A VR skeptic recently asked a VR education panel of experts: “Could somebody please tell me – what are the real applications of VR in education?” As we are challenged to find alternative ways of training our teams effectively due to cost cutting or offices shutting down due to global health concerns – let’s look at what is already working in the bright new world of innovative corporate training.
In case you aren’t convinced – here is what is happening out in the real world of work training from motor skills to soft skills: doctor training for surgery, nurse training for real life patient situations, electricians learning their craft, retail workers learning about sales and customers service, police learning how to deescalate violent situations, architects learning about design, and executives and managers learning about social emotional skills including diversity training and sexual harassment. But does it work?
- 12,000 students have been learning how to be DJs since September of last year when TribeXR launched its education programs on Oculus Quest.
- 16,000 employees at Verizon were trained in the last year on everything from customer service to loss prevention to empathy.
- 16,000 employees at CSU (facility management) on safety: link
- 1400 employees at Patyna (elderly care) on providing the right client care: link
- 2000 employees at Erste Bank on bank robbery.
When asked after a recent retail store robbery if the Verizon workers felt prepared – they said they knew exactly what to do because of the VR training. They remembered what to do because their motor memory kicked in. The training works. It isn’t pure consumption – it is learning by practicing doing – and as participants are actively making choices in their learning, the medium also operates as both an exercise, and an assessment – but it’s fun and engaging – like a game.
Imagine if instead of hating training – your team loved it. In fact – they couldn’t wait for it. It was fun. And they wanted more. This is where next generation digital media content and platforms are taking us.
But why hasn’t VR taken off in other areas beyond training applications driving performance improvements or cutting training costs for companies? The short answer is the complexity of VR creation and publishing.
- Hardware: Capturing VR … simply done with an Insta360
- Software: Stitching and Editing with Adobe Software
- Platform Publishing: YouTube VR vs. Veer? Veer has launched a free creator tool – could this solve a huge problem for VR creators?
- Discovery: How will people find this content?
As Facebook’s Oculus internal team has exploded from 50 to 4000 – they are still metering the publishing of VR apps. If they want to encourage growth, adoption, creativity, and ultimately adoption of VR content – they are going to need to open source their VR app store instead of gating it for the elite group of apps that are worthy of featuring. When will this happen? Perhaps when Panasonic’s eyewear becomes a true competitor in the market and becomes more pervasive because it’s a lot easier to use.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet of a few of the players in the VR Workforce Training Application world for reference….
- Strivr: From teaching an electrician how to deal with a downed power line – to active shooter safety training. Strivr works hard to help transform teams and lower training costs for their clients.
- WarpVR: Saving a life with CPR or putting out a fire on the airport tarmac. The founders are hyper-focused on making training fun and easy – with short interactive story driven scenes that make training extremely engaging. Seamless and simple. Designed to have headsets around teams anywhere they are, so they can train on demand, anytime. Convenience is key to adoption! Enabling companies and partners to create, distribute and analyze their own VR training scenarios with an easy to use SaaS platform, suited for all situations.
- PitchBoy: Retail sales reps can learn customer service in real life scenes with a voice activated choice when they interact to reply to their customers. One of the challenges with any VR experience is making it feel normal and natural, and PitchBoy does a nice job of this.
The future of VR applications leveraged in new ways isn’t far away…let’s keep watching, in VR.