Should an organization invest in VR? While adding a Virtual Reality program for training purposes might seem interesting to businesses, in the end, it comes down to cost and returns on investment. While the initial commitment may seem daunting at first, given space, hardware, and software requirements, it is important to analyze what exactly would be the return on such an investment in VR. Let us look at a few of the most apparent advantages of VR training.
Improved Training Retention Rates
The first, and initially most noticeable, return will be the retention rates of those employees which you are training. Edgar Dale was a renowned educator known for his contributions to the field of audio and visual instruction and learning. One of Dale’s focus areas was retention research. His most cited research, The Cone of Experience, shows that people retain 10 percent of what they read, twenty percent of what they hear and thirty percent of what they see. These retention rates are not high and mean the majority of what is taught during training will inevitably be forgotten when the individual is placed in the workplace. This forgotten training ultimately leads to decreased productivity and decreased revenue. That same study, The Cone of Experience, also found that people will remember ninety percent of what they do. This means less time wasted and more productivity when the individual enters the workplace. To reiterate, 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 20% of what they see, yet 90% of what they do.
Immersive Safety Training
Secondly, many organizations deal with scenarios which, due to the dangerous and often life-threatening nature of the work, are difficult or near impossible to train for with conventional methods. It is very hard to know how a person will react under such conditions, and no amount of lecture or visual training will prepare the individual for the real-life situation. The reality of this can be seen in military and law enforcement where portions of the training are conducted in high-stress scenarios with live rounds and simulated scenarios. Dangerous and life-threatening conditions can also occur in other industries, such as construction, emergency response, and vehicle operations just to name a few.
Safety incidents can be very costly for an organization and a Virtual Reality training program is a safe way to make sure employees are both physically and mentally prepared for the high stress, dangerous, situations they may find themselves in and mitigate the financial risk of accidents.
Evaluation and Efficiency
Third, VR gives the employer the ability to evaluate employee efficiency before they are put into the workplace. Many situations require a high level of response time, sometimes under stressful conditions. No amount of traditional training or education can create the muscle memory required to achieve the response times needed to have employees working at maximum efficiency. VR is the ideal situation for employees to practice over and over to achieve the required response time without having them lose the organization money by underperforming in the workplace. Conversely, VR is the perfect environment to see determine if the individual is the right fit for the job before having them enter the workplace. If they cannot complete their task satisfactory in a VR environment, there is no reason to believe they will perform adequately in a real-world environment. VR gives the organization the ability to evaluate employees without having them enter the workplace if they are in fact unsuited for the job.
The fourth, and most often overlooked, benefit of Virtual Reality Training in empathy training. Workplace empathy has been identified over the last few years as one of the most overlooked components of a well-functioning workplace. Richard Wellins, the Senor VP and Development Dimensions International, estimates that at least 20% of employers have begun to offer this type of training and he expects that number to double over the next decade. Evidence of the importance of Empathy can be seen from the fact that the top ten empathetic companies of Harvard Business Review’s Global Empathy index generate 50 percent more revenue than those on the bottom. Further, Telefonica Germany noted a six percent increase in customer satisfaction just six weeks after implements an empathy training program. VR gives the ability to simulate any number of situations that an employee may encounter. This, in turn, will increase customer satisfaction because instead of learning via bad experiences with real customers, such experiences can be simulated prior to any real-life interactions with customers. In the coming years, empathy training will become a standard part of employee training.
Last, and perhaps the most important, when taken all the above into account it results in one thing: consistency. A Virtual Reality training program affords an organization the ability to prepare employees for the workplace in ways traditional, lecture-based, training never can. Having the ability to create environments specific to different industries before employees reach the workplace is a revolutionary tool that, before the last decade, has not been available to employers.
It is important to note that even the best training programs do not fully prepare employees for the real-life work environment. New employees often have a period in which they bring down the productivity of other, well trained and full production employees. As they say, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A VR training program will reduce the amount of time an employee requires to acclimatize to the work environment because they will already have applied their skills in a VR setting.
Add VR to Your Training Regimen Today
The Virtual Reality market has projected to reach 215 billion by 2021. No matter how effective and organizations training program is currently significant contributions can be made by adding a VR training program. With the market projected to grow so steadily, businesses who opt not to introduce VR training programs will ultimately pay the price as their competitors implement VR training programs and capitalize on the above-stated benefits. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization take its training program to the next level with a VR training program.