In an exponentially growing digital world, Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer a new fad that only provides novelty value to the gaming industry. The last decade has seen a growth in computing power and technology such as smartphones which has allowed VR to become an important part of the business environment, across several industries. Despite early setbacks around latency and less than perfect performance, as well as the expense of procurement and development, VR is now in a place where it is both accessible and cost-effective.
One sector that often struggles to find a case for VR development is e-Learning. Whilst Learning & Development (L&D) professionals are interested in technology, they are cautious about adopting these innovations where it has been such a hard sell to decision-makers. Going into 2020, that is no longer the case.
Why VR is now more accessible for e-Learning
As VR hardware has improved, it has created a competitive market amongst vendors, driving down prices whilst seeing the development of continually more innovative products. E-learning developers now exist who can build VR learning materials. These developers produce training apps that integrate with existing e-learning solutions (creating what is known as v-Learning) through Android, IOS and numerous wearables that utilize open source technologies.
With a choice of hardware on the market, L&D teams can put forward a case that suits their budget whilst benefiting from the immersive experience of VR as part of their training.
What are the key benefits of VR in e-Learning?
Most L&D professionals would agree that the immersive experience of VR is highly beneficial to trainees. However, as with any business, there needs to be measurable outcomes. VR provides several key benefits when integrated into e-Learning strategies.
The key to VR is to have an engaging and exciting user experience. This tends to be one of the biggest challenges with e-Learning making VR the perfect solution. Gamification of work makes it feel less daunting and laborious.
Learners can experience scenarios together and solve problems collaboratively.
VR can provide analytics on the time taken to complete real tasks (in the virtual world) or flag mistakes directly to the trainee.
Real Self-Guided Scenarios
VR can create scenarios that would be otherwise impossible through standard e-Learning. For example, there are already out there airline companies that used VR to train cabin crew without needing an airplane.
Use cases for VR in e-Learning
Training for high-risk environments needs to be detailed and if often complex. VR can put people into those scenarios and monitor the results. Technology manufacturer Intel implemented VR for electrical training and estimates a 300% return on investment (ROI) from the deployment.
Soft Skills Training
One of the large equipment rental companies got to cut training time by 40% using VR. The platform puts users into real-world scenarios and asks them to communicate appropriately with what they see on the job site. The entire group participates at the same time in an interactive experience.
Learning technical skills can be daunting for employees. Home improvement retailer Lowe’s made use of VR to teach users how to complete skilled tasks like blind cutting. The result was 24% higher satisfaction, 127% increase in confidence and 76% lower levels of hesitation as compared to traditional training.
Future of VR in e-Learning
This post only touches the surface of the potential VR could bring to e-Learning. It is already proving to be successful in corporate training and even engineering applications. The key takeaway here is that VR doesn’t need to be daunting. It is now at a place where solutions can be cost-effective, efficient and productive, generating a competitive advantage and ROI for the business.