360 Immersive: Virtual Reality as an Enhancement to Education and Training, and the ROI of Implimentation
We have included a transcript of the discussion below!
We typically talk about virtual reality training for fire, EMS, law enforcement, security, medical, and workplace safety. But today I’d like to talk to you about training from a general standpoint, and some real numbers.
Do you realize that there are over 130 million workers in the United States that fall under Health and Safety guidelines? 3.1 million workers last year were injured, and unfortunately, almost 5,000 of those turned out to be fatalities. We spend more than any other country in the world on training. We spend $70 billion more than any other country in the world. And to what goal? Well, the intention is to provide better training for our employees and a safer workplace. But are we really achieving that, or are we just literally just checking the box?
You have to take a training course – go out and check the box. Watch a live presentation – check the box. What are we really learning? Well, a recent study by over 4,300 workers surveyed offered some key points. For instance, 74 percent felt that they were not achieving their full potential at work, due to inadequate training. 56 percent felt that their HR managers, even though they considered training to be primary to their business, but they weren’t doing enough, according to the survey, to increase employee training opportunities. The employees themselves felt that they weren’t being trained adequately. Now, seven out of 10 of those employees felt that training opportunities really influenced their decision to stay or leave a company. And one out of three people in today’s workplace leave their organizations in the first year.
And do you realize that the cost of losing a person in the first year can be up to three times their salary, based on onboarding and training and everything that goes with bringing a new hire in? So, what are we really saying? Well, we’re saying that uninspired training is actually a barrier, not only to learning but to good business sense. And the final point made in that survey was that the total loss to business due to ineffective training was a staggering $13.5 million per 1,000 employees trained. That’s dollars lost due to ineffective training. So, what do we do about that? Well, what the workplace needs today is a better, more engaging method for training. Something that will ultimately lead to higher retention rates and a better training environment. Now, 20 – 25 years ago, PowerPoint came on. It was a great tool to help trainers.
Before that, we literally had slides you’d put on an overhead projector. Now you have PowerPoint, but guess what? Now we have what’s called “death by PowerPoint” because it’s not engaging. It doesn’t add impact and ultimately our retention rates are low. Videos came in, they were innovative, but a lot of times they’re poorly produced – that they’re just a passive experience. The new tool in front of us today is called virtual reality, and it sounds a little bit like science fiction, but it’s an actual real tool and real technology. It works. And what’s the difference? Well, if you’re watching a live presentation, or watching PowerPoint, maybe there’s a video embedded in that PowerPoint presentation. It’s still just a passive experience, you’re not in the middle of it. VR, short for virtual reality, puts you in the middle of that experience.
You feel, and the operative word is “feel”, you feel like you’re right in the middle of the training simulation or exercise. You can look around, you can interact with it. Spatial audio allows you to hear – maybe a forklift is coming off to your right and you need to be aware of what’s going on. It’s a whole different experience than what we’ve been exposed to before. It is that new tool that professional trainers have been asking for, for decades. Studies have been done when it comes to medium and people and how they absorb information from reading, from watching videos, live presentations, live simulations. And if you take a look at, for instance, reading a manual, your retention rate may be only 5 to 10 to 15 percent. You step up to, perhaps, watching a video or maybe a live presentation and you might be in the 20 or 30 percent range.
Now, this depends on the individual, but when you go out and actually do something – you perform a task, you’re actually in there doing it. Suddenly, your retention spikes at 70, 80 or 90 percent that you retain in actually doing that exercise or simulation. But the problem is, is that simulations are expensive, that they can affect only the limited amount of people that actually engage in the simulation. They’re difficult to repeat. They’re sometimes impossible to repeat. Virtual reality solves all that because you capture that simulation one time. Then you can repeat it over and over and over again – the best practices, the lessons learned. The people that are engaging and watching in that VR experience actually feel like they’re in the middle of it. In the case of computer-based simulation, they can actually walk around within that environment.
We’re not suggesting that you replace an entire curriculum, in fact, we’re suggesting that the use of VR is a supplemental aspect. That you literally – in let’s say maybe a four-hour live presentation by PowerPoint, you sprinkle in four, five or six different two-minute VR modules that take the students into an exercise or into a simulation and can interact with it, and then they come back out to the live presentation. Fundamentally, this strategy or technique will offer better engagement, will create more impact, and will ultimately create higher retention values. So, last year $70 billion was spent, and it impacted 130 million workers, and that’s just in this country alone. Can you imagine making an improvement to such large numbers? Even a small improvement can have such big results. VR can do that.