Over the last few years Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have made huge strides in crossing over into the mainstream predominantly via App based games like Pokémon Go. Whilst the technology may seem superfluous, this is just the beginning and its going to be used across an ever wider set of industries and use cases. When we look at how these technologies could be applicable to HR, there is an obvious case to be made for it replacing e-learning in the workplace.
Most training done today takes place in one of two forms. The first of these is face to face usually in a classroom or one on one setting. The other takes place electronically via mobile or laptop. One of the challenges with e-learning is that although taking place online, learners still have to deal with the real world and all of the distractions that come with it. With the required headsets and audio devices used in AR and VR, it will block out all distractions and focus only on the task at hand.
Virtual Reality Classrooms
As more and more people work remotely, Virtual Reality classrooms will replace face to face training. After all, why would you need everyone to travel to one location, usually paid for by the company, in order to take a training course. You can get everyone together to interact face to face in a virtual reality classroom. It will be just like everyone was there, except they can do it from the comfort of their own home. People will be able to interact with each other, and the instructor of course facilitator in real time.
Personalised Training and Gamification
What this new interactive environment will create is a new personalised and gamified training experience. One of the challenges of traditional corporate training, is that it is often seen as a tick the box exercise, by both companies and employees. However, with AR/VR the capability is there to complete change this dynamic. You just have to look at how immersive games like Pokémon Go have been, in getting players to want to “level up”. Imagine being able to get employees to invest that same energy and desire in to levelling up their own capabilities. An employer would be able to assess an employee’s true capabilities in real time via games and simulation and then present them with a tailored path to address their identified gaps in order to get them to the next level. It would also be a great platform to allow them to try other careers in the organisation before considering an internal move.
Its quicker and cheaper to conduct
There are firms already using AR and VR to conduct training. I spoke with a HR Leader at a well-known airline that is already piloting this technology to train their staff. Whether it is cabin crew or baggage handlers, normally training requires them to have a spare plane to train staff on. Or failing that, they need to build a complete classroom set that replicates the same situation and then spend thousands of dollars to get staff to travel to it. AR and VR have removed the need for all of this. Instead, they can just give new joiners a headset, and then they are magically transported into the plane. They can interact with everything exactly as they would in real life, they have found this is significantly cheaper and reduces the learning curve and mistakes made by new hires significantly. The application could be extended to so many different areas and could even replace workplace inductions completely.