Focus On Safety
When was the last time you thought about how your safety training was delivered? Have you implemented hands-on training? How do new hires get acquainted with your site? How do you measure the success of those training modules?
While these questions are critical for the evaluation of any training exercise, they become increasingly vital when the module is focused on safety. Sitting in a seminar and ticking a box just isn’t good enough when lives are on the line.
Experiential Virtual Reality Training
Studies have shown that most information is retained when the learning is experiential. That means hands-on training with real-time feedback and assessment. There are things that just can’t be learned in a book. The real question then becomes: How do you set up an experiential learning environment when one wrong step could have catastrophic implications? The answer is surprisingly simple; virtual reality training.
With a virtual reality training module, the environment is controlled, but the trainee can demonstrate real-time decision-making processes and behaviours. When an error is made, feedback can be provided, and the process can be walked through step-by-step with no delay. The trainee doesn’t need to recall hours or days later a thought process that leads to a misstep. The exercise can then be repeated as many times as necessary to ensure that safety and best practice operating procedures become a habit rather than a distant memory of an air-conditioned lecture hall.
Training can be used not just for new hires, but also for employees due for annual refreshers. Because the training is virtual and not reliant on the availability of decommissioned equipment, scenarios can be varied as frequently as necessary. More experienced operators can be assigned more challenging training. These simulations could even be used as part of a readiness assessment when considering employees for promotions, giving stakeholders insights to operating practices that would otherwise be impossible to envision.What about the cost?
The answer may surprise you…
While it’s true that the initial cost of building a virtual reality training program is higher than developing a traditional safety training course, the long-term costs of traditional training methods are significantly higher. In addition to paying for someone to deliver the training course, there are also costs associated with travel to and from site. With traditional methods, feedback is delayed, and the emotional and adrenaline-fuelled decision making processes that happen during a real incident are not replicated. Because of this lack of experience, mistakes are more likely to happen on site well after the training has been completed. These mistakes can lead to the loss of equipment, injury, or loss of human life.
Virtual reality training is endlessly variable, feels real to the trainee, and can incorporate effects that mimic the consequences of improper actions. With instantaneous feedback and availability independent of a training officer, this technology can be used organization wide at any time. Virtual reality training is quickly becoming an industry standard, and its impact on increased safety culture and awareness cannot be overstated.
With safety, function, and reputation on the line, can you afford not to innovate?