Virtual Reality for Disrupted Learners
Immersive technologies provide safe and effective training for today’s remote workforce
Social distancing has made remote working the new standard, and organizations are looking for innovative and effective ways to train their employees while they’re away from the office. Immersive technologies, which include Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), safely place individuals in a simulated environment, allowing them to experience a real work scenario in which they can solve problems and practice their skills without the fear of failure or injury.
Certain industries have been using or have started testing immersive learning. But with many workers at home for the foreseeable future, now is the time for all employers to consider the benefits of immersive experiences for keeping employees engaged, up to speed, and performing at a high level.
Immersive learning provides great return on investment. Employees in different locations can log on remotely, eliminating the logistics and costs involved in assembling instructors and learners in a specific location. The training can be repeated for different groups and customized to suit various learning styles, accommodating large audiences in a very short time. Immersive technologies use experiential learning methods, which aid in retention. Such solutions also allow accurate recording of performance metrics that can help improve a training program over time.
It’s no wonder that the global virtual reality market is projected to reach $62.1 billion by 2027. A virtual world has a game-like feel with head-mounted display and audio effects that appeal to employees of all skill levels. Sectors like healthcare, education, aviation, automotive, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality have stepped up the use of immersive solutions to onboard, upskill, and reskill their employees. Here are just a few examples.
In aviation, using an actual aircraft to train a pilot in civil aviation or military applications can be quite expensive. Many people are familiar with how maneuvers and safety procedure training can be safely delivered using flight simulators. Similarly, in the automotive industry, AR and VR solutions can prove more cost-effective for vehicle design solutions that improve performance, protection, and durability. Immersive platforms support features like navigation, lane safety, and cruise control. These risk-free environments help learners get acquainted with equipment and practice hazardous tasks, allowing people the freedom to learn without fear.
The manufacturing industry has 11.5 million workers in the United States, accounting for 8.8% of the workforce, and continuing to grow. It is projected that there will be a shortage of 85.2 million global skilled workers by 2030. The market has responded by moving toward immersive learning to address the skill gap. By using AR and VR, employees are placed at the center of learning. The immersive experience provides real-time learning such as 360 degree manuals and augmented experiences for learning about machinery and equipment. This expedites upskilling/reskilling to produce more effective and measurable results.
The medical industry has been leading in AR and VR. From virtual 3-D anatomical models and surgical procedure simulations to state-of-the-art simulation facilities like the Center for Immersive and Simulation-based Learning at Stanford School of Medicine, learners are able benefit from experiential learning. Physical Therapy practices have also embraced immersive learning by providing games, exercises, and environments that analyze your movements, designed to be more powerful alternatives to traditional therapy. Corporate organizations are able to benefit from the medical industry paving the way learning how AR and VR can accelerate learning and retention.
Immersive learning is now being rolled out in innovative ways during the current pandemic. Recently, VR solutions have been used to provide COVID-19 training to frontline medical workers. With the traditional training space disrupted, immersive technology has helped reach a large audience and deliver desperately needed training to volunteers and reassigned staff, keeping both providers and patients safe. These simulated environments have improved retention and boosted confidence of medical workers, helping to reduce stress and burnout in a time of crisis.
In this era of widespread remote teams, immersive technologies offer new ways to provide innovative learning for employees, maintain safety, and boost economic resiliency. To find out more about cohesive and immersive training programs and how KnowledgeWorks Global Learning can create personalized learning journeys for your workforce, please contact: Kelly.Lake@kwglobal.com.