Businesses in every industry benefit from having their employees participate in specialized training programs. After all, prepared employees are valuable assets and experiential learning through virtual reality training can develop those assets like nothing else can.
So, what exactly IS experiential learning?
Experiential learning is learning by doing: instead of reading a book or watching a video, trainees step into the workplace and start practicing their actual work. Experiential learning programs can be complex and take a lot of experience to develop successfully. Luckily, virtual reality training for businesses is lowering the bar to entry rapidly.
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How VR Is Revolutionizing Employee Training
- VR training lets trainees not only see a thing, but actually do it: Employees learn from experience without being exposed to danger
- VR training cuts costs: A 2015 USMC study found that virtual simulation resulted in net cost avoidance almost 3 times greater than the cost to implement the virtual simulation system
- VR training is more fun and immersive than normal video: Participants who watched a 360° video of a motorcycle ride could remember the video better than those who watched a video of the same ride
What’s the point of training if an employee doesn’t retain the information? Research has shown that experiential learning can increase retention by 75-90%. Virtual Reality can turn any type of training into an experience, from physical activity to understanding a company’s culture and products.
Keeping employees emotionally engaged and immersed in their training program lets employees hone skills and keep valuable information in their heads for longer periods of time. A joint YuMe/Nielsen study, using neuroscience technology, found that emotional engagement in VR experiences increased 27% over traditional 2D classroom learning.
VR headsets also have the included plus of providing a distraction-free environment. Employees can learn new skills completely immersed in the virtual world, separated entirely from real-world noise, peers, or other daily distractions.
All Reward, No Risk
If your employees handle hazardous materials or work with heavy machinery, their training can benefit from virtual reality training. Traditional training methods don’t always cut it, and these jobs are often taught outside the classroom, with hands-on exercises that use real-world machinery or mock-ups of the actual workplace.
Virtual reality can eliminate the need to house expensive equipment just for training purposes and still provide that hands-on training. Machines in a VR simulation also can’t break and do not wear down over time.
Industrial VR experiences are a risk-free environment. Since the environments are completely digital, the safety training session can be paused by simply removing the headset, and restarted again without any delay to the training program. This safe space allows employees to take risks, and understand how to react when faced with difficult circumstances.
Realistic Soft Skills Training
Experiential learning can be a great help for a company’s training. Taking advantage of virtual reality to teach soft skills is a game changer. It’s one thing to know the processes to take when dealing with frustrated customers, it’s a whole other thing following through when faced with a person yelling at you. Virtual simulations can dynamically adapt based on trainee reaction, deescalating and escalating on the fly.
VR can be a great training tool for leadership training as well. According to a 2020 PWC study, VR simulations helped employees become more confident in their ability to perform their jobs, taught them faster, and created a stronger emotional bond to training content. Building empathy is a difficult skill to hone but with realistic situations represented in the VR world, the rigid rules on paper can be applied and practiced actively.
All About The Money
Large organizations have realized the value of immersive training for several years. The mid-market sector is finally catching up by increasing investment. virtual reality training lets companies develop employees in virtual environments, which has led to a decrease in hard-line associated expenses such as travel costs, equipment downtime, and employee productivity. The returns quickly overweight the initial investment.
Savings on physical training equipment and printed materials are just the beginning of the cost reduction potential of VR training. Because VR increases engagement and information retention, training can also be done faster, resulting in the 33% cost reduction mentioned above.
The Bottom Line
Every business is unique, and no matter how experienced a new employee is, they need quality training specific to their new employer. Training may be a new hire’s first experience with a company, so it is an important tool for establishing a level of competency and trust. Virtual reality is moving from cutting-edge to commonplace, and innovative companies are using it to build a better workforce.