In the 21st century workplace environment, virtual reality (VR) is becoming one of the most valuable training options for employers across diverse sectors. That’s because immersive VR experiences offer a cost-effective way to provide employees with the closest thing to real-life training. What’s more is that it exists without the associated risks and expense of simulated or actual environments.
VR is the perfect tool for recreating workplace scenarios that are otherwise too dangerous, too difficult or too expensive to train for. Users can immerse themselves in highly realistic environments and incidents that offer crucial developmental learning experiences, while preparing them for real-world possibilities.
A major advantage of VR is to see the same experience from different perspectives. Many employers are using it to put their employees in the shoes of their customers, so that they can gain insight into exactly how their actions impact on the customer experience.
So, we’ve decided to compile some of our favourite examples of VR training. From medical and emergency services, to retail and air travel, these innovative experiences help employers prime their trainees in risk-free, yet very realistic environments.
It’s extremely difficult to create real-life training scenarios for emergency services while ensuring the safety of trainees. That’s why the Vancouver Fire Department chose to use VR as a training tool. They can place employees in a variety of realistic emergency scenarios without compromising on their wellbeing!
This training experience offers a range of fully immersive photorealistic 3D environments in which first responders can identify and react to dangerous incidents, such as chemical leaks or fire. The experience has a multi-user functionality where trainees can learn and interact with each other in the same virtual space, even if miles apart.
Using the system has allowed trainees to score higher in knowledge retention and build muscle memory more effectively than with traditional simulation methods. And unlike real-life exercises, VR training is easily repeatable with infinite variations, increasing engagement and retention.
In the workplace, it can be difficult for managers to practice high-pressure conversations in a secure environment. With BodySwaps: The David Project, a VR training experience is provided where the participant can experience both roles first hand– manager and employee.
Using Oculus Rift controllers and voice through built-in microphones, the user first takes the role of a manager talking to an employee called David. He has a less-than-perfect HR record. After speaking to David, the user then gets to step into his shoes and listen back to what has just been said from his perspective.
As this VR training tool takes into account aspects such as eye contact, attention and tone of voice, at the end, the user is provided with a detailed scorecard of their performance. This experience has helped managers to improve communication skills, build self-awareness and develop conflict management techniques in an environment, which is both repeatable and completely safe.
BodySwaps: The Susan Project is another great example of how VR is providing immersive training tools that allow users to develop essential skills in a highly realistic role-playing environment. Like the David Project, the Susan Project takes a body-swapping format where trainees can view the same experience from different perspectives.
Commissioned by Sage Publishing, a leader in educational and academic publishing, the Susan Project is focused on the challenge of psychiatric nursing training. Trainees take part in an interaction between Susan, a patient suffering from clinical depression, and a mental health nurse.
Mbryonic worked with technology consultants Somewhere Else to provide design and technical expertise to make this experience come to life. With the trainees able to experience the interaction from the perspective of both mental health nurse and patient, it’s an opportunity to develop communication skills, build empathy and improve patient care without risk to real-life patients.
Using speech application program interfaces (APIs) and motion-captured body data, the Susan Project provides trainees with a detailed scorecard on their performance. This allows them to identify areas for improvement and then work on them using the same experience. Medtech students from UCL have tried the Susan Project and given highly positive feedback. One user commented “I feel like VR technology helps you develop empathy towards people you don’t know”.
Because mistakes when working with patients in the medical sector can have extremely serious consequences – hopefully they don’t happen too often… It’s not surprising that VR is being explored by a number of training providers, as its risk-free!
In this VR experience by Arch Virtual, trainee doctors and nurses practise a range of medical procedures on a virtual patient. Immersed in a virtual lab, trainees are guided through the steps of different procedures, such as how to apply a bandage and clean a laceration, with the option of carrying it out multiple times.
One of the key features of the experience is that multiple students or a student and instructor can work together within the same environment. This is a great example of how VR is transforming the training landscape, helping trainees to get (virtual) hands-on experience and develop essential medical skills with no risk to patients.
The training of cabin crew is crucial to any airline, for reasons including safety, efficiency and customer experience. But using physical aircraft mock-ups is both expensive and cannot realistically recreate some of the most important safety-critical procedures.
That’s why Avietra and Xflash Systems created an immersive VR training tool for cabin crews. Eliminating the need for physical aircraft mock-ups, it takes trainees through a range of training environments including familiarisation of the cabin and galley lay-outs.
It also provides a realistic training experience for high-risk scenarios such as a fire or emergency evacuation. These are obviously quite hard to replicate multiple times in real life. There is even the opportunity to practise dealing with an unruly passenger, where trainees can choose how to respond to them and experience how the passenger reacts.
The virtual training approach for cabin crew is being adopted by an increasing number of major airlines, who value both the quality of training it provides and its cost-effectiveness.
When it comes to training the military, the stakes couldn’t be higher. So, the British Army decided to use VR to provide a risk-free virtual environment that can provide practical hands-on experience across a range of different environments.
Developed by BiSim, the VR training tool simulates a variety of training situations, such as an urban firefight, crowd-control scenarios or a building filled with enemy combatants.
The experience is helping soldiers improve their abilities and gain valuable experience and feedback before going into live scenarios. A British Army representative pointed out the unique perspective it offers: “We get a good after-action review from it where we get to see from a 360-degree point of view of what we’ve done. You wouldn’t get that if you were on the ground.”
In fast-moving industrial environments, safety training is essential for all personnel. So it’s a huge advantage if employees can get a realistic hands-on experience before entering a safety-critical environment.
Linde Engineering uses VR simulations of its plants to train operating personnel before the plant is even built. By creating a digital twin environment, it helps employees navigate the space, understand where various components are located and use safety-critical equipment.
This VR training experience is the perfect opportunity to ensure that employees gain a realistic insight into the safety issues they will face on a day-to-day basis, without ever compromising their health or wellbeing.
In the warehouse, driving a forklift truck is an essential part of operations. But it can present numerous workplace risks.
There are many potential dangers including driving too quickly, parking in unsafe areas or dropping loads (as seen in those Youtube fail videos). This VR training experience helps to combat these risks by providing a realistic training environment where forklift drivers can practise safety-critical procedures before venturing into the warehouse.
VR offers an opportunity to create realistic scenarios that helps teams to learn faster while saving money and reducing risk.
Walmart is the largest private employer in the world, so it’s no surprise that it looks to gain commercial benefit through innovations in employee training.
The company has found that using VR is a beneficial way of delivering its training to employees in a consistent, efficient and cost-effective manner. It gives employees a chance to gain valuable experience from the customer perspective without risk and on demand.
Using Oculus VR headsets throughout all US stores, the focus has been on VR training in three key areas: customer service, compliance and new technology. With employees learning and making mistakes in a safe environment, Walmart has seen the benefits of using VR in employee confidence and employee retention.
Employers that are using VR training are seeing a substantial return on their investment. By using immersive technology to recreate real-life scenarios without any associated risk, it’s a fantastic way of engaging employees in customer-focused experiences. It not only offers tangible learning opportunities across a range of fields, it has major cost benefits.
If you’d like to have a no-obligation conversation about how VR training could provide value to your business, don’t hesitate to contact us! And maybe you’re curious to know how VR can be used in other sectors? Why not check our work or other articles, such as how VR is the perfect tool for education or marketing.
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