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VR is weaving its way into every corner of our lives, prompting technology commentators to exclaim that it’s well and truly here to stay.

Writer and journalist David Ewalt this week told technology magazine Futurism: “VR is real. It’s not hype anymore.” He added that while the technology still has scope to develop, he thinks we have “reached that tipping point where you can try the products we have now and say, ‘damn, that really works.’”

Strivr data indicates that knowledge retention following Virtual Reality training could be as high as 75%. So it’s no surprise that VR is the hottest trend in education and training right now.

Virtual Reality in retail training

More and more retail employers are turning to VR to upskill their workers. Over in the States, giants such as Walmart and KFC are incorporating Virtual Reality into their employee training programmes.

KFC’s “The Hard Way” Virtual Training Escape Room challenges trainees to escape from a virtual kitchen by following a trail of hints and clues. Along the way they must inspect, rinse, bread and fry chicken according to Colonel Sanders’s traditional recipe.

Over and above its novelty value, it serves an important purpose. A KFC spokesman told Eurogamer: “It’s not just a fun experience – we’re actually using the innovative technology to supplement our robust restaurant employee training program for cooks.”

Virtual Reality in rehabilitation

The potential of Virtual Reality in education and training reaches far beyond the workplace. A Colorado prison has developed a VR education and training programme designed to help offenders survive on the outside. Using Virtual Reality, an offender can be transported anywhere, including a family home, a supermarket or the workplace. Difficult conversations and social situations can be simulated, helping inmates to learn the skills to speed up their rehabilitation and reduce the chances of them re-offending.

Virtual Reality in the arts

State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow has this month announced a new Virtual Reality experience, which lets visitors explore the studios of Russian artists Natalia Goncharova and Kazimir Malevich.

With VR headsets they can create their own works of art, and upload the result to social media. The gallery hopes the experience will increase public participation in art, but there is also an educational aim at the heart of the project. Gallery director Zelfira Tregulova told the BBC: “We showed this program to some specialists who are trying now to introduce new means of education about art at secondary schools.

“This could be a strong impetus for children in schools placed in towns or regions where there are no real museums, to understand that art is not something which is an obligation which is imposed on them: that it’s a very involving, interesting world to experience.”

Further scope for development

The success of Virtual Reality has probably not yet peaked, and Ewalt hints that there are many opportunities as yet untapped. He predicts that headsets will become even more comfortable, and simulations yet more realistic.

He also predicts that it will become easier to buy cross-platform software. Currently much of the VR software available is specific to the brand of headset you own. But he says this may change when more people start buying VR headsets (“we haven’t reached critical mass yet, says Ewalt”).

If you’re interested in finding out how Virtual Reality could enhance your training and education strategy, get in touch. Here at Absorb Reality, we can help you design a tailored, cost-effective VR training programme that suits your needs.