4 Ways Virtual Reality Training Can Improve Learning
Using VR to Bring Corporate Training Programs to Life
Virtual reality training. Yes, its really here and has been for some time now. Although not a common training modality for many organizations, there are some companies like Walmart, Boeing, and UPS that continue to see the huge benefits of delivering VR training experiences.
Here are 4 factors to consider when thinking about making the case for immersive simulation in the corporate training space.
Improve Business and Soft Skills
The consistent increase in automation and technological advances in the workplace have displaced the soft skills that were never a second thought decades ago. In order to be successful however, organizations require their employees to excel at these enterprise skills and these are what many hiring managers and recruiters are looking for in their candidates.
Virtual reality is a great training modality to help build these transferrable skills across the organization and can offer very specific training content and experiences. Skills like Sales pitches, train the trainer, workplace mindfulness, business networking, managing workplace stress, presentation skills and more can all be customized to the role but also to the industry and specific needs of the learner.
Further to being able to offer a realistic simulation for the learner like a business networking event or a large meeting or conference where they will be speaking, learners can also upload their own content like presentations they’ll be giving, speeches or pitches. VR training provides instant feedback, guidance and tips for them to correct delivery along the way.
Virtual reality is a great learning tool for situations where they may be high risk. Things like medical training, safety training or even military training are all great candidates. Without VR options available to learning departments would include in-class training which may be great instruction but not really provide learners with true experiential learning, online learning, which again could provide more of a simulation to increase engagement but would fall short of hands-on training or a blended approach. Consider a large manufacturing firm dealing with chemicals. Emergency protocol training may involve in-class sessions, microlearning modules for future support and lots of pamphlets, posters and booklets. With VR, each employee could actually go through dealing with various emergencies, like a leak, break in protocol or emergency evacuation.
Reduce Long Term Costs
There are barriers to entry for organizations that may be interested in VR training. The biggest is the cost investment. VR headsets can be pricey and depending on the size of the company, having just a few around the office is not a solution. There may also be the cost to integrate with the existing LMS and then the cost of customizing the content for the training.
However, once these costs have been budgeted for, VR can be a great money saver when it comes to long term training.
VR training can allow employees to train literally anywhere! This means a huge reduction in costs if employees are displaced or remote and would otherwise need to attend training events. Consider the cost of travel and accommodations for all of these employees possibly multiple times a year (i.e. Sales Training). In addition, VR alleviates the needs for expensive training centers to be built for specific training since its all 100% virtual!
Once in place, it can also cost considerably less to update content versus replacing printed material to support training in another modality. Based on the organization, the learning objectives and the number of affected employees, a business case for VR learning as a viable option is very realistic.
Increase Engagement and Retention
Virtual reality offers true immersive learning allowing learners to truly learn by doing-not a new concept! Offering a real-world experience to learners creates huge engagement which then leads to muscle memory and higher overall retention. In the end, this takes learners to higher recall and overall increases in productivity when it comes to applying the training material.
Consider a simple example of a coffee shop. New employees can be trained on how to make a customized latte if the person training them decides to cover off that specific blend however, both employees need to be in the store and training together (who’s serving customers!?). With VR, the learning department can create various scenarios for the new employee to deal with, perhaps based on their best sellers, common customizations or specials. This employee can then actually make these drinks and correct themselves based on the VR program anywhere in the store, like the employee breakroom for example.
No matter what modality your training is delivered in, custom learning suited specifically to the learner that also offers real-life experiences and situations are the goal for any successful Learning Leader. VR packages all of these into one.
Relevancy to the Future
With millennials now fully submerged into the workforce and Generation Z close behind, Learning Leaders need to consider how they plan to continue to develop these employees. With their apt for technology and familiarity with video, gamification and on-demand content, trying to achieve results with traditional training like in-class sessions, may not prove successful.
Virtual reality speaks their language, so to speak and provides the training in a very comfortable format for them to absorb. Organizations looking ahead to the ongoing success of their training and development should think about how to integrate VR into their training programs now, to improve for the future.
While VR is still not mainstream when it comes to learning and development, the truth is that we’re not far from seeing it in far more organizations over the coming years. Starting to plan for it now can put your organization well ahead of others as the industry continues to move down that path.
Learn more about how virtual training can help your learning department achieve objectives with TrainingFolks today.