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Digital Education: Enhancing Learning with Telepresence Robots

The big idea: Bridging Distance and Enhancing Engagement

in Learning through Telepresence Robots

Challenge type: Mini (4 weeks)

Challenge owner: Tallinn University

Facilitator: Sirje Virkus

Facilitator Contact data:

Challenge is related to the topic of Digital Education


Context & relevance: in general relating to SDG / specific to a field of vocational application

In general, the challenge of using telepresence robots (TPR) in education aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: Quality Education. SDG 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. By leveraging TPRs, this challenge addresses the need for equitable access to education, especially for learners who are unable to physically attend classes due to distance, illness, or other barriers.

Specific to the field of vocational application, the context and relevance of using TPRs in vocational education can be highlighted as follows:

  • Enhancing Access to Vocational Education: TPRs can enable learners in remote or underserved areas to access quality vocational education. By connecting learners with vocational training centers or expert instructors, TPRs bridge the geographical gap and provide equal opportunities for skill development and vocational training.

  • Real-time Collaboration and Mentorship: Vocational training often requires hands-on practice and guidance from experienced mentors. TPRs allow learners to remotely participate in workshops, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training, enabling real-time collaboration and mentorship regardless of geographical constraints.

  • Cost-Effective Training Solutions: Vocational training can be costly, especially when learners need to travel or relocate to training centers. TPRs offer a cost-effective solution by reducing travel expenses and eliminating the need for physical presence, making vocational education more accessible and affordable for learners.

  • Industry-Relevant Skill Development: Vocational education aims to equip learners with practical skills relevant to specific industries. TPRs can facilitate virtual simulations, remote demonstrations, or interactive training sessions, allowing learners to gain industry-specific skills and knowledge without being physically present in a particular workplace or industry setting.

  • Sustainable Workforce Development: By enabling remote vocational education, TPRs contribute to building a sustainable workforce. Learners can acquire skills in emerging fields or specialized areas without the need for extensive travel or relocation, promoting a sustainable approach to skill development and reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional vocational education.


Variants of the challenge

Variant 1: Enhancing Vocational Skills Training in Rural Areas with TPRs

Challenge Description: You are part of a team tasked with addressing the challenge of limited access to vocational skills training in rural areas. Your task is to design and implement a telepresence robot-based solution that enables learners in remote rural communities to access high-quality vocational education and training without the need for extensive travel or relocation.

Variant 2: Promoting Inclusive Vocational Education for People with Disabilities through TPRs

Challenge Description: You are part of a team working towards promoting inclusive vocational education for people with disabilities. Your task is to develop an innovative telepresence robot-based solution that facilitates equal access to vocational education and training opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The solution should empower learners to actively participate in vocational programs, engage with instructors and peers, and gain practical skills necessary for employment, regardless of their physical limitations or geographical location.


Business partner in an industry or a research field

Tallinn University of Technology Creativity Matters research group

Prerequisites of the learners

Functional requirements

Software: N/A

Hardware: TPRs (Double, Ohmni, Temi)

Working Space:  Research labs


Both variants of Challenge-based learning scenarios utilizing TPRs have the potential to enhance access, affordability, inclusivity, and skill development in vocational education and training. They can bridge geographical gaps, empower learners with disabilities, and contribute to their personal and professional growth.

Open Issues and questions

While implementing the telepresence robot-based solutions for vocational education and training in rural areas or for individuals with disabilities, several open issues and questions may arise. Here are some related considerations:

  • Connectivity and Infrastructure: One significant challenge is ensuring reliable internet connectivity and infrastructure in rural areas or locations with limited resources. Without stable and high-speed internet access, the effectiveness and accessibility of telepresence robot-based solutions can be compromised.

  • Cost and Affordability: The cost of implementing and maintaining TPRs can be a barrier to widespread adoption, particularly in economically disadvantaged regions or for individuals with disabilities who may face financial constraints. Addressing the cost aspect and exploring funding options or alternative solutions is essential.

  • Training and Technical Support: Providing training and technical support to users, including learners, instructors, and administrators, is crucial for successful implementation. Questions may arise regarding the training required to operate the TPRs, troubleshoot technical issues, and effectively utilise the associated software and platforms.

  • User Experience and Accessibility: Ensuring a positive user experience and accessibility for all learners, including those with varying levels of technical expertise or disabilities, is essential. Questions may arise regarding the user interface, adaptability to different learning styles, accessibility features, and customisation options to meet individual needs.

  • Privacy and Security: Telepresence robot-based solutions involve transmitting audio, video, and other sensitive data. Questions may arise concerning data privacy, security measures, and compliance with regulations to protect learners’ personal information and maintain confidentiality during remote interactions.

  • Pedagogical Approaches: Exploring and adapting pedagogical approaches suitable for TPR-based vocational education and training is important. Questions may arise regarding the effectiveness of remote learning methodologies, collaboration strategies, assessment methods, and the integration of practical, hands-on experiences into remote vocational training.

  • Social and Emotional Engagement: TPRs should aim to replicate the social and emotional aspects of in-person vocational education. Questions may arise about how to foster peer interactions, create a sense of belonging, and support learners’ social and emotional well-being in remote settings.

  • Regulatory and Policy Considerations: The implementation of TPRS for vocational education may require compliance with local regulations and policies. Questions may arise regarding licensing, accreditation, liability, and legal frameworks surrounding remote learning and the use of robotic technologies in education.

  • Long-term Sustainability: Ensuring the long-term sustainability of TPR-based solutions involves addressing factors such as equipment maintenance, software updates, scalability, and the availability of resources for ongoing support and development.

  • Evaluation and Research: Assessing the effectiveness, impact, and outcomes of TPR-based vocational education and training is crucial. Questions may arise about the methodologies used to evaluate learner performance, skill development, educational outcomes, and the overall efficacy of these solutions compared to traditional approaches.

Addressing these open issues and questions through ongoing research, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement is essential for the successful implementation and continuous improvement of telepresence robot-based vocational education and training initiatives.







Challenge Based Learning in AI Enhanced Digital Transformation Curricular 
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