Virtual reality (VR) is infiltrating the news more and more every day, and growing at an exponential rate. In fact, VR is predicted to have its first billion dollar year in 2016. We most often hear of virtual reality being used in the video gaming industry or for watching the latest blockbusters, but many developers are starting to use VR to change the way we do business. And not just for the technology industry, but for all kinds of businesses. Job positions traditionally considered “blue collar” are starting to pick up on this trend and take advantage of VR technology for their business processes and for training their employees.

Virtual reality has already proven to be more effective, efficient, and well-liked by employees and employers alike. It provides many benefits across many different categories that help businesses improve productivity and attract new workers to many different job fields.

Virtual reality combines effective training with innovative technology.

Virtual reality is changing the game in the same massive proportion that the introduction of the internet did in the 1990s. It has already improved the way we perform various functions, learn from our actions, and train for different tasks, as I have experienced in my industry, equipment operation. For workers who drive heavy pieces of machinery like forklifts, virtual reality will become an essential way for employees to train for their various tasks. Risk and danger are constant companions on the job everyday, and virtual reality can provide a platform for training that more effectively teaches workers how to navigate the equipment and learn using proven methods for knowledge retention. Most people learn the best through trial and error, and virtual reality provides the platform for new employees to make mistakes and learn from them without actually putting anyone at risk, including fellow employees and the equipment.

Not only is virtual reality training a more effective way to train employees than in-person demonstrations and written instruction that fall short of delivering a complete lesson but it also is cost-effective and time-efficient. We are truly entering the age of innovation and age-old teaching practices working in unison.

VR training is shifting people’s attitude towards skilled labor jobs.

The baby boomer generation, that up until recently has made up the majority of the work force, is continuing to age. By 2020, baby boomers will either be entering retirement or enjoying the beginning of their retirement. The wave of the Millennial generation is close to the shore of the corporate world and in only a few years will account for almost half of the nation’s working professionals. It is crucial that businesses wake up to the power and appeal of technology to attract Millennials into their company if they don’t want to age and die off like the baby boomer generation. Millennials are considered the generation of innovation, growing up in a world that is constantly changing and improving. Businesses need to prove that they are moving forward with the future of technology, by taking advantage of virtual reality.

Traditionally viewed “blue collar jobs,” like construction and manufacturing, are turning to VR to train their employees to provide a safer, more creative way to learn new skills, and to show Millennials that they are not planning to get left behind in the modern world we live in today. Hopefully, in doing so, the push to enter skilled labor professions will be reignited and accepted among our society as respectable fields to go into that offer plenty of opportunity for personal growth.

VR changes the way workers think of on-the-job training for otherwise risky positions.

The most important factor pushing virtual reality to the top of modern innovation in all parts of our lives is that it shifts mindsets of previous realities, like on-the-job training, and opens people’s eyes to what is possible. Otherwise high-risk jobs like equipment operators are now becoming more of a possibility to new workers because the risks that used to exist are diminishing thanks to VR technology. Immersive googles and gloves takes viewers into another world, and even simple apps that are viewed using 3D glasses provide for a totally different way of learning a new skill that is necessary for our country to keep improving. In addition to training employees in the most efficient and effective way possible, allowing them to make mistakes and learn from them without any of the repercussions, virtual reality is changing the way businesses train their employees through these advantages:

  • Improved safety in on-the-job training
  • Low-cost, comprehensive education for new employees
  • Increased productivity
  • Saves time and money with remote learning
  • Works for various learning styles
  • Makes training enjoyable and engaging

Virtual reality is a powerful tool, but it doesn’t have to be complicated to take advantage of all of its many benefits for training. My company, a forklift operator training platform, has developed an app that is viewed with 3D glasses. It demonstrates to students how to operate a forklift, and actually takes them through a few common accidents that occur in the real world.

Take advantage of how virtual reality can change the way you train your employees by starting with small implementations and improve the overall processes of your entire business.

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