Virtual Reality for Learning: Being There When You Can’t Be There

By David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Organizations are now under tremendous pressure to virtually deliver training and learning experiences that were typically done in person. In most cases, it’s not as simple as dropping a PowerPoint deck into a virtual classroom. Many learning experiences are high-touch and hands-on, requiring people to be present to gain any benefit. 

Fortunately, we are experiencing this new normal at a time when technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have come into their own. VR and AR have been widely used in the gaming and marketing industries for years, but high connectivity, fast processing power and lower hardware costs converged to make these once science-fiction concepts practical for present-day learning.

Now, when almost no one can be physically available for learning, it makes sense to leverage immersive technologies to provide people with the experiences they need. And it is not just about the physical distancing; these tools serve far more impactful purposes and can be used long after employees return to their workplaces. Let’s face it, two-dimensional written and video material has inherent limitations in preparing workers for real-life situations.

Think about hazardous-training situations, where people need to learn how to handle disasters and other dangerous situations. VR lets people learn by doing without putting them in harm’s way. Or, now that there is essentially no travel, immersive VR can convey groups of people to the same non-physical location. Even when real travel is routine again, VR enables virtual “travel” at a fraction of the cost of the real thing. 

Personal interactions are also currently on hold. Organizations can give people opportunities to interact with coworkers, peers, managers, subordinates and even customers in a virtual setting without fear of harming the workforce — or the customer experience.

Brandon Hall Group is hosting a webinar in partnership with Conduent on Thursday, May 28th that looks at the future of immersive learning, how it fits into the overall learning strategy and when to leverage these technologies. It is critical that organizations train and develop their people during this pandemic and to sustain strong, effective learning experiences moving forward. Here’s a smart place to begin.

David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

For more information on our research, please visit www.brandonhall.com

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