Is VR the Future of Corporate Training?

Harvard Business Review
Author Jeremy Bailenson


VR is increasingly being used to help train employees to do their jobs. Over the past year, especially, the Covid-19 pandemic has precipitated the need for virtual training applications. For example, VR is being used to train employees in “soft skills” to improve customer service and managerial skills. These use cases have a foundation in academic work; for example, many studies have used VR to teach public speaking. But given how expensive it is to assemble a room full of real people — which is also not feasible currently due to Covid-19 restrictions — VR is a game changer in terms of ease and cost. VR shows a unique balance across experiments — it is immersive enough for people to take the training seriously, but also a safe environment where learners are less self-conscious about speaking frankly compared to talking to real people. This article focused on three case studies on employee training — one based on learning physical procedures, one on conversational “soft skills,” and one on corporate culture.