Companies are increasingly turning to virtual reality training to equip employees with the skill sets needed to be effective in their respective roles. That’s because VR training provides organizations with multiple benefits like increased employee productivity, retention, and engagement.
Yet proving the efficacy of VR training is still a top concern for learning and development (L&D) professionals. After all, it will likely be a factor in shaping the department’s budget in the upcoming year. It’s also important to consider how can VR integrate into the already established L&D program.
So, how can L&D professionals leverage VR training and tout its effectiveness to the C-Suite? It’s all about keeping an eye on key measurements.
Measuring VR Training Success
While the advantages of VR training may seem obvious, the objectives of your program must be tied to organizational goals to show the value. Otherwise, it will cause internal stakeholders to question its ability to deliver ROI.
Since VR can be integrated with learning management systems (LMS), it’s easy to show its impact and value because VR generates multiple data points. The key is to use the information collected to create a narrative that the C-suite will understand by aligning the data to business goals.
To help L&D professionals do this, we modified Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Model to make the following four levels more relevant to VR training:
- Engagement: How engaging and relevant was the training program for the trainee
- Comprehension: How well did the trainee retain and comprehend the training materials
- Speed to Competency: How well was the trainee able to quickly apply the information learned
- Outcome: How does trainee results contribute to the organization’s bottom line
Let’s take a look at this framework in action.
Measuring employee engagement is a vital component for determining VR training success since there is a direct correlation between engagement and retention. If trainees are properly engaged, meaning that the content is both interesting and relevant, then they are more likely to retain the information.
Due to its immersive nature, employees are naturally more engaged with VR than with passive forms of training such as videos or workbooks. VR training leverages gamification to make learning new concepts fun and easier to understand.
When trying to quantify the success of your VR training program’s engagement, use a post-training survey to collect responses. Ask employees questions like:
- How easy was it to use?
- How helpful were the VR training materials?
- How impactful was VR training?
One of the biggest challenges of any training program is determining if trainees are actually learning. VR training makes it easier to measure learning because it generates data that shows how engaged the user is with VR training by documenting:
- Training frequency and completion
- Interactions in the training module itself (movement, clicks, and focus)
- Proficiency in performing tasks in the simulated environment
L&D professionals can also include comprehension exams in the learning modules that require trainees to pass with satisfactory scores before moving on to the next section. If a large percentage of trainees score low on that specific module, tweaks can be made to that particular area without having to create a new training program.
Speed to Competency
The goal of any training program is to get employees up to speed quickly and efficiently with the new skills they need to do the job. To measure speed to competency, it’s important to look at what the organization is trying to achieve and how VR training will help the organization achieve that goal.
For manufacturers, the goal may be to reduce the number of man-made errors on the line. For an airline, it might be decreasing the time it takes to turn a plane around. The objective in determining speed to competency with VR training is to see how fast the employee can master the skill and get back on the job and how it translates positively to the bottom line.
Metrics to measure can include:
- Duration: How long did it take to master the new skill?
- Retention: Retesting after a period of time to gauge retention.
- Proficiency: Has employee performance improved?
There are many benefits to VR training, but what the C-suite is looking for is how the training program helped improve the bottom line. When determining how successful VR training is, it’s essential to focus on bottom-line metrics that speak to what the organization is trying to achieve, such as:
- Productivity: Did productivity grow as a result of less downtime for both employees and equipment?
- Savings: Was there a reduction in training-related travel and expenses?
- Efficiency: Have work-related accidents been reduced?
- Retention: Are employees staying longer with the company?
Leveraging the data at each stage of VR training is a surefire way to demonstrate its value to internal stakeholders.