The ROI of Virtual Reality Training

Building Emotional Intelligence with VR Training

Sergio:  Hi, I’m Sergio Gonzalez at 360immersive, and today we’re going to talk to our CTO, David Cleverdon about emotional intelligence and how we can access a little bit of that using a special technology called virtual reality or VR.

It’s really cool stuff. So let’s start by talking about the feeling. Of putting on a VR headset.

David: Sergio, you know, when most people talk about feeling in conjunction with virtual reality, they experienced it a year ago, two years ago.

I experienced VR for the first time in 1992. And it was, it was clunky. It was big. I mean, the headset that we look at now-we’ve got these compact headsets, and everything is in one piece. Back then, it was this huge headset that was held up by what felt like a block and tackle, and an umbilical cable. And it took a, almost a supercomputer in those worlds, that era, to drive the thing. And it was so cool.

It was just a different world that you could step into just by putting your head into this device. So what’s different now? Well, what’s different now is really it’s affordable. And that’s what makes everything from a commercial standpoint really work. So we can affect so many people in so many different industries. Because in the past, VR was used by the military,

it was used by the aviation industry, it was used by even in the medical community to train orthopedic surgeons. And it worked really well and still works really well. But the difference today is that almost anybody can afford it. Almost anybody can embrace VR to enhance their lives. And that’s why when we come back to the question of one of the most fundamental areas that VR can affect people.

Is when you’re talking about what we call HR-related topics, soft skills building. Empathy, emotional understanding, walking in somebody else’s shoes. VR is absolutely perfect for that. And let me give you an example. A number of years ago, we built a simulation based on training law enforcement and social workers.

What it’s like to feel as if you were suffering from Schizophrenia. Now schizophrenia is a perfect example because people that suffer from that disorder, their reality is completely different than somebody in the same room with them. They hear things, say things, they feel things.

They experience a reality that’s not shared. So if you’re dealing with a law enforcement officer or a social worker, and they’re trying to work with this person, maybe on a wellness check, or maybe there are some issues, and they’re trying to, to find out what that person needs, and this person is very aggressive.

It can be because of that person’s reality. Is so different than the shared reality that maybe two other people in the room might share and virtual reality can teach what it’s like to feel that. And we use the word feel in this industry so much, but it’s very important that you’re feeling that experience, that you’re feeling that experience. And

Let’s face it, if we can walk in somebody else’s shoes, if we can understand their feelings and their emotions, we’re better humans for it. We can understand when somebody’s dealing with reality, it makes them anxious. And, and yet we don’t understand that. But maybe we can through the technology of virtual reality when you’re dealing with safety training, and we want to train people, not only to deal with numbers – you know the ladder has to come out afoot for every four feet of height.

We have to make sure that we do the right things, but more so. That change in behavior that changes in emotional intelligence to protect my buddy, that we’re sharing a common work environment, and that we have to be safe. And that’s where VR can actually pull in that emotional intelligence.

But let’s bring that component in that allows us to take training that one extra step so that we’re all safer, and we have fewer fatalities. We have fewer injuries on the job site. So Sergio, let me ask you when it comes to. Emotional intelligence and virtual reality.

What does that mean to you?

Sergio: Well, with virtual reality, to me it’s a special tool. I like to think about it in terms of how well you’re able to immerse yourself into somebody else’s experience. So let’s transport ourselves really quick. Maureen fan of Baobab studios has a great example.

Let’s think about right now, a crying girl on a little bench. So if we were to experience this little girl’s reality through the written word, we’re reading about this little girl, and we were able to kind of understand what she’s going through a little bit, the images going through her head, so we kind of understand a little bit, but we’re distant from it.

Let’s. Talk about, if we put her on a television screen or, in a movie we’re able to feel some of the same things that she’s feeling, the music is kind of bringing us in, but there’s still this, this disconnect of a screen in front of us. And maybe you add some interactivity into it.

Now the experience is a video game: you want to go up and help her. You can interact with this little crying girl, but you don’t really understand, why it is you’re going out to help her. Your motivations are colored by trying to be the hero in the video game.

But with virtual reality, you can do all of those three things you can see, you can feel, you can go up to her, to this crying girl, and actually empathize with her by putting on a Virtual Reality headset.

The ability to put you so much closer that allows you to really empathize with whatever, or whoever you might be seeing on the other end of this, this black screen here. Because essentially these are your new eyes, right? This technology is – I want to say one of the next secrets in being able to push human empathy so much further than we’ve ever had it before.

It’s an incredible technology. Now, in terms, of safety, as you were mentioning before David is very powerful. The ability to drop somebody into a safety harness and maybe push them off of a building, and have them experience their own death, that emotion, and that feeling.

That doesn’t happen in real life without some mortal consequences. But in virtual reality, the only thing that you’re going to see at the end of that fall is the retry button. So you’d do it the right way.

David: Let’s hope that we’re not pushing them off.

Sergio: Well, you know, they’re going to do it themselves. They’re going to do it out of their own volition. Because people are curious. Now the question, how does virtual reality allow us to get so deep? David, what, what about it pushes people to actually change their lives and change their habits?

David: Well, here’s a fundamental benefit. When you’re talking about VR simulations, we know that when it comes to soft skills, L and D, HR style training: role-playing is one of the best ways to, not only communicate learning objectives, kind of makes it sticks when people actually role play amongst their peers.

The problem is that you typically have a fairly large class size. But even if you don’t, role-playing is very uncomfortable for people. Now being uncomfortable is okay, but most people don’t want to do it. And most people are really resistant. But what if you could role-play through the power of VR?

In a safe environment and you could understand the learning objectives, you could practice those learning objectives. You could build that mental muscle memory that VR allows us to build. And you’re safe.

You don’t have to worry about you. Think about, well, I’m going to make a fool of myself. I’m going to, I feel embarrassed. I feel awkward. I feel all these things that, I mean, you’re missing the point. You’re missing the learning objective.

But in VR, you can focus on what we want you to learn. You can focus on that learning objective, and that’s incredibly powerful because not only does it give you a safe place to learn, it gives you consistent learning, consistent training because the simulations are played out exactly the same way each time consistently.

And let’s face it. Training is all about meaningful consistency.

Sergio: Exactly. It’s pretty incredible stuff. For me, it seems to be the most powerful in the ability to transfer emotions back and forth the same way, I like to call it emotional fidelity. So, what I’m feeling is going to be the same feeling. Like you said, building that emotional muscle memory over and over and over again, without making a fool of yourself.

It’s pretty incredible stuff from the physical response of seeing everything and being immersed into that more subconscious and deeper immersive state that we get into. When we’re in a virtual reality headset, it really leaves a lasting impression, especially with me being a newcomer to this.

Over the last couple of years, Virtual reality has found me, and man, I can not get away from it. VR really allows you to see, hear, and smell things, even though you’re not smelling or, necessarily hearing them all the way correctly. Virtual reality allows you the opportunity to kind of images that you are in a new reality, it really is some incredible technology.

David: Well, and if you think about it and again, looking at it from the training aspect – I think it was clear back in the sixties – Edgar Dale did a study based on how people learn and how people learn based on specific media. So reading a book, or you know, when I was growing up, reading a three-inch thick manual or white paper of printed photocopy, your retention is just so low.

You’ll read it, but what do you really learn from it? And so that’s one step, and then you add pictures to it. And that’s another level. And so maybe your 10 to 15% of retaining that information. And then we add a person in front of you, like a lot of our training, is, displayed using PowerPoint. So maybe you’re 20, 25% with a guided slideshow.

And then you throw some video in, so there’s some motion and some music and. And you’re getting up to 30 or 40% and where I’m going with this is everybody, everybody in the training industry knows that if you can take somebody out in the field and work with them doing a specific task, or process or procedure, that is the highest retention.

They’ll learn and they’ll retain that information. They might be up to 70, 80, or 90% retention because that they’re, they’re doing it themselves. They feel like they’re doing it. Well,  if your simulations fall in that same category of 70, 80, or 90% retention. And yet, we can duplicate it because it’s digital technology resulting in not having the cost associated with live simulations.

And that doesn’t mean that live simulation. It doesn’t mean the technology will replace it. VR supplements it so you can use it as a precursor. They can actually understand the content that they’re going to be simulating in a live simulation prior to going in, or maybe six months later in a post refresher so that they can think about what they learned six months ago.

And they can, they can bring that muscle memory back up to par. All of these things. VR works very, very well. But the other thing is the fact that people forget information. You give them a body of information. And there’s actually a study that was number had done a number of years ago called the forgetting curve. So if you, if you give somebody a body of information within 12 hours, they’ll forget X amount of percentage.

And the percentage is like, depending on how they learn, is up 80% of the information that you gave them. Remember this information is important to their safety or wellbeing. They forget. The reason we have this idea that memory is kind of like a one-trick pony. You give it to them and then you just expect them to go off and, and do it, but that’s not quite it.

But humans aren’t like that. They need repetition. They need to build up my muscle memory. You don’t send a quarterback out on the field when he’s only been in one practice session. You send them out thereafter they’re proficient. After he’s worked with the team after they’ve gone through the playbook. The forgetting curve is the same way and that’s where VR can come into its own because it allows us to practice the things that can keep us safe.

And that’s important. So when you think about Edgar Dale’s and the cone of experience, about how people learn and how they retain information, and the forgetting curve, which is a study on how people forget and lose information. It all ties together with virtual reality because it gives us what feels like a real experience in a way that we can learn, and that we can retain.

Sergio: The technology seems to affect people on a, much deeper, more profound level. So you kind of said that forgetting curve a little bit because the information is so much deeper and it has that emotional impact of really feeling something. Let’s bring it back to our soft skills and emotional intelligence.

Let’s say you’re in an altercation in the office, right? If you are experiencing the conflict via PowerPoint or on a video, there’s only so much of that information, that’s really going to stick. Well, you put one of these suckers on and your boss says, Hey, you’re fired. And you have the option to emotionally react in a bunch of different ways. With a little bit of role-playing not only do you have the opportunity to choose the right answer, but you don’t make a fool of yourself in front of your peers.

You’re just wearing one of these you’re learning, and you’re having fun. That’s the other benefit of these is it’s really, really amazing to be able to jump into a scenario and see and experience another reality that is totally immersive. 

David: You know, Sergio, I appreciate you getting together to get today. You know, it’s an interesting time where we’re so remote from each other. In fact, everybody is in our organization, works remotely, and yet it’s so important to try to pull people back together, using tools that we have, and VR is certainly one of those tools. Here is a way of bringing people together that are working together, but apart and VR is starting to be one of those technologies that are going to allow us to literally be apart and learn. Sharing technology is sharing those learning experiences in a new way that we haven’t been able to do before.

So, Sergio, I appreciate you sponsoring this call and talking about emotional intelligence and virtual reality. And always, if you’re looking for more information about VR, we offer a free consultation to find about.

And if you’re looking to find out more information about VR and how it can affect the training curriculums within your organization, we offer a free consultation. There’s a lot of information on our website, on our YouTube channel, LinkedIn. Reach out to us. We’d be happy to start the conversation. And if nothing else, if you’re just a little bit curious, you can always download the train360 app on iOS or Android.  It is experience-based VR training, with just your phone and maybe that’s all you have is your phone or maybe the $3 giveaway headsets.

Sergio: Yeah. Check these Google cardboard units out. They’re really cool. 

David: Sergio, thank you.

Sergio: It’s my pleasure. And we’ll see you guys next time. Thanks for tuning in.

So when you think of VR training and impacting the adult learner in the most meaningful way, I feel that the hybrid approach of using 360° video and VR computer simulation is the most impactful.

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