Rumour has it a new myth about VR training is born every day. The more people hear about virtual reality (VR) technology, the more misconceptions are fabricated, including new speculations and concerns. Is VR training here to stay? Is VR training expensive? Unhygienic even? As we’ll see, the majority of misconceptions about VR training come from concerns caused by misinformation. Let’s debunk them and start spreading the right facts.
1. VR Training Is Expensive, Especially At Scale
FALSE. Research finds that VR training is actually cost-effective, especially at scale. Once owned, VR hardware can be utilised for other training and virtual experiences in the future. In this sense, VR devices and accessories can be used to plan further simulations and practising exercises for as many times as needed.
PwC research states that the higher the number of learners involved in a VR session, the more costs are saved. With that in mind, VR costs become 52% less than that of a traditional training setting. It is also a result of VR training working on a schedule to upskill a great number of users with short and effective exercises. This allows employees to go back to work sooner.
Unsurprisingly, VR experiences offer a higher return on investment, especially at scale, than traditional, in-person training (e.g. seminars, presentations, etc..). Not only that, but VR training also allows to track performance during the training, so there are no added costs to monitoring assessment results.
2. VR Training Requires A Lot Of Space
FALSE. Space is an important factor in determining users’ engagement in the training, so this myth arises from a real concern. This misconception is influenced by the idea that a room is not big enough to host VR experiences. Most of the research on spatial friction in VR comes from participants living in shared accommodation and/or only having access to a bedroom to freely and safely use VR.
However, when it comes to VR training, it’s a different story. Training is controlled, planned and crafted to be delivered safely and for specific needs and learning outcomes. So, VR training solutions can be tailored to fit the space available. VR training is also safer than traditional training. During the training session, certain spaces that otherwise wouldn’t be accessible or would not be able to host multiple individuals/sessions can be recreated. A clear example of this is hazard and safety assessment training, including dangerous scenarios in the construction or engineering industry.
3. VR Training Is Distracting And Counterproductive
FALSE. Picture a traditional training exercise or workshop, maybe someone is giving a presentation and you feel the urge to check your phone, just for a minute… It’s completely normal. We’ve all been there, following a PowerPoint is not the most exciting experience. Now, imagine a training opportunity free from real-world distractions. In this environment, learning is actually stimulating and you’re fully immersed in an environment shaped to maximise your experience. Much better? That’s what VR training aims to do, ensuring deep focus and immersion, the learning outcomes are reached with satisfaction.
In fact, research by the University of Warwick (2018) finds that among traditional (textbook style), VR and video (a passive control), learners in VR conditions performed better. They also demonstrated better knowledge acquisition and memory retention as compared to traditional setting learners.
Not only is VR training less distracting than traditional training, but it also guarantees safety. This is especially true when it comes to identifying hazards, improving recognition levels by over 42%, as a study by the North Carolina State University (2017) found.
In training hard skills (e.g. construction, engineering, safety measures and procedures), if the trainees are not paying attention, they will witness the consequences of their distractions right before their eyes in VR. This will be a shocking and memorable lesson to be learnt when a specific task may be life-threatening in the real world. In this sense, VR training is more productive than other forms of training, being safer and more engaging.
4. VR Training Is Unhygienic
FALSE. While this is a real concern in a post-COVID-19 era, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true.
VR headsets can be and should be sanitised. Most companies use solutions such as Cleanbox, a device that uses UVC light to decontaminate the headsets while causing no damage to the hardware itself. Other options include replacements with waterproof face pads so that headsets can be cleaned and disinfected to guarantee users’ safety and hygiene. Manufacturers like Pico have designed their new headsets to be more hygienic by introducing a foam mask that is easier to clean and disinfect for a safe experience.
Offering great VR training not only means delivering the training but also explaining sanitisation choices noted above to the organisations and users involved in the experience. It is essential to offer risk assessments and evaluations to determine which of the current disinfecting methods are the best suited for the particular training session.
5. VR Training Sessions Are Very Long
FALSE. VR training is highly time-efficient. The average VR training session lasts around 20 minutes thanks to it being more focused and participants less distracted. As you can imagine, this means that it takes less time to learn what’s being taught. VR learners complete training 4 times faster while still reaching learning outcomes and goals.
This only goes to show that the immersive training doesn’t need to be painfully long, as long as it’s focused!
6. All VR Training Makes Users Sick
FALSE. Cybersickness remains a challenge for the immersive industry. But most of the time it happens because of the incorrect optimisation and development for that device. Sickness can appear due to a bad frame rate, misunderstanding of the locomotion or how to move the user within the VR experience/space.
As a 2021 report explains, sickness occurs because VR content needs to restore harmony between the visual and vestibular systems of the body.
Sickness-free VR training is possible and an advanced VR training development process can guarantee it!
7. VR Training Isn’t Here To Stay
FALSE. Remember when years ago people used to say:
“Why do I need a smartphone to search the internet when I have a computer at home?”
With hindsight, it is quite a realisation that we all use smartphones every day, including when reading this article. As with all new technologies, scepticism is expected but it won’t stop innovation.
In fact, recent reports on VR market trends show an increasing growth of VR consumption, meaning VR is becoming more accessible. The global virtual reality market size was valued at USD 15.81 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.0% from 2021 to 2028.
With endless possibilities of sociality, organisational training and more, virtual reality is here to stay and improve. New technologies are coming out each day and it’s becoming difficult to follow how fast VR is progressing. But we are here for it!
These trends prove that the long-term benefits of immersive training are a new way forward. VR training is significantly more engaging and productive as well as being an efficient way to learn.
Rethink The Way You Learn
VR training guarantees a higher attention rate and, all in all, the satisfaction of having learnt something new. VR can also help learners improve awareness around the training itself, especially in dangerous settings. For example in the industrial sector, where traditional training is rarely done. That is, VR training allows for learning to be done in a safe environment that can be recreated anywhere and anytime.
We have now debunked seven of the most popular misconceptions about VR training, but our quest for spreading the right information about VR has just begun!
To read more about the use of virtual reality for training and education, click here to head down to our Insights Education section.