Learning in virtual reality has become reality!

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Stephan wears virtual reality glasses at the DB training centre, which he can use to practice coupling freight wagons together. Nowadays, many work steps are taught with virtual reality glasses. But practicing in reality does not replace that.

Stephan is to practice coupling freight cars to each other. Normally, the 29-year-old newcomer would have to get on Deutsche Bahn’s track. But this path is superfluous. Instead, he puts on virtual reality glasses in the newly opened training centre of the Deutsche Bahn in Fulda and takes two controllers in his hand with which he controls the action.

His learning companion Christian from DB Training starts the scenario on the computer and follows every move he makes in the virtual world on the screen.

  • The use of VR glasses is not only a huge topic in the entertainment media, especially in the gaming scene.
  • They are also increasingly being used in training and further education.
  • Virtual reality is a computer-aided simulation of a real environment with image (3D) and often with sound. Images of this can also be transferred to special glasses, for example.

“Technology has great future potential and will certainly become an increasingly important topic in the coming years,” says IT expert Ludger. The university professor heads the Human-Machine Systems Technology department in Kassel. But currently, applications with VR glasses in the professional world are “still at the beginning of development”. The glasses are indeed affordable. According to him, they cost less than 1000 Euro in highest quality. But the virtual reality scenarios created on the computer are still quite expensive. According to Schmidt, the application possibilities are manifold. Craftsmen can practice virtually or skilled workers in the production area can be trained.

VR technology offers many advantages

For example that one can beam oneself virtually at any time to another place. Like this DB employee. He sees his task on the freight wagons through the VR glasses. Now it’s time to hook it in, crank it up, connect the brake hoses and ventilate. Through his headphones, he also hears how the air pressure escapes hissing. When he is finished and has removed his glasses, he sums up: “That was more real than expected. It felt very real.” He didn’t feel any discomfort or even nausea, which can sometimes occur when using VR technology.

Christian, project manager for digital learning media at DB in Frankfurt, says: “The use of VR technology is a link between theory and practice. We want to use it to create even more confidence in our actions”. For three years now, Deutsche Bahn has been gathering experience with VR technology in training operations, explains Dorn.

VR and AR (Augmented Reality)

VR and AR (Augmented Reality) are also being used extensively in other industries, companies and application areas. Siemens uses the technology to develop automotive components, Daimler for fire protection training and the Thyssenkrupp industrial group for maintenance manuals. The chemical giant BASF has been using VR glasses in chemical technician training since 2018. But digital technology has also arrived in medicine, architecture, entertainment and sports.

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