Request a Demo
Posts by

Max Ross

Home / Blog Archive
virtual reality (VR) soft skills
Collaboration, Soft Skills

Virtual Reality (VR) Soft Skills Training More Effective Than In-Person – PWC Study

A Harvard Business Review survey finds that “89% of executives reported difficulty recruiting candidates with the requisite soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership”. Traditionally, in-person programs helped employees develop these vital skills, but the increase in remote working, accelerated by the pandemic, has made in-person training difficult to impossible.

With remote work here to stay for many people, Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) set out to determine whether the use of Virtual Reality (VR) could improve employee competence in two important soft skills areas – public speaking and collaboration. Through a pilot study, PWC sought to answer two specific questions:

1. Is VR soft skills training more effective than traditional training methods?

2. Is VR soft skills training more cost-effective to deploy than traditional training methods?

For the study, PWC developed a virtual reality (VR) training program for diversity and inclusion. The company’s original in-person class was used as a control variable. After implementing their VR program, PWC drew the following conclusions:

  • VR participants were up to 275% more confident to act on what they learned after VR soft skills training, which is a 40% improvement over traditional classroom training.
  • VR learners were up to four times more focused than classroom learners—VR learners also completed training four times faster than classroom learners.
  • VR participants were nearly four times more emotionally connected to the content they were learning.

VR-based learning can yield higher confidence and improved ability to apply the learning on the job because of the ability to practice in an immersive, low-stress environment. VR-based learning can also be more cost effective at scale, as the time required to complete a VR course is substantially lower than in-person courses. 

Foretell Reality is a social VR enterprise platform that enables authentic human interactions in immersive environments designed for soft-skills development and other use cases. Click here to schedule a demo.

virtual reality (VR) collaboration
Collaboration, Soft Skills

How does collaboration in VR stack up to in person? A new study aims to find out.

Zoom fatigue is real and face-to-face meetings are still rare. Can Virtual Reality (VR) offer a viable alternative to both?

A recent study set out to answer the question by comparing the effectiveness of group collaboration through multi-user immersive virtual reality (IVR), face-to-face (FTF) meetings, and video conferencing (VR).

The study included a final sample size of 174 participants from secondary schools, a vocational college, and a university. Groups of three participants were assigned the task of deciding on the most favorable candidate for a position out of four choices. 

In the FtF condition, participants were seated together around a circular table and their discussion was captured by a webcam. For the VC condition, group members were displayed on a 19” screen and used headphones. For the IVR condition, participants sat at a virtual table, using avatars to mask their true identities. Group communication and collaboration was then recorded, along with observations in social pressure and cognitive load. 

The following are some of the key findings of the study:

  1. IVR provided comparable multisensory inputs that mimicked face-to-face interactions. Participants demonstrated similar communication patterns in both IVR and face-to-face environments 
  1. Higher degrees of virtuality and engagement led to pooling of otherwise unshared information. This pooling was most likely due to the degree of spatial interactivity and social presence provided through VR environments. 
  1. No evidence was found for differences in extraneous cognitive load in IVR. Participants were not overwhelmed with remembering discussed information in virtual reality environments. 

The study concluded that “Multi-user IVR can help bridge the gap between the main advantages of IVR (simulation and manipulation of immersive three-dimensional objects) and the growing demand for effective collaboration of spatially distributed teams. This creates new opportunities for remote work that rely on spatial interactivity within a virtual environment.”

Even after the pandemic subsides, it is estimated that at least 16% of workers will continue to permanently work remotely and about 80% of employers plan to allow remote work at least some of the time after things return to normal.

Foretell Reality is a social Virtual Reality (VR) platform that enables authentic human interactions in immersive environments designed to promote communication, collaboration, and learning. 

virtual reality (VR) binge eating
Therapy and Support

Controlling Binge Eating Through Virtual Reality (VR)

Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by episodes of eating large amounts of food while experiencing a loss of control. It is the most common eating disorder in the United States, and it can be life threatening if not addressed.

To treat the condition, cognitive behavioral therapy is often applied but, according to researcher Stephanie M. Mannasse, this type of treatment is largely ineffective at targeting the loss of control because it is difficult to transfer treatment gains to real-world eating behavior. 

To address this issue, Mannasse developed a proof-of-concept study and enrolled 14 adult subjects with a recent history of binge eating into a two-week Virtual Reality (VR) training program. The training followed a go/no-go paradigm.

“Throughout a series of trials, subjects were shown realistic 3D models of either a binge food item (e.g., pizza, fries), a fruit or a vegetable, or a neutral item (e.g., bowl, fork). The binge food items were paired with a “no go” cue, fruits and vegetables were paired with a “go” cue, and neutral items were paired with a “no go” cue half of the time and a “go” cue the other half of the time.” 

Clinical interviews were conducted before, during, and two weeks after the training program and the following results were noted:

  • Subjects showed reduced binge eating behavior throughout the training.
  • Bingeing episodes continued to drop during the two-week follow-up period.
  • Subjects rated most aspects of the training favorably, with many indicating that it was easy to use.
  • Participation was high, with subjects missing an average of only one training per week.

The power of VR to change behavior in this study can be further extended and enforced by bringing people together who are also fighting BED in safe, anonymous, moderated VR environments.

The Foretell Reality platform offers features, tools, and spaces for VR support groups, VR group therapy, and other social behavioral treatment approaches like role play and guided exposure therapy. To schedule a demo, click here.  

VR for Mental and Physical Health During Lockdown
Therapy and Support

Impact of VR on Mental/Physical Health During Lockdown

The recent pandemic has drastically changed nearly all aspects of our lives. Stay at home orders are causing people to feel confined and anxious and the closure of gyms, parks, and community centers have forced millions to suddenly adopt a sedentary lifestyle. The WHO recognizes the pandemic as posing a significant threat to global mental health, stating that quarantine and self-isolation can lead to negative feelings such as “stress, depression, irritability, insomnia, fear, confusion, frustration, and boredom”.

Many studies have shown the efficacy of Virtual Reality (VR) for helping people manage stress, anxieties, and depression. VR has also been shown to promote physical well-being. Physical movements exerted through virtual reality games like Beat Saber can greatly increase heart rate and burn hundreds of calories in a single session. 

Now a study conducted by Alessandro Siani and Sarah Anne Marley, two leading faculty members at the University of Portsmouth’s School of Biological Sciences, has aimed “to evaluate the effectiveness of VR as a physical and mental health aid for people observing social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Here are some highlights of the study which consisted of surveys submitted by 646 participants from around the world:

  • Over 75% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that their use of VR increased during the pandemic.
  • Over 60% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that VR was a good way to keep fit during lockdown
  • Close to 80% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that VR has a positive impact on their mental health during lockdown

In conclusion, the researchers stated: “The majority of the population surveyed in this study, regardless of their gender and age, reported that their VR use has increased during the lockdown, and expressed overwhelmingly positive opinions on the usefulness of VR as a way to keep busy and improve their mental and physical wellbeing.” 

The Foretell Reality platform offers features and environments for support groups, 1:1 and group therapy, and guided stress and anxiety relief.  

Air Force Suicide Prevention
Therapy and Support

DoD Leveraging VR to help prevent Air Force suicides

With suicides in the military up more than 20% this year from 2019, the United States Department of Defense recently announced the use of a VR training program designed to help prevent suicide among Air Force veterans. The program features a 30-minute VR training scenario in which participants must convince an airman to seek mental health support during a period of emotional distress. 

Participants must ask the airman, who is powered by artificial intelligence (AI), a series of prewritten questions. Those who struggle to effectively ask these questions will receive assistance from a qualified mental health professional. The coaching is intended to help both veterans and their spouses better understand what questions to ask, how to properly respond, and why one should ask these questions.

“The unique part of this VR training is that it’s voice-activated, so you’re required to say things out loud that maybe you’ve never had to say before,” explained Master Sgt. Shawn Dougherty, a VR facilitator at Travis Air Force Base, which is one of the locations utilizing VR suicide prevention training. 

Virtual reality provides a unique opportunity for individuals to confront challenging interpersonal situations through realistic simulations. In the instance above, this is accomplished through the use of an AI ‘bot’ but the same types of simulations can also take place with other real people. 

Foretell Reality is a social Virtual Reality (VR) platform for support groups, group therapy, guided exposure therapy, and other therapeutic practices like role playing and mindfulness training.

Foretell Reality’s social capabilities can be particularly effective in addressing various behavioral health issues when combined with programs originally designed for single individuals. In the example above, veterans and their spouses could join support groups in VR after navigating the solo training in order to talk about their experiences. Further, the AI bot in the simulation could actually be replaced by another real person which could allow for more unscripted and exploratory treatment options. 

Interested in learning more about social VR for behavioral health? Schedule a demo.

Other

Discovering Diversion, Connection, and Wellbeing inside VR

In light of the recent pandemic, stay at home orders are causing people to feel confined, isolated, and anxious. For WIRED’s Chelsea Leah, VR (Virtual Reality) became an unexpected tool for staying active and relieving stress during this period. Through meditation, exploration, socializing, and movement, she describes how she overcame her initial skepticism to make VR part of her regular routine. Here are some of the applications she discovered:

Meditation: Reef migration, as the name suggests, is an underwater VR environment in which one can explore a coral reef and interact with marine life. 

The graphics are wonderful, the sounds are peaceful, and there’s enough passive action to keep my brain entertained. The best part? I’m not wet or cold, and I don’t need to go up for air”

Exploration: Google’s VR version of Google Earth allows anyone who may feel homesick to revisit places from their childhood through their VR headsets. 

“Simply being able to see these places in VR helped me cope with the nostalgia and longing to go somewhere”.

Socializing: Rec Room is a social space where people from all over the world can play games and do other activities together.

“I recognize the subtle head and arm movements of my individual friends, making it feel as though we truly are in the same room together.” 

Movement: Beat Saber challenges players to physically slash through rapidly approaching music blocks with a virtual lightsaber. 

anything that mixes pop music with light sabers is destined for success.”

The Foretell Reality platform leverages the strengths of VR for professional use cases including tools and environments for therapy and support, soft skills training, and business collaboration. 

Recent Comments
    About Exponent

    Exponent is a modern business theme, that lets you build stunning high performance websites using a fully visual interface. Start with any of the demos below or build one on your own.

    Get Started
    Subscribe Now
    Privacy Settings
    We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
    Youtube
    Consent to display content from Youtube
    Vimeo
    Consent to display content from Vimeo
    Google Maps
    Consent to display content from Google
    Spotify
    Consent to display content from Spotify
    Sound Cloud
    Consent to display content from Sound
    Contact Us