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4 ways VR/AR delivers value in training and development

Industry 4.0 is upon us. There is an urgent need for rapid upskilling and reskilling of the workforce. In the new economy, how do we do training and development differently?

By 2022, 75 million jobs will likely be displaced across 20 major economies, while 133 million new jobs will spring up in industries that are only just gaining traction, according to a World Economic Forum report.

While these numbers will certainly be exacerbated as economies contract due to the global disruption from the coronavirus, the question still remains: How do we start reskilling hundreds of millions of global workers?

Fresh graduates emerging from learning institutions are expected to perform immediately in their jobs. Mid-career professionals must also upskill to meet the demands of the fourth industrial revolution.

It’s vital that a mindset of lifelong learning needs to be adopted. Constantly upskilling and reskilling through microlearning will empower the workforce to ride the waves of a rapidly changing and volatile economy.

Virtual and augmented reality is an effective teaching tool that is increasingly being adopted in the workplace. Innovations in AR/VR offer opportunities to scale learning, achieve training efficiency, and also reach the same learning outcome. 

AR VR training
Bruce Lee, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia

Assistant Professor Bruce Lee from the Heriot-Watt University (Malaysia Campus) shares strategic applications of AR/VR and how Experience Synchronization can leverage virtual worlds for corporate reskilling and upskilling.

The following is adapted from his remarks at LEARNTech Asia’s Learn with Expert webinar on Rapid Upskilling and Reskilling in the New Normal with Technology: AR/VR.

Register for the full recording of the webinar with the form below or with this link.

Applications of AR/VR in training

At Britains’ Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Microsoft’s HoloLens is being used in virtual hospital rounds to teach students at the medical school.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual training platform is also keeping doctors and students safe as lecturers have the capability of sending a live feed from patients’ rooms. Recorded sessions are also valuable in archiving case studies.

The University of Birmingham’s Human Interface Technologies (HIT) team has developed a new virtual simulator of a Chinook helicopter to improve training for Britain’s armed forces medical emergency response team.

Blending real-life, physical objects with detailed and dynamic virtual environments, the platform allows military personnel to experience immersive life-saving casualty scenarios in a safe environment.

BMW is employing virtual and augmented reality in training sessions for engine assembly. Training can now be scaled, as three learners can go through the AR training simultaneously with guidance from a supervisory trainer. The training was previously structured as one-on-one.

Tech-driven training isn’t just limited to medical or engineering professionals. There are platforms for corporate soft skills courses where AR/VR training can immerse learners in a consistent learning experience. 

Training fresh graduates

Fresh graduates are expected to contribute immediately upon employment. It’s a very challenging work environment now. Fresh graduates don’t have the luxury to have six months or a year of learning after starting work. How do fresh graduates gain experience?

The first step is finding the right template. For example, take a competent engineer with two years of experience. Or look for a junior executive with one year of experience. Both can perform very well in their roles. Both can serve as templates to be replicated.

From these templates, critical work experiences can be synchronized through AR/VR for fresh graduates. Experience through virtual training can place them in a working environment.

Experience Synchronization

Experience Synchronization is an innovative pedagogical approach that identifies, analyzes, and deconstructs critical experiences in order to design, construct, and “synchronize” meaningful experience for learners.

How can virtual experience synchronization be made effective for training? We can refer to a scene from the Hollywood movie The Matrix where the hero, Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, walks through a virtual training program with instructor Morpheus, portrayed by Lawrence Fishburne:

  • Convey and communicate learning objectives and outcomes clearly
  • Customize the virtual environment to reduce distraction
  • Contextualize presence, role, and situation
  • Create convincible details
  • Contrast and emphasize subject matter
  • Calculate the learner’s expected reaction
  • Coaching the learners on what to focus
  • Conclude with meaningful outcomes

Value, not cost, of enhanced training

Admittedly there are costs to AR/VR. With the coronavirus pandemic and the global economic disruption, it’s challenging times financially for companies across industries.

For organizations that are looking to embrace technology for learning, the main point is to view virtual and augmented reality platforms as a medium rather than a “fancy technology.”

For example, an expert slowly becomes a trainer. The trainer then needs to be sent to other regions globally to train, and with that comes costs. Especially now with the pandemic, that’s not possible.

The companies that are spending on AR/VR for training understand the value of technology-enhanced training and upskilling. Companies are investing in virtual training to save costs in the long run.

Register for the full webinar recording

LEARNTech Asia
LEARNTech Asia showcases innovation in learning in Asia. We feature stories and resources in online learning, workplace learning, adult education, EdTech, and creative solutions by teachers and trainers in learning institutions, non-profits, and enterprises that enhance human capacity and inspire communities of lifelong learners.