A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) VR study estimates that VR training will contribute $294 billion to the global economy by 2030. In particular, PwC wanted to test whether VR training had any advantage over other e-learning or classroom approaches when training for soft skills, other interactions, and leadership training.
For the study, a cohort of employees received the same training, but it was delivered to them either through VR, e-learning, or the classroom.
Learning through VR proved to be 4 times faster than classroom learning with learners 4 times more focused than those who were e-learning and 1.5 times more focused than those in the classroom.
Interestingly, those employees learning through VR felt 2.3 times more emotionally connected to the course content than e-learners and 3.75 times more emotionally connected than those in the classroom. Likewise, they felt significantly more confident to act on what they had learned than both the e- and classroom learners.
It is also a scalable and cost-effective way to train – and the larger the scale, the more cost effective it becomes.
According to Jeremy Dalton, Head of VR/AR at PwC,
“Virtual reality will help to drive a new age of learning, development and education by delivering a cost-effective, immersive and efficient experience to train people on both hard and soft skills.”
Whether employees will find VR learning a positive or a challenging experience remains to be seen, though a combination of both is likely. However, the opportunities, enrichment, and benefits afforded to business by the use of VR training programmes are real and are ready to be leveraged now.
It’s no longer the case that AR and VR is the sole preserve of gaming and entertainment. In fact, whilst gaming is one of the primary drivers in the field, the business world is embracing the potential of AR and VR technology as the uses for innovative applications unfold.
For example, AI is increasingly used to automate and streamline the recruitment and hiring process. Machine learning and VR can be used to assess whether job applicants have the necessary skills required for the position whilst collecting behavioural data to establish whether the candidate would fit with company culture. Ideally, these tools should be used to enhance, not replace, the recruitment process. Certainly, it feels like a time and cost-efficient (if somewhat stark) way to streamline the operation where many candidates are involved such as graduate recruitment. However, just as AI cannot actually predict job performance, it cannot really replace the person-to-person interaction when shortlisting and evaluating candidates.
Another area in which business is increasingly turning to augmented and virtual reality applications is for training employees through immersive learning.
Extended reality platforms for training can offer content for process-based and object-based knowledge and for teaching behavioural soft skills like communication and leadership to employees.
Language processing and other AI technologies are used to provide realistic scenarios to work through, delivering rapid reskilling and upskilling for individuals.