Use Case Examples of Virtual Reality (VR) Training
10% – Reading, 20% – Listening, 90% – Experiencing
TechCrunch writer John Biggs put out a nice article today succinctly titled “VR Helps Us Remember“.
His main point is that the immersive, experiential nature of virtual reality leads to better recall. The article cites a University of Maryland study that explains that 3D VR immersion helps the brain create “memory palaces” and better focus. In the study, 40% of participants scored at least 10% higher on recall tests when they were tested after watching VR versus simply watching video on a desktop.
For those familiar with the work of educator Edgar Dale, this isn’t surprising. His research posited that people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, and 90% of what they experience (!)
From an employee training perspective, it’s not surprising then why HR + Learning & Development departments are flocking to VR as a means of educating workforces. If you can increase recall in your trainees, then it’s safe to assume your training program is more successful.
A question we sometimes get though is: What are the use cases you see for virtual reality in training? People new to the technology are impressed with InstaVR’s ease of use and features. But they’re curious what specifically they should be using the technology for. Below we’ll go through the top four use cases along with client examples for each.
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1. Employee Onboarding (and Cross-Training)
Likely the most popular VR for Training use case is new employee onboarding. Closely correlated, particularly in our world of fluid job functions, is employee cross-training. Both of these activities are geared towards educating a worker on something they’re not likely terribly familiar with.
VR allows you to immerse a new employee in an environment and teach them (using features such as hotspots). This helps the new employee become familiar and comfortable within the environment prior to being thrust into it. The knowledge transfer potential is tremendous. And as discussed above, recall is much better than say with traditional 2D limited-width views.
Employee onboarding through VR is a great first touch point for many workers. It helps to calm the nerves and build confidence. Particularly in high stress jobs, or ones the involve immediate client interaction, using virtual reality is a nice entry point for learning a job.
InstaVR Client Use Case: A large division of the Federal Government utilized InstaVR to dramatically cut costs in training new employees at field offices. Authoring and deploying Gear VR apps to 100+ headsets, they cut their technology budget for training by 80%. Using InstaVR meant they didn’t have to fly trainers to the field office, but also they could reduce travel for new employees. As the content is evergreen, they’re able to re-use the trainings for each subsequent recruiting class.
2. Preparing for Rare or Unexpected Events
Another great use case for VR for Training is simulating rare or unexpected events. Why? Because they’re extremely important to prepare for, but difficult to recreate.
For instance, what should employees do if there’s a natural disaster (ie earthquake) or active shooter? These are scenarios that are hopefully infrequent, but when employee actions are extremely important. It’s hard to do “live training” for all employees for these specific situations — workers have different shifts, work in different locations, take sick leave or vacation.
By filming and distributing in VR though, you can be assured that all employees get the same experience and learning. And as discussed earlier, the “memory palace” created by VR simulations suggests employees will have better recall on what to do in these unique events, versus just reading an employee handbook or watching a 2D video.
InstaVR Client Use Case: The VR Lab at Texas State University helped create a training application for the State of Texas’s Ambulance Bus drivers and EMTs. These buses are specifically used in cases of major catastrophic events, such as a flood. However, the employees that are designated to work the Ambulance Buses do not have continuous access to them, as they are few in number and distributed. Hence, the 360-degree app created using InstaVR highlights important cockpit features and locations of medical supplies, to help the Ambulance Bus team with memory recall. To learn more about this project, read our interview with Prof. Grayson Lawrence of Texas State University.
3. Employee Testing
One of the coolest features of InstaVR is the ability to make your VR experience interactive — through Hotspots, Navigation Links, and Calls-to-Action. These allow users of the VR to not just passively watch 360-video, but also interact with it. This interaction, of course, leads to better engagement and recall.
So one of the more interesting Learning & Development use cases to emerge in the VR training space is testing employees. This could be as simple as using Hotspots/Navigation Links to create multiple choice questions in the scene or using voiceover + transparent Hotspots to ask VR users to identify objects in a scene.
With that aforementioned statistic of 90% recall on experiences, there’s no question that adding interactivity or employee testing to your VR curriculum is valuable. InstaVR makes this simple — it’s as easy as drag-and-dropping the interactive components over your 360 images or videos.
InstaVR Client Use Case: A large consultancy built for an insurance firm a VR training and testing application using InstaVR. The insurance adjusters watch in headset a short video containing the facts of the collision, then examine the car from multiple angles, answering multiple choice questions. This is the type of learning and testing that helps make the lessons learned within them “stickier.”
4. Customer/Client Interaction Training
In a popular 2015 TED Talk, VR executive Chris Milk labelled the technology “the ultimate empathy machine.” Virtual Reality can assuredly be used to help workers better interact with customers and clients. The simulation of human interaction can facilitate many things — learning how to deal with specific situations, becoming more relaxed during interactions through repetition, and a better understanding of where the client/customer is coming from.
Walmart, for instance, famously started training employees at its Academies using the Oculus Rift, in preparation for Black Friday. That’s a very specific day, where stress is high and customer interactions are plentiful. By simulating that experience in VR prior to the actual day, employees can be more prepared and relaxed for the actual day itself.
We’ve spoken with a number of clients who are rolling out VR specifically to train on human interaction. For instance, a psychology professor is developing an application so that therapists can practice “virtual therapy sessions” with clients prior to actually being in a clinical setting. And the Starlight Foundation in Australia is training volunteers on how to interact with sick children in hospitals, so that the experience is more familiar to potential volunteers.
The combination of simulation and repitition is extremely valuable in the training world.
InstaVR Client Use Case: Stanford Medicine is training new Residents using InstaVR-generated apps on how to avoid distractions in the emergency room and focus on patients. You can read our whole interview here. The theory being that by recognizing these potential auditory and visual distractions in VR simulations, the Residents will be more prepared and focused when interacting with actual patients. It’s a very low
VR for Training is already the most impactful use case for the technology in enterprises. There’s so much value to gained from virtual experiences — they’re immersive, they’re informative, and they’re memorable. VR is so far ahead of the older forms of training. Even standard 2D video on laptops is seeming old-fashioned compared with 360-degree, stereoscopic video with interactive Hotspots/Navigation.
The only thing currently holding companies back from utilizing the technology is a perceived lack of resources — people, time and money.
But with InstaVR, those obstacles simply aren’t the case! Our simple but powerful, no-coding solution means anyone — in any department — can create VR training materials using a 360-degree camera, an InstaVR account, and an internet connection. Everything can be done in-house. No prior VR or media production experience is required.
VR is unquestionably the best way to conduct modern employee trainings. Be it for new employee onboarding, training for unique/one-time events, testing recall of employees, or helping promote better client/customer interaction.
Sign up for InstaVR today and receive a free consultation on how we can help take your employee trainings to the next level!