A resource for safe and effective troubleshooting from the leaders in simulation immersive training.

Welcome, Troubleshooters! Thanks for tuning in to Troubleshooting Thursdays today. For the past two weeks we’ve been talking about how to measure your company’s OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), which is an indicator of success in manufacturing. If you know your OEE, it can help you identify areas of inefficiency in your production process, and ultimately boost your bottom line. Today we’re going to be looking at another way of making your manufacturing enterprise more efficient, and that is through improving your training process with immersive training technology.

What is immersive learning?

Immersive learning is simply learning that takes place with the learner in an interactive learning environment that replicates real-life situations and teaches skills or techniques needed for real life. Basically, it plunges learners into another world as much as possible like the one they need to prepare for. Simulators, role play, and virtual learning environments are all considered immersive learning.

Anything that allows training to be more experiential and life-like is more immersive. The more immersive training, the better the learning is.

The ideal learning scenario would of course be the mentor-apprentice relationship, in which an experienced and knowledgeable worker (who also happens to be a good teacher) takes years transmitting their knowledge to one trainee at a time, constantly watching over the newbie to make sure they don’t get hurt, hurt someone else, or blow up something expensive.

Obviously, those days are long gone. In the modern world, new hires often need to be trained in large waves, as quickly as possible. One-on-one training isn’t really an option. So the next best thing is to provide the most realistic and interactive environment possible in which new hires can safely be prepared to meet reality through immersive training.

The science behind 3D learning

If you’re a director of technical training or a manager responsible for training, you’ll already know that people—especially Millennials and younger—who sit passively watching a video or reading a training manual are often bored and disengaged, distracted, or zoned out. And, as we’ve written before, engaged learners master and retain material better with simutaltion-based learning. (Think how you would feel reading Section 2.1.xxxiii of your company’s Operator Training Manual versus experiencing a 3D troubleshooting training module.)

So it might not be surprising to learn that a growing body of research is showing that 3D training obtains better results than 2D methods. One study compared the results of 2D versus 3D training for wood harvesting, and found that students with 3D training harvested 23% more wood than the 2D group. Another study tested object recognition in NASA employees and found that 3D virtual training participants had 40% fewer errors and 12% faster recognition than those in the 2D training group. Yet a third study looked at students’ learning before and after 3D training, and found that 86% of the 3D group improved after training, compared to only 52% of a control group who received 2D training. Research conducted in Europe revealed that 3D learning tools in the classroom help children concentrate (they show a 92% attention level compared with 46% in traditional learning methods), and raise test results by an average of 17%.

One possible explanation for the promising results of 3D learning lies in neuroscience. Apparently, certain neurons in our brains encode information based on our perceived distance from an object. When objects are perceived to be in the space immediately surrounding us, these neurons are activated, more neural pathways are engaged, and memory retention improves.

Advantages of 3D tech in training

It’s clear that 3D and other immersive training technologies are poised to impact the world of training in a powerful way.

Not only is learning improved over traditional training methods, but it’s a lot more cost effective than transporting trainees to a physical simulator at a central training facility and paying for flights, hotels, meals, etc. Computer-based software and simulations that leverage technology using 3D appeal to the new generation of workers entering the labor force, because they’ve grown up on tech and their brains are wired that way. (See how to amp up your training through gamification and inspire Millennials and Gen Z.)

Not only that, 3D tech increases realism while maintaining a perfectly safe environment until the novice learner gets up to speed. This is absolutely essential for dangerous jobs, where a rookie mistake can get you killed or maimed. (Go to the OSHA website and do a search for first day on the job. The results list is nothing short of tragic.)

 3D coming to Simutech Training System

At Simutech Multimedia, we recognize that immersive technology is a game changer. We’ve already laid the groundwork for incorporating 3D into our award-winning Simutech Training System for diagnosing and repairing electrical faults in manufacturing equipment, and in 2019 you’re going to see a series of all-new 3D modules.

Just as a teaser, the first new module will be PLC Sensors and will train users how to safely and efficiently repair industrial PLC analog inputs, PLCs, and associated devices. The new module is set in a greenhouse, a perfect setting because it’s a production facility that requires a lot of sensors. The 3D tech will let users virtually enter the facility and look around. They’ll be able to see with their own eyes the aspects of their surroundings that might be relevant to the fault they’re trying to fix—for example, puddles of water on the floor—instead of simply being told this information in a verbal question.

The new PLC Industrial Inputs and Sensors module is coming this spring! Our call for beta testers will be going out soon, so stay tuned…

That’s it for now, Troubleshooters. Be sure to join us next week as we look at how immersive technologies can help your business’s productivity and bottom line.

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