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Australia // Market

CAN VIRTUAL REALITY SOLVE THE TRAINING CHALLENGE? O

ne of the perennial challenges facing the HVAC&R industry is training and recr uiting new technicians to replace aging employees as systems grow increasingly complex. But a younger generation enamored of digital technology may find learning via virtual reality (VR) – an experience taking place within  a simulated  and immersive environment, typically facilitated by a headset – just the ticket. TAFE (Technical and Further Education) South Australia, an Adelaide - based vocational school, launched its virtual reality pilot program on natural refrigerant safety training last year. The program has proved to be very successful in engaging students and improving learning outcomes. "We get retention rates between 60% and 70% of the information given," said Shannon Baldock, TAFE SA's air conditioning and refrigeration lecturer, at the ATMOsphere Australia 2019 conference, held in Melbourne May 8-9. TAFE SA is now reaching out to the natural refrigerant community to collaborate and contribute to the program, which the school believes has significant potential to help solve the training gap the industry is facing. "[VR technology] has moved on from 'look we've got some shiny new hardware,'" said Baldock. "We've made it practical. What we need now is the content to give to our students.” Content, he said could come from “engineers that built the system,” end users who want to “show us how they are being energy efficient,” or contractors who want to “share what they are doing."

Accelerate Magazine // June 2019

The TAFE South Australia vocational school has been using virtual reality for instruction on natural refrigerants – and is seeking industry input to improve the program

― By Devin Yoshimoto

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