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VR technologies to teach professional competencies to mining students

To this day, mining students are taught practical skills mostly on paper. However, teaching applied and real-life topics like workplace health and safety issues, especially mine safety, thrives on visualization and interactive, scenario-based learning. As a result, learning success often suffers and students are later unaware of common workplace health and safety hazards. Within the MyScore project (“Mobility System Cooperation in Higher Education”), the education of mining engineering students is enhanced with new digital learning methods. Different content of the curriculum has been reproduced using VR, implemented in an existing virtual underground mine and embedded in VR-based, interactive exercises (i.e. the VR-Mine). Early feedback from the students is highly positive and enthusiastic. Initially, teaching contents of the VR-Mine and implementation of VR-based exercises are focused on safety issues in underground mines. In future, the VR-Mine will be expanded to include other topics such as drilling and blasting and mining methods. The implementation of the VR-Mine into the mining engineering curriculum at RWTH Aachen University provides students with immersive, realistic experiences that will prepare them for future employment in the mining sector.