Real-life situations without real-life consequences
According to a 2021 Markets and Markets study, the Extended Reality market is expected to reach $125.2 billion by 2026, and what was once a wish list item and future dream is quickly taking control of training priorities for organizations. Organizations large to small have implemented extended reality, particularly virtual reality (VR), to train employees for real-life situations without real-life consequences. Decreasing risk is why hospitals, car manufacturers, and government agencies have implemented VR training for surgery, manufacturing, and aviation practice, respectively. The popularity and availability of VR has also resulted in 33% of small- to medium-sized businesses planning implementation by 2022, according to Capterra. With a constant need to learn, upskill, and reskill – combined with outdated and inefficient training methods – it’s time for organizations to enhance L & D without the risk.
What is virtual reality?
VR is a generated 3D environment that allows users to interact with their surroundings in real-time. There are two types of VR:
- 360° videos: Allows the user to watch videos based on their surroundings and choose a course of pre-selected actions like a video game.
- Fully immersive environments: Puts the user inside of an experience rather than in front of a screen. These fully immersive environments allow users to move and act within their surroundings resulting in learning by doing environments.
VR changes the training game
Newer, innovative training methods attract skepticism from those who are set in the more traditional delivery of training videos or non-interactive paths. Cynicism is fine, but don’t ignore what VR brings to the table.
- VR learners are 4x more focused than e-learners & are 275% more confident in applying skills after training (Source: PwC, 2021)
- Using VR has shown decreases in overall training time by more than 60% (Source: Cision Newswire, 2018)
- VR shows increased knowledge retention and performance of skills (Source: Academic Emergency Medicine)
- VR training reduces the occurrence of workplace injuries by 43% (Source: Chaos Theory Gaming, 2020)
The ROI of VR
Because each experience is entirely personalized and customized to an organization’s unique needs, it’s difficult to put a price tag on a VR project. The complexity and scope of projects will determine the cost and timeline, just like any other project an organization pursues. While VR can be a pricy option, the cost is much more palatable once it is broken down. A CIN (Computers Informatics Nursing) journal article demonstrated that for 334 employees, VR was initially more expensive to implement with an average cost of approximately $330 per person. Compare that with live or video training at, roughly, $230 per person. Once costs were extrapolated over three years, VR cost was only $115 per person, while live/video training remained constant. Price savings occur due to the ability to scale VR without added costs, and the result is cost-effective and impactful training. Topped off with the ease of updating software, compared to creating new materials or exercises for employees, and it’s a no-brainer for efficient (and affordable) development.
The future is now
The ability of VR to simulate dangerous or high-risk scenarios like flying an airplane, medical emergencies, or even handling a difficult customer service situation, more than offsets the investment. When actions are performed and mistakes occur, the consequences are eliminated in a simulated environment. By repeating scenarios in a simulated environment, it increases favorable outcomes when the situation arises in real-life. This begs the question: Is your organization prioritizing employee learning and development or are you still waiting for the future? Because the future is now.