How VR Can Be Used in Industrial Training

It looks and feels like a video game. It lets workers test realistic scenarios without needing to step foot in the actual workplace. And, while training them for a particular specialised task, it also enhances the safety of the workers and others around them by reducing risk born out of negligence or lack of practice. 

We’re talking about using VR in training. And, it’s been quite a revolutionary journey so far.

Even though several manufacturing companies haven’t yet grasped the potential benefits of using VR in industrial training, many have noticed how the tech has slowly grown into a cost-effective yet powerful teaching tool.

Employees Want Extra Training & Conventional Tools Aren’t Good Enough Anymore

A Middlesex University study revealed that 74% in a sample of 4300 workers cited the lack of development opportunities as their reason for lagging work performance.

Globally, companies spend around $130 billion on training. Yet, only 25% of such programs amount to an improvement in business. In fact, one out of every three employees blames uninspiring content for their lack of interest in the training programs.

And, an employee who leaves within the first year of acquisition can cost the company three times the person’s salary.

Using VR in Training- the Benefits

Interactive content is better than the good old theoretical teaching, no doubt there!

The stimulation can be designed to mimic real-life scenarios very closely. Complex or high-risk situations can be played out to let the employee practise their response without posing any threat to anyone.

It incorporates a combination of visual, verbal, aural, and physical cues, thus enhancing the likelihood of a positive outcome.

  • offers high trainee engagement and retention levels
  • saves time and money
  • increases productivity
  • makes the entire training process more comprehensive and engaging

Among the high-consequence industries, like aerospace, healthcare, chemicals, energy, manufacturing, and investment/finance, over 30% identify VR in employee training as a top learning priority, as per the Learning Strategy research by Brandon Hall Group.

15% of the high-performers (with improving KPIs) in this sample admit to increasing their use of virtual reality training modules in the near future. 45% term the simulation-based training modules as critical measures needed to reach the business goals over the next two years.

Experiments in Industrial Virtual Reality so Far

In February 2018, Honeywell launched a cloud-based simulation tool in collaboration with Microsoft’s HoloLens to train plant personnel on industrial activities.

Meraki, in collaboration with a few global FMCG companies, is in the process to prepare virtual training content for the industrial safety method ‘Lockout and Tagout’. It ensures that dangerous machine shut down and stays inactive during the period of repair.

The outcome can indeed be a set of well-trained employees who would be thoroughly acclimated to working on risky equipment with all the right responses practised well in advance. The result- significantly reduced risk to workers, and continually improving performances and ROI.

About the Author

Parth Choksi is an IIT Bombay alumnus with Masters in Mechanical Engineering, who holds great passion about work in the areas of branding and marketing. Parth had previously co-founded LevoDrive, an intra-city public bus transport system. He has also worked with ITC, where he worked on projects based on renewal energy, having commissioned a 1MW solar power plant and designed a 10MW solar power pack. He has also commissioned a complete storage facility for Finished Goods for the group. He currently heads the technical and marketing function at Meraki, one of India’s first Virtual Reality Studios.

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