Virtual Reality is the hottest topic in the training sector right now. Once seen as experimental, it has now made its way into the mainstream, and shows no signs of going anywhere.
This week has seen a number of developments in the field of VR training, as well as advancements in the technology used to deliver it. Here’s a roundup of what’s been happening.
Walmart rolls out national VR training programme
In a recent article, we reported that Walmart was piloting a VR training programme in 187 of its regional training centres. Due to its success, the company has decided to roll the programme out nationally. It will now supply Oculus VR headsets to all its U.S. stores, to be used in staff training.
Andy Trainor, senior director of Walmart U.S. Academies, said: “VR training boosts confidence and retention while improving test scores 10% to 15%”. He went on to say that even employees who had merely observed others undergoing VR training had benefited.
An article by Food Dive reported that, in addition to boosting employee retention, Walmart expects the programme will also improve customer satisfaction ratings. Teaching employees soft skills like customer service and empathy will, it is hoped, enhance their interactions with customers.
Food Dive also reported that other food distributors are cottoning on to the benefits of VR training. Tyson Foods is using Virtual Reality to train employees on food safety and hazard awareness. An initial trial has resulted in 89% of users feeling more prepared. Similarly, Kellogg is using VR to enhance their management training programme.
U.S. university introduces vocational VR training programme
Wright State university in Ohio has this week been awarded a government grant of over half a million dollars for a VR training scheme.The project will teach students work skills ranging from anatomy to engineering.
Computer generated 3D images will create immersive learning experiences, with full-scale, walk-able displays. Multiple trainees can be take part at once, allowing them to interact as they learn. The aim is to better equip students for jobs once they graduate.
Local businesses are hoping the initiative will expand the pool of talent in the area. Anil Chaudhary, president of Applied Optimization Inc., said: “[The programme] will give the new generation of workers the requisite experience that our company seeks – the experience in remotely specifying the machine control parameters and producing parts”.
Singapore Navy opens VR training facility
A new VR training facility has opened at Tuas Naval Base, Singapore, to prepare sailors for military operations. The centre, named RSS Daring, will use VR technology, along with artificial intelligence, to shorten training time by up to 60%.
It provides a safe environment in which personnel can gain confidence, while being exposed to highly realistic scenarios they might encounter at sea. Training will be delivered in two ‘simulation halls’, which will replicate the command room of military ships in a 360-degree view.
Facebook announces launch of new Oculus headset
As the business world continues to adopt VR technology apace, the Virtual Reality consumer market also took a step forward this week. Facebook announced that in spring 2019 it will release Quest, a new VR headset costing around £399.
The Oculus Quest will be Facebook’s first all-in-one VR system that lets you look around in any direction and walk through virtual space “just as you would in the physical world”. Players can use the touch controllers to interact with others in a natural way.
This highlights the consumer appetite for VR, but the Quest could also make its way into the classroom. As VR technology becomes increasingly accessible, affordable and familiar – and the benefits more apparent – it could become the go-to tool for professional learning and development.
About Absorb Reality
Absorb reality is a specialist VR training company that works with businesses throughout the UK. We deliver bespoke and ready-made Virtual Reality training courses on a wide range of subjects. It’s easy to deliver, cost-effective and could improve your employees’ retention of course content. Get in touch to find out how we could help you get more out of professional training.