This Is What Digital Disruption For The Learning & Development Industry Looks Like.

This isn’t your father’s video training. As human jobs become ever more specialised VR / AR applied to skills training for business is likely to become a race that revolutionises the learning and development field. It’s effective for traditional core competency training like teamwork, problem solving and communication, management simulations and even skilled trades development. It’s also built on the back of video game entertainment, not academic theory, so it can be much more engaging than traditional methods. Even DARPA robots are using the latest VR to fast track their AI’s obstacle course training. While LMS and elearning were quiet revolutions, VR / AR training software is a true game changer.

Photo credit: Sergey Galyonkin

VR / AR training is not video training.

Although it can be highly effective, video training has been around for years and can be costly and time consuming to produce quality content. Imagine a video series on how to build a cabinet. Even if the video was directed by Steven Spielberg there’s still no way for the participant to build the neural pathways required to familiarize themselves with building a cabinet - until they push the pause button and pick up a hammer. Companies like Strivr understand that you can watch broadcast video for days and still be disoriented when you actually get on the field during an NFL game. Seeing the “on field” perspective of linesmen or players fast tracks preparation for the real thing and helps learners retain key concepts better. Physical mechanics make sense, the view is familiar and the VR / AR learner has the chance to run through a repetitive sequence from a first-person perspective.

All training seeks to achieve at least a conscious level of learning. With VR / AR training tools the learner can move past this through repetition to actual unconscious learning levels. Walmart understands this and uses Strivr’s VR software to train their army of employees how to restock shelves during a Black Friday rush.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough uses a virtual reality headset to train for upcoming spacewalks. VR training is used on the ground and while in space to maintain proficiency. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasa2explore/31803939355)

It’s a more tangible return on L&D investment than an LMS or elearning alone.

In many large businesses the Learning and Development team is the happy, optistic face of the Human Resources department. Rather than fear the unknown, these professionals need to look at what their value add is and whether it can be amplified or captured with VR / AR. The good news for those involved in training design is that VR / AR training will need to stand on the shoulders of existing training design theory and tracking progress will still most likely be captured with an industry specific LMS.

It’s not surprising that this technology has been adopted by industries with limited opportunities for real world experiential training. VR / AR has already been adopted heavily by the military and aerospace industries and even specialised physical training, skilled trades and government compliance training stands to gain. VR / AR training allows businesses to scale up their best instructors and cut down the required reading load. Would you rather read a 50-page pamphlet on how to park a 747 or play a game simulator? Changi Airport in Singapore recognises with VR / AR they get the best of both worlds - text pop-ups and graphics as well as the audio and unencumbered view of a realistic experience offering far more powerful outcomes. The most technologically advanced airport in the world uses VR / AR for training and operations with teams equipped with AR glasses to “see” if a plane has been properly loaded. But there are far less complex uses that are just as powerful. Think of how challenging it is to instill a healthy fear of fire in children. Now check out this 4K PSA house fire by New Zealand Fire and Emergency. This experience is so powerful a voice over isn’t even required. It’s easy to imagine this applied to almost any experiential learning environment. Can you imagine it being used effectively in your industry? If you can then someone is most likely already working on it.

BodyMap VR Medical education

Don’t be fooled by all the wires. It’s going to get a lot easier to use really soon.

A big mental hurdle for many in the L&D space is the restrictions inherent in current HMDs (Head Mounted Displays). A high end HMD like the HTC Vive Pro requires a dedicated PC with a serious GPU and can only handle one person at a time. Plus there are loads of wires.

The thing to remember is after the initial setup there are not a lot of technical tasks, and even the small hurdles are getting more user-friendly by the day. With Oculus, Vive, Microsoft and a host of others all racing to be the go-to HMD it won’t be long until they are commoditized and most already cost less than your mobile phone. From a user’s perspective anyone can understand how to use VR / AR tools with very little practice, it’s that intuitive.

For many SMEs, and hundreds of millions of individuals, job-related training is either self-guided, strictly regulated by the government, follows a guild-based system of mentorship like the skilled trades (Plumber, Electrician, etc.) or a mashup of all of these paths. Because of the democratization of software via the Internet and SaaS models, VR / AR training content publishers will soon make up a whole new ecosystem with survival of the fittest applications driving quality ever higher.

All training seeks to provide a more lucid understanding of the subject matter and behaviour change, in the form of acquired mechanical skills or how to deal with unique situations. Once you try high quality VR / AR training software you recognise right away this isn’t just a new medium, it’s a paradigm shift.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It can not be changed without changing our thinking.
- Albert Einstein
As businesses wake up to the effectiveness of VR / AR for training the L&D space is set to change dramatically.

See original article: Linked