As an immersive technology, Virtual Reality (VR) has not only made its mark in entertainment, but has proven to be a beneficial platform for the training and preparation for jobs across several sectors. From transportation to medicine, companies are using VR as a tool for personnel to explore their job roles in a risk-free environment. This is especially the case for industries where hazardous physical conditions are the norm, such as construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas. The following case studies represent successful outcomes from using VR as part of a comprehensive training program.
United Parcel Service (UPS) prepares drivers for road hazards
Newly hired UPS drivers must pass a comprehensive training program with an emphasis on road hazard identification. In response to this requirement, the company’s IT staff created a VR program using the HTC Vive platform to simulate real-life encounters with pedestrians, parked cars, and oncoming traffic. UPS’s VR program enabled the company to create a mobile training academy that brings the classroom to UPS students at other facilities. UPS is also using VR technology to train staff to recognize and remove packages that can’t be sorted automatically. The trainee is scored on their efforts as proper handling techniques are reinforced. John Bowers, Director of Learning Technologies at UPS, states that the program allows them to teach trainees valuable lessons before they are placed in the package sorting operations area.
Volkswagen Group’s auto assembly and logistics training
Training in a controlled environment is essential for automobile assembly workers. With the help of VR, participants can take virtual tours inside car engines for greater insight into how they function. Volkswagen Group’s VR platform uses HTC Vive headsets and Group VR applications that allow employees from all over the world to interact with one another and share knowledge to help upgrade their skills. Audi also adopted the VR training approach for their packing logistics division. Employees virtually prepare boxes, pack items, and apply labels using required hand movements. The approach consists of various levels of difficulty, allowing the employee to advance their skillset at each level of achievement. Trainers follow their progress on a tablet through a connected app, using analytics and data to evaluate success level of the program. Since the training can be done anywhere, the company is realizing a substantial cost and time savings.
Baker Hughes’ risk-free oil and gas industry training
Procedural training in the oil and gas industry can be logistically challenging, due to the handling of flammable and sometimes poisonous materials. Thanks to the development of VR training, these risks are eliminated when preparing trainees for interactions with hazardous substances. Baker Hughes uses VR training to access and explore installation layouts, assist trainees in learning equipment components, and practice critical maintenance procedures. The VR training program is customized by technical experts to target learning requirements and replicate true ergonomics and positions of the work environment. Chevron’s El Segundo refinery in California also uses VR to simulate equipment to train technicians to identify and resolve problems more efficiently. This reduces equipment downtime in the field, resulting in substantial cost savings.
Duke Energy’s “Virtual Crew”
Duke Energy, one of America’s largest energy holding companies, uses VR for customized simulated field service training for their technicians. The program, “Virtual Crew,” includes virtual training modules on natural gas leak detection, line purging, and electric substation inspections. The original program was introduced in Duke’s natural gas unit in 2020 and was expanded to include the company’s electric employees. The company states that their VR-trained technicians were able to perform their tasks three times faster than those who received only classroom training. Duke is also offering the program to other energy companies, as well as companies across the country.
Reinforcing medical PPE procedures
Preventing the spread of infection is a number one priority in all clinical settings. As a result, medical staff must follow strict protocol for donning and removing their personal protection equipment (PPE). However, a recent study revealed that 90% of the time, staff fail to follow proper procedures when removing their PPE, putting others around them at risk for contagious diseases. In response to this issue, Dr. Farrukh Jafri, Assistant Director of Simulation and Education at White Plains Hospital, developed a VR program for medical staff to repeatedly practice donning and removing masks, shields, gloves, and gowns to reinforce the PPE protocol. Within the VR simulation, physicians and nurses are placed inside a virtual exam room to view a tutorial, practice putting on and taking off the PPE, and then are tested on how well they followed the procedure. Participating in the virtual training allows the staff to repeatedly practice the simulation without using the facility’s physical PPE supplies, which are often difficult to resupply.
Surgeons train in simulated operating rooms
In another medical application of VR, surgeons are now learning and practicing procedures in a simulated operating room. The results of a randomized, double-blind study done at the Yale University School of Medicine Department of Surgery concluded that residents who used VR for surgical simulations had significant improvement in their performance in the operating room. Surgeons trained on VR performed 29% faster and made six times fewer errors than those who were trained in other methods.
The above case studies demonstrate the positive impacts VR-based training has on various business sectors. As of 2020, VR training has been adopted by 26% of businesses to train employees. 70% of professionals surveyed believe that the focus of VR in employee training and development will continue to increase. In addition to the cost benefits VR-based training brings to organizations, the technology also instills greater self-confidence in trainees. Learners feel better prepared to handle their job roles after training in simulated environments. Those who participated in the VR training were 275% more confident and ready to apply their newly obtained skills to the real environment.
Knowledge Anywhere offers innovative training solutions for top industries worldwide, including virtual reality training through our partnership with 360 Immersive; an off-the-shelf virtual reality training course provider with over 50 professionally made courses. Contact us for more information on how we can help you take your company’s training to the next level!
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