Making learning fun: specialist dealers and STIHL employees can now try out new brand-name tools in a virtual environment. The “STIHL Training goes Virtual Reality” project is a complement to traditional product training and its aim is to inform employees about new STIHL products.
To do this, realistic depictions of products are transferred to a computer-generated version of reality, known as virtual reality (VR). The tools are displayed in an interactive STIHL shop, a fictitious laboratory and in the forest, just where they will be used in practice. With the virtual reality glasses, the user can also take a look at tools such as chainsaws or the VIKING iMow in 3D. The project is not just pioneering – it is also a success: it was recently awarded with the eLearning AWARD 2018 at the didacta trade fair.
Modern learning: STIHL training becomes a virtual reality
360-degree photos and videos are popular – and not just on social media. Virtual reality offers appealing opportunities in the field of vocational training to provide employees with information in an exciting way. That is why STIHL created its own virtual learning world in order to meet the need for new formats for conveying knowledge. In the virtual world, users can take a look at new products in a computer-generated STIHL shop, in a futuristic laboratory, or in the forest. It offers numerous opportunities for interaction, including practical ways of getting information and a chance to take the tools apart and look at their individual components.
Discovering virtual worlds with 3D glasses
Virtual reality glasses allow the viewer to experience the computer-generated STIHL training world in 3D. The glasses react to the user’s head movements, creating a three-dimensional, 360-degree view. So if you turn your head around, this movement will also take place in the virtual reality. The special glasses use small screens in front of the viewer’s eyes to convey two images from different perspectives, thereby creating an impression of 3D space.
Learners can also take an active role in the process of knowledge transmission. For example, videos and animations can be activated by focusing the eyes. The goal is to encourage an understanding of how individual tools work.
Learning with all the senses, no matter where you are
The interactive STIHL training course can be taken by STIHL employees all over the world using their smartphones. This is vital, because STIHL has an active presence in more than 160 countries and wants to give employees around the world access to modern learning methods. In order to ensure the training is geared towards an international target group, the application is completely language-neutral. The user simply scans a QR code with his or her smartphone and puts the phone into the VR glasses to be transported to the virtual STIHL shop. After selecting a product, the user can choose between three different ways of viewing it: they can check out its product information, a three-dimensional cross-section, or an exploded view.
STIHL training programme receives the eLearning AWARD
STIHL’s world of virtual training already won an eLearning AWARD in the Virtual Reality category in 2017. The jury was inspired by the possibility of using 3D glasses to explore STIHL tools.
Two awards for digital projects have been added to the list of accolades in 2018. One of the prizes was once again awarded in the Virtual Reality category for the STIHL Chainsaw Simulator, which allows learners to practice felling trees using a chainsaw virtually. The second AWARD was presented for the AR 2GO project in the Augmented Reality (AR) category. Information (images or graphics) – for example, a STIHL chainsaw – is displayed to users alongside the real world on mobile devices.
The awards were presented by the eLearning Journal citing the following reasons: “STIHL Training stands for modern and innovative learning that is fit for the future. The consistent, language-independent and modern design combined with the intuitive user interface constitutes a true experience for the learner.”