How Walmart Is Using VR to Train Employees
Walmart is invest in VR technology to help train employees. Click here to learn more about the new Walmart Academies training program.
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It’s hard to shift the idea that virtual reality only really appeals to the gaming community. The lack of mainstream applications for the technology doesn’t help to shift that perception, but retail giant Walmart is about to take a stab at it.
The company is expanding a pilot project that uses VR as part of the Walmart Academies training program to provide training to over 1 million Walmart employees.
“The great thing about VR is its ability to make learning experiential,” Walmart said. “When you watch a module through the headset, your brain feels like you actually experienced a situation. We’ve also seen that VR training boosts confidence and retention while improving test scores 10 to 15 percent – even those associates who simply watched others experience the training saw the same retention boosts.”
The program will see four headsets sent to every Walmart Supercenter, with two sent to every Neighborhood Market, with the ultimate aim of getting 17,000 headsets in stores by the end of the year. The aim is to make the training, previously available to managers, available to all staff.
They will have access to around 45 activity-based training modules, with each aiming to provide realistic and repeatable training scenarios that are designed to help staff learn faster than more traditional, classroom-based methods.
“We are entering a new era of learning, and Walmart continues to lead the way,” says STRIVR, the VR company who produced the content for Walmart. “The power of VR is real, and when offered as a cornerstone of learning and development, it can truly transform the way an organization trains its people.”
The training will be offered in areas such as customer service, compliance, and new technology, with the team understandably believing that using VR will be vital in helping staff understand the kind of new technologies being used in store. For instance, staff will be able to ‘practice’ interacting with the Pickup Tower units being deployed in stores within the virtual environment.
The team believes that the virtual environment will boost the confidence of employees, as they can freely make mistakes without them having serious consequences. Therefore, it’s a safer environment to allow them to learn by doing.
I think it suffices to say that it’s still very early days in terms of determining whether the investment is paying off, but it’s safe to say that Walmart is the largest company to make such an investment in VR technology for training employees. That alone makes it a project worth keeping an eye on.
Check out the video below to see the system in action.
Published at DZone with permission of Adi Gaskell, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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