Virtual Reality for Soft Skills
VR training scenarios simulate realistic workplace scenarios and are a highly sophisticated form of role play. Using virtual embodiment, the learners interact with a virtual character, then swap bodies and watch an avatar of themselves as the situation is played back. The impact of this new perspective encourages self-reflection and embeds learning from practical experience within a virtual environment.
If you’d like to see our VR training scenarios for soft skills, click here.
Having chosen their avatar at the beginning of a scenario, learners find themselves in a virtual office. Throughout the scenario they speak to a group of animated virtual characters at a conference table or desk.
The learner speaks directly to these virtual characters, reading dialogue aloud from a list of options. The VR headset microphone collects the spoken choice, and a voice-to-text service matches spoken words to the option.
At various points in the scenario, the learner body swaps – that is they record their dialogue and then swap viewpoints to one of the other characters.
They can then watch and hear their avatar speaking with their voice, watch their body language and see exactly how they appear to others.
Why use Virtual Reality?
- Employees in VR courses can be trained up to four times faster, PwC (2020).
- VR in training boosts engagement and knowledge retention. Learners are more focused as VR is immersive, PwC (2020).
- Using virtual reality is more effective than classroom and e-learn training at teaching soft skills concepts, PwC (2020).
- VR learning provides a way to train employees where it is not always practical to do so in the real world.
- Both employers and employees want bite-sized training that is focused and applicable, which is exactly what VR offers, ManPower (2021).
What are the benefits of using Virtual Reality for Soft Skills training?
Exploration + Adaptive Practice = Psychological Safety
VR simulations are designed to be experienced individually without other participants or external evaluation. The psychological safety within virtual environments encourages exploration without fear of failure, leading to repetition and variations in practice that embed information in new, more durable ways.
Embodiment + Affect = Emotional Engagement
Being embodied in a virtual character allows for an emotional, personal and highly memorable experience for each individual, informing their responses and giving learning personalisation a new meaning.
Immersion + Application = Real-play not Roleplay
Learners get to interact with virtual humans using their own voice. The combination of social presence and participation unleashes the benefits of hands-on practice usually reserved for face-to-face roleplaying.
Data + Reflection = Self-coaching
Comprehensive analytics, leveraging behavioural and semantic data, provide highly personalised real-time feedback. This encourages self-awareness and enables powerful moments of reflection.
“VR supported by good conversational artificial intelligence can enable a learner to explore multiple possible solutions and find the right way for them.
There is already research showing that Virtual Reality training of soft skills can achieve faster and better results, with trainees being much more focused on the learning, than other approaches.
Being able to fail safely and learn from mistakes, and being able to repeat this process until the skill has been mastered are clear advantages.”
Professor Nicholas Caldwell
Professor of Information Systems Engineering University of Suffolk
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