Designing a Technological Pathway to Empower Vocational Education and Training in the Circular Wood and Furniture Sector through Extended Reality


Extended Reality (XR) is a term that refers to virtual, augmented, and, more recently, mixed reality (VR/AR//MR), which are key enabling technologies of the Industry 4.0 (I4.0) and the simulated digital environment of the metaverse. XR enables the simulation of workplace scenarios, providing workers with training in a risk-free environment, resulting in cost savings, improved occupational risk prevention, and enhanced decision-making processes. XR is ideal for supporting digital transformation for organisations in fields such as production, occupational risk prevention, maintenance, and marketing. XR is also a key driver for training initiatives aimed at promoting good practices in the circular economy in specific sectors such as woodworking and furniture (W&F). The European Commission has recognised the potential of XR for the W&F sector, funding initiatives such as the European project, Allview, which seeks to identify the most appropriate and beneficial technologies of I4.0 with a green and digital transition focus from the perspective of vocational education and training (VET). This paper presents the work carried out within the framework of Allview, including the research and comparison of current software and hardware of XR tools suitable for VET in the W&F field, a review of successful examples of XR applied to W&F training actions, and an analysis of the opinions gathered from European students, teachers, and training organisations regarding the use of XR in education. As a result, the authors present a training pathway aimed at the development and implementation of a XR training scenario/lab/environment focused on VR, 360° videos, and MR, as a guideline for developing immersive XR training contents, contributing to the digital and green transformation of VET in the W&F sector.

Electronics, Vol. 12, No. 10, DOI: 10.3390/electronics12102328