Virtual Reality Training at Walmart Saved Lives During the El Paso Massacre
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is convinced that the company’s virtual reality active shooter training devices helped save lives during the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas that killed 22 people and seriously injured 24 others in a Walmart supermarket in early August.
The Walmart boss stated that management team members and associates had been appreciative of the VR training and acknowledged its benefits in preventing an even greater catastrophe.
The active shooter training simulates the experience and helps participants live the experience and understand the measures that they need to undertake to protect themselves in an active shooter situation. Apart from the active shooter training, Walmart staff also undergo VR training sessions on the proper behavior to exhibit during a shooting rampage.
According to McMillon, the Walmart management team in El Paso acted very fast and engaged other associates in executing the safety plan that he believes saved lives during the rampage. Walmart offers a VR training module for active shootings as part of its overall Walmart Academy experience. The retailer is also utilizing VR modules in its day-to-day training as its immersive training helps in boosting employee confidence and improves the test scores in training by 10% to 15%. Walmart has distributed some 17,000 Oculus Go VR headsets across its stores in the US for training purposes.
The retailer has a total of 45 virtual reality training modules designed for various areas of the company’s operations including customer service, empathy and technology. Recently, we reported that Walmart had started using virtual reality to assess employees for promotions.
Walmart works with the virtual reality software company Strivr to develop these training modules. The Menlo Park-based software development company also developed the retailer’s active shooting module working closely with Walmart and its safety partners in devising the training module. Strivr also works with various other US corporations.
The Walmart training modules are 360-degrees interactive videos in which the trainer must make decisions at specific points which will influence the further course of the videos.
The use of virtual reality in crisis scenarios is growing in popularity in numerous corporate workforce scenarios. Strivr also builds training modules for Verizon store employees for handling store robberies.