Updated: Mar 7, 2019
"The understanding is now spreading that enterprise applications of VR are no longer the stuff of dreams. Training is just one such ideal application, and people skills training using VR may just be the killer app."
A VR blogger--who goes by the interesting name of "Skarredghost"--recently noticed that VR has fallen off the Gartner Hype Cycle. As that Gartner chart is arguably the best known tracker of early stage technology maturity, Skarredghost wondered what it meant. So he asked them, "Why?"
Gartner's response, excerpted from their recent report, was this:
"Virtual Reality – This technology is rapidly approaching a much more mature stage, which moves it off the emerging technology class of innovation profiles."
The understanding is now spreading that enterprise applications of VR are no longer the stuff of dreams. Training is just one such ideal application, and people skills training using VR may just be the killer app.
VR, in particular when enhanced with AI to support intelligent branching and analytics, can at last be used to implement practical real world immersive scenarios that enable enterprise learners--whether people managers, sales executives, customer success leads or others--to practice key people skills in a realistic yet safe setting.
We are at a point where VR can begin to provide many of the benefits of an in-person, instructor led training, plus some unique advantages, including reducing or eliminating time that would otherwise be spent traveling to a training facility, or otherwise taking valuable time away from employees' most productive work.
VR can be used during workshops to make simulated exercises more real, while tracking actual soft skills behaviors. Perhaps more importantly, it can be used for continuing practice once learners are on their own, maximizing long term retention per opportunity cost.
Moreover, with VR, the right learning is what sticks. Instead of merely responding to "knowledge recall" style questions on a quiz, or self-reported measures, with AI enhanced VR, learners can practice and be measured on actual skills they need to get their best results in working with others--skills like learning to show respect, value diversity, manage performance, practice inclusion, and get results through building truly collaborative and sustainable teams and connections with others.
Indeed, VR is no longer hype; it is a practical tool for cost effective behavioral change. So if you've been thinking about beginning now to explore the use of VR for people skills training, it's safe to say you're onto something.