By: Joseph Murgida
Businesses have warned for years about the ever-growing shortage of skilled labor in United States. Effective workplace training is not only essential to the safety and security of crucial sectors of our daily life, but also key for growth and innovation. Training regimes typically involve curricula where future workers learn concepts necessary to ensure adequate performance on the job. However, few curricula allow for necessary on-site training that requires workers to put their skills into action. New technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR), are providing new opportunities for workers to employ skills from their training in simulated real world settings.
The Metaverse already offers applications that demonstrate the possibilities virtual reality can offer workforce development. These systems allow people to make mistakes in a safe, controlled VR environment before they are exposed to a real-life situation where making those mistakes could prove deadly. First responders, for example, can get a highly realistic simulation of deadly situations to hone their skills before facing it in the field. Police cadets could have better trigger discipline out of the academy. EMTs will experience more immersive simulations of medical evacuations before someone’s life depends on it. Studies have indicated that 70% of students trained in VR were able to perform the correct procedures in the correct order while responding to an emergency theatre fire, which was a staggering 50% higher than the control group that was only exposed to a presentation and reading material on the topic. Gregorian College has successfully incorporated this technology into their educational practices, in which they train plumbers on virtual pipes, firefighters on virtual fires, and nurses on virtual patients.
Another novel use of VR/AR is in on-the-job training and continuing education. One example is 3M, which offers a health and safety training app that allows individuals to practice various skills in realistic simulations of hazardous workplace situations, such as working at heights. These applications provide evidence that virtual reality applications could be designed for more specific use cases.
VR can do more than simply improve our current workforce development practices; if deployed correctly, it also has the potential to attract more trainees to professions facing shortages. We at Digital Liberty have long been concerned about the need for a more effective spectrum engineer training. At the very least, VR offers more than dry textbooks and may spark interest in spectrum and other essential fields that will dominate the future.
Experts across industries that require workers to engage with potentially hazardous situations should embrace the Metaverse and incorporate virtual reality applications into their training curricula. Altering current training techniques by employing the evidence from these studies into current workplace instruction will allow for better preparedness rates for workers, less on-the-job training, and safer outcomes.