- Virtual reality developer Talespin has launched a "Leading Through Uncertainty" series of content modules it said will help leaders and managers navigate disruptions, including those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an April 29 statement.
- The series includes five scenarios on topics including "Creating Calmness Through Succinct Communication" and "Communicating Proactively with a Distraught Employee." The content can be distributed via desktop or VR formats through Talespin's Runway platform as well as talent management software provider Cornerstone.
- "COVID-19 has forced us all to face workforce disruption on an accelerated timeline, with remote work, talent gaps, digital transformation, and other 'future of work' trends now present as mission-critical challenges, and we've designed our platform and our company from the beginning to answer these disruptions," Kyle Jackson, Talespin CEO and co-founder, said in the statement.
VR and associated technologies, including augmented reality, have claimed an increasing share of the employee learning market in recent years. Analysts at JFFLabs, a division of the workforce and education nonprofit Jobs for the Future, said in a January report that VR and similar technologies are "poised for dramatic growth" during the next five years. In part, such tech could provide underserved populations with broader access to training, the report said.
It's not just that VR has gained somewhat of a cultural foothold as a consumer product. Use cases for the technology in the workplace context have also grown. Talespin, for example, announced last year the launch of a soft-skills training series of scenarios that focused on training employees to manage stressful situations like termination meetings. In October 2019, the University of California, Berkeley, announced plans to adopt a tool by VR vendor Mursion to train leaders on handling "challenging interpersonal moments" in the workplace.
Workplaces themselves have been adapted to accommodate for VR training in some cases. Biotech company Thermo Fischer Scientific announced in August 2019 that it had upgraded its Greenville, North Carolina, manufacturing facility with five VR-equipped rooms that could train 20 employees at a time. The company told media outlet Contact Pharma that it planned to reduce its total time spent on training by 50%.
The technology is expensive, however, though it has the capability to produce a significant return on investment, sources previously told HR Dive. Other sources have said that while VR presents significant potential, it won't necessarily eclipse other learning formats. The tech is primarily used in training situations that are hard to replicate, present a high safety risk, or both.