With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 still causing business disruptions and uncertainty, business leaders need to find new ways to strengthen remote training and learning programs. Without the right skills, employers and employees will struggle to be productive and agile in the future. More businesses are using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to share information in new, engaging ways and make the learning experience more effective.
Augmented reality blends the real environment with a digital setting. For example, most people have applied facial filters to their own images in social media. Other examples are using real-life materials like books or posters to trigger a new layer of knowledge in a digital environment. Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of a 3D environment that requires special equipment to participate in the learning experience.
A 2020 survey found that roughly one-quarter of businesses were using VR and AR to train employees and the lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated their adoption. In fact, nearly three-quarters of professionals believed that organizations will continue to increase the adoption of VR/AR in training. Why? What are the advantages of using these technologies in training?
Upskill employees faster with VR
Employers are facing a huge challenge right now: how to fill knowledge gaps in the workforce, upskill existing employees, complete compliance or new hire training, and fill open job positions while employees are resigning at an unprecedented pace? How can we train and develop workers when in-person training isn’t an option?
Many business leaders believe that AR/VR training represents a big game changer in the workplace. AR/VR technology is leveraged to create interactive, immersive experiences. The combination of a narrative story along with visuals and interactivity is key to the learning process according to many researchers.
Employees in VR courses can be trained up to four times faster. In this study, what took 2 hours to learn in the classroom only took 29 minutes using VR.
VR learners were 275% more confident to act on what they learned after training was completed—representing a 40% improvement over classroom and 35% over standard e-learn training.
Additionally, other research suggests that VR training has a much larger retention rate than classroom, reading, or audio-visual learning. Why? PwC research revealed that VR training induces a much larger emotional connection between employees and content. For example, three-quarters of learners in the survey said they had a “wake-up-call moment” during the VR course on diversity and inclusion and realized they weren’t as inclusive as they thought they were.
Simulate real-world experiences and develop soft skills
When VR training first became popular, it was used to simulate real-world experiences involving worker safety or high-stakes scenarios like firefighting or performing surgery that are difficult to recreate in real life. Participants could train in these dangerous situations without putting them in real danger—and it delivered positive results. According to 2020 study by Chaos Theory Games, VR training reduces the occurrence of workplace injuries by 43%.
Now VR training is increasingly used to help new hires and existing employees practice and strengthen soft skills. There are tools to help people practice public speaking skills in a more realistic way so they can deliver better presentations or sales pitches. Additionally, call center agents are leveraging VR training to practice critical client support soft skills in highly realistic job simulations. According to experts, VR technology is “particularly adept at creating the kind of emotional impact on learners that leads to lasting behavioral change or a mindset shift.”
VR simulations and training are also proving to be a more effective method for diversity, equity, and inclusion training. HR industry analyst Josh Bersin notes, “The value of good VR training is learners experience firsthand the challenges that diverse employees or job candidates go through, and it leaves a lasting impact. VR simulations are different because you remember exactly what happened as if you had the experience yourself.”
Remove the barriers of cost, physical space, and distance
VR/AR training also makes education and development more widely accessible. This training allows more people to participate in the experience than may otherwise have been able to due to space or safety concerns.
In their study, PwC found that VR training is estimated to be more cost-effective at scale than classroom or e-learning. The more employees trained, the higher the returns for savings of time, facilities, and other out-of-pocket costs like travel.
Hospitality companies are already adjusting their business models to accommodate these trends. When preparing for hybrid events, the goal is to ensure remote attendees enjoy a seamless experience that makes them feel as included as those who attended in person. Thus, hotels and other conference spaces are upgrading technology offerings to ensure they have the bandwidth and IT security to accommodate hybrid events.
Revolutionize your remote learning and training programs
The shift to remote work has fast-tracked the role of AR and VR training in the modern workplace. To train employees safely, effectively, and efficiently, more forward-thinking businesses are replacing traditional training programs with more immersive AR/VR technologies. Research shows that AR/VR training emboldens workers to better understand and apply concepts after course completion and effectively impacts feelings of presence and empathy.
If your business wants to take training to the next level with AR/VR technology, Asure can help. We offer software and HR services, including fully certified HR professionals, to help with skill need assessments, employee development programs, and more. With a team of HR experts on your side, you’ll have access to the resources and manpower needed to successfully build a learning and development program that attracts and retains the talent you need to grow your b