Redefining Learning: The Rise of Virtual Reality Training in the Workplace

Virtual reality training is already used in a huge variety of industries, and it has already proven to be the next step in e-learning and workplace education. However, despite its widespread use, using virtual reality (VR) for education and vr training is still something that hasn’t breached into public consciousness despite its huge potential.

For most people, VR is something they probably associate with gaming, entertainment or maybe meta and their constant developments in the VR industry. Although VR gaming is a huge industry, with a market size of $12.13 billion in 2022, it’s time that people started thinking more broadly about the use of VR, and how it can benefit the workplace.

In the next few paragraphs we are not only going to go through what virtual reality training is, but look at the benefits of utilising virtual reality in education. As well as looking at some examples of VR currently being used for training purposes, before finally unpacking how you can create a bespoke and effective VR training solution.

Explanation of VR training

E-learning and digital training have worked its way it to practically every workplace, whether it be filling out questionnaires or quizzes to undergo leadership training, filling out a form to prove that you’ve read the health and safety guidelines, or even many job applications have been turned in to digital quizzes to judge a possible candidates ability.

In many cases, applying digital solutions to learning is more convenient, more accessible and more effective than traditional education. Using VR for training can, in many cases, enhance these benefits further.

Training using virtual reality means carrying out either all of part of the learning process is virtual reality. This often means users wearing a virtual reality headset, such as a Meta Quest 2, and carrying out their training while being immersed in the environment in which they will apply their learning.

Although this may sound bizarre if you’ve never considered it, using virtual reality for education is an industry that is increasing massively, with the global market size forecasted to grow from $4.40 billion in 2023 to $28.70 billion by 2030. But why is VR training becoming so popular?

An engineer looking at an engine using augmented reality glasses

Key Benefits of VR training


The main benefit of VR training comes down to immersion. By immersing a student in to the space they will be applying their knowledge, they’re more likely to recall the information when it’s needed. The immersive experience also increases engagement which then also increases retention, which is the goal for any training.

In many industries, training employees can be hugely difficult due to the risk involved when entering in to the real scenario. Take construction for example, although you can educate workers on a construction site about site safety from inside a classroom, putting real people on a construction site in a real work environment means they need to take their learning out of the context of a classroom, and apply it to the real and very dangerous environment they are now in.

This dissonance between the learning environment and the real situation is one of many examples where the efficacy of the training is essential. If someone struggled to retain some of that information, or even if they remembered the majority of the information, it can be difficult to recall and apply the content when placed in the real environment, which could in turn be extremely dangerous.

VR bridges this gap as it can place the user in to a virtual version of the real environment, meaning its easier for the learners to internalise what they’re learning, and know how to apply it when they are put in to those situations. VR by its nature is also incredibly interactive, and can harness a range of stimuli such as audio, visual, haptics and interactivity to reinforce learning and increase engagement, all of which boosts retention.

Don’t just take our word for it, the National Education Association found that VR had a retention rate of 75%, which vastly out performed lectures (5%), reading (10%), and audio-visual learning (20%).

Accessibility and scalability

Although huge boost in retention rates is a key draw of VR training, it’s important to acknowledge the accessibility of VR training over regular classroom training. While traditional lecture or presentation methods or training can be useful, for most businesses this means hiring out a space for the teaching, sourcing the lecturers and carving out time for all those employees to go through the potentially hours of training.

This doesn’t include any further testing that may be required to track the success of the training. VR, mitigates these issues in a number of ways. Firstly, rather than needing a space big enough to host however many people need to go through the training, VR training can be done in any room, with just the headset and a small area of safety for the user in VR. Meaning the headset can be taken to whoever needs to go through the training, rather than having to relocate staff.

By using virtual reality, you can also integrate immediate feedback, with the users progress being tracked, fed back to the learner, and even given to whoever may need to review progress. This also cuts down on the usual process of teaching, testing and reviewing to all happen in headset, saving everyone time and saving staff resources.

A girl interactive with a globe in augmented reality

Examples of current VR training

Medical training

When Sheffield Hallam University struggled to provide placements for their third year nursing students due to COVID-19, they turned to VR to provide their students with virtual simulations to emulate their placements, and get them ready for the end of their course.

Although they originally intended to provide the simulations for their Third year students, after positive results for both faculty and learners, the simulations were made accessible to all years to the entire student body could benefit

Fire Safety training

Fire safety training is one of the many scenarios where there can be a huge disconnect between learning the theory then using it.

Obviously it would be unethical and unsafe to try and educate employees on fire safety by replicating a real fire, however through VR, we emulated the various environments and hazards that staff at a hospital may see, using interactive quizzes and environments to educate users on the correct fire safety procedure

Construction site training

As we’ve already touched on, construction sites are dangerous, and training workers before they go on site is imperative, which is why VR is such a great solution.

Pepper Construction Group developed VR safety training to focus on falls, dropped objects, and sprains and strains, all issues which put lives at risk on their job sites. The training was such a success that it received the Associated General Contractors of America’s 2021 Innovation Award

Logistics training

VR training doesn’t just have to be used for hazardous situations, DHL used VR training to optimise the loading process of parcels to reduce CO2 emissions.

The employees learn how to organise parcels as efficiently as possible, meaning less empty space in vehicles, which has a positive knock on effect of reducing vehicles on the road, and therefore reducing CO2 emissions.

How to create effective VR training

So how can you create bespoke VR training that benefit your workplace? The first and most important step is to define the key learning points. Whatever the training is for, you have to make sure you work out what the key takeaway and goal of the learning should be as this will guide the entire creative process.

Next, channel the key learning in to a plan. This can take the form of a script, a storyboard or just a layout for different modules; however its presented, by planning out the goal of the learning and creating an extensive plan, you can make sure that the training keeps is focus.

For instance it can be easy to be carried away by the realism of VR, however making a fully interactive environment may distract from the lesson being taught, this is why its important to make sure everyone involved in the production process has a single point of truth that they can refer to throughout the project to make sure the training achieves its goal.

Once the plan has been finalised, you can then start the creation of the training in VR, this process will take the longest as it requires a variety of skilled professionals to turn your idea in to reality. This process also requires a significant time for testing, not only to make sure the VR training doesn’t have any bugs, but also to make sure that users are learning what they need to. This may mean tweaking the script or the interactivity to make sure the experience prioritises the key learning points.

After testing is finished you’ll now have your bespoke VR training experience! Here at Sliced Bread Animation we have extensive experience going through this production process, and helping out clients develop bespoke training for their employees. Can you see VR being useful for your workplace?

Contact us to find out how we can enhance your training.


Is VR training effective for all industries and sectors?

In many ways, yes! VR can be applied to a huge variety of situations, although we have used practical and safety benefits here, the immersion and high engagement or VR means that it can be applied effectively to any industry. We’ve used it for cooking training, and we’d be happy to help figure out how it can help yours!

Do users need to have prior experience with VR to undergo VR training?

Not at all! As with any training, it can be made as accessible as needed, using tutorials, onboarding documents, and helpful videos, we can help at every stage to make sure both the learner and the teacher can get the most out of VR

Is there support available if we face technical issues during VR training?

Of course! Here at Sliced Bread Animation we’ll make sure you’re supported throughout every step of the process, from helping with deployment to creation, to advising on how to utilise VR the best for your business

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