Let's talk VR.
Organizations across Canada are stepping it up; efficiently improving employee performance by investing in modern technology that reflects the ongoing needs of today's learner. With Millennials now surpassing Generation X to become the largest generation in the workforce, top companies understand the importance and benefit of advancing their approach to learning in the workplace. Learning is beyond a keyboard and mouse, or pulling 50 salesmen out of their jobs and into a three day workshop. Especially when your learning audience is required to gain and practice skills in safe environment, and expect little to no error on the job.
As an Instructional Designer for the past ten years, I will totally admit that this is an area I'm often challenged with. How can I redesign real-life that enables learners to transfer their knowledge as efficiently as possible? It's not that the technology doesn't exist - it's been out for the past 10 years, has matured very well within that time and has now become mainstream. It's the fact that many companies have shunned the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology when it comes to Learning and Development. In this post, my aim is to provide a bit of understanding around the technology, the pros and cons, and the bus you could be missing.
Let's talk VR. I can't say how great of a job Samsung did using Lil Wayne to promote the GearVR as part of their campaign (and I lovvve Lil Wayne), but, I can say this technology is hyping up everywhere you turn - everyone wants to know what the future holds with VR. But as I mentioned a few seconds ago, VR's been around the block for quite some time now. And it's not just a gaming thing. Organizations are now using VR technology as a practical means of providing training. In fact, the military has been using this technology to train their army, navy and air forces for years, as soldiers are able to experience combat settings or other dangerous situations where they must know how to react quickly and appropriately. It's certainly mainstreaming and becoming more of a learning genre for a plethora of industries other than those who need training in high risk environments.
People who've had the opportunity to experience VR technology knows they're able to immerse themselves in an environment where they can gain a higher sense of understanding. This technology creates engagement and it’s the closest thing you can get to experiencing a real-world scenario (without the real-world consequences!). Pros & Cons
I hear a lot of reasons why companies won't invest in VR technology when it comes to employee training, but the advantages definitely outweighs the cons... Pros
Allows learners to experience high risk scenarios within a safe environment
Learners are able to further their learning by revisiting scenarios
Simulations are recorded using a 360 degree camera, creating accurate and realistic scenarios
Makes a creative, engaging learning solution that is fun for learners
Can be used for large learning audiences in different locations
Cost effective - you can purchase a DIY version such as Google Cardboard that ranges anywhere between $9.00 - $20.00
Measurable - VR learning can be tracked in an LMS
Some training may be required to help learners become better acquainted with using a VR headset (this can be costly in terms of time consumption).
Can be costly if the video requires constant changes to be made - this type of learning is better suited for material that has a longer "shelf-life."
You want your employees to look forward and show a mutual inclination when it comes to training. Let's be honest: Do your employees show any excitement or inclination when they're required to complete their Health & Safety training? Do they seem to care about receiving a tour of the new facility that was recently opened? We learn through experience and VR technology offers this capability. Don't miss the bus. Top Canadian companies are investing in such formats of learning because they understand how stable the technology has become. They know how affordable VR technology has become over the years and its ability to provide a really cool, fresh way of learning to their employees. Organizations who are using this technology certainly know how this sets them apart from their competitors: Employees are learning quicker, more effectively and making the most efficient use of their time in training because their learning through an experience.
We are proud to be the first agency in the industry to offer VR technology and the possibilities are limitless. After reading this post, my hope is that you no longer feel the need to play it safe by spending your training budget on traditional approaches, and provide your employees with a far better learning experience.
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