Workshop in a Suitcase: Revolutionizing Technical Training on a Budget

May 26, 2024

Modern education is increasingly focusing on providing students with practical experiences, especially in manual and technical professions. Hands-on experience with real machines and equipment is invaluable in fields like assembly, painting, or welding. However, educational institutions often face significant budget constraints that limit their ability to fully equip workshops with necessary tools and machinery.

The Global Challenge of Underfunded Education

The problem of underfunded educational systems is a global issue. Investing in education enriches individual lives and supports a country's economic development. Research shows a solid relationship between education and economic growth. For example, additional years of schooling can increase an individual's earnings by about 10-50% annually, highlighting that education is one of the most important investments in human capital a country can make. Moreover, studies indicate that countries that prioritize educational spending can experience significant GDP growth improvements (Hanushek Stanford)​​ (World Bank Blogs)​​ (The Learning Agency)​.

Virtual Reality: A Promising Solution

Despite these challenges, virtual reality (VR) offers a promising alternative for practical training. VR technology enables the creation of a "virtual workshop," allowing students to learn technical and vocational subjects through simulations. This method is already used in fields such as the military and medicine, known for reducing costs and increasing safety for beginners.

Simulators allow the initial stages of technical education to be conducted in a virtual environment, significantly reducing training costs by minimizing the need for materials and equipment. This is particularly beneficial in the early stages of learning, where the risk of costly mistakes is higher. Dual training systems, where students start with VR before moving on to actual equipment, can optimize learning outcomes by combining virtual and real experiences. This approach not only makes training more interesting and varied but also ensures that students are better prepared when they handle real machinery.

Workshop in a Suitcase: A Revolutionary Concept

Dig in Vision introduced the innovative concept of the "workshop in a suitcase," which includes Oculus goggles, controllers, dedicated haptic overlays simulating tools, and a computer. This portable set, the size of carry-on luggage, is one of the most mobile in the world, enabling easy travel and expanding educational outreach on a larger scale. This solution allows for the quick transformation of a traditional, often dull classroom into an interactive, virtual workshop. In moments, a standard educational environment can be changed into a technologically advanced learning space, increasing student engagement and allowing for more flexible and effective use of educational space. This innovative approach opens new possibilities for technical education, enabling advanced practical training in places previously inaccessible due to a lack of appropriate equipment.

Dual Training for Welders: A Case Study

Research and training conducted by Dig in Vision, which offers dual training for welders, yield significant results. The training program is divided into a basic part, conducted in virtual reality (VR), and competence development at actual workstations. Introduction to training in VR allows participants to safely familiarize themselves with the tools and procedures they will use in practice. As a result, students, moving to actual working conditions, are already prepared for effective and conscious action. Knowledge gained in VR ensures that training participants understand how welding parameters affect the geometry of the joint, which is crucial for achieving expected results in practice.

Additionally, learning in VR significantly lowers training costs because it reduces the amount of production waste—students learn to perform welds with great precision from the very beginning. What in traditional training could result in material and financial losses is eliminated during the learning phase before students begin work at real stations. The efficiency of this approach is evident not only in savings but also in shortening the training time and better preparing students for the demanding job of a welder. Such training methods, combining theory with practice, are gaining popularity, offering both high-quality education and cost optimization. Implementing such modern training solutions as VR in vocational education becomes a model to follow for other technical industries, which can also benefit from combining theoretical knowledge with practical skills.

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