10 golden rules of VR Implementation and training
Implementing training protocols on a new device has its ups and downs. And that’s ok. Learning is never linear; it’s a process. But while new skills may inherently be challenging to grasp, there are a few things you can do as the trainer to smooth that learning curve out.
Here’s the 10 golden rules of VR Implementation and training.
Rule 1: Be your first student
For most trainers, the biggest fear may be receiving a question from a student that they can’t answer. To help you overcome this, there’s one simple solution: get comfortable with the device and the software. You may be a seasoned forklift operator, but you may be new to VR, the software, or the lessons. All you need to do is spend some time playing around in the VR environment, work through the lessons and find out what you learn along the way. Chances are, through the experience, you’ll discover many of the same challenges and questions that your students will face.
Rule 2: Create the perfect set-up
Place the simulator in a comfortable (air-conditioned) classroom environment. Have Students clean the headset lenses after each user so that every user has a clear view of the virtual environment.
Rule 3: Offer the right dynamic
Introduce the experience in small groups. Encourage a supportive learning environment, no trainee should feel pressure to perform. Remember rule number 1: you know the challenges and the fun of working through the program. Empathize with their challenges by acknowledging your own experience in those moments and encourage them by reminding them of their own previous successes. Sometimes all you need to do is recognize the challenge: It’s ok if it’s hard, that’s why we’re practicing!
Rule 3: Be transparent
Explain the purpose and benefits of Virtual Forklift Simulation. Explain the concept of vection, the discomfort people feel discomfort when the movement they see doesn’t match the movement they feel. Be willing to explain your own experience with vection. There’s no shame in admitting you know how it feels. It will even give them the feeling that it’s ok and may reduce stress in the student. The Forklift-Simulator experiences have been designed to minimize vection, but it can take time for some users to acclimate to Virtual Reality. Those first few visits may be the most crucial for overcoming physical discomfort and confidence.
Explain that if they feel discomfort they should stop, remove the headset, and return only after they feel normal again. Don’t add pressure to squeeze in added simulator time. As we said in the intro, learning isn’t linear. If students take it slow in the beginning it may just end up paying off later. The majority of users will acclimate to a virtual environment after a few repeated experiences. Before the trainee places the headset on, introduce them to the controls: where the key is located, how the foot pedals operate, and the basics of forklift operation (steering (forward or reverse), fork controls). Explain to them the experience in a virtual warehouse and set clear expectations for them while they are training.
Rule 4: Set students up for success
Although the goal is to operate a real truck, first students need to know how to operate the virtual one. Before any trainee enters the virtual warehouse, they need to know how to prepare the VR tools. By going through the physical process of setting and putting away the tools, the students’ learning will be more efficient while using them. Show the student the lens adjustment on the goggles before they put them on, so they can adjust the lens position after they have engaged. Show them how to put the goggles on over their glasses if their glasses do fit. Some students with glasses may be more comfortable without them. Press F4 to adjust the camera setting if the student is small or tall. This is not always necessary, but can be helpful to orient the goggles correctly to their sensor. Make sure students have a very sharp, not blurry view. They have no reference the first time and should adjust the goggles with their hands until the view is clear.
Rule 5: Start light
Rotate the students onto the simulator for no more than 5 minutes in their initial sessions. Let students look around in the VR environment before they begin moving the vehicle. Have others watch from a distance on the observation monitor. The act of observation is actually a learning tool and should be actively encouraged. Students will progress faster in VR, if they watch other students practicing. Overtime, it will also allow them to build confidence, cooperation and even a little healthy competition.
Rule 6: Monitor students closely at first
Give a brief overview of the exercises. While monitoring them, limit yourself to one instruction at a time. This can be difficult, because you will probably be seeing many things to comment on.
But instruction overload will only create cognitive interference and further slow down. If the student successfully responds to your instruction, provide positive encouragement and then the next instruction. If a student is experiencing strong vection you may notice them start to sweat. Have the student stop simulation if you notice vection symptoms and try again later.
Rule 7: Feedback is critical
After a student exits the simulation, facilitate a supportive discussion with their peers. This allows for critical thinking and reflection which helps to cement the learning that took place into the student’s mind. Participation by other students also encourages more detailed observation from students while watching on the monitor.
Rule 8: Increase the pace gradually
After a few sessions to acclimatize to the vection, move on to more difficult exercises. When ready, grant students permission to drive alone. Gamify the classroom with competitions.
Rule 9: Check in from time to time
Verify lenses are clean; Goggles are in focus, F4, etc; And adequate progress is being made.
Training is never a straight line, but implementation is key. As the trainer, you can make a great impact from day one. By following the 10 Golden Rules, you can smooth their journey out and get them learning faster.