Here’s proof virtual reality can transform classroom training

IN THEORY, virtual reality (VR) is an incredibly efficient tool that can make it easy for trainers to provide a life-like experience to learners inside a safe and secure classroom environment.

Whether teaching workers how to use heavy machinery for the first time or helping medical students visualize the anatomy of homo sapiens, there are immediate benefits to using VR.

According to a new whitepaper by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA), a VR training solution it developed (RampVR) for ground staff way back in 2017 is now in vogue given its effectiveness.

The use case they referred to in their document came from Frankfurt Airport where 7,500 employees were responsible for almost 416,000 aircraft handlings and processed 2.2 million tons of airfreight last year.

The airport’s operator Fraport decided to trial the solution in partnership with IATA to better train its ground staff. It started by embedding the “Aircraft Marshalling” and “Turnaround Inspections” VR modules into basic and refresher training sessions over a period of three months.

In the study, 34 percent of trainees used RampVR as part of their basic training, whereas the remaining 66 percent considered skilled staff experienced RampVR as part of their refresher course.

Fraport disclosed that for 75 percent of the trainees, it was the first time that they experienced VR. On average each trainee spent 12 minutes using RampVR and in most cases, it was perceived as being just right.

When the study was complete, it was found that 37 percent of trainees found the VR support very helpful while 33 percent found it helpful. That’s a total of 70 percent who responded positively to the VR product.

Further, about 91 percent found the training to be realistic or very realistic, while eight percent found it “a bit realistic” and one percent said it was not realistic at all.

Overall, the key benefit that IATA reported from the trail was that trainees felt more confident as a result of the VR training when going to the live operational environment than they did without it.

‘’Trainees did remember the procedures far better and retained them for a longer period, which at the end translated into an everlasting improved performance quality. They just got a better understanding of what we – as trainers – are expecting from them on the real ramp environment,” a Fraport Ground Services Ramp Training Personnel told IATA.

IATA isn’t alone in using VR to train staff. Last year, Walmart reported using VR training to train employees as did Honeywell, and many others.

The fact is that VR-based trainings are much more effective than traditional classroom or blended learning methods, and are quickly becoming a common part of modern-day training facilities.

Since VR hardware is also slowly becoming more affordable, and more content creators are gaining VR capabilities, the move to the technology is expected to gain momentum more rapidly in the coming months.

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