Honeywell uses Virtual and Augmented Reality to Transfer Skills to Millennials

Secondly, this data is made available to the recruits immediately as they start their new roles, as information overlaid onto what they are seeing, thanks to AR.

This active, on-the-job form of training improves skill retention levels to the point where up to 80% of the information is retained after three months.

Mestari said that this achieves a quadruple-whammy – solving four complex problems relating to the transfer of knowledge from arriving to departing workers:

  1. The “information leak” caused by staff departing,
  2. Transferring that knowledge in the most efficient way,
  3. The typically short, two-year tenure of millennials,
  4. The drastic improvement in knowledge retention after three months.

“Millennials change jobs frequently, particularly when the job is not exciting enough – they expect work to reflect their lifestyle, which means a strong lean towards digital content, interactivity, and social and collaborative work practices. If it doesn’t have those elements they’ve become used to – in their education, from playing Xbox and Playstation and using social media”

“Just trying to fit them into the old systems of the industry – lots of sheets of paper and check boxes – they just don’t fit. If it takes us a year to train them to become fully operational and they leave after another year, then we’re wasting the company’s money, and we’re wasting the trainer’s time, and the millennial’s time, too.”

The training program is built, using knowledge passed down from the old hands, to simulate every area of operational practice. This means developing scenarios that cover six specific job activities: Installation, configuration, inspection, maintenance, troubleshooting, and replacement of working parts.

“It allows you to learn by doing,” said Mestari. “You’re completely immersed in a real environment situation, but you’re learning without putting the plant performance or yourself at risk”

“We can’t recreate the entire environment physically – buy a double of every compressor and every pipe – and build a whole plant purely for training purposes. It would take up too much money and space”

“But we can build an environment where they can experience the steam coming from a leaking pipe, and ask them how they would react to that. You won’t be able to see clearly, because of all the steam – we can simulate that – what are the right procedures? We can only recreate this with VR and AR.”

The program has reduced maintenance costs on offshore platforms by up to 50%. In one use case, a procedure that formerly involved flying three workers by helicopter to carry out maintenance – at a cost of around $10,000 – now requires only one.

“Now we’ve made that into one guy – we reduced the number of people on board which increases safety and reduces the cost of the deployment, and the others will be supporting from inland. With the headsets, everything is voice-activated and can be traced and tracked in real time. Our customers tell us this has reduced maintenance costs by 50%.”