Across every industry – from food production to retail – training and safety professionals are using Virtual Reality (VR) to better onboard, train and retain their workforce in important safety protocol that reduce risk and liability to the organization. This method of training is known as Immersive Learning, which combines cutting-edge VR technology with advanced learning techniques, data science and spatial design to deliver experiential training that is highly engaging and effective.
Immersive Learning is transforming safety training for dozens of large enterprises because it is the most realistic and hands-on way to train employees without putting them in harm’s way.
Here are the top three reasons that business leaders are adopting Immersive Learning for safety training and the benefits they’re seeing in their organizations.
Immersive Learning for safety training
VR-based Immersive Learning fully engages trainees, leading to better knowledge retention and overall performance.
By putting on the headset, VR captures the undivided attention of the user as she is immersed into the virtual environment and taught safety protocol. Studies have shown that the brain treats VR experiences like real life, so employees will feel as if they’re standing on the warehouse floor, live jetway or factory line and be able to recall their training when they actually are in the field. With no distractions (and no way to check their phones), employees engage with learning material in ways that not even live instruction can replicate. This kind of engagement is vital for safety training and ensures employees will feel ready when issues arise.
Immersive Learning provides a safe way for trainees to experience potentially dangerous situations, which improves team preparedness and confidence if the situation ever arises.
Most obvious are emergencies like active shooter or robbery, but improperly unloading a truck or working with a food production machine also present significant safety issues to an untrained employee. Through immersive VR, trainees get to safely experience situations that are normally unsafe. And perhaps most importantly, they can practice in these virtual situations as many times as needed to feel prepared and confident. Using interactive training techniques that manuals and videos can’t provide, employees can experience, make mistakes and learn through repetition, which is often impossible in the real-world when it puts the enterprise at risk.
Immersive Learning offers highly engaging training without sacrificing effectiveness or scale.
Rather than having to choose between ineffective-scalable techniques (i.e. videos and online courses) and effective-expensive techniques (i.e. instructor-led and on-the-job training), VR provides effective learning at scale, allowing you to train thousands of employees on safety protocol. Through data analytics, you’ll be able to determine who went through the training, how well they did, and even how well they know the material (i.e. did they guess vs. know the answers). This is the data that safety professionals need to demonstrate successful training modules and therefore reduced organizational risk.
Examples of VR safety training
Retail stores: Verizon found that preparing employees for armed robbery and snatch-and-grab situations with Immersive Learning was the most effective way to keep them safe. Since the brain treats VR situations like real life, trainees are put under intense stress while learning how to cooperate, stay safe, and provide valuable information to law enforcement during and after a robbery. This practice gives them the best chance at recalling their training if they ever actually face the situation. The ability to train hundreds of store employees quickly and with greatest impact was a huge reason Verizon chose VR.
Factory floor: BMW is always looking for the most innovative training methods to ensure their associates are prepared to perform. With Immersive Learning, trainees are placed in different locations around the factory and instructed to identify safety issues, such as misplaced tools, improper signage, and overhead lights being out. With hazards located above, behind, and to either side of the user, BMW associates must truly examine the full environment – much like real life. This creates an engaging and differentiated workplace for associates, while also keeping the factory floor safe and risk-free.
Construction sites: United Rentals, the world’s largest equipment rental company, trains its sales representatives in surveying construction sites. In VR, trainees are standing on live sites with lots of activity and potential risk. Key to the training is identifying safety concerns around the site in order to offer rental equipment that would help mitigate the risks. For example, trainees must point out a large hole in the ground filled with water, seeing it as a safety concern and opportunity to rent the customer a pump.
Food production: On a factory floor, even the smallest object out of place can create a serious risk of injury. That’s why Tyson Foods uses Immersive Learning in VR to train factory employees in pointing out safety hazards on the floor. In the headset, trainees are standing on the floor of the plant and required to look around, “hunt” for hazards, and point them out. With Immersive Learning as part of their overall employee training, Tyson was able to reduce workplace injuries in the production plant.