Virtual reality (VR) has been on the market for several years now and is primarily used in corporate training to train people on high-risk jobs, such as flying an aircraft. Gamification has also been picking up speed in the last few years as a viable training solution. A blend of these tools can help take learning to the next level.

With virtual reality, learners enter a virtual environment and practice situations until they pass assessments and the trainer feels that they are ready to work in the field. The economic impact of virtual and augmented reality is projected to grow to $15.6 billion by 2020.

Games are not new learning interventions. Face-to-face training has used games for a long time, and with the advent of online learning, two primary modes of gaming evolved. One is pure game-based learning, where the entire training is a game with points and rewards. The other gamifies certain assessments or activities. Organizations have experimented successfully with both forms.

Corporate training can improve its effectiveness by combining VR and gamification can be effectively combined in the world of learning. VR offers the ability to explore unchartered territories and locations that are difficult to explore physically. Adding game-based elements, such as scoring, timed activities and rewards, can help improve motivation and learning. If trainees are pitted against each other in a gamified competition inside a VR environment, they will be more engaged.

Here are four examples of where blended virtual reality and gamification can make training more effective.

1. New Hire Training

A radical example of this kind of solution is onboarding. Instead of the standard, staid induction programs, you can have a “VR plus gamification” session, where the trainees not only learn about the various functions and key people of the organization but also do so faster and with greater interest. This type of program also welcomes the new employees in a more engaging manner.

2. Safety Training

Another example of a good blend of gamification and VR is training employees on what to do during emergencies such as fires or tornados. Traditionally, this type of training is done as a periodic drill, sometimes with “champions” leading the way and demonstrating how to act during the emergency. With a virtual reality setting, combined with game elements like scoring and rewards, employees will be more motivated to take up this type of training and will pay more attention and be alert. The VR setting can also recreate the emergency scenario without putting employees in danger, making them better prepared if the situation arises.

3. Code of Conduct Training

Many organizations offer code of conduct training as part of orientation and other mandatory programs. You can convert this type of training into an interesting gamified VR experience. Learners can place themselves in virtual situations where they will be offered gifts from third parties or challenged to make better choices when talking to people outside the organization. Traditionally, these training programs are delivered as e-learning courses. A VR experience will provide a realistic feel to the experience, making it more meaningful and better preparing learners if the situation arises “in real life.” Combining it with game elements creates an engaging experience and helps learners tame their flight or fight response.

Benefits of the Blend

By blending VR and gamification, trainees perform better in the simulated environment, and with increased memorability, the transfer of learning to the job is better. With the reducing prices of VR headsets and emerging technologies, L&D should consider VR games a serious mode for learning new skills and behaviors.