In recent years, virtual reality (VR) has continued to drive change in the world of learning and development.
It’s now the case that 40 percent of small and medium-sized businesses across the UK use immersive technology in training, with numbers continuing to climb at an exponential rate.
But why is that? Well, apart from opening doors to new ways of learning, incorporating VR into your training allows for easier tracking, including access to new and exciting untapped data sets.
It means you can start to see where participants focus their attention, how they feel about training, what impact it’s had on their performance, and much more insight invaluable to employers. But more on that later.
With that said, let’s take a look at the various types of data available through virtual reality, and why it’s easier to measure than any other form of training.
Measuring training effectiveness
Recent statistics show businesses worldwide heavily invest in staff training and development. In fact, according to data shared by Statista, employee education and training in the US alone grew to $42.4 billion by 2020.
That’s some serious spending. And it puts more weight than ever on the importance of effective measuring protocols. Because unless you know whether your staff are making progress, how can you say for certain you’re getting the most value for your money?
But aside from the financial implications, having reliable data metrics and methods positively impacts your staff. With easy-to-navigate data, they have instant validation of individual progression as well as areas that require development.
Such data can also help to plan future workshops where skill development and on-the-job productivity are improved through key data findings that might’ve otherwise gone unnoticed.
But how do you measure corporate training effectively? How do you heighten the chance of a return on your investment?
Well, just like anything that involves progress, you need to be able to measure the effectiveness of your training to meet your desired goals.
In a typical classroom-based environment, tracking methods might involve peer observation, summative testing, practical examinations, and other traditional assessments linked to learner objectives.
All of which are workable ways of demonstrating progress to a learner. But what if there was a more engaging, instant and accurate way of showing progress? Well now there is: and it’s called VR.
Why is VR training easier to measure?
The ultimate goal of any training program is to assess whether learning is actually taking place. And by using a series of performance measurement tools through VR, retrieving such data has never been easier.
In an instant, business owners can see how their employees are mastering skills through detailed duration, retention and proficiency metrics immediately available via multiple data points.
Collated information can also be used to tweak programs where areas of development may have been identified with productivity, efficiency and engagement. And all through the use of a VR headset.
To help learning and development professionals make the most of VR training, management systems can be set to focus on specific areas of interest. Here are some to get you started.
Types of data collected from VR training
By gathering data on key decision points, education and development professionals can analyse patterns of individual thought process in any given situation.
Not only does gathered information provide accurate insight into how challenging an individual found a task, but it also improves decision making, resilience and response time in real-life situations.
What’s more, various virtual activities and platforms can also be included to improve decision-making, not only in individual tasks, but as a wider group, providing valuable insight into human psychology.
Retinal eye tracking
By using the sensory technology of a VR headset, trainers can record eye movements to measure the level of precision, attention and concentration of users during any given task.
Among other data points, tracking the retinal means you can study heatmaps as to where participants invest their focus during specific points of a program.
And by having clear insight into what draws your users’ attention, further improvements can be made to virtual training programs to increase retainment and engagement.
Measuring the biometric performance of users is a popular way of tracking data through VR. Typically, it includes heart rate and energy expenditure, but can also be dialed up to monitor brain activity.
Not only does it provide insight into stress, anxiety and confidence levels, but it also helps to understand how competent individual employees might feel at completing certain tasks.
With VR voice analysis, you can monitor speech to understand the emotional impact of any given task.
For example, it might be a user who is stressed by a task and as such increases their pace of speech. In other instances, an employee might use sentence fillers (um and ah) caused by confusion during a task.
All these tell-tale signs – which would usually go unnoticed through other forms of assessment – help to create accurate data on the confidence, engagement and focus of your staff.
Among its many other uses, VR headsets also provide accurate 3D coordinates on a user’s body position at any point during a task.
For virtual scenarios such as health and safety drills, military sequences, or complex group tasks, such information can prove invaluable in providing fast and actionable feedback to users.
Completing tasks using VR also means learners can quickly restart any scenario to act on identified areas for improvement straightaway. In some cases, it means retainment can occur four times faster than traditional training alternatives.
Data management suites can accurately monitor every movement within a virtual environment by receiving data on the position of the head and hands.
If that’s not impressive enough, by measuring data between body trackers and virtual objects, sensory technology can even differentiate between a touch, hit or grab.
And with such advances in VR training, it’s now possible to add supernatural features such as flying, hovering and even instantaneous travel. All of which are trackable through specific data points.
Incorporating virtual reality technology into your training provides employees with a more memorable and immersive learning experience.
Because unlike traditional teaching methods confined to the limitations of a classroom, VR users are transported to a new and exciting environment where they can learn autonomously.
You only need to look as far as recent studies to see the impact VR is having on learning. When compared to its classroom-based counterpart, it’s proven to complete exercises in a quarter of the time with V-learners feeling four times more focused during activities.
But decreasing the learning curve isn’t the only advantage of VR. Because by synchronising headsets and sensory equipment with data management systems, you’ll also gain an accurate insight into learner performance.
Why is that important? It means you can offer bespoke, data-backed feedback to help staff members strengthen their skills, knowledge and understanding. And as you’ll know, that means a more productive team.