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As virtual reality technology continues to evolve, it is becoming clear that the immersive experiences it offers can be used to deliver more impactful employee training programs that can fill a variety of skill gaps.
VR can not only help to develop key competencies, but also to develop gaps in soft skills. Harvard Business Report data suggests that 59 percent of hiring managers surveyed and about 89 percent of executives found it difficult to recruit candidates with soft skills in communication, teamwork, and leadership.
As many businesses embrace a future based on remote work and collaboration, many of these soft skills, along with key competencies, will become increasingly valuable.
Gallup data shows the sheer pace at which the advent of work from home (WFH) has swept through remote-enabled workplaces in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means organizations will invariably be forced to rethink how they onboard and train their workforce, with Virtual Reality seen as a logical, immersive and engaging solution best positioned to deliver effective outcomes.
Remote training that replicates one-to-one environments.
While it’s certainly worth highlighting the purely immersive qualities of virtual reality, STRIVR, an immersive learning platform, notes that trainers were also impressed with the time-efficiency of VR training versus video-based learning and reading manuals. The implications of using virtual reality for matters related to employee onboarding and training include saving hours of study time—not just minutes.
VR is a time-saving tool because of its ability to provide an immersive learning experience that ensures a sufficient level of engagement to ensure employees learn and retain more information in a relatively short amount of time. To achieve this, modules can be specified by instructional designers who draw on a wealth of industry experience to optimize the learner’s time in a more personalized way.
This makes VR training as impactful as one-on-one sessions, but it’s done remotely and in a fraction of the time that more traditional training programs take. This means that companies looking to convert their in-house training programs into a remote work environment don’t need to have the same concerns about performance degradation when deploying virtual reality solutions.
In addition, VR training can help users provide instant feedback. This allows employees to better understand their problem areas and work on storing the right information more efficiently.
Learning from controlled virtual scenarios.
Whether performing critical surgeries on patients or difficult procedures on isolated oil rigs, virtual reality paves the way for staff to prepare appropriately, immersing them in complex scenarios in a safe and controlled virtual environment .
Although this form of training is being adopted to prepare individuals for high-risk job roles in the years to come, there are also many suitable remote applications for immersive training. Because virtual reality has the potential to simulate scenarios that can help build soft skills such as leadership skills and the ability to work effectively in teams.
“In an interactive virtual environment, you can set up real-world scenarios that can push home workouts in ways that an in-person classroom setting often cannot. This is especially useful when you’re training employees to use specific devices or machines,” Saagar Govil, CEO of manufacturing AR and VR technology company Cemtrex, told HR Daily Advisor
“Different scenarios can be safely and repeatedly run through hundreds of times for each trainee if needed. VR and AR can provide safer training environments for industries like manufacturing and oil and gas during a pandemic, but many companies have found that these are far from the only benefits these modern technologies can provide,” added Govil.
Noticeable improvements in decision making.
The complex scenarios that virtual reality programs can render can help companies identify skill gaps and fill them efficiently.
To achieve this, VR can be coupled with artificial intelligence insights to analyze the large amounts of data produced by employees in their decision-making and make changes on the fly to enhance new skills and competencies.
With the ability to generate almost any encounter relevant to a job role, VR allows for a greater element of dynamic control over the situations an employee may encounter in their workspace.
To illustrate this point, VR and AR agency Visualize has partnered with Deloitte to create a series of films designed with the intention of engaging employees. By creating a virtual point-of-view scenario, employees were able to visualize complex situations and respond to them in more appealing ways. Moments were implemented in the Visualize VR construct that encouraged the user to make a decision to react – with each possible reaction leading to a new set of scenarios within the narrative.
The outcome of this training activity showed that Deloitte achieved higher levels of employee engagement and better information retention.
Although virtual reality training is still in its early stages, the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and the enormous potential of the metaverse have made a future based on WFH not only probable but lucrative.
Companies that more quickly explore VR training programs for new hires and existing employees are likely to reap the rewards and gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. With better information retention and time-effective skill development, the prize for teams embracing virtual reality training, the adoption of reality technology has the potential to be fruitful for HR professionals who are the fastest to embrace this form of digital transformation.