The Challenge

Volvo’s Selam Vocational Training Centre in Abbas Abba, supports specialized skills development that will improve access for Ethiopian youth to gainful employment opportunities. There is a special focus on improving the employability of vulnerable groups, such as poor rural youth. Language barriers combined with illiteracy make knowledge transfer difficult with these vulnerable groups, and the costs associated with overcoming these barriers is high. UNIDO was looking for a hands-on engine maintenance solution that addressed these issues and could scale as their programs grew.


Due to the remedial nature of the training, expensive subject matter experts waste valuable teaching time and resources on teaching rudimentary skills and information. This is further slowed by both illiteracy and language barriers.


In Africa, literacy issues are often experienced in education and training. Due to poor educational systems many people, especially in rural areas, are for all intents and purposes functionally illiterate.

Language Barriers

The majority of education and training is undertaken in foreign languages which are not the mother tongues of learners across Africa. This is an immediate and artificial barrier to learning and knowledge transfer.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that works towards improving the quality of life of the world’s poor by helping countries achieve sustainable industrial development. UNIDO views industrial development as a means of creating employment and income in order to overcome poverty. It helps developing countries produce goods they can trade on the global market, and helps provide the tools — training, technology, and investment — to make them competitive.

The Solution

EON Reality created an Augmented Reality application called LKDF Interact for Volvo’s Selam Vocational Training Centre. This application teaches the basics of diesel engine maintenance through hands-0n learning using a gamified AR experience. By letting the learner experience the subject matter, Augmented Reality learning transcends literacy and language barriers by showing as opposed to telling. This application was introduced as part of the students training program.

Scalable Learning Platform

The LKDF Interact application offers an accessible learning platform that empowers students to learn the basics on their own. By creating gamified learning modules, students have a fun and engaging way to learn technical subject matter that will form the basis of a new career.

Hands On Learning

Augmented Reality allows instructors to deliver complex information in a visually attractive and informative way, while letting students get a hands-on engine maintenance experience. This teaching modality bypasses illiteracy and language barriers while exposing students to the knowledge they need to learn advanced skills.

Showing and Not Telling

With classical teaching modalities focused on lectures and written materials, students with poor language skills have difficulty turning lessons into results. Augmented Reality’s emphasis on showing how tasks are done and visualizing complex concepts gives these students an opportunity to succeed.

The Results

In the pilot classroom, 100% of students responded that the Augmented Reality lesson helped them learn and understand more easily. All the responses from the students were very positive, they learn faster, learn more, and at a lower cost. Additionally, all students are saying the same thing, they want more 3D content, some want it in their own language, and they want a personal experience, not group sharing of a few tablets.
UNIDO sees augmented and virtual reality-based knowledge transfer solutions as affordable and effective tools for reducing poverty, increasing production capacity, and developing industrial skills in developing countries. The concept behind LKDF Interact can be replicated in other UNIDO projects that focus on industrial skills development, especially projects in the heavy duty vehicle industry field.

“Without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen. Virtual reality technology is the next generation of expertise which will be extremely useful for educators and will allow students to gain a deeper understanding on the topic at hand. The important factor is that the technology has become affordable for the developing world.”

Philippe ScholtesManaging Director of UNIDO

This is the first step in the collaboration between UNIDO’s LKDF and EON Reality’s Learn for Life Program, which brings augmented and virtual reality-based knowledge transfer to communities that need it the most.