How virtual reality is driving learning at Bank of America

Is virtual reality and other digital training worth it? That’s the question Mike Wynn, senior vice president and chief innovation design officer at Bank of America’s Academy, set out to answer during his mega-session on Wednesday. His answer is yes, of course, but that doesn’t mean these technologies should replace classroom training or other more traditional learning models for employees.

Instead, Wynn advised HR managers to consider the scale, power and high content retention rates that digital technologies can deliver, despite cost and deployment challenges. Bank of America has created 900 simulations for its systems simulator (ACES), conversation simulator (iCoach) and VR program over the past few years, he said. And its employees are on track to complete 700,000 workouts this year.

“Now I want you to think about that number for a second: 700,000 learner-completed workouts,” Wynn said. “What do you think it would take to do that with traditional training? How much time, how much money would it take to get to 700,000 workouts? »

Virtual reality, in particular, engages employees, driving learning success and the overall employee experience as employers struggle to retain workers in today’s tight job market.

“When it comes to virtual reality, here’s what I hear from people: excitement, energy,” he said. “They talk to their family members over dinner about what they’ve been doing at work. Now, I don’t know about you guys, but usually talking at the dinner table doesn’t include online training aids.

Data shows that this more active learning also increases learners’ retention of content to nearly 90%, he said, a huge jump from the typical 10% retention rate that comes from reading.

Consider training for bank robberies. Previously, employees would watch a video and read a few bullet points, Wynn said. With virtual reality, trainees are confronted with a situation that looks a lot like a real bank robbery, they feel the emotions and have to make quick decisions.

“When you have a gun in front of you in VR, it’s kind of like it’s happening,” he said. “We want your heart rate to be a little elevated. We want you to feel that anxiety because I don’t want that first feeling to happen for real.

Ultimately, “I want you to make a mistake in VR before you make it in real life,” Wynn said.

What Coca-Cola, Blum learned from Viva

What was the most surprising information The Coca-Cola Company and the Austrian-based furniture maker learned from Microsoft Viva? The soft drink bottler was looking for burnout and wellness information and discovered that his top managers spent more time managing their team members individually or in small groups than in large meetings, said Kristin McDonald, CHRO of The Coca-Cola Company as a panelist in a breakout session groups entitled Innovation in the service of the new employee experience . “We saw in the data leaders disrupting their teams” with unnecessary meetings, McDonald added.

Meanwhile, Blum was a Microsoft customer who eventually upgraded to Viva to improve employee engagement and share company news and updates, according to Elisabeth Rue, Blum’s project manager for the company. IT/HR and another panelist. “We needed a quick fix to reach employees and stop using only billboards in our factories,” she said. “We wanted to extend our use of the Microsoft platform to all employees and luckily they had a new idea with Viva.”

Phil Albinus, Human Resources Editor, contributed to this report.

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