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Get ready for work! Using virtual simulations to prepare students for work placements

Thursday 4 July: Conference day two, 10:30am – 11:00am parallel session



Room 3 – 303-G15 Sem



Associate Professor Antonia Girardi
Murdoch University, Australia

Dr Susan Ledger
Murdoch University, Australia

Dr Ian Boudville
Murdoch University, Australia

Bonnie Robinson
Murdoch University, Australia



A key component of a successful Work Integrated Learning experience is to get the ‘person-job fit’ right.  An important process for assessing person-job fit is the job interview. The aim of this showcase is to present the outcomes of a project designed to provide an opportunity for international students who are enrolled in a postgraduate management course to participate in a virtual interview as part of their work placement preparation. The ‘virtual interview scenario’ presents students who have limited or no work experience with the opportunity to engage in learning activities that equip them with the necessary career management tools to succeed as early career professionals.

Simulation is a technique for practice and learning that can be applied to many different disciplines and is designed to replace and amplify real experiences with guided ones. Virtual simulations provide opportunities for an ‘immersive’ experience.  Participants of virtual simulations are immersed in a task or setting as if it were the ‘real world’.  In this showcase, we use the MURSION SimLab learning environment to enable students to practice, rehearse and reflect on their interview techniques as part of their Work Integrated Learning placement activities. The SimLab resource is unique in that it uses the human-in-the-loop interactor to control Avatars in order to provide an authentic learning and practice environment.

A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest research design is used to determine the effectiveness of the ‘virtual interview scenario’, which follows the Talent Acquisition Life Cycle which has three main elements: acquire, engage and deploy. Students complete pre and post-interview questionnaires, and are provided with coaching and mentoring by an experienced, professional recruiter after the initial virtual interview scenario. The goal is to maximise the benefits of virtual reality technology to improve student employability outcomes.

Talent acquisition life cycle

The diagram depicts a life cycle. The seven nodes are: 1. Acquire 30 students to participate through E.O.I. 2. Pre-interview questionnaire. 3. Engage students in initial virtual interview using Sim-Lab. 4. Evaluate interview performance and provide feedback. 5. Coaching and Mentoring. 6. Deploy students in follow-up virtual interview using Sim-Lab. 7. Post-interview questionnaire.

Using this talent acquisition framework, this showcase will:

  1. Identify the link between student employability and the talent acquisition cycle;
  2. Describe the research design used to administer and evaluate the virtual simulation experience;
  3. Provide participants with an opportunity to see a ‘virtual interview scenario’ in action; and

Demonstrate how participation in the virtual simulation prepares students for one of their first work placement challenges – the job interview.


Presentation topic

Students – Technology

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