Virtual reality in education is an emerging market and it is still hard to find good applications. We want to introduce a scenario which deals with high risk, high costs and a high degree of complexity: virtual welding.
In virtual reality learners can independently train their welding skills risk-free and with different options of materials. Also, virtual training reduces the amount of wasted materials at the same time. There are two examples of how VR can enrich the learning process of welding: the US-based company Lincoln Electrics and Austrian based Fronius. Both combine the use of real welding tools models and virtual image of the tools to train muscle memory and support the transfer of learning. Various studies conducted by Lincoln Electronics show that the use of a VR welding trainer increases the chance of a successful learning process. Fronius offers a virtual welding training, alongside the supervision of their virtual trainer, “Ghost“. The training is divided into steps which allows the learners to practice in their own speed, with additional help from „Ghost“ if needed. The virtual trainer acts as a guide and makes the user aware of errors.
These examples demonstrate the possibilities of virtual reality in combination with real models. Furthermore, the use of assistance within virtual worlds are illustrated, an approach which we follow as well.