A quick glance at the technology field is enough to grasp how rapidly it transforms and advances as years pass by. Although many would dare to say the opposite, the truth is that, even with many failed technological attempts, some gadgets arrive to stay – and even alter how we perceive and live in our world.
Virtual reality is one of these game-changers. It has not only entertained users so far, it has also helped improve and bring benefits in areas where we couldn’t predict it would have such a big impact, and it is in these fields where VR will stay; whether it will be for better or for worse remains to be seen.
Industrial Virtual Reality Uses
VR has been in development for over a decade but it is only now that it has become an investment that is worth its cost, not only because both graphics and system functionality have been greatly upgraded, but also because it has proven to be more than effective when it comes to job training in diverse fields.
Although it might sound unconventional to those who still haven’t heard about virtual reality usage in the training areas, this application is nothing new as the mining, healthcare and military industries have been giving use to it for a while now, allowing applicants to experience dangerous or under-pressure scenarios that cannot be recreated in reality without risking people’s lives.
This type of training could, in fact, save numerous lives considering that many risky practices, like a first-time surgery, weren’t able to be replicated before and could easily end up in failure. These days, VR allows doctors and surgeons to rehearse medical procedures without putting anyone at unnecessary risk.
The same goes for pilots (who have been using less real-looking flying simulators for years), divers, athletes and even the military, where recruitment applications have gone up as much as 66% in the British Army just because of the VR experience enrolment tool they are using at the moment.
Virtual Reality Training for Employees
Replicating hazardous situations so that miners or soldiers can experience them before they happen (if they ever do) is a great reason to use VR in these industrial fields. However, Virtual Reality training is also being used in employee recruitment for less dangerous jobs like shop management, rail and transportation drivers, factory workers and even food-chain employees.
With time, it has become surprisingly common for worldwide brands to adopt VR as a tool to recreate training scenarios where recruiting and retaining is much easier, two tasks that have become harder in the past years.
One of the main causes of the increasing difficulty of employing is that a great deal of the working population are millennials, a generation well known for changing jobs more than any other in search of one that will keep them away from the office routine.
Because retaining is certainly harder than recruiting, many companies have decided to give VR a chance to help generate feelings of engagement and satisfaction among the employees, with the hopes that they will feel better about what they do while also learning new information and acquiring new skills.
VR is certainly a great way to achieve this: immersing employees in a game-like reality where they can gain confidence about their actions and understand their tasks while also having fun will help them retain more information than showing manuals and data sheets, especially since our attention spans seem to have shrunk since the arrival of smartphones. The only reported drawback is motion sickness after a certain period of use reported by some VR users.
VR training doesn’t have to be expensive. Expensive headsets can be replaced by or low-end laptops with affordable headset or cardboard for iPhone and Android phones. Apps can be used even for other platforms such as Nintendo Wii and Gamecube by using emulators such as DolphinVR.
Meditation is another great example of VR use for self improvement. Putting a headset is enough to bring peace and calm back into your life. In the long run, this will help with focus and visualisation during meditation sessions.
Future Expectations for VR Training
Another reason why companies have opted for VR coaching is that it unexpectedly lowers the costs. KFC, General Motors, UPS are all names that most of you might recognize and that are currently preparing their employees through virtual reality.
Even if VR training might not sound like the cheapest option, if you calculate how much it would cost department stores to train every recruit for a holiday rush in the middle of August, it might become easier to understand why big chains like Walmart have chosen to develop VR training programs.
However, does this give the method credibility? Some bluntly say it doesn’t as the commitment acquired from the VR programs won’t last long outside the Virtual Reality world.
Although this has yet to be proven, what is known for a fact is the growing demand for VR job training programs of diverse types. So, do make sure to not look too surprised the next time you apply for work and are required to train in a virtual reality simulation on your own laptop.