Businesses and organisations in every niche struggle to equip their employees with the knowledge required to excel in their positions.  

More so, when you have employees and branches all over the world!

Managing your team’s training is not as simple as it seems. Whether it is about managing a time slot for all team members or providing them with enough hands-on experience to complement their understanding- nothing comes easy in a physical setting. 

What is Virtual Reality Training?

What is Virtual Reality Training
Source:Miro

VR training is about simulating life-like scenarios with the power of virtual reality for teaching purposes.

The moment a person puts on a VR headset, he will be instantly transported to a virtual world where he can look around himself, walk close to virtual objects and even interact with people, machinery, and other trainees.

Virtual reality allows participants to train in scenarios (like hazardous material spills, emergency protocols, disaster preparedness) that may otherwise be too risky in real life to simulate.  

Coupled with the power of narration and a carefully planned curriculum developed by experts, VR allows for more intense learning than what traditional approaches can manage. 

A critical function of virtual reality is that it is fully customisable. Users can develop a shared experience with their remote team. 

The degrees of freedom that a user experiences in a virtual environment can be classified into two.

1. Three degrees of freedom

Here the position of the learner’s viewpoint is fixed and is only suited to a stationary environment. Users can interact with the environment through laser pointer control or gaze control.

This type of VR experience is used for surgical training, soft skills learning or branched learning.

2. Six degrees of freedom

The users can freely move around in a virtual environment and interact with objects or fellow trainees just the way they do in an actual environment.

Virtual reality training benefits

  • Provides a safe learning environment

Offers a comfortable and risk-free training environment with no safety/health hazards.

  • Allows repetition

Allows for unlimited trials and practice sessions for trainees to improve their skills (eg. engineers, surgeons, fire rescuers, emergency team etc.)

  • Adaptable

VR based programs can be designed and customised to make them accessible to all participants.

  • Engaging and exciting

VR overtakes textbook learning and classroom training by providing a more engaging scenario where trainees can actually participate. 

  • Provides excellent learning opportunities

VR is a fully immersive training experience, transporting the user to a life-like scenario. Since people remember 90% of what they do, active learning is boosted as VR technology tricks the brain into thinking that the experience is real.

  • Reduces training cost

VR training helps to drastically cut down on excess training cost and provide better results than in-person training. Organisational woes of exhausting piles of cash for employees’ training is hence sorted. 

  • Improves recall and memory retention

Studies have shown that memory retention is twice as high from a VR experience than a traditional classroom training.

  • Allows remote training

VR technology helps to eliminate location constraints. Training programs can be uploaded and sent to thousands of employees around the globe with just the click of a button. 

  • Reduces the time taken to train

Studies have shown that VR technology helps to cut down on the overall time taken for training by 40-60%.

  • Reduces human errors

By repeatedly training through VR in specialised skills such as surgery, emergency medical care, etc., it is possible to reduce human errors that might creep in at a critical situation.

Virtual reality training for employees

Here are some of the interesting ways by which VR can be effectively implemented for training employees.

1. Leadership development training

Virtual reality provides a beautiful platform for leaders and employees to practice common leadership skills.

This includes performance evaluation, dealing with crises in the workplace, team management, and so on. Beginners can experiment with different approaches to dealing with the same situation and learn from the same. 81% of the people who are trained with VR showed higher job engagement.

Unlike what most people believe, leadership covers a range of soft skills such as:

  • Managing conflict and team management
  • Coaching and employee empowerment
  • Communication (written, verbal, and nonverbal)
  • Changing management styles
  • Emotional intelligence

More than 57% of leaders agree that soft skills are more important than hard skills. 

Along with this, managerial personals also need to be well versed in:

  • Business analytics and decision making
  • Strategy development
  • Operations management
  • Project management 
  • Accounting and budgeting

With VR technology, it is possible to:

  • Have a 360-degree view of the experience.
  • Train without having to travel to attend the session.
  • Role-play or participate in contests or role play in a safe environment.

Here are some exciting statistics revealing the effectiveness of leadership training programs with virtual reality.  Organisation surveys on VR have reported:  

  • 114% higher sales
  • 90% reduction in absenteeism
  • 70% lower turnover rate

2. Team development training

Virtual team building presents you with several great options to consider. With VR team development, you can decide your goal and choose specific activities to achieve them.

The flexibility enables you to mimic any experience that you wish to provide to your team.

Virtual team building, therefore, empowers you to choose how your attendees interact with each other. 

Through VR training programs, your team will grow in strength and understand how communication, results, accountability, trust, conflict, etc. create an impact on the overall performance.

One of the best features of VR based training is that you can offer your team a chance to work together while exploring a virtual world and creating long lasting memories.

Team development training helps you to:

  • Implement goal-oriented communication techniques.
  • Boost the confidence of teammates.
  • Develop trust among teammates.
  • Improve delegation skills.
  • Influence and drive better team outcomes.
  • Enhance personal accountability.

3. Talent development training

Businesses are getting competitive with every passing year. You might have a specific set of skills today, but there is no guarantee that in a few years, you can survive in the industry with just those said skill sets.

talent development training
Photo by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash

Thus, employees and managers must acquire new skills to adapt to the rapidly changing scenario.

Carefully planned VR workshops can teach trainees to learn from their mistakes in a safe and controlled environment and eliminate outdated mindsets, assumptions and bias.

This will help to create a sense of awareness of change, uncertainty and the requirement for continuous improvement.

Virtual reality talent development is also beneficial when trainees need to gain familiarity with a specific location without being present.

For example, miners can get first-hand experience of the depth of a mine and the safety precautions required to take while operating in the mine. 

Thus, in summary, the benefit of VR based talent development program includes:

  • Addressing generational issues
  • Employee onboarding
  • Emphasis of training
  • Addressing gender and global diversity issues
  • Focusing on a globally diverse workforce
  • Developing future leaders
  • Creating retention plans
  • Analysis of KPIs (key performance indicators)
  • Recruiting executives with critical skills
  • Employee value proposition
  • Employee communication

4. Diversity and inclusion training

In recent years, diversity and inclusion training has become a significant part of companies. 

However, conducting training sessions for this has often been counterproductive since it puts attendees on the defensive or ends up solidifying their biases rather than diminishing them.

Establishing business ethics can sometimes be challenging, given that each employee interprets “right” and “wrong” differently. 

The company has to make all their employees feel equally valued and involved despite the differences in their corporate culture, decision-making skills, ethical thinking, etc.

By having a VR training platform, it is easy to eliminate the biases and prejudice in employees working in different locations across the globe. 

In recent years, several companies were able to drastically reduce the differences in opinions among their workers of varying ethical/gender backgrounds and motivate them to join hands to work towards a common goal.

Some of the benefits of diversity and inclusion training are:

  • Recruitment of diverse talent pool
  • Higher employee retention
  • Grooming of  future leaders
  • Better teamwork and collaboration
  • Equal access to opportunities
  • Higher willingness to renovate
  • High revenue growth
  • Focus on innovation and creativity

5. Employee onboarding training

Research has shown that the average cost of replacing an employee falls between 25-50% of their annual salary

Implementing a well-structured training program can ensure that 69% of employees will stay in the organisation. The main problem with frequent hiring is that it is heavily time-consuming and financially unhealthy.

Now, if you are wondering how VR can help in employee onboarding, imagine the sheer amount of time taken to train an employee, which could otherwise be used for essential tasks.

VR based onboarding software for training employees allows them to quickly become acquainted with the work culture no matter where they are. It is also beneficial in giving sophisticated training to the employees in life like an environment that could otherwise be risky.

For example, rarely does an emergency medical team in a hospital get to prepare for situations that they are likely to face. By repeating the VR training, they may be mentally prepared to handle any worst-case scenarios.

Some of the benefits of employee onboarding through VR training are:

  • Higher employee retention
  • Cost reduction
  • Quick implementation of training
  • Enhanced level of engagement

Other virtual reality training applications

Apart from organisational development related trainings, virtual reality based trainings are also being applied for:

  • Science based learnings – These include training on engineering, software/hardware development, medicine, surgeries, etc. 
  • Simulation training – These include training like flying simulations for the air force, safe and controlled environment for various sports training like race cars, etc. 
  • Virtual reality training for manufacturing – These include VR based technical skill training, for industrial application like die cast moulding, various manufacturing units, handling complicated machinery or other sensitive or hazardous tasks.
  • VR training for law enfForcement – Military and police forces use VR to train personnel in high-risk situations where even the slightest decision could make the difference between life and death.

Bottom Line

It is guaranteed that VR is going to rule the next era. Traditional modes of training and equipment will be replaced with specialised VR training systems in the near future.

Several big and small organisations across the world have started implementing corporate  VR training. The technology is extremely flexible and feels so realistic that it can be implemented for almost all applications, from leadership training to hazard management.
VR has a projected growth of 48% in the next few years. With such a possibility, you can be sure to reap the maximum benefits out of this technology if you invest early and partner with a trusted VR training organisation.