View source: Russ Rive 

Immersive technologies generate realistic environments and situations to get as close as possible to the first-hand experience.

Saying that the world has changed in the past few months is certainly an understatement. Every aspect of living has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, from the way people shop to the design of everyday items. Nowhere is this better reflected than in the work sector. In fact, the way people complete their jobs has likely changed forever.

Many will continue to work from home and others are or will be faced with new measures and procedures upon returning to their workplaces. A perfect reflection of the changing workplace is safety training. These are critical for the smooth functioning of any industrial or office environment. However, employers struggle to find ways to onboard and train new employees while still implementing unique and ever-changing health measures.

Here is where immersive technologies can step in and provide real solutions for safety training and onboarding.

What is ‘immersive training’?

You may have heard about immersive technologies before. They’ve come a long way in recent years and can be found in some form in many consumer electronics, for example, in smartphones. A smartphone can now launch a full-on immersive training experience using features such as accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Virtual reality allows the user to experience a 3D world by using a headset and some form of motion tracking. One of the many advantages of this technology is that it creates a fully immersive and believable experience for the user. Augmented reality lets the user experience images generated by a computer or smartphone superimposed on the user’s real field of view, but still interacting with the real world.

With the pandemic’s onset, many employers have deemed it unsafe for their workers to share headsets or mobile phones to receive safety training. Fortunately, immersive training is not limited to these devices. Web browsers are also powerful tools to aid in training employees. Companies that offer this service can tailor-make digital training environments that emulate the tasks they’ll be undertaking on the job. Doing so bypasses the use of a headset and doesn’t require you to download any new apps.

Advantages of employee training

Although there are other mediums to do safety training, such as slideshows and videos, the best way to learn something is by doing it. Immersive technologies generate realistic environments and situations to get as close as possible to the first-hand experience.

The ability to customize these training environments offers a significant advantage. Employers can emphasize areas of training and pieces of information that are key for their workers to know. An example of this is creating training modules that are unlocked once a task has been fulfilled. With an immersive training environment, workers can replay the task as many times as they require.

Storytelling is a fantastic way to promote engagement and information retention during training. By using immersive training, employers can gamify safety training environments. This includes the addition of characters and overall scores. Other narrative elements that may be included are the use of plot and storylines. Training can be designed to be collaborative. Engaging more than one employee at a time brings them closer to what a real-life experience would be like, and lets employers measure the effectiveness of their teamwork efforts.

Immersive training encourages participants to dedicate their full attention to the training by helping mitigate distractions. This makes training sessions incredibly engaging and even fun. It also provides a safe environment for candidates to commit mistakes that, in real life, could be costly and even dangerous. All of this contributes to better assimilation of information and increased memory retention rates.

Using these solutions for safety training and onboarding provides you with valuable data about the participants’ performance, highlights problem areas, and identifies employees who require further training. The metrics compiled from immersive training are an excellent way to calculate your investment return over these efforts. They also can help manage workers’ compensation costs by preventing injuries or highlighting areas of potential injury.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made us transition to a new way of life. There is a desperate need for new solutions that permit life to continue with some kind of normalcy. Immersed training solutions provide organizations with technology that effectively trains their employees while still preserving physical distancing. Yes, these times are being defined by the physical distance we have to take from each other, but technology can provide solutions to help us work together.