The world of training is changing and it’s future horizons aren’t found in the everyday classrooms. They’re happening in the digital world, augmented in powerful ways. Through advancements in immersive technology, traditional employee training methods are being forever transformed into interactive, hyper-realistic, and engaging experiences. These experiences yield critical data for greater employer understanding - and profitability - of workplace behaviours. They come with another added bonus: data and results..
Immersive technology includes virtual reality (VR), entirely virtual spaces, augmented reality (AR), where information is presented as an overlay on top of a real space, and mixed reality (MR), a merged combination of the two. This technology initially found its groove in the consumer market, with gamers and techies turnings to virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, or mixed reality technologies like Google Glass to create lifelike augmented reality experiences.
However, the huge, transformative potential for these innovations are happening in workplace training.
Built in biometric sensors now gather live data. They can track eye movement, so the system knows where trainees are positioned, where they are looking and for how long. This provides important pattern data on focus, attention span and knowledge gaps. Capturing data during the course of workplace protocols provides critical information on reactions times and awareness. All of this data can be used to retrain and improve team response to situations that, ideally, would never happen in the real world - but if they do, employers can be sure the team is ready.
The brain reacts nearly identically to virtual stimuli as it does to the real thing. An error in virtual reality is just as frustrating, with the advantage that employees learn without risking life or limb. Added to this, you’re stimulating your brain in a very engaging way. while releasing hormones that increase the speed of communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. This boosts memorization and makes users more sensitive to actions and emotions.
These virtual experiences are multi-sensorial, giving the brain much more information to use. A 70-step procedure that takes five pages in a handbook to detail is boiled down to a familiar, repeatable set of actions. Throughout the training, the simulator will present unexpected hazards. It can fine tune employee knowledge down to the smallest details.
In specific situations, such as operating a dump truck, training time can be reduced by 50%. Using real trucks and an experienced instructor is a significant cost. In one case study, training time was reduced to 35 hours, from 77, in a simulated environment with direct effects of reducing maintenance costs. Throughout the training, the system provides measured, good data.
VR/AR training is about building error-inducing machines with challenging situations. It’s about building environments where it’s safe to make mistakes and learn, and also about creating ways to gather data about those mistakes to learn as much from them as much as possible. The goal of all training is improvement. These technologies improve employee safety, team success, and most importantly, business results.
VR/AR are all about greater efficiencies, and indicators. As industries need to improve operations - by doing things better (faster, more precisely) and safer (when life is #1 priority) - the accelerated learning curve gets people productive and into revenue generating roles more quickly while reducing training costs.
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