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Is Virtual Reality The Solution For Remote Employee Training?
1 month ago by Hubert Mugliett

Is Virtual Reality The Solution For Remote Employee Training?

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Traditionally virtual reality was used for entertainment purposes with the video game industry being the main driver behind this technology. However, it hasn’t taken off as many expected it too. Instead, VR has found an alternative field in which it could grow in the corporate training world.

Fortune 500 companies are embracing virtual reality as a cost-effective and efficient instrument for on-the-job training. Below we give different examples of fortune 500 companies who are using VR as a tool to train their employees to a higher standard. 

What is Virtual Reality?

Wikipedia defines virtual reality as:
“Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment (i.e. video games) and educational purposes (i.e. medical or military training). Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality, sometimes referred to as extended reality or XR.”

How Are F500 companies Using Virtual Reality For Remote Employee Training?

UPS

The package delivery service UPS has incorporated VR into their traditional training program, which consists of employees learning in a classroom setting with demonstrations and touchpads. VR headsets will replace the touch screens because UPS realised that the way trainees navigated the touch screens taught the drivers that it was acceptable to take their hands off the steering wheel.

The HTC Vive helmets are programmed to show the drivers realistic streetscapes and teach them how to identify potential road hazards such as traffic, pedestrians, and parked cars so they can prevent accidents while driving in the real world. 
With the addition of VR to their training program UPS has reported that their retention rate has reached 75%.

ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil, a multinational oil and gas corporation, has implemented VR into their employee's safety training. Using a VR helmet, users can dive into an interactive 3D world that is very beneficial for personnel training. VR technology transports oil and gas operators to the loading dock of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker where they must face and navigate through various scenarios and different complexities. 

The simulation allows the employees to learn critical technical skills in a fun way. At the same time, it enables them to fine-tune their instincts, learn to make better last-minute decisions, and generally practice their skills, so they are more efficient at their jobs.

Walmart

The American multinational retail corporation has 220 training academies that use the Oculus Rift headset to immerse employees in multiple training scenarios and test their knowledge on product information, customer service, compliance, and store layout.

Traditionally employees would have to travel to the training centres to receive their training. However, with the use of VR technologies, Walmart can train over 1 million associates from roughly 4700 stores saving both time and money and benefiting from increased engagement from their employees.

What Makes Virtual Reality Such A Successful Training Tool?

Many argue that what makes VR so effective is the fact that it can immerse employees into life-like scenarios which makes the experience look and sound like it is real.

What are the four benefits of VR employee training? 

The best quality of VR is its flexibility that allows trainers to create any scenario they wish. This flexibility means that there are endless opportunities for employees to experience and learn how to apply their skills to problem solve different situations. 

Below we delve further into the benefits of using VR for employee training:

Safety

Virtual reality provides a layer of safety in and out of training sessions. For example, the telecommunications company Verizon uses VR to train its staff on how to handle dangerous situations such as an armed robbery. 

Using VR, employees were held at gunpoint and taught techniques on how to manoeuvre this situation safely so that everyone present remains unharmed. This simulation allowed the Verizon staff to become confident at handling dangerous situations without the actual danger and increased their chances of survival during a real-life robbery.

Preparation:

Virtual reality is also crucial to helping companies preparing their staff for what they may experience as part of their work. For example, Walmart, as mentioned above, uses its Oculus Go headsets to train their employees on what to expect and how to manage their busiest sales day - Black Friday. More specifically, they use VR technology to "replicate the sensory overload that is Black Friday by incorporating large volumes of people in their crowded hallway to create situational awareness before the big day.” 

With this exercise, Walmart employees can get comfortable with the situations they might encounter during the holiday season by practising skills such as empathy which they will need to communicate with panicked and frustrated customers. Traditionally soft skills (which refers to character traits and interpersonal skills) are practised by roleplaying in small groups, which is not a very effective method of learning. However, with the immersive experience of VR, remote employees must navigate through a 'real' experience which is much more powerful for learning. 

Reduced costs: 

Virtual Reality systems can decrease the costs of enrolling employees into training programs and training them. According to the market intelligence company, SuperData, companies who utilise XR training technology will save the $13.5 billion that it typically costs to hire instructors, renting or building learning spaces, and sending employees to training.  

Not to mention that VR is becoming more and more accessible as the technology progresses and companies develop cheaper models that don’t require separate computers to operate them like the Oculus Quest.

Increased Learning: 

VR technologies are a game-changer for remote employee training. In addition to traditional learning, VR provides them with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in ‘real-life’ situations which makes it easier to understand and practise various skills. Employees can use a fun environment to practise a wide range of skills, including training for emergencies, specialised skills, or working through difficult workplace conversations.

This makes the transfer of knowledge quicker and more potent as employees build muscle memory with repeated practise. The result of this is that retention rates for VR training reach 75% a massive difference from the 5% for lectures. (National Training Laboratory) 

Cedar Rose offer pre-employment screening services to ensure you are taking on new employees without any risk to your future business plans. For more information on how we can help, give us a call today on +357 25 346630 or email info@cedar-rose.com

  • Virtual Reality
  • Employees
  • Training