Training employees and colleagues for new skills, technologies and equipment is a must for any company. From fine-tuning customer-facing behaviours to maneuvring dangerous or expensive equipment, the need for practicing and testing ones abilities is invaluable.
The reasons are obvious: the human mind learns better the higher the immersion, and trainers have full control over the stories they cancreate.
CNBC has reported on Why Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, UPC, Boeing, are using Virtual Reality to train their employees: "...on-the-job training using VR resulted in the rise of retention and productivity rates, while high-risk work-related injuries have fallen."
PwC has made a full study on The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Soft Skills Training in the Enterprise and came up with the conclusion that "Enterprise soft skills training in a VR environment is faster, produces better results and more confident trainees than standard classroom or e-learning programmes."
Not every person reacts the same or handles a situation the same way. That's why standardised testing is no longer considered viable, and classrooms at elite schools are split into fewer and fewer students.
When we're talking about adult minds, their landscape, biases and configurations are even more distanced from one another.
Having a method to quantify attributes like focus, engagement, empathy or disinterest, provides invaluable insights and data that can be used to enhance the performance of a training session and personalise the approach to each individual person, and each individual moment in one's day.
On the other hand, being able to see one's own anger level on screen at all times, will likely lead to more awareness and care in one's behaviour.
Virtual Reality for hard-skill training brings great value in simulating environments, situations and challenges that otherwise would be too dangerous, too expensive or simply impossible to reproduce.
A demo from our friends at CGArtefacts shows an example of hard-skill training.
Insights into the person's level of engagement throughout the training session enables trainers to develop more engaging and efficient programs.
Other data about the trainee's levels of anxiety, fear, calmness and focus will provide hints into what areas of knowledge need more practice in the next session, to help build up the confidence of the employee.
In soft-skill training we're particularly focused on people-facing events that might otherwise challenge our natural reactions and skills.
British Telecom is using Virtual Reality to teach employees how to deal with upset customers.
The general purpose of soft-skills training is to increase the chances of a beneficial and constructive interaction with either a customer or a colleague.
Quantifying empathy, calmness and patience is a challenging task for trainers, especially when dealing with multiple employees at once; and self-assessment questionnaires don't work well when one's job is at stake.
Neurofeedback brings that type of data in real-time in front of the trainee, to enhance awareness and understanding of one's own soft skills.
Neural data helps companies to define the next steps in the training programs and focus on the skills necessary with better efficiency.
The future of VR training isn't about pre-recorded training sessions. The value they bring, however large today, pales in comparison with the ever-changing real life scenario.
Neural information enables VR creators to use live data coming from the mind of the trainee, to change the current scenario: a customer becomes more impatient if the employee gives signs of no empathy; a trainee is not engaged in front of a storm at sea training session, so more unlikely events will start happening to keep them on their toes.
The true value of neural data and neurofeedback is about making training sessions personalised to each employee, and adaptable to many other situations based on what's happening inside the trainees mind, giving them more awareness and control.
Trainers gain access to unique tools to improve their programs, while companies benefit from better trained, more confident employees.
Article head image credit: Getty Images.