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Hydac's virtual reality training

Many companies had to adopt new technologies very quickly during the lockdown. Workers have had to quickly apply different technology-based skills. Learning was online and rapid. The crisis accelerated digital transformation and the adoption of new practices.

Increasingly the acquisition of new skills, and the refreshing of existing skills, by workers can happen in more sophisticated online environments: through virtual and physical programs that incorporate the transferable capabilities of enquiry, agility, adaptability, creativity and problem-solving.  

Tertiary education and training providers acted swiftly to switch to distance and online learning, leaning on the online learning options they already operated. They are now more likely to develop sophisticated new pedagogies that retain quality in training and assessment and bring learning alive to engage students. Technologies, including gamification, virtual worlds and simulation, can be applied more commonly to complement traditional education techniques.

The crisis has opened the way for creative collaboration between industry and tertiary providers in order to build deep engagement by learners and to ensure relevance of the learning.

One example of sophisticated training involves Hydac, an Ai Group member that specialises in fluid technology, motion control and automation. Hydac has partnered with Deakin Motion Lab to develop remote training by using virtual reality (VR). The cutting edge technology allows for students and trainers to be in different locations, and virtually come together in a virtual training space. It allows direct interaction with the equipment, real time instruction, feedback and verification of skills. 

The topics in Hydac’s VR training are related to hydraulics, electro-hydraulics, hydro-pneumatic accumulators and thermal optimisation, with a focus on workplace safety. Students have their training experience in a total 3D environment; the training uniquely allows and simulates hazardous events that would be impossible to demonstrate safely in real life. 

Students can also perform tasks as they would normally do if they were on the real machine, such as changing a hydraulic filter and checking the pressure of a hydro-pneumatic accumulator; all with the full assistance of a professional qualified technical trainer. 

Another example of innovative online delivery involves Skills Lab, which offers short courses in automation, PLCs and SCADA and is also delivering the Industry 4.0 Higher Apprenticeship qualification – the Diploma of Applied Technologies. 

Skills Lab uses a series of 4K video cameras and software tools that participants control to conduct virtual training with RTO-certified trainers, who deliver the training centrally from the Lab. Course content is identical to in-person classroom training, with learners completing theory and action learning projects. Whether that is writing code remotely or fault-finding, learners upload and interact with the physical training platform in the Lab, and watch the live video stream of code in action on the platform. 


A Skills Lab trainer at the Training Lab, taking a learner through a PLC training course

Both of these organisations are Ai Group members, and both are at the cutting edge of learning innovation to ensure they meet the skills needs of their customers. 

Further information can be found at: and

Alternatively, you can contact Anne Younger, Ai Group's General Manager – Education and Training: