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4 Example: Maintenance Training for a High Voltage Circuit Breaker

The following section describes a learning application that was developed for the maintenance of a high voltage circuit breaker [25]. Using the learning environment, technicians shall be prepared for acting safely and confidently in their future working environment. In this regard being able to internalize how to handle dangerous and complex processes is essential. This knowledge forms the basis for safe handling in the real working environment. [7]

Consequently the first learning module deals with the exploration of the high voltage circuit breaker and its two main components: three pole columns and the operating mechanism.

So far 2D-drawings (e.g. exploded view drawings) were widely used within technical trainings and are well known from user manuals. Assigning the assembly parts and their denomination using these drawings is a behavioristic learning strategy that might be suitable for easy assembly structures. In case of the operating mechanism that contains many single parts, the use of a 2D-drawing (Fig. 3a) is limited because it shows only one predefined perspective and exactly one state of the device. For the transfer to other states of the operating mechanism a higher capability of abstraction is required.

The virtual learning environment introduces a constructivist approach that connects the well-known 2D drawing with an interactive model (Fig. 3b) of the operating mechanism. Users can explore the device individually according to their demands. Used in classroom training, the mechanical behavior is no longer only presented in a teacher-centered approach. Users can now explore the components and the functionality by interactively using the virtual model on a laptop or an immersive VR system. It can be summarized that factual knowledge can be designed in a behavioristic manner in case of comparatively easy models (e.g. easy assignment tasks). For more complex systems it is recommended to extend the approach to a constructive one.

Fig. 3. (a) 2D drawing and (b) virtual model of the operating mechanism

In the second learning module technicians can make themselves familiar with bestpractice solutions of chosen maintenance tasks. The visualized tasks were chosen because of their relevance and their complexity. Together with the technical experts the working processes were discussed, whereas it could be recognized that the discussion that is accompanied by a visual tool is much more intensive than just talking about a process. Before using VR based environments the work process was explained by using written manuals, checklists and videos. The use of a video is a mainly cognitivistic approach where the learner observes another person handling a situation and transfers the knowledge gained to their own task. In many situations videos are well suited, e.g. to have it available on mobile devices and to remember single working steps.

For more complex tasks a feedback from the system and the opportunity of interacting and getting further information is necessary. In the virtual learning environment a work step is described by a set of predefined animations and actions that were developed together with the technical experts, enhanced by additional information that can be accessed from the virtual scene or from a checklist. This design is following a constructive approach.

Fig. 4. Best practice solution combining animations, a checklist and different media

The learning modules are suitable for learning groups of different levels of expertise. For the learning application presented, the taxonomy of Bloom can be interpreted as follows:

1. Knowledge: The learner can assign the parts and assembly groups of the pole column and the operating mechanism of one type of high voltage circuit breaker, knows how SF6 the isolating gas within the pole column behaves in case of compression and in which order working steps have to be executed.

2. Comprehension: The learner explains the functional processes of the operating mechanism, the pole column and the coupling between as well as the changes of gas and electricity during runtime.

3. Application: The learner can apply the knowledge to other types of high voltage circuit breakers.

4. Analysis: The learner can divide a real task into subtasks and can use his/her knowledge for problem-solving. Factual knowledge and process knowledge are used for understanding, analyzing and solving the problem.

5. Synthesis: Learners can solve problems that were not part of their qualification. Because of their knowledge and experience they can recognize relations and develop new solutions.

6. Evaluation: The learner has a far-reaching overview from technical as well as from the economical point of view. This gives him the ability to distinguish between different solutions following the companies interests. The learner is also able to transfer his/her knowledge to colleagues in a suitable manner.

 
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