One of the compelling conversations at NSC Monday was about how to better engage workers and speaker Aaron Walsh, who came up with an initiative called Immersive Education, suggested failure as an option.

Although surprising, he said allowing employees to experience failure is a good thing. Walsh is an advocate of virtual reality and said it could also benefit the safety industry and offer opportunities for training. He said virtual reality exercises, similar to video games, could help teach people how to respond to dangerous situations because the “games” would place the player into certain scenarios where they would both fail and succeed. The training simulations would put the person in real-life predicaments such as working from height or struggling to stay afloat in deep water, as Walsh demonstrated on screen.

Walsh’s Immersive Education initiative is a nonprofit international collaboration of educational institutions, research institutes and companies. The Initiative was established in 2005 with the mission to define and develop standards, best practices, technology platforms, training and education programs, and communities of support for virtual worlds, virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality, simulations, game-based learning and training systems, and fully immersive environments.

Walsh said virtual reality training recreates environments employees may have to face in real life. By playing video games as a training tool, “you can remember what you're learning much better,” he said.