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Study: VR for Soft Skills Training

The applications for VR are as various as they are interesting, and today I want to highlight an area that is particularly interesting to me personally – that is, using virtual reality to train soft skills like leadership, resilience, and managing through change. These kinds of future-facing skills are practically mandatory for success in the modern workforce, and yet they’re not frequently covered through game-based learning content. A recent study by PwC suggests that content creators and publishers might be overlooking something here – they found conclusively that VR can help business leaders improve the velocity and effectiveness of soft skills training. Here are their five key takeaways:

1) Employees in VR courses can be trained up to 4x faster

Using VR interventions, study participants were found to learn content in 30 minutes that would have taken up to 2 hours to learn in a classroom setting. Even when accounting for headset fitting and a quick VR-use crash course, learners in VR still realized 3x gains over their classroom-based counterparts. 

2) VR learners are more confident in applying what they’re taught

We’re strong believers in the immersion factor of VR and how it changes learning, and the PwC results are proof positive of VR’s immersive impact on learner confidence. Because learners are able to practice in a safe, low-risk, relevant environment, VR learners in the PwC study were up to 275% more confident in applying their learning through action. 

3) Employees are more emotionally connected to VR content

Drawing again on the immersive and multisensory nature of VR learning, the PwC survey found that VR learners felt 3.75x more emotionally connected to the content than their classroom and e-learning counterparts. 75% of learners in the study who took a VR course on diversity and inclusion felt that they experienced a wake-up call and realized they were not as inclusive as they thought they were. VR’s ability to simulate social situations created a visceral reaction not produced by the other learning media. 

4) VR learners are more focused

By the very isolating nature of a VR headset, VR learners tend to have an advantage over their counterparts in terms of distractions. VR equipment can be set up to create no interruptions and afford no ability to multitask, so the learner remains hyper-focused on the challenge or learning objective at hand. 

5) VR learning can be more cost-effective at scale

This is probably the most fascinating and possibly counterintuitive findings of the PwC study – namely, that past a certain number of participants, VR hardware actually becomes more cost-effective than a classroom. PwC found that at 375 learners, VR training achieved cost parity with classroom learning, and at 3,000 learners, VR was 52% more cost-effective than a classroom. 

Pretty impressive stuff for such a nascent medium! You can check out the full content of the study here. Feeling inspired by these new VR-based learning affordances? Hey, so are we! Drop us a line here to tell us your idea – we want to work with you!

Learn more about the educational magic of VR:

🩺 Medical Applications for Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality for Nonprofits

🕹 Game-based Learning and Virtual Reality

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