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Construction Safety Training, VR Training

Video instruction has become all the rage. Khan Academy, Skillshare, Udemy, and a whole host of other video training programs are rapidly offsetting more traditional lecture and seminar-style learning environments.

However, the evolution from in-person to virtual training is not complete.

Research is demonstrating that fully immersive virtual reality training is more effective than video instruction.

Setting Up the VR Training Versus Video Instruction Test

In our survey of recent research around learning technology and virtual reality, we came across this one particular study that was quite interesting.

This study was trying to determine the effectiveness of VR training in teaching student to accomplish physical tasks.

In setting up the experiment the researchers used the mastery of three Tai Chi movements as the learning objective. This physical activity or task was specifically chosen because of its full-body movement and well-defined standard of mastery for each movement or form.

Given this learning objective, the students were then divided into two learning groups. One group would be instructed using fully immersive virtual reality training and the second group would use more traditional video instruction.

For both approaches, they used Tai Chi instructors and recorded them correctly performing the movements. In the case of the VR training, a 3D model of the instructor was constructed such that the student would be learning from a virtual instructor in the same virtual space.

Students in both learning environments experienced two training sessions and a final testing session. Between each session, they were able to review and learn from video captures of their performance.

Following each session, two independent reviewers, trained to judge the specific Tai Chi movements, inspected and graded the students’ videos without knowledge of which learning methodology they used in their training.

In addition, each student was given a questionnaire to self report their subjective evaluation of the training experience – specifically, how connected they felt to the instructor and the learning task itself.

Research Demonstrates VR Training is Better than Video

The clear results of this study were that students trained in the virtual reality training environment performed better.

The VR training cohort’s performance was not only better in the final testing but also after each training session. In fact, on average, the students in the VR training cohort actually performed better after the first training session than the video instructional cohort did after completing the entire program of training and testing.

Students in the VR training cohort also self-reported a higher sense of connectedness to the training.

Why is VR Training Better?

There are a variety of factors that make virtual reality a more effective learning environment, but this specific study highlighted a couple of significant factors.

First, there is the advantage of putting student and instructor in the same virtual space. This creates a level of connectedness and attentiveness to enhances not only learning but also long-term learning retention.

Second, the three-dimensional environment enables the student to choose the learning perspective and reposition as they actively learn.

The opportunity to be a part of an interactive learning environment creates a clear advantage to overall student engagement and performance.

Ready to Evaluate Your Own VR Training Pilot?

Get more information about this study by downloading the original research.

If this has inspired you to create your own VR training program or introducing a VR training module into your overall training program, we would love to talk to you.

Contact one of our training specialist here at PIXO VR. We’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of picking the right learning objectives to pilot, how to set up your first VR training studio, and ways to maximize virtual reality’s advantages in training programs.


VR Training

PIXO VR was recently featured on CNBC, alongside Microsoft and STRIVR for our work in saving lives and millions of dollars in the prevention of workplace accidents with virtual reality training.
In this feature, CNBC covers the rapidly growing market for virtual reality training, expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2022 according to Greenlight Insights.

Let’s take a quick look at why virtual reality is exploding in the training industry. And, why industry analysts are increasingly looking to training, not gaming, as the fastest growing segment for the future of virtual reality.

How Virtual Reality Training is Saving Lives

In 2017, there were over 713 fall fatalities and over 4,414 preventable workplace accidents, numbers that have been rising year over year. Virtual reality is the most effective way to begin training against these dangerous scenarios, realistically and memorably, to lower these unnecessary injuries and fatalities.

Virtual Reality Training Can Simulate High-risk Scenarios

VR training can effectively recreate scenarios and environments that would otherwise be impossible to simulate in the real world.

Construction workers, first responders, and military personnel work in environments that are often too costly or risky to recreate with traditional training methods. Virtual reality is now allowing these high-risk workers to step into the most challenging real-world circumstances, while in the safety of a virtual training environment.

Virtual Reality Creates Engaging and Realistic Environments

Unlike traditional training practices, where slides, photos, and videos are the only ways to help students peer into realistic on-the-job scenarios, VR training puts them in the center of the action.

There is no tuning out, doodling, or flipping through Facebook while the instructor is trying to keep them safe. They’re 15-stories up, in the middle of a blazing chemical fire, or clearing a building. Believe me, they’re engaged, or they’re dead — with the fortunate ability to respawn and learn from their inattention.

All of this in a Practical and Hands-on Way with Proven Retention

Trainers are always looking for ways to help their students retain these life-saving skills. Virtual reality is a proven solution. Research continues to show and reinforce the power of virtual reality in learning retention. Recent studies document significantly higher retention rates when students are involved in VR training versus more conventional training methods.

These learning retention studies continue to reveal the same principle results — student engagement and hands-on learning combine to achieve higher levels of retention. Virtual reality is one of the few learning methods, other than more dangerous and costly on-the-job training, that can provide both of these essential elements.

How Virtual Reality Training is Saving Companies Millions

Many training directors are nervous about proposing virtual reality training initiatives because they assume that it’s too costly. The reality is quite the opposite — VR training is saving millions.

Virtual Reality Hardware and Software Costs Continue to Shrink

VR training, and specifically the hardware necessary to drop into these virtual environments, has long ago descended into the range of retail buyers.

Ask around your office. There are probably more than a handful of co-workers with kids rocking HTC Vives and Oculus Rifts to play their favorite video games — the same hardware you need to run a high-end VR training program.

You can easily outfit a state-of-the-art virtual reality learning studio for less than $2,000, a number that is sure to continue to drop. In fact, some of your conference rooms probably have more expensive projectors, (and who uses those anymore?).

Done Conventionally, Complicated or High-risk Training Can Be Very Expensive

Another aspect of the cost equation is the cost of the actual training. Complicated and risky practice often involves high-tech training facilities, expensive instructors, and travel and expenses — for each student.

VR training turns all of that into a realistic virtual training environment that all of your workers can safely train in, from wherever they work (even on a remote job site). And with PIXO’s Multi-User VR, you can also have multiple workers training together in the same virtual environment, while remotely located all over the world.

Virtual Reality Training Improves Speed to Competency and On-the-job Performance

Because traditional training often requires special facilities, instructor availability, and travel and expenses the ability to quickly train new workers is challenging and often bottlenecked.

With VR training, your training scenarios, instructors, and even assessments can be built right into the training modules, making them available on-demand to equip new workers. Furthermore, trainees can accomplish and re-accomplish training as often as they need to, or even refresh themselves at will.

How Virtual Reality Training Could Improve Your Training Program

Now it’s your turn to imagine all of the ways that virtual reality can enhance your current training programs.

Here are just a few of the things we hear from clients about their first VR training pilot programs.

More Engaging Learning Environment

Students love VR training. They are curious about the training format and then fascinated by the ability to leap into real-world challenges, even the most dangerous ones. No one is looking to get out of training when there is a virtual reality option. It’s too cool!

Better Learning Retention

We have cited the research, but companies are seeing the results. They can put the hardest — but at the same time, most realistic — on-the-job situations in front of students over and over again until they handle these scenarios flawlessly.

Train More Workers, Faster — Even if They’re Remote

No more complicated scheduling of workers, instructors, facilities, and travel. VR training gives you the ability to train your workforce wherever they may be, whenever they are available.

You Might Even Lower Your Training Costs

Don’t sweat the cost. There is an excellent possibility that virtual reality is your most cost-effective training choice.

Are you ready to give it a try?

There’s little question that virtual reality technology is ready for serious use in corporate training. In many cases, VR training has become the best, (and maybe only realistic), way to accomplish a wide variety of learning objectives. How will you pilot your first VR training experience? PIXO VR can help.

Custom — or Customized — Virtual Reality Training Solutions

PIXO VR makes it easy to work with us to get the solutions you need to fit your training objectives and budget.

With our growing Content Library, which offers individual modules that teach and train basic and almost universally needed skills, (such as OSHA hazard detection), you can get into VR training with a low-cost, “off-the-shelf” approach. Experiences in our Content Library start at just $475.00/month, with the flexibility to personalize those lessons to your company’s specs for an additional fee.

Looking for something more specific? Let’s talk about custom VR training options for your business.

Working with our award-winning team of 3D artists, designers, and engineers, we can use our state-of-the-art platform to build a custom Virtual Reality Training experience for any business.

Contact us today to discuss your training objectives and get a free quote.

We’re building new realities, every day

PIXO VR thinkers and makers are always innovating exciting new VR training content. Contact us to demo one of our current Content Library experiences, or to discuss a custom VR Training solution.


Virtual Reality, VR Training

“I want to add virtual reality to my training program — but where do I start?”

This question, in some form, tends to kick off our first conversation with corporate training managers and executives. By now, most have heard the benefits of adding VR training to their programs, but there’s still something of a learning curve.

In this article, we’re going to discuss VR software for training and get you up to speed, quickly.

What Exactly is Virtual Reality?

It might seem silly to start here, but there’s a fair amount of confusion in the very definition of ‘virtual reality’.

When we talk about virtual reality, we’re describing a fully immersive, virtual world that completely replaces the physical environment (the “real” world). To achieve this immersive experience, the user’s eyes, and often ears, are completely obscured from the outside world by a screen and headphones, often built into the same HMD (head-mounted display). The computer then fully controls the inputs to these sight and sound sensors.

When you’re in a virtual reality experience, you’re operating within a simulated and, (in the case of PIXO’s VR), three-dimensional, photo-realistic, computer-generated world. This virtual world can be realistic, fantastical, or a blend of both.

In the realm of VR training, we’re typically creating realistic environments to simulate real-world scenarios and measuring various performance factors.

So that’s a working definition of virtual reality.

However, before we depart this topic, I think it’s necessary to differentiate virtual reality from two other closely related concepts — augmented reality (AR) and 360-degree video.

Augmented reality is adding computer-generated content to the world around you, augmenting it with additional visuals, sounds, and data. This technology is meant to ‘enrich’ the real world, but the virtual and real remain distinctly separate and neither interact with the other.  

A 360-degree video environment is a type of virtual experience. However, instead of being placed in an interactive world, you are placed inside of a static video and allowed to navigate and control your viewpoint within that world. Again, there is no active engagement in this virtual video environment.

For this guide, we’re going to focus on true virtual reality only.

Virtual Reality Authoring Tools

You want your virtual reality training environment to be as close to reality as possible, especially if you’re doing something like military, construction, safety, or first responder training. There’s little room for error if you’re teaching folks how to get a dangerous job done right the first time they encounter it in the real world.

These are ideal scenarios for VR training and far superior to most non-virtual alternatives.

Training programs that need this level of quality will require you to know more about the underlying technology to get the right experience. One of the best places to start exploring VR technology is by learning about the VR engine itself — this is the software that will run your virtual world.

The strengths and weaknesses of these software tools, along with the talent and experience of the development team using them will determine the quality of your training content and VR experiences.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular virtual reality engines.

  • Unreal is the premier VR engine, (in our experience). It produces higher quality visuals and smoother movement than other alternatives. Created by Epic Games, Unreal gives VR content designers and programmers access to the full C++ source code. This access provides developers ultimate control and few limitations. However, it does require more experienced talent — advanced 3D designers and skilled programmers, but that’s ultimately an advantage to the production of your training content.  Learn more about Unreal on their website.
  • Unity is very popular, especially among indie and small team VR studios. Some of their biggest strengths include an excellent development community and their use of C# and Javascript, which tend to be fundamental skills for any software engineer. However, Unity does not provide access to source code, which can be limiting for the purposes of high-quality enterprise deployment. Learn more about Unity on their website.
  • CryEngine is a lesser-known game engine which has been used for VR, but most VR studios will tell you it suffers from an outdated user interface. The biggest criticisms include disorganized documentation, its popularity seems to be waning, and there are several gray areas in their licensing agreement. Learn more about CryEngine on their website. One interesting note, related to CryEngine is that Amazon grabbed a lot of CryEngine engineers and built what some consider the modernized version of CryEngine — Amazon Lumberyard.

While all of these virtual reality authoring tools are excellent, the requirements of your VR training are going to inform which of these engines make the most sense.

In the case of PIXO VR, we specialize in and have developed a growing library of safety and high-impact training content for the construction, manufacturing, energy & utility verticals. We’ve found that, for these training programs, the superior visual fidelity and full access to the C++ source code allows for our proprietary forking of the Unreal engine, creating an improvement in quality of experience over our previous use of Unity.

Popular VR Headsets and Environments

Even though this article is about VR software, it’s essential we touch on hardware. The virtual reality immersive experience is highly dependent on the headset, and your VR hardware requirements can influence your VR software decisions.

Here is a brief rundown of VR hardware and the ideal VR training uses of each.

Professional Training Content

HTC Vive Pro – HTC’s Vive and Vive Pro are among the most advanced VR headsets on the market today. This headset is going to deliver some of the most realistic training experiences and leave your employees actually asking for more training time. Crazy resolutions, powerful hardware, and tons of sensors make this the preference for enterprise training departments in need of highly realistic and detailed VR content.

HTC Vive Pro

Windows Mixed Reality – Microsoft has taken a slightly different approach to the VR headset, using a variety of hardware manufacturers (HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc.), allowing it to run on both high-end and more basic desktops. As the name suggests, the Mixed Reality headset straddles the fence between VR and AR experiences, accommodating both. Critically, the HP Windows Mixed Reality headset can be paired with the HP Z VR Backpack — a high-powered wearable unit that allows for a tetherless VR experience. For pure mobility, the WMR and HP Z can’t be beat. (If, for whatever reason, a tetherless experience isn’t necessary, the HP Z can also be run in a more basic docked, desktop mode.)  


Oculus Rift — As “the one that started it all”, Oculus has been aggressively improving their platforms since the debut of the Rift in 2016. While Oculus was one of the earliest entrants in the VR headset market, they have struggled a bit to get out of the R&D and beta phase. Only recently have they become a robust and professional peer competitor to HTC’s Vive and Vive Pro models.

Oculus Rift
Introduction to VR and Gaming

Sony PlayStation VR — If you’re a console gamer this is a great way to get a pretty good first virtual reality experience within a consumer price range.

Playstation VR

Cheaper “VR Lite” Experiences

The last three headsets on our list are only recommended as entrees into the world of virtual reality — “beginner-level”, if you will. These are meant to work with your mobile phone and can provide a teasing glimpse into the potential of a more complete virtual reality.  

Lower Cost VR Headsets

  • Samsung Gear VR
  • Google Daydream View
  • Google Cardboard

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re serious about sampling a true VR training experience, buy one of these if you like, but know they are not the final destination of your journey, merely the first steps. If you want to jump ahead to the good stuff, contact one of our VR training experts, and we’ll bring “the real thing” to you.

How to Invest in the Best VR Training Software

As you start considering an investment in VR training, here are the most crucial steps:

  1. Talk to a VR Training Expert Early – They can cut through all of the techno-babble in the market, educate you on the right trends and innovations to follow and help you explore the possibilities, opportunities, and ideal places to introduce compelling new training scenarios.
  2. Find a Good Starting Point – Focus on one or two specific areas of training that will benefit from a virtual reality — fully-immersive and realistic — training environment. Typical starting points are to replace training that is traditionally dangerous, expensive, or disruptive to normal operations.
  3. Content, Content, Content! – This is probably your most important consideration. A fully realized VR Training program will require a solid library of training content that meets your training needs — but how do you get what you need? While many training requirements will require some amount of custom content creation, it’s not necessarily one or the other — custom or premade experiences. Instead, employ a combination of both: existing training modules that can be customized for your needs. If you can find a company like PIXO VR that offers an existing library and a subscription pricing model, (and to our knowledge, we’re one of very, very few doing this), you can start much faster and substantially cheaper by leveraging some nimble, lightweight personalizations that can tailor existing VR Training content to meet your own specifications. This avoids the sticker shock of starting from scratch with a fully custom VR experience that only you can use. If you’d like to know more, ask us about our VR Content Library subscriptions.

As always, PIXO VR is happy to help you explore this fascinating and compelling new world of training. If you have any questions about VR training software, content, or hardware we always enjoy talking shop. Schedule a free consultation with one of our VR training experts today!

Further Reading

Getting Started with VR: The Best Software Tools are Free, Makezine

Feature Photo by Lux Interaction on Unsplash

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


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


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

VR Training


In this article, we’re going to talk about how virtual reality and specifically VR training is making training for potentially dangerous or hazardous situations and workplaces safer.

But first, I want to open with a little consumer review of VR headsets and accessories. I thought this might be helpful since many training managers still assume that VR training is a prohibitively expensive proposition. The price points of virtual reality technology are quickly mainstreaming these devices into the consumer market, making them an increasingly compelling and low-risk possible addition to your training budget.

The Incredible Shrinking Cost of VR Technology

Virtual reality and augmented reality are everywhere. As we’ve now safely exited the holiday buying season, there’s a good chance your kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews will have some kind of VR/AR technology or software on their wish lists the next time around if they didn’t already.

This technology is becoming so pervasive, you might not even recognize it as VR. To help you up your ‘cool factor’ with your kids — and to give you a sense of just how far the price points have fallen — here are just a few of the hottest VR headsets and supporting items on the market now:

  • HTC Vive Pro or Pro bundle – On Amazon, these top of line VR headsets have dipped below $700 and the Pro bundle, which will give you a legitimately professional quality VR environment, is right at $1,000.
  • Oculus Rift or Go – In our opinion, this a number two headset, but it will get you in the VR game and give you an idea of what’s possible for under $500.
  • PlayStation VR – If you have to do VR on a really tight budget, this is a sub-$300 option, but I would recommend just saving up for an HTC Vive, HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset, or Oculus Rift rig. (Seriously. There’s a difference.)
  • High-performance graphics cards, like NVIDIA GTX1050Ti or AMD Radeon RX 470 – These high-end GPUs are essential to avoid juddering and screen tearing at the hands of inferior GPUs slow refresh rates.
  • Sensor mount stands for HTC Vive or Oculus Rift sensors – These are the light stands, (not the trackers, just the stands. The trackers a just a little farther down our list), used by professional photographers and videographers. But, they are essential accessories for creating a mobile VR studio or just getting those sensors in the perfect spots.
  • Vive tracker or Vive wireless adapter – In short order, you’re going to want more freedom and flexibility in your VR set up. These two accessories allow you to add triangulated trackers and room scale to your experience — both essential for the full-on holodeck experience.
  • Steam gift cards, lots of Steam gift cards — Steam VR is the place to get the latest VR games and experiences. Your VR enthusiast is going to need some credits to get all of the new titles rolling out in the VR space. My current favorites are Climbey and Pavlov.

OK, back to business. What does this mean for your company’s VR training?

As I said in the introduction, the cost of VR technology is dropping fast. Investing in VR technology is down to a rounding error in most corporate training budgets.

So, you almost have to give it a try.

The VR gaming enthusiast wish list above is essentially the same list you need to submit with your budget request to launch your corporate VR training program.

More importantly, it’s your wish list to make your most dangerous training safer.

Making Hazardous Training Nearly Risk-free

Virtual reality and augmented reality are rapidly being incorporated into retail training and e-commerce platforms. Walmart is using VR to train new employees, and Amazon is using AR to let customers see how things look in their homes before buying.

The next logical step — which is happening rapidly — is to move this technology into more critical and hazardous corporate training programs. If VR training makes sense to train retail workers, how much more compelling is it for workers that put their lives on the line doing their jobs, and even training for their jobs? Really, it just makes sense.

Let’s take a look at four powerful examples of how VR training can make a difference in your company’s safety record.

VR Training for Utility Workers

People who work with electricity, gas, and nuclear power have inherently hazardous jobs. Utility workers are accustomed to following carefully established protocols to remain safe, but even routine maintenance can quickly turn dangerous. Then there are the inevitable scenarios when utility workers encounter the unexpected, forcing them to react rapidly and accurately to avoid a crisis.

Training in virtual reality enables workers to practice not only their standard procedures but also to work through the unpredictable. VR training modules can be designed to randomize in less predictable scenarios, preparing workers for when things go wrong in the field.

VR Training for Construction Workers

Construction is one of those jobs that’s a little different every time you put on the hard hat. Every job site comes with its unique hazards — site-specific equipment, materials, layout, and even safety equipment.

For this reason, construction companies realize it’s essential to familiarize construction professionals to job sites in advance. Unfortunately, this often requires supervisors, workers, and often the job site itself to shut down to train. VR training can be the answer to providing essential training without interrupting or delaying the project’s schedule.

With a VR construction training module, before any ironworker climbs twenty stories into the sky and steps out onto a scaffold or girder, they’ll have walked a virtual one.
They’ll get a realistic sensation of height and deal with, more or less, the exact environment — layout, equipment, and other workers — that will complicate their job on this specific project.

Electricians can practice lockout and tag-out procedures. Carpenters, roofers, and framers will perform fall protection exercises without having to train on the job site or travel to an expensive, far-away fall protection training center.

Critically, all of these dangerous jobs can be trained over and over until both workers and employers feel confident they are ready to operate safely on the actual job site — all from the safety of an office or in a trailer on-site. (Or potentially, any other endpoint on the planet.)

VR Training for First Responders

Law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs face new and dangerous situations every day. These situations are made even more hazardous by the fact that most of them are nearly impossible to prepare for with traditional or on-the-job training formats.

Without putting these professionals in real-world, unpredictable, and escalating scenarios it’s impossible to see how they will react in moments of high stress and danger. This unknown can put themselves and the communities they serve in danger.

Running through a VR training module for first responders can give these responders realistic responses to stressors.

A police officer can focus through the adrenaline rush and uncertainty of entering an active shooter scenario. A firefighter can push through that momentary panic and claustrophobia as they enter a burning building. All of these training scenarios have the real-world sense of danger without the actual consequences of making the wrong decision under stress.

Virtual reality allows first responders to train over and over again, in the most dangerous scenarios, quickly building up the muscle memory necessary to handle a real crisis. VR training also minimizes the inherent hazards, big budgets, and highly skilled training personnel required to provide high-quality, live, real-world training.

VR Training for Defense

When you think of risky training, many immediately think of our men and women in uniform. These heroes go into harm’s way, not only on the battlefield but also in their daily readiness and training. VR training modules for defense can significantly reduce training accidents, injuries, and even fatalities while increasing the effectiveness of the exercises themselves.

Some of the most interesting VR research and training for defense is being done in the area of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). These professionals train for scenarios that involve identifying hidden Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and then rendering these wholly unique and hacked-together devices safe. Every situation is unique, and even the training can be hazardous or possibly fatal.

In the area of defense, there are unlimited possibilities for using VR training. Here are just a few that are becoming more common practice:

  • Training units in coordinated tactics and close quarter operations
  • Exposing units to new operating environments before deploying
  • Training soldiers to use new tactics and rules of engagement
  • Training soldiers to use new weapons and equipment

VR training is an ideal way to get soldiers up to speed and to operate safely with minimal risk during necessarily intense and hazardous training.

Get Your VR Training Program Started

Better and cheaper virtual reality hardware is making it harder to ignore the benefits of bringing VR training into your hazardous duty training programs. Plus, these less expensive headsets are making it easier to justify purchasing larger quantities of devices to enable workers to train together in virtual reality environments.

As a huge value-add and incentive to purchase, major VR hardware providers are planning to add biometric sensors to their product offerings, along with the ability to interpret the data, which will give employers a much better sense of what their trainees are physically as well as mentally experiencing in the headset, as well as cognitive load — the amount of material they’re learning.

This year is the perfect time to include VR training in your budget. Endeavor to retire those sterile training rooms full of trainees sitting in uncomfortable chairs, at tiny desks, lulled into boredom by flickering fluorescent lights and an equally bored trainer flipping mindlessly through an out of date PowerPoint deck.

Make your goal to replace old training styles with virtual reality’s safer and more diverse scenarios, heightened by realistic sensations, and invigorated with the intensity of these real-world environments. Introduce a more engaging training atmosphere, fostering a sense of camaraderie and even friendly competition between trainees, helping them become more confident, better equipped, and safer in the field.

I guarantee you they will start looking forward to their next training sessions.

How Can PIXO VR Help?

As you begin evaluating your training, you’re sure to have questions. If you’re considering VR training for the first time or trying to get more from your VR training, don’t hesitate to contact one of our VR training specialists.


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.