I'm going to explain why we’re so excited about VR and how we’re utilizing it to make courses more engaging, more interactive, and more effective.
As a professional safety training provider, it’s our job to understand how to develop, design and implement safety training programs. After all, it’s what we do. At Kelley Integrity Safety Solutions, we use every stage of the ADDIE model in the development of all our safety training programs. ADDIE is the acronym for:
A = Analysis (is training the answer?)
D = Develop (develop measurable objectives/what do we want them to learn?)
D = Design (design content that will achieve the objectives)
I = Implement (Train the workers)
E – Evaluate (Did the training achieve the desired results?)
This final step, “Evaluate,” means to evaluate or measure the effectiveness of the training and has long been accomplished via quizzes, tests, or exams. These measuring strategies are great for verifying knowledge transfer and are often used as documentation to verify compliance with training requirements, as well.
However, the “E” in “ADDIE” is long overdue for an overhaul. And virtual reality provides new tools in measuring the effectiveness of a safety training program. The exam scores are still just as important in verifying knowledge transfer and as documentation that training was conducted, but virtual reality gives us the opportunity to take a participant to a virtual workplace where they can demonstrate an understanding of the concepts learned.
One application that we’re very excited about is in our Online Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Training Program. Here, we have developed several virtual workplaces where upon successful completion of the video-based course content, participants can step into a virtual workplace and use an actual Energy Control Procedure to safely shutdown, disable, and lock out machines and equipment prior to service or maintenance activities. This allows participant’s the opportunity to safely demonstrate an understanding of the importance of following the sequence of lockout in written Energy Control Procedure, as well as, the very important sequence for the release from lockout.
This application is just one of the many potential uses of virtual or augmented reality. See, Unity Engine and Unreal Engine, both possess what is referred to as a, “Physics Engine.” This makes it possible to have realistic locomotion, gravity, inertia, or kinetic energies just to name a few. This very complicated physics engine is what makes it possible to create realistic scenarios where users can interact with objects in the scene. However, this impressive technology is just one of the many benefits to implementing VR in safety training programs.
Virtual reality scenes can also be opened without leaving learning management systems (LMS) and can also utilize Learning Record Stores (LRS) to generate and store records generated within the virtual workplace. Brief statements generated in the virtual reality scene may read like, “Participant (name) successfully closed and locked out valve number 212 successfully.” These series of statements can create a record for each participant that helps verify, as well as document their understanding of the course content. When these records are generated and stored in conjunction with traditional test/exam scores, it creates a much more comprehensive overview of the learner’s understanding.
And finally, it’s highly accepted industry-wide, that if learners do not practice the knowledge and/or skills learned, within 30 days of a training, much of the knowledge and skills acquired are lost forever. Virtual reality provides the ability to practice skills in a safe environment and in a manner that utilizes a participant’s motor skills, which ensures better knowledge and skill retention.
Pat Kelley, CET
Board Certified Environmental, Safety & Health Trainer