Why businesses should be considering this emerging trend
If businesses want to modernize and improve their employee’s learning and development, Virtual Reality could be the answer.
Previously mired by issues surrounding cost, performance, technology, and public acceptance; VR is now commonly used by progressive organisations, including Walmart, UPS, DHL, and Boeing.
As technology continues to advance, we believe VR will become the new normal for training, thanks to its ability to create the ideal learning environment, cost efficiency, use of behavioral AI and mobility.
The new training tool
In the corporate world, Virtual Reality might be considered a hard sell for learning and development. However, the tried and tested benefits widely reported, makes this an out-of-date opinion. We have seen fast adoption of VR for businesses in:
- High risk and hazardous environments
- Technical skill development
- Soft skills and leadership
with the option of bespoke or off-the-shelf learning experiences, VR is rightly entering mainstream territory.
The Multitude of VR Benefits
Many studies have proven the numerous benefits of VR to enhance skill retention and development, which appears to be unbeatable.
Benefits I’m going to explore with you here, are:
- Knowledge retention
- Improved productivity
- Cost saving
- Faster learning times
- Improved retention and hiring
Knowledge retention is not only the fundamental metric used to measure learning and development but is also the most powerful benefit of VR. A virtual reality experience physically and mentally engages learners and allows businesses to add context, relevance and personalisation to the learning. VR developers can build a realistic replica of the environment, tools and experiences of employees, taking learner engagement to the highest level.
A high school in China split a pool of 40 students into two groups. One group learnt by VR and the other traditional teacher-led. Test scores compared at the end of the study found traditional learners scored an average of 73% while the VR group achieved an average score of 93%. A follow-up test given 2-weeks later was used to measure retention, for which the VR students outperformed the traditional group again. Learn more about this experiment here.
Thanks to the high engagement levels, businesses also widely report reduction of errors and improved productivity after implementing VR training. VR is a form of experiential learning, which has been proven to increase the quality of learning by 75 – 90%.
DHL Express is one organisation that has implemented virtual reality training to better their employee unit loading/stacking and promote healthy working practices. Initially tested in 12 locations, 99% of participates in the DHL trial felt they worked more effectively as a result.
There is a misconception that virtual reality is a high cost investment only off-set by industries such as aviation, construction and firefighting. However, this technology can also help businesses save money on their eLearning courses too.
Research and analyst firm Brandon Hall Group found that VR can save businesses more than $2000 per training programme, after factoring increased productivity after training, manhours and energy required to develop a course, descending costs of VR hardware, and fewer travel-related training expenses.
Faster learning times
Virtual reality training can reduce learning and comprehension time to the shortest possible. The hands-on nature allows users to quickly understand and practice new skills.
UPS have reported their drivers are learning the necessary verbiage in faster times since implementing a new VR training system. The multinational company replaced the old touchscreen training system for their drivers, and report that not only is training faster, but so is learning time.
Improved employee retention
Millennials are described as the “job hopping generation”, which makes retaining staff and attracting high calibre candidates an incredible benefit of VR for training and development.
By using VR, businesses are signalling to their employees that they are a modern company that cares for their employees. It is reported that a lack of training is a common reason why most people are quit their jobs in 2018.
After all these benefits, you’re probably considering virtual reality for learning and development too. Before ploughing ahead it is crucial to first pinpoint the learning outcomes your desire, and continually check back to them throughout the development process. VR is an exciting medium, and without paying attention to the details, it could result in being entertaining over educational.
Some VR experiences can also cause motion sickness. When hiring a VR agency, ensure the company has technical expertise with gaming experience. They will have the knowledge to test higher frame rates, control systems, and user positing to reduce the risk.
For good reason there is traction between VR and corporate training. The decline in hardware cost and the numerous benefits makes this an important long-term strategic consideration business should be making.
Example of our work
In partnership with NAFFCO, the leader in fire safety, we developed a first of its kind Virtual Reality ARFF Simulator. We were able to fully immerse learners in a realistic training experience using advanced programming, applied physics and AI. Through this first responders can build necessary insights and skills for any emergency at a fraction of the cost of live training and without the environmental side effects.