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Virtual reality (VR) has revolutionized the way organizations deliver training to their employees. This immersive technology has been rising in popularity because of the enhanced learner experience it provides. The technology is a huge departure from the traditional classroom training and is even more interactive than a typical web-based simulation. Learners prefer a VR format of learning because it makes learning fun and interactive.
Organizations are embracing VR technology as they can seamlessly adapt to all sectors and functions. Here are some ways you can use VR for employee training.
VR can be used to introduce new employees to their work environment. More than just a virtual tour, a VR experience allows new hires to practice tasks in a realistic setting. VR replicates the surroundings of the employee’s job role, such as cooking in a restaurant kitchen or stocking shelves in a retail store. Your new employees can practice the tasks and learn from their mistakes. It is better to make mistakes in the virtual world rather than at the workplace. Especially in high-stress jobs, VR is a great tool to build the confidence of the new hires before turning them loose in their role.
Salespeople interact directly with the clients. They encounter various situations where they have to deal with challenging clients and make instantaneous decisions. This can be extremely challenging, especially for newly hired sales reps. VR simulations allow them to practice such difficult scenarios in a virtual environment. It allows them to practice and learn how to deal with these critical instances. That way, they are able to handle such clients and situations better at their workplace.
Compliance training is often boring, but it is important for your employees to be aware of compliance issues and how to deal with them. VR can liven up a dry topic. For example, for training on how to prevent workplace injuries, you can create a simulated dilemma and see how the employees fare in it. Learners who fail to prevent an injury in the simulation can then see the effects of their neglect. Observing these consequences firsthand in an incredibly real environment will deeply impact the learner. They will focus on being more aware in the future and take precautions to prevent injuries. VR lets learners “feel” the repercussions rather than just reading about them in a different format of training.
In the manufacturing industry, you have to be used to working on the factory floor. It is not possible to simulate the sights and sounds of the factory in a traditional learning context. So, if your employees need to practice, they have to do it in a virtual surrounding. That is what VR does – simulate a realistic environment where manufacturing workers can improve their skills and enhance their productivity.
Most employees are not ready to deal with emergency situations. No matter how many charts and job aids you prepare, it is not possible to know how someone will react during the actual emergency. For example, fires or earthquakes come without warning. During that panic moment, employees tend to forget what they have read in a manual. But, if they have experienced a similar situation, they may have the reflex to deal with it. VR helps create such situations in the virtual realm. Place your employees in a scenario and see how they react. Offer them branching scenarios to understand the repercussions of their decisions. If they fail, they know that they need to work on. Chances are that with simulated practice, they may be able to handle a disaster when it actually strikes.
These are just a few examples of how you can integrate VR into your employee training strategy, but there are many possibilities with this training approach. The idea is to ascertain objectives and learning outcomes and then decide how you want to use the technology to achieve it. VR may be a snazzy technology, but the end objective is to achieve learner goals. It may not be easy to develop VR simulations if you do not have prior experience. If you feel that you do not have the capability to develop VR learning solutions in-house, partner with an experienced vendor.
At Designing Digitally, Inc. our team of instructional designers can take your ideas and training goals to the virtual realm. We combine our game development prowess with sound instructional methodologies to create training experiences that foster performance management.