First up, we’ll look at one of the most well-known technological innovations, Virtual Reality.
You’ll probably be familiar with this from gaming, it’s widely used, and it’s been around for a while. People are accustomed to the interface and the 3D experiential environment – and it can be fun and thrilling. This is a good basis from which to launch any training.
There are some misconceptions around VR
– that the hardware can be cumbersome and it’s expensive. In fact, the price-tag has reduced significantly in recent years, and with the introduction of training apps it is more accessible than ever. VR
is in fact a money-saver
for businesses. It allows for risk-free training, lowering your insurance and injury-related costs, and speeds up processes for training because of accessibility.
There are some exciting and convincing stats now attached to VR learning. According to PWC’s ‘Study Into VR Training Effectiveness’ (Public Report, June, 2020):
“40% of the v-learners saw an improvement in confidence compared to classroom learners and 35% improvement over e-learners to act on what they learned after training in VR” and “V-learning is the most cost-effective way of learning when it’s done on a large scale. At 375 learners, VR training achieved cost parity with classroom learning. At 1,950 learners, VR training achieved cost parity with e-learn. At 3,000 learners, VR costs become 52% less than classroom.” At scale, especially, VR learning becomes increasingly cost-effective for all types of training: diversity and inclusion, health and safety, asset maintenance simulation training, soft skills, leadership development, and other human-to-human settings.
There are different levels of immersion with VR and because of this, it is very versatile with few limitations.
Non-immersive VR is the most common gaming-style interface that allows navigation and interaction. This level requires the least investment and can be easily implemented because it does not need the highest level of graphics performance. It’s a great way in for many learners, as they remain in their physical environment and don’t have to manage more complicated controllers or input devices.
Semi-immersive technology takes things a step further and builds a deeper experience, enabling the learner to experience the functionality of real-world mechanisms in the virtual world. They remain connected to their physical surroundings while participating in a partially virtual environment. This is more of an investment in terms of hardware and technology because it relies on high-resolution images, projectors or hard simulators that replicate functionality.
Fully-immersive technology, with the right hardware, allows learners to manipulate and influence the digital environment. Typically, this requires VR glasses or a headset. These create the stereoscopic 3D effect and combine with input tracking to establish an immersive, believable experience.
The application of this technology for education and training is limitless. Many medical schools, for example, are investing in virtual cadavers for dissections. The COVID 19 pandemic forced massive re-thinks about hands-on practical work. Now, UConn Health, Curtin Medical School, and Harvard School of Medicine are all leveraging solutions in VR to create training innovation. A Harvard Business School study found that VR training improved participants’ overall surgical performance by 230% compared to traditional methods.
Click here to see 'How Virtual Reality Can Help Train Surgeons
VR saves money, time, and supports repeatability of learning modules and multiple scenarios. So, a learner can have multiple attempts at a piece of training and their performance can be tracked to encourage improvements.