Virtual reality makes training affordable and practical by creating situations where people can learn hands-on in a safe environment. But perhaps the real benefit of virtual reality training is that “little is left to interpretation.”
Sensory realism makes virtual reality attractive to most users, regardless of age and background. Although you might assume seniors would opt out of high tech trends like virtual reality, nearly two-thirds of them have embraced virtual reality’s ability to provide experiential interfaces via technology. The best thing about it is the fact that this type of technology is not expensive at all and most companies can afford it, considering that laptops and headsets cost less than one month’s salary.
No wonder industry leaders are eager to incorporate virtual reality training into their professional development programs. Virtual reality training reaches everyone at every level. Total sensory immersion and hands-on participation are foundational pieces of professional development in industries like hospitality, retail and aviation.
Virtual reality (VR) for training
As eager as you are to initiate your VR training program, you must first determine which VR approach works best in your industry and for your employees.
Most people flock to VR that mimics real life through complete sensory stimulation. Participants suspend disbelief long enough to engage mentally and physically in a given scenario, whether stocking a warehouse or operating on a patient. These immersive virtual reality trainings are beneficial alternatives to costly and highly disruptive live recreations.
Setting up your VR training
Does your training need to be 100% immersive? Your team’s needs determine the level of immersion.
How many of the senses must your employees use to perform their jobs? These three levels of virtual reality training may help you decide:
- Non-immersive VR: This type of VR training engages only the most necessary sense: sight. Participants engage in a pseudo-environment while being peripherally aware of their surroundings. They often sit or stand in front of a monitor, and they interact with screen images. The augmented reality blends selected VR stimulus techniques with specific learning tasks.
For example, users may click on, drag and drop items into a designated area on the screen. Non-immersive VR is an excellent training solution for workers who assemble products.
What you’ll need: Non-immersive VR requires the use of a computer and mouse, monitor, possibly a joystick, and often a headset. Combined with the software that operates the program, this hardware enables one of the more cost-effective types of VR, and set-up can be done quickly in relatively small spaces. It’s plug-and-play VR training.
- Semi-immersive VR: For some trainings, semi-immersive simulations are more appropriate because of the 3D graphics. Participants are still aware of their physical environments but engage in a more realistic experience. The simulator creates a panoramic scene, but HD monitors and high-powered graphic programs create more realism.
Flight simulators are one of the most common types of semi-immersive VR.
What you’ll need: Set up your training with monitors that maximize peripheral vision; use curved screens and a projection system for the best effects. You won’t need supplemental VR gear unless you use immersive VR.
- Immersive VR: Immersive VR is the most sensory-rich experience, combining high-powered graphics programs with motion and eye tracking.
What you’ll need: It’s the most believable, so immersive VR requires the most equipment. You’ll still need the basics, but you’ll also have to plan for large display screens (you’re creating an immersive room), head-mounted displays (HMDs), datagloves, and even wands.
Immersive VR is an all-in training approach best used when you want your team to learn how to react in the moment: advanced flight simulations, active shooter scenarios, sporting games, and other workplace training needs.
Virtual reality is the one environment where severe and dangerous mistakes have no consequence. Employees learn and relearn concepts while practicing desired behaviors.
With the right VR setup, your employee training will be among the best.