|Virtual reality is being used to deliver immersive, engaging and effective training to employees and students across the world. For hazardous sites, onsite inductions, remote locations and scenario training, VR training can deliver better, faster and lower cost training. There has always been a trade-off between learning and providing effective training in a safe, cost-effective environment. Increasingly, virtual reality is used to fill this gap.
For some industries, training is compulsory and necessary at regular and measurable intervals. For others, it is not mandatory but is a necessary step in upskilling and retaining high-quality employees.
Training is a BIG industry in itself – and as it should be. Training is incredibly important in all facets of our lives, even if we don’t realise. From a Subway sandwich with just the right amount of ham (that has been safely refrigerated and handled) to the solar panels powering your aircon (both of which were properly installed) to the highly specialised doctors in our hospitals who have spent decades refining their skills.
So, how is VR transforming training across industries?
Immersive learning = improved learning
VR can offer measurable improvement in a wide array of immersive learning outcomes, in tasks that range from flying advanced jets to making a chicken sandwich to handling dangerous chemicals. (1)
By placing trainees in VR headsets with different environments and scenarios, you are able to present immersive, realistic situations over and over again, providing more opportunities to learn and develop skills. VR also creates a unique opportunity to place trainees in extreme or dangerous environments. For most people, exposure to tough or atypical cases force them to create more refined or specialized reasoning than that found in a book or procedure manual. (2)
When you sit in an exit seat on a plane, how much do you actually take in when you are instructed about the emergency exit procedures and told to read the safety card? Hopefully, you have never been in a situation where you had to find out! In one experiment, instead of the usual speel, passengers played a brief immersive game. These passengers seemed to learn more and retain longer knowledge than their fellow flyers. The game was more successful than the card at engaging passengers and arousing fear, both incentivising participants to learn and providing the neurological surprise to support that learning. (3)
Faster, safer and at less cost
With the price of high-quality VR headsets plummeting in the last 12 months, the ability for organisations to invest in VR hardware has never been better. But the cost of the hardware shouldn’t necessarily be the focus. Instead, smart organisations will see the broader financial benefits of training their staff in VR.
Training can be a costly exercise. Paying trainers, creating resources, setting up scenarios and site visits, as well as the cost of the time, spent away from other duties. VR can allow many people to engage with training content at any time and from anywhere in the world. Expensive (and long) site inductions and hazard training can be delivered quicker, more effectively and consistently with 360-degree videography or gamification of environments.
In South Australia, TAFE SA is now offering virtual reality modules for some apprentices of particularly hazardous courses, including refrigeration. Traditionally, students have very limited access to operational refrigeration plants due to their locations and the dangers of taking students on site. Now, with the help of Lateral Vision, students will learn how to identify hazards and risks in a supermarket plant room just by putting on a pair of VR goggles.
Testing and Feedback
Just being immersed in VR is not, of itself, enough to deliver improved and groundbreaking training. In fact, sometimes, VR won’t be the best option. But in the right scenarios, it can blow books, classes and live training out of the water.
One space where VR could break ground is in the ability to record and test trainees. Virtual training excellent at creating realistic workplace experiences that allow employees to take risks while operating in demanding scenarios. When you then add the ability to provide responsive scenes and instructive feedback, training can reach heights other methods can’t.
If you are an organisation considering VR training, contact Laura at Lateral Vision to discuss further.
Special reference to Tony DeMarinis et al, “Real Learning In A Virtual World: How VR Can Improve Learning and Training Outcomes“, DeLoitte Insights, August 14 2018
(1) Victoria Petrock, “Virtual reality beyond gaming: Solving business problems in industries,” eMarketer, April 25, 2018.
(2) Gary A. Klein and Robert R. Hoffman, “Seeing the invisible: Perceptual-cognitive aspects of expertise,” Cognitive Science Foundations of Instruction (Hillside, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1993), Mitchell Rabinowitz, editor, pp. 203–25.
(3) Luca Chittaro and Fabio Buttussi, “Assessing knowledge retention of an immersive serious game vs. a traditional education method in aviation safety,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 21, no. 4 (2015): pp. 529–38.