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Posted on Thu, 02/21/2019 - 08:09
The business, education, and industrial world have always been behind the times when it comes to implementing technological innovation. While the factories themselves create the technology which drives modern society to this day, most of these factories do not use this technology in their own machinery. Furthermore, employees do not use the most updated tech for their work-related duties either.
This oversight is generally due to a lack of financial investment on the part of the business owners. However, 2019 has sparked a change in the industrial world, and leaders are finding that using the technology they produce will actually optimize their production processes—and it starts with virtual learning solutions.
One of the greatest overlooked pieces of technology is virtual reality. While VR has been around for over three decades, it has been viewed by the industrial world as a toy—meant only for gaming and temporary displacement of reality. However, the applications of VR were recently discovered to be useful for educational purposes.
Studies show that the full body integration and 360 degree visual experience allows the human brain to retain information gathered in the VR experience significantly better than in traditional training methods. This is when corporations realized that VR could be used to help reduce employee injuries and fatalities on the worksite for employees operating heavy machinery.
Virtual reality in employee training programs is actually a pretty ingenious solution. By combining the full sensual experience with practical information, the body and mind are able to learn as one—similarly to how we learn to see and interact with the world as infants.
VR allows employees to be put into a variety of scenarios—both ordinary and emergency—and allows them an opportunity to react. Due to the immersive nature of virtual reality, often times trainees forget that they are in augmented reality for a moment. This allows their reactions to be genuine, but the consequences to be nullified.
For example, if they are operating a machine and the program has the machine explode, the employee is given a real time chance to solve the problem. However, if they fail to repair the machine or shut it down properly, they do not have the consequence of injury or death. This way, employees can go through a variety of emergency scenarios as many times as it takes to learn the proper response to different stimuli. Once they know how to repair their machine, get off of their machine or shut their machine down from sheer muscle memory, they will be in a much safer position if ever a real emergency crops up.
The repetition of mundane tasks and emergency protocols through virtual reality allows the employee to create automated responses to the machinery. This ensures safety in a variety of scenarios while never actually putting the trainee in danger.
This sort of training is also ideal for those who will be working with hazardous materials.
Ultimately, using augmented reality in training is designed specifically to significantly reduce workplace accidents—and it is succeeding.
Virtual reality is still in early phases of development, meaning that there are still lags and other kinks that programmers are working tirelessly to fill out. However, these kinks are easily overcome when training is done in a one-on-one capacity. So if you have a single employee learning to use machinery, the technological delays should not pose a drawback.
The question then becomes, is investing in a VR system worth it for only a handful of employees? Well, we should never put a price on a human life. To give you some context though, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “there were 722 workplace deaths in 2015 that resulted from contact with objects or equipment. There were also 424 deaths resulting from exposure to harmful substances or environments, an increase of 34 events from 2014.”
The numbers of work related deaths will only climb as industries become more outdated in their machinery and work sequences become more complicated. As employees are onboarded, more mistakes are made simply during the learning curve. A study done in 2013 showed that 45.4 percent of the injuries happened to workers with less than one year of experience. This is due to a number of reasons—fear of speaking up, ignorance, forgetfulness, lack of training, the list could really go on forever.
Shelling out a couple hundred dollars to keep your employees safe is a small price to pay to reduce employee injuries and fatalities.
Virtual reality in employee training is the leading way to prevent and reduce workplace accidents. Not only does it provide employees with the opportunity to learn from their mistakes in a low-cost manner—both in revenue and personal injury—but it allows your employees the chance to truly digest their training. A virtual learning solution creates an environment where it is safe for them to ask questions and deal with real time problems that could come up on the job site. This integrative training is a fantastic way to improve on-site job safety.
For further information on how to use virtual reality as your primary method of training education, contact our team today.
At the end of the day, we know it’s your goal to keep your employees safe and healthy. Let us help.
By Designing Digitally, Inc.
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