Virtual reality (VR) can be transformative as a training tool, according to Hunter Hillenmeyer, head of strategic partnerships at STRIVR, a company that uses VR to improve performance of individuals, corporations and sports team.
Speaking at the Corcentric Symposium, Hillenmeyer explained that humans retain 20% of what they read and hear, 40% of what they observe and 90% of what they experience. “Learning by doing is always best,” he said, “but that is not always possible because it can be too expensive or even dangerous.”
One of the benefits of VR is that it allows a person to make mistakes without consequences. Driver training is one place where VR might be useful. Another is technician training.
John Kearney, CEO of Advanced Training Systems, says VR training is a good way to supplement driving training. Adding VR to a traditional driver simulator gives the driver trainer a more realistic idea of what’s behind the wheel of a truck and how it feels to operate it. For example, you can use the simulator and VR to replicate driving on ice. “If we are out actually driving and hit ice you have to hope the trainee does exactly what the trainer tells him,” Kearney explained. “In the simulator with VR if he crashes we are all okay and we don’t have to spend money to fix a wrecked truck.”
He explained that trainees can experience driving in ice, sleet rain or even having a front tire blow when in a simulator equipped with VR technology. “A person can sense these things as if they were really happening to them in a real truck, but it is a controlled environment so they can learn.” This allows them to get muscle memory so when the situation occurs in a real driving situation they will know what to do.
A simulator equipped with VR technology can also be programmed to mimic the specific geographic conditions a fleet operates in or to help improve driving situations where fleets are experiencing accidents.
Another benefit of VR training is that it can help you attract the next generation of drivers. Millennials are very familiar with VR and are comfortable with it. Offering training that includes technology helps you position your fleet as forward thinking.
Hillenmeyer added, “VR training is fun, engaging and it is impossible to be distracted during it.”