VR training is one of the new “big things on the block”. At least, as far as recruitment, onboarding, and employee training are concerned.
It certainly sounds cool. And the many Virtual Reality start-ups out there are valued at a total of around $36 billion at the moment, so quite a few other people seem to think so too.
But what is VR training like? Might it be something that’s going to be standard in the workplace of the future? Is it something that might be suited to your business?
What is VR training like?
VR training lets you simulate real workplace scenarios in a 360-degree learning environment. Basically, it’s like playing a video game of work.
Team members undergoing training put on a VR headset and then move around a specifically-made environment using a controller. They can interact with the environment, any equipment that’s being simulated inside it, and any other people who are undergoing training at the same time.
The training environment can host or be incorporated into narrative learning experiences or specific curriculums. Trainees’ response times and scores can then be used to assess their performance quantitatively.
Why is VR good for training?
Lots of companies have been looking into VR training purely for the cost savings. Some research shows that it could be as much as:
- 64% more cost-effective than eLearning
- 200% more cost-effective than traditional classroom-based learning
Virtual Reality can also be used to set up scenarios that would be very expensive to try and recreate or simulate in the real world.
On top of this, it’s much faster to implement than other training methods. This results in less time away from work for employees and even better value for money.
2) Risk reduction
Some scenarios – we’re talking mainly emergency or disaster preparedness here – would also be too difficult or dangerous to try in the real world.
VR training offers a safe way to see how trainees might respond – or should respond – in a situation without any risk.
For this reason, industries as diverse as defence, healthcare, and the energy sector are all getting into Virtual Reality in a big way.
3) Knowledge retention
One of the big benefits normally touted by eLearning providers is that people retain much more of the knowledge that they gain from an eLearning course than they would if they’d been taught in a classroom. Using VR for training seems to dial this up another notch. The boost may be as much as:
- 75% better learning retention
- 52% reduction in skill fade over time (that’s compared to about 5% for eLearning)
- Potentially as much as 275% more confidence in applying the skills they’d learned
The key seems to be the immersion that VR offers. After all, most people would agree that the best training of all is experience. Virtual Reality is as close as you can get to giving employees workplace experience without them actually having any.
This makes it a big benefit when it comes to upskilling or reskilling team members – sure to be a major factor in the jobs market of the future.
What VR training options are out there?
Just to give you a taste of the broad variety of options out there, here are some providers of VR training systems that are doing things in slightly different ways:
- Magic Leap – valued at over $6 billion, Magic Leap is doing a whole lot of collaboration, content sharing, and visualisation work on top of providing VR training with their tech.
- Niantic – these guys grew to fame as the people behind Pokemon Go. Today, as well as using their VR games in team-building exercises, the company provides immersive training courses for set careers.
- Labster – is a comparatively smaller Danish edtech platform that offers training specifically for students of science and medicine for which you don’t need a VR headset. It’s not clear if that affects the apparent gains of VR training, yet it’s an interestingly different approach.
Is VR training going to be part of the workplace of the future?
Organisations as large as Meta and Bank of America amongst many others are already using VR for training purposes.
As well as cost-effectiveness, there are all kinds of applications where VR makes possible training scenarios – such as surgeons learning heart surgery or power plant staff simulating disasters – that would be dangerous otherwise.
Yet VR training options could soon be reducing onboarding time and employee training costs in all types of industries. Recruiters, trainers, and learning providers of all kinds should probably be keeping an eye on it.
Looking to transform your business into a modern workplace, but not quite ready for VR?
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