Training costs are a concern at companies of any size. In order for a training solution to make sense, it needs to fit in the budget and to deliver great ROI. Many assume that implementing immersive training is prohibitively expensive. The reality is that using VR in a training program can be more cost effective than traditional training.
Consider some of the costs of more traditional training methods:
- Travel for employees and trainers
- Hourly wage per employee while being trained
- Subject matter expert non-working/productive hours
- Facilitator: Day rate, travel, admin fees
- Production lines, equipment and tools out of commission while used for training
These costs are reduced or eliminated with the introduction of an immersive training program.
VR is Reusable
In a training program for evacuation procedures from an ICU, VR was compared to live simulation training. The initial upfront costs of the VR program were higher, but by the third year, the hospital had saved $124 per employee for a total savings of over $41,000. The costs saved were on planning, setup, and time to execute a live simulation. The reusable nature of the VR modules was a great benefit. (Farra et al., 2019)
VR can be Used Almost Anywhere
With today’s untethered headsets trainees don’t need a lot of space for VR training. Virtual replicas of real work environments can be used with no disruption and no travel. Employees can onboard and upskill on their own, where they work. Trainees are ready faster and they’re better trained.
VR Reduces the Need for Skilled Workers to Be Trainers
When experienced workers are pulled off of the job to train new hires, it is expensive.
“Seminars and workshops can be effective, but these approaches to training cost companies lost work-hour time and reduced short-term productivity”(Haritos & Macchiarella, 2005).
It can be difficult for mentors to schedule the time to work with new hires as soon as they start. This can lead to longer-than-necessary wait times for new employees to become productive. An immersive program that is always available lessens the need for an in-person mentor and trainer. The benefits are two-fold:
- very little “down time” for the experienced employee
- faster time-to-productivity for the new hire. (Brough et al., n.d.)
Better prepared employees are more productive.
The cost-savings of VR training programs extend beyond the time the employee is being trained. Employees with more skill and greater confidence work more productively with fewer mistakes.
The introduction of a VR program for maintenance of high-voltage power lines in Mexico has shown remarkable benefits. Workplace accident rates and associated expenses are dramatically improved. By the third year, the organization saw:
- 59% fewer accidents
- 71% fewer work days lost due to injury and
- an overall 94% decrease in expenses related to workplace accidents.
(Ayala García et al., 2016)
Virtual mock-ups are easier to change and better for the training budget
Some jobs require employees to practice with equipment and procedures before they are ready to work on their own. Setting up simulations and removing equipment from the production line is costly and time consuming. Employees may need to travel to specific training locations to practice crucial skills.
“Virtual training mock-ups and props are easier to create, modify and distribute than physical equipment. Therefore, companies benefit by leveraging VR without a sacrifice to the trainee’s speed, accuracy, or understanding.”(J. W. Smith & Salmon, 2017)
VR is surprisingly cost effective
A lot of people can see how and why VR training is more effective. But many of them write it off because it seems expensive. The reality is, a lot of traditional training processes have inefficiencies which cause them to be pricey. In a side-by-side comparison, VR training will almost always save you money in the long run.
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Ayala García, A., Galván Bobadilla, I., Arroyo Figueroa, G., Pérez Ramírez, M., & Muñoz Román, J. (2016). Virtual reality training system for maintenance and operation of high-voltage overhead power lines. Virtual Reality, 20(1), 27–40. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-015-0280-6
Farra, S. L., Gneuhs, M., Hodgson, E., Kawosa, B., Miller, E. T., Simon, A., Timm, N., & Hausfeld, J. (2019). Comparative Cost of Virtual Reality Training and Live Exercises for Training Hospital Workers for Evacuation. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 37(9), 446–454. https://doi.org/10.1097/CIN.0000000000000540
Brough, J. E., Maxim, A. E., Ae, S., Gupta, S. K., Davinder, A. E., Anand, K., Robert, A. E., Ae, K., & Pettersen, R. (n.d.). Towards the development of a virtual environment-based training system for mechanical assembly operations. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-007-0076-4
Smith, J. W., & Salmon, J. L. (2017). Development and Analysis of Virtual Reality Technician-Training Platform and Methods. In Interservice/Industry Training.
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