Getting a Head for Heights in VR

A number of industries have embraced virtual reality (VR) as a means to train employees, from supermarkets to hospitals. The purpose behind VR training is to allow employees can learn – and make mistakes – in a safe environment. Workplace training provider Harness has now revealed the a planned 20 VR experiences which will be used in education, the first of which is titled ‘Working at Heights’.

The Working at Heights VR training experience is currently in its final stages of production, and uses VR to show the trainee a scenario where they must identify all potential safety hazards, and another which involves building an unprotected edge at height.

“This affords the employee a complete idea of what it is like to work at height, and gives them the opportunity to learn a range of skills such as hazard detection while still remaining in a safe environment,” Harness, which has facilities in Brisbane and Toowoomba, as well as Papau New Guinea, Malaysia and Indonesia, said.

“There is always a risk that someone will complete all their training, but when they actually get to a 50-storey building or an oil rig in the middle of the ocean, they decide that line of work isn’t for them. VR technology means that trainees can experience what it’s like to be in these dangerous settings before they actually have to go there, hopefully reducing the chances of this happening,” Harness said.

The VR training apps are part of a two-year VR programme at Harness, which is aimed at increasing knowledge retention in users and giving clients a higher return on investment in training. The assets used in the VR apps are being developed by Australian studio Activate Entertainment.

“It’s only a matter of time before VR becomes widespread. I’ve really enjoyed working with Harness because they are so forward thinking. They’ve taken a conventional way of doing things in a traditional industry, and thought ‘how can we make this better’? And the answer is VR,” said Activate founder and managing director Tyronne Curtis.

For future coverage on how VR and AR is being used in training and education, keep checking back with VRFocus.