The increasing use of virtual reality (VR) in L&D and HR is proof that immersive learning is improving learning outcomes and becoming more accessible to organisations. According to a meta-analysis of medical college training comparing VR with traditional learning, learners who studied via VR performed better than those in the traditional education group. It is also said that the global market of VR in education is projected to reach $13,098 million by 2026. In 2018, the annual figure was as little as $656 million.
But why is it so superior to traditional 2D learning? Here are five reasons.
Experience real life without the emotional risk
Many people learn by doing, but there are several reasons why students shouldn’t embark on hands-on experience straight away. Learning ‘on the job’ has risks if the new employee is not properly supervised and mentored, and if you have managers who are stretched to capacity, then the quality of the training is diminished, and the likelihood of mistakes increases.
VR training simulations make learners feel present and help them visualise concepts without the risk and expense of being thrown into the deep end. In addition to it being a powerful vocational tool, it can also build empathy and emotional intelligence. The project SocialWise VR is a good example of this principle. Built by Start Beyond, it is a VR soft skills therapist program which helps young adults on the autism spectrum to adapt to different everyday situations.
Through a series of interactive scenarios, SocialWise VR lets these teenagers strengthen their social skills in a safe, judgement-free environment. It provides a space for individuals to improve their soft skills without the emotional risk of real life.
Remove the potential for physical harm
When it comes to physically dangerous training such as working with heights, operating complex machinery or operational health and safety compliance, VR enables learners to learn the correct process without the threat of physical harm.
For roles that potentially place personnel in a dangerous setting, VR training gives people the opportunity of doing these activities while staying out of harm’s way. In addition to building a learner’s confidence and allowing them to progress faster in their training, it also saves on-boarding costs as the learner experiences the process via VR rather than through time-consuming and costly on-site training.
Being immersed promotes alterity
Often in HR programs, it is difficult for people and culture teams to discuss microaggressions and unconscious bias in an effective manner. This is due to the emotional nuance of the actions and the complexity of articulating these concepts in a format that resonates with the learners.
VR training offers a unique opportunity for people to stand in the shoes of someone who is different to themselves and directly feel the impact of casual racism, sexism and homophobia. This alterity, or ability to see the world from a perspective other than your own, gives the learner the opportunity to experience first-hand the impact of these behaviours and thereby gain a deeper understanding than traditional 2D training courses can offer.
Maximise knowledge retention
In a world of distractions, it is increasingly difficult for L&D and training departments to effectively reach learners and have them absorb the content successfully. The immersive nature of VR training takes away the distraction of phones and the outside world. This means maximum effectiveness of the course modules and increased knowledge retention.
St John Ambulance’s CPR and First Aid training courses, which our company Start Beyond produced, is an illustration of this benefit. The training consists of interactive 2D and 360° video real-life emergency scenarios combined with a question-and-answer format. Using an immersive experience, St John were able to halve the duration of the course from eight hours to four while increasing both knowledge retention and student engagement.
VR training solutions are versatile
The beauty of building VR training content is its modular format, as it allows VR components to be seamlessly integrated into existing programs and platforms. The premium training version offers a fully immersive VR experience, while for those participants who can’t access the VR headset a mobile and desktop version with 360° video is available, thereby combining VR with traditional 2D and allowing organisations the ability to leverage their existing assets while building for the future.
The ability of VR training to replicate a situation and have the learner completely immersed is a key strength of the format. VR training provides a fast transfer of complex ideas and activities while delivering a low-risk, authentic simulation for the learner.
Faced with limited time, budgets, and staff, more and more organisations are looking for alternative skills solutions. Through VR training, organisations can implement low-cost, easy-to-deploy, highly effective programs that empower staff, improve communication skills and deliver increased levels of productivity and service.
AR & VR training provides learners with knowledge that sticks. It is cheaper and more memorable than traditional 2D methods.
Contact us for a demonstration of how AR and VR learning simulations can reduce costs, increase knowledge retention, and build high performing teams.