As someone who has spent several years working in retail environments, I know how boring and tedious training can be. Nobody wants to sit through videos, with awkward actors, who resolve customer service situations in ways that would never work in real life. Walmart might have found a way to make training less terrible for employees.
Walmart is providing Oculus Go virtual reality headsets to all of its stores in the United States. The headsets are part of a VR-based employee training program. Employees will use the headsets to access 45 activity-based modules created by STRIVR.
Walmart will send four headsets to every Walmart supercenter and two to every Neighborhood Market and discount store. More than 17,000 Oculus Go headsets will be in stores by the end of 2018.
The information on Walmart’s website states that every associate – including those on the floor who interact with customers the most – will have access to the same training that their managers and department managers do at the Academies.
One good thing about using a VR-based training is that employees can make mistakes in a virtual environment. I think that would be much less intimidating than having to make mistakes on the sales floor, with irate customers, while all of your coworkers watch you struggle.
Training videos make employees passively absorb information in a way that doesn’t match what happens on the sales floor. The Oculus Go VR activities are interactive, and can be done over and over again. That’s a much more interesting way to learn new skills and to perfect them.