VR or virtual reality has been around since the 1980s. Put on a headset and you are projected into a digital world. Your eyes trick your brain into thinking you are present in that environment. Over the last decade, VR has been popularized through games and other VR experiences. Starting with not-so-great and nauseating rollercoaster experiences, apps and games have now become user-friendly and genuinely enjoyable. For the last 5 years, companies are seeing the benefits of training in VR and making digital twins. How do they use VR and for what applications? And more importantly, how do these companies make money by using VR?
Why use VR
The most noticeable and remarkable aspect of VR is the power of immersion. As mentioned above, your brain is tricked into believing that what you see is ‘real’. This makes VR ideal for educating people in dangerous situations. People believe that the risk or danger they perceive is real, and thus the experience has a significantly bigger impact.
Additionally, in VR you learn by doing. VR operates with controllers and/or hand tracking. This adds to the immersion but more importantly helps you gain muscle memory. This, in combination with unlimited redo’s makes VR a safe place to fail and learn while doing. This increases student’s confidence when reproducing the same tasks in real life.
Thirdly, the ease of use. VR is easy to use as you can use your hands to interact with the virtual environment. No need to explain how to pick up objects, just grab them as you are used to in real life. That way Virtual Reality becomes a very efficient and versatile learning tool. With unlimited environments and learning opportunities, virtual and augmented reality will soon become the new standard for education in professional settings.
No more risk
Avoiding real-life danger when training is a no-brainer. Using VR, you can learn new procedures in a safe and controlled environment. As such, training medical staff in VR is a textbook example on how to minimize danger/risk. OneBonsai developed VR ‘Tracheo Care’ where nurses and medical students learn how to take care of a patient with a tracheotomy. With this VR training solution, patients simply cannot get hurt, and multiple different training situations can easily be simulated and trained.
Let’s talk money
Time is money, right? When developing solutions in VR, training apps are made to be extremely time-efficient. Reducing training times up to 60%. OneBonsai developed a VR logistics training application for a Fortune 500 company. Before, 5 days of one on one training would be required to train new warehouse personnel. With VR they were able to train personnel using in total 4.5hrs training. More time can also be saved when keeping track of the performance of all your employees. This way, underperforming students can be given additional training and support, while well-performing personnel can go through a fast-track training session.
There are many examples of companies successfully implementing VR in their training department. To name a few:
Content is king
Virtual Reality is used for multiple different types of training. You can think of Hard Skills training such as Working at Heights, Lock out Tag out, Hazard Recognition or Soft Skills such as negotiation skills or public speaking. To build a good training module, however, you need two things:
- Good expert vetted content
What is taught in the VR training module has to be correct and follow both (inter)national regulations as local (company) guidelines. To achieve this, OneBonsai works together with experts in various fields and offers parameterization of its training modules. The latter will help you adjust training modules to fit your specific needs.
- Educational science
To ensure that the students learn in an efficient and effective way, it is important that correct educational science techniques are employed. For this, OneBonsai implements principles of Instructional Design.
Implementation is queen
While the content is extremely important, the way the content is rendered and how the students interact with the content are vital as well. If a student has to first learn for hours how to interact in the VR application, the learning session will be lost. Additionally, OneBonsai takes great care to optimally develop the VR applications for a smooth and comfortable user experience.
All things considered
Assessing the ROI of VR training requires a multi-faceted approach. There are both clear financial as non-financial benefits. On the one hand students seem to enjoy VR training more. On the other hand, students tend to remember better what they’ve learned when using VR.
Furthermore, a reduced carbon footprint is another of those benefits. With in-house VR training, companies produce less traffic-related carbon dioxide and contribute to saving the planet, while also providing adequate training even for personnel working remotely or far away.
Co-panelist Brent Kedzierski, head of learning strategy and innovation for Shell summarized this well:
“Out on the rigs, you would typically have to fly people to the rig, then back to the training center to get tested and certified,” Kedzierski said. “Instead of flying them back and forth, we are able to do immersive VR that [provides] the training and meets the need without the travel. That’s an easy use case – probably one of the clearest ones you’ll find.”
It might sound like a cliché thing to say, but if you invest in your people while also saving the planet,
the profit comes by itself.