How Virtual Reality (VR) Could Impact Training Strategies with Adi Stephan

How Virtual Reality Could Impact Training Strategies – highlights from our podcast interview with Adi Stephan

In the real world, you’re limited by time and space, but in the virtual world, it seems that anything is possible. Adi Stephan, Head of Learning HP at IQ Business, has been in the training development space for the last twenty years. Companies like Oculus have started releasing accessible platforms to consume virtual reality worlds, catalyzing the use of virtual reality (VR) and expanding its potential application. With more developments on the horizon,  VR is only limited by the people who create immersive experiences. Pushing the envelope of innovation . . . leads us.

Using Virtual Reality

Adi and his team were part of creating an immersive VR experience for the Oculus Go that delved into the life of Nelson Mandela, a celebration of what would have been the philanthropist’s 100th birthday.  “We can take people to places that either don’t exist anymore or are difficult to get to.”, Adi says. Immersion means you are able to spend time in places you couldn’t go in real life.
This projects and others like it are pushing the envelope of what can be produced in a virtual setting.  While we’re far from the Star Trek holodeck, we’re making leaps and bounds to practical innovations that will spur on VR use in practical business applications.

VR in the Training Space

Adi envisions opportunities for training applications across a wide variety of industries. “We can use it in other industries where you need to demonstrate certain activities,” Adi tells us, “and where sometimes the resources are very costly or the environment is just too dangerous to let somebody practice over and over.” For example, situations such as interviews could extend beyond the question and answer or instead of asking an applicant if they’re afraid of heights or how they might respond in a stressful or hypothetical situation, VR could place them in that situation. The interviewer could see the person react in real time . . . look beyond this example and it’s easy to see the practical applications of immersing participants in a virtual world where they may train for real scenarios in real time.  
Adi believes there is a vast world of practical training applications. Before putting employees, students, etc. in high-risk situations, virtual scenarios of varying degrees could be developed to train the participants well before the stakes are too high.

Adi thinks the same attention to detail that makes the Mandela experience come to life lends itself well to training and teaching.  

Jumping Into the VR World

Adi has some advice for those who see the potential of V.R. and take advantage of coming advancements in technology.

1. Start small.

Too many individuals and groups take on projects that are too much right away.  Begin with something small and see how it works for you. Many of your questions will answer themselves through the process.


2. Allow for varied perspectives.

What you and others notice and are drawn to in the space will be very different.  Allowing varied perspectives allows for a much more thorough attention to detail. This is what sells the world to the users.

3. Know what you want to achieve.

In addition to starting small, which is important for endeavors that are new to your organization or something unfamiliar, understanding the end goal will help you map out the journey and choose tools better.

4. Choose platforms and tools well.

There’s a combination of tools and software you’d need to recreate an experience.  Agencies like Unity and Udacity can help you in your journey with A.I.  
Understanding which platform on which you hope to release the experience is the only way to know which tools you will need to complete the project.
To download or stream Adi’s podcast, or to listen to any of our other guests, check out The HIVE: Perspectives on Innovation in Talent Development podcast series.