Oleg Fonarov is the founder and CEO of Program-Ace, a software engineering and digital transformation company.
Just half a century ago, people dreamed of a future where everything was automated and all our whims were met by robots. We may not have robots everywhere now, but we do have an impressive increase in companies adopting automation through software. A recent McKinsey Global survey found that 31% of companies already use automation and another 35% are piloting this approach.
Viously, obviously, automation has many different forms, but I want to draw attention to one aspect that is commonly overlooked: employee training. I find that some companies are hesitant to implement training simulation software because they think it will impair the acquisition of physical and communication skills, but it is more likely that the exact opposite will happen.
Employee training is an area in which we offer services and experience at Program-Ace, so in this article I will talk about the basics of training through simulation software.
What is simulation training?
Simulation training is a form of education through an application that mimics work-related situations and imparts knowledge and skills as the user progresses. In other words, it only involves one person, software, and hardware running the application. These simulations can be classified by their level of immersion:
Desktop and web experiences (level 1): The worker only looks at the screen of a computer / device, where the simulation is displayed. They interact with the simulation using a mouse, keyboard, or touchpad.
Augmented and Mixed Reality (Level 2): Augmented Reality (RA) makes use of smart phones / glasses and users see the world around them with added digital elements. Mixed reality is similar in combining the real world with the digital, but the images are presented through a HoloLens headset and the elements are more dominant.
Complete simulation in virtual reality (level 3): Users wear virtual reality (VR) headphones that occupy the entire field of view and place them in a fully digital world, where they interact with the simulation using controllers and head movements.
The appropriate reasons to implement training in simulation
As companies consider their need to integrate virtual training programs, many are looking to achieve the following:
Better time management: Distractions are the nuisance of learning and are always present when someone learns in one class or another with many things to consider. The software can be designed without distracting functions and keeps the user’s attention on the training program.
Easy logistics: Training software can be run virtually anywhere as long as you have the right hardware, software, and power source. It can also be accessed at any time, especially if the application provides all the necessary knowledge and skills. This makes the training accessible to employees at different times or with limited availability.
High employee commitment: Many people associate simulation with gaming and entertainment, which can be an advantage for employees most likely to stay engaged and interested in this style of training. In addition, these applications can effectively combine theory and practice, keeping the process flowing more dynamically than traditional training.
Low security risk: A simulated environment is a safe place to do dangerous things. In other words, employees can perform tasks that pose virtually health and safety risks with no real repercussions in the event of failure, providing a safer environment for learning.
No interpersonal conflicts: The personalities of trainers and students do not always align and this can affect the quality of education received. However, learning a software program is neutral and unlikely to cause any conflict, so employees may be focused on their training.
Popular functions in the formation of simulations
If you are thinking of implementing this solution in your business, here are some features that can inspire your application functionality planning:
Virtual coach: A virtual trainer is a 3D character who provides instructions, guidance, and even demonstrates how things are done in the program. Sometimes it’s just a bodyless voice.
Gesture-controlled interactions: An engaging training simulation will not only ask the participant to sit and listen, but will give them tasks and interactions to complete with the help of their movements. Virtual reality input devices (such as handheld controllers or wired gloves) offer maximum flexibility and realism.
Unique scenarios: You can add an infinite number of unique situations that the user can go through. These scenarios can include both ordinary events that occur on a daily basis and urgent situations that require a creative approach.
Marker-based tracking: Used primarily in RA applications, the software can scan what the user’s camera is pointing at and recognize objects or features, which then activate new information or visuals.
Location-based content: Another basic element of RA applications, the software accesses the user’s GPS device and provides customized content based on location. For example, they may get a lesson in a manufacturing warehouse and a completely different one when they move up one floor to another division.
Video feed: A video / audio feed can be added to the learning for supervision, feedback, and cooperation provided by another company specialist.
It would be very extensive to say that simulation training should be the main tool of education in all industries and places, especially in those involving intense manual labor. However, it does not always need to be replaced and can simply be added to existing learning programs.
Many companies have difficulty developing these solutions simply because software development is not their specialty and they do not have programmers. When looking for a reliable partner, your potential partner should be able to provide you with the talent and experience you need and make an estimate before you ever invest in the project.
When designed and implemented correctly, a simulated approach to training can be the deciding factor in taking business processes to a new level of professionalism.
The Forbes Technology Council is an exclusive invitation community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?