VR Training Solutions Offer Risk-Free Skills Development

Over the past two years, corporations have built and implemented VR training solutions; by doing so, they have transformed the way people learn. In that short time, immersive technology (like VR) has grown by leaps and bounds. But the foundation of training with VR has stayed the same: Enhance and improve the way people learn through experiences that are only possible with something like VR. It’s merely a new, groundbreaking technology applied to core learning principles—and the result is a more impactful way to learn.

VR may seem like a big departure from traditional learning, due to the technology involved. However, there are more similarities than one might think. It’s not very different—it’s just a more effective way to learn. VR is a better way to leverage accepted learning principles: VR can fit into the learning programs of a wide array of companies across numerous industries. VR can provide the personalized curriculum and insights to meet every learner’s and every trainer’s needs. This article provides examples of how VR has been used to implement groundbreaking solutions to two business challenges.

Customer service

Why immersive training fits and how it’s better

For customer service agents, the gap between the training classroom and the job floor is extremely wide. On the call center floor, the distance is compounded when employees are servicing customers who have recently undergone a family tragedy, natural disaster, or other hardship. Immersive training allows front-line employees like call center reps to experience and navigate these tough interactions in a consequence-free environment. These interactions are never easy, but the increased repetition that VR allows creates confidence and a sense of comfort among employees, helping them avoid missteps when they are faced with a unique situation in a live call. What’s more, the immersive solution includes an ability to track and analyze learners’ decisions and serve up a highly analytical picture of how they are navigating the situation—something near impossible with traditional training methods.

Impact on the learner

Learners can actually experience the impact of the decisions they make throughout a customer interaction by entering the world of the customer. On the job, a failure to understand the customer’s needs or empathize with their situation can negatively impact a customer’s daily life and even their overall perception of the company. VR training gives the learner the ability to step into the shoes of the customer and see, hear, and feel the impact of their actions, leading to more empathetic and thoughtful employees—and better customer service. In fact, reps that train using VR have had as much as a 25 percent increase in their satisfaction scores from post-call customer surveys. This suggests that the opportunity to build empathy through VR has a significant positive impact on customer service rep performance.

Manufacturing

Why immersive training fits and how it’s better

Manufacturing or assembly line training was one of the earliest use cases for VR, and it continues to be a top use case—a process-focused core competency where someone must perform intricate tasks in a chaotic and potentially dangerous environment. The stakes are high, the margin for error is slim, and there isn’t a great method to train other than being on the job. The key here is to create an authentic learning experience with context. Learners are prompted with stimuli to perform their jobs—with all the stressors and chaos they will experience on the job, but in a consequence-free environment. The additional repetitions are invaluable practice that builds muscle memory and fluidity in performing the task. More importantly, through adaptive training, managers can identify learning gaps and home in on exactly when, where, and why an individual learner is making mistakes. Traditionally, identifying these gaps has been guesswork that relies on observation. Immersive training, paired with the right software, allows managers get to the root of any learning problem that exists in a manufacturing or other operational setting. The insights are exact, and prescriptive learning recommendations are offered to fill those gaps and improve performance.

Impact on the learner

VR simulations offer a more engaging and fun learning experience. In addition, learners are participating in a training solution aimed at improving their safety and well-being. Often, learners never get to practice (or have repeated practice) in the real-life work environment; they learn on the job and, potentially, through costly errors. VR allows workers to repeatedly train in the exact environment they will be working in without risk of injury. Some L&D practitioners would call this the perfect training! The ability for workers to engage in experiential learning is key because classroom teachings do not typically correlate to on-the-job performance. In one example we’ve seen, employees were 20 percent less likely to detect mistakes and hazards on the manufacturing floor when in an immersive VR environment than with paper-and-pen questions. To put it another way, the immersive, realistic environment of VR helped reveal that employees did not actually know as much as their paper exams were indicating. Trainers love this insight because it helps them better understand who is truly ready to work on the floor—and it diminishes the likelihood of a crucial error.

We’ve described just two examples out of countless use cases for VR training solutions, all which map to the goal of transforming how organizations train and people learn. As is the case with any transformational tool, an investment is required, but that commitment can pay big dividends when the training solutions are implemented correctly.

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