A woman wearing an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset

A Deep Dive into the Pros and Cons of Using Virtual Reality in Employee Training

The Pros and Cons of Using Virtual Reality in Employee Training

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A woman wearing an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset

Virtual reality (VR) is not a new technology. It is not even new for employee training. Industries including manufacturing, aerospace, and healthcare have utilized VR training for years. However, VR has not yet achieved widespread adoption across all sectors. For example, real estate, tourism, and retail industries can benefit significantly from implementing a VR employee training protocol. However, several disadvantages have prevented VR from developing a mass appeal. To help you figure out if you should implement this type of protocol in your business, we will discuss the pros and cons of using virtual reality in employee training.

Pros of Using VR in Employee Training

1. Cognitive Advantages

In the last decade, VR has been extremely popular in science and gaming. However, there are many benefits that VR offers to businesses as well. The cognitive benefit is the first of the advantages. Although the content and instructional method are likely more significant than the medium, VR-based training may increase attitudes about learning. No one likes watching instructional videos or looking at other people’s work. If you want your employees to be as prepared as possible for the task at hand, you need to engage them. That is exactly where VR can help.

If you create an exciting and engaging VR simulation, you will be able to drive your employees to expend extra effort to make sense of the subject. Embodied cognition theories also argue that physiological signals and interactions in a virtual world may boost higher-level cognitive processing. This is the case because our motor and visual processes are inextricably linked. Emotions may also significantly impact decision-making and problem-solving, particularly in dangerous circumstances. However, employees who do not feel engaged are far less likely to recognize the threat. That being said, VR solves this problem because it gives the individual agency. With virtual reality employee training, trainees are active participants, not passive observers.

2. Scalability and Cost-effectiveness

Scalability is one of the most significant advantages of VR in general. That is why real estate and business virtual tours have grown in popularity in recent years. However, scalability and cost-effectiveness are crucial because developing dedicated training programs or simulations for employee training can be costly and time-consuming. On the other hand, training in VR does not involve being physically present on-site. This can help you to save money while training new employees to do the work. You can significantly scale Virtual reality in employee training to the whole workforce. After you have done that, your employees will be able to repeat the program as many times as they need to.

In VR, you can also make as many mistakes as you want. Real-world simulations and training programs go to great lengths to reduce the trainees’ errors. Although this may appear to be a good thing, it isn’t. To master something, you must first understand what it is like to fail. How much you’ll benefit from this, in particular, will vary depending on the type of business you run, but it is still a benefit. Allowing your employees to fail without incurring any losses for your company is always preferable.

4 people wearing virtual gear

You can train multiple people at the same time if you employ virtual reality in employee training.

3. Controlled Exposure To Stressful Settings

VR immersion is helpful for more than just virtual 3D tours and instructional simulations. It is also an excellent method for creating stressful scenarios in a controlled environment. Employee training is generally as safe as it can be. As we’ve mentioned, companies go to great lengths to minimize mistakes. This also means that most employees will not experience any stress during the training process. This has the potential to be highly problematic. Immerse VR may elicit an emotional state akin to an authentic experience, delivering a high degree of psychological presence so that learners can learn to manage their emotions. Realistic scenarios in VR allow users to gain the skills needed to behave in dangerous circumstances when training in real life would be prohibitively costly, harmful, or impossible.

Cons of Using VR in Employee Training

1. Ergonomic Complexity

Overall, ergonomics in VR is a rather complex issue. This mostly has to do with the fact that to use VR, you must contend with a rather large and cumbersome headset. Not only that, but not everyone will be comfortable having two extremely bright, high-resolution screens so close to their eyes. Some of the issues that individuals can encounter while using a VR headset are:

  • Eye-strain
  • Physical fatigue
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea

Furthermore, not everyone can wear a VR headset comfortably. People who require eyeglasses, for example, may struggle to use the device. However, these are just a few of the issues that arise when using VR technology in general. Individuals may experience specific difficulties depending on their abilities and previous experience with this technology.

A man in virtual reality gear.

VR equipment can be cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear.

2. Difficulties creating training programs

Suppose you want to create a simple virtual reality employee training program that covers what to do when moving office; in that case, you won’t have any issues creating a rudimentary program that will keep them involved. However, if your training program needs to have a lot of moving parts and is complicated in general, creating a VR version of it could be difficult. Virtual reality is adaptable, but it has limitations. This means that if your workflow is extremely specific, you may be unable to use VR for employee training.

Code displayed on a computer monitor.

It can be challenging to develop convincing VR simulations.


3. Artificiality

No matter how realistic it appears, using virtual reality in employee training does not produce the same results as training and working in the real world. At this time, VR cannot replicate the tangible feeling of working in real environments. This will prevent some of your employees from fully comprehending the material you are attempting to teach them through VR. Therefore, a combination of real-life training and VR would be ideal for the best results.


Before making any decision, we strongly suggest you consider all of the pros and cons of using virtual reality in employee training. If you find that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, you should go ahead and develop your VR program. However, if you discover it is not for you, you may need to wait a little longer for the technology to develop. Every day, VR technology advances and most of the current disadvantages will fade away with time.










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