Karsta Middle East cuts logistics training time and increases retention with VR
Karsta Middle East, the Dubai-based branch of the Australian registered training organisation, is significantly reducing the time it takes and costs associated with, training individuals for a range of logistics sectors.
The company has worked to introduce virtual reality into training programs in the region and has already secured a major contract with the RTA to train thousands of bus and taxi drivers using its immersive virtual reality headsets.
“We train professionals in construction, engineering, transport and oil and gas, and we’ve teamed up with Saulwick Adams who do project visualisation for other industries such as tourism and hospitality” explains Maggie Andrews, associate director, business & strategy, Karsta ME.
“The RTA is really interested in moving its training from the classroom to VR, and we have a VR training program for bus drivers that’s going to be delivered in the second quarter,” she adds.
Karsta ME has seen a 100% pass rate in the testing because the drivers are able to use the app in their downtime to brush up on all the information, while information retention during the immersive experience is greatly enhanced.
“VR education immerses you in a particular experience, it provides the benefit of practical training without the associated logistics and safety issues, so your attention span goes up by 300% and participants are able to recall far more information than they would in the classroom,” explains Julie Jackson, senior training manager at Karsta ME and co-founder of Saulwick Adams.
“The beauty of it is that it can be adapted to work in multiple languages whatever that they may, and it can be used dynamically, so the pass rate increases dramatically and the training time is decreased significantly,” adds Andrews.
Taxi driver training with the RTA involves two phases, the first is licensing to actually drive the vehicle and the second is a 15 day induction course where drivers learn about safety, customer service, knowledge of fines, and mapping and awareness of the city and its major landmarks.
Every two years a driver has to come back and do a one day refresher course.
“We deliver all that content,” says Jackson. “What makes us different is that it’s all online now, so we’ve migrated all the data to an app called Moodle so students can get all the RTA documents, training material, access to mapping and then access a social tab that’s updated with major events taking place in the city, school holidays, busy days at the airport, anything that’s going to help the driver avoid traffic and increase pick-up rates.”
The VR headset is inexpensive and vastly improves training time and success rates.
Karsta ME is the first provider across all transport and engineering industries in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to be offering VR training.
“With the bus driver training the trainee drives the bus virtually up to the stop, opens the doors, greets the passengers, ensures they’re all sitting down, closes the doors, pulls off etc. And all the movement and haptics is recorded and diagnosed to test competency,” says Jackson.
According to Andrews, the wider logistics implications of a quicker and more successful training program are clear. “In aviation for instance you need 20 to 30 people coming in to clean and aircraft and get it ready for the next flight. The training time can be quicker, more successful and therefore cheaper in training them on the equipment to use, the particular checklist items to hit, so that by the time the real-world training comes about, it’s going to be much faster and retention is going to be far higher,” she says.
Similarly, Karsta does VR training for the cleaning of the metro system in Melbourne. “On the Melbourne trains there’s a 12-point guide of things you have to do in each carriage, and with a large multicultural workforce the idea of a step by step process for things like cleaning can definitely be applied to the Dubai Metro,” says Jackson. “Karsta ME also conduct train driver and other vehicle training in Australia.”
But can it be applied directly to warehouse picking and forklift operations? Maggie Andrews sees no reason why it couldn’t.
“Forklift drivers and warehouse pickers have to be trained in the different sections and how to pick quickly and accurately,” she says. “All we’d need is a spatially accurate VR representation that would be based on photographs. All the different moveable pieces would then be put in and made technically accurate and then the training script would be written. We can also train in emergency response, to make sure employees can respond quickly to an situation, and get operations back on track expeditiously.”
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