Yesterday we covered some examples of how a retailer (Walmart) and restaurant (KFC) are using virtual reality training (VR) to engage employees in real-world experiences in new and novel ways. Here we take a look at how some other organizations: UPS and law enforcement are leveraging virtual reality in innovative ways.
Matt McFarland, writing for CNNtech recently wrote a feature on package delivery giant UPS’s incorporation of VR in training for its drivers. While a key motivator for Walmart and KFC in implementing VR for new employees is likely efficiency, a key factor in UPS’s decision is safety. UPS’s trucks weigh 10,000 pounds, and safety is a huge concern considering how many of them are out on the road at any given time. Once the VR program is fully implemented, UPS says that its drivers will need to complete VR training before getting behind the wheel of an actual truck. “During the virtual reality tests, new trainees will experience trips around city environments,” writes McFarland. Trainees will identify hazards and should shout “hazard left” or “hazard right” as they encounter various scenarios. The training tests take about 3 to 6 minutes.
Virtual reality training isn’t just for the business world. Tyler Lewis of CBS News reports that law enforcement agencies have begun implementing their own programs. Law enforcement in Monmouth County, New Jersey, has introduced a virtual reality simulator as part of its physical training environment. “The facility is the first of its kind in the state and another step towards virtual reality becoming a more mainstream element in law enforcement training across the country,” Lewis writes.
The new facility is named STARS, which stands for Situational Training and Response Simulator. STARS is a joint initiative involving multiple agencies in Monmouth County. The program involves prerecorded scenarios with trained actors. There are roughly 10 to 15 outcomes per scenario. The scenarios cover everything from traffic stops to active shooters, and the intention is to train officers in as realistic a setting as possible while still avoiding potentially deadly real-world consequences inherent in the nature of police work.
The organizations we’ve looked at in this two-part series have only just started incorporating VR into their training programs. It may take some time for them to perfect the process and start seeing concrete results, but depending on the industry, VR may someday become a staple of many employee training processes.