Should you be using VR to train your employees? Companies that use VR tech instead of traditional methods to teach employees are finding their employees learn faster and retain more information longer after training.
Previous to now, the high cost of VR has been a barrier to widespread implementation. Now, with new products hitting the market and upgrades delivered regularly, the cost of VR is becoming negligible when compared to the overall savings it can generate across multiple dimensions. Multi-user functionality can also lower costs, allowing dozens of trainees to participate in simulations for faster results.
While cost savings can vary widely based on a variety of factors, the Brandon Hall Group reports (based on their experiences) VR training simulations can save companies upwards of more than $2,000 (compared to a standard training program). As the cost of VR equipment keeps dropping, business use of VR training is on the rise.
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VR as a Group Training Tool
VR can be both an individualized learning experience, or a group training tool. One of the advantages of VR is its ability to allow people in different physical locations to explore and interact in the same virtual environment. Managers can now coordinate team training sessions between continents and across time zones.
VR technology is already being used to train teams in the following verticals:
Military personnel can benefit from highly specialized training sessions powered by VR tech. In-the-field situations can be simulated in a no-risk environment that provides substantial realism. Training can be conducted in multi-user groups, ensuring each team member knows the full scope of their assigned tasks and missions, and officers and trainers can step in when needed.
VR training can also be used to present scenarios requiring personnel to venture outside their comfort zones and adapt to changing conditions ‘on the spot,’ such as simulating how different members of a platoon may be called upon to salvage a situation if other team members are rendered ineffective. Additionally, multiple soldiers can face off against numerous AI-based opponents in strategic or combat simulations.
The upstream oil and gas industry sees an extremely high rate of severe injury (including finger and limb loss) as well as fatalities every year — one of the highest injury rates across all industries. Accordingly, virtual reality training is now being used to help to improve health and safety on offshore drilling platforms. Technical training simulations can replicate work team experiences on maritime rigs, safely delivering accurate instruction & training for machinery used in physically and mentally demanding environments.
This cuts down significantly on the costs of training on-shore crews and helps prove the worth and skill of any potential assignee before they are transported out to the actual rig. The increase in safety reduces chances of injury or fatality, and multi-user capability teaches team members to work together in high consequence conditions.
Construction is another high-risk, high-consequence industry, with daily casualties. Accidents can range from hand-crush injuries to machinery rollover incidents to falls from heights. VR training enhances standard training procedures, enabling safety to be demonstrated in a virtual ‘live’ environment.
Virtual reality training in construction typically covers health and safety procedures, such as the handling of dangerous materials and hazard perception. It can also convey technical training for equipment maintenance. In all cases, VR allows construction teams to improve their skills and safety awareness in a risk-free situation with total immersion.
The world of aerospace and aviation requires impeccable precision and dependable crews to avoid catastrophic, life-threatening failures. Comprehensive knowledge of equipment, parts, and procedures can take years of study and practice to master. And the rigors of constant technological innovation mean their knowledge must be continually updated.
This learning process and interconnected continuing education can be facilitated and enhanced with VR training. While pilots have long benefited from simulation-based training, on-the-ground crews can now also benefit from fully operational virtual maintenance bays to practice aircraft care.
The healthcare sector experiences life or death situations daily, but hands-on experience with rare injuries or illnesses can be expensive to achieve. Many healthcare institutions are choosing VR to provide realistic training for their staff.
Lifelike simulations force users to act quickly while thinking on their feet when time is in short supply. Medical emergency responders and surgical teams can benefit from programs that present critical scenarios, pushing them to access their knowledge and implement it in ‘against the clock’ situations in a multi-user reality.
Interdisciplinary groups of medical specialists can also work together across distances to learn how to handle highly specialized patients. Doctor-to-patient, doctor-to-patient-family, and doctor-to-doctor interactions can be practiced and fine-tuned for effective, collaborative care.
PIXO VR First Responder Operations (HazMat) training that includes multi-user functionality has even more potential with scenarios that can be run through as a team. This promotes collaborative efforts throughout the problem-solving process and prompts team members to learn effective communication skills for use in crisis situations.
In New England, the NYPD has been developing and implementing VR training for teams to respond to active shooter incidents. Scenarios include scenes of mass chaos and hostage situations. The expectation is that teams can learn to manage these increasingly frequent events with practice in a no-risk environment.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has adapted versions of their mass shooter response VR programs. These are now available to help train teachers and school staff who might experience a school shooter.
Virtual reality can be an ideal means to achieve critical training objectives for groups. Especially attractive is the lack of requirement for individuals to be in a single physical location. With the right VR software, team members can report to the closest location with gear — anywhere with a WiFi connection or 5G network coverage — and train with others across the country or even the globe.
The benefits of VR group training will continue to make themselves known as mainstream adoption increases, with almost every scenario — from the battlefield to the boardroom — as an ideal proving ground.
Manufacturing, engineering, logistics, and sports teams are all seeing the benefits of VR training. As costs continue to drop and level-out, this technology will feed the future of employee education. Using a system that provides for multi-user functionality means enabling entire groups to be trained at one time, collaborating to find real-time solutions in the virtual space.