Virtual reality (VR) isn’t the “technology of the future” – it’s the technology of today. No longer simply used to develop interactive video games, VR has become a frequent presence in classrooms around the world. It can be used for anything from vocational training to virtual field trips to famous locations.
Another area in which VR has shown itself to be extremely effective is in training teams of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians. It gives them the ability to practice skills via interactive methods rather than simply sitting through “traditional” classroom-style lectures.
Before we get into why HVAC training simulators can train your HVAC team better, let’s first look at how they work.
How VR HVAC Training Simulations Work
VR HVAC training simulations create a virtual workspace in which technicians can perform various tasks, such as inspecting and repairing heating and cooling systems. Simulated scenarios can be adjusted in order to practice many different problems that technicians might encounter while on the job.
This training method can be compared to that of flight simulations undergone by airplane pilots. It is a controlled environment, with no actual risk to anyone involved. It also saves a great deal of money as you do not need to create expensive training setups made from real equipment.
Interplay Learning offers hundreds of hours of simulations and courses for HVAC technicians of all levels. Both beginners and experts can use these simulations to further expand their knowledge and improve their ability to handle difficult, stressful real-world situations.
Why VR HVAC Training Simulations are Effective for Technicians
Virtual reality (VR) simulations benefit all HVAC technicians, from beginners to seasoned experts, for a variety of reasons.
Provides Real Life Experience
One of the biggest reasons why VR training simulations are so effective is that they imitate real life situations. Rather than simply solving problems in a textbook, HVAC training simulation software give technicians the feeling of being “out in the field”. They get to experience hands-on practice with both routine system checks and potential disasters – without ever leaving the building.
The advantages of real life, hands-on learning are many. Training information will be better retained since it is taught through practice, rather than memorization. Techs will also be able to practice more scenarios than a simple list of concepts that a textbook could ever provide.
Gives Immediate Feedback
In addition to real life experiences, HVAC simulators also give immediate feedback - unlike a written test, which might take instructors days or weeks to grade. Technicians will be able to both check off what they did right and immediately fix what they did wrong. Studies show that immediate feedback eliminates misinformation, helps students focus on their goals, and encourages them to make progress via celebrating success.
For example, take a look at Interplay Learning’s Cooling Maintenance and Diagnostics set of courses. The included simulations feature residential, commercial, and rooftop air conditioning systems. Students will be asked to diagnose issues with each type of system. They will then be able to immediately compare their results with the diagnosis provided by the simulation, as well as move along to fixing the issues afterward.
Let’s face it, practicing new skills in the field right away can be dangerous. HVAC maintenance and repair involves high-powered machinery and temperatures that can be both extremely hot and extremely cold. Failure in the field can lead to injury. Even if it does not, students may lose confidence as they remember reflect on mistakes they’ve made.
HVAC training simulations may eliminate these concerns. Maintenance technicians have the ability to practice scenarios over and over again, without any health or safety risks involved. Plus, they are encouraged to practice without fear of failure, and eventually, their successes should increase, their mistakes should decrease, and their confidence will grow.
Why VR HVAC Training Simulations are Effective for Employers
Technicians aren’t the only ones who benefit from these training simulations. Employers also experience a variety of perks in both the short and long term.
One way that employers can also benefit from VR training simulations is by actually seeing quantifiable results. Progress is measured with each simulation, allowing employers to witness their technicians’ improvements. Employers immediately get to see what their employees got right and where they made mistakes.
Seeing where employees are struggling can also help employers focus group training efforts. For example, if all technicians are repeatedly making similar mistakes, bosses can schedule a group training session or seminar covering that particular topic. This can prevent wasted time on things employees already know and help every technician make progress in developing their skills.
Reduced Cost and Time
Training simulations are an efficient setup that can save employers time and money. They no longer have to devote hours to scheduling their own training workshops. They can also avoid purchasing expensive practice equipment, as virtual reality provides lifelike versions which can be used again and again.
On top of that, Forbes and other businesses note that well-trained employees are more likely to stick around. They tend to feel like they are moving forward and their career is progressing as their knowledge expands. In turn, employers will save time and money as they do not need to be constantly hiring and training replacements to maintain an unfortunately high turnover rate.
Interplay Learning is the Best Option for HVAC Training Simulations
When it comes to choosing HVAC training simulations for your team to use, Interplay Learning is the way to go. Their state-of-the-art VR and 3D-based courses were written and designed by a talented team of software engineers, game developers, and skilled HVAC technicians of various specialties. Choose from online HVAC training courses ranging from beginner to advanced to everything in between – all skill levels are accounted for.
Risk-free training scenarios provide the tools they need to grow their skills and confidence. Employers can retain a happy, talented pool of technicians when using Interplay’s simulations to refresh their knowledge and learn new skills.
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