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Remember the Nintendo Virtual Boy? We do! Epic failure, right? Still, Nintendo and Sega’s pioneering values set the ground for the development of VR as we see it today. For over forty years, virtual reality has been used by the entertainment, medical, armed forces, aviation, and automobile industries for training purposes. In the mid-2010s, virtual experiences gained traction in the educational world and are now being used for virtual reality employee training.
We can all agree that technology is great but not all employees are created equal and thus are not equally tech-savvy. So, how can you figure out whether your employees are ready, willing, and able to dive into an immersive virtual experience? The first and the best thing you can do is survey the audience, which is typically employees at your company. They'll be able to tell you how comfortable they are with learning new skills and knowledge through the use of VR.
Virtual reality is the most immersive of all learning technologies. This is because the user gets completely enveloped in an alternate 'universe'. They view this new environment with the help of a headset or head-mounted device (HMD). The device incorporates head tracking, which means that anywhere you look there is something to see and explore. VR can be used to:
Make training fun and inventive
Remove the fear of failure for your employees
Create real-life scenarios while removing the need to leave the office
Improve knowledge retention
Allow 'at-your-own-pace' learning
Considering the high proportion of millennial workers filling up the corporation ranks today, using VR in employee training makes a lot of sense. This generation of employees are essentially born with mobile devices in their hands and are very tech-savvy. So you'll likely be successful in introducing this innovative learning method into your company culture.
If you surveyed your workforce about the possible inclusion of VR technology for learning purposes, you likely have some resulting data. Look at the numbers, the comments, and suggestions that employees are offering. Analyzing the information you receive from your staff will enable you to take an educated decision.
To find the right VR technology for your business model you'll need to consider what the training course goals might be. Aligning your business goals with employee needs will help you narrow down your choices. Next, think about what type of experience you want to offer. What is the end-goal or desired learning outcomes? Are you looking to build a simulation that mimics real-life situations or provide an in-depth product knowledge training session? Answering these questions will further chisel out what VR platform fits your needs.
Once you have chosen the VR tech, see how you can incorporate it into your company's employee training culture. VR can complement existing classroom-style and e-Learning modules. It can be very useful for all kinds of topics such as:
Learning to use heavy machinery
New trainee onboarding
Solving customer service issues
Learning to use a customized ordering system
You can use VR as a simulation, a game, and anything in between. The only downside is that virtual reality training requires on-site presence and, of course, acquiring the VR system. Still, after the initial investment, VR can be personalized for different departments and various learning needs.
The most appealing aspect of virtual reality employee training is the fun factor. People naturally enjoy learning through play. So, finding the right balance between providing valuable information and entertainment is crucial. A well-built simulation will offer job-relevant knowledge, in-game rewards, social interaction, and the proper level of challenge so that players don't get bored or feel overwhelmed.
As futuristic as this technology might seem, it is still in its incipient stages. While most people enjoy the experience, some can feel adverse effects such as motion sickness. Plus, others are reluctant to shut out their surroundings in order to enter an environment they’re not familiar with. Keeping learning sessions short can minimize motion sickness and help learners conquer their fear.
We've also mentioned the cost. Upfront, VR technology can require a significant investment, but the long-term benefits to company growth are undeniable. It is important to consider all the advantages will be gained and how they will impact your return on investment.
In any case, be sure to do your homework before deciding to jump on the virtual boat. Professional services are readily available to help reconcile your budget, business goals, and employee needs. Contact Designing Digitally to learn more about custom virtual reality training today.