Last time we talked about benefits of using VR for your marketing campaign but VR can also be used for more serious applications like training. This rates among the most advantageous uses of VR. The relative low cost, the infinite scalability and time-saving benefits have been noticed in both commercial and institutional environments. In this article we will look at five examples of VR training.
1. VSTS: Wargames in Virtual Reality
Schofield Barracks is a facility located in Hawaii where soldiers receive training using the Virtual Squad Training System. The trainees are outfitted with an HMD (Head Mounted Display), motion tracking devices and controllers that are perfect replicas of actual military weapons in terms of shape, size and weight. The vr headsets are synced to provide a multiplayer learning experience.
An accurate simulated environment is created in virtual reality allowing for a multi-user combat training. This allows the young soldiers to experience the real-life situations of combat in a safe and controlled environment.
The system allows multiple trainees to enter the same virtual area where soldiers can cooperate as a team. Unlike simulations in a regular training camp the environment closely matches the real life situations in a war zone. It’s also much easier to recreate specific scenarios with elaborate setups in a virtual environment compared to practical Hollywood style pyrotechnics.
Another advantage of this VR setup is the privacy in which the training can take place. Training compounds must be protected from foreign intelligence agencies, the digital training grounds are invisible to any outside entities.
The VR training company STRIVR was one of the pioneers in virtual reality training for professional athletes. Their simulations allowed football players to train in a virtual field using accurate simulations of a real match.
In The United States “Black Friday” is the “Super Bowl” of shopping days, large discounts lead to massive hordes of excited buyers running through the aisles. Retailer Walmart hired STRIVR to train their staff so they could handle all customers as a tight knit team.
In American football there are a number of strategic elements in the game. Football players are subjected to rigorous playthroughs for each possible scenario. When one player has to train, other ‘stand-ins’ have to be in the field for an accurate recreation. After every single action the entire team has to line up again and again.
In virtual reality the same scenario can be reset within seconds, or altered to test different variables. The same applies to store employees. Standard scenarios can be played through an infinite amount of times, in different positions (clerk, cashier, order picker) in order to prepare the staff for the upcoming “match”.
3. Mursion: Discrimination on the workfloor
This corporate training simulation was created by Mursion in collaboration with the College of William and Mary. The goal of this training was to reduce the unconscious biases that colleagues have, and improve the communication between personnel when they are subjected to discrimination on the workfloor.
Virtual reality has been very successful as a tool to place people in the body and mind of another person, and make them feel emotions from a different perspective.
How does it feel when you are subjected to discrimination based on color, gender, disability or religion? Are you biased against some colleagues you work with without realizing it? And how can you deal with discrimination from a colleague without exacerbating the problem?
A VR environment provides the comfort to experience different viewpoints while simultaneously placing you in the situation which evokes genuine emotions.
Some employees at British Petroleum have to endure dangerous situations, for instance at the oil refinery in Hull, Great Britain. These work environments can be very life threatening if the personnel isn’t aware of all the dangers that are surrounding them. Unfortunately learning ‘on the job’ isn’t an option if one mistake can lead to casualties.
Igloo Vision was commissioned to recreate the actual working environment in great detail, in order to inform the employees about all the possible threats in the facility without the actual danger. A rigorous training beforehand in a virtual environment could save lives at the actual refinery.
5. Oculus VR: Train doctors to save lives
Surgeons at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles asked the Oculus VR Division in collaboration with Shauna Heller to develop a training program for treating young patients in emergency situations. The simulation was focused on learning how to save an infant that is in anaphylactic shock or who has suffered a seizure.
In a real life situations mistakes could be fatal, in a virtual environment errors are allowed and will teach the surgeons how to prevent issues from occurring in actual emergencies. The medical professionals are closely monitored by specialists in order to provide the surgeon with practical advice on how to improve their personal abilities and skills.
Another advantage is the increase in speed, through intensive training the time performing an action in reality can be reduced significantly. This allows for higher quality medical services for more patients.
For both individual training as for team based scenarios virtual reality training is used in all disciplines and sectors including healthcare, sports, retail, logistics and many more. Aside from personal development and improvement VR training provides great benefits to collaborative actions and communication.