Komatsu launches Komatsu Academy, a new online training system for customers and dealers
Komatsu Academy, a new online training system that is currently available for Komatsu dealers, will become available for Komatsu customers this fall via the My Komatsu app.
Intended to easily provide educational content to users at any time, “Komatsu Academy is designed to help our dealers and customers recruit, strengthen their workforce, and retain their technicians and operators,” said Craig Yager, Training Manager for Komatsu. “It’s part of an ecosystem to bolster and improve the skill sets of current technicians and operators, while drawing new people to this industry by providing access to high school and technical school students.”
Yager continued, “It’s important for Komatsu to provide our dealers with in-depth knowledge of our products, so they can support our customers. And, for our customers, Komatsu Academy can provide training to support the creation of a skilled workforce that can operate our equipment more efficiently and effectively, to help reduce machine downtime by identifying problems before they worsen.”
Komatsu Academy will offer module-based, blended learning content such as videos, animations, documents, competency tests, and microlearning sessions that include safety, machine maintenance and operating best practices. These modules can be accessed easily through a mobile app and completed at an individual’s own pace. For Komatsu customers, Komatsu Academy will offer some free courses and content, but the full suite of content will be accessible on a subscription or a per-course cost.
Flexible career development
Aside from relevant job training, Komatsu Academy will also provide career paths for users, allowing them to learn additional skills and become certified, which could help them advance within their organization.
“The ability to develop a career path is going to help an employee grow by identifying what training and skills are needed for advancement,” explained Yager. “For example, Komatsu Academy can help an employee who works at the parts counter and wants to be a parts manager by providing a view to their career path and explaining what training and skills they need to achieve their goal.”
When a person logs into Komatsu Academy, they are identified by their job role, and then the system tailors recommended courses for them.
“The system recognizes any potential career paths and displays certifications based on the job role information,” said Yager. “Users can find additional certifications and information relevant to their career path and see how the content they have taken to date applies to other potential careers.”
For certifications, users can supplement hands-on training with educational content on Komatsu Academy to minimize time away from their organization.
“Our dealers are often faced with the difficult choice between supporting their customers or sending their technicians to do training to improve their skills,” said Yager. “Komatsu Academy will provide them with an option to do both simultaneously. The technician can learn more about our products and how to troubleshoot them on their own, on the job, all with microlearning content at their fingertips. Instead of attending a traditional 40-hour class, they have access to content that’s online, easily searchable, and consumed in small modules. They could be standing out at the machine on their lunch break and learn something about an excavator.”
Development of VR training
As technology continues to evolve in the construction industry, virtual reality (VR) will likely be a crucial aspect of Komatsu Academy in the not-so-distant future.
“Our team at Komatsu is working with Arizona State University to develop virtual operator training using haptic gloves and VR goggles,” said Yager. “Haptic gloves give you the feel of interacting with the machine. The user feels feedback through the gloves, and the VR gives them a 360-degree view of the machine. They can actually feel and see that they are grabbing a wrench and can feel the bolt tightening.”
The technology enables people to have hands-on experiences with a machine, even if there’s not a physical model on-site. VR training can circumvent any machine availability issues and provide hands-on content whenever and wherever.
“Someone training could be in a small classroom a thousand miles from the instructor, but they could virtually see and feel the machine and interact with the instructor,” said Yager. “The potential use cases are endless. VR is going to be important for technical training, and Komatsu Academy will provide the necessary training information to make the workforce stronger and to spark renewed interest in careers within the construction and mining industry.”