- More and more organizations are implementing or planning to implement a VR training program for soft skills.
- While traditional training methods allow learners to put their knowledge to the test through in-person activities, logistical hurdles come into play when learners are remote or uncomfortable building their soft skills with others.
- According to Patrick Manglano of Roundtable Learning, there are five top 5 benefits that VR brings to soft skill learning.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the potential to boost the global economy by nearly $2 trillion by 2030, according to a report by PWC.
It’s only a matter of time before these technologies will be common in the workplace.
In fact, more and more organizations are implementing or planning to implement a VR training program for soft skills, which are the essential elements or personal attributes that characterize interactions with coworkers.
VR is an engaging way to help train employees because it allows them to react to certain hypothetical situations then analyze their reactions.
For instance, in 2019, Walmart trained more than 1 million employees using VR. In the virtual world, cashiers were taught to show greater empathy and retail workers experienced how to deal with armed robbery.
More than two-thirds of organizations have either already implemented or plan to implement a virtual reality (VR) training program for soft skills within the next two years.
It seems workforce software, technology, and the metaverse are here to stay.
While the future of corporate training is ever-evolving, it’s clear that companies are seriously considering the use of VR for soft skills training.
Besides being utilized for employee training, VR training is especially helpful for cultivating soft skills, which stem from our emotional intelligence and individual character. Soft skills are valuable in that they provide employees with a basis for building relationships, solving problems, managing time, and driving productivity at their companies.
Training for the creation of soft skills is typically instructor-led and gives learners the opportunity to complete in-person exercises with other people to test their understanding of concepts.
While these traditional methods allow learners to put their knowledge to the test through in-person activities, logistical hurdles come into play when learners are remote or uncomfortable building their soft skills with others.
Luckily, VR offers a solution.
According to Patrick Manglano of Roundtable Learning (which partners with brands to create custom training programs using technologies like AR and VR), there are five benefits that VR brings to soft skill learning.
1. VR learning triggers an emotional response from the learner
VR can simulate any real-life experience in an extremely accurate, true-to-life way.
With this enhanced sense of realism, learners will feel as though they’re actually experiencing the activity in real-life, whether it’s completing an action or speaking to another person.
This increased realism triggers an emotional response from the learner, which directly correlates to an increased ability to retain information.
By filming actors in real-life and experiencing the scene from a first-person perspective, the learner is likely to feel emotionally invested in the employee’s struggles and generate the appropriate solution based on the employee’s needs.
This allows the learner to easily apply what they’ve learned in the VR activity to a real-life situation if it were to happen.
2. VR trains learners up to four times faster than in-person instruction
In a study by PwC, it was found that VR trains learners up to 4x faster on average than traditional in-person instruction.
This is mostly due to learners being more focused on their training content given their immersion in the program through a headset, desktop, or mobile device.
When learners have a VR headset on, they can direct their attention solely on the VR content that’s presented in front of their eyes.
3. VR training can be used in conjunction with other modalities
Experts predict that VR will be an effective soft skills training tool that’s used in conjunction with other modalities to speed up learning in a blended program.
While VR won’t entirely replace in-person instruction, it’s likely to blend with existing learning techniques to give learners a chance to apply what they’ve learned through interactive scenarios.
Learners could potentially complete a 360° VR activity where they identify common body language, speech, and indicators of each social style.
4. VR reduces logistical hurdles by reaching remote learners
Traditional soft skills training has always required in-person sessions with learners, limiting the scalability of the program. But with VR training, companies can reach their workers anywhere in the world.
With the appropriate hardware and software, organizations can reduce logistical hurdles of soft skills training with VR.
For learners who aren’t comfortable wearing a VR headset, organizations can provide desktop and mobile device access options through a URL.
5. VR training creates consistency across role-playing activities
As with any training program, it’s critical that organizations are able to provide a consistent training experience to all of their learners.
A major benefit to VR training is that organizations can easily scale consistent role-playing activities across their entire organization.
A traditional in-person role-play for soft skills training leaves room for differences across those who participate in the activity. One participant may look, say, or do something different than what’s intended, creating differences across the role-play, and VR eliminates this risk.