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How to Enhance Soft Skills Training with Virtual Reality

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With today’s global market, companies more than ever are facing an ever-growing skills gap. Soft skills are in demand and are often hard to educate, implement, and even harder to monitor.  Things like conflict resolution, teamwork building, and leadership are more important than ever.  The challenge however is implementing training programs at scale, especially without access to in-person educational facilities.  This is where we can see Virtual Reality coming into play, ever-valuable now with COVID19 wreaking havoc on global markets.  While VR soft skill training is hardly a new concept, the usefulness of the medium is now more relevant than ever.

Unlike traditional e-learning solutions, VR offers a completely immersive experience free from the distractions of everyday life.  Things like text messages, emails, and social media notifications are all far from reach when a user is immersed in a virtual reality simulation.   While traditional educational tools are oftentimes boring, immersive VR training can create highly memorable and impactful experiences.  These experiences eliminate all forms of risk and offer unlimited replayability and consistency, both extremely cost-effective in the long run.

While VR is not only cost-effective and impactful — it can also negate logistical hurdles that are often cumbersome when it comes to in-person training. A 2020 PwC study found that at scale, VR can be significantly more cost-effective than traditional soft skills training methods.  They also found that training was completed up to 4 times faster in VR versus real-world training — mainly because of the immersive nature of VR which allowed for learnings to stay focused on the learning objectives rather than checking their latest IG notification.

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The study concluded that employees who completed their training in VR felt even more emotionally connected to the content than in-person training dojo’s provided, thereby showcasing the real impactfulness of VR training.  They also found that learning through VR was up to 4 times faster than the classroom setting and nearly twice as fast as traditional e-learning methodologies.

Main Benefits of VR Training for Enterprise

We have seen countless case studies of VR training in the workplace that are being used to help build on the soft skills resources of employees.  Some of the main benefits of using the medium of VR include:

  • Reduced cost of incidents (safety procedures practice, emergency preparedness, reduction of real-world incident rates)
  • Actionable insights garnered from data analytics and increased employee retention rates
  • Lack of distraction from immersion leads to a higher impact on learning
  • Unlimited replayability allows training programs to be repeated as many times as needed
  • Risky scenarios can be mitigated and scaled easily
  • Access to subject matter experts who are not readily available

Using virtual reality as a training medium is otherwise known as immersive learning and the benefits of using it for soft skill training have tremendous merit verse the traditional methods of video learning, case studies or even re-enacting scenarios through roleplay.  The result is an impactful way to upskill employees uniquely and memorably that often leads to a highly engaged and retained employee base.

As many firms look to bring back their workforce from the year-long work from home pandemic setting, virtual reality reskilling should be something that groups entertain as an effective tool for teaching not only hard skills for on the job simulations — but also soft skills like leadership, empathy and things like customer service. Virtual reality training will likely continue to be adopted as a future-proofed medium of soft skill education and we can expect a new age of enterprise training to emerge as VR is cost-effective,  impactful, immersive and efficient for training employees at scale.

While I don’t think VR training is going to replace existing training methods any time soon, it still has its considerable merits for many applications and use cases.  VR is a new modality that should be considered when looking at internal soft skills training regimens. When used in combination with e-learning, classroom learning and video learning, VR can help provide your employees with an industry-leading approach.  This new age of learning is here to stay, and companies that adopt early will reap the educational benefits for their enterprise.  If you;d likemore information about using soft skills training within your company, get in touch with us at VR Vision today!

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