Training employees is a long and complicated procedure, especially when the skills employees need to acquire are technical. Training demands long hours of practicing and frequently lasts more days. Multiple repetitions of the same actions are needed for the employees to familiarise themselves with the process. Such complexity brings additional costs in terms of equipment, time, and possible health risks.
Here is where VR fits in. Even though the concept of VR is not as new as you would have thought, it plays a great role in training. The first steps towards VR technical training were made back in 1966, when an American inventor, Thomas A. Furness III, developed the first flight simulator, used to train US Air Force pilots.
Before defining what VR does in terms of technical skills training today, let’s focus on defining what exactly technical skills and technical training are.
Technical skills are defined as specific qualities, gained through the performance of physical or digital tasks. Increasing demand for technical knowledge leads to it being seen as a competitive advantage. The demand is higher in businesses like computer science, mechanics, information technology and other industries with a requirement for high expert knowledge. Thus, not every business requires the same skills.
However, those are not qualities people already possess but acquire them through training. Technical training is, therefore, a process of acquiring the skills needed in design, development, implementation, maintenance, support or operation of a specific product, service or application.
How VR is used in technical skills training
With VR, issues like additional costs, lack of time and possible health risks are eliminated, and other advantages, like higher involvement, are added.
VR based training relieves companies of investing in equipment (like heavy machinery) and safety regulations, needed to recreate certain conditions. Instead, it allows the creation of multiple scenarios, where, once a scenario is created, it can be used to train multiple employees and spare time and money.
VR allows exposure to difficult situations in a safe environment, without posing a threat to trainees. Detailed simulations aim to teach correct responses in cases of real-life situations.
Trainees are eager to try new, exciting ways of working. One good practice of using VR in technical skills training comes from Intel. Intel’s Electrical Safety Training resulted in 94% of trainees requesting more such courses.
VR training is transforming the ways of gaining technical skills and will most likely change the future of entire corporations. As a tool of growing importance, VR opens new ways of storing insights and pass them on to employees. Skills are therefore gained faster and the knowledge retention rates higher.