The results are in – and the winner is virtual reality training.
According to a recent study by the University of Maryland, virtual reality training is more effective in recall accuracy than traditional desktop CBT (computer-based training). With a median recall accuracy percentage of 90.48 percent for immersive HMDs – head-mounted (virtual reality) displays – compared to desktop display’s 78.57 percent, the long-awaited study has further validated the efficacy of virtual reality training as a learning tool over traditional e-learning methods.
As the study’s abstract reads:
“Virtual reality displays, such as head-mounted displays (HMD), afford us a superior spatial awareness by leveraging our vestibular and proprioceptive senses, as compared to traditional desktop displays.”
The study’s findings are particularly important for employers in high-stakes verticals, where skills and safety training for workers represents a critical aspect of how those businesses function.
Put in the context of a standard grade scale, at 90+ percent recall, VR training would score in the A-range, while desktop computer training, at a shade below 79 percent, would be stuck back in the C’s.
When managing operations at a construction site, manufacturing plant, oil and gas pipeline, or other heavy industrial environment, a workforce recalling their training and performing their tasks consistently at an “A-level” would mean substantial gains in productivity, efficiency and, perhaps most critically, fewer mistakes that eat away at the bottom line or in worst-case scenarios, could even open the door for potential fines and litigation.
When talking about the ability of trainees and users to retain important information, it’s easy to see how these kind of numbers – an almost 12 percent improvement in median recall and an 8.8 percent improvement in overall recall accuracy – can make a sizable positive impact for enterprise users of VR training technology.
“This data is exciting in that it suggests that immersive environments could offer new pathways for improved outcomes in education and high-proficiency training”, said Amitabh Varshney, professor of computer science at the University of Maryland (UMD) and co-author of the study.
Beyond the findings, the UMD study itself is notable as data on the effectiveness of virtual reality training has been somewhat hard to come by, due to the newness of VR training, the number of variables involved in testing, and the difficulty in arranging for true “apples-to-apples” comparisons of the two learning methodologies, VR and CBT. But the research is finally catching up with the technology and the story it’s telling is a compelling one.
“By showing that virtual reality can help improve recall, it opens the door to further studies that look at the impact of VR-based training modules at all levels – from elementary school children learning astronomy to trauma residents acquiring the latest knowledge in lifesaving procedures,” Professor Varshney continued. “We believe the future of education and innovation will greatly benefit from the use of these new visual technologies.”
It won’t surprise you to learn that we at PIXO VR agree.
Thinking about how Virtual Reality Training could transform your business’ workforce? Reach out to us for a Free Consultation.
DETROIT, March 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Virtual reality safety training company PIXO VR™ has released its new VR-based OSHA Safety Compliance Training module. The latest from PIXO’s library of licensable VR training modules, PIXO’s VR OSHA Training provides an immersive, repeatable experience that not only demonstrates OSHA safety requirements, but also reinforces the importance of compliance. Created using OSHA General Industry Standards, the module will both reinforce and assess the skills necessary for the 10 hour and 30 hour OSHA course completions, and help prevent injuries.
“Training programs increase worker knowledge of occupational safety and help workers avoid on-the-job accidents, injury, and even death,” said Sean Hurwitz, CEO of PIXO VR. “Still, even OSHA-certified employees can miss or ignore hazards that they encounter while working. PIXO’s VR OSHA Training module gives trainees access to hundreds of real-life training scenarios, which would be near impossible to recreate efficiently or cost-effectively through typical training methods. It is a powerful tool to help employees reinforce and refresh their safety skills.”
PIXO’s VR OSHA Training takes place in a fully-rendered and photo-realistic 3D training environment, where an assortment of activities are available, including a safety sweep, a root cause investigation, and emergency response. Each immersive scenario contains unique characteristics, equipment, and opportunities for risk. The training and assessment activities are specifically designed to challenge workers on their knowledge of OSHA safety regulations and compliance. A randomizing feature presents elements that are unique to each training session, promoting retention and not memorization.
Employee participation and successful completion of these activities promote the improvement of their safety awareness and encourages the reduction of unsafe workplace behaviors. With PIXO’s proprietary multi-participant technology, trainees can collaborate with others online and in real-time, working together to make their work spaces safe. In-depth reporting and analytics features are available to assess individual and collective employee performance, monitor skills and identify areas for further training.
For more information about PIXO’s VR OSHA Safety Compliance Training or to schedule a demo, visit: https://pixogroup.com/osha-safety-compliance-training/.
ABOUT PIXO VR
Passionate about improving safety and performance in organizations, PIXO VR designs AAA game-quality, licensable virtual reality training modules. Utilities, nuclear facilities, manufacturers, construction companies, first responders, and others with complex procedures rely on PIXO VR’s expertise to create immersive, realistic, and cost-effective learning programs. Teams collaborate easily using software that supports participants from multiple locations, on both VR and non-VR hardware. The proprietary technology significantly reduces upfront cost, optimizes performance, and reduces sickness-causing lag. www.pixovr.com
Training workers in the utility industry can be especially difficult. Real-world training conditions are complex, dangerous, expensive and hard to simulate.
PIXO has responded to these challenges by developing industry-specific virtual reality modules that provide highly effective approaches for skill and safety training.
Chicago-based Peoples Gas, for example, employs PIXO’s Gas Meter Safety Inspection VR training module to train field technicians and its 1,600 employees on the myriad range of meter types, installation configurations, and defects. Trainees are quickly exposed to numerous different scenarios drawn from the millions of possibilities, without having to travel to separate locations and shadow more experienced workers for extended periods of time.
Trainees embark on a virtual route where they locate and report common and uncommon defects, in a lifelike 3D environment. The randomized scenarios provide a unique experience for each user, every time they train. Trainers gain unparalleled visibility of the training process, with access to user management, reporting, and analytics to monitor and measure trainees’ performance and progress over time.
The VR environment provides virtual on-the-job training as workers repeatedly practice responding to varying scenarios. They use realistic diagnostic tools to check for mechanical defects and gas leaks, and they learn to file accurate and complete reports. The VR modules also train workers on emergency response, meter locating, corrosion activities and safety inspections.
The immersive and highly engaging VR environment can be as fun as a game, while at the same time provide a highly effective way to train workers to reliably perform their critically-important job of ensuring the safety of natural gas installations.
Skills training is far more effective when participants are actively engaged in the learning process. We know this intuitively from our own exper
ience: hands-on practice and collaborative exercises and other “active learning” techniques are far more stimulating than powerpoint slides and training manuals. And research has proven that such stimulation and engagement result in higher proficiency and longer knowledge retention.
Training professionals are using a spectrum of reality technologies to put these active learning principles into practice. Let’s take a look at three modalities that are employed in skills training — 360° Video, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality — to see how effectively they each engage participants.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then moving pictures are that much more engaging and informative. 360° video goes a step further by allowing the user to control the point of view of a prerecorded scene.
In the 360° video example shown here, police trainees can control the viewing angle as they learn how to perform a Pursuit Intervention Technique to safely stop a fleeing car.
360° video is limited as a training tool. The available experience remains the same every time. To make a change, the video needs to be re-recorded. And critically important for our purposes — the active learning experience of 360° video is constrained by the user’s inability to interact with the environment and encounter a response by the environment
AR is similar to 360° video in allowing observers to control the viewing angle, but AR does so in real time, as the viewer observes their actual physical surroundings. As the name indicates, augmented reality layers additional content to enrich the user’s perception of the real-world scene.
This additional content can appear on the surface, annotating real objects with relevant text or images. And AR can also allow users to visualize objects below the surface — like Superman’s x-ray vision. For example, in the video below, augmented reality reveals the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components hidden behind the walls and ceilings of a construction site.
Augmented reality offers an information-rich experience. Users can not only look up and down and all around as they can with 360° video, but AR also allows them to see more than what is visible on the surface and to follow what interests them in order to gain deeper understanding.
However, augmented reality, like 360° video, cannot fully engage users in active learning: the realism of the user viewing the actual physical world does not afford the dynamic interactive experience that makes virtual reality especially effective at multimodal learning.
Because it is not limited by the constraints of the physical world, virtual reality can deliver a more interactive learning experience than 360° video and AR. As a simulated environment, VR can often provide a more authentic training experience, with trainees encountering various random challenges, under differing lifelike conditions, as they would in actual work situations.
VR allows trainees to repeatedly practice skills to develop proficiency and confidence, thereby gaining the equivalent of on-the-job experience. And they can practice dangerous operations without risking safety or equipment.
Trainees develop proficiency by perceiving the situation, taking action and receiving immediate realistic feedback on the consequences of their actions. This process of learning by trial and error has been proven to result in better understanding and longer knowledge retention. Neuroscientists call this type of of active learning “the perception-action cycle.” And let’s not overlook another important benefit of virtual reality: like gaming, it can be fun. Trainees are cognitively engaged in an immersive experience, while interactively practicing skills. They are motivated to concentrate their mental energies to gain proficiency and succeed at tasks. That’s active learning at its best.
Members of the PIXO VR team visited Concordia University’s Portland, Oregon campus recently to participate in the Emerging Technologies Symposium for Emergency Solutions. Ben Mazza and Erica Schaffel from PIXO VR were invited to join professionals from academia, technology, government, and emergency preparedness to learn and discuss the benefits of integrating virtual reality simulations into their training programs. Representatives from FEMA, the Office of Homeland Security, police and fire departments, and emergency medical teams participated in the event and many took part in the VR training demo.
Intel Corporation’s Mike Premi and Grant Tietje from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory were the keynote speakers at the event, which combined presentations, panel discussions, and interactive demonstrations.
PIXO VR’s demonstration allowed emergency professionals to work in teams to contain a virtual fire caused by an overturned oil truck. The firefighters coordinated their efforts, reacting to the oil spill and ensuing blaze in real time. Since the platform allows emergency personnel to follow established protocols as they work to control crises, responders were able to react realistically to fire, heat, and smoke. The fire also reacted as it would when doused with foam or water, creating a lifelike situation.
Trainers and emergency managers attending the symposium quickly realized the value of virtual reality’s realistic, immersive experience as a low-risk teaching method for firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and other first responders. The dangerous nature of those professions makes it difficult to teach new skills in the field. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality simulate crisis conditions without placing emergency responders in jeopardy.
Reactions to the VR training demo were overwhelmingly positive. Emergency personnel were impressed with how real it felt and looked. They praised the attention to detail and visual fidelity. Many noted the importance of realism, especially in exercises trainees would have to perform seventeen or eighteen times to get exactly right.
Firefighters and fire chiefs from all over the country participated in PIXO’s three-minute immersive simulation. Tony Fletcher, Division Chief of Training of the Vancouver, WA fire department said, “While invaluable, traditional hands-on training exposes participants to injury, and is often too expensive to repeat. The value of virtual reality training like PIXO’s is that it exposes participants to realistic experiences without putting them in danger, and it’s extremely easy and cost effective to repeat.”
PIXO VR’s Erica Schaffel preps a first responder for the VR training demo. (Photo courtesy PIXO VR)
The challenge, danger, and cost in recreating realistic emergency situations in the field make virtual reality training even more valuable. First responders are constantly learning new skills and striving to maintain their current ones to certify or recertify in their positions. The ability to practice newly-learned procedures without danger and expense will maintain proficiency and build muscle memory. That means when a firefighter faces a real burning building or overturned oil truck, their response will be second nature.
Concordia University’s symposium brought together representatives from different emergency management agencies to discover new technologies that will ultimately make their jobs safer and easier.
It was a great opportunity to meet the people who perform these dangerous, life-saving jobs and show them a safer way to train.
If you’ve ever seen Ron Howard’s 1995 film, Apollo 13, you’ll recognize the phrase “failure is not an option.” In the film, Ed Harris plays NASA flight director, Gene Kranz, and the quote refers to the accident in the 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission and NASA’s efforts to get the men home safely. Taken in context, the statement makes sense. Of course, Kranz does not want to fail. What flight director wants to lose his men?
Taken in the context of training personnel for dangerous situations; however, the phrase should be, “failure IS an option.” Mistakes, misjudgment, and failure are teaching tools. Getting things wrong while practicing helps people get things right when real problems arise. It’s the reason troops drill over and over before heading out to the field. It’s also the reason schools conduct fire drills. When kids know the procedure ahead of time, they don’t panic when faced with an actual emergency.
Training is positive and making errors while training is natural, but people are still injured and killed in training accidents. What if there were a way to train for dangerous situations without risking injury or death? Many consider virtual reality solely as a platform for gaming. It is used in games, but virtual reality training is also a risk-free way for firefighters to practice their approach to a wildfire. It’s also a safe method for nuclear engineers to perform emergency or even everyday procedures without entering the reactor.
PIXO VR has devised safe, multi-platform virtual reality software that enables people in dangerous jobs to train safely. Our AAA gaming quality visuals place each user IN the appropriate environment. This immersion training allows the trainee to be there—in the fire, the gas leak, or the battle—without leaving headquarters. Trainees in these lifelike scenarios act and react in real time, learning what works and what doesn’t. Squads drill together, often performing different tasks, to practice working as a team. Preparation like this builds muscle memory and confidence without danger.
What does PIXO’s virtual reality software mean for first responders? It means they get the training they need to deal with life-threatening conditions and they get to go home at the end of the day.