2016 has been dubbed the year of virtual reality. Wherever you look today, you’re likely to see it dominating media headlines, investments and discussions. So is VR the next big thing for learning or in reality is it just hype?

At a time when engagement in the workplace is at an all-time low and with average attention spans shorter than ever, L&D departments and learning providers alike are looking for innovative ways to motivate and immerse learners. And that’s where VR comes in, transporting learners out of their everyday world and immersing them in a 360° virtual environment with a high sense of reality, enabling learning to take place that might not be practical or cost-effective in the real world.

The use of VR for specialist training is not new. It’s already proven its worth for training in medicine and for ‘hands-on’ learning in the transport and defence industries. But now that the technology is more affordable, easier to use and ultimately more accessible to everyone than ever, it’s fast becoming no longer just for those looking to develop high-precision technical skills.

VR opens up a world of opportunity for learners across all industries and has the potential to be used for a range of different training scenarios from health and safety, onboarding and orientation to the development of interpersonal and leadership skills, as well as customer services, sales and languages.

According to Deloitte Global, VR is on track to have its first billion dollar year in 2016. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs estimates that the global market for virtual and augmented reality will be worth $80 billion by 2025.

So what eye-opening opportunities exist for L&D? Immersive virtual reality enables employees to learn and practice new skills in a safe environment, making high-risk training achievable and cost-effective. It gives learners the opportunity to see and experience new things with the freedom to fail, and ultimately succeed by learning from their mistakes. It’s also great for increasing learning attention spans and knowledge retention and reducing the cognitive load of learning by enabling direct ‘hands-on’ experience to solve real problems. Ultimately, VR provides L&D departments with a strong tool to boost creativity and innovation, resulting in more effective learning content.

With so much potential, it’s hard to believe that VR is just another passing tech fashion. But don’t take our word for it. Kallidus is conducting a short survey to find out what L&D professionals really think about VR. For a chance to win a smartphone-compatible VR headset, please share your views in our anonymous survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VR-survey-2016

Our product innovator, Tim Drewitt will be discussing the initial findings from the survey at Learning Technologies Summer Forum at Olympia on 14 June 2016 in his presentation, ‘Getting started with VR: myths, realities and practicalities’, at 11.15am – 11.45am, Theatre 2. Initial results show that L&D professionals are very receptive to the use of VR for training.

Without doubt, the best way to discover the potential of VR is to experience it yourself and so we’ll be running demos all day at stand 18 and giving away Google Cardboard headsets and a handy pocket guide to VR packed full of practical tips to help make virtual simulated environments a reality in corporate training.

VR technology has come of age. We hope to see you at LTSF and look forward to opening your eyes to the power of VR! If you can’t make the show and you’d like to explore how VR could make an impact in your organisation, please do get in touch at www.kallidus.com/talk-to-us/

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