Make employee training more effective with Virtual Reality

At Virsabi, we help numerous companies enhance the learning and training of their employees through the use of Virtual Reality (VR). Interest in this type of learning is rapidly increasing. It speeds up the learning process and makes training of employees more effective.

Learn by doing

Way back around 350 B.C., Aristotle said: “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

Learning by doing is crucial to mastering a skill. But what if that skill is knee surgery? Or how to fix a certain machine in a production line after it has broken down?

Learning by doing in cases like that is difficult. It is resource-intensive to execute a certain procedure repeatedly, and making mistakes can come with a huge price tag. This is where the benefits of VR become clear. In VR, we can create a detailed virtual version of e.g. a surgical procedure. The procedure can then be run through and completed numerous times by a surgeon in training before they even meet a patient.

This gives them hands-on experience, as well as experience in completing a procedure independently without supervision by a senior surgeon. They are also able to practice as many times as they want, at any time or place that is convenient for them without any additional costs – and, importantly, without a human patient being affected.

For a real example, Virsabi is currently developing VR-training in collaboration with Maersk Training that allows people to train certain maneuvers related to the mooring of large container vessels. These maneuvers are high-risk, and it is critical that crews know exactly what they are doing and what to focus on. By providing this training in VR, Maersk Training can both improve crew-expertise and save part of the cost of developing and maintaining solutions. And their customers save costs from not having to send crews to the physical training facilities on land.

All of this gives the student a better understanding of the task at hand, allows for mistakes to be made, and is cost-effective.

3D visuals depict the world as we see it

Another reason training in VR can improve understanding and retention is due to the 3D-nature of VR, i.e. how we humans actually perceive the world. Sure we can read about e.g. a piece of equipment in a production line and look at photos or drawings, but it is no substitute for examining the real thing. Imagine learning about a machine and being able to grab a specific cog, look at it from all angles and see how it fits in and works with the rest of the components.

In VR, subjects, concepts, and products are depicted and interact with the virtual world as they would in their actual environments.

Virtual embodiment has real-life effects

Virtual embodiment is described as the perception of sensory feedback related to a person’s virtual, non-physical body, and how this affects their cognition. I.e. a person identifies with a virtual body within a virtual environment, so much so that the same processes that make us identify with our own bodies are activated and make us identify with a virtual body.
This is a powerful tool for the purposes of learning. We experience an emotional response if we feel we are actually in a given situation. Emotional responses are key to memory-creation, which means we are likely to remember things better if we have feelings attached to the experience.

Virtual embodiment is also a game-changer in empathy training. We won’t understand another person until we walk a mile in their shoes. With VR, we can actually do that.

A great example is the police in Halton, Ontario, who have implemented VR-training for teaching officers how to handle mental health-related calls. The police officers can see the world from the eyes of a person experiencing mental health issues, which makes them more prepared for handling the cases when they experience them in the real world. This makes a huge difference for the police officers, which then results in meaningful differences for an already marginalized group of people.

Studies have also shown that virtual embodiment can improve recovery for people who have suffered a stroke and that they regain motor functions faster when exposed to VR-training.

The effects that VR-training can have on how we learn in school, at home, or in the workplace are huge. It will make the learning processes more efficient. This is great for students and can be even greater for a company’s bottom line.

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