Improving on-the-job enterprise training with VR/AR

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Most people familiar with virtual reality and augmented reality (VR / AR) think about gaming and entertainment, but VR / AR technology goes beyond these limits. Using VR / AR technology, organizations can provide safer, more effective job training for employees at a fraction of the cost of building labs and real-world environments. The technology also has the advantage of triggering the employee’s “memory palace”, a human element in learning that helps them remember facts and information more easily as they experience it “in reality” rather than in traditional classroom learning methods.

How virtual reality is already improving training

Some businesses already use the benefits of VR training, primarily in situations where training someone using real-world experience can be costly or risky. Some organizations are already taking advantage of VR to train people. Numerous Fortune 500 companies currently take advantage of virtual reality to train employees and save money to reduce risks. Boeing, UPS and Walmart are just a few examples of organizations that use virtual reality for their many training benefits.

The University of Delaware conducted research on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the top 25 most dangerous jobs, and many of these industries already take advantage of virtual reality to help train workers without the risks of fatal errors. Roofing, for example, which research shows is the fourth most dangerous job. According to researchers, 41 deaths per 100,000 workers in the roofing industry. The most common hazards are mainly ladder abuse, slipping and tripping. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 81% of roof slips and falls are caused by stairs.

While these injuries are the result of human error, some of these errors can be eliminated with further training. The benefit of virtual reality is being helped to train workers on ladder safety. Ladder Safety Apps allows workers to set up CDs in a VR environment and then respond to any bugs they make so they can try again. This VR environment is more secure but placing the stairs against the high wall of the roof gives the look and feel as if they are actually in the field.

As you can imagine, training race car drivers is extremely dangerous. One mistake can kill a passenger and a driver. Honda trains drivers using virtual reality devices so that drivers can get real-world experiences without the dangerous consequences of a dangerous mistake. VR simulation gives drivers the same feeling as being on track, requiring split-second decisions and the results that drivers experience during actual races.

Why Virtual Reality Trains Better Than Standard Classes

Studies suggest that the virtual reality standard may provide better training than classroom instruction or book learning. The next two training methods give the learner no real experience of what they are learning. They can memorize facts and tidbits of information, but this doesn’t always translate to better learning when their job requires quick thinking based on previous experiences. With virtual reality, learners experience the same scenario in the field as they experience the consequences of their actions (good or bad).

Improved learning ability is due to the human phenomenon known as “memory palace” which helps our brain to remember information more efficiently and quickly. It enables us to organize memories spatially in the environment. Studies from the University of Maryland consistently show that experiences in a VR environment have a similar maintenance of activities performed in the real world. After providing 40 volunteers with a virtual reality environment, researchers at the University of Maryland found that the VR experience improved their ability to remember information more precisely by 8.8% and 40% more than the volunteers who offer a simple desktop learning environment.

Virtual reality training has advantages in many industries and can be implemented using less resources and less space than teaching in the classroom. Technology itself costs money, but it’s a much less expensive way to build and equip labs and other real-world spaces. Since learners do not have to deal with expensive or hazardous equipment, it also reduces costs in insurance and risk management.

Another enterprise advantage is that virtual reality environments can be offered regardless of location. For large organizations spread across the globe, it is costly for employees to travel to a specific location for training. This could mean plane tickets, food and accommodation for employees who are unable to receive training in their local community. Instead of forcing them to travel, enterprise organizations can offer virtual reality devices that can be used for basic training in the comfort of their own home, saving employees time and organization money.

Getting Started With Virtual Reality Training

If your organization wants to try out virtual reality training, the first step is to decide which groups will benefit the most and improve your return on investment. This is a good place to start for any training group that needs a travel, real-world environment or groups that have more than just simple desktop courses that can perform better.

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

  • Create a storyboard and determine the skills and experiences that will be shared from the app.
  • Decide the results and what you want employees to learn from the app.
  • Select device and integration requirements.
  • Be prepared to assist in the development, testing, and implementation of new training applications.

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

Nick Frohlich is the CEO of Saritasa

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