On Friday, November 6th, The Arc of the United States awarded us the opportunity of working together on a new project: navigating job sites with virtual reality (VR). We are thrilled to accept the project with our current employer and neighbor, Plastic Design International (PDI).
“We hypothesize that this system will reduce the time it takes people with IDD to learn to navigate their job sites, with more independence and at a lower cost than methods that rely only on in-person supports,” says The Arc. “[O]ur aim is not to entirely replace in-person supports with virtual reality–just supplement in-person supports with virtual reality[.]”
The biggest challenge often faced when it comes to job training is social anxiety. If individuals can become familiar with a job site before physically going there, they don’t face nearly as many risks when training in the real world. Not to mention, it provides a far more immersive and comprehensive learning experience versus merely reading, listening, or watching a trainer talk about the site and specific tasks.
Guided by The Arc, we will be photographing PDI’s job site to create a simulation visible through VR. Then, individuals will have the chance to test the VR products for themselves, navigating the virtual job site. Their feedback will be crucial to this project’s success, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us.