Many businesses are increasingly seeing the benefits of introducing VR training into their learning programmes. A comprehensive 2020 report by PWC found that learners in VR were 3.75 times more emotionally connected to content than in the classroom. Learners were 275% more confident to apply skills learned after training and four times more focused than their e-learning peers.
- IMPROVED LEARNING, OUTCOME AND PERFORMANCE
Learning in VR allows trainees to make mistakes, get instant feedback through performance related metrics and easily repeat exercises numerous times to quickly improve proficiency.
Highly skilled, technical VR training means that hyper real environments and scenarios can be developed. Complex technical tasks can be easily replicated and therefore training exercises reflect daily working practices. Trainees are able to repeat these virtual tasks, building muscle memory that helps with retention of learning, which can then be implemented in real life. For example, healthcare practitioners can gain the chance to learn and practice intricate surgical procedures in a risk-free environment, ultimately leading to better patient care.
The gamification of procedures such as preparing food at McDonalds, through to box loading at an Amazon warehouse allows employees to problem solve and work smarter by learning in a fun and results-driven environment. It also allows businesses to introduce consistency of working practices across different sites and countries.
There is a benefit in training in soft skills as well as customer service, delivering speeches and social behaviour in the workplace which are all increasingly being recognised. VR removes the need for awkward and uncomfortable role playing scenarios with colleagues, which can be counterproductive for learning.
VR training helps to improve team performance by creating collaborative training experiences that improve workflows by giving teams a space to address skills issues around interdependent tasks.
- MAKING IMPOSSIBLE SCENARIOS POSSIBLE: ON THE JOB TRAINING
VR collaboration platforms are used to create training in safe, realistic and shared environments. Colleagues can work together on practical exercises under the supervision of the employee who is leading the training. It’s a great way to share practical experiences, collectively review what works and what doesn’t, learn from mistakes and repeat until perfect.
Developing an environment of collaborative learning which provides the foundations to build bonds will make any business stronger. For many sectors, such as defence, oil & gas, aviation, manufacturing and healthcare, learning on-the-job is not viable in physical spaces. Hostile working environments, non-stop production lines and learning life-threatening procedures make practical training far too high risk or operationally impossible. Paradoxically, in many of these cases, being fully trained is job-critical, as failure could have devastating consequences.
VR can replicate hazardous scenarios in a safe, but realistic learning environment to practice highly skilled and risky tasks. Learners can effectively and efficiently hone their skills by failing, learning from their mistakes and repeating exercises. Learners can work more confidently, mitigating costly mistakes and making workplaces safer.
3. VR TRAINING IS FASTER
Training employees quickly and efficiently contributes to increased company productivity – VR training gives learners the chance to learn new skills faster – and retain that knowledge.
Virtual reality also creates a distraction-free environment – allowing learners to learn smarter and faster. A study by Mircrosoft found that humans have an attention span worse than that of a goldfish – which isn’t conducive to learning effectively! By wearing a VR headset, we can block out real world distractions like phones so that we are more likely to fully concentrate on the task in hand.
4. REDUCING COSTS & ROI
The long-term cost benefits of introducing VR training is good for all businesses. The initial necessary investment in hardware is outweighed by both direct and indirect savings. Once the VR training course is developed, costs of rolling it out at scale are minimal, as it removes the need to hold repeat courses and potentially large trainer fees.
Furthermore, there are also tangible indirect cost savings from minimising downtime and removing the need to halt production, through to increasing productivity by having better trained and proficient employees.
Research in 2019 and 2020 has shown that the ROI is greater for training in VR than it is for classroom and e-learning. Training in VR increases the learning effectiveness over traditional teaching methods by 76% (Siemens healthcare).
- REMOTE TRAINING FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
Employees and learners in VR can be brought together at the same time, in the same physical space from anywhere in the world – even if undertaking team training with others.
Businesses who use VR training and are based in multiple countries with a remote workforce, will have greatly reduced travel and accommodation costs, as well as the additional downtime because employees are no longer travelling to attend their training. A reduction in travel also has a huge positive impact on a company’s environmental impact.
Training in virtual reality offers businesses a unique, engaging and fun way to train in a safe and realistic environment. It offers tangible benefits for learners and employees whilst streamlining workflows through teams training together and contributing to a safer and more productive workplace.