Collaboration Training in Virtual Reality

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Virtual Reality and 3D simulators have been adopted by many firms in industries like engineering, manufacturing, construction and energy as one of the most powerful tools that have been significantly useful in collaboration training. 3D Virtual Reality environments were developed to train professionals in a safe and engaging online training.

Recent advancement in VR technology has enabled businesses to improve their training in VR by allowing multiple users, in multiple locations. VR and 3D simulators create and troubleshoot virtual models, products, and designs with minimal risk. Some additional key advantages are to accelerate knowledge transfer through learning by doing within Virtual Reality environments, as well as limitless risk-free Virtual Reality environments to practice in. This approach has been very effective in reducing training contact hours and money spent on trainers,  making it a very cost-effective way of training.

A typical one-role training is crane operator training, commercial diver training, forklift and similar. In this case, a person is being presented with specially crafted scenarios and addresses them alone, although often supervised by an instructor.

This traditional one-role training is greatly expanded, when collaboration training is engaged. In this case, several people connect in VR at the same time, carrying out different roles: one can be crane operator, another two work on the deck, some might operate the land-based equipment, and the instructor will oversee the operation. Collaboration training allows rehearsing on joint operation understanding and execution, rather than one-to-one role training.

Let’s take a look at some industries and how collaboration training is applied there.

For manufacturing and engineering companies VR training offers fresh perspectives in simulating production processes and rehearsals in development projects. Industrial firms are also using VR tools to speed up training programs, improve machine and process outputs, solve business problems, and to gain competitive advantage. These workstations help to improve productivity and collaboration, where team members engage, share ideas,and work with each other in a virtual space from their various locations. It enables them to achieve diverse perspectives and viewing angles that were not possible without VR and 3D simulators.

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Virtual Reality is one technology that has been very effective, for example in construction engineering, for creating and providing better understanding and visualization capabilities in collaborative virtual environments. VR-based collaborative virtual habitats come with a lot of benefits in terms of safety. The need for on-site training for trainees to gain useful experience, which involves a high risk of injury to the operator and damage to the equipment, is no more important as VR has also been implemented in simulating equipment and operational task training activities.

Field technicians in the natural gas industry learn how to perform a gas meter safety inspection or a gas leak emergency response challenge in a virtual environment. Until now, getting new hires up to speed has been a difficult and time-consuming process requiring supervised ride-alongs.

In equipment operations the use of VR simulation has performed better to collaboratively train employees on the dismantling procedure of tower cranes than the traditional non-collaborative training methods of a classroom setting with slide presentations or videos. Various conditions and real construction sites are monitored and visualized to increase workers’ situational awareness and to effectively engage trainees to improve their training performance in unlimited interactive methods.

Summing up, there is tremendous potential in the application of VR collaboration training and project rehearsal, which are custom made to fit each company and industry.  
The adoption of VR will indeed favor industrial organizations that recognize this potential and take advantage of the collaborative training aspect. It is easier to pinpoint potential safety challenges using VR than traditional visual presentations. VR simulation offers a robust option for the enhancement of learning and training methodologies for trainees in an immersive virtual collaborative environment than a traditional non-collaborative environment.