This week I was introduced to an innovation in learning technology developed by STRIVR Labs, the world leader in virtual reality (VR) to train individuals and improve performance.
STRIVR is used by some of the world’s most respected organizations, from professional sports teams to Fortune 100 companies. The STRIVR platform utilizes immersive VR to help individuals learn faster and more effectively, which improves reaction time, pattern recognition, and decision-making in the real world. Virtual Reality is a proven and effective tool for learning and development. What’s more, the data and insights drawn are unlike anything else: the most accurate assessment of performance and preparedness for real life situations.
Virtual reality training differs from standard classroom training (e.g., reading, lecture, role-play, etc.). Trainers project what an associate is seeing inside the VR headset onto a large TV screen, allowing other members of the class to comment and interact as a part of the VR-enabled learning experience. With STRIVR, learners can experience a situation as if they are actually there. Learning retention rates can be as high as 75 percent, vs. just 10 percent for reading or a lecture.
And for the past several months, STRIVR’s has been working with Walmart U.S. to test VR in 31 of its Training Academies. Based on the promising results of that test, Walmart will be rolling out VR across its entire Academy fleet (200 total facilities by the end of 2017) where VR will be an integral part of the training experience for about 140,000 associates per year.
Tom Ward, Vice President of Central Operations, Walmart U.S., provides a vivid illustration of how VR training is being used to prepare its associates: “Imagine being a new assistant manager having never worked in a Wal-Mart before. How on earth do you prepare somebody for the holiday peak season, that rush of a busy store and all of the action going on around you? With this we can really prepare these leaders.”
As Walmart looks for innovative ways to coax market share from Amazon – or, at least, hold onto its current share – it appears that it’s counting on a remarkably prepared workforce that can translate virtual lessons into real performance.
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Photo credit: Walmart