Articles on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) used to start with mentions of science fiction movies until a few years back. However, both technologies have evolved significantly to become a part of our lives. Now you don’t look at VR/AR with surprise anymore, rather you expect it to make your lives easier.
The incorporation of VR and AR into learning has created an environment where learners can have a hands-on learning experience. The technologies facilitate learning by doing, even in cases where the approach has been impossible. The market growth of these technologies is impressive. The value of AR in education is expected to reach $5.3 billion by 2023. At the same time, VR in education is predicted to grow to $640 million.
What is AR?
AR or augmented reality is the incorporation of digital information in a video or user environment in real-time. You can use the technology to superimpose sound, videos, images, animations, and more to create a holographic effect.
What is VR?
VR or virtual reality is a technology that creates a virtual environment, putting the user inside the experience. Using VR headsets, viewers can interact and manipulate a 3D world for an experience closer to reality.
Benefits of AR and VR in Enterprise Learning
1. Providing Training in a Safe and Affordable Manner
Some industries need to train their employees in the processes and operations before they assume full responsibility. For instance, employees working in power plants or manufacturing units need to know how to operate machines properly on the site. Unless they get a good knowledge of things, they cannot be allowed to take over.
VR and AR can be used to make simulations where training can be safe and free of consequences. Employers can create an exact simulation of their operations with the equipment they use. New employees can then gain expertise through the simulation and experiment to their heart’s content. Even if they make mistakes, the consequences will only be felt in the virtual world of the simulation.
VR simulations put the learner inside the virtual environment. They do not use the mouse or keyboard to navigate or interact. They can find themselves inside a 3D production line where they can try their skills in real time. VR simulations create the feel of navigating the real world effectively for a better practical learning.
2. A Better Way of Practicing Skills
Practicing your skills is the best way to sharpen them. According to studies, we retain much more information when we combine our learning with “doing.” In fact, hands-on practice is the best way to retain information compared to discussions, lectures, reading, or even audio-visual learning. It has a retention rate of 75% compared to lectures with 5% retention capabilities.
3. Developing Soft Skills and Expertise
VR and AR can help enterprises develop their employees’ soft skills and expertise. Walmart, for example, has been using VR to train their employees to handle customers better. The retail giant even used VR to get employees familiar with dealing with Black Friday customers. Such opportunities help enterprises get employees ready to provide increased customer satisfaction.
Employers can create VR simulations for specific situations the employees are likely to encounter. This makes the employees more comfortable in the actual situations and enables them to provide better service to the customers. Walmart, in this case, uses the Oculus VR headset to impart the training. These technologies are ideal for letting employees develop soft skills.
4. Getting Employees Ready for Emergencies
VR and AR is ideal for training employees to handle real-life situations. Currently, some airports are using this technology for airport safety training. The International Air Transport Association has long used a VR platform to train employees in on-ground operations. The technique allowed the association to cut back damage to aircraft and equipment and reduce the cost of training.
Some companies are using VR to train employees to handle emergencies. Walmart seems to be a pioneer in VR learning, using the technology to train employees for real-time threats. The organization used VR to train the staff to learn how to control a shooting situation.
5. Enhance the Effectiveness of Learning Materials
Employers can develop solutions where pointing your phone camera at a specific text of a training manual leads to additional materials or resources popping up on the users’ screen. This technique can be used by enterprises to train employees about certain products, services, or solutions.
Research also shows VR teaching to be more effective than traditional methods. According to a study, the VR/AR learners had a recall rate of 80% even after 1-year of training. Traditional learning, on the other hand, has a recall rate of only 20% after 1-week.
6. Helping Employees Develop Technical Skills
VR and AR are ideal for developing soft skills and practice-based learning. However, the same technologies can also help develop technical skills.
The healthcare industry has already started using VR to train doctors and nurses. In one study by Yale University, the VR learners performed surgeries 29% faster and with 6-times less mistakes than the traditional learning group.
The construction industry, too, uses VR and AR for safety training. A study evaluated the effectiveness of immersive learning technologies for safety training. One group received training via VR simulation, and the other used traditional methods. The researchers then tested both groups after training. And one month later, interestingly, the VR group outperformed the other group at the evaluations.
There is no doubt about the effectiveness of VR learning. That’s why many enterprises have decided to invest in immersive learning involving VR and AR.
7. The Best Way for Gamification
Gamification has been used for a while to train and onboard employees. The approach helps employees learn better and show an increased success rate. VR and AR can now take gamification to a completely new level.
Enterprises can now use VR to develop advanced gamification techniques for improved learning. The process is perfect for getting your employees on board and cutting the tiresome process in half. You can even present the best of your company and develop a highly engaging learning experience.
VR and AR have become mainstream in the gaming industry. Slowly, other industries are also opening up and using these technologies for interactive and personalized learning experiences. VR gamification is more preferred because it creates a sense of reality, and helps the employees learn in real time.
Is AR and VR Learning Suited for Your Enterprise
VR-based enterprise training is expected to generate $6 billion by 2022. VR and AR are now being used for teaching in schools, colleges, and workplaces. Most industries have a strong potential for VR learning with advantages like time and cost savings. In fact, 30% enterprises have identified VR/AR learning as their top priority in the coming years- that records a 66% increase from 2016.
You too, can take advantage of the virtual trends and implement immersive learning in your organization. It will open up the road to effective learning, better retention, cost-cutting, and lower risks. The reducing cost of equipment like VR headsets will also help enterprises achieve a good ROI. Your employees will also be ready and prepared to handle all situations, gaining experience from simulation-based learning.