VR for soft skills: Ready for Prime Time?
At Learn Interactive we've been sniffing around VR (and AR) for a while. These are obviously incredibly powerful technologies for offering training and practice in skills with a major physical dimension (surgery is a prime example). But what can they offer for soft skills such as leadership, teamwork and presentation?
At Learn Interactive, we're open-minded, but skeptical. Sure, you can practice presentation skills in front of an audience modeled in CGI...but is this really a better learning experience than practicing with a partner on Zoom or some other virtual meeting tool? And, even if the answer is "yes" (which is arguable) is the incremental benefit worth the additional expense?
These are open questions which we certainly don't feel we have answered yet for ourselves. And of course the technology is not static—what's true today won't be true tomorrow.
Like a lot of folks in this field, we're trying stuff out—and we'd suggest that there needs to be a lot more experimentation from both clients and vendors and sharing of results. Right now there are some really interesting companies doing great work, including London-based Virtual Speech and the Bay Area's Mursion, to name just two.
This report from Boston-based JFFLabs, is a round-up of the state-of-the art in the field. Here's the "money quote" from the widely respected thought leader and visionary Josh Bersin (Josh Bersin Academy).
“Immersive Learning is becoming one of the hottest and most transformational approaches to learning in business. New tools for VR and AR are transforming technical, managerial, and all elements of soft skills training because they create real-world learning experiences that stick.
As this report describes, Immersive Learning is built on decades of experience in technology-based training, and it is now one of the fastest growing segments of the $200Billion+ corporate training industry.”