Innovations in technology over the past decade have continued to make workforce development better for employees. This revolution has created an exponential learning curve for both users and trainers; however, the hardware and software on the market can quickly overload current and future employees while also generating uncertainty around implementation in the workplace. This reality impacts the likelihood of buy-in on an individual basis due to the high-tech nature of the advancements and a lack of a firm understanding of the benefits.
Take, for example, the growth of virtual reality and augmented reality.
Many people would easily think these words are interchangeable when they have two meanings and applications:
Virtual Reality (VR) is entering a scenario artificially created where the user is transposed into another place using equipment like Playstation VR, Apple, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard.
A user sees and interacts with the objects. Some VR programs can even feel movement such as climbing a staircase inside a 3D world and engage in simulations where users can hear and smell.
As the user looks around, the environment changes which gives them the 360 degree sensation.
The aviation, medical, and military industries have implemented VR into their training where it is decreasing the time needed to gain new skills.
Augmented Reality (VR) provides a situation embedded in a real-life visual. AR continues to be more commonly seen on our phones, laptops, and tablets by using clear visors that add elements on top of what a user is viewing.
That element remains fixed in one location and is there for a specific purpose.
An example from the past few years involved is Pokemon GO where people across the world were trying to catch monsters like the electric mouse, Pikachu. They would use the app on their phones and walk around places like a park to catch the characters.
Benefits to VR and AR Already Seen
Research has shown that VR and AR benefit those who experience a mental illness. For example, veterans diagnosed with PTSD use the technology in their therapy, which enables them to face their challenges in a controlled situation. (Source)
Here they overcome their phobia and can begin the healing process.
VR / AR In Workforce Development
With VR / AR now available, trainers can now differentiate the way they can teach the material.
In this chart below, there are possible places where AR and VR can be utilized in Workforce Development. Notice the vast differences between the two types of technology.
The benefits of using VR / AR far outweigh those who do not use them. It’s all up to the supervisors to understand the places in the curriculum where VR / AR can enhance the learning. (Source)
As leaders, it’s up to us to take charge in making this 3D world a reality for our workforce.
If we ignore this opportunity, it will not only limit the skill sets staff can develop, it’ll cap their business’ profits.