Safe Workplace Training with AR and VR

Why is safety during workplace training a priority?

The way we do life has changed. Social distancing is now a part of our daily practice and is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. As we are starting to physically return to work – together, in proximity – this new daily practice will become challenging to navigate, and safe workplace training is needed.

We will have increased in-person contact, both in the workplace and during the commute. Learning and development teams will continue to teach employees how to do their jobs with the in-person element of their instruction posing a new threat. To minimize health risks for the employee and the employer, the enhanced exposure must be addressed. The right thing for employers to do is to seek out new ways to train the workforce with safe workplace training at the forefront of design. 

How can AR/VR better ensure safe workplace training?

Immersive experiences like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) provide an effective solution to current workplace training safety concerns. These technologies are primarily driven by the user, reducing or eliminating the need for person-to-person contact.

Using AR/VR for training will allow users to experience real-life workplace scenarios in a way that is not dangerous to them nor high risk to the employer. These learning solutions provide a space to learn and practice proper workplace procedures safely, free of physical or social harm. They also offer a safe way to gain a deeper understanding of why workplace procedures are critical, such as proper sanitation between guest interactions, and virtually experience the consequences of non-compliance.

“Thanks to its immersive capabilities, many organizations are making use of VR as a safety training tool. One major benefit is bringing trainees closer to real-world experiences without exposing them to real-world dangers.”

Alan Ferguson, Safety and Health Magazine

What does AR/VR offer that e-learning does not?

AR/VR learning solutions are engaging and immersive workplace scenarios that feel like real life, rather than an e-learning or other electronic media solution that cannot provide the same detail and emotional connection. Immersive learning causes a chemical release of dopamine in the user’s brain, propelling interest and motivation to continue the learning experience. The presence of dopamine, the “pleasure” chemical in the brain, improves working memory, information retention, and the overall learning process. 

The learning data and analytics around immersive learning solutions is rich with information we cannot gain through other training methods. These offer us details such as the time to complete tasks within the experience, decisions made, and eye movement tracked to measure the attention and focus of the user. These analytics for AR/VR are an objective, data-driven way to measure and grade learning experiences, as opposed to subjective, interpretive reviews by peers or trainers. 

What are some examples of AR/VR being used to create safe workplace training today?

Patients and customers also benefit from AR/VR workplace training. Recently, we created a VR learning solution to simulate obstetric crisis scenarios. Anesthetic residents in training are provided a scenario where both the patient and the baby are at risk, requiring them to make critical decisions. Providing this training frequently builds crucial crisis handling skills and user confidence at no risk to patients. The more options for the anesthetic residents to practice in a safe environment, the better the potential patient outcomes will be. 

On the retail front, we powered an immersive solution for how to properly clean a deli slicer. The proper cleaning and sanitizing of the deli slicing machine is essential to customer safety. Failure to follow procedure could lead to food poisoning for the customer or severe physical injury for the employee. The VR learning solution provides users with a safe environment to review and practice procedures without the risk of customer or employee harm, resulting in sanitary food preparation for customers and safe procedures for deli employees.  

Social skills training is also being tackled with AR/VR. Using a virtual environment to provide therapy to those with autism spectrum disorder provides a safe place for the user to experience a real-world interaction simulation and practice target social skills. Flexibility in VR programming allow for users in therapy to have unpredictable moments in a safe way, giving them the chance to build social skills in an environment without consequences.

“Only by exploring new ways of tackling the problem of social skills training for people with autism can we hope to gain further insights into what might be possible for intervention and training purposes. Virtual reality technology provides a unique viewpoint on this issue and should be welcomed, albeit with careful consideration.” 

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research

What is a summary of the benefits of AR/VR for safe workplace training for employees?

AR/VR learning solutions provide a safer physical and social workplace training environment for employees while minimizing employer risk. These benefits extend out to customers and patients, providing them with products and services that are low risk and well-practiced. It’s important to note that AR and VR will not completely take the place of real human interaction. While we use these techniques and benefit from them, we must remain diligent in our belief that it will once again be safe to interact.

If this pandemic has revealed anything about immersive technology, it is that now is the time to embrace AR/VR learning solutions – for the safety they provide allowing us to continue to teach and train the global workforce to do their jobs effectively. 

Are you considering VR training but would like to see more proof of its benefits?
Download our white paper: The Case for Immersive Training.

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Betty Dannewitz

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