SJ AB Virtual Training

Highlights from the webinar “Unlock the Power of VR and AR to Create Engaging Learning Experiences”

In our last webinar, we’ve discussed the impact of XR in e-learning, and how train operating company SJ succeeded in using XR in training. 

Speakers and panelists

Mattias Gyllby, SJ AB HR Manager

Anders Ribbing, Vobling CEO

Mattias Borg, Learnifier CEO

Jonathan Tiedtke, Vobling Product Owner

 

The emergence of immersive technologies (XR) enabled capabilities that were previously unattainable online. XR allowed learners to learn experientially, visualize concepts that are taught in videos and PDFs, and practice skills anytime, anywhere. 

Fundamentally, XR allowed us to learn by ‘doing’ on digital platforms. 

However, XR is not a replacement for traditional online learning methods. It’s a supplementary tool that can accelerate the overall learning journey with in-depth experiences. 

Incorporating XR into the learning mix

Virtual and augmented reality can be integrated into the educational journey using learning management systems such as Learnifier. In this platform, you can create and share courses in various learning formats, organized in a full module. Trainers can include XR-based courses to enable a more immersive visualization or practical application of knowledge and skills taught in other formats. 

Learnifier interface

 

Mattias Borg: There needs to be a mixture of different formats of learning, and that’s how we people learn. 

Using videos, quizzes, and documents is important to mix things up and cater to different learning styles. But practicing in tough situations which involve emotions like a tough conversation – that’s mostly done best in a physical setting. VR and AR influence your emotions in a way that’s very similar to physical reality. When you do it in a video interaction it’s not the same, but when you immerse yourself in a headset, you actually start sweating.

 

Jonathan Tiedtke: You shouldn’t think of VR training and theoretical training as separate anymore. It becomes so powerful when you can go through an educational learning journey mixing all types of technologies because sometimes, text is the preferred method of learning, and sometimes a 360 video is preferred. So having these all combined and having the data in one place is really an eye-opener.

Developing and Scaling Training: SJ’s Virtual Training Platform

In 2019, we’ve collaborated with SJ, a market-leading train operating company to develop an educational VR program for their onboard staff and train drivers. Today, almost 3,000 employees have been trained across 17 locations in Sweden.

Mattias Gyllby: It helped us solve one problem. Sometimes when we conduct vehicle training, the trains are not available because they’re out on the track or they need to go into maintenance. So to have virtual trains on hand, we can go into the virtual world and start to train there. And when the trains come into the depot, we can then train them in the real world so that mix is fantastic to have. 

We’ve also done safety training programs where we connect our trains to an electrical post. In VR, we can educate in hazardous scenarios like this in a safe way. We can also observe that they know what to do before they go out in the real world.

 

Anders Ribbing: We needed to learn every step of a specific procedure and also understand users in the testing process. We collaborated with instructors in the early phase, especially for the critical components, and developed accurate simulations of SJ’s physical training programs. Then we rolled out the VR-based program at a broader scale and implemented the training at 17 locations across Sweden.

Measuring Success

Mattias Gyllby: Success is when they feel like they get the same training through VR that they would if they’re out in the real world. It makes the course shorter and more effective, and it also helps us make sure that we can train people at any time. This new method broadened our options in educating our staff and allowed us to conduct continuous assessment training.

The impact of virtual reality on training and education

Anders Ribbing: VR doesn’t always make sense. You need to assess where immersion and interaction in VR are needed in training, and where we can get the biggest bang for the buck.

There are multiple ways that VR can add value to your current training program. You can get 24-hour accessibility to practical training, and conduct unlimited redos. You can fail safely, and just start over when training in dangerous situations. You can create scenarios that are costly or impossible to replicate in real life. Also, you can increase user retention. If you directly experience the scenario, it retains knowledge in a totally different way. 

 

Jonathan Tiedtke: A very interesting aspect of this training today is that it’s becoming more and more accessible. You don’t need to download applications and the VR headsets of today are now wireless. And you can now access some VR and AR experiences using a web browser or your phone. A few years back, you had to pull up all these cables and fiddle around with installing the right software on the computers and it was a big hurdle for a lot of people to get into VR. 

 

Mattias Borg: When you’re deeply immersed into the XR experience, you wouldn’t care that there’s anything else going on. But to make learning effective, it needs to happen over time. and that’s where Learnifier fits in, making that possible, automating processes, and also making a great experience over time.

Other XR applications

A few other VR and AR examples in e-learning were shared by Jonathan Tiedtke during the webinar. 

  • A 3D model with annotations function that will let you dive into SJ’s train and read about different parts and components.
  • AR visualizations that let you view the 3D model in your space using your phone’s camera.
  • A digital classroom that can run in your web browser, and let you interact with your colleagues with lifelike avatars, participate in workshops or online classes, share documents, pictures, videos, and even your screen. 

Want to watch the full webinar? Register here: https://vobling.com/webinar-xr-for-learning-experiences/ 

If you’d like to explore a specific topic further, get in touch with us.

 

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