Training & Learning

VR Training: Benefits, Use Cases, and Costs

November 2, 2020

How can corporations train their people to act in emergency circumstances if they are too dangerous to recreate? Or how to leverage in-house learning processes to improve their efficiency with no extra time expenses? To put it short, VR solutions for training are the point. To put it long, we’ve created an entire article to answer those questions.

What VR for Learning and Training Is

In general, Virtual Reality is a digital environment that provides immersive experiences to simulate real-life situations. VR works on special gear, such as HMDs (head-mounted displays), to display images and imitate environment interaction. They are enough to display, for example, interactive manufacturing manuals.

Still, some training types may require additional equipment like motion controllers and sensors, bodysuits or even full-custom driver cabs. That is how they recreate most complex training routines for various applications, such as tram driving and aviation. It allows them to use mechanical memory and by that absorb skills better and faster. Practicing in a VR simulation is a safe and cost-effective option compared to their physical alternatives.

Why VR Is Effective for Training

Let’s determine several points why VR based learning can outperform its traditional companion and describe them:

More Efficient Training

Traditionalists may argue that nothing can replace a good classroom training. Still, the studies’ findings contradict it. According to the PWC’s VR enterprise study, VR training is three times faster taking only 29 minutes to complete a study, compared to 2 hours in a traditional classroom. At the same time, trainees, who used VR are more confident compared to those who used other sources of information: 40% improvement over in-class training and 35% over e-learners. 

VR is also more efficient in terms of cost. VR demands higher primary investments, but those resources will return in spades. As mentioned above, trainees using VR require less time for a lesson, which results in savings otherwise spent on mentors or e-courses. The numbers become clearer when we look at a larger scale: 52% cost reduction for trasining 3,000 students, 58% savings with 6,000, and 64% improvement with audiences over 10,000.

Danger-free Simulation

In VR, trainees can repeat actions under hazardous situations whenever they require it. But that is not the critical point. With the hands-on practice, trainees obtain the necessary skillset and physical memory for particular scenarios through immersive sessions. That is what matters the most.

For example, OTR’s recently delivered a project for an international petroleum company: a VR fire safety training for Filling Station’s personnel. That project’s aim was to improve emergency readiness, by putting the trainees into a 100% safe immersive interactive environment.

Better Memory Retention

According to Dr. Ebbinghaus’s memory research, we forget up to 80% of new information over time. It is related to our declarative memory, which works when we try to remember something from regulations or manuals. But skills transferred to our procedural memory — it works when we do something with our hands — stay there for a long time. People who once have learned how to ride a bicycle will most likely remember it for all their lives. That is how procedural memory works. 

Visualization of Nonexistent

Sometimes trainees need to visualize something that has not yet been released. For example, NASA astronauts training. It is impossible to recreate space-like environments, while training astronauts in VR technologies has proven efficient for several launches. 

Our own example here is the Tram Simulator. Our client needed to train tram drivers while the major part of the tracks was still under construction. The solution we delivered helped them a lot as it allowed trainees to build up practical skills in the environment that fully replicated future tram routes.

Traditional Use Cases of VR for Training

VR enhances traditional training in many ways, let’s observe some of the more common use cases:

Social Interactions

It’s critical to improve communication skills of customer-facing employees before letting them to interact with your clients. This problem is easily solved with VR — you can set particular customer incidents and “acceptable reactions” to educate your staff. It suits best for training frontline staff and conflict-resolving managers.

High-risk Activities

Safety is the number-one concern of any staff training. VR here allows recreating potentially dangerous situations and putting emergency response action plans into life with no risk of injury or damage. No written or video instructions can replace actions performed by trainees themselves. It can be used for emergency drills and complex manufacturing training.

Performance Review

Some professions, such as surgeons and firefighters, require skills that cannot be fully tested in an exam. Such skills must be checked in action, and VR provides a convenient and safe field even for risky applications, be it an operating theater, a massive wildfire, or a pilot examination.


New employee onboarding is a significant part of blending in. VR can make the newcomer’s first experience less stressful and introduce them to their responsibilities: give a tour around the office, meet managing staff and coworkers, and learn about corporate culture. HR’s and office managers won’t have to do it all by themselves — VR will deal with it instead.

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Cost of VR Training Solutions

The cost of a VR app for education and training may vary a lot depending on its aims. For example, if it is a simple walkthrough for a working process or an onboarding guide with no headset required, it may sum up at around $20,000. More comprehensive interaction options and extended functionality that involves HMDs may cost $40.000–50,000. And finally, a massive project with a custom simulator, custom 3D content may lead to a price of up to $200,000.

Choosing a Vendor for Your VR Training

The easiest way to know your prospective business partner is to ask about their cases. Pay attention to their portfolio: the more complicated their projects are, the more reliable their expertise is.

Here at OTR, we have an array of completed hi-end projects. We’re especially proud of our Advanced Helicopter Simulator built for an aviation training center. We created a full-scale helicopter cabin with real-life based control elements and complete pilot action response, such as swaying and yawing. The delivered simulator reduced the training expenses by 45% and time spent on 40% and improved the total training capacity two times.

Want to learn more or wish to develop a VR solution to improve your training processes and cut on costs — we would be happy to help.

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