How AR and VR Are Changing the Learning of Technical Skills
Digital Transformation Learning & Development

How AR and VR Are Changing the Learning of Technical Skills?

Right from the time when Facebook acquired the VR-focused gaming company, Oculus in 2014, immersive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are no longer restricted to the world of gaming. In the post-pandemic phase, Healthcare 4.0 is expected to push AR and VR revenues to $11 billion by the year 2024.

Further, AR and VR technologies are addressing the growing skills gap caused by the “great crew change” challenge due to the retirement of older workers. These technologies are effectively replacing the “traditional” classroom mode of learning technical skills. Technology-based training programs are key to attracting and retaining talent in manufacturing jobs like control engineers, technicians, and operators.

In the digital age, technical companies in any domain can no longer depend on legacy training resources like training manuals, paper-based instructions, and job shadowing.

How are AR and VR technologies changing the development of technical skills? Let’s start with the benefits.

Benefits of AR/VR in technical training programs

Whether it is for onboarding new employees or training existing ones, AR/VR technology is proving to be a better alternative to traditional corporate training sessions. Here are some of the benefits of using AR/VR technology in the technical training of employees:

Effective learning

As the adage goes, “practice makes a man perfect.”

AR and VR technologies enable practical on-job hands-on training, which has a higher retention rate of 75-90% as compared to just 5% from theoretical classroom sessions. For instance, AR/VR-based training in the healthcare industry is better equipped for training new doctors using 3D “virtual” models of the human heart to explain its functions. Similarly, a joint study conducted by Yale and Queens University found that VR-trained surgeons performed their surgeries 29% faster and with 6x lesser mistakes than traditionally trained surgeons.

Effectively, Virtual and Augmented Reality can be used to “recreate” the same working environment (example, mining site) that workers would experience in the real world. Further, workers with technical skills can use this “virtual” environment to practice and hone their learned skills whenever they want to.

Cost efficiency

As more enterprises reduce their employee training and development budgets, they need to turn to technology resources to maximize learning. Conference or classroom-based training programs are expensive due to their reliance on “physical” training materials and instructor’s fees. Often, travel and accommodation costs get added to the overall training expenses.

Beyond the initial investment into VR and AR devices, these technologies are more cost-efficient and can be reused for a variety of technical training programs. For instance, the Icahn School of Medicine leveraged VR for training their medical students in advanced cardiac life support. The training was 83% less expensive and 50% faster than in-person training methods.

Simulated learnings

By simulating real-life or even high-risk work environments, Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies can provide better job learnings where worker safety is important. For instance, training of “rookie” pilots, fire-fighters, or even “dangerous” machine operations.

On their part, employees learn from a “near-life” replication of the work environment they are expected to go into and gain the necessary skills. Further, they do not face the consequences of the “virtual” mistakes they commit in the simulated environment. For example, the Atlanta-based University School of Medicine found that VR-trained surgeons made 40% fewer mistakes than the “conventionally” trained surgeons.

Gamification in learning

Going by 2022 statistics, 90% of employees believe gamified learning makes them more productive, while 72% of the employees say gamification has motivated them to work harder and efficiently on their jobs.

More enterprises are now incorporating gamified learning into their corporate training program. Gamification elements in the form of badges, leaderboards, and rewards are used to make learning more “fun-based” and engaging to employees. The use of AR/VR technology in gamification is elevating technical learning, as trainees learn to interact in real-time with “virtual” badges and points.

Soft skills development

Along with the growing gap in technical skills, companies also find it challenging to find candidates with good soft skills including communication, leadership, and teamwork. Recent studies reveal that 59% of recruiting managers find it difficult to hire candidates with soft skill expertise.

While traditional soft skill training is too often boring or non-engaging, immersive AR and VR training are proving to be impactful for employees. For instance, this VR-based training video shows an employee practicing leadership and conflict resolution skills in a simulated VR environment. Similarly, retail giant Walmart has used VR technology to train its store employees on how to interact with customers and develop their soft skills.

Beyond these benefits, AR/VR technology is transforming the employee training domain in more ways. Let’s explore further in the following section.

How AR/VR is transforming the training domain

According to the market intelligence company IDC, the global market for VR- and AR-based training will touch $8.5 billion by 2023. Going by the 70:20:10 framework, 70% of people learn through “experiential” methods, which is compatible with the “hands-on” training enabled by AR and VR technologies.

With the modern workplace going to comprise Millennials and Gen Z workers, companies will find it productive to integrate AR/VR technology for this tech-friendly generation. As workforces move to the online space, “virtual” training models will emerge to be more effective for training younger employees as against in-person models.

Along with training remote workers, VR-enabled experiential learning is also suited for higher knowledge retention. For instance, the Miami Children’s Health System reported that the retention level for employees after a year of VR training is as high as 80%, compared to just 20% after a week for a traditional training program.


Through immersive technologies like Virtual and Augmented Reality, various technology companies including mining and healthcare firms are leveraging its many benefits like higher knowledge retention, lower training costs, and experiential learning.

At Heptagon, we simplify digital transformation for our business clients through end-to-end technology solutions in RPA and data analytics. Do you have more queries about how AR and VR technologies can improve your corporate training program? We can help answer your queries. Just drop us a message.

Source:- Published on LinkedIn

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