So what can Learning & Development learn from children’s education and the use of virtual reality? Recently I attended one of Europe largest exhibitions for technology in education. The show is called BETT and took place in London’s ExCel Centre.
VR was everywhere
And before as a reader you start thinking these things cost £1000s if not £10000s have a look at this stand:
Quite simply, VR sets were everywhere. there were suppliers selling what can best be described as crates of VR headsets, with each crate containing 10-20 headsets. Now I am also sure the price was eyewatering for many of us. But what it shows is that this technology is no longer just for games or entertainment, but mainstream learning.
Can VR be used cost-effectively in “ordinary businesses today”?
I believe so. Let us have a look at one of the applications that was being shown, and see how this could be relevant to our applications
In these pictures,
users are being given the experience of walking around an environment in history that they could not experience in real life.
In the workplace, this could be used for dangerous or expensive environments. helping people experience things that the organisation does that is not practical to show at that time.
How VR could help learning for ordinary people
On the way home I was thinking about VR and if it has a place in the toolkits of most L&D/ change practitioners. Then it hit me. Of course it does. Even at a very simple low tech application. A situation many of us find ourselves in on a regular basis.
Imagine the scene. You are new to a company or site. You are given “the tour”. There is so much information to take in that 90% of it is forgotten. Where were the toilets (washrooms)? Where was the restaurant, the break room? Where are the stores? Where do HR sit? Where do I submit my expenses? Where is IT? Occupational Health etc…
Now imagine that as simple VR recording is made. One that points out routes. One that is recorded without people in the way. A method that helps you to remember to turn right at the water cooler and down the stairs to get to the canteen. A way to have a guided tour whenever they need it. As often as they need it.
Then a second recording that shows where people and functions are located. What Pat from IT looks like and where they sit. What Jerry from finance looks like and where they sit. Not everyone is good with name and faces! The ability to have a physical position associated with there face and name is 100s of factors better than a name and photo on an intranet on a flat set of materials.
You can look at this and do a virtual walk through BEFORE you do it for real, AND its available to you for a few days after. Repetition builds competence
Important for budgets, this can cost just a few £100!!
E-learning that works! E-learning that people will value.
Lots of other uses too
This will not be a one-trick pony. I am sure there are lots of other applications too. Once the kit is purchased, it can be used in lots of places. What is more, using the cardboard frames above. the users own phone can be used. so all we need to do is record the video and make it available via wifi!
Why have we not embraced technology to help people learn some of the basics? are we in L&D fearful? can you imagine that if this stuff is starting to be common in schools, those future employees will expect this too? If we as a profession want to remain relevant, we need to start building technology where appropriate into our toolkits. Technology is not going away. We need to learn to adapt fast!