Virtual reality (VR) is something like an artificial world into which a person is immersed not just as an observer but also as a participant. The illusion of presence is created with the help of special devices and software – virtual reality systems. The most common means of diving are helmets and goggles. A 3D video appears in front of the user’s eyes. At the same time, head turns, and human movements are tracked to transmit data to the computer system and change the image depending on the sensor readings.
It is believed that 80% of the information a person receives is through vision. Therefore, the developers of VR systems focus on the devices that form the image. As a rule, they are supplemented with stereo sound devices, and recently even work is underway on tactile effects and imitation of odors.
According to analysts, the global VR/AR training market is expected to grow to $6.3 billion by the end of 2022. In the USA, by the end of 2021, more than 25% of all educational institutions are using virtual reality in training.
Other countries are also trying to keep up: the introduction of VR technologies has been successfully incorporated into national programs.
Virtual reality employee training is the direction in which VR has the most effective application. It allows you to recreate those situations that are impossible or very expensive to reproduce in reality for the purpose of learning. No one would think of setting fire to a factory to clearly rehearse the behavior of employees, right? And let’s be honest, no one takes the training fire alarm seriously anymore. Therefore, information from such events does not linger in the head.
For example, one insurance company from California trains damage assessors using this technology. Using special software, they can use 6 unique floor designs and 500 various damage situations, which allows you to simulate thousands of non-standard situations. To understand how critical a water leak is and how badly the floor is damaged, an intern in VR has to literally look under the bathtub and sink to visually assess the damage.
Meanwhile, another company is using virtual reality technology to teach equipment repair. Most often, this process took place in “combat” conditions, when the equipment really failed, so it was decided to create a VR course for trainees. So the students had the opportunity to practice in a safe environment without harming themselves or the property of the enterprise.
Several years ago, Walmart decided to train more than a million employees in 5 thousand stores using VR and purchased 17 thousand Oculus Go glasses. Walmart has placed four headsets in large stores and two at smaller points. Especially for Walmart, the company STRIVR has developed several VR training scenarios: for example, one of them teaches consultants to cope with the flow of customers and keep calm on Black Friday, and the other – is to work with goods on the shelves. According to the professional report, 70% of all employees who studied in VR passed the qualification exam better than other colleagues.
Three or four years ago, international industrial holdings began to introduce VR as an educational tool to solve internal problems and preserve human resources. Visual perception of information is more effective than classical learning. The absolute majority of people are totally visual: what we see with our own eyes is always remembered better than what we read. And in the case of engagement, which is provided by the VR environment, the memorability of the material increases by 30% on average.
But using virtual reality for training is effective not only due to visual perception or constant repetition of the same physical actions. In virtual reality, a person feels protected and has the right to make a mistake. How to teach an employee to work in high–risk conditions – such as on a drilling rig? Or to understand how well an engineer can cope with a fire in production? VR is a safe environment in which you can work out any scenario: it helps to reduce production risks by 70%. So, these developments in the field of virtual or augmented reality look so attractive for industrial companies whose work is associated with high-risk industrial activities. Trainees can totally focus on the problem and show full engagement. In the virtual world, a person is practically not affected by external stimuli. He can fully concentrate on the task, which means that it is better to assimilate information and immediately work it out in practice. In virtual reality, employees can carry out operations, repair equipment, and work out communication with customers – everything to later complete the task in real life with a minimum probability of mistakes and misses.
Artificial reality can affect a person’s psycho-emotional state. If during the same night of evacuation training in case of a fire, employees lazily descend the stairs, and some, yawning, stomped to the elevator, VR technologies can add a spark in the literal sense of the word. Smoke, bright flashes of flame, an elevator flying down – anything so that a person can really live the experience.
The price and availability of VR systems remain the main obstacles to the widespread use of technology. This scares many away, although, in fact, tablets or intera some schools will have at least one VR helmet. But even without it, VR content can be played on smartphones, computers, tablets, or interactive panels.
Though it seems to be totally safe, the issue of the impact of such technologies on the health of users also raises concerns. According to one of the latest research, around 63% of respondents ask this question. However, regardless of the complexity of the scenario, the user will not harm himself or others. So you can safely hone the necessary skills or freely experiment with the level of complexity.
In general, Virtual technologies are only gaining momentum, although large enterprises are already beginning to actively implement them as part of staff training. And for sure in several years it will take its stable place in the sphere of staff learning.
Share in the comments, if would you like to try such training. And if you have already tried, be sure to tell us about your experience!