In the past few years, virtual reality and augmented reality have seen widespread adoption in the various fields of application. The technology has disrupted several industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, education, and even real estate. As a result of this growth, there has been an increasing adoption of immersive technologies such as VR and AR among businesses.
Virtual Reality (VR) training is an innovative way to improve employee performance and efficiency through virtual simulations that allow trainees to experience a situation before it happens in real life. It is basically a digital environment where you can immerse yourself completely with the help of headsets that bring you into another world.
Over the last few months, I have written a number of articles on how Virtual Reality can be something of a game changer for sales training, and I am now pleased to say that we have built our first prototype and the results are very promising.
At Mentor Group we design all our training programs based on a methodology called CIAC, which stands for Connect, Input, Apply and Conclude. In that model, Apply (the application of the knowledge) is where all training should spend most of its time. This is precisely where I see Virtual Reality Training fitting.
The nature of Virtual Reality means it is not feasible or desirable for learners to be using a headset for hours on end. In fact, the best practice is for no longer than 20 minutes, as outlined by the safety guidelines within VR gaming systems such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and even government recommendations.
With these two items in mind, the logical place to use Virtual Reality as part of the application of knowledge is to get learners to experience scenarios where they are immersed in an environment and situation where they can apply what they have learnt in an ILT or a VILT.
It takes some effort to achieve, but the impact is profound.
In our design of our prototypes, we have been able to create both simple and complex scenarios using 360 videos that engage a seller or manager in various situations in which they have to navigate through the scenario to get to the best answer possible.
The feedback we’ve received tells us that the VR experience is just like ‘being in the room’ which helps to drive a significantly improved experience for all users that is superior to the traditional fishbowl or role playing exercises.
The interaction with the environment and the subsequent journey through a scenario has been proven to improve a learner’s retention as well as increasing outcome-based satisfaction.
It’s not all rosy, as there are some logistic issues that need to be sorted, such as ensuring that headsets are charged, that they’ve got the right content on them etc. But with a decent MDM (mobile device management) solution, these issues are easily overcome, although it’s always advisable to have someone technical around as well as the facilitator to ensure learners receive the very best experience.
Is it the future? Yes and no. On the one hand, it gives a new dimension for training and enables the connectivity and roleplaying options for remote people as well as people in the room. However, by itself, VR training cannot completely replace the full learning experience. It must form part of the solution, not be the entire solution.
If you are interested in talking to us about our VR training experiences, please do drop me a line as I would to chat over our experiences building these prototypes and how we might be able to provide these experiences to your learners.