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Corporate training in VR – Does it have a future?

virtual reality training

It is common knowledge that virtual reality (VR) has been used in a variety of other well-known sectors and fields, such as the military, healthcare and education, in some cases even before it came to gaming. Another major area is corporate training in VR.

Jobs that are conducted in hazardous environments or require high precision and skill, such as that of an engineer or a surgeon, benefit immensely from this technology, which grants a realistic but safe space to train and practice without getting in harm’s way. The same is true of corporate training as well, which can sometimes happen within hazardous and dangerous environments or require very high levels of precision and skill.

The VR training market was predicted to grow to $6.3 billion (£4.7) by 2022. Its potential doesn’t stop there. VR presents a cure to challenges that businesses face today. What follows are a few of the ways in which VR is changing corporate training.

How can corporate training in VR minimise risk?

Companies require their employees to perform in unsafe and dangerous environments. It creates an impossible situation when it comes to training. While they need to practice in real conditions to become proficient in their roles and learn how to be safe, the potential danger of placing someone untrained in a hazardous environment is sometimes too high even to consider.

VR is an efficient solution to this quandary, allowing learners to immerse themselves in realistic environments which mimic their actual performance space, without any of the risks, as is the case for industrial gas supplier Linde, who’s drivers transport dangerous gases to thousands of locations. Some of these gases are highly flammable and driving them can be extremely dangerous if not done correctly.

Thanks to their VR programme, Linde’s trainees can go through the system as many times as needed to prepare them for real-life actions, not only gaining the skills they need to do so but allowing them to adjust for all kinds of unexpected situations that could come up on the road.

Practising tasks in VR

If it genuinely takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything, one of the most significant elements that are often missing in corporate learning is the ability to practice. Trainees aren’t allowed the time to practice what they’re being taught to develop a new skill, and this could have disastrous consequences if, for example, you were wiring aeroplanes.

Boeing engineers have a difficult task to perform when it comes to the wiring of an aircraft and bringing in new trainees is a complex process. Boeing cannot tolerate mistakes, which in turn leads to delays in training. With VR images of the aeroplane’s body that give exact visuals of where the wiring must connect, trainees can practice without the fear of making mistakes, making training faster and easier.

The company believes that corporate training in VR can cut training time by 75% per person. Being allowed to practice reduces a task’s complexity when the time comes to perform, which in turn increases efficiency and productivity for the business overall.

How the workforce can learn new skills

One of VRs most innovative applications within corporate training lies in the area of employee’s soft skill development, such as empathy and critical thinking, which is stated to be the priority of companies with highly engaged employees.

Fidelity Investments chose empathy-building as their first employee training VR programme for their call centres. In training, employees transport from the centre to the caller’s surroundings, where they can immerse themselves in the environment and see the facial expressions and personal perspective of the voice behind the line.

Corporate training in VR fosters not only empath but also critical thinking. Having the time to step back and think about your actions before taking them is one of VR greatest attributes and is essential to any customer-oriented role. The customer is always right, and VR has allowed learners to step into their world and understand where they are coming from and, more specifically, what they want from the service.

Corporate training in VR improves employee engagement

Employee retention rates are directly related to their engagement levels and adding more technology into your training initiatives is a great way to keep employees interested.

Today’s workforce is more tech-savvy than ever before, millennials have never lived without technology, and in the next five years, the average PowerPoint presentation will probably not be enough to keep young trainees engaged. Companies must get on board and update their learning initiatives to suit better the newest generations that are entering the corporate job market, and VR is a great place to start.

VR still has room to grow, constituting only 4% of the technologies that L&D departments utilise. But the largest and most progressive organisations are setting the pace by adding corporate training in VR, and anyone who chooses not to embrace it is at risk of falling behind.

Nintendo VR game design

Louisa Garcia Moreno