Andreas Weigel

Project Coordinator



Competence Transfer in a VR/AR-based Work Design Environment


Initial situation

The increasing complexity of the German economy, which is accelerated by continuous change and technological progress, presents market players with still unimagined challenges. Globalisation, demographic development and above all digitalisation offer risks and opportunities at the same time. It can be observed that entire job profiles, work tasks and activity profiles are changing. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular face the challenge of finding the right answers for these developments. For example, customer-specific requirements for highly individualised solutions can often no longer be satisfied by products alone. These products often have such a high degree of specialisation that they only fully contribute to the companies' value creation when they are offered in combination with an accompanying service. Therefore, the importance of combined product and service offerings is increasing more and more.

Aim of the research project

The aim of the aSTAR project is to develop an interactive VR simulation for teaching competences about work processes and procedures related to maintenance, as well as an AR environment for interactive maintenance support. In addition to a new type of digital learning environment for experience-based and object-related competence development, the cross-departmental and cross-company knowledge exchange between maintenance workers and relevant other employees (IT, management, sales, etc.) is to be supported. Using the example of the crane, this involves the digital flow of knowledge of relevant information to maintenance workers, as well as making the processes and activities of a maintenance employee and the conditions that prevail in the maintenance of a crane comprehensible for engineers, IT staff, managers, etc. The aim of the project is to develop a digital knowledge exchange between maintenance workers and relevant employees (management, sales, etc.). For this transfer and possibility to develop (super)technical competences, concepts of working environments conducive to learning and technology design for different groups of employees (maintenance and repair as well as management, IT, construction, etc.) along the value chain are being developed. Based on these findings, the AR environment is to provide interactive maintenance support. On the one hand by displaying maintenance instructions and on the other hand by enabling remote support. In all this, aSTAR focuses on the sustainable development of professional as well as technical VR/AR development under the aspects of non-discrimination and equal opportunities. The project will therefore identify the competence requirements for employees and partner companies. Based on this, competence developments will be supported organisationally and with the use of new digital technologies, new competences will be developed and transferred into company practice on a pilot basis. This combination is inevitably accompanied by a new division of labour between employees and companies in the joint value chain, as the product and accompanying service are often provided by different companies. One of the resulting tasks is the qualification and competence development of employees, even beyond the boundaries of their own company. Product and process innovations can thus only be exploited jointly within the framework of an overarching working environment conducive to learning. It is also to be expected that the workforces of the future will become much more diverse in terms of age structure and origin. Properly used, this diversity can represent an opportunity for the German economy. The necessary competences of employees and companies must be used and improved in equal measure in order to successfully meet social challenges such as demographic change and changing values.

Social added value

The research project contributes to researching the changes in the world of work in the course of digitalisation and addresses in particular small to medium-sized enterprises for which this transformation represents a major challenge. The results can be utilised by the partners involved in the project, but also by related companies and industries. The results will be published in national and international journals and presented at renowned conferences and in forums (labour science, organisational development, economics, human-machine interaction). They will also flow into courses at various universities in engineering, social sciences and economics. In addition, connections to the Industrie 4.0 platform are used to bring in the special SME requirements.

All information on the project and the project partners can be found here!