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An article for Applied AR

The marine industry is currently facing a critical shortage of trained technicians. As boating technology evolves and grows increasingly complex, the industry is scrambling to provide enough training personnel. Unlike the automotive industry, which has been able to attract and train high quality personnel, the boating industry consistently struggles to keep up with demand.

“A great number of technicians in the field don’t have the base knowledge of engine and boat mechanics to further their career in working on the more advanced and technically complex engines offered today,” says Todd Larson, marine repair instructor at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Ashland. [Via Boating Industry]


A scarcity of up-to-date coursework only complicates the issue. 


Unless the marine industry applies new strategies to meet this challenge, the problem will only continue to grow. Not only do older workers need to be retrained in the latest technologies, but marine service training programs also need to be able to attract and retain millennials to act as the next generation of marine technicians.


Can Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality really help?


AR and VR can absolutely make training more cost effective, accessible and efficient.When you introduce these new technologies to an industry, you’re allowing learning to extend beyond the classroom and making it available to students anywhere. 


AR and VR are both proven training methods. Not only can they match the results seen with traditional education methods, but in many cases they also surpass those results.


VR and AR provide Experiential Learning


Experiential Learning is the process of learning through doing. When lessons areacquired, rather than merely provided, those lessons tend to stick longer. Some studies show that, in traditional educational models, up to 90% of training is forgotten post-workshop. But that isn’t the case when VR and AR play a role. 


How do VR and AR get better data retention rates? Because experiential learning is a proven way of motivating students to take an active role in their own educations. Rather than sitting in a classroom and listening to a teacher explain the anatomy of an engine, students explore the engine for themselves. The consequences of mistakes are also reduced in a virtual environment, which makes students bolder, more willing to interactwith the technology and quicker to learn from their mistakes.


“To be sure, all recruiting and training materials, including traditional video, tend to accentuate the positive. But the immersive nature of VR means that it can make a stronger, more lasting impression on recruits and employees.” [via Wired]



Applying VR and AR makes training interactive


Collaboration is a key element of learning. With AR and VR, students are no longer relegated to a passive role in their own educations, but can interact with marine technology and other learners, even if they aren’t sitting in a classroom together.Learners have the ability to discuss confusing blind spots, reach out to experts and get what they truly need from the material.


And, when virtual environments and machinery are representative of the real world, the time that students spend interacting with those environments acts as a lab, which is far more effective than watching a video or listening to a teacher describing a process they’re forced to imagine.


Remote training becomes possible with VR and AR


Currently, promising candidates’ distance from training facilities can prevent them from being able to take advantage of those resources. If this limitation is removed, the pool of potential marine technicians (as well as those already in the industry desirous ofincreasing their knowledge) becomes much larger. 


As industrial and manufacturing positions increasingly fill with younger workers, it’s appropriate to make use of the technology that’s familiar to this generation. Accustomed to extensive and sophisticated gaming platforms, younger workers find it easier to make the transition from virtual reality safety training to real-world practices. [via Training]


VR and AR also offer continual improvement via Analytics


VR and AR provide thorough analytics, allowing those setting coursework to gain additional knowledge from the training. This makes it easier to assess and help students. Analytics also reveal which strategies are working and which steps could be improved. Instead of a static textbook, students are engaged with a living process that progresses based on their own struggles and successes.


Other industries, such as healthcare, construction and manufacturing, have seen tremendous success incorporating this technology into their training. It’s only a matter of time before AR and VR training programs are woven into every city, state and industry. The marine industry’s current shortages are a cue that the time has come for major changes. AR and VR are the needed solutions.


Contact us now for an interactive demo.

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