Virtual Reality, Job Training, and Limitless Possibilities
You might say that people donning Virtual Reality (VR) goggles look silly. Indeed, they can look like they’re stumbling through the real world wearing nothing more than expensive, bulky blindfolds.
But, behind those goggles is something far from silly—there’s a whole virtual reality world providing endless possibilities in a number of vocations. Areas like medicine and psychology are applying VR, via cognitive behavioral or exposure therapy; as well as transportation services like professional drivers and pilots. It has uses in hospitality, customer service, and emergency response. Simply put, VR can be used to make scenarios out of anything.
Applying VR to vocational training may seem like an extravagance, but it provides benefits beyond even traditional training programs.
Cost Effective Training with Virtual Reality
For starters, traditional training programs require a physical environment, which may be expensive to constantly resupply. Using Virtual Reality training, materials are in endless supply, allowing cost savings while ensuring that employees receive necessary training. They also don’t have to worry about conserving materials or budget cuts.
Travel fees to training sites can also add up, and VR allows companies to avoid them. Because VR training can be completed remotely, there is no limit to when or how far away training can take place. An additional benefit is that employers can monitor progress without physically being there, which improves productivity while saving money for all parties involved.
Despite the relatively high cost of the initial investment to create a VR training program, it’s ultimately a more cost-effective way to train employees. It pays for itself through the cost savings and reduces the risk of winding up with outdated equipment or procedures because of the ease of updating.
Staying Safe in the Danger Zone
During emergency situations, employees have to think on their feet, follow safety protocols, and defuse whatever situation arises. Experience is the best teacher, and in order for an employee to get it, they must go through it, or there could be a disaster.
VR avoids the paradox of needing to have experience, to get experience. Employees can receive training on crucial situations, in a fully-immersive setting, without putting anyone in real danger. With practice, employees train up on emergency procedures, so they can act quickly in dangerous situations. In the future, employees can also constantly refresh their skills, so that they are always ready to deal with whatever may arise.
Other safety benefits come from having the ability to create virtual scenarios for situations that are difficult to duplicate under normal circumstances, such as weather, equipment malfunction, path obstructions, or other potential hazards that fall out of regular working conditions.
Adapting to any industry imaginable
Virtual Reality vocational training is being applied in a surprisingly large variety of fields. Large corporations have begun to apply VR to their training programs, or even completely supplanting their traditional training methods. For example, Walmart has begun using VR to train sales employees for the holiday rushes. UPS uses VR to train drivers, and KFC has begun implementing VR for food preparation training. Even Fidelity has begun to implement VR to train employees for handling customer service calls and empathy training.
The applications are only limited by the amount of imagination and time you’re willing to put in.
Learning faster, safer, and better
While traditional training may seem like the safest, most conservative choice, VR rivals the results of traditional training. Learning out of a handbook or textbook is always going to be nothing more than 2 dimensional. It does little for someone when they actually enter the field, that moment when their experience really begins. Nothing can replace hands-on training, but when that’s not possible without putting people in danger, or there are exorbitantly high costs, VR is the most natural alternative.
Reports show that in comparison with traditional training, VR produces better results when it comes to learning retention. Furthermore, employees have reported learning their tasks faster than with traditional training methods. The reasons for this are possibly because VR is completely immersive, a visual learning tool, and takes away the stress of making mistakes, Employees are able to train better and more efficiently when more relaxed; they can fully focus on the task as if it were a hands-on training.
VR programs are at the perfect point of maturation. It is no longer the new clumsy technology that bit off more than it could chew. It has advanced to the point of practicality and continues to evolve. The integration of haptic feedback features is making VR the best way to train employees.