According to Washington Post, virtual reality may offer you sexual harassment training. With the virtual reality glasses on you can witness a scene like a man inching toward a woman in an office kitchen and opening his phone to show her pictures of a nude beach. Proceeding to put his hand on her thigh as she moves his hand visibility is uncomfortable. You will be the only one to witness the struggle.
Virtual Reality companies such as Vantage Point and Sisu VR offer virtual reality training. They offer such novel scenarios for employees and freshen up staid corporate training.
According to Vantage Point, they are ushering in a new era for corporate training, moving from the age-old PowerPoints and training manuals. Instead, they present real scenarios that carry people in the middle of harassment incidents. In the process offering a new and effective way for employees to learn.
Such training scenarios help employees understand how it feels to be discriminated against making them more compelled to learn, the companies add.
According to research, “You can step into the shoes of what it feels like to be a Black man,” said Morgan Mercer, the chief executive of Vantage Point. “We can push users to the point of slight discomfort. We’ve created an experience where they’re engaging, and where they want to do something, and then we can actually teach them what that something is.”
Virtual reality offers more engaging learning experiences through such training may also trigger people who have experienced sexism or racism at work, according to diversity and inclusion experts, though it can encourage companies to feel they have done enough.
Eden King, a professor and harassment training expert at Rice University said, “I worry that it could be a fad and I worry that organizations may think it’s a cure-all when I don’t believe that it can be.”
Traditionally harassment training has been an increasingly common workplace tool, which has evolved in terms of its delivery method. Earlier in the 1980s and 1990s, workers used the grainy VHS tapes and thick bound manuals, this was followed by PowerPoints and cloud-based training two decades later.
Vantage Point was started by Mercer, a biracial daughter of a White Trump-supporting father and a Black liberal mother after traveling to Italy and making derogatory remarks about immigrants.
She along with her Ethiopian friend and a traveling partner got angry at her, this conversation made her realize her mistakes and the power of emotional reactions.
She further added, “If we can create situations and experiences that are emotionally compelling for other applications, why aren’t we doing this for training and education?” she said. “That was my ‘aha’ moment.”
The possibilities are endless as one can create scenes with a man sexually harassing a woman, seeing a Black man being asked for his ID and racially profiled, or watching a supervisor give an assignment to a male colleague instead of a woman for reasons that don’t seem logical.
According to the company founders, the combination of immersive feel and periodic instruction has a higher chance of changing people’s behaviors compared to listening to a PowerPoint presentation. Observing fake scenarios in the front of a conference room or reading a manual has the power to do something bigger.
Jocelyn Tan, chief executive of Sisu VR said, “If it’s immersive enough, if it’s memorable enough, you will not forget, and it will impact you to the point of affecting you emotionally. It puts you in another person’s shoes.”
Though experts have significant worries about virtual-reality sexual and racial harassment training.
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