Walmart Adding 17,000 VR Headsets For Employee Training 09/21/2018

Joanna Estrada
September 23, 2018

"We are entering a new era of learning, and Walmart continues to lead the way", said Derek Belch, CEO of STRIVR, which worked with Walmart on its initial launch of VR in Academies previous year.

Walmart is increasing its use of virtual reality for training, now adding Oculus VR headsets to all stores in the U.S.

Obviously, it's a huge hit for Oculus, which has already shipped around 289,000 Oculus Go headsets during the first quarter of its launch.

Walmart plans to send Oculus Go virtual reality headsets to nearly all of its 5000 stores, staying true to the promise of expanding its VR-based employee training system it had announced previous year. This is an effort to provide its employees with the caliber of training, which the managers receive at the Walmart Academy facilities. Currently, there are more than 45 activity-based modules using software provided by StriVR, which is said to deliver "realistic, repeatable and scalable training content" to help associates better and faster learn and retain information.

One of the training modules used in ten stores involved workers using the headsets to train on new Pickup Tower units that will be in those stores.

The VR programs will teach employees about new technology that is being introduced in stores, like the new pickup towers, as well as soft skills like "empathy and customer service, and compliance". This will be key as Walmart continues to roll out new tech to stores. She said it "went beyond hands-on". "It felt like you were actually loading the tower". Associates have the ability to make mistakes in VR as they would in real life and learn from those errors without any consequences. VR headsets are still maligned on the consumer side for their long list of problems and limitations, but workplace training is a bright spot where VR is not only practical but also potentially more effective than training via humans or basic computer programs and apps. "What makes it so compelling is that costly, difficult, or otherwise-impossible scenarios and simulations become not only possible, but immediately within reach". "But the training we've designed is also hopefully training for life", McKeel said.

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