- In the workplace, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used for training, work meetings, and to enhance the customer service experience.
- Morgan Mercer launched Vantage Point, which uses VR to improve sexual harassment and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training.
- With the metaverse now coming into its own, Mercer is set to expand her company’s ecosystem into leadership and development, international business negotiation skills, sales training, and other areas guided by client needs.
In the workplace, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used for training, work meetings, and to enhance the customer service experience.
Research has found that VR can reduce staff training time by up to 60%, meaning that VR could help cultivate a more productive workplace culture.
Five years ago (before most people considered virtual reality more than a technology for gamers), then-23-year-old Morgan Mercer had a vision. She saw the potential for using VR as a platform for corporate training and development, but she realized that she needed to start with a hot-button issue to demonstrate the value of the strategy.
Her solution was to launch Vantage Point using VR to improve sexual harassment and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training.
Uniquely using real people in live experiences rather than avatars, the company’s technology helps drive empathy and other soft skills by placing users in an immersive environment where they can’t look away from incidents of racial profiling, cultural appropriation, LGBTQ bias, harassment at an office party, and more.
With the metaverse now coming into its own, Mercer is set to expand her company’s ecosystem into leadership and development, international business negotiation skills, sales training, and other areas guided by client needs.
In a Q&A with Morgan Mercer, she explained how metaverse/VR workplace training might be more effective than other types of employee training.
Allwork.Space: Do you think the metaverse is the future of workforce learning?
Morgan Mercer: When you look at the applications of virtual reality and augmented reality, the only way to learn before they were created was through real life experience, but real-life experience can be costly and have negative implications from an emotional perspective.
Within immersive environments, you can actually simulate out the internal and external stimuli that would be present, and because your brain perceives that it’s real, you can create highly visceral situations where you’re practicing – you’re not just role playing – you’re actually in the situation. That naturally lends itself to learning education within the corporate space.
Whether it be anything from sales training, associations training – which directly impacts your bottom line – the only way to learn is by doing, in order to get the skills and to get as much experience as possible.
An immersive environment allows you to get the same level of experience in a way that’s a lot faster and a lot less expensive, has fewer negative implications, and overall – a bigger benefit to the company and the way that they’re traditionally doing training.
Allwork.Space: Is VR workplace training more effective than other types of employee training?
Studies have actually shown that it is. There’s a lot of research out there.
We have a tendency amongst individuals to act in a way that follows group think – meaning that we’ll make decisions that either our peers or colleagues have done because we don’t want to be ostracized, or both unconsciously do the things that we know we should do, whether or not that be the thing that we would actually do when the situation happens.
There’s a lot of research about the ways that people say that they’ll respond versus what they actually do. So when you’re in an environment where it’s an individual experience, you’re actually acting in a way that’s true to real life.
You can often create group experiences where you can do things like bring in facilitators and have facilitation sessions afterwards in an immersive environment where you’re actually talking to somebody – maybe across the world and from a different department or company in a completely different country. It unlocks possibilities that we don’t have right now.
Allwork.Space: How exactly does Vantage Point work? What are some scenarios that trainees are put into?
It depends on the learning objectives of the experience.
The value of technology allows you to approach things from different angles and different perspectives, which provides a layer of depth to learn and comprehension. One of the things that’s useful in any aspect of being within a workforce is the ability to think critically, and the ability to really discern and understand how different people might understand a situation and the underlying components or agenda, and emotion behind the decision or situation, no matter what the scenario is.
We provide a variety of different perspectives to give trainees first-hand experience. We leverage things like invasion of personal space, tonality, and the granularity of the situation.
You’re placed in photo realistic scenarios of situations. It could be an office room environment where you’re sitting around, or people with colleagues at a presentation. It could be a first-person experience of being racially profiled as you’re leaving the office.
You’re given the opportunity to practice advocating and to identify behaviors that somebody else is doing, and maybe speak to them about it. And then depending on what you do, it’s not right or wrong, but there are nuances.
So there are things that are the most right, the least right, and you have somewhere in the middle. Depending on what you do, we actually give you on the spot feedback… what you did right, when you did wrong, what could have been better… and then we put you in a different situation.
There’s a lot to be said on the power of virtual reality.