Now more than ever, companies are asking if Virtual Reality training is right for them. They’ve heard it’s helped increase training outcomes in a cost-effective way, but how are organizations actually using VR in their training programs? Here we’ll go over some interesting VR training examples, and how immersive technologies are being used in the field now.
Hard Skills Training
Hard Skills training is often thought of as a procedure, operation, or skill someone needs to do consistently and quickly. It’s sometimes referred to as linear procedure training or standard operating procedure training. You can think of it as any specific task or series of tasks. A VR simulation can replicate all sorts of procedures like screwing in a bolt, carrying an object, or operating heavy machinery. Let’s look at some examples by industry.
There are typically many repeated steps in manufacturing training, and VR is adapting employee training in many ways. The controlled training environment VR supplies is helping the construction industry rethink its staff training tactics.
Considering sustainability, a mechanic taught using VR training can reduce waste and scraps significantly. They see exactly where to cut and mold and can practice as much as they want. Employees trained using VR show significant cuts to energy consumption and waste.
We’ve developed a great demo to showcase what VR training would look like for someone who was repairing a water pump. In it, you can see the layers of what may be a complex piece of machinery, simplified into something that’s approachable and repeatable in less than an hour.
When it comes to transportation, consistency is the key to safety. Millions of planes, trains, and automobiles get us where we need to go, and it’s essential for those who operate and maintain that system to understand as much as they can in as little time as possible.
TriMet, the countries fourth largest light rail system, was limited on how much their new employees could actually train. Employees could only train on routes after the light rail system was shut down, and for obvious reasons, could not simulate many real-world problems that occur when operating one of their vehicles (people, cars, traffic as obstacles)
Their Virtual Reality solution provided a safe environment for them to get hands-on experiential learning by doing through a VR simulation. They had full control over a completely virtual train, practicing important procedures and reacting to obstacles. To read more about this, check out our case study!
Another similar challenge existed with Delta Air Lines, as they could only perform safety training during downtime. As a solution, they opted for virtual training to let employees feel what it would be like to check an aircraft. They were on the tarmac helping check the plane for all of its necessary safety features from the comfort of an office. You can read more about this on our other case study exploring that project!
With seemingly nonstop shortages and other complications, many supply chain companies have decided it’s time to level up their workforce to make sure they’re working as efficiently as possible.
Virtual Reality is such a great training tool for these companies because it provides a risk-free environment where dangerous safety training can be performed without worry. Drivers, truck loaders, warehouse employees, and many other jobs can benefit from this training
Companies such as UPS are exploring new ways to rethink how they do training. Check out this video to learn more.
Surgery and Medical
Traditional methods for surgery and medical training can miss many of the specific elements involved in the work. When we’re talking about something that can ultimately cost someone’s life, it’s important to take it seriously.
Johnson and Johnson has recently been exploring the space with a collaboration with Osso VR for improved medical training for surgeons. Using VR, they have turned what is typically a 2-3 hour training course into less than an hour in a headset. Read more about this exploration here.
Innovative technology has always been empowered by military research. Concepts like head mounted displays were pioneered in this field, but these days, VR is the fastest-growing tech.
Training soldiers is a very costly and time consuming practice. But using virtual reality, shooting ranges, cockpits, firearms, and more can all exist within a virtual world. All you need are a few VR Headsets. Military training is fully diving into VR with Varjo developing a fully immersive pilot simulator to Microsoft using HoloLens for soldier training eventually with the goal of ending up on the field.
Soft Skills Training
Sometimes referred to as Scenario-Based Training, soft skills are hard to measure and even harder to train. People know we learn these skills by actually practicing them, but it’s difficult to get real world training when it comes to soft skills. Where traditional training methods limit, a virtual world opens up countless opportunities.
De-escalation requires realistic practice to get right. Many elements go into turning a situation from heated to calm and responsive. Tactics can be learned in a traditional classroom learning environment, but a lot of that easily gets thrown out the window once faced with the actual stressful experience.
Using Virtual Reality, these situations can be realistically replicated and trained in, learning from each experience continually. Additionally, possibly dangerous situations can also be simulated to help support the learning process.
Various law enforcement divisions are exploring these options for all types of situations ranging from first approaches to fully escalated and dangerous situations.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Harassment Training
Corporate training is as important as ever, and VR is proving to be a powerful tool in helping companies to develop soft skills training packages that aren’t scary and foreign.
Agencies such as Vantage Point are developing experiences designed for humans, actively driving empathy and causing apathy. Virtual Reality lets employees understand the importance of these pieces of training in a way that can also be engaging and impactful.
Interpersonal skills are extremely difficult to teach, especially when the majority of these training programs exist entirely in a classroom, completely disconnected from the final customer. VR Training experiences let a classroom learner understand the best practices through experience, not a PowerPoint.
Walmart used VR to train over 1.2 million of their employees in preparation for Black Friday mania. Trainees in VR are exposed to a wall of customers and are allowed to process the intensity and stress of the situation weeks before the event itself.
So to review…
Employee training is being revolutionized by Virtual Reality. There are almost countless ways VR is being used to train the workforce of the future. If you can think of a process that is done commonly, a complex situation where previous experience would be beneficial, or a dangerous situation that requires a lot of funds to replicate, Virtual Reality is a powerful way to learn soft skills and perform technical training.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Virtual Reality can revamp your training, check out our VR Training Overview. We develop training experiences that are custom to your training purposes, helping you through every step of the way so at the end of the day you save money, improve learning goals, and lead your company to the future of L&D.