The American Workforce Is Banking on Virtual Reality

Training employees properly and in a way that instills learning is no easy task for companies in a variety of industries. The way in which training is delivered has evolved dramatically with the help of technology. Training can now be delivered on learning management systems (LMS). But this type of training is passive and doesn’t necessarily deliver real-world scenarios. While a trainee can read or watch a video about a situation and take an action, the use of virtual reality (VR) elevates the training experience.

When VR was first introduced, training employees probably was not the application that most would have associated with it. But it is working in a variety of industries, including restaurants and hospitality. When looking at industries with high wages and turnover, it becomes clear why managers are turning to VR to streamline the assimilation process for new employees.

VR training has the attributes of being immersive and engaging, which should lead to better retention. Better trained employees have long been associated with job satisfaction. This was documented in a research study published in the Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality and Tourism.[1] Happier, more satisfied workers stay in jobs longer and care about providing good service, both of which can improve bottom lines.

Another emerging use of VR in training is its use to train claim adjustors. Farmers Insurance is using VR technology to facilitate the constant training needed to be able to assess the many different scenarios that could be encountered on the job. Prior to now, this adoption of VR would have been cost-prohibitive. Now, it is more affordable while also delivering return on investment by improving the claims process.

VR’s impact on medical training has been significant, as in the case of Medical Realties. This company, which was founded by cancer surgeon Dr. Shafi Ahmed, offers VR training for medical students by putting them in the operating room. This allows for thousands of students to have the most realistic experiences as opposed to traditional learning like operating theaters, which are limited in size. Dr. Ahmed recognized the need and has capitalized on it to compensate for the challenges of surgical training.

VR is revolutionizing worker training from service-related industries to healthcare. It is applicable in almost any industry from professional settings to labor-intensive occupations. This trend in training will only rise as technology becomes less expensive and employers begin to realize its advantages.

[1] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J171v04n02_06

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