Any time we make an investment, we want to get the best return we can. It doesn’t matter if that investment is in the stock market, in real estate, or in a piece of equipment for our business.
An investment in virtual training can help an organization boost its ROI.
“There’s an initial investment in the technology, but when you compare that to the continual replacement of other equipment, it’s pretty easy to recognize some amount of savings over a period of time,” explains Tom Cox, a former paramedic and training director who is now the Director of EMS sales for VRpatients.
Tools like VRpatients, which provide an immersive training environment, can help maximize training investments by putting future or current medics or other medical workers into real-life situations without real-life consequences.
“You have to look at this as a long-term thing. What am I spending on all my equipment now, and then what am I going to be spending after I do something like invest in a new VR product? My belief is that it will pay off over a period of time,” Cox says. “What you cannot put a dollar price on is the effectiveness of being able to train on scenarios over and over and over again until you get it right.”
Ways to Utilize Virtual Training
Virtual training is an efficient way to make one initial investment yet utilize it in many ways.
Virtual training can:
- Provide onboarding training and information to new employees or students.
- Allow people to strengthen or add new skills.
- Communicate new policies and procedures to employees or trainees.
Interactivity is important in any virtual learning environment since people learn best by doing. Virtual learning is not the same as just putting a lecture online.
“Online learning is great when people cannot gather as a group and there is a large amount of work that needs to be done. Virtual reality places you in the environment and it’s all-encompassing. It’s immersive. It raises your pulse and increases your blood pressure. It’s real,” Cox explains. “The environment is something that you can look around and experience. You can’t do that on a flat screen.”
Some online activities like webinars are passive learning and they are ripe for distractions because people often multitask while watching.
True virtual learning, like what happens with VRpatients, is immersive and interactive. It requires immediate responses and confirmations from the students and the scenarios react according to the responses.
“Virtual reality is the time to make mistakes and people learn from their mistakes. When you see them and you experience them, the next time you’re more likely to do it right,” Cox says. “If you messed up, you have a chance to go back and run it again. It’s that continual experience that you get running a particular case that makes you more confident. Then when you do go out in the field, that frequent number of times that you exercise the particular case is going to help you if you ever come across a patient that’s got similar complaints.”
Investing in Virtual Training is Not Stagnant
Coordinating training sessions involves many considerations including scheduling, shift coverage, the cost of training materials and much more.
For in-person training, everyone must be in the same room at the same time and learns the same information.
While standardizing information can be important, it is also necessary to allow for different learning styles and schedules to obtain the information students, trainees, and employees need.
With VR, students can learn at their own pace and often in smaller doses than would be possible during a larger in-person training session. They feel empowered because they are making their own learning choices.
“It’s really hard to put dollar value on that. What’s the dollar value of a student being confident when they’re done with the class that they know how to tackle everything?” Cox asks.
Tools like VRpatients allow educators and trainers to create cases and different scenarios based on what students need. Several students can run cases at the same time without instructors needing to be present and monitoring. Then those instructors can set up individual meetings to make assessments.
“I want to emphasize that tools like VRpatients do not take the place of an instructor,” Cox says. “The instructor is vital because when you get done running the case, you get a score. After you run some cases, you’re going to meet with your instructor and your instructor is going to talk to you about the choices you made in those cases and talk to you about what you did right and what you did wrong. We’re not trying to replace instructors. We’re trying to make instructors more effective.”
Virtual training also allows:
- Learners to follow up on the pieces they did not understand and repeat them if necessary, without drawing attention to themselves.
- Educators to communicate with students about post-training information.
- Questions and answers between fellow learners and trainers.
Before beginning any virtual training where students will be participating with their own equipment in remote locations, make sure they have the correct setup to maximize their learning.
- Make sure students have an environment conducive to learning and as free of distractions as possible.
- Check bandwidth to make sure they have enough internet capacity to do what they need to do. Often, a wired connection is better than a wireless one.
- Encourage students to have headsets with microphones to make it easier for them to hear and for you to hear them.
- Test the system with learners before they are expected to use it.
“For a small investment, you can give people experiences dealing with unlimited patient conditions, which is much less than you would spend on traditional trainings,” Cox says. “You’re not going to save money this month or next month, but long term you’re going to save. What you really get out of it is a vastly more experienced student who is more prepared to enter the EMS world and be high performing members of that industry.”
When you’re ready to look for a VR solution to your training needs, look no further than VRpatients.
As an industry leader navigating the remote learning world, the people at VRpatients know you are always looking to optimize your educational toolset. VRpatients increases knowledge retention and builds stress inoculation, all for a fraction of the price of traditional sim training.
Contact us to schedule a demo or to learn more about how VRpatients can help you get the most out of your precious training dollars.