The connection between worker safety and training is an obvious one – but in-person training comes with its own challenges. It is clear that when you provide workers with training and practice, they can become more productive, and safer at a real job site. On-site training for industries such as construction, however, can come with real risks when new employees are not familiar with workplace hazards. One company, Strivr, is aiming to use VR to create immersive training experiences to come as close to reality as possible while avoiding real-world risks.
Last month, Strivr raised $30 million in Series B financing led by Georgian Partners to fuel the accelerated adoption of Immersive Learning at scale, and help companies elevate workforce engagement and performance. Immersive Learning is a training methodology that combines the sense of presence of Virtual Reality with advanced learning theory, data science, and 3D design. According to Strivr, practice in VR translates to real-world performance, with results that can be measured through unique data and insights.
Additionally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent to Strivr covering the measurement of training data in VR. With this, the company developed an algorithm to predict how performance in a virtual environment maps to performance in that same situation or task in real-life, automatically clustering learners into groups based on sensing data from head, hand, and eye movements, as well as physiological data.
“With the rapid increase in large enterprises embracing Immersive Learning to improve performance, we are now able to connect employee learning with business outcomes using completely new types of data,” said Tyson Baber, Strivr Board member.
Founded in 2015, Strivr originated from CEO Derek Belch’s master’s thesis, where he applied his football experience to explore how VR could be used to train athletes, in collaboration with co-founder Jeremy Bailenson, a Stanford professor and founder of the Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab. While the technology was initially targeting Sports TRaining In VR, hence the name, it has grown to a wide range of businesses in various industries.
Increasing safety and reduced training time
One such use case is United Rentals, an equipment rental company for industrial and construction customers, utilities companies, municipalities and individual homeowners, teamed up with Strivr to develop and implement training, simulating real-world experiences of being on a construction site. The idea was to consistently train sales representatives so their on-the-job learning curve wouldn’t put them in harm’s way or jeopardize their decision-making in a high-pressure moment when walking onto a construction site.
“I’d like to take my group of 20 or 25 attendees to a construction site to look around, but it’s just not feasible,” United Rentals Training and Development Manager Bill Dwyer said. “So instead, I bring Virtual Reality into the classroom so we can visit a jobsite without leaving the training room.”
Now, United Rentals uses Immersive Learning for all new outside sales reps, improving training effectiveness, reducing time spent in training by 40%.
With more than 1.5 million training sessions conducted in VR and over 22,000 headsets deployed across its customer base, Strivr is set on taking the next step in connecting immersive data to real-world performance improvement.