Addison A,O’Hare W-T,Kassem M,Dawood N
The importance of engaging engineering and construction learners in virtual worlds and serious games
Abstract: The engineering and construction industries require their workforce to undertake complex learning and training activities. Exposing new employees, graduates, or apprentices to these environments could endanger their safety and the safety of those working with them. On site education and training also requires an investment of time from skilled individuals and companies. Problems accessing environments, such as construction sites, heavy plants or chemical manufacturers, are substantially heightened by the need to risk assess and comply with Health and Safety legislation making the traditional “hands on” and “shadowing” approaches to training and education more complicated than in the past. These difficulties are also compounded by changes to the geographical locations (e.g. distance learning, on site) of those studying to join these career paths or progress within them. Therefore, educational institutions and trainers must consider how to deliver this skill based learning for both those with access to academic premises and those learning at a distance. New technologies such as serious games are one of the solutions being explored. This paper undertakes an analysis of safety issues and safety training and learning methods relating to the construction industry. The paper takes its start point from a Health and Safety Executive commissioned report in 2003 (Hide et al, 2003) and questions if sufficient improvements in safety have been achieved within the construction industry since its publication. Then, the paper investigates the development of education and training that meets the necessary reality and complexity of engineering and construction sectors and the ability of serious games to provide timely and accessible training to achieve competency within these sectors.
Keywords: Competency,learning,safety,serious games,training,virtual worlds
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