Virtual reality is no longer just for highly immersive video games.
Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas brings 15 Oculus Rift headphones to the region to offer a new way to demonstrate the training skills needed in this and future economies.
Some of the training platforms will remain at its Abilene Center, located in the Business Building at 500 Chestnut St. There, people visiting the workplace will be able to experience hands-on skills in various trades while staying still in a safe space.
Others, however, will travel across the country with outreach specialists while Workforce Solutions tries to bring these skills to workers in more rural communities.
“Our job is to inform these students about career opportunities and the paths they can take,” said Brooke Bolterman, a professional and educational outreach specialist at Workforce Solutions.
“This is just an additional step for me to explore these opportunities with hands-on experience so they can have a better idea of what roles they would perform on a day-to-day basis.”
How it works
First, there are the headphones. It covers the eyes, so that when the participant looks around, he only sees the virtual world he inhabits.
The equipment also includes a pair of manual controllers, with buttons and triggers. For this exercise, the triggers are the most important.
Once in the virtual world, start in an office. The program allows approximately two or three steps of movement, but the body must remain stationary throughout the process.
After logging in, there is a quick tutorial that is as close to a video game as the program allows, asking the participant to grab a block with a virtual hand (position the controller and hold the shutter button) and launch it. to three targets (make a throwing motion while releasing the trigger).
Once that’s done, it’s time to move on to the virtual workspace. A quick teller guides the participant through various career options, such as machinist, hospitality management, car repair, and carpentry.
Within these subsets will be several interactive lessons designed to simulate the skills needed to do these specific tasks in the real world.
Security and experience
TRANSFR helps assist staff solutions during the initial supply phase of this tool.
Amanda Longtain, the company’s education specialist, on Wednesday passed on to employees like Bolterman the experience of preparing her and her colleagues to train others in that experience.
Workforce Solutions hopes to have these teams in schools, with the intention of working with both high school and high school students in September, Bolterman said.
Longtain said virtual training is aimed at reaching students interested in vocational and technical education in ways that are less expensive and much more feasible than real-world situations.
“RV provides exposure and knowledge about these skills … but it’s also affordable,” he said.
School districts without massive budgets could not acquire all the tools and materials needed to teach a student how to access any of these professional fields, Bolterman said.
For example, a carpentry class of 15 students would need enough wood and other supplies to learn lessons. They would also need access to various tools such as drills, saws, tweezers, safety glasses, hammers, chisels and many more items.
But with virtual reality, a student can learn the basics of all the tools without having to touch any of them. They can see how the wood is cut without having to clean sawdust.
Timothy Chipp covers education and is a general assignment reporter for Abilene Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can help local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.