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VR Training

Virtual reality training is finding its way into a variety of industries and training programs. But before deciding on a VR training solution, one needs to consider the best way to use VR training as a tool.

When building-out training programs and modules, we typically begin with an outline of our learning objectives. Our product team consults with subject matter experts to strategize and flesh-out the training content that will most effectively move the students to mastery of their learning objectives. Once we feel we have identified the right material, we leverage our team’s background in AAA-game design and development and begin to consider how best to deliver (read: actually teach) the content itself.

Determining the “best way” to deliver training content can quickly become complicated and debatable. Let’s consider some of the factors we should be weighing when we’re thinking about this part of training development:

  • Accessibility — What is the best way to make sure everyone that needs the training can get it as simply, conveniently, and cheaply as possible?
  • Realistic Scenarios and Environments — How can we best simulate the actual situations, environments, and scenarios that our students will face, both day-to-day and as they might present themselves over time?
  • Retention — What medium, cadence, and training techniques will help the student best retain the information when they return to their daily, on-the-job activities?

When you’re considering where and when virtual reality training is the appropriate approach or content delivery mechanism, we recommend this simple framework.

Considering this framework, and thinking about the next training program build-out, let’s look at when VR training makes the most sense. (Remember, anything can be virtualized, but it always makes sense to use the right tool for the right task.)

When realistic training is critical

Every trainer strives to make their training as practical as possible. We all want our students to go back into the field, and when faced with a challenge, think, “my training came in handy there.”

But, there are some situations where realism goes beyond a pure value add.

It should be no surprise that VR training is making some of its most significant impacts in places like construction, manufacturing, energy & utilities, and first responder training environments. These training programs have to be as realistic as possible if there is any hope of the trainee getting it right when the real world adds in complexity, stress, and urgency.

When on the job training is expensive

Training can get very expensive, especially in programs where there’s inherent complexity or when learning to do something — flawlessly — becomes a matter of life and death.

At PIXO VR, we provide several VR training modules in the area of construction safety training. Safety training is a perfect example of where virtual training makes a lot of sense (pun fully intended). To create a productive physical training environment, say, for Fall Protection training, you need a large warehouse or external space and a full array of structures, harnesses, tie-off points, and other equipment just to cover the basics of preventing harmful or potentially fatal falls, (which claim hundreds of lives each and every year).

Fall Protection safety training is just one example.

Think about the cost of recreating realistic and varied training scenarios for the rest of the so-called ‘Fatal Four’, (the four leading workplace killers on American construction sites), which are: Falls (as we just mentioned), Struck-by Object, Caught-in/between, and Electrocution deaths.

The sheer cost of physically simulating or replicating these kinds of common yet unpredictable dangers would be sky-high, (to say nothing of their impossibility to fully simulate in the physical, real world) — and is almost certainly why the Fatal Four is the Fatal Four. Even as a wealthy and fully industrialized nation, we just don’t do a very good job of training to avoid them, and cost is a big reason.

When training itself is dangerous

Many training environments or scenarios are just as hazardous as the job or task itself. In fact, in many industries, training injuries can rival actual workplace injuries.

Many training scenarios are degraded because they require putting students in precarious physical situations, hard to recreate positions, in and around different equipment, or because they require production operations to be shut down to train. These safety limitations that undermine realistic training are all too common in industries like defense, first responder, and construction training.

Imagine trying to realistically train someone how to avoid getting shot by a co-workers’ malfunctioning nail gun, or to avoid being pinned to a structure by a forklift, or to dodge a backhoe — without actually putting them at risk in a “live-fire” demonstration. With hazards such as those Fatal Four scenarios, about the best we can do with current training methods is simply to tell someone to “look out” for these dangers or to read about cases where it’s happened. That’s hardly sufficient training.

In contrast, VR training can almost entirely remove the possibility of training injury, without compromising the integrity and realism of the training scenario.  

When realistic scenarios are rare

Regardless of whether you’re considering virtual reality or not, many current training programs tend to forget to include outlier scenarios.

These unusual or infrequent situations can be especially valuable in improving trainees problem-solving and decision-making skills. Adding in these scenarios are also crucial training for jobs where it’s critical for workers to get things right when faced with unique or unexpected challenges.

VR training provides an excellent opportunity to infuse your training with a variety of non-standard, infrequent, or even downright bizarre randomized scenarios. PIXO VR’s unique ability to change things up keeps training realistic and trainees on their toes.

When a high degree of judgment is required  

Traditional training techniques can neglect the variability needed to evaluate judgment, problem-solving, and decision-making.

When teaching these kinds of soft skills, it’s common to present a variety of case studies and real-world examples during training sessions. The goal, of course, is to show enough relevant examples to help students correctly identify and respond to similar situations.

The problem comes in adequately evaluating the acquisition and retention of these problem-solving skills.

The most common traditional training approach is to use a multiple choice assessment. More advanced training evaluations may include a practical assessment. But both of these tools suffer a strong coaching bias — meaning the right answer is always available as a choice. Developing better training assessment is one area where VR training can provide a far superior alternative.  

Virtual reality assessment modules can safely drop your trainee into a variety of scenarios, completely unsupported — forcing them to figure things out on the fly. Add to this virtual reality’s singular ability to present trainers with a “god’s eye view” and evaluation perspective, and you have an ideal assessment tool.

When observation and evaluation is difficult

We’ve touched on this throughout the article, but training assessments can be challenging. Difficulties in measuring learning retention are especially real in the case of intricate, complex, or dangerous jobs. Trying to design an effective assessment tool or merely trying to observe the trainee during testing can be nearly impossible.

As software, PIXO VR’s virtual reality experiences have the game-changing ability to present built-in assessments along the way, from an omniscient viewpoint. There’s no need to figure out how to physically get an instructor into position to see what a trainee is doing, the entire VR Training session is being tracked down to the most minuscule detail, (including recording the trainees’ first-person perspective — what we call “gaze tracking” — what a trainee is actually looking at).

Virtual reality training is ideal in overcoming some of the most common training and assessment challenges. The unique opportunity to design and construct a realistic, affordable, and optimized training environment, with the added benefit of built-in observation and assessment make VR training a perfect fit for many enterprise training programs.

Have questions about the opportunities and effectiveness of introducing virtual reality into your training programs? Talk to a PIXO VR Training expert today!

Photo by Billetto Editorial on Unsplash

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VR Training

Customers often come to PIXO VR with an all-or-nothing mindset when it comes to virtual reality training. However, more often than not we are recommending VR training as complementary, not a “rip and replace” solution to their current program.

That’s why we prepared this handy list of some of the most common places where VR training can improve or enhance your current training program.

Complicated or Hard to Evaluate Skills

Virtual reality, since it’s software, is particularly well suited for gathering and evaluating data associated with complex activities performed in the VR training environment.

If your current training program is required to teach things that are complicated or difficult to evaluate then VR training might be the solution.

Developing assessments that can accurately evaluate a student required to accomplish multiple steps in a precise sequence, or in a dynamic course of actions based on a decision-tree can be nearly impossible. However, computers, and specifically virtual reality software, are very good at measuring and evaluating these kinds of activities.

Similarly, virtual reality software can help construct environments and build-in assessments for scenarios that are difficult to replicate in a traditional training environment. Construction safety training is a good example. It can be tough to replicate a construction job site much less evaluate a trainee thirteen stories high, cutting a steel girder or sitting in a tiny bucket and repairing downed electrical wires.

High Risk or Dangerous Training Scenarios

Often, training programs are forced to avoid critical areas of training because the training scenarios are inherently dangerous. This lack of practice or realism can put your trainees at risk in the real world workplace.

Again, the benefit of virtual reality software is that you can create a photorealistic simulation that puts the trainee in the most extreme and hazardous situations, but with complete safety. What’s more, the advances in current VR training technology will give your students the equivalent experiences of stress, distraction, and urgency that can further complicate these dangerous situations.

Practicing Infrequent, But Important Situations

Many current training programs rely on an extensive amount of on-the-job training. Often, this is some of the most effective and valuable training that a new or transitioning employee can receive. This training format puts them in direct contact with the tasks and challenges they will face on an average day.

But what about those critical moments when they will encounter something that is rare, but not necessarily unknown?

Training and EH&S (environmental health and safety) departments are often full of stories of bizarre or uniquely challenging scenarios that our trainees are likely to encounter eventually, but will probably not have the opportunity to experience or practice in on the job training. Adding to the importance of finding a solution to exposing students and giving them a few practices in a training environment is the fact that, often, these are situations that will require them to do things correctly or someone could get seriously hurt.

Just for example, here are a few industry-specific scenarios to get your mind thinking of similar challenges in your own training programs:

  1. AEROSPACE: Recovering positive control when a pilot encounters icing during a flight
  2. UTILITIES: Proper procedures if personnel are caught on a tower when a fast-moving storm system approaches
  3. MILITARY & FIRST RESPONDERS: Facing a potential “blue-on-blue” (friendly fire) scenario during urban combat operations

Each of these scenarios is unlikely to be experienced during initial on-the-job training, and are not wise to recreate in a real-world simulation. However, each would be easy to generate in a VR training environment that would allow the student or trainee maximum leeway for catastrophic failure — and critically — as many repetitions as they need until they perform the proper actions flawlessly.

Improving Efficiency of Onboarding or Cross-training

One of the most common reasons we neglect proper training is because it is often inefficient to achieve within normal business operations. We either have to try to train large groups quickly or shut down production to turn a functioning workplace into a static training environment.

VR training, especially as the equipment continues to become simpler and more straightforward, can be the easiest and most cost-effective way to give more employees high quality, fully immersive — and interactive — training.

With PIXO VR, not only can your trainees experience photorealistic environments and situations, they can also interact and learn as a team while geographical separated, even by thousands of miles. Our multi-user functionality allows you to train up to dozens of employees in a single environment at the same time. You can also give them the same high quality of training you would with physical, in-person training.

All of this without the loss of productivity and expense of traveling to a training class or shutting down a facility.

Retooling or Updating Procedures

Processes and procedures change. Unfortunately, updates to training manuals and course materials can be expensive and slow to reflect those changes. As a result, many employees still use the protocols and procedures they learned in their initial training — processes that have long since been found to be inefficient, incorrect in some important way, or even dangerous.

If you’re using VR training, the software can be efficiently refactored to roll out new processes the next time a trainee dons their VR headset. Perhaps even more valuable is the ability to actually test new methods and measure their effectiveness or safety before you turn them into standard operating procedures.

Virtual reality training has the power to improve not just the trainee’s performance, but the training itself.

Low Productivity or Poor Performance

Are there areas of your business operations that are consistently experiencing low productivity or poor performance? Are there procedures or goals that employees continually miss?

Virtual reality training is a great way to dig into why these things are happening. By putting experienced employees or supervisors into a virtual reality simulation, you can test and refine these problem areas. Through a series of realistic simulations, you can troubleshoot the most likely real-world pain points. Then, with a hypothesis in hand, you can begin to test alternative processes and approaches to eliminate the bottleneck or remove the risky part of your existing operations.

Solutions worked out in virtual reality can then be incorporated into future VR training and rolled out across real-world operations as new, well-validated procedures.

Lowering the Cost of Expensive Training Programs

One of the best places to start introducing the benefits of VR training is by looking to offset the raw expense of current training processes.

Here are a few great examples of training where VR can create real efficiency:

  • Training that requires travel, which can be expensive and a drag on both profitability and productivity
  • Training that requires teams or employees in different locations to collaborate
  • Training that requires elaborate or custom (read: expensive) training environments
  • Training that requires extensive on-the-job training

Each of these examples can use one or more of the unique benefits of VR training that often lower training costs:

  • VR training can be done on-site or off-site with minimal specialized equipment
  • VR training can connect people thousands of miles apart in a single interactive training environment
  • VR software can simulate even the most complex and nuanced training environments and situations
  • VR training can efficiently run trainees through a full library of common and uncommon scenarios — including disasters or emergencies — to get them up to full speed faster, no matter the challenges they might face

It’s easy for some to get caught up in the high-tech angle of VR training and miss its obvious and highly practical advantages. Think of virtual reality training as just another teaching method. The technology and cost of this method have become so accessible that it’s less about whether you should introduce VR training, but where to use it first.

Are you considering introducing Virtual Reality into your current workforce training program? Contact one of our VR Training experts today to discuss your specific needs.


Photo by Anthony Ginsbrook on Unsplash

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Construction Safety Training, News, Virtual Reality, VR Training

In 2016, there were 370 fatal falls out of 991 construction fatalities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction safety and fall protection training, in particular, is a severe problem that needs a better solution. Consider this true story…

Bill enters the job trailer, after a little small talk, he grabs his harness. Giving it a quick once-over he puts it on along with the rest of his safety equipment, like every other day for months.

On his short walk over to the construction elevator, his mind wanders off. He wonders if his daughter remembered the appropriate bow to accent her cheer uniform for this afternoon’s football game. Otherwise, he’s going to get a panicked text message on his way home to track it down and get it to her before kick-off — just like last week.

A quick and sudden jerk brings him back to reality as the elevator abruptly stops and opens to a scaffolding catwalk, three stories up. After a little over a month on this job site, this view is pretty standard stuff. He hooks up his safety line and walks out to where he’s working this morning and gets to it.

A little over thirty minutes into the job, he reaches down for a tool. Suddenly Bill feels uneasy. Then he realizes the platform is giving way under him. Just as what’s happening fully hits him, he tries to grab for something, anything to stop his fall. He feels himself helplessly flailing.

Just as he begins to panic, he lurches to a stop. He thinks, “My harness!” Thank goodness for my…

Something snaps and Bill falls three stories to his death.

Luckily, today Bill is doing fall protection training in a safe, but shockingly realistic, virtual reality training environment. But, the missed fracture in the D-ring on his harness is an oversight that is not likely to ever go missed again.

Our ability to identify and assess risk is acquired through training and experience. In the case of construction workers, this training can be just as dangerous and unforgiving as the actual day-to-day, on-the-job experience. Which is precisely why the benefits of virtual reality training for construction safety is so compelling.

Let’s review just a few of the most important benefits of using VR training in your construction training program.

1. Virtual Reality Provides a Safer Training Environment

Construction is inherently dangerous.

Not only are the skilled construction activities dicey — moving tons of lumber, drywall, steel, and other building materials, pouring thousands of pounds of concrete, running and connecting electricity, and on and on — but we also put these men and women in tiny buckets and on narrow scaffolding at dizzying heights.

Then, we ask them to stay safe.

Keeping these workers safe is its own dangerous game. Putting these folks into realistic training scenarios is essential. To be effective, this training must recreate not only realistic scenarios, but also the emotions, sensations, and distractions that haunt these hazardous work environments.

Historically, attempts to achieve quality construction safety training has required building large, expensive, and roughly equivalent construction environments. Of course, in recreating these simulated construction sites, you necessarily recreate, to some extent, all of the same danger zones and risks of injury and even death.

Virtual Reality Training solves many of the safety issues inherent in the traditional safety training that many construction companies continue to use. The VR training environment is 100% safe and gives an arguably more accurate construction environment in which to train.

2. Ability to Create Riskier, More Realistic Training

Creating physical construction simulations has so many limitations. Try finding a training facility that can accommodate a fifteen story superstructure, swinging tons of steel with an enormous crane, or pouring thousands of pounds of cement footing.

It’s impossible. So, what do we do?

We build structures to reasonable heights, we swing simulated loads, and we role play or inject equivalent distractions. The limitation of the physical world, training budgets, and rational risk tolerances force us to train in environments that can only simulate a tiny fraction of the real risks and hazards of a real job site.

Virtual reality training allows us to push training exercises to the very edge of realism, up to and including deadly hazards and actions.

Simulating the actual hazards and results of following (or not following) safety procedures is one powerful advantage. We can practice most, if not all, of the hazardous activities that a worker will be expected to perform in accordance with the project plan. Also, they can practice these assignments under the same working conditions they will experience on the job site.

With VR training you can also introduce the realistic sensations of heights, distractions, stress, and environmental hazards. These mental and emotional hazards are often missed in training because we simply can’t push the risk envelope.

3. Virtual Reality Training Allows for Endless Repetition

Repetition is the secret to mastery.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his best selling book Outliers: The Story of Success, introduces the idea that mastery in a well-defined discipline can be achieved with approximately 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. In construction, that kind of repetition is prohibitively expensive, and consequently, the majority of that deliberate practice necessarily takes place on-the-job.

Virtual reality training has the power to make this level of deliberate practice much more, well, practical. The incremental cost of running a VR training scenario is de minimus, unlike more traditional training in the physical world.

With VR training, workers get to strap on the VR headset and go at it again and again until they can accomplish the task flawlessly — and safely.

4. Real Life is Random. Virtual Reality Software Can Generate That Randomness

We all know that the world is full of random moments. However, when most training is being designed, that kind of unpredictable randomness — interruptions, distractions, weather, changes of all kinds — is marginalized or removed in order to maintain focus on the teaching of core concepts. Unfortunately, when this is done, realism is reduced and training becomes less contextual and relevant to the real world.

We often think we’re basically “stuck” with this less-than-optimal training for a variety of reasons. The two most common challenges in randomizing training are cost and trainee evaluation. In the physical world, it is simply too expensive to build the requisite number of training scenarios. In this same constraining physical world, it’s difficult or impossible for trainers to effectively evaluate trainee performance when there are too many extraneous secondary scenarios and variables.

Once again, virtual reality software removes those barriers. The best VR training modules are just now introducing randomization of the kind you might experience in a high-quality video game. Randomization ensures you never “teach to the test”, or allow trainees to temporarily memorize “the hard parts” of certain lessons — things they might quickly forget after the completion of their training.

What’s more, this randomization comes at no increase in cost and leverages one of the most significant advantages of premium virtual reality training: much of the trainee evaluation is baked into the software itself.

5. Virtual Reality Provides a Safe Environment to Test and Evaluate Procedures

When we think about administering training, we often forget about the testing and evaluation that has to go into validating the actual training. In construction safety training, this is particularly important.

Too often, we rely on assumptions, or even worse, accident reports to develop and assess our safety procedures. This approach is made even more ineffective by the fact that construction safety is often dynamic, based on the current project plan, available equipment, and working conditions/environment — all factors that probably should require refinements in on-site safety procedures.

With virtual reality training software, we can construct scenarios that are specific to the job site or project planning scenarios and then realistically and safely test and evaluate those procedures. You can also test project plans to ensure that you are creating project plans that are realistic and can be safely executed.

6. Immersive VR Training Can Increase Trainee Focus

How many times have you been in a training room and your attention wanders? Thinking about lunch, returning a text message, wondering why you’re covering this again, just waiting for it to end, or simply daydreaming are only a few examples of all-too-human mental distractions that can degrade the training process.

Sitting in a classroom or even waiting in line for your turn on the platform are all limitations of the physical training environment; restrictions that allow for trainees to lose focus and miss critical points of instruction.

Virtual reality has the advantage of being fully immersive. Because VR training strives to fully replicate the physical world and all of the disparate elements in that real-world, you have to stay on your toes at all times. And while, depending on the supply of hardware, some trainees may have to wait to get into a VR headset, others can follow along, watching their journey and lesson unfold from a first-person perspective on a nearby HD screen, turning passive waiting into active learning.

This realistic and immersive training environment helps trainees maintain their attention and concentration on each training task posed to them.

7. Virtual Reality Training Gives Trainers Better Evaluation Tools

We previously mentioned the challenges of evaluating trainees and even the training itself. These challenges are particularly acute in construction training.

In many of the construction safety training programs used today, trainers are struggling to evaluate trainees under less than ideal circumstances. Trainers are either assessing from a safe, but obscured vantage point, or struggling to evaluate from the same precarious positions as the student – extreme heights, narrow spaces, unstable platforms.

In contrast, a training environment constructed with virtual reality software can put trainers in the best possible position to observe and evaluate their trainees. Besides, the software can also capture data points that help analyze why trainees are experiencing success and failure – view and movement tracking as well as biometrics.

Another benefit to evaluating training in virtual reality is the simplicity of collecting and analyzing data – no more clipboards and tally sheets.

8. Training Can Be Customized for Specific Sites, Scenarios, and Standards

Every company and job site is unique. And no matter how consistent we try to be with construction safety, the real-world will always throw some curveballs our way.

Each project will likely have its own special challenges and problems because of location, unique requirements, weather, or just the complexity of the project itself. General construction safety training can leave workers exposed to or unfamiliar with local job hazards.

Virtual reality software provides a huge advantage in the flexibility and costs to offer site- and company-specific construction training.

Physical training facilities rarely can be reconfigured to approximate any particular job site realistically. And most construction projects can’t absorb the lost time and additional cost of shutting down portions of a job site for training.Necessarily, with increased customization comes increased cost, but these costs will almost certainly pale in comparison to those of closing a real-world job site for one or more days for training purposes, or the inherent risks of O.J.T., (on-the-job training) for the same purpose.Further, different companies often have slightly different ways of doing things; specific protocols and standards that help define how a company operates. Premium VR training can accommodate these variations for a more tailored training experience.

9. Virtual Reality Can Make Training More Efficient

Many of the benefits that we have reviewed so far point to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of virtual reality over traditional, physical training environments.

Virtual reality training allows for your construction training safety programs to be far more relevant, site-specific, frequent, and repeatable without significantly increasing cost or time. In fact, studies and real-world applications of VR Training show it drives down the time needed to learn the same information usually taught with more traditional training methods. This Deloitte Insights article points out that in 2017, KFC employed a VR Training simulation to help teach their trainees their world-famous “secret recipe” for preparing chicken. According to KFC, with VR, trainees mastered the five steps needed to make the brand’s namesake fried chicken in just 10 minutes — as compared to the 25 minutes needed to the learn the same thing using conventional training.

10. Virtual Reality Training Research Indicates Higher Retention

All the training in the world is worthless unless it sticks.

While VR Training is still relatively new, there is a lot of research around what helps trainees to retain their training. Many of these factors are inherent characteristics of virtual reality training.

Here are just a few VR training characteristics that increase retention:

  • Consistency – By using software, even with randomization, every training scenario can be reliably delivered in a precise and controlled way.

  • Frequency – VR training can be run over and over again with no additional incremental cost or trainee risk.

  • Relevance – Software allows us to reconfigure and customize the training environment cheaply.

  • Immersion – Virtual reality gives us the luxury of dropping a trainee into a fully immersive and realistic training environment that can be pushed to extremes.

The research continues to reaffirm the overall effectiveness of virtual reality training, especially in studies targeted explicitly at the challenges of delivering construction safety training.

Bonus: Virtual Reality Training Lowers Training Costs

By this point, you’ve probably already picked up on the thread of cost savings throughout this list of benefits. Using software and some relatively inexpensive hardware can slash the cost of realistically simulating a broad spectrum of construction hazards and evaluate the proper execution of safety procedures.

Cost-savings permeate all facets of a comprehensive safety training program. But, probably some of the biggest savings are realized in reducing the need to either physically create or travel to an adequate training facility or temporarily shutting down an actual job site to provide a viable training environment.

The bottom line is construction safety training is a non-negotiable expense. However, if you can do it at a fraction of the cost and time, and it’s more effective than the alternative, then the business case for VR training becomes overwhelming.

How PIXO VR Can Help Your Construction Safety Training

PIXO VR is currently developing a ‘Focus Fourpack’, providing Virtual Reality Training experiences concerned with construction’s “Fatal Four,” four of the leading workplace killers, responsible for more than half of the industry’s worker deaths in 2016. The first of these, PIXO VR Fall Protection, is now available, with the remaining three slated for completion by early 2019. The Fatal Four include:

  1. Falls – (38.7% of total construction deaths in 2016)

  2. Struck by Object – (9.4%)

  3. Electrocutions – (8.3%)

  4. Caught-in/between – (7.3%)

As the economy drives increased construction activity and our construction sites become increasingly complex and technological, these sad statistics will only decline if and when we improve and innovate our current training to make it more effective.

PIXO VR is aggressively working towards a VR Training solution that protects your workers with the most realistic and effective training environment available.

But, talk is cheap, we want the opportunity to show you.

Contact us to experience the cutting edge of construction safety training.

 
Photo by Tuan Minh on Unsplash
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VR Training

In 1982, TRON sparked our imaginations when a computer hacker was sucked into a “virtual reality” that lay within the very software that was just beginning to permeate our real world.


For a lot of folks, this was the first time they had heard of virtual reality. And although TRON was groundbreaking in many ways, it probably didn’t convince anyone that virtual reality was ever going to be more than an interesting way to play digital games.  

Yet decades before TRON put virtual reality into the popular culture there were scientists, researchers, programmers, and studios trying to figure out how to create virtual worlds and experiences.

In the 1960s, pockets of innovators were using 360-degree video, soundscapes, and mechanical contraptions to create moving simulations of flights, rides, and games. By the 1990s, VR games had reached a cost and quality that finally made them increasingly attractive to the broader public.

Some 50 years later, the promise of creating an alternative universe in virtual reality is actually becoming a reality. This incredible bit of seeming science fiction is now more accessible than ever via a relatively inexpensive screen and some awesome imagery courtesy of some highly talented software engineers and one a handful of hardware devices, like Oculus, Samsung, Google, and HTC.

So, here we are in 2018 and the question, as it should be with any great invention, is how can we use virtual reality to make the world a better place?


We at PIXO VR believe the idea of virtual reality safety training is truly one of those “making the world better” applications. Our VR training modules and environments are helping to create a better, safer tomorrow for a variety of industries like construction, manufacturing, and utilities.

Companies can now train their employees in photorealistic environments with VR headsets that mimic real-life work situations, provide immediate feedback as well as long-term data, lower training costs, overcome logistical hurdles, and avoid the inherent dangers often posed by a real-world training environment.

Every day, VR training is making the learning of new skills, tasks, and job sites more safe, effective, and inexpensive.

Employers worldwide are increasingly adding virtual reality to their training programs, training thousands of employees faster and more effectively. The benefits of this powerful and, yes, undeniably fun medium are becoming too numerous and compelling to overlook. Here are just a few of the benefits our customers are telling us they get from VR training.

Increased Scale and Efficiency

Getting everyone through required training can be challenging, but it’s often critical to enroll and transition-out fully trained and equipped employees as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, the more typical solutions — creating bigger classes, publishing more (frankly boring) training manuals, and assembling hours’ worth of wordy PowerPoint slides for employees to sit or click through — often degrade the overall effectiveness of training, even if the content itself is sound.

When companies attempt to boost both interest and realism by sending trainees through physical training simulations, (say an elevated platform for a heights training course off-site), these simulations are costly to use, logistically difficult to travel to, hard if not impossible to repeat, and with increased numbers of trainees comes a bottleneck that produces downtime as only one or two trainees progress through the course at a time.  

The other way they attempt to boost realism and interest is by actually shutting down an otherwise active worksite to conduct training simulations — a “solution” that carries with it a major price tag in terms of raw expense and lost productivity.

In contrast, PIXO VR’s interactive VR Training experiences allow employees to work together on a task in the same virtual environment — even if they are physically separated by thousands of miles. Adding to the efficiency, when we say “employees”, we’re not talking about one or two — PIXO’s proprietary, first-to-market technology allows up to dozens of users to participate at once.  

All of these training sessions, incidentally, can also be viewed live or recorded for later review, producing even more training opportunities.

Active Learning and (Virtual) Practice Make Perfect

It’s taken a while, but as the science has matured, companies are coming to realize their training activities would be enhanced if students had the opportunity to more freely and actively engage, especially with regard to physical activities; practicing and refining a manual task or interacting with other workers on their team or shift.

Practice makes perfect, as they say.

While it’s tough to create (or re-create) an environment where physical interaction or activity can be safely simulated, the benefits of doing so are becoming more apparent every day.

A steady stream of research is proving the superiority of VR as an active learning tool, particularly in the area of knowledge retention. Practicing a skill in VR rather than simply reading about it has shown increases in retention as much as 80%.

In effect, this means virtual practice makes perfect, too.

Gathering and Evaluating Data for Improvement

Data is always critical for improving processes and outcomes. Unfortunately, actually gathering the data can be difficult, and processing it into useful information is even more challenging.

Not so with VR. Virtual reality software can make gathering and analyzing your training data much more manageable, providing employers with unprecedented visibility into the capabilities (and shortcomings) of their workforce.  

In a virtual reality training environment, employees can be actively learning and receiving immediate feedback while trainers and employers gain insight into trends. This data can quickly inform both trainees and trainers as to what practices and procedures are valid and which ones might need to be refined for the future.

As the science suggests, VR Training delivers value to both users and organizations on Day One. But it is on Day One Hundred, or Day One Thousand — after weeks, months, or years of data on an organization’s training program is gathered and reviewed — that the ultimate value can be realized, as the business learns increasingly more, not just about its employees but about itself.

Unexpectedly Easy to Use

To some who are unfamiliar with the latest advances in the technology and its adoption, virtual reality can still seem a bit like science fiction. Add to this the fact that many people have yet to experience premium virtual reality and sometimes it still feels like a fanciful solution; a novelty.

But the fact of the matter is that VR training is a highly practical and immediately accessible solution for solving many common training challenges — and it’s getting more practical and accessible by the day.

The latest generation of VR hardware and software is nearly as easily learned and deployed as your current iPhone or Android smartphone. What’s more, the technical proficiency of students or instructors is hardly a factor. No matter their relative level of gaming experience, most who try a PIXO VR Training module for the very first time master the essential skills within a couple of minutes.  

Save Money

Most every company is spending thousands on training, and much of these dollars are being spent on non-learning costs — travel, meals, lodging, etc. — to facilitate the actual training. In other situations, the company has to shut down or suspend production to allow time or access to equipment to support necessary training. All wasted dollars.

Once again, VR training can solve many of these challenges.

A simple VR training setup facilitated by a few VR headsets and relevant software modules and you’ll be saving money while taking your training program up a notch in quality and effectiveness.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Where will virtual reality technologies take us next? If it’s like most technical innovation, we will always be marvelously surprised. For now, what we know for sure is that it’s creating vast opportunities and improvements in training, taking us further and further from the days of passive, hands-off learning, expensive on-boarding of new employees, and a myriad of other drags on productivity.

Are you considering introducing virtual reality into your safety training program? Contact one of our VR training specialists today to discuss your specific needs.

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