Background: Immersive virtual reality (VR) is increasingly used in organizational training interventions. However, few studies have systematically investigated VR compared to standard training methods in actual organizational contexts. Objectives: The focus of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a VR simulation for training professionals in the biotech industry. Aligning training needs to unique media affordances, the study designed an immersive story-based VR simulation for training customer-facing employees on a new product and tested it in an international biotech company. Methods: The system was evaluated by comparing its effectiveness to a traditional video presentation with the same content in a randomized between subjects experiment. The sample consisted of 95 employees across three locations: Brazil, Denmark, and USA. Results: The VR simulation group performed better than the video presentation group on the outcomes of conceptual knowledge (d = 0.41) spatial knowledge (d = 0.61), transfer intentions (d = 0.57), enjoyment (d = 1.74), self-efficacy (d = 0.68), perceived learning (d = 0.89), personal value (d = 0.83), and organizational value (d = 0.82), but no significant difference was found for factual knowledge (d = −0.10). Implications: Results suggest that VR simulations can be effective across cultures in organizational training interventions. VR is specifically effective when the goals of the training are to increase conceptual and spatial understanding as well as enjoyment, and self-efficacy, but not factual knowledge. Furthermore, employees report higher levels of perceived learning, personal and organizational value and transfer intentions after VR training compared to standard video-based training.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We kindly thank Jacqueline Sugitani Chimilovski, Miriam Sluis and the rest of the team at Novozymes for their extensive efforts in setting up the organizational training context for this R&D project. We would also like to thank Frederik Clauson‐Kaas and the development team at Labster for leading the implementation of the Enzyme Discovery Simulation used in this study. This project has been funded by Innovation Fund Denmark.
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
- conceptual knowledge
- organizational psychology
- spatial knowledge
- virtual reality