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Virtual Reality Redefines Future of Work Despite Challenges


Ongoing changes in the way people work in a post-COVID 19 era have transformed employees’ relationships with work and the expectations of work, and virtual reality can be an exciting opportunity in digital transformation.

In terms of training, VR can make it easier to learn more quickly, retain more knowledge and gain a deeper comprehension of the matter at hand. VR can intensify the lessons and comprehension of novice trainees and experienced workers.

Exciting opportunities can pose challenges, however.

“Part of the difficulty is the fact that folks want to take what is done in a standard training and try to do it in virtual reality,” said Dr. Christopher Metzler, consultant and strategist with the National Urban League, during a keynote presentation at ITEXPO 2022. “That simply does not work.”

VR can be attractive for the wrong reason simply because it is the latest tool. Companies with a low bar when it comes to training see VR as a way to clear it, but VR should be perceived as part of the overall message, making sure the solution meets leadership’s specific needs.

“Managers and leaders need to be enabled to lead in a hybrid environment,” said Metzler. “To succeed in the future of work, leaders need to operate in a more human way and translate the more human way into virtual reality.”

Another factor to account for is virtual fatigue. Training in a virtual environment can turn into an uncomfortable experience especially for newcomers who are not used to wearing a headset for long sessions. A virtual environment also poses the risk of side effects such as headaches and eye strain if the workers are not used to a virtual environment.

The future of training and development is unfolding in the virtual world when in-person training may not be an option for some, but there are still some shortcomings that need to be addressed to make training in a virtual world a more reliable experience for all.

Edited by Erik Linask
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