Article: The VR promise in Learning

Learning & Development

The VR promise in Learning

Check its quick benefits and applicability in various organizations.
The VR promise in Learning

It has been time and again proven that the most effective learning comes from unexpected scenarios. And that’s a perpetual challenge to present such learning in a book or classroom setting. Hence, the question arises on how to create something that has a deeper experience?

Virtual Reality (VR) – the future of learning brings in a promising era which offers measurable enhancements in a variety of immersive learning outcomes. Whether it is about unloading hazardous chemicals or configuring a turbine or fighting a fire, this method of training has the capability to break boundaries with a safe, cost-effective and efficient way of learning. VR gives you access to those environments that are imagined, difficult to re-create, and many a time inaccessible.

Let us have quick nuggets on what are the three major benefits it brings to the learners.

Improved Learning

A green message flashed during a fire safety drill in an oil refinery – ‘Simulation Successful’. A voice was heard in the headset, “Congratulations—you have just completed the simulation module on how to handle a crisis in case of fire.” Fifty participants had been in a virtual reality simulation on how to respond to a crisis that had been so real. And the stress was more than a live situation.  

Such an exposure to live training brings in a far better and improved learning. While trying to develop corrective behaviors in learners, one can reinforce habits effectively because the experience feels real and mimics real-life situations. VR allows users to look in every possible direction and creates a multisensory immersive digital experience similar to the real world.  The trainers see an improved engagement of majority of targeted learners. 

Faster Learning

Research data suggests that VR training can be more memorable than video content. Apart from serving a safe alternative to real-world training, it is easily repeatable, scalable, and provides isolation from distractions. VR provides better outcomes than many traditional learning methods. 

Let’s take an example from the medical world; a cardiologist may practice for years, continuously training before reaching the peak of his profession which takes an infinite number of years. And in many cases, a procedure requires doctors to practice on more than 100 patients before reaching to a precision of acquiring a critical level of skill. With the aid of VR, various 3D models with simulations imbibed into it may help to acquire the skills with more accuracy and at a much faster speed.

Better Insights through Test and Re-test

Beyond simply improving how well learners retain information, VR based training can help learners when they get it wrong. It allows trainees to test ideas after repeated attempts. Trainers and subject matter experts need not sort through all the data and tell the learner where he may have gone wrong. The system itself may be able to determine the likely causes of error through better insights and tracking data points. It also suggests learners on the best strategies for avoiding those errors in the future. In fact, the ability to track all of a learner’s actions and inputs as he or she moves through a scenario can lessen the cost of providing individual feedback too.

Adoption by companies

Unsurprisingly, few first industries using virtual reality for job training included aviation and healthcare; however VR has spread its branches now into other industries like hospitality, retail, and many others. Let us look at the three recent examples.

UPS: In a UPS training room, the drivers are seated behind a desk wearing an HTC-Vive headset that presents a 360 degree panorama of an urban streetscape with their hands clutched to a simulated steering wheel. All the learners are expected to identify every safety hazard before proceeding on a tightly routed journey. Such a blended approach to teach driver candidates how to safely perform the 3 vital tasks - handle their vehicles, employ delivery information acquisition device, and pick up and deliver packages are being used in UPS and delivered successfully through VR.

Walmart: They use immersive VR technology to prepare their employees to deal with the frenzied holiday shopping experience. With the aid of simulation, Walmart employees can further associate themselves on how the crowd will respond to sale items and learn how to manage big crowds during rush hours. By using immersive reality technique, users will be able to gauge traffic flow in the store and respond to difficult customers more efficiently.

Honeywell: Intelligent Wearables is being used in Honeywell to design a completely connected plant with safety monitoring devices and alerts. Additionally, they also serve as a virtual library of documents. Videos and narratives are available that a worker may need to access for performing job duties with no delay in searching for information that helps to resolve small issues before they become large enough to stop production. This also helps in better communication between the worker in the field and branch offices.

To sum up, VR is seen as a great learning tool and the results on how a learning-focused VR can turn novices into experts are significantly been experienced across many industries now. Combining such experiential learning pedagogy with business data enhances productivity, expands learner’s knowledge, helps employees analyze authentic data and also facilitates the collaboration of co-workers and trainers during the simulation process for improved communication. Such immersive technology provides hands-on experiences fostering a far better learning outcome for modern day learners.

Know more about such trends at the People Matters Learning & Development Annual Conference 2018 on 23rd October. Register here.

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Topics: Learning & Development, Technology, #PMLnD

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