While virtual reality (VR) training isn’t new, it has skyrocketed into the mainstream in a post-covid online era.
With physical interactivity severely limited, hands-on training has become challenging. Yet, learning by doing is an invaluable technique that companies should incorporate into the workplace.
There’s a Chinese proverb that summarizes the importance of experiential learning perfectly: “I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.” In other words, work-based experience enhances learning retention.
VR training adds a level of interactivity to workplace learning. Depending on what type of VR training the workplace has access to, it can be a simple simulation or involve in-depth, hands-on activities.
But, not all VR training is made equal. With today’s advancements, can technology keep up with the practical needs of workplace training?
Workplaces Using VR Training
There is a wide variety of careers that have access to VR training. Before Covid, the practicality of the requirements for VR training limited it to wealthier companies.
While Oculus, a VR division under Facebook, might be a more popular name in VR gaming, they’ve also launched VR training. Oculus for Business hosts programs that engage participants with operating routines and customer interactions.
The Hilton uses Oculus for Business as a tool to immerse corporate team members with the complexities of working in a hotel. VR training helps new employees practice simulated scenarios with virtual guests.
With over 400,000 team members, Hilton’s VR training allows greater access to the same quality of training. It also reduces costs and increases the speed of training sessions.
Osso VR helps surgeons practice procedures individually and as part of a team. It can create a variety of simulations, from the mundane to the unexpected. With more chances to test themselves, training surgeons improve confidence in their skills.
VR training can’t replace the experience doctors need to operate on living people. But it can allow surgeons more in-depth rehearsal before they get to the operating theatre.
Police departments, like the NYPD, can use VR training drills to recreate hazardous situations. The training allows them to practice responses to circumstances that they couldn’t effectively recreate in reality.
The Effectiveness of VR Training
VR training, or Virtual Reality-Based Training (VRBT), can simulate real-life situations. But can a simulation prepare trainees for unexpected outcomes? For the wrenches thrown in their plans?
German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus researched learning retention back in 1885 when he coined the term “the forgetting curve.” His curve theory suggests that humans forget learned skills over time. However, the strength of the memory impacts how long we hold on to it and how effectively we can recall it.
Ebbinghaus’s theory found that memories are longer-lasting when the memory is a) more significant to us and b) repeated. You might have heard you should repeat someone’s name to remember it or any number of repetition rules associated with learning.
While VR could allow trainees to repeat a simulation, chances are you might not have time for repeat training. What VR training can do is make a lesson have more significant meaning by letting you experience it.
Researchers have found that VR training helps people remember information. Immersive environments allow participants to use both visual and spatial memory.
The brain learns better when it’s able to create a fuller mental map. Oral instruction limits the five senses we can use to process new information. With VR, participants engage more and can make a stronger memory.
How VR Training Has Changed Post-Covid
The global pandemic expanded the need for training at a distance, but it also changed the types of workplaces that use VR training.
Serious Labs has designed VR training for equipment industries. The company used gaming software to simulate complex scenarios. While the company began developing in March 2005 (under the name 3D Interactive), it drew more attention after the emergence of Covid restrictions.
Several unexpected careers have recently gained opportunities to use VR training. Here are a few surprising new areas:
- Fire and rescue can realistically simulate dangerous situations without putting themselves in danger.
- A virtual world called ElectriCity is capable of generating risky work environments for trainees to practice electrical safety.
- Maritime education can be practiced on dry land, allowing seafarers to experience difficult situations.
Another drastic change is the training available for soft skills. Hard skills were the initial target for VR training. It’s simple enough to show how to open a program like Excel or explain which buttons to press on equipment for specific results. It’s trickier to simulate teamwork or communication skills.
PwC found that their VR training for soft skills trained employees four times faster than traditional classroom training. Their results showed that VR learners were more confident applying their learned experiences. The learners were also more engaged with their training.
Practical Problems with VR Training
The obstacles that stand in the way of VR training aren’t its effectiveness or even the availability of training specialties. Instead, it’s practical problems like cost, space, hygiene.
VR systems can be expensive. Larger companies might consider it cost-effective to purchase a $1000+ VR headset plus a computer powerful enough to operate the system. But it might not be feasible for smaller businesses.
Costs are dropping, particularly for older headset models. But if you’re buying more than one to train a few or several employees at once, prices can climb. With the latest Oculus Quest 2 headsets you can get a fully standalone system for $399 USD — with the enterprise business edition coming in at $799, but you will need to budget as well for accessories & yearly licensing of $180 that kicks in after the 1st year.
How much space is required will depend on the simulation. If you’re simulating the operation of large machinery, you need more space. VR training needs a dedicated space free of obstructions. This isn’t to say that you need a LOT of space, as with standalone devices you will only need enough room to move your arms freely.
In a post-Covid era, everyone is more aware of the impact of hygiene. If the workplace schedules multiple employees for VR training, it’s likely more than few people will be sharing the same headset. In a post-covid world, there may need to be modern solutions that work to solve this problem, thankfully there is one called CleanBox. CleanBox is a UVC light device that allows you to put your headset inside and then using a unique technology to kill bacteria with simply UVC light.
Unfortunately, not everyone can handle VR. Virtual reality sickness, like motion sickness, can range in severity. Some participants can adjust quickly, while others might not tolerate longer training sessions. While most of this has been solved in the latest headsets from Oculus – there will still be a small segment of the population that VR can cause problems for.
VR training has proven to be more effective than traditional training methods. It also allows for a greater variety of simulations. Participants can practice difficult or dangerous situations. VR has the potential to exceed the limits of physical simulations.
If businesses and employees can overcome the practical problems, VR training can significantly impact workplace learning.
How Hotels and Resorts are Adopting Virtual and Augmented Reality
Once upon a time, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) were only used for video games or seen in movies (think Tony Stark and all of his cool gadgets in Iron Man).
But today, thanks to all of the advances in technology, the use of AR and VR is no longer something you see only in sci-fi thrillers or something that you use for entertainment. No today, AR and VR are becoming much more commonplace, and this technology is being used in a variety of useful applications across a variety of industries. The hotel and hospitality industry is just one field that is making use of augmented and virtual reality, and its popularity is really exploding!
In fact, AR and VR have become powerful marketing tools for hotels and resorts around the globe. These technologies are really changing the way people are travelling, and it’s definitely for the better.
How are hotels and resorts utilizing augmented and virtual reality and how are these technologies helping both entrepreneurs and travellers alike? Read on to discover the exciting technologically advanced future or travel!
What is Augmented and Virtual Reality?
Before we jump in and explore how hotels and resorts are using augmented and virtual reality, it’s first important to understand exactly what these technologies are.
Both AR and VR create experiences that fully immerse users into different environments or allow them to experience things in a whole new way, but these two technologies do differ. Loosely defined, virtual reality means near-reality (virtual meaning near and reality meaning the here and now; what you are actually experiencing.). Virtual reality immerses users into an interactive computer-generated environment. It incorporates a variety of senses, primarily sight and sound, to create a life-like experience. In other words, you feel as if you have been transported to another location even though you never physically left your current location.
Augmented reality, on the other hand, involves adding to the reality that you already see; it doesn’t replace your reality, but rather enhances it. AR has the ability to bring elements of the digital world into the real world (again, think Tony Stark in Iron Man).
So, now that you have a basic understanding of virtual and augmented reality, let’s examine how hotels and resorts are utilizing these technologies.
Providing an Experience Before Booking
How many times have you reserved a hotel, only to find, much to your dismay, that it was not at all what you were expecting. Sure, pictures can help you get a vague idea of what to expect, but they really can’t give you a clear idea.
With virtual reality, you can get a real idea of where you’re going to be travelling before you make a reservation. You can slip on a headset and be transported to a resort or hotel and actually walk through the lobby, see the guest rooms, and check out all of the amenities.
VR is not only beneficial for travellers’, it is also beneficial to hotels and resorts; particularly lesser-known properties or those that are located in remote areas, as it allows them to give people the opportunity to see what they have to offer.
Establishing a Competitive Edge
The hotel and hospitality industry is extremely competitive. Travellers’ have so many options when it comes to where they can stay. And with hotel and resort database sites, like Booking.com and Travelicity.com, the competition has become even steeper.
With so much competition, it can be hard for hotels and resorts to set themselves apart from the crowd. Photos and marketing content can only do so much. But augmented and virtual reality can really help hotels and resorts establish a competitive edge. It allows them to distinguish themselves and showcase their unique selling points. In other words, it gives them the chance to show prospective travellers the chance to explore the gardens, visit the restaurants, and lounge by the pool that resort A has to offer, thus allowing the resort to stand out in the crowd and attract more people.
Making Booking Easier
Another way that hotels and resorts are adopting advanced technologies to simplify the booking process for their guests. For example, most hotels and resorts offer different types of accommodations; standard rooms, suites, handicap accessible rooms, and so forth. By using augmented and virtual reality, guests can actually see what different accommodations offer to determine what will best meet their needs.
When potential visitors have the opportunity to really experience different accommodations, the process of making reservations becomes a lot easier for them.
Ensuring Guest Satisfaction
Hotels and resorts are also using AR and VR as a way to improve guest satisfaction. When people have the chance to see what they are going to get before they arrive, it’s much more likely that they are going to have a more pleasant experience, and when they have a more pleasant experience, guests are much more satisfied. When guest satisfaction improves, so does the reputation of a hotel or resort, which translates to much greater success.
A lot of properties are using AR as a way to make the environment of their hotel or resort more enjoyable for their guests. For instance, some hotels are using AR to allow guests to use their smartphones to see them alongside images of their favourite celebrities or cartoon characters. Other hotels are using AR as a means for showcasing products or entertainment options the hotel/resort features.
Summing It Up
Augmented reality and virtual reality are already proving to be invaluable tools for hotels and resorts around the globe. These technologies are a truly effective way to develop a competitive edge, allow guests to see what properties have to offer, improve the booking process, and ensure guest satisfaction.
Given the incredibly positive effects that augmented reality and virtual reality have had for hotels and resorts, it is exciting to think of how these technologies will further be adopted by hotels and resorts, and how AR and VR will enhance marketing for establishments and experiences for travellers in the future.
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