The future is bright for Virtual reality (VR) which has the potential to transform the traditional learning approach, by making interactive content available to anyone, anywhere and at any time. What once was seen as “something of the future” is now here to stay, with VR and AR being the new smart technologies which along with blockchain and unmanned inspection, are going to transform the future of shipping and of other industries as well.
igital upskilling should be part of every industry’s digital journey in order to enable the digital mindset and improve the way of operations. For this reason, by continuously evaluating new learning technologies and methods, industries can determine how to train employees faster, smarter and more cost-effectively. In the training world, VR has some compelling use cases.
Until recently, VR work in the enterprise has focused on job skills simulation training: simulators, safety procedures, equipment operation and maintenance, etc. Industries using VR for safety, repair and maintenance simulation training are seeing improvements in process efficiency.
Leveraging VR for training
Europe’s booming virtual reality market accounts for about a fifth of the market which is expected to reach €150 billion in 2020. To make a comparison, in 2018, the virtual reality market was estimated to reach a value of 12.1 billion U.S. dollars, while according to estimate by Goldman Sachs, AR and VR are expected to grow into a $95 billion market by 2025.
Currently, the strongest demand for VR technology comes from creative industries, as the impact of virtual reality is increasing exponentially in many business fields, including engineering, medicine, education, design, and training, because it can offer major improvement.
As for shipping, cost-effective software and hardware solutions for Virtual Reality have already helped maritime industry to adapt its options and bring them to beneficial use. Specifically, in May 2017, Winterthur Gas & Diesel installed its W-Xpert Full Mission Simulator for training complete engine room crews, at the Marine Power Academy Training Centre of HHM, in Shanghai, China while DNV GL held its traditional press conference at the Nor-Shipping trade fair showcasing the company’s innovative vision, with attendees taking part in a virtual reality (VR) presentation.
Another important aspect of VR in training, is that it provides a level of gamification that engages employees’ brains and makes the learning interactive and easier. On the other side, organizations can increase productivity and lower cost by making operations safer and more efficient. In addition to training, VR can be used to test equipment and products in a virtual environment before they are made, increasing quality and flexibility.
Advantages of VR training
- Training becomes visual: The learning process becomes more appealing than in the traditional way. Real-life experiences taken in to the digital world.
- Learning is safer: Workers can gain familiarization with complex situations and risky environments and they can practice in real life scenarios until they are near perfect.
- Learning becomes more affordable: The value to a business using VR technology is immense. Since VR headsets are becoming cheaper, they can be easily bought for training purposes and implemented remotely
- Remote training: Trainees don’t need to travel to attend training programs and can take up courses at the point of need.
Virtual Reality and soft skills training
Between February and October 2019, PwC’s Emerging Technology Group, US Learning and Development Innovation team, supported by Oculus for Business and Talespin, collaborated to plan, design, build, deploy and evaluate the results of a soft skills training module.
The VR pilot studied the impact of using VR to train new managers on inclusive leadership, a specific soft skills course that is part of PwC’s focus on training our leaders about diversity and inclusion. V-learn, using virtual reality to train employees on various skills, was more effective than classroom and e-learn training modalities at teaching soft skills concepts.
The v-learners were up to 275% more confident to act on what they learned after training, marking a 40% improvement over classroom and 35% improvement over e-learn. V-learners were also up to four times more focused than e-learners.
What is more, v-learners completed training on average four times faster than classroom training and 1.5 times faster than e-learn. V-learners were also 3.75 times more emotionally connected to the content than classroom learners and 2.3 times more connected than e-learners. On top of those benefits, v-learn was estimated to be more cost-effective than classroom or e-learning modalities when delivered at scale.
V-learning will likely be an accelerator that helps drive a new age of enterprise training and education by delivering a cost effective, immersive, and efficient experience to train employees on soft skills
Furthermore, the study found that VR is ready to deploy at enterprise scale. The team was able to provision, deploy and manage a large fleet of VR headset with a very small team. It determined that while VR training would not replace classroom or e-learn modalities anytime soon, it should be considered as part of a blended learning curriculum when training specific types of skills.
This is because when an organization combines classroom, e-learn and v-learn together, it then can provide their employees with an industry leading approach. Taking the above into consideration, V-learning will likely be an accelerator that helps drive a new age of enterprise training and education by delivering a cost-effective, immersive, and efficient experience to train employees on soft skills.