Improving workplace training with VR/AR

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Most people familiar with virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) think of gaming and entertainment, but VR/AR technology goes beyond these limits. By leveraging VR/AR technology, organizations can provide safer, more effective workplace training for employees at a fraction of the cost of building labs and field environments. This technology also has the advantage of activating the employee’s “memory palace”, a human element in learning that helps them recall facts and information more easily because they have experienced it “in reality” rather than through traditional learning methods in the workplace. class.

How virtual reality training is already improving

Some industries are already taking advantage of the benefits of VR training, mainly in scenarios where it would be expensive or dangerous to train someone using real-world experience. Several organizations are already using VR to train people. Numerous Fortune 500 companies are currently using virtual reality to save money in employee training and reduce risk. Boeing, UPS and Walmart are just a few examples of organizations using virtual reality for its many training benefits.

The University of Delaware surveyed the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the top 25 most dangerous jobs, and several of these industries are already using virtual reality to help train workers without the dangers of life-threatening mistakes. For example, according to research, roofing is the fourth most dangerous job. According to researchers, the roofing industry has 41 fatalities for every 100,000 workers. The most common risks are falls, slips and trips, mainly due to incorrect use of the ladder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 81% of slips and falls in roofing are caused by ladders.

While these injuries are the result of human error, some of these errors can be eliminated with more training. Virtual reality is being used to help train employees in better ladder safety. Ladder safety apps allow employees to set up a ladder in a VR environment and provide feedback on mistakes made so they can try again. This VR environment is safer, but gives a roofer the look and feel of placing a ladder against a raised wall as if they were actually in the field.

As you can imagine, training car drivers is extremely dangerous. One mistake can cost the lives of passengers and the driver. Honda trains drivers using virtual reality devices that bring drivers the closest thing to real-world experiences without the perilous consequences of one dangerous mistake. The VR simulation gives drivers the same feeling as on the track, requiring split-second decisions and the consequences drivers would experience during a real race.

Why virtual reality trains better than standard lessons

Studies suggest that virtual reality can train better than standard classroom instruction or books. The last two training methods give the learner no real experience of what they are learning. They can remember facts and tidbits, but this doesn’t always translate into better learning when their job requires quick thinking based on past experience. With virtual reality, the learner experiences the consequences of their actions (good or bad) in the same way they would experience the same scenario in the field.

The enhanced learning ability is due to a human phenomenon called a “memory palace” that helps our brains recall information more effectively and quickly. It allows us to spatially organize memories within an environment. Studies from the University of Maryland consistently show that experiences in a VR environment have similar retention to activities performed in the real world. After providing 40 volunteers with a virtual reality environment, University of Maryland researchers showed that the VR experience improved their ability to recall information more accurately by 8.8% and 40% more than volunteers using a simple desktop experience. learning environment.

Virtual reality training has advantages in different sectors and can be implemented with fewer resources and less space than classroom learning. The technology itself costs money, but it’s a much cheaper route than building labs and other real-world spaces and equipping them. Because students don’t work with expensive or dangerous equipment, it also lowers insurance and risk management costs.

Another business advantage is that virtual reality environments can be offered regardless of location. For large organizations around the world, it is expensive to require employees to travel to a specific location for training. It can mean airfare, food and housing for workers who cannot receive training in their local community. Rather than forcing them to travel, large organizations can offer a virtual reality device that can be used for basic training in the comfort of their home, saving both the employee time and the organization money in training costs.

Getting started with virtual reality training

If your organization wants to try virtual reality training, the first step is to decide which groups will benefit the most and improve your return on investment. Any training groups that travel, real-world environments, or groups that would perform better if they had more than simple desktop courses are a good place to start.

Before you let your training develop, here are a few more points to consider:

Create a storyboard and define the skills and experiences conveyed from the application. Determine the results and what you want employees to learn from the application. Choose the device and integration requirements. Prepare to help develop, test, and deploy the new training application.

Regardless of the industry, your organization will improve training, help employees better retain information, and provide better and safer productivity.

Nik Froehlich is the CEO of Saritasa

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