He recently interviewed Dr. Britt Andreatta, author of Wired to Grow: Harness the Power of Brain Science to Learn and Master Any Skill who explained how VR is best positioned to accelerate learning during COVID-19. "Experiential learning is the most powerful and most sticky type of learning, because it creates an episodic memory where we are at the center of the action, with all of our senses coding data about what is happening. VR is so powerful because it mimics this learning. And some studies show that VR experiences code in the brain as a lived memory.”
According to Jenkins, episodic memories drive the highest levels of retention of information and behavior change. This is great news for training managers who are looking for a more “hands-on” approach to their training programs. Instructional videos, Zoom calls, and manuals cannot help users immerse themselves in these exercises the way VR can, and the best part is the human brain can’t tell the difference because it believes the experience is real.
Andreatta believes companies today should consider a VR strategy or at least be open to exploring opportunities this year as people continue to social distance. There are obvious training situations, where VR would be overkill, but Andreatta lays out some types of training best suited for VR such as:
Geospatial Training: Location Training
Ex: Oil rig workers use VR to safely train personnel on spatial environment before being flown out to dangerous, fast-moving oil platforms with heavy machinery.
Human Interactions: Behavioral Training
Ex: Law Enforcement can simulate active shooter scenarios where a retired police officer coaches VR participant through how to handle various situations.
Processes Training: POV Simulations
Ex: Companies film more experience employees perform a task then use VR to train newer manufacturing employees on how to work of an airplanes or other heavy equipment.
But is VR training in the workplace really possible today? VR headsets have reached a comfortable pricing point for consumers, so Andreatta expects more and more companies to turn to VR because once the learning infrastructure is set, shipping a VR headset so anyone can train from home will be scalable and inexpensive.