Virtual or Augmented Reality - National Safety Council

Virtual or Augmented Reality

Virtual reality training typically uses a head-mounted display to immerse a user into a computer-generated environment, often with a full 360-degree view. Augmented reality, sometimes known as mixed reality, allows for the overlay of video, sounds or graphics to help train or inform users while they experience a real-world view or interact with objects. Augmented reality can provide information on demand and into the user’s field of vision through a range of technologies including mobile devices or smart glasses.

Hazardous situations they mitigate:

VR and AR training were among the new technologies that most companies said they were looking into for their employees, according to our research for the Safety Technology 2020 paper. 

Why It’s Important: A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion found VR/AR training more effective than traditional classroom training. Students also showed improved knowledge retention and recall. Similar results for memory retention were found in a 2018 study from University of Maryland researchers, published in the journal Virtual Reality. 

VR/AR safety training also can: 

  • Let users experience repeatable, lifelike scenarios or situations without facing real-world dangers (Zhao & Lucas, 2015)
  • Allow for training without the use of certain resources such as heavy machinery
  • Suit a number of different learning styles and be adapted to meet training requirements (NAEM, 2019) (Zhao & Lucas, 2015)

AR wearables can specifically allow for: 

  • Trainees or employees to review instructions for equipment or access user manuals on demand (Verdantix, 2020)

Types of VR/AR training include (Wang, et al., 2018):

  • Desk-based VR, using a computer monitor to display a 3D virtual world on a desktop screen
  • Immersive VR that relies on specific hardware
  • 3D, game-based VR that uses computer-based, video game-like training scenes via a combination of visual, interactive networks and multi-user operating technologies
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)-enabled VR allows users to access BIM data to simulate construction, processes and operations 

A literature review on this technology will be coming soon from Work to Zero.


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