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Event Details

Review Strategies for Development of Virtual Skills Labs to Support the NEP 2021 Directive for Vocationalization of Schools

Ammachi Labs hosted an expert panel “Review Strategies for Development of Virtual Skills Labs to support the NEP 2021 directive for Vocationalization of Schools”, on November 13, 2021.


  • Dr. Jose James, Research Scientist, Brown University
  • Akshay Nagarajan, Ph.D. Student, Cognitive Sciences, UC San Diego
  • Unnikrishnan, Ph.D. Student, VR for Skill Training, Aarhus University
  • Vishnu Rajendran, Ph.D. Student, Agricultural Robotics, University of Lincoln
  • Srividya Sheshadri, Research Associate, AMMACHI Labs & Center for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality
  • Deepu D.S., Haptics TeamLead, AMMACHI Labs, AmritaVishwa Vidyapeetham

    Chaired by:
    Prof. Bhavani Rao
    Moderated by: Ajay Balakrishnan


The Ministry of Education, Government of India, has taken the initiative to foster and scale vocational skills in schools (grade 6 to 12) as per the National Education Policy (NEP 2020). One major initiative the ministry has identified to enable this is the creation of virtual labs for skills. The Olabs developed by Amrita has contributed considerably to enabling schools children to practice lab work and also its relevance further increased during the recent covid pandemic. The success of this initiative has prompted the MoE to consider a similar initiative for vocational skills for schools. The MoE has requested Amrita along with other ministry stakeholders to come up with a framework for virtual labs for skills.

Virtual Labs for Skills

  1. To provide remote access to simulation-based Labs in various disciplines of vocational education.
  2. To enthuse students to learn and apply the skills arousing their curiosity.
Workshop Activities

The workshop consisted of technical experts who deliberated on the possibilities, framework, challenges to create the virtual lab for skills. The outcome from this workshop would be a recommendation that could be shared with the Ministry of Education.

  1. Framework & Components of the virtual lab for skills
  2. Determine the type of lab/simulation-based on skills Eg: plumbing vs automotive repair, retail operations vs CNC operation, etc.
  3. Technology recommendation for the simulations (keeping in mind to keep development cost per individual skill/ competency reasonable)
  4. Sizing the development efforts for creating a lab (ballpark)
  5. Considerations and Potential challenges for creating the virtual labs
  6. Shortlist samples for skill labs to be shared with the ministry.

The event started with the welcome address by Dr. Bhavani Rao with a quick context on the workshop and the agenda. The first discussion was around the “ Review of OLabs Structure for Schools, what may be applied, what may not be, what else to include”. The team presented the current OLabs structure, which is already well accepted by all government institutions and schools.

  1. Practical labs are required for getting practical knowledge of the concepts taught.
  2. A hub with tools for conducting hands on may be setup for for multiple schools. There are already plans for a schools hub model for nearby schools. So logistics can be shared and students need to travel which may have some practical issues.
  3. There is no fund for running this kind of model for existing setups which is available right now. Atal Tinkering Labs could be the best example of this. Also, entrepreneurship models can be implemented and will be beneficial for students and
  4. NSDC/NCERT has plans for the same and they can handle this entrepreneurship model. There are three priorities: first, we have to choose the courses that we offer with ease of approach, second what people demand, and third what industry demands.
  5. In the virtual labs, add the context with real-life examples and there should be connectivity for each module in one exercise. Job skills also need to be incorporated. causality – why certain things work a certain way and include common mistakes/ errors/scenarios
  6. The content should be context-based learning. First impressions should be good, so if we can keep the theory second after a good simulation experiment.
  7. Include why questions to each experiment and practice and improve the skills make a module.
  8. The following modules can be included:
  • Real-world applications by video/pictures
  • Teaching components and tools
  • Some trials with the tools, how to use it with safety precautions etc
  • Transferring procedural knowledge
  • Application-based practicing (task solving)
  • Popping up errors and showing the consequences
  • Giving statistics/info of what good you have done/ what went wrong in the experiment

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