By Jamey McIntosh, Realityworks RealCareer Product Manager
As the skills gap continues to widen and educators focus on meeting 21st century learning with 21st century technology, the need for efficient methods of developing student’s skills – the skills of our future workforce – is becoming more and more important. The American Welding Society estimates that by 2020, there will be a shortage of 290,000 professionals, including inspectors, engineers, welders and teachers. For welding instructors and trainers, finding tools that provide the best course of student training will help engage and develop the skilled welders our workforce needs. One way to provide such training to 21st century learners while addressing the skills gap is through a robust welding solution – a solution that will transform your classroom into a 21st century welding lab.
A 21st century welding lab, complete with the technology and tools needed by 21st century students, would not only to engage students and encourage them to enter welding courses, but also to improve upon their welding techniques so they become proficient. Through three stages of learning, each of which incorporates various technologies, this welding solution emphasizes individual skill development, trains welders faster and in the end, develops our workforce.
Virtual reality welding simulators have become the first step of such a solution. The technology of these tools engages students in the skill of welding while giving them a safe environment in which to learn techniques, proper angles and muscle memory. The second stage of this welding solution would feature guidance and training during live welding in the welding booth. This guided reality experience would allow students to hone their skills, correct positioning and master welds faster while getting used to the real welding environment. Finally, the solution would see students do actual welds without guidance.
A robust welding solution is now available through Realityworks’ RealCareer® Welding Solutions program. It begins with the guideWELD™ VR welding simulator, a virtual reality welding simulator that enables students to master basic welding skills and learn proper technique in a safe, virtual environment. It continues with the guideWELD™ LIVE real welding guidance system, an in-helmet solution for live welding that provides immediate feedback on work angle, travel angle and speed while the user is performing live, arc-on welds. Both tools can be used by instructors – who can have as much as a 1/25 teacher-to-student ratio — to help with classroom management and ensure that improvements continue with all students.
Instructors have seen the impact of the RealCareer Welding Solutions program, particularly feedback during live welding. In fact, instructors report that students have improved their technique by at least a week after being guided during live welds. As Hutchinson Community College Welding Instructor Greg Seipert stated after his students used guideWELD LIVE, “My students get it and their welds improve, along with their confidence.”
It is vital that educators utilize technology that truly works for our future workforce. Realityworks’ RealCareer Welding Solutions program was made by welders for welding education to help develop the skills of today’s students. Finding a full solution for your classroom will not only prepare your 21st century students for the future but address our nation’s skills gap as well.
For more information about our RealCareer Welding Solutions program, including guideWELD VR and guideWELD LIVE, please contact us via email at email@example.com.