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What Is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment presented in a way that feels authentic to the user. Three-dimensional images and scenes extend across the visual field and shift position as the user explores the environment, creating an experience that feels real to the brain’s visual processing center.

Tortal uses VR in training because it increases engagement for the learner and allows employees to train hands-on for nearly any scenario.

What Is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) overlays digital images on top of images from the real world, enhancing the lived experience. AR already powers such popular innovations as Snapchat filters’ “try-on” features in retail clothing apps and the popular mobile game Pokémon Go. It’s one of the hottest trends in personal tech.

Tortal leverages AR technology to superimpose instructions, guidelines, and other assistive information onto recorded or real-time images for training. Our AR tools enhance hands-on practice and optimize experiential learning.

How Are Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Used in Training?

VR and AR are changing the way companies train their teams. Before these technologies came along, eLearning was two-dimensional and separate from the real-world situations that employees were training to face. Video guides could be detailed and specific in their teaching, but they could never offer hands-on experience or the feeling of being in a specific job site situation.

Tortal uses VR and AR to fill that gap. Using these technologies, we create true-to-life simulations that immerse learners in the training situation. Whether it involves a full VR experience or an AR-enhanced real-world learning scenario, each enhanced training module puts employees in a scenario they’ll likely experience in their job so they can practice responding.

Benefits of VR/AR Employee Training

VR and AR training lets employees participate in hands-on training programs that make the entire training process more effective while reducing risk for businesses. The major benefits of AR and VR include:


Increased Knowledge Retention

AR and VR create participatory learning experiences where employees can place themselves in the type of scenario they’ll encounter at work. By actively participating in the task during training through AR or VR, employees can better internalize skills and procedures, increasing knowledge retention.


Improved Skill Building

Both in-person and eLearning techniques help employees understand a skill. AR and VR help those employees practice the skill, making and correcting the mistakes they would have otherwise made on the job. This often leads to increased efficiency and productivity when employees are finished with training.


Reduced Risk

Without AR and VR, the only way for employees to receive hands-on practice using tools, such as machinery, is through actually working with that machine. That comes with an inherent risk for both the employee and the business, as trainees could make mistakes. AR and VR reduce that risk by providing a safe environment that can still provide hands-on training. AR and VR can reduce risk in similar scenarios for customer service training, business scenarios, and more.

Why Tortal?

Tortal connects training to business results by helping companies implement in-person and eLearning programs that improve engagement, productivity, and efficiency. Our VR and AR services are designed to help you meet key performance indicators (KPIs) for your training programs and improve business.

Every AR and VR training module we create is customized for the business and employees using it. We work closely with every client to create programs that teach the most important skills in ways that optimize skill-building, engagement, and retention.


1. What equipment do you need for VR/AR employee training?

Equipment for VR and AR depends on how elaborate your scenarios are. In most cases, virtual reality requires companies to maintain:

  • One or more VR headsets for trainer and trainees use
  • A microphone with high-quality sound
  • One or more computers, tablets, or smartphones that connect to the VR equipment and host the learning content

Depending on your learning program, you may also need hand controllers or haptic gloves that let learners interact with content hands-on.

Augmented reality often requires less hardware. Some AR programs are designed to work with only a smartphone camera, such as the AR used in Pokémon Go. Others require headsets that project AR as viewers see the “enhanced” world in real-time. Google Glass is one of the best-known examples of this.


2. Are there any risks to using VR and AR technology?  

For most people, VR and AR is a safe, engaging training method. However, as with any hands-on scenario, there are some minor concerns to consider.

For example, some people experience eye strain due to the up-close nature of VR and AR images. Other experience the nausea of “VR sickness” if they engage with the technology for more than an hour, although few training sessions last long enough for the risk to materialize.

Stress and anxiety can also arise during high-intensity VR and AR situations. Because these technologies are immersive or near-immersive, people can experience emotional fallout similar to what they would experience in the actual scenario. For companies whose employees will face high-stress scenarios, this can be a benefit that allows employees to become familiar with the scenario in a safe environment.


3. What are some examples of VR and AR  training activities?

VR and AR can be used in a wide range of training activities across industries. Below are just a few examples of the way virtual and augmented reality are being used in training for various industries.

  • Franchises use simulations to help employees learn to use different pieces of equipment or practice customer service skills.
  • Manufacturing companies use AR to walk employees through a procedure using real materials or correct them in real-time.
  • Hiring companies can put job applicants through a VR simulation to evaluate their performance in realistic scenarios.
  • Workers who deal with hazardous materials can rehearse the implementation of safety procedures.
  • Law enforcement personnel train for active-shooter situations.
  • Surgeons can practice procedures in settings that look and feel like a real surgery, but with no risk to patients. For example, brain surgeons use augmented reality to project the outline of a tumor directly onto the brain tissue, eliminating the need to look away from the surgical field and reducing the risk of error.

Tortal’s Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Services

Contact us for more information on how Tortal’s VR and AR services can help improve your training with hands-on scenarios.