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3 Examples of Virtual Training Environments in the Energy Sector

Kyla Ball

A virtual training environment (VLE for short) offers excellent opportunities for orientation and training programs for both new and existing employees in the energy sector. In this blog we look at three examples of this type of elearning.

Fingrid has created an interactive on-demand tour of 30 substations using 360 photos. The tour makes it easy for new employees to familiarize themselves with the premises and with the safety and work tasks of the substation. The solution saves time, money and the environment, since staff no longer have to travel hundreds of kilometers for orientation.

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At Norelco, the training for industry changers have been upgraded with a virtual learning environment to support site orientations. The work steps and instructions of electricians have been compiled into a clear learning resource with ThingLink. With the help of instructional videos, staff can familiarize themselves with the work steps via distance learning at their own pace.

What are the benefits of a virtual learning environment?

  • Videos, 360 photos, 3D models, virtual tours, links and pictures of the instructions are combined into a clear whole.
  • Essential information is easy to find, which provides an accessible and easy user experience.
  • A clear learning environment especially supports industry changers who have no previous experience in the electrical industry. Everyone gets the same basic information.
  • You can also familiarize yourself with the work independently at a time that suits you as it is entirely web-based. It can even be accessed via any mobile device. This saves travel costs and working hours for the employer.
  • In local training, it is easy to repeat the work phases of the learning environment. In this way, the trainer can focus on providing hands-on support in crisis situations.
  • You can get to know the facilities and work stages anywhere and anytime.
  • Logging in to the course content remotely enables different materials to be distributed to different target groups. This facilitates, for example, the training of employees outside the company.
  • ThingLink training materials can also be downloaded and used on the company’s own servers or learning management system (LMS).
  • Scenario-based learning can be used to practice, for example, fire alarm situations with VR headsets. The decisions made by the user move the story forward. Scenario-based learning allows the trainee to learn from mistakes safely in a virtual environment.

How do you create a virtual training environment?

1. Fingrid’s virtual safety briefings save time and the environment

Fingrid created a virtual tour of 30 substations from different parts of Finland. About 300 employees use these online learning training materials. The virtual learning environment has solved what was previously a serious challenge, namely that orientation staff and new employees had to travel tens or hundreds of kilometers to the substation.

Fingrid’s own staff, service providers and maintenance staff benefit from the learning space created with ThingLink. Fingrid produced targetted and specific materials that meet their needs for each target group. The self-study materials have enabled familiarization even in exceptional circumstances, for example during quarantine.

The seamless integration of the ThingLink virtual learning environments into Fingrid’s existing systems and learning platforms is important in terms of participation and monitoring of learning results. Thanks to the integration of ThingLink, orientation modules can be automatically logged in Fingrid’s HR system when completed. This also saves time for HR staff, who no longer need to record the performance scores separately.

The virtual tour makes it easy to get to know the substation.

 “ThingLink has been perceived as a very good tool – a modern-day application that improves safety and significantly clarifies moving around electricity stations.”

Veijo Siiankoski, Fingrid

You can read about Fingrid’s virtual safety training in more detail here.

2. Norelco’s virtual learning environment facilitates the training of electricians

At Norelco, a virtual learning environment was created, where videos, instructions and links presenting the work steps of electricians were assembled into a clear whole. In the past, the challenge in training new employees was that not everyone could see the work steps shown by the job advisor. It was also challenging to remember the steps and visualize the whole, if the methods were not reviewed several times.

Now the work of both job counselors and new employees has become easier, when all relevant information can be found in a structured way in the same learning environment. It’s easy to repeat the work steps from the videos during your own work and, for example, the pictures taken from the most important pages of the instruction manuals can be found in the link of the video by clicking on the info tag. Every year, this “virtual classroom” made with ThingLink makes the daily life of at least 40-50 employees easier.

A screenshot from a video where the duties of an electrician are reviewed.

“The learning environment makes it possible to start learning the profession faster than before, when you can watch the material even if the guide is not there. The learning curve at the beginning is steeper than before.”

Ari Hämäläinen, Norelco

Read more about Norelco’s learning environment here.

3. Scenario-based learning process simulates high-risk situations

Scenario-based training platforms simulate real-world problems, for example acting in an emergency situation at a power station. In the virtual world, employees are able to practice decision-making under pressure and cooperation with other employees in real-time. This can be done via chat forums or on Microsoft Teams. In this way, employees are even more ready to solve real-world problem situations.

Companies in the energy sector are looking for easy-to-use tools with which the creation of path learning experiences can be done quickly.

The clear view of ThingLink’s Scenario Builder tool helps in building learning paths, and in the scenarios you can use versatile media from 360 photos to 3D models. The scenario and the learning experience develop based on the choices made by the learner. With 360 photos, videos, 3D models and infotags, you can create a realistic problem situation that the learner can solve – also with VR glasses. Questions and multiple choices move the story forward.

Learn more about ThingLink’s Scenario Builder tool here and in the short video below.

Virtual reality (VR) training – the evidence

Virtual training environments and VR learning are being used increasingly in online learning and blended learning environments. But what is the evidence that they are effective? We have summarised recent research in this download: How effective is training using VR and AR?

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