How AR and VR augment employee safety training programs in industries
Employee Safety has taken on a new meaning as the world totters and tries to wrap its head around COVID-19. The pandemic spared no prisoners as it touched every aspect of our life, including our work and our businesses. It has changed the way people work and accomplish their jobs and altered the way employers look at employee safety training.
For starters, traditional employee safety training usually takes one of two forms: on-the-job and classroom learning, which might be a problem at this time. Fortunately, the latest training methods that feature immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) demonstrate their ability to close the current gaps in employee safety training. This blog discusses the impact AR/VR has on employee safety training. Before we discuss that, it is crucial to understand why businesses require augmented and virtual realities now.
The increasing significance of AR and VR in employee safety training
Adapting to the new normal, most employees will continue to work from home. Others will face new measures and procedures when they return to workplaces. It can pose a challenge to employers as they struggle to find new methods to train new employees while following physical constraints like social distancing.
Before we look at the solution, let’s have a look at a few drawbacks of the traditional classroom training:
Drawbacks of the conventional classroom training
– Ineffective training procedures
Usually, safety procedures are taught with a combination of computer testing and classroom exercises. These methods do not allow repetition training. It is good but not good enough because it lacks effectiveness and does not encourage knowledge retention. Besides, social distancing norms make it difficult to arrange for classroom training.
– Doesn’t engage employees
As traditional learning techniques are not imparted in a realistic environment, they do not simulate the hands-on experience in scenarios that are tough to be recreated. Classroom learning is often not a useful or engaging teaching style for workers who are in highly mechanical roles. With such training, employers cannot risk a technician to perform their jobs effectively and safely on day one.
– Classroom trainings are expensive
According to the 2019 training industry report, on average, companies spent 1,286 dollars in 2019. The same report also mentions that, on average, employees received 42.1 hours of training. It proves that traditional training methods and materials are a significant expense for financials and lost work time. Employers must look for newer ways to train their employees. Thankfully, AR and VR technologies help support employee safety training.
Top 7 ways AR and VR impact employee safety training
Workplace injuries cost businesses more than 59 billion dollars per year. However, companies cannot cut back on employee safety training under any circumstances. In professions where inadequate safety procedures are a huge risk to the employee, employers must ensure that safety training is practical and accessible.
1. No more trial and error
Specific jobs, such as working in power plants or manufacturing units, require that employees be trained before assuming full responsibility. Augmented and virtual reality help make simulations that allow for training that is safe and free of consequences. Employers can create an exact simulation of their operations and enable new employees to practice repeatedly. Such training allows them to see and correct their mistakes before they start using the actual equipment.
2. Risk-free immersive training
AR and VR technologies allow instructional designers, animation engines, and game designers to combine fun with practical learning. It raises levels of engagement in trainees. Besides attractive and fun components, AR and VR appeal to learners because of the risk-free training element. It eliminates the need for employees and trainees to be in the same location during the training session.
3. Increased retention and skill acquisition
Practice is the best way employees can sharpen their skills. It is a well-known fact that we retain much more information when we combine learning with “doing.” Compared to discussions, reading, lectures, or even audio-visual learning, hands-on-practice is the best way to retain information. AR and VR technologies allow for such training that increases knowledge retention and skill acquisition. These technologies enable employees to practice the concepts they have learned immediately.
4. Allows self-paced learning
Each employee is different with varying levels of learning abilities. AR and VR allow each person to learn at their own pace. It means they can work on the same concept multiple times without the risk of injury to themselves or the machinery. This risk-free approach allows for self-paced learning and the ability to take the training until they master a particular concept.
5. Enhance the effectiveness of learning
Most employers have deemed it unsafe for their workers to share headsets to receive safety training in the current situation. Augmented and virtual reality allows employers to develop solutions where an employee can point his phone camera to a portion of the training manual that opens up additional materials or resources on his screen. This technique allows companies to train their employees about specific products, solutions, or services.
6. Prepare employees for emergencies
Augmented and virtual reality are ideal for training employees to handle real-life situations. This technology is apt for safety training. It can minimize damage to the equipment and the cost of training. AR and VR allow firms to train employees to handle emergencies or real-time threats such as controlling a shooting situation.
7. Easy to customize training
Each organization and its requirements are different. Employees may encounter unique challenges and problems because of location, weather, or just the project’s complexity. AR and VR provide a considerable advantage in terms of flexibility and costs to offer company-specific training. It can accommodate a more tailored training experience.
The future of AR and VR in employee safety training
The safety risk is a real challenge that all industries face. Whether it is theft or operating potentially dangerous machinery, employees face risks, including physical hazards. Besides, the pandemic has necessitated a transition to a new way of life. There is currently a desperate need for new solutions that allow businesses to continue with some semblance of normalcy. AR and VR technologies provide organizations effective ways to train their employees while still preserving physical distancing norms. The use of augmented and virtual reality in employee safety training will become the new normal!
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