Thank you all for your comments on my Food Reality Presentation, the use of Virtually Reality and Augmented Reality in the food industry (no, really thank you, your feedback was great!). Many of your comments revolved around the Kentucky Fried Chicken Virtual Reality training and so I thought I would dig in deeper to gain a better understanding on the use of VR for employee training.
But first a little bit more on the KFC training… It is not only a VR experience, it is a Virtual Reality Escape Room! Totally cool, slightly creepy, most definitely memorable. From a recent Eater article, “The press release notes that this VR exercise takes workers through the chicken cooking process in just 10 minutes, as opposed to the 25 minutes it takes IRL, so perhaps the idea here is to speed up the training process (and to avoid potentially wasting product). Or hey, maybe somebody at KFC HQ just got a really good deal on a whole pallet of Oculus Rifts.” A KFC spokesperson goes on to say that “VR won’t replace hands-on experience: “The game is intended to supplement the existing Chicken Mastery program, not replace it…This is intended to be a fun way to celebrate the work KFC’s more than 19,000 cooks do every day in every restaurant across the U.S. in an engaging way.”
I’d be totally interested to hear the perspective of a KFC employee, so if anyone knows a Colonel Sanders disciple, certainly ask them about the VR experience. Also ask them about the Chicken Mitten Bucket Hugger. I am just curious, you know?
But back to reality. According to a Harvard business Review Article here are a few specific use cases for VR training:
Efficient ways to learn procedure: There are findings that support the equivalence of VR training to face-to-face training, hence our five step fried chicken procedure. Furthermore there are additional benefits including the economic savings of VR, and the decreased amount of time needed to train with VR compared to traditional techniques.
A safe place to learn soft skills: This is something new that I was not able to speak about in my presentation! There is an increased demand for soft skills, and VR offers the perfect opportunity to enhance these skills. According to HBR, “it is immersive enough for people to take the training seriously, but also a safe environment where learners are less self-conscious about speaking frankly compared to talking to real people.” A real obvious one here is problem solving, it’s totally feasible to imagine some problem solving activity, perhaps a game, being taught through VR.
I came across a phenomenal survey by PWC that set out to answer How VR measures up as a training tool for soft skills. The survey had five main findings.
- Employees in VR courses can be trained up to four times faster.
With staffing shortages left and right, this will be important as companies look to onboard new employees as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- VR learners are more confident in applying what they’re taught.
Confidence comes from being able to practice, and VR allows users to practice in a stress free environment. For example, imagine practicing a presentation in a virtual setting before having to speak in front of a large audience. As someone who is currently taking the public speaking course, I cannot emphasize enough how much more confident I am when I take the time to practice.
- Employees are more emotionally connected to VR content.
“People connect, understand and remember things more deeply when their emotions are involved. Simulation-based learning in VR gives individuals the opportunity to feel as if they’ve had a meaningful experience.”
- VR learners are more focused.
Personally, this was my favorite finding! Simulations and immersive experiences command the individual’s vision and attention. How many times have you completed a company mandated training while also pursuing Instagram? You don’t actually have to answer but I am sure it has happened.
- VR learning can be more cost-effective at scale.
In the past VR was expensive, but we are seeing costs decrease both for the hardware components as well as the cost to actually produce the VR content as more companies invest in the technology. Through 2024, $125 billion growth is expected in the AR/VR field!
I believe that these findings warrant the use of VR training. Especially knowing that, the average U.S. company spends approximately $1,111 on training per employee per year. What do you think? Have you experienced VR training, how did it compare to more traditional training methods? Have you seen or read about any training that impressed you? While I don’t anticipate VR training being the only method of training anytime soon, I certainly imagine we will see it’s deployment increase.