(VR is becoming the training tool of choice for more and more companies because of its versatility)
VR has been part of the entertainment industry for some time now, from VR escape rooms to news apps that put you right in the reporter’s shoes. However, the arrival on the market of accessibly priced VR headsets, like the Occulus, has catapulted VR training into the business mainstream.
One of the more obvious benefits of using VR as a training method is its ability to put you in a range of exotic locations, from a Monte Carlo yacht poker game, to the slightly more business-focused settings of a deep tunnel mine or an oil rig.
This step forward in VR accessibility has led to a surge in companies using VR platforms to train their staff. Everything from pilot training to how to handle an armed gunman can be explained through the use of VR equipment.
In this article, we’ll be discussing just exactly what it is that has got businesses so interested in VR training.
Hazardous Situation Training
There are some situations you just can’t train for, or at least there used to be. Historically, people working on hazardous jobs, such as law enforcement, oil rigs, and mines, used to be trained on the job.
Learning on the job means your mistakes can have real consequences, but mocking up a working mine just to train miners isn’t a cost-effective solution. Enter affordable VR headsets.
With VR equipment rapidly dropping in price as it becomes a part of the mainstream tech market, companies now have the ability to equip a room full of new drillers, or police cadets, with a VR headset and run them through the closest thing to an accident on an oil rig or an active shooter without having to be part of a potential tragedy.
This system has already been adopted by law enforcement officers in New Jersey, who are using it to train for a range of different scenarios, from basic traffic stops and how to interact with the public, to how to react if one of those basic traffic stops results in them being shot at.
(Business can use VR to replace older, expensive simulation training methods with cost-effective, but no less immersive, VR set-ups)
Lowered Simulation Training Costs
Both commercial and military aviators routinely use simulations to train. However, these simulators can routinely consist of hyper-realistic, multimillion-dollar setups that take up an entire room.
While the military might continue to have the budget to do that, civil aviation will continue to solve towards the cheaper end of the market, putting smaller airlines under more and more pressure to save money.
One of the ways they can do this is by replacing expensive simulators with much more cost-effective VR setups. An effective VR headset and force feedback controls might only run to a couple of hundred dollars, rather than millions, while still providing the same immersive training than older and far more expensive systems.
(VR can also be used to train staff in areas that were just not feasible before, such as how to perform surgery, or deal with being shot at)
One of the best things about using simulations to train staff is that their mistakes are teachable moments and not life or career-threatening. VR training can be applied in ways that are not immediately obvious, such as training a new teacher how to deal with unruly children without losing their cool.
Other applications are far more advanced to the point where they seem almost like science fiction. The Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles (CHLA) is employing a combination of consumer-grade Oculus Rift and Touch technology and programming the simulation to allow surgeons to practice carrying out complex operations on small patients.
The system is so advanced that it is able to scan and create 3D representations of the real nurses the trainees would be working with in order to fully immerse them in the virtual operating theater.
This same system can be used to test out new medical tools and advance without the need to test them on real patients. The surgeons, doctors, and nurses who would be using the tools in real life are then able to give feedback which can prove invaluable in producing equipment that saves lives.
As VR has become more affordable and more accessible, the options it offers for companies looking to bring the way their train staff into the future has massively expanded.
VR has applications across the training spectrum, from allow staff to make mistake during mundane tasks without repercussions to allowing them to train in hazardous environments or for extreme situations, all for a very reasonable investment.
To read more on topics like this, check out the business category.