by Chris Gandee
Time to Train!
The VRTEX® 360 can be used in multiple arenas:
• Training system
• Evaluation and screening tool
• Recruiting tool
• Re-training program tool
One of the most common questions asked is “how can the system be implemented into an existing welding training program?” Most training programs are unique in that they are tailored to an instructor’s teaching style, the school’s program and the industry requirements in the vicinity of the school. The tip this month is a recommendation. The VRTEX® offers multiple opportunities to enhance and supplement training. Create a program that works best for you and most importantly your students.
PROGRAM 1 – Initial Block of Welding
Some programs may design their lesson plans around an initial block of virtual welding training. For example, a ten hour block of virtual training is initiated before the students move to the welding lab for hand’s on welding.
PRO: Initiating a student with virtual reality welding first allows the student to gain a comprehension of welding terms and the familiarity of the look and feel of welding before entering the welding lab. This elevates their level of knowledge, removes some of the hesitation to pick up a stinger or gun, and allows them to know what they are looking for when the helmet comes down.
CON: In some instances, the student can forget what they learned at the beginning of virtual training. The hands on lab experience will in fact be the student’s first weld, which may result in re-training. For example, the first weld taught in a virtual training block may be 2F E6010 weld on 3/8” plate. Once the student successfully completes that weld, they will move on from there. By the time the ten hours of virtual training is completed, the student may end at a completely different process and position (e.g. 4F FCAW-S on 3/8” plate). Therefore, taking the student in the welding lab at this time challenges the student to remember a number of welds, processes and positions learned earlier.
PROGRAM 2 – Blended Training
The following concept creates a rotation of virtual and hands on welding training. The virtual welding is placed in front of the welding lab for each position and process. The student virtually welds, for example the horizontal tee or 2F position using E6010 electrode. Once the student has mastered the weld virtually, they would then go to the welding lab and perform the same weld and position in the hands on environment. This ensures they retain the body movements and muscle memory learned on the VRTEX® 360. Once the instructor approves the weld as satisfactory, they returned to the virtual classroom for the next position or process.
PRO: The students develop a comprehension of a weld and a position virtually and quickly take that to the welding lab to prove it with an instructor review. The virtual environment allows the student to understand positioning of the work piece, their body around the work piece, the work table, and movement for completing the joint.
CON: This methodology requires transitioning and movement after each weld. As with any movement, there is the time to move and prepare from one area to another. It also requires monitoring to ensure that the student moves once they are competent on the VRTEX®. The time allotted for each student may vary as not every student will learn at the same pace. Some students would require more time in the virtual classroom. If you have created a buddy system for training, this will require you to match students at the same level and ensure that they are effectively progressing together.
TRAINING PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS:
With any methodology you choose, students that have the opportunity to weld in virtual reality as well as hands on welding will achieve productive and effective results. They will also produce welds quicker. Students have the opportunity to make more welds, because they easily transition from one weld to another with a press of a button. In addition, they will be welding more while they are using less material and creating no scrap. Finally, the student will also learn and comprehend more in the blended approach because it appeals to multiple learning styles, presenting audio and visual feedback, real time scoring and analysis and instructional data, images and content.
We love to hear how people are using the VRTEX®. Send us your implementation programs VRTEX360@lincolnelectric.com.