Full Scope Simulators – The Ultimate Practical Training Tool

The development of animated movies created opportunities for more than just a new form of entertainment. Suddenly it was possible to display the action of an internal combustion engine with a cutaway model that revealed the stages of intake, ignition, compression and exhaust in colourful slow-motion detail. However, statistics indicate that humans tend to retain only 30 per cent of what they see compared with 90 per cent of what they do. By contrast, modern full scope simulators allow the viewer to interact with the animated content, turning a viewing experience into a doing experience. 

For example, instead of merely watching and learning to name an engine’s parts, with the use of full scope simulators, trainee mechanics can go through the motions of dismantling that engine and replacing a cylinder head gasket without getting their hands dirty or causing further damage to a client’s vehicle. 

The setup can alert the trainees to mistakes, offer hints and even score their performance based on those mistakes and the number of hints required. Full-scope simulators will invariably be the best option whenever intensive and effective practical training may be crucial.

A partial simulation, such as the head gasket replacement exercise mentioned previously, can also be a helpful teaching aid. It is a reasonably straightforward task for a developer to create relatively crude but effective computer models, animate them and add an interactive user interface, given a suitable software suite. In practice, generic products are often available off the shelf. While somewhat more challenging, modelling every detail of a nuclear power plant and creating a photorealistic, interactive environment virtually indistinguishable from a live control room are the essential steps in developing a full scope simulator.  

The advantages of such systems as a tool for training plant operators, maintenance personnel and safety crews are manifold. 

Unlike traditionally passive training options, simulations cater to the crucial need for intensive hands-on individual practice. They offer instructors a more efficient alternative that is cheaper, easier to schedule, more scalable and safer than conducting a live training session. One can deliver proven effective, practical training on-site without interruption to time-critical work schedules or the expense of outsourcing trainee instruction to a third-party commercial training centre.

Time-saving is a significant advantage of employing full scope simulators for training purposes. Many plant managers now report that it takes up to 60 per cent less time for their operatives to attain the necessary level of competence than when they relied on traditional instruction methods. Given that the power industry has been struggling to keep pace with staff attrition due to retirements and qualified replacements are thin on the ground, a means to reduce training time and produce competent operatives could be invaluable.

Full Scope Simulators Offer a Versatile Option

Generic simulations covering selected processes used in coal-fired, diesel-fired and nuclear power plants are frequently available on demand. However, bespoke full scope simulators can offer an all-inclusive training tool and are a highly cost-effective investment. These powerful interactive teaching programmes have applications in many other fields apart from power generation, especially where there may be an element of danger involved. 

Most people will be aware of the role of the elaborate simulated learning installations that have been so successful in training the world’s airline pilots. For a rookie merchant seaman or port authority pilot, manoeuvring a gigantic, fully-laden supertanker along a shallow shipping lane to a secure mooring is a task these recruits should definitely practice many times with the relevant full scope simulator.

The mining and petrochemical industries employ complex heavy machinery to perform numerous mission-critical operations. Their day-to-day tasks are often extremely hazardous, presenting a risk of injuries or even fatalities to operatives in the event of a mistake. Among the many inherent benefits of a simulated learning programme, assuring the safety of staff and the environment will invariably be the one most appreciated by plant managers and instructors. There are few more dangerous locations on the planet than the deck of an offshore oil rig. For those who must learn to work on them, full scope simulators can, quite literally, be a lifesaver.

In practice, this immersive learning technology appears destined to replace traditional practical training methods in many more fields. If you believe that your company could benefit from using a powerful new instructional tool to accelerate skills development, cut costs and avoid the risk often posed by on-the-job training, this could be the answer. To learn more, talk to an expert at SimGenics about world-class, bespoke, full scope simulators.

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