By Ashley Crowder

XR is the overarching term for all spatial computing, the fusion of 3D digital space with reality. Although it was once thought of as technology that only existed in Sci-Fi movies, it is now becoming an integral part of Enterprise Training programs for its ability to decrease training costs, improve retention, and improve safety. It is generally broken up into three categories: VR, AR, & MR.

Virtual Reality (or VR) completely immerses you in the digital. This is usually accomplished through wearing a headset like the HTC Vive or Oculus. If you wanted to feel like you were on a beach in Fiji right now VR is the way to go.

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Augmented reality or AR on the other hand, is placing the digital into the real world. This can be done with phones or tablets or by wearing AR glasses, like the Microsoft Hololens, that overlay a digital image on your environment. A good example of this is PTC’s Vuforia engine which displays instructions to assembly workers via an AR headset to reduce errors and improve efficiency. AR is so powerful because it gives us seamless access to data in the real world that we never had before.

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Mixed Realty or MR is the third type of XR that has been recently coined to describe the combination of interacting with the digital and physical environment at the same time. For example there is a fork lift training simulator where you sit in a replica of a fork lift while wearing a VR headset so as you see situations in VR you can make physical adjustments to the forklift.

Corporate Training Costs & XR

Corporate training is a huge cost. In 2019 $370 Billion was spent on training globally according to Statista and this is growing at a 10% CAGR because of the pace of technological development is so rapid, companies are forced to continually up-skill and retrain employees.

University students today will have jobs in 10 years that do not even exist right now, so corporations face a constant challenge of filling an educational gap. Technology is evolving so quickly that 85% of the current workforce feel they need training to remain relevant in the workforce.

So with rising costs and increasing technology, how are corporations supposed to adapt? This is where XR comes in.

Benefits of XR Training

XR is an incredible training tool that can help fill this growing void. XR gives employees the ability to train in real-world situations. They are able to make mistakes and learn through doing, resulting in better performance and safety outcomes. It also reduces the fear of learning a new skill as people are able to make low-consequence mistakes in XR and improve. Lastly, you can track more metrics to help highlight problem areas and ensure employees are ready for the real-world situation. Studies by Stanford and Oxford universities have proven that XR improves learning retention by 75%! This is because when people experience something in XR, their brain registers it as an actual event, unlike watching a video or reading a book.

Not only does it improve learning, but it also helps reduce the cost of training. XR has been proven to reduce the time it takes to train employees. Plus companies can save millions on travel, as they can now have an expert teaching your entire workforce around the world simultaneously without wasting time and expense of traveling to each location.

XR Training Case Studies

UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine shows that the surgical performance improved by 230% and their speed was 20% faster after learning through a VR simulation. I want all of my future surgeons training with XR!

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More industrial industries have also seen huge value. United Rentals used AR to train outside sales representatives which resulted in a 40% reduction in training time. Not only is this saving money upfront, but better trained sales teams will sell more equipment.

Covid has only expedited these trends with travel bans and disrupted supply chains. Every industry, especially industrial and medical, should be leveraging the power of 3D and XR to improve training

*This article originally appeared on Medium:

Thanks to Ben Conway.