5 Critical Steps to Getting Started in VR Training

by Ed Haravon, Co-Founder of Get Real

5 Critical Steps to Getting Started in VR Training

One of the most widely accepted use cases for Virtual Reality (VR) is for corporate training and education.  VR has been shown to increase retention rates and employee engagement levels.  Some of the most innovative companies and industries in the world have adopted VR Training for their employees and key stakeholders.  Employees learn by doing in an immersive environment that is free of workplace hazards, scalable across large workforces, and cost effective to create and deploy.  Job skills training in high pressure situations like emergency repair, or medical procedures are ideal candidates for VR Training modules.  By the same token, scenarios that are costly or difficult to replicate, or that require mastery of a particular piece of equipment can be practiced many times over by employees until they become expert.  And VR training is no longer just the domain of hard skills training.  There has also been an explosion of VR software design for soft skills training and education.  Programs in areas such as diversity and inclusion, sales training, and public speaking are now commonly seen distributed in VR.  Additionally, there are several industry leading providers of VR-based manager training dealing with difficult conversations that managers need to have with their team members.

Despite all of the benefits listed above, getting started in Virtual Reality for your corporate training and education needs can seem daunting.  There are many decisions related to accessing VR headsets that require careful consideration.  There is also an abundance of software providers, each with their own technical specs for headsets and specialized use cases that they are trying to serve.  Add in questions dealing with security, device management, and scalability – and you can quickly feel paralyzed by the complexity.

Working with a partner to help guide you through emerging VR technology can be critical for the success of your training initiative.  The ideal partner should help your company to focus in five key areas to help ensure the success of your VR training program.

Step 1: Defining a successful Virtual Reality training program

What elements of your current Learning and Education program are most out of date and in need of updating?  What specific topics of employee training are most critical to the success of your business?   The answer to these questions will likely be where introducing VR training will have the most impact for your business.  Once you have this list of potential VR training needs, think about what success will look like in these areas.  Ask yourself questions such as what level of proficiency do employees need to reach and over what time frame? How often should employees be able to repeat the training? What data do I want to track to make the evaluation of the training more objective?  Once you have set your goals, you are ready to go to others in your organization to get your VR training approved.

Step 2: Getting input and engagement from key stakeholders

Even with all of the positive attributes of VR training, no program will be successful if you are the only champion.  Gaining buy-in across the organization is critical to moving forward with your VR training program.  Start by connecting your IT team with your partner and potential solutions providers to make sure that there are no issues with infrastructure, network security, or VR hardware management.  From there, you will want to make sure that the Director of Learning, HR Director, and executive team are on board with the costs and potential ROI of the VR training program.  Be sure to include the goals for success that were identified in Step 1 and compare them to where similar levels of engagement and proficiency currently are at the company.   


Step 3: Design a pilot program

Once you have established buy-in from the various levels of your organization it is time to design a pilot program.  To ensure the greatest possibility for success, start small, and focus on one single element your training needs for the pilot program.  Choosing a group of employees that are receptive to using new technology is important as well.  VR is still a relatively new technology and not all employees may be willing to be the first to put on a VR headset.  Work with your partner and solution provider to design the training content so that it is simple, concise and user friendly.  Identify the data to be tracked and make sure it is being collected and displayed properly.  Communicate the structure and goals of your pilot program to employees ahead of time so they are clear as to what is expected of them while participating in the VR training.  


Step 4: Measure KPI’s

Here is the greatest case for your VR training program.  How successful is your pilot program in meeting your stated goals for VR training?  How effectively did employees retain and recall key information that they were presented?  How do these results compare to your current training methods? Other factors such as employee engagement levels and showcasing your company’s innovative learning and development program to attract talent can also be considered when evaluating your pilot program.  The results of your pilot program, and the data it gives your managers to evaluate employees for skill gaps and areas of improvement are needed to make the Return On Investment (ROI) compelling to roll out VR training to the rest of the firm. The report titled VRARA Sector Industry Report : Training Q1 2019 detailed that organizations spend a staggering $350B a year on training, yet when asked, most executives will tell you their company’s learning and development is not as effective as it could be.  In terms of ROI, Walmart has seen sharp gains in the efficacy and reduced costs associated with VR training.  According to a recent HBR briefing paper titled The Future of Work is Immersive, Walmart added immersive learning to its 200 academies, which train associates in customer service skills.  During the pilot, associates who used VR training reported 30% higher satisfaction, scored higher on tests 70% of the time, and had 10% to 15% higher knowledge retention.  Walmart also saw benefits dealing with specific training related to setting up pick-up towers in stores.  Previously, the training had been conducted by a human coach, who had to travel from store to store, and consisted of an all-day session. With the VR experience, travel is not required, and the training time has been cut to just 15 minutes—a 96% reduction.


Step 5: Scale and rollout to the rest of your organization

Once you have proven the efficacy of VR training through your pilot program, and received the go-ahead from the leadership team, it is time to roll out your pilot to the rest of your company.  Here is where your partner can help with determining the best strategy to scale your VR training.  They will help you choose hardware that will not only meet your current needs, but also scale with you as your VR training program expands.  Your partner will also be able to connect you with other off-the-shelf solutions providers of VR training to expand the program.  If custom training content is required, they will help find providers that can develop programs to meet your specific needs.  Lastly, they will be capable of training your team in the use of the VR training platform, and make sure it is compatible with, and integrated into, your company’s LMS.  Above all, your partner should be able to guide you strategically, over the long term - as new ways to monetize the ROI of your VR training investment become viable.

VR training will continue to grow as a result of innovation in corporate learning and development offerings.  VR allows employees to retain information longer and attain proficiency faster than traditional training methods and is an ideal training tool for teaching skills that are too costly, too dangerous, or too difficult to replicate in the real world.  

If you are interested in learning more about VR Training, and how it can be deployed at your company, Get Real can help.  Contact us today at info@getrealxr.com.

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    While early efforts in VR focused on gaming, in recent years business and enterprise have begun to compete for center stage. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting decrease in business travel have intensified the felt need for people to connect with their colleagues and their clients. While the immediate reaction was to turn to Zoom and other video-conferencing technologies to help address that need, many are finding it exhausting, distracting, and ultimately nowhere near as productive as meeting in person.

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