How Virtual Reality can be used in training 

Engineer male using VR virtual reality technology in modern warehouse factory

Richard Oldale introduces us to where and how virtual reality technology can be used for skills development in different industries

Virtual Reality (VR) technology has proven to be a valuable tool in various training scenarios, offering immersive and interactive experiences that can enhance learning outcomes.

VR training involves using immersive technologies to teach employees how to perform various roles. What makes VR training stand apart from any other format is that it allows people to immerse themselves in realistic and dynamic simulated environments.

Therefore, VR technologies can be used for hands-on job training across various industries. It’s already taken off in the medical profession and military operations but can be just as effective in manufacturing and customer service. 

The industries where VR is proving to be most valuable are in high-risk or complex settings where real-world training might be impractical, expensive, or life-threatening. 

For example, pilots have used VR simulators for decades, and now construction, oil rigging and the mining industries are adopting this new approach as well. Virtual reality training could save lives.

Even companies you would not expect to need hi-tech equipment to train their staff are using VR technology. Brands such as UPS, FedEx, McDonalds and Walmart have all invested in VR training. 

So, what is all the fuss about? Why are so many brands across multiple sectors using virtual reality as part of their employee training strategy?

How can VR training be used in the workplace? 

VR training enables trainees to practice and refine skills in a controlled and realistic virtual environment. Not only that, the brain stores memories more efficiently when you live an experience: memory determines future behaviour.

It’s the capacity to provide realistic scenarios that makes VR training highly effective. Employee training can even be centred around an immersive language learning experience, allowing learners to practice and enhance their verbal  skills in virtual environments where the language is spoken naturally. This approach enhances linguistic acquisition and cultural understanding.

In healthcare, VR is used for medical training, surgical simulations, and practising various medical procedures. It allows medical professionals to enhance their skills in a risk-free environment before working with actual patients.

Construction companies use VR for their health and safety training. VR allows you to train personnel how to respond to emergency situations, hazardous material handling, fire drills, and workplace safety. Trainees can learn to react appropriately to dangerous situations without real-world risks. 

VR is increasingly utilised for soft skills training, such as communication, leadership, and customer service. Trainees can engage in realistic interactions with virtual characters, honing their interpersonal skills in a controlled setting.

You can also save costs by bringing locations to your employees rather than sending your employees to locations. VR is used for virtual tours and site exploration, allowing individuals to explore environments that may be difficult or costly to access in person. This is useful for training in fields like archaeology, geology, and urban planning.

Is VR training the future for businesses? 

VR training provides an immersive and realistic learning experience that engages trainees on a deeper level compared to traditional training methods. Studies show that interacting with 3D environments enhances memory retention.

The potential for employees to learn faster and shorten the training period could be huge for productivity and profitability. VR training programs can be customised to meet the specific needs of any business.

VR also eliminates the need for physical training spaces, travel expenses, and the purchase of costly equipment for simulation. It’s a cost-effective solution for repeated and consistent training.

Unlike most traditional employee training strategies, VR training is inherently engaging, and the interactive nature of the technology helps maintain trainee interest. The novelty of the experience and the gamification elements often found in VR training contribute to increased motivation.

Moreover, VR training platforms provide real-time feedback which allows trainees to understand their performance immediately. This not only fosters a continuous learning process by enabling quick adjustments and improvements but can also boost the confidence and belief of workers. 

Trainers can also track and analyse user performance. This enables them to provide valuable data on trainee progress and identify areas that may need additional focus. 

This data-driven approach enables trainers to identify details at a granular level and provide relevant feedback. This is not possible in traditional training programs where mistakes can be missed. 

Embracing VR training can give your business a competitive advantage by demonstrating a commitment to innovative and effective training methods. This can contribute to attracting top talent and positioning your organisation as a leader in employee development.

VR as a transformative tool

There’s little doubt that VR training is increasingly being recognised as a transformative and effective tool for employee development, and many indicators suggest that it will play a significant role in the future of business training.

While the upfront costs might rule some small businesses out, virtual reality training could become the norm in the not-too-distant future. The technology’s multiple uses and benefits have the potential to accrue a return on investment.

Richard Oldale, Content Writer, Sliced Bread Animation

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