Is VR training going to be a necessity for businesses today? With the job boom early this year, it appears to be so.
2023 started off well for the job market. Based on the job market report in January 2023, the total nonfarm payroll employment skyrocketed to 517,000, way above the Dow Jones estimate of 187,000 and December’s 260,000 gain. As of March 2023, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the unemployment rate still remains stable at 3.5% with widespread job growth, especially in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and healthcare.
While one report is not indicative of a trend, job growth, and low unemployment rates are positive indicators of a strong market. To keep up with this growth, businesses must implement solutions that streamline recruitment processes and facilitate faster onboarding.
According to David Chen, CTO and co-founder of a company that makes 3D cameras and depth sensors, Orbbec, VR training is going to be critical to the continued growth of the job market. We talked to him about the role VR training will play in the growing job market and how businesses can leverage this technology to their advantage.
The Role of VR Training in the Growing Job Market
VR training has gained popularity in the business world due to its ability to help new employees acquire skills quickly and efficiently. According to Chen, traditional training methods can be complex with multi-step operations, which are harder to remember and even dangerous in certain industries.
However, VR enables hands-on experiences that are safe and engaging. “VR enables hands-on experiences that risk neither raw materials, equipment nor personnel. Headsets and projectors give trainees real, immersive guidance on what to do, and what not to do,” Chen told us in a written interview. “Unexpected scenarios can be posed at will and because there is no incremental cost for repetition, skills are learned faster.”
In fact, a PwC study found that employee training can be up to four times faster when using VR courses rather than traditional classroom training. What takes two hours in a classroom setting can be learned within 30 minutes using VR.
Chen continues that compared to other emerging training technologies such as augmented reality and gamification, VR training provides a more holistic experience that combines hard and soft skills training. AR training may be more suitable for businesses looking to perform micro-training, focusing on one definable concept, idea, skill, object, or process. On the other hand, VR training puts trainees in a completely digital world, allowing for less repercussion in the physical space while learning a new task.
Honeywell, for instance, has been using VR training for years to train plant operators and field technicians. Its VR training simulator, the Immersive Field Simulator, generated skills retention that is twice as high as previous training methods, leading to a more engaging training program for younger generations of workers. Last year, the simulator was enhanced with new capabilities to meet a broader spectrum of training and development requirements.
Bank of America also launched a VR training program in 2021 to simulate client interactions and practice routine tasks. The pilot program reported that 97% of the employees who went through the simulations felt more comfortable performing their tasks afterward. Now, the VR program is being used by around 50,000 employees in nearly 4,300 financial centers across the country.
These and more examples show that VR training is proving to be a valuable tool in helping businesses train new employees quickly and efficiently while minimizing risk and increasing skills retention.
Challenges Businesses Face in Implementing VR Training
Implementing VR training in businesses is not without its challenges. According to Chen, content creation is one of the primary challenges businesses face when implementing the technology. “Some scenes can be very difficult to recreate in the virtual realm and not everything can be operated with a VR headset controller,” he explained.
Upfront costs can be another obstacle that business leaders have to overcome. One study by PwC shows that VR content initially requires up to 48% greater investment than classroom or e-learning courses.
To address the challenges businesses face when implementing VR training, Chen suggests that businesses consider the long-term benefits of the technology. They should also be aware of the advancements in VR technology, which have made it more affordable than before. By doing so, businesses can improve their training processes, save time and resources, and achieve a higher ROI.
How Businesses Can Implement VR Training
To successfully implement VR training, businesses should consider starting with a pilot program and selecting a platform with features tailored to their specific needs. “Testing VR training in small batches can help determine what jobs can best be improved upon with the use of VR and how these programs may need to be adjusted to fit participants’ specific needs,” Chen said.
As a 3D camera manufacturer, Orbbec offers necessary solutions that support VR training programs.
3D camera technology helps capture the real environment and quickly transfer it into VR content, providing a more realistic training experience without the need for a controller. By using solutions like this, companies can optimize their training processes and provide their employees with a more effective and engaging learning experience.
Indeed, the future of VR training looks promising, with new applications and use cases that are expected to emerge in various industries and continued advancements in processing power, rendering engines, and display technologies.