PDA Associate Partner, PaintTech Training Academy are always finding ways to be cutting edge and use new technologies. In today’s fast paced technological world it is important to seek out new ways of learning and integrate these technologies into our day-to-day business.
Virtual reality is not a new concept, but we are on the cusp of it becoming more mainstream with the Meta Quest 2, and now the Meta Quest 3 headsets being readily available and affordable. Sony have also stepped in the arena with their PSVR1 and PSVR2 headsets and this has also opened up the world of VR to your more traditional platform gamers. As more and more people ‘play’ with VR it becomes more normal, think back to the days when schools and colleges didn’t have computers or interactive smartboards, it wasn’t that long ago!
Virtual reality is a fantastic learning resource, it can simulate real workspaces and environments, where people can develop their skills without the real-world consequences of failing. Take airless spraying as an example, how amazing is it to be able to put an airless sprayer in the hands of a 15 year old school kid who is considering decorating as a career, knowing that it is a totally safe environment for them to experience what it feels like to spray paint. There are no worries about injection injuries, or paint spillages so the learner is free to unlock their potential in a safe and controlled way.
PaintTech Training Academy have worked very closely with KnightShift (the developer) to develop an airless spraying simulator that is truly virtually real. The equipment has been modelled on a real life airless sprayer including the sounds and the way that that the tip sprays the paint onto the wall, you can change the tip size, and see the different spray pattern on the wall, you can even look at the sheen level of the paint when you look at the woodwork you have just sprayed.
VR is the future of learning it will never fully replace real hands-on learning, but it does enable us to get learners up to a certain level, before they then move onto using the real thing. This will bring huge cost saving benefits as you are not having to buy paint to practice with, especially when someone is really new to spraying, they can master their technique at keeping overspray to a minimum prior to actually spraying some real paint. Practicing with VR will also help to form good habits on the advice of the tutor as well as building confidence.
Why are PaintTech Training Academy telling you all this?
They’ve got three goals they want to achieve with this VR application.
1) Attract young people into painting and decorating
Attract young people into painting and decorating as a career, they want to show them that being a decorator can not only be very rewarding and lucrative, but it can also be really fun. There’s the age old adage that if you love what you do then you never work a day in your life, and to some extent that is very true. The problem we face is that decorating isn’t showcased as being rewarding and enjoyable, it’s showcased as being poorly paid and a lot of hard graft. PaintTech Training Academy hope this VR can help to change young peoples perceptions of the trade and encourage them to consider decorating as a career choice.
2) Connect with learners across the globe
Connect with learners all over the globe. Although not developed yet, the next stage of the VR will have the ability for the tutor to be in there with you giving you guidance, support and of course you teaching you about the craft. With VR it makes it possible for the tutor to connect with learners in other countries, and it breaks down the barriers of location being an issue if people are unable to travel to attend an in-person course. Another future addition will be the virtual classroom where groups of learners can come together to experience structured group learning and learn those valuable life skills that you gain from working with others. For learners who may suffer from anxiety or mental health issues, this gives them a safe and secure platform to interact with others from the comfort of their own home or place that they feel safe.
3) Create a virtual shopping experience
Create a virtual shopping experience for decorating equipment. PaintTech Training Academy want people to be able to look at the spray equipment they are thinking of purchasing in detail, actually hold the gun, kneel down have a good look at the sprayer, even spray some paint with it, it brings to the world the next level of online shopping. Of course, this is not just for spray equipment, it can be anything, sanding equipment, wallpapering tools, brushes, etc the possibilities are endless, from the virtual shop, people would be able to click on links and purchase equipment that they have found in the shop, they can buy with more confidence, rather than just looking at images and reading descriptions on screens. Suppliers will also have the option to use the VR for their own in house training. Imagine being able to train your whole worldwide workforce on how to service a new model of sprayer, all from one room, but with delegates from around the world, no one has to fly to headquarters in Europe or America to participate in the training, so in a way not only this is also a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of teaching and learning, it would also be very cost effective for the suppliers too.
What’s PaintTech Training Academy’s Goal?
Step 1 in achieving their goals is to get the VR out there and into the hands of young people who may be interested in a career in our trade. They know that being a decorator isn’t just about spraying, but this is a really cool, fun and enticing way to build a bit of excitement of some aspects of the job, so do get in touch if you would like them to come out to demo it with your learners at your College.