Augmented and virtual reality already has built itself a niche in the entertainment and gaming industry, and now we’re seeing increased application in the corporate training industry. The augmented and virtual reality market was valued at around USD 26.7 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach approximately USD 814.7 billion by 2025, which means that we should see AR and VR becoming mainstream in a year or two. But what does it mean for corporate organizations should they choose to invest in AR/VR for the better development of their employees? Let us have a look.
Imagine that you have to train technicians to repair an expensive piece of equipment. Of course, you could bombard said technicians with the latest digital learning approaches that allow to them to understand how to repair that piece of equipment in theory. However, you’ll never be able to provide them the same knowledge as they would glean from actually trying to repair said piece of equipment. But since it is an expensive piece of equipment, you cannot just let anyone, let alone an inexperienced technician try their hand at repairing it. This is where AR/VR jumps in. Using VR you can provide the technician with a virtual model of the expensive machine, and allow them to carry out repairs in a virtual space, where there mistakes have no real-life consequences. This is just one of the applications of AR/VR in the field of learning and development/employee training. Let us discuss some more in this article.
- Real World Simulations
Well, the best way to train your employees to do their job efficiently would be on the job, with the leeway to try different approaches at doing a task, making mistakes, and learning through them. However, since organizations don’t have that kind of time, and because employees tend to make mistakes that could be costly and damaging, the next best thing is to create real world simulations of your workspace, and then allowing your employees to carry out tasks in them via AR/VR. This will provide an immersive learning environment where employees are free to do anything they could in real life, and learn from their experiences, whether good or bad.
- Immersive Case Studies
Case studies help employees learn from the experiences of other people who’ve had great successes or huge failures in the past. Imagine if your employees could put themselves into one of your case studies, and learn firsthand what a person (most likely the person responsible for the great success of failure) felt in that case. This can be achieved by creating immersive case studies which can be accessed by employees using AR/VR headsets allowing to actually “live” through a case study. Immersing employees into a case study enhances their emotional connection to a case, which enhances learning by a great margin.
- 3D Learning Models
One of the most popular applications of AR/VR in employee development training has been 3D learning models. While images, videos and interactive demos only help employees have a detailed look at charts, diagrams, products, components etc., AR/VR allows employees to actually touch them, manipulate them, have a look at them from all angles as well as interact with them to learn more about them using hot-spots. This can allow employees to familiarize themselves with a product their organization sells, a component used in their product, machinery or any such thing which holds importance in their training. Proper utilization really depends upon the learning designer.
Practical knowledge always has and always will trump theoretical knowledge. Because AR/VR are tools which allow for the development and application of practical knowledge in a dynamic virtual environment, the value they could provide to corporate organizations in terms of employee training are tremendous. The above mentioned applications are those that have already been tried by a number of organizations and have been shown to be successful. But once organizations start working individually on ways AR/VR can help their employees, the sky is the limit. Because AR/VR hasn’t gone mainstream yet, and thus, is costly for the time being, it can cause a number of organizations to hesitate before investing in it, however, for those who are willing to take a gamble on it, and use it efficiently, the returns are tremendous. Corporate organizations would be wise to at least give it a thought.
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