Suddenly, everyone in the tech sector seems to be talking about virtual reality (VR). Many people associate it with games and entertainment. However, it’s been around for some time and has many practical uses.
The U.S. military, for example, commonly uses VR technology to train personnel to use equipment and weapons and to simulate combat situations. Similarly, companies in the aerospace and aeronautics industries use VR to gain a competitive advantage. VR education gives engineers the ability to economically test products and systems. These are only some of the ways that VR is currently used.
One area where VR shows real promise is in corporate training for many industries. Let’s take a deeper look.
Benefits of Virtual Reality for Training
Virtual reality learning has some truly revolutionary capabilities when it comes to training.
Here are some of the major benefits:
- Creates realistic scenarios. Unlike traditional training methods, such as textbooks and videos, virtual reality training courses are the closest thing to real life scenarios you can get. This allows for comprehensive training in many industries.
- Provides a safe environment to train employees. In many situations, live training is dangerous, either for the trainee or others. For example, inexperienced medical students can’t perform organ transplants on live patients without endangering their lives. In a VR training environment, however, they can safely simulate this and other procedures.
- Makes remote training possible. Whereas trainees must be physically present for live training, virtual reality training makes it possible to train people who are anywhere in the world. This is cheaper and more convenient for organizations and lets them train more people at a lower cost.
- Interesting and enjoyable. Virtual reality training programs provide trainees with a captivating environment. Even the most serious and technical subjects can have a fun and game-like atmosphere with VR. This means people are more likely to pay close attention.
- Improves retention. Evidence shows that virtual reality training is extremely effective when it comes to retention. According to a study at Miami Children’s Health System, retention for VR training sessions is as high as 80 percent, compared to only 20 percent with traditional training.
These are some of the benefits of VR that help to make training more effective, interesting, and economical. Now let’s look at some of the specific uses for virtual reality training in several industries.
Industry Use Cases for Virtual Reality Learning
Effective sales training involves teaching sales reps how to function in a variety of situations. It’s difficult to replicate the complexities of human interaction with traditional training. Sales reps only learn so much by reading about training techniques or watching scenarios on video. With virtual reality learning, however, it’s possible to create an immersive experience that truly replicates the experience of talking to customers. For best results, sales training has to be consistent and ongoing. This is costly for companies, however. It’s expensive and inconvenient to organize training seminars. For larger companies, with staff in many locations, it’s especially cumbersome. With VR, it’s easy to conduct frequent virtual training and updates. Sales associates can attend these sessions remotely, saving the company time and money.
The medical and healthcare industries can use VR technology in many ways to improve training. Medical students, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in training can safely learn complex procedures without endangering patients’ lives. In a virtual environment, students can learn without the fear that mistakes will have catastrophic consequences. One facility that’s on the forefront of this trend is the Penn State Hershey Clinical Simulation Center, where students get safe and realistic hands-on training for performing medical procedures. VR training is also useful for patient education. Patients can get a realistic idea of what medical procedures and clinical trials involve.
Virtual reality learning is playing an increasingly large role in manufacturing. As in other industries, VR lets engineers create better products in less time and at a lower cost by testing outcomes in simulated environments. VR is also useful in the area of employee training. VR training helps to make production more efficient while increasing safety. Employees can learn potentially dangerous processes in the safety of a simulated environment. One company that’s showing impressive results in this area is Ford, which has reduced worker injuries by 70 percent using virtual reality for training.
Retail and Hospitality
Employees in restaurants, hotels, and retail stores are the public faces of their employers. The way they interact with customers has a great impact on the success of these companies. This is another realm where frequent and thorough training is a must. With VR training, employees can quickly absorb the latest information and learn the best techniques for providing optimal customer service. For example, sales reps for hotels, resorts, and cruises can go on virtual tours so they can better explain the benefits to customers. Employees can also learn the best ways to improve customer satisfaction and deal with problems and complaints through simulated interactions. Best Western, for example, is using VR training to improve employees’ interpersonal skills.
Safety and Risk Management
Teaching employees safety procedures and ways to minimize risk is a priority in many industries. In some work environments, compliance training is an important part of training new employees. Virtual reality learning makes it easier and more efficient to train employees on safety measures. Companies can save money on training and reduce injuries. Workers can learn how to use dangerous equipment in a simulated environment. The Raymond Corporation, for example, uses VR training to teach employees how to use forklifts. Transportation is another industry where VR training improves safety. For example, with VR training, engineers working on train tracks can learn to avoid risks such as electrocution and being hit by trains.
Mechanical Training and Repair
Employees who perform mechanical tasks and repairs can learn how to perform their jobs more efficiently with virtual reality training. In the automobile industry, workers can learn to perform many tasks with VR. This is another instance where virtual reality learning saves time and makes training faster and less costly for companies. With VR, employees get familiar with a variety of vehicles or other machines they’ll be working on. VR is useful for training new employees, as in technical schools, or to keep employees updated on the latest equipment.
For these and other industries, virtual reality is one of the most effective training tools. It gives companies the ability to train large numbers of employees remotely and expose them to a wide variety of scenarios. VR training is convenient, entertaining, and cost-effective compared to traditional training methods. There’s little doubt that we’ll see more and more uses for VR training in the coming years.
If you’re interested in applying the benefits of virtual reality training to your corporate training strategy, Knowledge Anywhere can help you develop immersive virtual reality training courses. Contact us to learn more!
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