Augmented and Virtual Reality can play an important role in business. If VR tech is developed at scale, it can change the conversation about workplace training and onboarding. Virtual reality training is changing the way companies are tackling employee education.
However, the industry is awash with opinions about Virtual Reality: the perceived high cost, its relevance to business, and whether it’s a technology that’s ready for the mainstream. At Sozo Labs, one of our biggest disappointments is how VR and AR have been used in one-off marketing activations. XR applications are often gimmicks to attract customers like insects to a bug zapper. Yes, its shiny and beautiful and oh so…zzzap.
One of the most exciting applications for VR is for workplace training. There are real benefits when training people in highly immersive environments. Here are our top 5:
1. It’s Cheaper
It’s true! In complex occupational professions or highly technical industries, traditional workplace training are logistically and financially fraught. Costs are sky-high. They include: paying for expensive training facilities and equipment to be rented or built, hiring experts to execute the training, transporting trainees to site, as well as lost revenue. This is why VR is exciting. VR is 4 times as efficient as basic e-learning. Companies will likely increase some of their upfront costs of training by purchasing VR headsets and training software. However, by investing in virtual reality training, long-term costs will decrease. Therefore, companies using VR are ahead of the game.
2. It’s Safer
The use of VR means that training no longer needs to take place in dangerous and expensive environments, like the building site of a skyscraper, on the factory floor, or in a lab with dangerous chemicals and equipment. New trainees can use VR applications to practice training methods more effectively in a safe environment. Simulating dangerous environments for employees to hone their skills helps with confidence and competence. Traditional training of new employees on the scaffolding of a building is unnecessary. These environments are dangerous for even experienced employees. With VR, new trainees can build up their skills before they are thrust into a hazardous situation.
3. It’s Highly Scalable
After the upfront cost of creating the immersive environment, virtual reality training is a scalable solution. Moreover, VR can be quickly replicated across many sites, regions, and countries. It doesn’t need any infrastructure or highly skilled trainers. The simulated environments can be re-used for other types of scenario-based training, creating economies of scale from the initial investment. For example, if you have create a virtual area to teach employees how to safely work at heights, you will use the same environment to teach them how to deal with electrical issues, or how to replace damaged equipment safely. With VR, training can be consistent and infinitely scalable.
4. VR can Improve both Learning Retention and Employee Retention Rates
Learning in a lecture is notoriously difficult. The learning retention rates from simply listening to, or reading content, is a disappointing 5-10%. This number spikes to over 75% when people “learn by doing”. VR training is the definition of learning by doing. This solution for training is not only cheaper and safer for the employee and trainee respectively, it is also a more effective teaching tool. VR can also help to improve workplace collaboration.
Virtual reality training can help trainees to quickly determine if they are right for the role. Experiencing a life-like simulation of the job at hand can help potential employees to immediately understand what the expectations of the job are. This can help to reduce turnover. Often employees resign because job responsibilities did not match up with their expectations. In other words, VR gives them a clear picture of the job at hand. VR also allows staff to work on their skills while on the job. They can book one of the devices for an hour, rather than having to wait months for the next training day. Continuous improvement of workplace training (which is possible through a new patch of a VR application) helps with improving employee confidence.
5. It’s Easier to Measure the Benefits
VR applications have in-built performance measures. They measure the speed and accuracy of trainees while performing VR training. In addition, performance of employees in relation to their co-workers is also a useful objective metric. This means that companies can monitor both relative and absolute employee performance in training. Allowing new trainees the opportunity to experience the job in an immersive simulation can help to give them a clearer picture of what it entails. Above all, this helps the company and the candidate to know if the role is a good fit.