Skip to content
Subscribe Donate
Post

Five Jobs Ready for VR Training Today

February 13, 2024

At a Glance

JFF’s virtual reality framework identifies jobs that present highest-impact use cases for VR in worker training. 

Contributors
Will Dorsey Eden Director
Lucy Fernandez Manager

Amid the excitement surrounding virtual reality (VR) technology, distinguishing the signal from the noise can be challenging. VR has the potential to revolutionize worker training and play a significant role in breaking down systemic barriers that hinder the progress of millions of workers. To achieve this, Jobs for the Future (JFF), with the support of Meta, developed an action framework to help business owners, industry leaders, and policymakers identify impactful use cases for introducing VR technology in worker training.  

The Need for VR in Training 

JFF’s North Star goal is that in 10 years, 75 million people facing systemic barriers to advancement will work in quality jobs. VR technology holds the potential to play a pivotal role in achieving this goal by offering workers the opportunity to learn more quickly and deeply within the context of a labor market where the half-life of skills is now estimated to be just two and a half years. 

Workers who receive VR training learn four times faster than their classroom-based counterparts and are 35% more confident in applying their learned skills. Moreover, VR training can reduce personal biases by allowing individuals to see the world from different perspectives, fostering empathy and understanding.  

VR Training Framework: Scoring the Potential of VR in Worker Training  

VR represents one form of extended reality (XR) technologies, which also include augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). We chose to focus the framework on VR because of its maturity as a technology and its potential to provide highly effective training. 

JFF’s VR Training Framework is intended to help business owners, industry leaders, and policymakers operationalize and apply the work of VR researchers to determine which jobs are most suited to the introduction of VR technology. Using a simple five-point scoring system, the framework identifies the occupations where VR training has the greatest potential for impact. The higher the score, the greater the potential for VR to improve training in terms of speed, efficacy, equity, and cost.   

High-Value Use Cases for VR  

Using this framework, we identified a handful of occupations that present some of the highest-impact use cases for VR in worker training.  

Power-Line Technician

The risk of climbing highvoltage lines to use complex tools in complex situations makes powerline technicians a prime candidate for VR learning opportunities. Similarly, highrisk situations make public safety personnel exceptional candidates for VR training. 

Public-Safety Personnel

While personal risk is less of an issue for registered nurses than it is for public safety personnel, the risk to patients and the complexity of their work make nursing an excellent opportunity to apply VR training.  

Registered Nurse (RN)

Teacher training presents fewer physical risks than RN training, but the risks to the mental and emotional health and complexity of teachers’ work makes teaching a strong opportunity for applying VR training. 

K-12 Teacher

VR training offers teachers the opportunity to increase their skill navigating complex and delicate interpersonal interactions. That is not much of an issue for wind turbine technicians, but they do encounter all of the other safety and complexity elements defined in our framework, making the occupation an excellent opportunity for applying VR training.  

Wind Turbine Technician

It should be noted that lower scores do not necessarily indicate that VR technology would not improve training. VR may just not have as wide-reaching an impact for lowerscoring occupations. For example, Corporate Cleaning, a small professional cleaning business in Columbus, Ohio, implemented VR training to help address challenges with employee recruitment, training, and career advancement. Through VR training, the firm has increased employee engagement and improved relationships with workers and workers’ accountability, allowing management to grow the business and create new jobs. 

Equitable Implementation of VR 

While VR technology can enhance equity in worker training, it’s vital to consider equitable implementation. We encourage leaders to thoughtfully consider the equity implications of their VR implementation, including:   

  • Access: Evaluate your employees’ access to hardware, software, and connectivity and address any gaps to ensure that all employees are able to benefit from VR training. 
  • Bias: When selecting a VR tool, look for simulations that include people who are representative of the larger public to better prepare your workers to serve all customers. Some simulations provide learners feedback on trends in their responses to different people or even offer the opportunity to take the perspective of other people, which can help to mitigate bias.   

VR has the potential to revolutionize worker training across various industries, improving speed, efficacy, equity, and cost. By applying JFF’s framework and focusing on high-value use cases, businesses and policymakers can harness the power of VR to prepare more Americans for high-quality jobs, breaking down systemic barriers and fostering a brighter future for all workers.

Download the Framework

Related Content

Practices & Centers

JFFLabs

Driving innovation through insights, incubation, and investment. New technologies and models are radically transforming our workforce and education systems. These shifts create opportunity but also risk reinforcing systemic inequities. Promising solutions that maximize learner opportunity…

Practices & Centers

JFFLabs Insights

Fueling innovation through research, story sharing, and rich analysis. Our systems and institutions are under enormous pressure to adapt to rapid change. Innovators, technologists, and entrepreneurs are seizing the moment to design and build solutions…

In the News

Empowering Equity in Education With Virtual Reality and Immersive Learning

JFFLabs and SAP have partnered to pilot an effort to introduce immersive learning to classrooms across the country. The pandemic dramatically disrupted learning as we knew it. While that disruption widened gaps in access to…

May 28, 2021