The Virtual Reality industry has been slowly shaping the way brands utilize technology for training and developing employees. VR offers a completely new and innovative way for companies to engage with their customers. The success of this has transitioned internally where the technology is now being used for learning and development initiatives. Let’s take a deeper look at how 5 industries are set for changing the way they handle employee training by employing the power of Virtual Reality.
Utilizing Virtual Reality To Train Employees
Virtual Reality (VR) is changing the way the world learns and employs technology for undertaking arduous tasks and leveraging the technology for risk assessment and management. Today’s modern workplace employees value learning in their roles more than ever before. To put it a matter of factly, a staggering 87% of millennials believe that their professional development is just as important as the job they are doing. While another 59% of millennials value the opportunity to grow and learn within the job they are choosing (See Gallup Poll).
This means that the increasing availability and decreasing cost of VR present brands with a unique opportunity to stand out from the crowd when it comes to hiring and retaining top talent. In this article, we are going to explore 5 major industries that are using it successfully and hopefully open your eyes to ways in which your organization could be using VR technology in a positive way.
The Advantages of VR
Before we look at the specific industries that are using VR, let’s take a deeper look at why VR can be an exemplary training tool for businesses. Here are the key benefits of VR and how it can make training easier and safer.
- Simplifying Complex Situations: Using VR we can create simulated environments that are much simpler and easy to understand for novice learners or new hires, this allows us to scale the learning process over time to gradually bring into development the more complex situations that may be required for a specific job/role.
- 1:1 Mimicking of Real-Life Scenarios: With VR we can create interactive scenarios that can with almost 100% accuracy mimic real-life scenarios. This allows for immersive training that can simulate movements, interactions, engagements and landscapes that are lifelike and can bring the end-user into a sense of immersion to make it seem as if they are physically there.
- Improved Learning Retention: With Virtual Reality, the user is constantly adapting and physically engaged in their environments which activated the brain for learning recognition up to 33% more effectively.
- Makes Learning & Training More Enjoyable: Today’s workplace employees are bored of outdated learning manuals and procedural videos, making VR a useful tool for learning that is new, cutting-edge and much more enjoyable for practicing in simulated environments.
- Allows for Safer, Risk-Free Learning Environments: With VR we can completely eliminate risky training environments where users can potentially harm themselves or others.
So now that we know exactly what makes VR a sound investment for learning and training, let’s take a look at which specific industries stand to benefit the most from the technology, as well as some examples of businesses that are already adopting VR for their internal training programs.
1. Healthcare & Medical
This may seem obvious but the healthcare industry has already started making huge advancements in virtual reality for training. Healthcare specialists are exploring ways in which practitioners can practice complex operations in virtual simulated environments in order to heal patients and save lives. There have been many advancements in just the past year as were discussed at the VR & Healthcare Symposium.
A startup in London called FundamentalVR is doing just this as they create simulated surgical environments for doctors to test out various methods and to hone their craft before exacting precision movements in the real world.
In the world of hospitals, VR technology firm MPathic is being used to train medical students on how to break bad news to patients and their families. Students are learning empathetic ways to deal with hard-to-bear situations that are stressful at an early stage. Learning empathy and how to handle various scenarios makes them much more ready to handle real-world objections.
Another prime example is Case Western University which has completely done away with operating simulations on cadavers and is instead turning to Microsoft Hololens in order to simulate surgeries and allow prospective doctors to easily look at all layers of the human body in a virtual environment.
The construction industry has been completely flipped on its head with various Worksite VR simulators now readily available for training employees on CAT equipment as well as crane operations. These simulations allow potential workers to learn the ropes on an engaging VR platform before heading into the real world in which mistakes can be costly and harmful.
Another area of training is in harm reduction handling not only dangerous equipment but dangerous materials as well. Overall 6.5 million people work on construction sites every day, and the fatality rate is higher in this field than any other industry. Having safety and procedural training can help lower the risk factor as well as prepare employees better for the risks that they may face in the field.
The retail sector is adopting VR in very creative ways, the most noticeable is that it is being used for data analytics and research for store layouts. This is something we discussed previously, but it has started to take shape and actually be utilized by brands to create “dark stores” in which they can test layouts and buyer intent in order to optimize storefronts and increase revenues.
Another company utilizing VR in the retail sector is STRIVR, which is working with Walmart to train its employees in management and customer service. Staff are being trained with an Oculus Rift and are being made to follow on-screen cues on how to deal with disgruntled customers and other various customer service-related scenarios.
Other common industries like hospitality are starting to adapt to Virtual Reality in order to simulate scenarios for their stores and workers alike. Here is VR Vision we are working on a VR development prototype for Hero Burger that would simulate a user inside a store and allow them to interact with various elements in an entertaining scenario while also providing context for learning and training.
Another fast-food chain that has adopted VR is Honeygrow. They are using VR to train employees on a 360-video walkthrough of the Honeygrow locations while the employees listen to company values and training tips from the Founder and CEO of the company.
Having over 17 locations across North America adds a personality to the training and gives the employees a sense that they are connected all the way to the top of the company.
One of the earliest adopters of VR was NASA. They have been using VR since its onset in order to train astronauts on a wide array of scenarios that they need to be up to speed on in order to go to space. With VR they are simulating zero-G environments, as well as the aspect of spacewalking. Both require precision movements and the ability to train in a risk-free environment offers a way to prepare the would-be astronauts like never before.
Another development with NASA’s VR training labs includes some collaboration with Microsoft in which they are utilizing the HoloLens to simplify communications between both ground staff and astronauts. This gives the astronauts a way to have holographic technology overlaying instructions in real-time while also employing face-to-face communication and interactive workflow that engages the astronauts like never before.
As you can see there a multitude of uses across a vast array of markets for Virtual Reality. We predict this trend to continue to grow in the coming years as technology comes down in price and increases in availability. Virtual Reality can reduce harm and risk and that makes it a no-brainer as a useful tool for training employees in scenarios that in the past were dangerous and costly for mistakes to happen. Take a good look at these 5 examples and think about how VR training could be implemented into your employee development programs.