Virtual Reality (VR) can be defined as a simulation of our environment in 3-dimensions, so that it appears real and can be interacted with as well. In mainstream media, VR is used for gaming, movies and other exploratory experiences. VR can make artificially created experiences feel larger than life or like real life. Parallelly, VR had already started being adopted by corporates and organisations for training purposes. VR allows training to be done faster without the need to commute and also to be a safe environment before actually going for the real experience.
For example, if one needs to work with sensitive hardware or in sensitive environments, they can try VR first. Let’s take the case of learning how to fly aeroplanes, it is much safer for a budding pilot to get as much practice safely through simulators rather than directly training using real planes. The same could be said for working in space, outside spaceships or for driving a formula one car.
VR training had always existed for specialised sectors such as military, space exploration and medicine, however, in recent times, this training technology has also seen a rise in the corporate sector.
The cost of VR technology has gone down quite a bit and large MNCs and even middle-level corporates have started adopting VR training into various departments, such as development, operations, logistics, sales, retail or for various technical skills and soft skills. According to estimates, over 171 million individuals use VR in some way, just in the United States. With VR training, users can safely interact with computer-generated objects and carry on tasks as usual.
For example, in mechanical engineering and medical science, VR training is being incorporated in order to provide some much-needed practice before working on real projects and machines (in the case of engineers) or human beings (in the case of doctors). Let us understand the benefits VR training offers and various fields that use this state-of-the-art approach for training.
Table of Contents:
- What is Virtual Reality Training?
- Benefits of VR Training
What is Virtual Reality Training?
Virtual Reality Training can be defined as a digital simulator for real-life scenarios. VR Training takes learning beyond courses and classrooms, especially with the help of Augmented Reality or AR. According to eMarketer, 42.9 million individuals were using VR every month in the US and a huge number of these people were using it for training purposes. The same trend has been seen throughout the world in countries like the UK, India, Canada, Australia and many others. China has been using VR for multiple purposes as well and has recently commissioned the use of VR to train its troops. Using VR Training, the People’s Republic of China plans to make its troops more effective in combat.
VR Training has reached that level where it can be used to emulate extremely dynamic environments that are seen in a battlefield or underwater and even in outer space where one is fixing the Reusable Surface Insulation Tiles outside a space shuttle. All the countries have followed suit and have rapidly started incorporating VR training in their daily training procedures. This can especially be seen in engineering, construction and other sectors where there is a dire need for skilled workers.
VR Training incorporates an active training environment where different senses such as sight and sound are emulated in order to remove the barrier that separates reality from VR. This training method uses state-of-the-art embedded systems or accessories that are connected to VR headsets in order to allow trainees to look around and interact with objects. Using these controllers or accessories, users can move around freely in the 3D digital environment and use real-world tools, machines and objects to perform their current tasks. Even other trainees, instructors and obstacles can be incorporated into VR Training.
VR has made a huge difference in the learning and training sector. Environments that were too dangerous to train in do not pose a challenge anymore as well as training methodologies that are too expensive can be simulated for a fraction of the cost. Additional machinery, tools and waste can also be avoided just for training purposes.
Let us take the example of emergency protocol training, robbery training, fire training, chemical spill training or heights training, these are too risky to carry out in real life with amateurs. Thus, VR has come up with the best alternative for training professionals while keeping them safe. Also, VR Training has helped companies and MNCs across the world cut enormous costs while improving the performance of employees. VR training also helps employees learn collaboration and helps retain skilled human resources in the long run.
There are two types of VR Training:
- Three Degrees of Freedom (3DoF): Stationary with the ability to view freely and interact with the environment around.
- Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF): This VR training allows the additional option of moving around in a virtual environment freely along with the fundamental ability to interact with objects and use them.
Additionally, AR can also be used to integrate digital objects and elements into the current world or sight of the user. This helps users stay in their current environment while the training objects are rendered artificially. VR training also provides feedback through technologies such as eye-tracking, pulse tracking, movement analytics and other performance metrics.
VR Training is used for 3 types of learning applications:
- Scenario-based learning
- Multi-step tasks and challenges
- Technical Skill learning
- Onboarding training
- Real-world simulations
Benefits of VR Training
Here are the benefits of VR Training:
- A safe learning environment where users are away from harm and hazardous elements.
- Risks can be taken for the sake of learning without wasting resources, affecting customers, or halting the business.
- It is a fun, engaging, and exciting way to learn. It also helps teams get closer and makes collaboration fun.
- Is flexible, scalable, and can be incorporated into any training procedure to suit any kind of training environment or training goal.
- Can easily be adapted by users, and people can use VR technology without prior exposure to the technology. VR brings the experience as close to reality as possible, thus making it seem like any other average task that the VR training system is emulating.
- Renders realistic and holistic with visual, auditory and kinesthetic experiences.
- Directly improves the performance of employees and processes.
- Decreases errors after training and helps in retaining the learning.
- Reduces training time and removes the need for recursive training.
- Eliminates the need to commute and decreases costs for both the trainees and the companies.
- Could help in better decision making.
- Helps in performance metrics, training reports and use of applied machine learning in order to recommend better training patterns.
- Has updated training content and experience, with more work being done in this field.
VR training is the future and companies around the world are gradually adopting this approach. Many say that nothing ever beats real applied training, however, in this case, technology can help and show how VR training can also be an advantageous route to take. VR training, after all, allows a more specialised delivery of the training procedures with realistic obstacles and a more detailed analysis of the results.
Also Read: The VR Motion Sickness