Published on October 10th, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Virtual Reality Goes To Work, Helping Train Employees
People learn by doing. Virtual reality is making the “doing” easier especially when it comes to dangerous or extraordinary circumstances. Yuki Noguchi reports at npr.org how training using VR is becoming more prevalent at businesses of all types. Compared to traditional types of training, VR allows employees to experience the content instead of just absorbing it in a passive learning context. As VR becomes more affordable and user-friendly, expect to see companies adopting the technology in innovative ways.
Photo source: Strivr
Virtual reality — long touted as the next big thing in tech — hasn’t taken off as a consumer product, but employers are embracing it as a more efficient and effective tool for on-the-job training.
This year, Walmart is training more than 1 million employees using virtual reality. And moving companies, airlines, food processing and financial firms are all using VR in different ways. In the virtual world, cashiers are taught to show greater empathy, mechanics learn to repair planes and retail workers experience how to deal with armed robbery.
The sensory immersion is key to its effectiveness. Because things look and sound as if they were real, the brain processes virtual reality as though it were a real experience, says Stanford communication professor Jeremy Bailenson, who also founded the school’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.
“People learn by doing … getting feedback on mistakes, and then repeating and iterating,” he says.
Not every workplace situation is conducive to virtual reality training. Some tactile skills, for example, are better experienced in real life. But the technology is especially useful for training people for novel or emergency situations.
Verizon, for example, has been using the technology to train its retail workers in handling armed robberies — a common crime in the wireless industry. Retail workers can reenact being held at gunpoint, and in the process learn proper ways to prioritize safety and minimize physical harm.
Feeling like they’re at gunpoint creates a real stress response without putting employees in danger. Verizon employees who survived robberies say the video version is true to life, says Lou Tedrick, who heads the company’s learning and development.