The Reality of Learning: VR for Soft Skills Training

In this episode of the Reality of Learning, we take a look into how companies can incorporate VR into their soft skills training.

How can organizations start using immersive technology to teach soft skills without completely overhauling their existing curriculum and strategy? Soft skills are essentially the intangible elements or personal attributes that allow us to interact harmoniously with other people. Soft skills stem from our emotional intelligence, so things like creativity, persuasion, adaptability, and time-management skills fall into this category. These are all things that we need to both get and keep jobs. Four of five CEOs surveyed for PWC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO survey stated that employees’ lack of skills is one of the top threats of growth to their companies. Since softs skills are, well, skills, the good news is that they can be trained and sharpened.

So, how do we train emotional intelligence?

What are we looking for from other people, and what do we have to know about ourselves to train for soft skills? And how on earth can VR help with this? So much of soft skills training depends on empathy or the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes to best understand how your interactions affect other people. Training needs to reflect that. Soft skills training must provide learners the chance to navigate true-to-the-job scenarios, face the consequences, and then reflect on the experiences.

Typically, soft skills training has been deployed through instructor-led training. This is because it allows for human elements and interactions. This could look like role-playing or working out different workplace scenarios through discussion and collaboration. If soft skills training needs those human elements, what does virtual reality have to do with anything?

Why make the jump to VR?

We’re going to make the case that VR can take traditional soft skills training to the next level. Let’s take a look at role-playing again. Think about some of the difficult parts of role-playing: maybe hesitancy from participants, or nerves? Or maybe not getting into playing a role correctly? VR training combines eLearning with the experience of human-to-human training. VR can give a learner the freedom to experiment and test their skills in a stress-free environment.

For example, maybe an employee is having a difficult time getting involved with role-playing, maybe they are nervous to say the wrong thing to a co-worker during the exercise. VR can eliminate the anxiety of the scenario and allow that employee to interact with an actor or avatar. This actor or avatar will play out the same scenario that the role-play calls for, but the employee no longer has to fear rejection or embarrassment–they are able to freely practice their communication skills.
In all, incorporating VR to your team’s existing soft skills training can level-up your training, create a stress-free, successful environment for employees, and allow employees to organically build their own soft skills without pressure or influence.

Does your company have an interest or need for VR training for soft skills? Get in touch with our industry experts to see how Roundtable can help your employees craft their communication, creative, and leadership skills.