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?
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.
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….
The future of VR applications leveraged in new ways isn’t far away…let’s keep watching, in VR.