Education systems, both formal and in the work place, have long been a topic of debate through all levels of their structures. They are debated in governments, through administrations, managers, and teachers, finally bottoming out with the students. It is the students who in the end feel the weight of the system’s decisions for better or worse. Pink Floyd’s popular song “Another Brick in the Wall” paints a somber picture of students turned out of the education system, factory style. They are just bricks, faceless, mindless. It doesn’t matter whether they learned, or what they learned, only that they went through the system! Fortunately, most education systems are not nearly as bleak and meaningless as this song paints them, this doesn’t mean however that they can’t be improved. The power of experiential learning, and simulation, are two potential solutions for improvement. Educators and employers preparing workers for skilled trades have much to benefit from these two approaches to learning.
Our methods of teaching have been constantly evolving. A common practice we probably experience today is sitting at rows of tables, receiving information from an instructor (could be a teacher, could be a solar instructor). Good trainers try to include hands-on activity to break up the lectures, but usually time is short, equipment is scarce, and all you get is a taste of what it’s really about.
For the last 7 years, Interplay Learning has been building simulation-based training software for industries in the skilled trades. We think we’re pretty good at it, and dare I say, even experts. We’ve developed training software for everything from electrical wiring to hair cutting. These training products have all been point-of-view (POV) exercises for the learner to mimic in-the-field performance. However, we’ve always been limited by the delivery through 2D devices – tablets, desktops, etc. But that all changed 12 months ago when we saw the newest version of the Virtual Reality (VR) platforms. With the introduction of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, we knew our go-to-market would change forever.