We’re currently developing an application to train users on some soft skills. Here are a few shots from development.
We've been working hard putting together all of the pieces for Fitnexx's Fit4Class game. Here's a a mocap animation test we just finished with the character mascot we created for the game.
This is a project we're really excited to be working on. We're developing the software for Fitnexx's Fit4Class. Fit4Class is a Kinect game to be played in schools by K-5 students. The video below is an early graphics test for an obstacle course in the game.
There is a new generation taking over the workforce at large. The Millennial, or Generation Y, group has become one of the predominant groups of working adults today. This group of individuals was born between 1980 and 1999. As such, the environment and technology available when they were “growing up” was far different than the previous generations.
Understanding that Millennials respond differently to training modules is the key to successfully engaging them and completing their training. Gone are the days when you could supply your trainees with long lectures and bookwork. This generation of employees needs a far more tech-savvy and interactive experience to stay stimulated and inspired.
The Most Effective Ways to Reach a Millennial
Take advantage of Mobile learning
You will be hard pressed to find a Millennial today that does not have a mobile device. Many of these individuals travel around with more than one, in their daily lives. This is an entire generation who has grown up with laptops, cell phones, smart phones, and tablets. They are incredibly comfortable with these types of mobile devices. In fact, many feel naked without them. If you create training programs that utilize mobile devices, you will automatically increase the level of comfort and interest in this generation.
It's all just a game
Many people have heard the term “Gamification”, though few truly understands what it entails. If you think of Millennials and games in the same context, then you often think of popular gaming systems. Gamification however has nothing to do with Halo or Fallout. The process of Gamification is that of turning an ordinary circumstance into a game or competition. In reality, the Millennial's love of gaming systems has created a highly competitive culture who enjoys a true competition. In a training or educational setting, it is highly beneficial to create a game or competition environment from the lecture material. When a Millennial tries to “win the game”, they are learning your information as a by-product. Their intense desire to succeed evolves into a more thorough grasp of the knowledge.
Go to the Movies
Studies around the world have proven that Millennials are far more accepting of information they receive in a video or movie, then that of a book. If your training can include short succinct movies, your millennial trainees will be far more inspired to learn the material. Visually, a video or movie is going to draw the Millennial in, while long written text is going to dissuade them from interacting. Many people think this is a result of Millennials being the “lazy” generation. However, in truth Millennials are very inquisitive, and don’t want to waste any time. If they can witness a subject, they are more stimulated, and their questions are answered more thoroughly. DOING is an even better option if training budgets allow…
Try any number of these techniques in your next training session, and you will be amazed at how well you inspire and engage with your burgeoning millennial workforce. Also, allow your Generation Y employees to participate in how the training is delivered. You will be amazed at the creative and inventive ideas they can produce.
Think back to when you were a very young child. Now imagine if instead of allowing you to crawl or walk, your parents told you about the principles and expected you to be able to do it just from hearing their instructions. This would have been impossible. Now picture yourself watching a video about riding a bicycle. Do you think that watching that video would have taught you how to get onto your bike and ride without ever falling?
The human brain learns by doing things. Practical application of learned knowledge is the basis of how we memorize new information. While it is altogether possible to learn a new topic through rote memorization, or by book learning, it is not nearly as effective as trying out this new idea ourselves.
How does a hands-on activity enhance retention rates?
- Studies have shown that a student (whether child or adult) will learn a new material three times faster through practical application versus a traditional lecture environment.
- Having access to the materials that will be used in a real world circumstance creates a concrete link in the brain between the idea and the action. It also prepares the student more thoroughly for the tasks that lie ahead.
- Lessons taught from a book or lecture are only conceptual and abstract. Imagining what a porcupine looks and feels like is nothing like actually touching a porcupine. Our imaginations can only take us so far.
- Hands-on training builds muscle memory. A lecture on how to type on a keyboard quickly will have little effect on the mind and the body. Giving a student a keyboard to use will not only help them remember the key locations, but also build their muscle memory for typing accurately and quickly.
- Practice makes perfect. This old saying will always be applicable in the real world. To become well versed in any idea, topic, or labor; one must practice as often as possible.
- Studies through the National Training Laboratory Institute show that “practice by doing” has a 75% retention rate outcome. The study also shows that being able to immediately apply the learned knowledge in a real world situation increases retention rates by 90%. Measure this against the traditional method of hearing a lecture that only has a 5% retention rate.
- When we learn by doing, we have the opportunity to learn from our failures. While most people strive to avoid failures, they are one of the best teaching tools available. A chef in training will always remember the mess that was made when they burnt their first gourmet French dish. Having the experience of dealing with that headache will stick with the individual, they are more like to remember what not to do in the future.
If you want your employees or trainees to have the highest retention rates possible, you must create a practical environment for them to learn. Simply supplying lectures or written information will not be effective on the whole. Increase their level of “doing” and you will automatically increase their levels of retention.
I just got back from Disney World with my family a few weeks ago. It was my children’s (5 and 8 years old) first time there, and watching them experience it all was pure magic! That kind of magic is something we strive for in everything we do at The Danse and encourage our clients to reach for as well.
For decades, Disney has made themselves the forerunner in Immersive experience technology. From the inception of their DisneyQuest programs to the Virtuality developments, Disney has led the way in total Immersive experiences for their customers. The question we are faced with now, is how can a training department utilize the practices Disney has already put in place to develop a more effective training module using immersive experiences?
The Disney Touch
One of the primary ways that Disney allows its guests to have an Immersive experience is through the ability to naturally interact with what you see. When you visit a Disney park, you enter a relatively virtual world. In this virtual world, you are able to manipulate the things around you. This can be scenery or characters. For a child, this is magic. Training departments should take note that the ability to interact is a key to a total immersive experience.
Seeing like Disney
True immersion must include seeing everything as if you’re really standing there. Disney completely understands this and visually surrounds their guests in their experiences. At Disney, every ride, show, and game are built all around you, making you feel as if you’re really in another place. Every video or animation is perfectly captured or created to lend itself to these experiences.
At the Disney Parks, and on their rides, sound plays a key part to their Immersive experience. If you were to ride Splash Mountain, your experience would not be the same if you could not hear the interactions of Brer Bear and Brer Fox in the background. These sounds tell us the story while we are queuing and enjoying the ride. As a training manager, you must always remember to keep the sense of sound in the forefront of your training modules.
The Smells of Success and What Magic Tastes like
The Imagineers at Disney have never forgotten two of your major senses, smell and taste. When you enter the Gran Fiesta Tour experience at Epcot's Mexico, you are inundated with the smells and tastes of old world Mexico through the centrally located restaurant. When a guest can not only ride and watch the experience, but also smell and taste it, they are that much more fulfilled. For training departments, the concept is the same. Imagine a waiter trying to explain a meal that they have never tasted. Or imagine a fire chief trying to explain what a diesel fire smells like to a group of new recruits.
The advent of accessible virtual reality application is right around the corner. This technology promises a new world of opportunity, for those seeking heightened entertainment capabilities, but more importantly for businesses looking for cost-effective solutions, return on investment for updating human resource skills, better training options, and more. Let’s take a closer look at where businesses can save money and optimize operations.
New Hardware Technology - A Better Approach
In the past, to create realism in simulated job site training, companies had to invest millions of dollars into bulky, software-limited simulator hardware. In many cases, this hardware is completely stationary, which causes large expenses and/or inadequate training time when trainees are spread out nationally or globally.
Emerging affordable virtual reality hardware provides a 360 degree perspective of a digital world. It can be used in conjunction with various off-the-shelf motion tracking devices. This new hardware approach allows learners to interact with what they are seeing using their arms, hands, legs, and feet.
The best part about this hardware (aside from the super low costs)
How can these devices make training more effective?
- Many companies hold training from a specific site (headquarters). Having to fly trainees around the country or from other countries is cost-intensive and time consuming. Sending hardware or instructors+hardware is much more efficient—bringing greater profits and lower costs.
- Companies that deal with manufacturing of products can train their employees effectively the virtual way from various sites simultaneously without using resources. Digital models can be interacted within a realistic mode. This allows for a larger margin of error without waste.
- Customer service training can be carried out interactively with less stress. Employees can learn how to better interact with customers on an individual basis. This can optimize time spent on training by reducing stress—a relaxed atmosphere is conducive to learning.
- Marketing and sales training can be held virtually in a realistic way.
- Seminars and training for specific topics for all levels of employees can take place on site simultaneously with participants from all over the world. Engineers can learn complicated new job operations without leaving town—saving lots of money, bringing increased expertise to the workforce, and thus a large return on investment.
- Reduce the amount of time your money-making production equipment is "parked" for training.
Return on Investment and Cost Effectiveness
Being able to train employees for new operations, skills and job positions often costs a lot of resources and brings a questionable amount of return of investment. Investing in new technology costs less than 1000 USD per unit and can be used repeatedly by any number of employees. The amount of seminars that can be participated in virtually is limitless. The interactions that can take place between people all over the world are infinite. ROI becomes easier to measure based on the new skills and training programs undertaken, via this exciting new technology.
While many of these technologies are not yet on the market, they will be soon, and to stay competitive on the worldwide market will mean investing in new methods of doing business on an international scale. Flying and other forms of travel are expensive. The new way of communicating and learning interactively carries little risk and a lot of benefits.
The Omni takes virtual reality to an all-encompassing new place for more than just games and entertainment. Gamers can feel immersed in the games they play as the device allows them to move their feet, walk and run along with the program. With the use of Oculus Rift to view their virtual world, the Omni places the user right in the middle of the action. But this is just for starters, as there are applications beyond fun and games that can be extremely useful out there in the real world.
The Virtuix Omni looks like a round treadmill, complete with a railing. The pack for 699 USD includes a special belt and shoes to be used with it. Purchase of the Oculus Rift is separate, but necessary to complete the virtual simulation.
The Omni allows for:
- More interactive remote employee meetings
- Virtual exhibitions for on the job
- Simulations of workplaces
- Increased ease and realistic simulation of training on the job
Particularly for jobs that are more hands-on, is this last point especially relevant. Instead of training EMTs with dummies, they can run to the scene, check the pulse of their charge, load them into the ambulance, and then drive away. They can practice every aspect of their job using the Omni.
Training for a Variety of Job Fields
Some of the other fields which can benefit from practicing job scenarios using the Omni include:
- Nurses and nursing assistants
- Doctors and dentists
- Engineers and those who deal with hardware
- Production line workers
- Those who work in retail
- Clothing designers
- Office workers who need to tour new locations in advance
- Those who need to practice sales and marketing scenarios
- Those who need training speaking before large audiences
- Training motivational speaking
The Training Benefits for Using the Virtuix Omni are Plenty
Any job with a hands-on aspect can use simulation that incorporates feet and movement, as well as the viewing function (from Oculus Rift). Colleagues can demonstrate job functions from a remote location and have the feeling they are in the room together, handing each other instruments and approaching one another. Despite location restraints, they can have the sort of team building and bonding that was previously only possible in person. This will serve to speed up the training process and optimize employee efficiency and cost effectiveness—in saving money on expensive flights, for example.
Virtual reality is a powerful tool for job training that will continue to be optimized as the technology is developed and made readily available on the market. The Virtuix Omni in conjunction with the headset from Oculus Rift are forerunners for improving the on the job training experience and will surely be fixtures on educating individuals in the future.