Virtual Reality Jet Engine Maintenance Training In The Classroom
For students and schools, practical training in a hazardous environment can be very challenging. Especially when the hazards become life threatening and training in real life practice is not possible, so training is incomplete and not optimally effective.
In close cooperation with the technical school for aviation called Aviation Competence Center in The Netherlands we developed a Virtual Realty training game, based on GBL, that allows students to work on a virtual jet engine and perform tasks that would never be possible to perform in real life. This training game allows the student to train various game scenario’s and focus on the two important elements of GBL which are “being able to break things” and “to make mistakes” in a challenging but safe virtual training environment. Also, the teacher can take the same training tool to explain curriculum elements using the virtual 3D model of the jet engine during more traditional forms of learning e.g. classroom based training. In general the training game is for self-paced use so no instructor guidance is required which makes the training game highly accessible to students following their individual training pace.
The training game has been developed using a unique content management and scenario editing toolkit which facilitates the cooperation at best. It enables the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to create, alter and update the training content (read: game flow so “what you do”) for the students without programming and software development skills and limits the development of the virtual technology (read: the 3D game environment so “what you see”) where these specialized skills will be required to a minimum. During the pitch the level of cooperation and the use of this split approach will be explained.
As integral part of the training game and the chosen toolkit, students’ progress is automatically tracked and stored for later review. The student is able to track its own progress, but the teacher is able to track the progress of all students. Score lists, high scores, play time overviews, etc. trigger the student to get better and repeat the training as often as possible or required. While doing that, GBL principles e.g. randomization, competence based scenario steering, badges and leaderboards are embedded and enable competition for the student and fellow students to get better.
The presentation will explain (1) the cooperation between the SMEs and technology developers, (2) the path it took to get to the end goal and most importantly (3) how the flow in the training game can be altered so it is durable for a longer time and a broader use (besides focusing on maintenance engineers you could use the training game in areas where it originally was not designed for e.g. safety procedures) can be facilitated because of the split approach in the development. This element is especially a takeaway for the audience since this approach is unique compared to traditional GBL development where changes can only be made by specialized software development staff.