The Future of VR Training Technology: 5 Key Takeaways from the 2019 TechLearn Conference

Over the past few years, we have made a point to attend the Training Magazine’s TechLearn Conference. It’s an amazing event where learning & development professionals gather to acquire knowledge about the latest in learning research and training technologies that improve workplace performance.

As a VR tech evangelist, our Co-Founder Dave Beck at Foundry 45 was thrilled to sit on a panel with Bobby Carlton, Jay Fraser from HP, and Dr. Maxime Ros from Revinax to discuss Mixed Reality’s impact on Recruitment, Onboarding, and Training (more on that panel in an upcoming post!)

VR Training Panelists – Maxime Ros, Bobby Carlton, Dave Beck, and Jay Fraser

We also had a chance to meet and learn from some of the best in the L&D biz. Here are 5 key takeaways from this year’s TechLearn conference…

Takeaway #1 – VR Training Technology Helps Speed Learning and Skills Mastery.

VR training technology provides trainees with a hands-on experiential learning opportunity. Through this approach, people may practice and apply new skills, concepts, and problem-solving techniques in real-time.

Why is this so important? It all comes down to the science of how our brains not only learn but also retain information.

A hundred years ago, Hermann Ebbinghaus formulated the learning curve, which correlates the relationship between memory and time. The formula states that if your absorption rate is at 100% on day one, there is a 50-80% loss of learning from the second day onward.

By the end of a month, the retention rate drops to 2%.

This commonly occurs when people are required to sit through traditional training programs. Those programs force them to absorb large amounts of information in one sitting via 2D mediums such as videos and/or PowerPoint presentations — and all in single session.

However, when people train in a VR setting, retention rates and the speed at which they learn skyrocket. Why? Because trainees are able to physically perform tasks and learn from mistakes while mastering new skillsets in real-time. Employees don’t have to be embarrassed about asking too many questions or making mistakes. They can keep practicing until they feel 100% comfortable with the task or material.

Takeaway #2 – Four-Dimensional Training Provides a Clear and Actionable Framework for Learning.

In today’s working educational environment, one-size-fits-all curriculums are not effective or beneficial.

Companies want flexibility within their training environments. Even more importantly, organizations need the ability to easily and quickly shift their training programs to accommodate new technology, equipment, job locations, and more.

Jay Fraser, HP, discussing how Foundry 45 is using VR training for Delta Air Lines

For example, airports across the country are laid out differently. Even though ground crew operations may be the same in multiple locations, the physical setup in each location may require training specific to unique airport environments.

With VR training technology,  training simulations can be set up to mimic the exact space in which your employees will perform their tasks and can account for any obstacles (or environmental factors like weather, lighting conditions, etc.) that might differ from location to location.

It’s this type of four-dimensional education system that provides the framework for adaptable learning in the 21st century.

Image: Brandon Carson, Delta Air Lines – Radical L&D: Reimagining Corporate Learning in the Digital Age

Takeaway #3 – Your Future Employees Are Already Learning Via VR Today.

If you walk into a school today, you’ll notice teachers are beginning to branch out from textbooks and are using more advanced technologies, such as VR and AR in their classrooms.

It’s no surprise that school systems are adopting VR technology as it’s helping educate students in a new way that promotes greater rates of information retention. It’s also highly effective in accommodating different types of learners. 

Image: Brandon Carson, Delta Air Lines –

The students who are using this technology are your future employees.

If your company doesn’t stay up to date with the latest training technology, these new hires are more likely to pass up your organization. Other companies that have integrated, cutting edge, and adaptive learning styles as part of their training programs may be more desirable.

Takeaway #4 – VR training technology provides a safe environment where employees can learn to manage dangerous, real-world situations.

In real life, it’s often not practical or safe to send trainees into dangerous situations. However, part of learning how to do a job can sometimes entail putting an employee into an unsafe situation.

For example, airline pilots and flight attendants need to be trained to handle dangerous situations such as a cockpit fire. How does that work?

Trainees could go through a PowerPoint presentation of best practices in the event of an emergency. Or, they could perhaps experience an actual fire in a cockpit simulator that would offer hands-on experience. The former isn’t very compelling, and the latter isn’t safe or fiscally viable.

With virtual reality, learners can be “thrown into the fire” without any real-life consequences. This type of experiential learning provides the opportunity for employees to physically experience an emergency situation without any actual risk of injury. 

Takeaway #5 – VR + Winning = Fun!

In a conference environment, some people sit on the sidelines, happy to absorb all the great content. Others jump right in to the action!

Destery Hildenbrand, Sr. is the type to jump right in. This Instructional Designer at GP Strategies Corporation tried the Delta Air Lines experience our team was showcasing. He also dropped his business card in bowl for a chance to win a brand new VR headset. At the end of the event, we selected his card in the drawing! This was one of the highlights of TechLearn 2019 for our team what was yours? 

Attending the TechLearn 2019 conference was a great experience. It confirmed the importance of staying up to date with the latest trends, and it also provided a better understanding of how many companies are currently utilizing VR/AR in their training programs. If your organization is looking to discover more about how VR training technology will benefit your new hires or current employees, we encourage you to get in touch with us today!