Some folks have been playing video games where they “operate” heavy equipment to build their own house or create a town. Others point to actual high-tech simulators built by manufacturers of heavy equipment for training purposes and wonder if it’s the same thing as the video game, only more expensive. Then there’s the old-fashioned guys saying, “ya gotta learn it by the seat of yer pants or it ain’t gonna work.”
So, what is the truth about simulators?
Well, a video game is going to be like a video game. You will get some head knowledge if it is created to be educational, and it has a value in that way. It’s also fun. If you like big machinery of course a game where you use it will be fun. But it won’t give you a sense of what you are actually doing when you get in the seat of that grader or backhoe.
Simulators built by the manufacturer are designed for training to use a specific type of equipment. You will be sitting at controls like the crane or whatever and be looking at a screen that shows you the effects of what you are doing with those controls. Some even will have a few effects like seat tilting. They are not designed to be entertainment; they are designed to be a safe and effective way to begin the training process so your mistakes don’t have real-life consequences.
In-the-seat training is best done after you have a good idea of what you are doing, just like it’s a good idea to know a lot about driving before you get on the road. And, like driving a car, you develop reactions that become automatic as you spend time in real life doing it. It takes time and experience out in the weather, in the seat, to really get the hang of operating heavy equipment.
At ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School, we make sure you are ready to be in the seat before you are expected to operate big machinery. Then you get that in-the-seat experience which only comes from operating many kinds of machinery in real life, and that gets you trained and certified to be a valuable employee worth hiring.