Contributors: Brent Osborne, Andrea Pressnell & Rachel Bryars
Extended Reality (XR) is making a major buzz in the training world due to its ability to slash time and costs associated with training needs while improving learning outcomes. For example, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University reduced the length of time before a student could fly “solo” by a whopping 30% by integrating virtual reality into its private pilot training curriculum.
Extended Reality, which includes virtual reality and augmented reality, places users in immersive, highly accurate experiences from the comfort of their own homes or workplaces, making it easier and often much more cost-effective than traditional training in scenarios in which training logistics or costs are an issue.
For dangerous industries expecially, extended reality training can provide another benefit: safety. By providing employees with a safe, controlled environment in which to test out new skills, organizations can limit risk while building essential skills.
What Is Extended Reality Training?
Extended reality is the digital simulation of lifelike 3D environments. Using a wearable headset and specialized controllers, users can interact with different elements of the virtual world. There are several approaches to this type of training that can be developed. Applications for extended reality include gaming, e-commerce, augmented reality overlays and interactions (in which the trainee still sees everything around them and keeps spatial awareness), passthrough virtual reality, and immersive training environments.
Using extended reality technology, organizations can create an active learning environment for their trainees. Users can look, speak, and move around the virtual training area as if they were in a real-life situation, making it easier to practice new skills and prepare for the field.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) training is often more effective and more inclusive when compared to in-person training experiences. Benefits of extended reality training — that are due to increased ability to get in “reps” in a safe, efficient, inexpensive training environment — often include:
- Improved job performance
- Fewer on-the-job errors
- Improved learning and skills retention
- Improved workplace safety
- Stronger decision-making skills
- Reduced training expenditures
- Off-season sports practice and mental gains without injury risk
Dangerous Industries That Could Benefit from Virtual Training
For some industries, real-world training environments can be dangerous, costly, or simply ineffective. Trainees can become injured. The training may fail to simulate what an actual real-life scenario would be like, leading to issues when trainees go into the field. Plus, there is usually a significant cost to planning these training sessions, both in terms of money and labor.
By adopting virtual reality training, dangerous industries can alleviate several of these concerns. Virtual learning environments allow participants to experience a high-stress situation before they are physically placed into one, allowing them to prepare for dangerous environments. Trainees can practice in a controlled environment to learn and hone the skills that they need. Training costs can plummet depending on the costs associated with real-world training materials.
Below are several industries that benefit from XR/VR/AR training:
- The Military: This is one of the most promising applications for virtual reality training. Using this technology, all military branches can practice skills in dangerous settings without having to be physically present. Applications include flight simulation, battlefield simulation, and medic training (see below video for example).
- First Responders: First responders like emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and police officers often encounter high-stress situations on the job. Using virtual reality training, these responders can simulate common experiences and practice critical skills, without needing to schedule a costly and time-consuming live event.
- Sports Performers: The sports industry is increasingly adopting virtual reality training as a low-stress, cost-effective way to keep their players’ skills at an elite level. Athletes can practice plays and train in recreated environments. This training can be made available to off-season players as well, helping them stay in shape before they return to the field. HigherEchelon supports the development of one of the most effective virtual reality football training apps available – learn more about GoArmy Edge and how teams ranging from high school to college to the NFL up their game through this technology in this post.
Upskill Safely with Extended Reality Simulations from HigherEchelon
Training no longer has to be expensive, inefficient, ineffective, or dangerous. An investment in virtual training now means you can reap the rewards of safe and cost-effective training for years to come.
Have training needs that are dangerous, expensive, or otherwise difficult to fulfill? Check out our range of safe and cost-effective serious games and virtual trainer solutions and the range of extended reality (XR) possibilities we bring to life for clients.
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