Air Conditioning Technology Students Use Virtual Reality to Practice Troubleshooting Skills
As technology becomes more advanced, the more opportunities there are for industries to increase efficiency. That’s why Ocoee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC) Air Conditioning Technology Instructor, Bradley Huckabee, added a virtual reality component for his students to use in the lab.
“The virtual reality system gives students a chance to get immersed in how to work on air conditioners and ease themselves into it without worrying about getting shocked or hurt,” Huckabee shared. “It also gives them a more real world feel to troubleshooting and how a real-life service call may go without actually being there.”
Students can work on a variety of scenarios using the virtual reality system where they troubleshoot electrical, refrigeration, airflow and plumbing issues common to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) field. “It starts the student off in a guided mode that provides them with step-by-step instructions,” Huckabee added, “and as they progress through the course it will change to a challenge mode where it doesn’t guide them, and random problems will occur for the student to troubleshoot.”
By using advanced technology to hone their skills, students can already see the benefits of having access to this type of training.
“The virtual reality system can be used for training simulations and can help new students know the proper process and procedures a real HVAC technician uses in the field,” said Rusty Coob, OFTC Air Conditioning Technology student. “I have personally used it a couple of times and it has given me a better understanding of how to troubleshoot a unit.”
“It can also give a student the chance to work on units that the College may not have access to in the lab,” he added.
And while traditional hands-on lab work on real units and trainers is still vital to a student’s training in the HVAC field, Huckabee says the virtual reality training is a great start for students.
“Soon we plan to obtain a few more virtual reality systems so we can have monthly friendly competitions amongst the students, just as a way to make the learning process a little more fun and exciting.”