Bringing safety focussed, state of the art training techniques to our learning & development capabilities, the EPC-UK team is adding interactive technologies to its portfolio of delivery tools using the latest virtual reality headsets and software enabled video footage. 

Brought together with a specialist online platform called Uptale, EPC-UK’s immersive learning technology programme, which has been driven by Marketing Assistant, Luke Williams, will allow employees to experience specially designed learning models – created using 360-degree camera footage. 

The Uptale software that is supporting the virtual reality technology is enabling Luke and the learning & development team to edit imagery and add narrations that bring camera-shot footage to life. This makes virtual reality learning highly interactive and will keep trainees safe as they learn to navigate the drilling & blasting environment. 

Safer through innovation

EPC-UK’s innovative training concept is being implemented following the success EPC France experienced in applying the same technologies to digitally advance training development within its teams. Detailing the new initiative further, Luke explains:

“We’re extremely excited to be bringing immersive learning techniques to the EPC-UK classroom. Intended to work hand-in-hand with traditional teaching methods, these new digitized capabilities will allow us to streamline classroom work and couple it with interactive exercises, such as quiz questions from which users can accumulate points as they progress through their learning schemes.”

Stimulating and effective

The immersive technology will give us tremendous scope to develop our training solutions in line with increasing technological developments that are occurring industry wide. The virtual reality experience, which is classroom based, is user-led and delivers training programmes that are stimulating and effective. Designed to move at a pace that suits individual learners, the schemes of immersive delivery do not progress until the user is ready, giving individuals the control to select the next programme option. This helps to prevent learners from feeling that modules have moved too far ahead of their level of understanding. Furthermore, by learning in virtual reality, the user experience can feel more “real” and tangible, as opposed to a traditional classroom session that’s delivered in isolation. By coupling both the virtual reality and classroom learning experiences together, we’re using the latest capabilities to support learners with the best of both worlds.”

Camera, action

Luke explains that the first training module EPC-UK’s Learning & Development team has created supports training for new starters operating the company’s MB52 Multiblend truck.

To generate the camera footage needed, Luke brought Dan Pearson, EPC-UK Multiblend Specialist, on board to not only help advise on the content, but personally feature within the learning-based recording.  

“Dan took the part of the main character in the recorded footage, with Kieran Bridge, Multiblend Operative, playing a supportive role” Luke explains.  “Dan has been an ideal choice for involvement in the project, as he is qualified to drive and operate the truck and understands first-hand the key information that new starters need to know. This made his input invaluable and enabled him to play an instrumental part in devising the storyboard for the filmed recording.”

Technology working together

The recorded footage is used in conjunction with our Uptale software – the French-designed, interactive learning platform initially utilised by EPC France. By benefiting from wider EPC Groupe implementation experiences, Luke says he’s been able to work collaboratively with others and take advantage of a global pool of knowledge to help him bring our own immersive learning programme together. 

Luke hopes that the MB52 Multiblend truck learning module he and the team have created will be the first of several enabling programmes of digitized delivery. He plans to progress additional modules to enhance learners’ MB52 Multiblend truck training experiences, then advance several areas of process safety training that could also be augmented via a virtual reality module.

Safer, innovative learning

“In my view the success of immersive learning within the drilling & blasting environment comes down to the medium’s potential to offer realism and engagement, whilst keeping learners safe at all times,” Luke adds. “Ultimately the aim of any training – in any industry – is to create learning examples that feel as close to working experiences as possible. Theoretically, alumni of the immersive learning course will be able to visualise the actions they performed in virtual reality and conduct related tasks on site more effectively than if they’d simply watched a classroom demonstration. It’s an exciting time for our learning & development capabilities and I look forward to progressing further training opportunities and improvements that will keep EPC-UK placed as a leading innovator in both the training and drilling & blasting fields.”