How to Use Immersive Learning Technologies (3D/VR/AR/MR) to Improve Your Onboarding Experience

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02/02/21
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  • New hires are 69% more likely to commit to a company with a well-structured onboarding program.
  • Your onboarding should have activities that present the culture and people of the organisation
  • Deliver information in bite-sized components to prevent the new-starter from being overwhelmed
  • Be online, that provides flexibility and convenience for completion

 

Organisations expend a great deal of time and money to convey new employees the knowledge and skills they need to get started kicking goals in their new role.

An onboarding process that could usually take up to 3 months could be reduced to a few weeks with the use of technology. Onboarding could even begin before the new-starters first day, allowing them to feel more comfortable and prepared for their new role.

New hires are 69% more likely to commit to a company with a well-structured onboarding program.

This is a critical opportunity for companies to leverage technology and eLearning to deliver a top-notch onboarding experience, which could in turn create a loyal workforce.

An important question to ask yourself, how effective is your organisation’s current onboarding program? Discover and evaluate all of your advantages and shortcomings, question the ‘how’ and ‘why of everything brought forward (Hughes, 2019). This will help you identify where to put your resources and where to improve, leading you down the right path to delivering an out-of-this-world onboarding experience.

Research

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The Future of eLearning – Using AR, VR, MR & 3D

Immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) have pushed the door right open for new possibilities in eLearning. The rise in demand for experiential learning is moving onward to become more immersive and interactive than ever before.

Accomplished online education is based on a balanced approach to technique, content, and concept. When using immersive technology in eLearning, the conceptual framework is more so important to the success of the course (Walther, 2019). 

Enthusiasm for the use of immersive technology is great, but we must keep from getting too ahead of ourselves. To look beyond the costs and time of administering immersive experiences in eLearning, innovative technologies without strong concepts will bring no added value – let’s not get caught in that.

In virtual reality, for instance, it would make little sense to have a multiple-choice question in the middle of a VR environment in which the learner chooses an answer with an arm movement. A strong concept should focus on the benefits of VR and it is linked brilliantly with the course learning objectives.

Augmented reality is an emerging technology innovation in eLearning that combines 3D animation within real-world settings to provide an immersive experience. In contrast to VR, AR brings the real world and the digital world together.

Human anatomy, interior design, machinery operations or architecture – AR can be used to improve education in a variety of industries in a controlled and hazard-free environment.

Mixed reality allows us to immerse ourselves in the world around us as we interact with a virtual environment using our hands; all without ever removing the headset. It gives us the capacity to have one foot in the real-world and one foot in an imaginary world offering an experience that shifts the way we learn.

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Corporate Onboarding With Immersive Technology

Bringing onboarding into the immersive tech universe is an exciting journey that could potentially make a lasting good impression for your organisation. People tend to enjoy the immersive nature of training as they become accustomed to their role and responsibilities. The experience brings an enhanced level of engagement that can provide unique insights into the impact of this training.

Immersive tech can really push the boundaries of what can be achieved in an onboarding program. So many aspects can be addressed before day one without a new employee even stepping into the workplace. For instance, VR can present the office environment, where an employee will be sitting, which way to go to reach IT or HR, the company data protection policy – all of this can be suggested to a new-starter with the use of 360° view in a virtual space. 

It’s important to keep your audience in mind, is the demographic comfortable and familiar with immersive tech? Today, groups remain unfamiliar with these innovative technologies; particularly older generations. Factoring in a plan to take a greater learning curve into consideration for this kind of onboarding training is necessary for positive outcomes and experiences. 

In 2021 it is predicted that company adoption of immersive tech is to increase by 33%. Organisations have reported that with this approach they have experienced reduced training durations for employees and increased overall satisfaction and preparedness (Hughes, 2019).

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How to Apply Immersive Technology to Your Onboarding Program 

The return on investment of using immersive tech in your onboarding program can be remarkable – but only if it is applied effectively.

Successfully identifying areas in your onboarding experience where the use of virtual reality is rational and can provide an impact to the experience. There are instances where VR has been used effectively with virtual tours (Hughes, 2019). Perhaps your workplace is a dangerous environment; the new starter can have time to familiarise themselves, master the safety foundations required in a realistic setting before entering the real-world, removing the risk of accidents. How about training for machinery use? New employees can learn the processes and mechanics in a safe and controlled virtual environment; simulating all aspects needed to successfully achieve the learning objectives.

There are also many learning elements that can be applied; infoboxes, pointing out important aspects in a room, exploration and discovery. Certain company policies could be experienced directly in a virtual space; Are confidential client documents open on an office table? What is this file sitting in the bin? Is the computer locked when leaving the workstation? Feeding learning outcomes this way creates recognition and value for the learner (Walther, 2019).

At eCreators we used VR for remotely onboarding new starters, an important aspect for us is getting to know one another through genuine and meaningful conversations. A team member can invite a new employee to their unique world that displays all their hobbies, likes and interests. It is a virtual space for one to explore and discover what there is to know about their teammates and find mutual ground for social interaction.

https://youtu.be/w5e1SyYrSNE 

The Future Is Now

Immersive technology has the potential to solve onboarding obstacles in a way that no other process can. Where it be connecting people in order to collaborate globally or creating virtual environments that would either be too dangerous or costly to do in real-life. Using the latest cutting-edge technology can have long-lasting benefits if used correctly in your onboarding program. By giving new employees a kick-ass onboarding experience they will never forget can improve commitment, loyalty and motivation amongst the workforce – let’s make onboarding exciting!

Digital Transformation

In a year unlike any other, 2020 sent many organizations and academic institutions racing down a path to digital transformation. Whether already on a journey to digitization or just starting out, institutions of all types and sizes sought to either strengthen or build their digital offering to facilitate online learning without interruptions and optimizing resources. In this special issue of E-Learn, we explore the digital transformation taking place all over the world. Read on to discover trends, insights, and best practices on how corporations and academic institutions are adjusting to the new era of Education.

References

Andrew Hughes, 2 April 2019, ‘What To Consider Before Implementing Virtual Reality
Training For Employee Onboarding’, eLearning Industry, accessed 3 December 2020, <https://elearningindustry.com/virtual-reality-training-employee-onboarding-consider-implementing>.

Andrew Hughes, 20 March 2019, ‘How To Leverage VR Training To Create Better Onboarding Experiences’, eLearning Industry, accessed 3 December 2020, <https://elearningindustry.com/vr-training-create-better-onboarding-experiences-leverage>.

Intel, 2020, accessed 10 December 2020, <https://www.intel.com.au/content/www/au/en/tech-tips-and-tricks/virtual-reality-vs-augmented-reality.html>.

Maria Walther, 22 February 2019, ‘Virtual Reality In Onboarding’, eLearning Industry, accessed 3 December 2020, <https://elearningindustry.com/virtual-reality-in-onboarding>.

Sean Bui, 19 November 2020, ‘Top Educational Technology Trends In 2020-2021’, eLearning Industry, accessed 10 December 2020, <https://elearningindustry.com/top-educational-technology-trends-2020-2021>.

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