How Virtual Reality can be Used as a Training Tool

Two virtual reality images. The left shows a menu with instructions and a patient on a hospital bed. The right shows the patient on the hospital bed and a crash cart.Mercy Medical Center’s 3D crash cart computer training program developed by Mindgrub.

Over the past few decades, virtual reality (VR) has transformed from simple visuals and sounds to complex experiences that not only engage the senses, but also require thinking and taking action. Gaming, exploration, and training are the main areas VR has broken into within the last few years.

Companies are particularly interested and investing in VR training for their employees, seeing the value in experiencing virtual situations before having to navigate them in real life. This type of training can also reduce business expenses and increase practice time by not having to send employees to the physical location of where they would need to be. 

VR emergency training in Baltimore area hospital

Virtual reality training in emergency or stressful conditions can help prepare trainees for what’s to come while on the job. Here in Baltimore, Mercy Medical Center saw the value in this type of training for its nurses and approached Mindgrub about making improvements to its 3D crash cart training program.

Mindgrub used its holodeck for testing and developed a virtual reality program that allows users to experience an emergency situation where they are required to complete tasks using items in the crash cart. Users must physically open the drawers on the crash cart and find the correct items.

The goal is to build muscle memory so that nurses and other staff can quickly retrieve items needed from the cart and deliver them to the patient. The ability to react with great speed and efficiency during a medical crisis is crucial, and practice with this program certainly helps.

Some other examples across industries

More industries have the opportunity to use VR for training and onboarding programs because of increased availability and decreased cost. Here are just a few other ways VR is being used for employee training:

  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) actually latched onto virtual reality fairly early on because of its enormous benefits to training new astronauts. Walking in space is difficult to imagine without simulation and immersive technology; that is why NASA uses VR to help astronauts experience completing tasks in zero-G environments and leaving a spaceship to make repairs.

  • The U.S. military uses VR in a variety of ways to prepare soldiers and other personnel for combat missions, flight jumps, vehicle operations, medical care on the battlefield, and other dangerous situations. Compared to traditional military training methods, VR training costs less and is much safer.

  • Teachers are also getting a taste of virtual reality using a VR classroom developed by the University of Virginia. This space allows teachers to practice their lessons in a classroom of virtual students, increasing their management skills and confidence in handling difficult or uncomfortable situations.

  • Walmart’s training academies now have a new look: Oculus Rift headsets. Employees go through VR training that requires them to make decisions based on surroundings in order to improve management and customer service skills. It becomes especially useful for major shopping days that draw in a lot of customers (e.g., Black Friday). Other trainees and instructors can critique the performance by watching what’s happening on a video screen.

Future projections

The education and training sector is expected to be the leading sector in VR by growing $2.2 billion USD in revenue by 2023.

As innovators continue to push the needle with virtual reality, we are sure to see even more mind-blowing tech. The integration of biological processes, such as eye movement and neuron function in the brain, with virtual reality is something to watch out for. Imagine being transported into a training environment with a blink of an eye, or even just a thought!  

Do you have a new virtual or augmented reality idea that you need help executing? Drop us a line.