Mobile simulation in the rail industry

Mobile simulator for Hitachi’s Class 800
May 5, 2017

Mobile Simulation – A giant leap for rail training

The days of crude avatars in cartoon environments for rail training are over (unless of course you want to remain retro). If you are using acetates, paper handouts and illustrations from the 1980s, to teach millennials security and safety sensitive procedures, you really should think again.

Don’t get me wrong, traditional training methods still have benefits however they are an increasingly smaller part of what’s available to deliver effective training to a new generation.

Blended approach to training

Having been in the rail industry for 10 years now, we’ve seen training in operating companies and manufacturers evolve at what can best be described as a ‘measured’ pace when compared to how fast technology has changed. There are some who remain firmly classroom-based, however more are now realising the benefits of the blended approach to training and how mobile technology can help re-design training into ‘bite-size’ chunks, enabling a more continual approach to learning.

Market developments

It’s been a quick 10 years, and whilst I was wearing out shoe leather and going hoarse at sales presentations, the industry was headed for the ‘perfect storm’ with mobile technology where three market developments converged to do a lot more than I could to move things along:

1. Tablets and smartphones became very cool, relatively cheap and were no longer seen as a management perk

2. Management across the industry realised that they could re-design training to make it easier, quicker and more effective

3. The kids grew up: The generation of staff coming into the railway have touchscreens as their primary interface with technology and will rarely be without them.

For the first time ever we have a technology in smartphones and tablets that many have an emotional attachment to (try taking someone’s phone off them if you don’t believe me). We can spend between 2 and 8 hours on our phones and tablets EVERY DAY! This isn’t a minor behavioural change, it’s a disruptive revolution. For good or bad, we are evolving and our learning styles and attention spans are changing with it.

Mobile simulation solutions

As a business providing mobile simulator solutions for the Rail Industry, we see how this disruption is changing people’s perceptions. They understand how easy it is to watch and learn on phones or tablets in their own time at their own speed! And that’s nothing on how Virtual and Augmented Reality will radically change the marketplace, but that’s for a future blog.

If you want to see this in action, we’ll be on the Hitachi stand (J11) at #Railtex2017 at the NEC from the 9th until the 11th of May. Come along and see the 3D simulation of the new Hitachi Class 800. #HitachiatRailtex

Let me know your thoughts on the future of mobile learning. If this something you are currently experiencing or just about to experience, it would be great to hear what you think. Leave me a comment below.