps can be accessed through bookable appointments and drop-in sessions at DMU’s newly-launched Careers Hub, located in the Hugh Aston Building between the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre and Coffee House.


Tracey Jessup, DMU’s Chief Transformation Officer, said: “The vision of our digital transformation strategy is: Data, technology and digital that is fit for a leading, innovative and empowering university.

“The Bodyswaps initiative complements this vision allowing our students to experience the benefits of a technology-enhanced environment, that will enable them to develop the digital skills and mindset to use the technology of today, while equipping them for employment tomorrow.

“This trial is particularly timely, as a growing number of graduate employers are using gamification and virtual reality as part of their talent identification and recruitment processes. Bodyswaps will allow us to give our students valuable insights in these types of immersive experiences.”

The platform will also be used to support students seeking year-long industry placements, helping them to stand out during competitive assessments and interviews.

While all DMU students are empowered to access Bodyswaps, the university is encouraging uptake from those who face the biggest barriers into employment, including disabled students and students from Black, Asian and minoratised ethnic communities.


Richard Bowden, DMU’s Head of Careers and Graduate Success, said: “At DMU, we’re proud of our diverse student body, including a high percentage of students who face certain barriers and challenges to progression into highly skilled employment.

“We are committed to levelling the playing field so that all DMU students can succeed. Combined with our expert careers support, Bodyswaps will give them the tools and skills they need to reach their potential.

“The platform is a safe space to make mistakes and learn from them in a realistic interview scenario, preparing students and graduates for success in the real thing.”

The Bodyswaps trial continues DMU’s research into the potential applications of immersive technologies, which has been funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and StoryFutures.

Leading the research is Professor Sophy Smith, Director of DMU’s Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT), who said: “The IOCT is passionate about investigating the potential of new and emerging technologies to enhance all areas of our daily lives.

“We are really excited to be working with Meta and Bodyswaps on this international project, exploring the ways in which immersive experiences can create new and engaging learning environments for our students.”

Posted on Tuesday 14 March 2023

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