The holidays have come and gone and some lucky kids (maybe even some grown-up kids) received virtual reality technology under the tree. There are offerings for existing game platforms like Sony Playstation, as well as several that work by slotting an Android phone into a headset, and of course, there’s Oculus, the virtual reality platform that sold to Facebook a few years back for $2 billion.
Most of the experiences currently available for virtual reality platforms revolve around different game types. You can swing lightsabers in Vader Immortal. You can fly around in your own Iron Man armor. And you can take on pirate ships in Battlewake, to name a few.
There are also a number of simulation games available to try with virtual reality platforms. You can play around in Job Simulator or play VR golf or learn how to be a virtual bartender. The simulator genre is quite replete with opportunities to jump into roles and play-act through the flow of these experiences.
In all of these cases, the point is strictly entertainment. The skills you learn as a VR surgeon in the games your kids have don’t translate at all in the real world. They’re built for entertainment and often humor only. While engaging, there’s a very limited amount of skill transfer that comes with crossing swords with Darth Vader.
Virtual Reality Training is Real Practice for the Real World
One immediate difference when you look at what a commercial virtual reality training solution does differently than the way VR is used by consumers is that there are many opportunities where teams can train safely to accomplish a sometimes dangerous real world task. By building multi-user VR experiences, firefighters and other first responders can train through situations such as how to manage an overturned and burning fuel truck.
First, note the multi-user aspect. It’s one thing to train with computer teammates generated by best-guess artificial intelligence. It is a completely different task when more than one human approaches a training experience. Everyone brings their own skills, experience, and motivations to the simulation. You can learn team dynamics, experience the added concern of risk for other lives, and you can determine where gaps may exist between a user’s knowledge versus their in-the-moment execution.
Second, a virtual reality training system exists so that organizations can simulate multiple variables in training. In a commercial video game, the entire point of the experience is entertainment. The stakes for organizations are often much higher more important and thus, building a virtual reality training simulation allows people to acquire skills to handle more than one situation.
The Secret “Trick” of Virtual Reality Training
When evaluating training solutions for an organization, a lot of the same concerns and needs likely show up on the punch card. Virtual reality as a training tool has such an advantage: it’s fun. It’s engaging. And it’s very visual.
This leads to people absorbing information in 40-60% less time. Because learners consume the information in an engrossing 3D world, retention tends to be much higher, as well.
It’s not a fair fight. Compare most text and slideshow based training and you’re left with two flat dimensions, people shifting in their seats, working through lessons like they’re court-appointed sessions. Meanwhile, in fully immersive and interactive virtual reality training, people are eager to put on the gear and absorb the lessons at hand.
In virtual reality training, sessions can be studied. Choices can be analyzed. Data can be added and removed from simulations to isolate or add complexity. And while you hear over and over “nothing beats training in real-life settings,” that’s not always true. Sometimes, real-life training isn’t safe or financially viable. How many oil tankers can we set on fire to train first responders, for instance?
Training is (of Course) Different Than Play
Don’t get me wrong: play is a wonderful and important way to learn and I already stated that one benefit to virtual reality training over other methods is that there are gamification tools built into the process to help people learn and retain more.
But real VR training allows for the specificity of lessons and repetition of certain critical training elements. Let’s say,for instance, your team is practicing the required safety protocols for operating on a particularly complex shop floor. You can break this into several training modules, including pre-work preparation, on-floor general safety, post-work breakdown, and then, of course, you’d likely have several training elements for what to do in the event of accidents and emergencies.
Because it’s virtual reality training, you can run these drills safely over and over. You can record and review how individuals and teams move through the experience. Further, you can introduce multi-user experiences to ensure that everyone knows their part in these drills.
Gamification adds some fun to the training experience, too. For instance, if you make it known that the safety pre-check simulation is looking for 34 points of interaction ahead of time, then the learners will strive to find all 34 touchpoints. If you run safety drills for multiple people, they can compete on being thorough, on time, on spotting emergencies and calling them out, and so much more.
One Way Virtual Reality Training is Similar to What Your Kid Got for Christmas
Over the holidays, your kid got the VR setup, the equipment to make it work, and one or two titles to start playing. In that way, this mirrors the experience with PIXO VR. Once you have the gear and a few titles, you start to see the value in the tools. Naturally, you’ll want to know what else you can do with your system.
It’s the same with virtual reality training. Once you implement a series of training experiences, you’ll see the potential right away for other skills and areas within your organization that would benefit from this type of training. That’s why PIXO VR is building an ever-expanding library of virtual reality training experiences for organizations like yours. Just like with your entertainment at home, no one ever wants to run out of experiences and new fun. PIXO VR is dedicated to creating the right materials to train people for the real world today and tomorrow.
Schedule a demo and see what you’re missing.