Virtual reality, augmented reality and gamification are just a few examples of digital reality technologies that are changing the way we work and play. The economic impact of virtual and augmented reality is projected to grow to $15.6 billion by 2020. Many businesses are already experimenting with this type of training. But what are virtual reality, augmented reality and gamification? Why should we care?
What Are Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Gamification, Really?
These digital reality tools have become more common as technology has advanced. While all three of these types of tools are similar in nature, there are great differences that should be noted. Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that immerses the learner in an alternate environment that provides a way to learn, apply and reinforce skills and knowledge using experiential interactivity. It delivers an immersive learning event and increases knowledge using “real-world” experience without the risk. It incorporates mainly auditory and visual feedback and the immersive environment can be either similar to the real world or fantastical. VR enables collaboration, and opens up entirely new learning possibilities when it comes to shared experience. The combination of simulation and repetition seems to be extremely valuable in the training world, with VR being used more and more to help employees better interact with customers.
Augmented reality (AR) is slightly different. It is still an interactive experience of a real-world environment. However, the objects that reside in the real-world experience are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information. It alters a person’s ongoing perception of a real-world environment. It can be utilized in things like interactive books, skills training, or even scavenger hunts. Leading companies in their industries have been utilizing AR in their training. For example, General Motors uses Google Glass, special augmented reality glasses, to allow real-time training of their factory workers. Rather than having to pull workers off the shop floor and send them to expensive, typically off-site training courses to learn how to do difficult tasks like installing grip molding, they put on AR Google Glass. The visual overlay provided by the glass allows them to see the correct technique as they perform the task.
Gamification has proven to significantly improve the learning experience, as it provides motivation to act, which promotes cognition. It helps develop behavioral change through repetition and information retrieval, in addition to giving learners a sense of achievement. According to a 2013 Gartner report, 70% of business transformation efforts fail due to lack of engagement. It can be as simple as using a leaderboard for course-level assessments or as complex as utilizing 3-D virtual environments with social collaboration. Adding these game-based elements, such as scoring, timed activities and rewards can help improve motivation and learning. Additionally, 80% of learners claimed learning would be more productive if it were more game-oriented, according to Deloitte.
Three Things to Consider Before Implementation
Many business leaders are concerned about the complexity of technical integration with their existing infrastructure and the high up-front costs. Most companies do not have an in-house expert creating VR/AR experiences and need to hire a third party. If you are thinking about implementing reality technologies to enhance the learning experience, then consider these three points before doing so:
- Understand what your organization needs from these learning experiences
When developing your company’s learning program, consider the type of knowledge your employees need to retain and how that knowledge will be used in their roles. Through this consideration you will be able to gain a better perspective of what type of reality technology would fit best with your corporate learning needs.
- Estimate your ROI
Before undertaking any large transformation within a company, one must assess the impact of these decisions, and that includes implementing VR, AR and gamification elements into training. You should assess the expected benefits from the training in terms of increased performance, decreased errors, and potential productivity gains. Next, compare it to the costs associated with the implementation. The cost and difficultly in creating VR content could be significant in order to make it a reality for your business. A simple cost-benefit analysis will help you greatly in this decision.
- Think big, but start small
Consider creating a pilot program and testing it with a small group of employees. Does it create decreased errors? Are the employees more productive? Has it increased sales or created stronger customer relationships? Conduct follow up interviews to see how the employees liked it. See how it was adopted. Learn from your pilot program and build out a larger use case and deployment from there.
Over the past year, companies like SAP Switzerland, KFC, Wal-Mart, and UPS have been experimenting with virtual reality, finding creative ways to enhance the onboarding experience and improve collaboration. VR technology offers immersive learning opportunities for an increasingly broad range of experiences, and VR training offers measurable improvements in learning outcomes. Research has indicated that many employees do not find their current office “smart” enough, with 49% of Gen Z employees in Singapore believing that VR can revolutionize work. VR offers the ability to explore unchartered territories and locations that are difficult to explore physically. All of this new technology can be overwhelming, but CoreAxis provides its clients with custom virtual reality training and ensures it fulfills the needs of your staff and management teams. Click here to learn more about our innovative learning solutions!