The main challenge the team faced was to find ways of making the tasks to be carried out in the virtual world sufficiently comparable to tasks required to be carried out in the real world, ensuring the training impact was measurable when employees were actually out in the field doing their job for real.
Severn Trent approached a number of companies, including Make Real, for help to demonstrate how Virtual Reality technology could improve employee training across a variety of aspects associated with the supply, maintenance and monitoring of water services.
The demonstrator application was aimed at Practitioners, Management and Support Staff as well as the wider Severn Trent employee base to clearly show the work carried out during external visits and highlight how immersive technologies can improve efficiency by providing meaningful, repeatable learning scenarios.
For the purpose of the demonstrator and what was available through the Oculus for Business procurement system at the time, the experience was delivered on VR-Ready laptop and Oculus Rift + Touch, with the intention that it could be upgraded to support Oculus Quest in the future once available.
As an exploratory experience designed to showcase the benefits of immersive technology to stakeholders within the company, a short but impactful training scenario had to be created to demonstrate core components of the technological advantages whilst communicating clear learning objectives and outcomes.
Through our usual collaborative discovery process, which included a ride-along day attended by our Design Director, all stakeholders decided to focus upon the task of water leak resolution. We created a demonstrator experience to highlight the importance of correctly detecting leaks and reporting them accurately when booking in maintenance teams in order to minimise costs and disruption.
Using game mechanics from previous experiences we’ve built, we were able to deliver this project for a reasonable cost whilst maintaining the usual levels of polish that we take pride in.
The Severn Trent ‘Water Leak Resolution’ VR demonstrator application has been used in small control groups to compare the effectiveness of an immersive digital solution with the traditional face-to-face and screen-based training already in place.
Whilst this has not yet been rolled out in full across the company, early feedback from training groups shows that data retention is greatly improved when revisiting the subject matter weeks after the initial immersive training session was completed, compared to the group who only undertook the training via traditional methods.
These early user tests enable Make Real and Severn Trent to continue to work together to iterate and improve upon the learning content, incorporating feedback and deeper training outcomes, in order for Severn Trent to realise the benefits and value of VR before going out to market for a wider procurement of future solutions.
We’re always happy to talk to you about how immersive technologies can engage your employees and customers. If you have a learning objective in mind, or simply want to know more about emerging technologies like VR, AR, or AI, send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.