It is estimated that poor quality training ends up costing companies nearly $13.5 million per year for every 1,000 employees trained.
Furthermore, a 2015 study by Microsoft found that the average person loses attention after only 8 seconds. These numbers are staggering, and it makes you really wonder if there is a better way to optimize onboarding processes for hiring new employees as well as training current ones.
For companies to avoid losing customers, money, or more, it is important to be able to quantify the effectiveness of an organization’s training program. In this article, we are going to look at the best ways to measure the benefits of using tools like augmented and virtual reality for employee process training in a variety of ways.
Professor Donald Kirkpatrick developed and published the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model in 1959. The Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model has become one of the most widely applied methods for organizations to determine if a training program is successful or unsuccessful at training employees. The model has four basic steps.
Reaction: How the participants felt about the training program. What type of response does the program elicit from them?
Learning: How much knowledge or skills the participants gained. How much have they retained?
Behavior: The degree to which participants applied what they learned.
Results: The benefits the business sees as a result of the training. What does the business get out of the training investment?
Perhaps the most obvious challenge in creating a training program is to create one which employees and new staff respond to. It is all the common that employees view training programs as a waste of time, a day of boredom, or an easy paid day. To pass step one of the Kirkpatrick model the training program must be able to elicit a positive reaction from the employees. It needs to engage them, keep them concentrated, and keep away the boredom.
This is where an obvious benefit of a VR training program can be seen. Because VR is immersive by nature it can be used to create training programs that check all of those boxes; it keeps employees engaged, concentrated and occupied the entire time, unlike traditional lecture-based training methods. It is also a new and unique way to give a fresh perspective to lacklustre and outdated methods that simply don’t captivate or foster a positive learning experience.
Another major challenge to having an effective training program is determining whether or not individuals are learning what is being taught. The most standard metric to determining an employee has learned from the training program is a standard competency exam. If scores are low, or undesirable, the entire program needs to be improved, done again, or both.
With full-scale immersive technology learning modules, you are able to build tests and proficiency exams right into the experience, as well as being able to push the results to a backend LMS or database. The end result is a much more streamlined and efficient learning process that will save money in the long-term and promote better learning outcomes overall.
VR allows an organization to create competency tests that closely mimic real-life working conditions. It also allows for examination of exactly which parts of the training program employees are learning from and which parts they are not. If employees, as a whole, perform poorly in a specific aspect under VR conditions, it can be determined that it is that portion of the training program which is lacking and needs to be redone.
Virtual and augmented reality has been used by many leading industries in the past few years for training exercises, so we can see adoption is on the rise. From manufacturing, aerospace, defence, energy and automotive, we have seen training programs executed successfully across the board. Pilots, especially commercial pilots, have used flight simulators for years to determine if they have fully grasped the knowledge, they have learned in training programs. It has been through this use of VR type training that pilot training has become so standardized and effective over the years. Pilots can train for scenarios that are too dangerous and life-threatening to train for in a real-life setting.
Another VR training example implemented more recently is UPS, and how they train their drivers for all sorts of conditions and hazards using VR technology. With VR, employers can gauge if an employee has truly learned their required tasks before entering the workforce.
Here at VR Vision, we have developed countless full-scale training platforms for our clients and partners. One of the better training rollouts for us has been with Toyota Motors Manufacturing, where we are training around 10,000 employees on hazard identification and safety protocols and procedures.
This has equated to a reduction in speed to onboard new employees as well as lowered their incident rates. In turn, this leads to less downtime for production and higher ROI for their manufacturing plants overall.
The third requirement in Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation model is behaviorally based, to phrase it another way “does the employees’ behaviour positively improve in response to the training they are receiving?”
This is answered by looking at the key performance indicators (KPI) that are outlined before the training scenario even begins. KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity in which it engages. Essentially, the business picks a metric, a way of measuring something they want to achieve and determine if they have in fact achieved it.
For example, a car company might want to have a zero-defect month, a restaurant may want 3 more people certified in food safety, and a construction company might want 3 more people trained on a boom lift. KPI’s are simply the goals a company sets and uses to measure whether or not they have met that goal.
This principle can be applied to XR (AR & VR) training, but instead of losing productivity and money having the KPI’s met in the workplace, employees can train in an extended reality where mistakes are much less costly (or harmful), and be made ready for optimal performance in the workplace. Furthermore, it is easier to meet KPIs when the employee has already achieved them in a virtual setting, as VR especially lends well to increased learning efficacy and overall higher knowledge retention rates.
The fourth principle in Kirkpatrick’s model is the results. This can be defined in many ways but the most essential way of defining results is “what does the organization receive from training employees?”. What does the business get from the investment made in training employees?
Training new employees are always one of the more costly aspects of operating a business. Replacing an employee can cost six to nine months of their salary, this cost is seen in both the decrease in production from departed employees and the cost ramping up the newly on-boarded employee. The new employee is not expected to meet full productivity until over 6 months of taking the job, resulting in further financial loses.
Once again, VR helps here. As laid out above, VR can increase learning times meaning new employees can reach full efficiency sooner, resulting in less financial loss for the business. Employees often complain that they are not sure how to use their training, or that their training does not seem to apply to the real-world setting. Giving employees the ability to test out their training and feel confident about it improves employee satisfaction and leads to lower turnover rates, which in turn leads to increased productivity by reducing requires training times and costs associated with new employees
With VR technology at a point where it has become so immersive and realistic, there has never been a better time to implement augmented reality or virtual reality into your organizations’ training program and enjoy the benefits of more productive and efficient employees with less time from training to the workplace than ever before.