The benefits of VR training

"Virtual reality can deliver a much more immersive training experience" -

HR Exchange Network reports that 68% of employees view training as a company’s most important policy.

However, many organisations do not offer modern or regular training programmes. For many workers, that means spending hours in a room or online reading manuals and guides.

Virtual reality (VR) is the way forward. VR training offers immersive environments that let people train in the simulated space they will eventually work in. In comparison to traditional methods, VR training drives a 76% increase in learning effectiveness, and it can train employees five times faster than in classrooms.

Read more: HR magazine tries... virtual reality

Churchill Group recognised the benefits of VR immersive training methods, and we developed a programme for our cleaning operatives on rail contracts. Here’s my advice for developing your own VR programme.

Starting your VR journey

The first step is to form a small, in-house project team comprised of key stakeholders. This can include HR, operations and account leads from the relevant parts of your business. Together, you can define your overall goals.

If you don’t have the in-house expertise to design the VR system, identify a specialist partner to work with throughout the process. Precisely define the programme’s scope to cover your essential topics.

Think about all elements to incorporate into training. For example, our programme was developed for cleaning operatives on rail contracts, but we also integrated security protocols like suspicious packages so that our operatives could meet rail industry requirements.

Training delivery

Selecting the correct headset is important. VR system developers need to accommodate for your organisation’s needs. If your employees are spread out across various locations, a lightweight and transportable headset is highly recommended.

Read more: Does AR + VR = (better) L&D?

It’s good to have the user start the programme in a training centre where they can receive an introduction to the programme and can test out the headset and controls. Many will be aware of VR headsets but won’t have experienced them before, so make sure they are comfortable before the actual training programme starts. We had trainees throw a basketball to familiarise them with the controls.

Then, run the programme for the users. You can gamify it, if relevant, by having a timed element where the user gets a score. This is also useful to benchmark progress over time. It can be helpful to record these sessions so a designated manager can see the user journey and where they struggled.

The technology can also be used to track user eye movements, providing invaluable insights into performance and learning patterns. For example, the tracking might uncover that a user struggles with their left side of vision. By identifying that issue, you can better address and support that person.

Finally, collect user feedback to address any issues and keep improving the programme.

An inclusive solution

VR encompasses all of the visual, aural, reading/writing and kinesthetic (VARK) styles of learning to varying degrees, providing a much more inclusive experience that helps all different types of learners to get the most out of the training.

Read more: Workplace training – getting it right

It’s also much more engaging than a traditional training room setting, as the headset immerses users in the platform. For people with ADHD or neurodiverse conditions, this delivers a richly engaging experience compared to having to read a manual. It can also be delivered in different languages so that all employees can take part.

Just as importantly, it’s also fun. Our users have thoroughly enjoyed the VR experience and look forward to a training day with VR.

A cost-effective solution

A VR programme can cut costs by reducing learning time, increasing employee retention, and easing the burden on account managers responsible for training. We expect to exceed our ROI within 12 months.

VR training represents the future of training innovation across all sectors. Its development will also show your dedication to your employees and clients and should be considered for all training portfolios.

By Debbie Jamieson, HR projects manager, Churchill Group