Virtual Reality (VR) – It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the hottest trends in the world of educational technology. The number of companies evincing interest in VR-based training tools is increasing with each passing day. Goldman Sachs estimates that the educational VR market is worth $700 million and is poised to grow rapidly over the next few years.
Why are organizations going for learning applications based on VR? How does this technology help firms help train their people better? Before we look at answers to these questions, let us see the definition of VR.
What is VR?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines VR as an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.
The Oxford dictionary defines VR as a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.
From these definitions, we can conclude that VR is a technology which produces an artificial three-dimensional environment that learners can interact with using special equipment.
How can VR be Used to Train Workforce Effectively?
Impart Risk-Free Safety Training
It is a well-known fact that good safety training plays a key role in reducing accidents and other untoward incidents at the workplace. VR-based learning technologies allow you to train your people to handle dangerous situations, effectively, in a risk-free environment. For example, you can use VR to train workforce on handling a nuclear reactor meltdown without exposing them to deadly radiation.
Develop Creative and Lateral Thinking Skills
One of the biggest hindrances to development of creative abilities is the fear of going wrong. Many a time, employees hesitate to implement new, novel ideas because they are afraid of the consequences if they make a mistake. For example, an airline pilot may wish to try a new maneuver to avoid mid-air collisions, but may not be willing to execute it in a “real” situation, as he is not sure if it will work. VR-based training technologies can be used to overcome this problem. An artificial three-dimensional environment can be created to simulate a mid-air collision, where the pilot can perform the maneuver without having to worry about the results.
Deliver Immersive Onboarding Experiences
We all know that a good induction training goes a long way in enabling new employees to perform efficiently. It provides all the needed information about a company and its policies. You can use VR technologies to deliver immersive learning experiences during an induction training program. One of our clients, a global leader in the pharmaceutical space, uses a VR-based application to take new hires through a “tour” of its different offices, across the world.
The three-dimensional environments, created by most VR-based applications, can be accessed only using specially designed equipment, such as helmets and gloves which are connected to electronic sensors. The cost of the equipment makes VR-based education more expensive than other forms of technology-enabled learning. But, you need to remember that this technology is emerging and the costs associated with it will come down over a period of time.
VR-based technologies enable you to deliver highly effective training by creating immersive learning experiences. They are indeed a game-changer in the L&D world. Don’t you think so?