Hard skills training with virtual reality
Have you ever considered using virtual reality for hard skills training?
The global skills gap is a challenge that organisations around the world are having to mitigate.
McKinsey report that 87% of companies worldwide have a skills gap or expect to have one within a few years. Employees simply don’t have the skills they need to perform their role and, when it comes to hard skills, this is having a huge impact. Some of the statistics are eye-opening...
A lack of hard skills = huge business impact
- A study by Deloitte found that 2.4 million roles in the US manufacturing sector could be left unfulfilled between 2018 and 2030, with a potential economic impact of $1.5 trillion
- According to the Annual Manufacturing Report 2020, British manufacturers are facing the largest shortage of skilled workers in over 30 years
- In the UK, the construction sector will need 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet demand
So what’s the solution? We believe it’s leveraging the power virtual reality to help bridge the gap. If you’re looking to equip your workforce with the skills they need, improve your upskilling efficiency, and to be able to train your people in a safer way, then VR for training could be the answer.
In this blog, we dive into the benefits of hard skills training with virtual reality...
Why use virtual reality for hard skills training?
The shift in how we work has led to more remote working and organisations now have employees located in multiple locations all over the world. What this means is that any kind of hard skills training has the potential to be a logistical nightmare, not to mention expensive.
However, it’s the question of safety that’s critical here. No business wants to put their people into situations that are potentially unsafe without adequate training. This is where virtual reality simulations can add huge value and solve this challenge for organisations.
What industries use VR for hard skills training?
Numerous industries and sectors are already using VR for hard skills training. Aviation has used simulations for years to train pilots. Now, emerging technologies like virtual reality are being recognised as a powerful tool to be utilised in that process. For example, KLM has ramped up its application of virtual reality simulations for its pilot training programme, post-pandemic.
The manager of the VR Centre of Excellence at KLM IT commented, “Virtual reality has already permanently changed the way we train workers. In every environment that’s difficult to simulate or with every material that is expensive or risky to use, we expect to experiment with using VR instead.
Industries that use VR for hard skills training:
- Law enforcement
- Oil and gas
Hard skills training with virtual reality: 4 key benefits
1) It removes risk
The challenge with hard skills training is that it puts employees into hazardous situations where there is the risk of injury to themselves, or others. Virtual reality removes this threat. Using VR simulations for hard skills enables learners to have hands-on, practical experiences that look and feel real, all the while being in an environment that is 100% safe and controlled.
Employees can practise technical skills and master differing levels of proficiency and can learn how they would respond in a situation, long before they have to apply that knowledge in a real-world context. VR also enables employees to track their progress through gamification.
2) It’s immersive and engaging
Not all kinds of learning are engaging, which has the potential to have serious implications for a business. If employees aren’t engaged with the learning process then they’re much less likely to retain the information, let alone be able to apply it. If the methodology of choice is an e-learning course then there is also the potential for distractions, such as emails and notifications.
Hard skills training with virtual reality commands attention and engagement. EY report that there are three key benefits that make immersive technology such a valuable tool: presence, immersion, and embodiment. When users are immersed in a virtual experience, they can fully engage with it and almost forget that it’s a simulation. It’s this that makes VR critical for hard skills training.
Read more on how using cutting-edge technology can drive engagement
3) It’s repeatable
Practice makes perfect. But often, when employees are learning new skills they have to do it within a very tight frame. They might only get a handful of opportunities to practise, particularly if there are large numbers of employees, limited time, and a limited amount of equipment available. All of these factors can prevent employees from getting enough opportunities to master a skill.
This is where hard skills training with virtual reality adds value – by enabling infinitely repeatable learning. Learners can practise as many times as they like. They can learn on demand, whenever they like. And they can do it from anywhere, wherever they like. If businesses want to empower their people and help them feel confident in what they’ve learned, VR is an ideal solution.
4) It’s less disruptive to businesses
Hard skills training can be disruptive to individuals, teams and businesses. It might involve taking teams out of the workplace for a number of days and sending them to a training facility in a different location. It might also involve a more experienced member of staff taking time out to lead the training. Both examples can hit organisations where it hurts and harm their overall efficiency.
With virtual reality, learning can be much more autonomous. Once learners are fully up to speed on using the VR equipment they can learn independently - without the need for more experienced team members being on hand to walk them through it. There’s also no need to travel – learning can be done from the office or from home – ensuring that disruption is minimised.
Want to learn more about how virtual reality technology could help your organisation upskill your workforce more efficiently and effectively?
Read more on our Enterprise page.