Walmart expands VR employee training

A Walmart employee using an Oculus Go

A Walmart employee using an Oculus Go

The headsets have been used in training at Walmart Academies, which are special centers created to teach advanced retail skills.

The company will deploy around 17,000 Oculus Go headsets and plans to start the training in October.

Starting next month, Walmart will ship four Oculus Go headsets to every Walmart supercenter and two units to all of its smaller Neighborhood Market stores.

VR is another way Walmart is leveraging technology to better empower its associates at the store level and beyond.

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Walmart training centers located in Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets across the USA will be receiving Oculus Go VR headsets starting next month to further enhance training, the company recently announced. "When you watch a module through the headset, your brain feels like you actually experienced a situation".

"VR training is particularly helpful for learning new tech", the company wrote on a blog post. This is an effort to provide its employees with the caliber of training, which the managers receive at the Walmart Academy facilities. "We've also seen that VR training boosts confidence and retention while improving test scores 10 to 15 percent - even those associates who simply watched others experience the training saw the same retention boosts".

The technology was piloted at the store level in 10 locations this summer, specifically on the new Pickup Tower units - training the associates on the in-store units before they were even installed. Workers who used the tech described it as "beyond hands-on".

What they will be used for: The headsets will train associates in everything from operating new technology on the shop floor to soft skills like empathy and customer service.The actual teaching content has been designed for the retailer by startup Strivr. The big box retailer first experimented with VR in its training academies a year ago and now says the program has proved its worth, with employees reporting boosts to confidence and technology familiarity after training on the headsets. "What makes it so compelling is that costly, difficult, or otherwise-impossible scenarios and simulations become not only possible, but immediately within reach".

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