Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and largest employer in the United States, will soon use virtual reality to help train its employees. At 200 designated VR training centers, called ‘Walmart Academies,' an estimated 140,000 employees will receive training each year. The virtual reality classes will include interactive on-screen cues for possible scenarios, such as customer service encounters, cleaning procedures, and dealing with high-stress events such as Black Friday. Walmart has partnered with STRIVR Labs to create these experiences, who has developed football training simulations in use by many university and professional programs. While the program currently focuses on human-centered scenarios, the technology could be adapted to provide simulated experiences in the work setting and with workplace technologies. Such exposure to the tools that would be used while working could prove useful to the employment success of employees with disabilities. As noted by Todd, Pater & Baker (2016), for employees with visual limitations, the VR headset could provide useful auditory cues to employees learning the layout of the store, or the location of displays. By utilizing audio and video feedback, as well as providing sensory information, virtual reality is uniquely poised to revolutionize the retail environment for employees with disabilities.
Citation: Todd, R., Baker, P., Pater, J. 2014. Enhancing Educational Participation in Virtual Worlds. In S. Gregory (ed.) Virtual Worlds in Online Distance Education (Vol. 2). 2014. Athabasca University Press.