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Technology Drives Innovation in Career and Technical Education

January 28, 2020

In November 2019, ECMC Education launched a pilot program utilizing virtual reality (VR) in its Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program offered at the Altierus Career College-Tampa campus. Using the technology, students experience a 360-degree virtual simulation of tasks they will encounter on the job, which compliments their in-person instruction and lab time. A variety of virtual workplace scenarios extend students’ learning potential by bringing them closer to life as an HVAC Technician in the field. The VR pilot is being evaluated to determine its efficacy in comparison to other types of hands-on learning models. This is just one example of how ECMC Education continues to innovate for its students while also meeting the needs of employers.  

“Though in the early stages of implementing virtual reality into the HVAC program at Tampa, we foresee this being a positive delivery method for student learning,” said Garry Leonard, EdD, Dean of Trades, ECMC Education. “There is undeniable value in giving students hands-on experience in an environment that feels like the real world. We look forward to the potential of this technology, as well as integration of other innovative learning methods that will help accelerate our programs.”

ECMC Education has also implemented blended learning at all of its Altierus Career College campuses.  The blended learning model “flips” the traditional classroom experience by enabling students to be introduced to a concept virtually prior to the in-classroom lesson. Blended learning encourages flexibility for students, requiring them to be on campus fewer days and allowing them to complete coursework at home so they can maximize their time on campus.

As part of the flipped classroom model, Altierus campuses utilize interactive learning platforms to enable real-time student interaction and feedback from the instructor based on assessment results. This technology provides a variety of interactive tools that allow students to digitally mark up diagrams, rotate animated 3D models, watch short videos and take “live” quizzes—all shared immediately with the instructor so they can measure a student’s level of understanding.

ECMC Education will continue to explore new education delivery methods and use technology to enrich its programs and learning experience while meeting the needs of future employers. To learn more about our schools, visit

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