Walmart Using Virtual Reality for Employee Training

October 14, 2018
Walmart Using Virtual Reality for Employee Training

Walmart already uses Virtual Reality (VR) instruction at each of its 200 Walmart Academies, which train approximately 150,000 employees each year.  Now, Walmart plants to expand the use of VR instruction into its stores.

By the end of the year, Walmart hopes to have over 17,000 headsets in stores, to be used in training Walmart employees on the Pickup Towers being added to many retail locations.

VR instruction uses interactive onscreen prompts and 360 degree video.  This should help better prepare employees for the introduction of Pickup Towers, because the Oculus headsets let them see and get a feel for the towers.


Video Spotlight: VR headsets train associates in-store


 

This post is based on the Tech Crunch article, Walmart is putting 17,000 Oculus Go headsets in its stores to help train employees in VR, by Lucas Matney, September 21, 2018; the Walmart blog post, Hundreds More High-Tech Pickup Towers are Headed Your Way, by Justin Rushing, April 5, 2018; and the YouTube video, VR headsets train associates in-store, by Walmart, May 30, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / franz12.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the advantages of VR instruction?

Guidance: Walmart’s use of VR instruction in this instance illustrates the advantages of this technology.  Workers can see and get a feel for the new Pickup Towers before they even arrive in the store.  As this technology is portable, employees do not need to be sent to one of Walmart’s Academies to learn how to use the technology.  This reduces the costs and allows for more employees to be involved in the training.  This should improve the acceptance of the Pickup Tower.

2. What are some of the problems of VR technology?

Guidance: In general, VR instruction still has issues in terms of cost and technology, although both seem to be improving daily. Part of the cost is developing the training itself.  It is helpful to spread the cost across many training sessions.  This is an appropriate implementation of VR as there are substantial numbers of Pickup Towers being introduced with many employees needing training.  This benefits Walmart from both a cost and an improved performance perspective.

Another issue with VR instruction is the acceptance by the employee.  “Gamers” readily accept the new technology, but it is not universally accepted by everyone.

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