Imagine yourself in two situations: you’ve just boarded a brand new jet and are settling into your seat as your pilot announces over the speaker “Welcome everyone, while I’ve had an abundance of practice on simulators, today is my exciting first day of flying a real-life jet!” Now how do you feel? Okay, rewind – you are settling into your seat as your pilot announces “Good morning, I am happy to say you are my first group of passengers, however I have had a few test flights, just no simulation practice. Let’s hope the skies stay clear today!” Now how do you feel? You may find yourself fastening your seatbelt a little tighter…
Only in the past few years has there been a growing acceptance that simulators should be used not only by aircraft pilots, but by other drivers as well, such as train conductors, truck drivers, and construction workers to name a few. Simulators are becoming an indispensable training tool and have proven to have a number of benefits. Below are 6 reasons why you may want to consider implementing simulators into your training methods.
1. They’re Safer
The immediate benefit that comes to mind for most people to using simulators in place of real-life training is the fact that it is safer to train in a virtual world than a real one. You accidentally drive into oncoming traffic? No worries, just hit the restart button and no one gets hurt.
Specific training in a simulator makes it possible to develop habits which are conducive to the increased safety of everyone, and eliminates the risk – for the employee, company, passengers and pedestrians, that comes from in-experienced workers getting their hands on the wheel.
2. Better Performance
Studies have shown that there are encouraging links between a driver’s simulator performance and their actual driving performance. As simulators make it possible to expose drivers to all kinds of situations and scenarios, any number of times, they allow workers to prepare themselves for adverse circumstances they may face in real life. Drivers and operators can practice emergency situations until they are mastered, detecting faults and identifying how they can be avoided.
3. Higher Retention Rate
Simulation training has also been found to lead to a higher retention rate due to the reduced anxiety workers feel knowing there are no major consequences if they mess up during a simulated test. Being aware of the fact that they are training in a risk-free environment encourages employees to relax and practice until they feel they have fully absorbed the task at hand.
4. Reduced Training Time
Companies using simulators in training have found employees have a compressed training cycle time as they can train more effectively in a shorter period of time. Workers are able to build the fundamental skills they need before putting themselves in front of the actual machine or vehicle, cutting down on-the-job training time as well.
5. Cost Savings
Reduced training time naturally leads to cost savings for the company. And while the initial cost of driver simulators may be a deterrence for some, people are slowly realising the long term investment and savings that result from the reduced number of accidents that come from simulated training.
6. Continuous Practice
Lastly, once a simulator is in place, employees are free to go back and practice on it whenever they wish. Find yourself needing a little refresher? Just hop on the simulator. There is no need for the company to set up real-life test situations on a regular basis, which would require a lot more work.
With the above translating into less accidents, safer roads, and ultimately less stress, as drivers feel prepared to handle situations they may be faced with, it’s hard to see why companies in industries such as transportation and defence wouldn’t consider giving simulators a shot. As driver training steadily evolves to embrace new technology and practices, I believe simulated training is something we will only see more and more of in the years to come. What are your thoughts?
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