Why are Fortune 500 Companies so Quick to Adopt Virtual Reality Training?
Virtual Reality (VR) Training touts an impressive value proposition trifecta:
- Lower Training Costs
- More Potent Training
- Higher Employee Engagement
VR allows employees to inexpensively and repeatedly experience incredibly realistic work scenarios. Real-world work situations that are high risk, low frequency or expensive to otherwise simulate are all excellent candidates for VR training.
Here is the way Farmer’s Insurance Chief Claims Officer puts the benefits:
“We can now put them in a lot more scenarios sooner,” he says. “We can increase the frequency of what they’re seeing and experiencing. The knowledge gain can happen so much more quickly.” The more scenarios they encounter, the more comfortable they feel when they go to a real customer’s house.”
Walmart — 140,000 retail level employees will be exposed to various VR scenarios, such as the black Friday rush
UPS — VR is being used to to train drivers
Siemens — 4000 employees of Germany’s national express rail system are training in VR
The ability to deploy on-demand VR training scenarios for employees will save companies millions of dollars. An increasing portion of employee training can now take place in VR, from fork lift drivers to insurance adjusters. Skill development in VR will result in an unprecedented reduction in training costs.
Mistakes are cheap in VR. High-end flight simulators have been used for decades to reduce the cost of training mistakes but now its possible for companies like UPS to use VR to render common trainee driver mistakes both harmless and free.
Furthermore, the cost of training drivers is lower because there is no vehicle wear & tear cost and no fuel costs.
VR Training can also help to decentralize employee training. Farmers Insurance estimates that they will save 300k in travel costs by not sending adjusters to central training facilities.
Consider the power of Walmart’s VR training modules that immerses trainees into a difficult customer interaction complete with all of the sounds, visual cues, emotions and facial expressions of an upset customer versus an online course or a role-playing exercise with a co-worker.
VR training allows ‘hands-on’ training and ‘first-hand’ exposure to work-related experiences.
Knowledge retention rates can reach an amazing 75% using VR training versus 10% for lecture-based learning.
Google did a test where they trained people how to use an espresso machine. One group used the actual espresso machine, and the other group used a VR espresso machine.
“We were excited to find out that people learned faster and better in VR. Both the number of mistakes made and the time to complete an espresso were significantly lower for those trained in VR”
Perhaps the greatest training advantage to the training potency of VR is that it can generate an incredibly rich data set. This data can be used to produce detailed training reports, to personalize training, to help facilitators evaluate employees and to guide the future development of VR training modules.
“The trainers see improved engagement, and student assessments after the classes rate the VR training very highly. It’s one of the most memorable aspects of their training.”
- Brock McKeel, Senior Director of Operations for Wal-Mart
Walmart, UPS, Siemens and many more are reporting that VR training increases engagement. Employees find VR training to be fun, especially in comparison to lecture-based training, power-point presentations or online courses.
VR training might even deliver a death blow to the oft-dreaded role-playing exercises.
Walmart is exploding their program to reach 140,000 employees, Siemens is shooting for 4000 employees, UPS will further expand efforts, more insurance companies will jump on board and so will many other industries over the next few years.
Lower-cost training, combined with better training is winning over business decision makers and as an added bonus employees are happy to train in VR, this makes the rapid pace of adoption possible. The promise of adding value through VR training is strong enough that it will dominate the employee training landscape over the next decade.