Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the cognitive and physical impact of virtual reality (VR) integrated training versus traditional training methods in the domain of weld training.
Background: Weld training is very important in various industries and represents a complex skill set appropriate for advanced training intervention. As such, there has been a long search for the most successful and most cost-effective method for training new welders.
Method: Participants in this study were randomly assigned to one of two separate training courses taught by sanctioned American Welding Society certified welding instructors; the duration of each course was 2 weeks. After completing the training for a specific weld type, participants were given the opportunity to test for the corresponding certification. Participants were evaluated in terms of their cognitive and physical parameters, total training time exposure, and welding certification awards earned. Each of the four weld types taught in this study represented distinct levels of difficulty and required the development of specialized knowledge and skills.
Results: This study demonstrated that participants in the VR integrated training group (VR50) performed as well as, and in some cases, significantly outperformed, the traditional welding (TW) training group.The VR50 group was found to have a 41.6% increase in overall certifications earned compared with the TW group.
Conclusion: VR technology is a valuable tool for the production of skilled welders in a shorter time and often with more highly developed skills than their traditionally trained counterparts.
Application: These findings strongly support the use ofVR integrated training in the welding industry.