Ipads have found their way into kindergarten classroom. Textbooks are available online. Technology continues to infiltrate and change the way we learn, and automotive training technology is no exception.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2010-2020, the work force will add positions for 124,800 service technicians and mechanics, 32,700 automotive body and glass repairers and 13,800 painting and coating workers. In short? The BLS predicts steady employment for those with training and certification.
However, there is an increasingly wide technology gap that students must hurdle across to become technicians. Basic mechanical skills don’t cover the new materials, assembly processes, electric controls and technology skills necessary to perform the work. The answer? Virtual training.
According to the New York Times, virtual training tools and video game technology have made their way into classrooms. SimSpray is one of them. Made by VRSim a technology start-up, a student works a realistic spray gun while a 3-d view of a spray booth is projected in the hood covering the student’s face. The tools help students develop the muscle memory need to execute a smooth paint job.
Virtual welding machines have also been used. A 2010 study at Iowa State University, students who trained on a virtual welding machine were 30-40 percent more likely to gain professional certifications than those who trained in normal shop/classroom conditions.
There are significant cost and time benefits to virtual technology. Painting in the real world requires materials and preparation; using the simulator, students can complete five paint jobs in ten minutes. Furthermore, the video-game style approach appeals to younger generations who grew up playing video games.
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