Client Focus: Lloyds Banking Group

Make Real first met Lloyds Banking Group L&D team at the side-event to Learning Technologies, the [then named] Lumesse Learning Lounge in 2017, which we had been invited to participate by the elearning company organising the event (now owned by Saba). At the time, much of our work was focused on hard skills, with our early prototypes for climbing telephone masts and electrician apprenticeship training, so there was much discussion how Virtual Reality could be applied to the office-based, soft, or interpersonal skills that LBG typically ran training courses around.

Approach

Never ones to shy away from a challenge, the Make Real team worked with the LBG training team to take some of their existing content, a short training scenario based upon “difficult conversations”, to design a VR proof-of-concept that would validate and test whether the same or new learning outcomes could be achieved.

This 5 minute experience had to factor in a number of design and learning challenges and outcomes to determine suitability including:

  • The ability to create a branching narrative from script to screen
  • The ability to create a computer-based character that responded to learner choices accurately and to a level that was believable enough, within cost constraints
  • Highlight the benefits of carrying out the training in VR over traditional methods, including:
    • Consistency of training outcomes
    • Objectivity of feedback
    • Ease-of-use of devices
    • Learning metrics not possible to gain otherwise, including eye/gaze-tracking, emotional responses and possible biometric reflexes
  • The quality of the learning experience and outcomes

Upon completion of the proof-of-concept, LBG went away and carried out a series of learner user tests and gathered their qualitative and quantitative feedback accordingly.

Early impressions showed that learners were willing and excited to adopt the VR technology and new tool for training, when used as part of a blended package, which included traditional methods. Learners could appreciate the benefits of using the technology to remove some of the barriers to achieving learning outcomes with traditional methods, which included embarrassment of doing roleplay in front of colleagues, effectiveness of using human actors in terms of consistency of training across a series of sessions throughout a day, and similarly the reduced costs of scaling up training without the need to employ additional actors on a 1-2-1 basis as required.

Overall the learner feedback scores increased enough to warrant further scale and depth of learning experiences to be agreed and started a new phenomenon previously unseen for self-study content – a waiting list of people signing up wanting to try it out.

Further immersive learning experiences developed increased in complexity and length of training content included, seeing the script sizes increase from 15 lines to 300 to 1,500. With this added complexity, Make Real had to adapt and create internal toolsets to manage the script-to-screen process and pipeline so that writers could maintain freedom to increase nuance to the narrative without crippling the developers with overtly complex integration logic in code. As a result, Dialogic was born to streamline and improve these processes and pipelines to keep costs and time down whilst raising quality of the learning content.

Deployment

With a quickly growing catalogue of immersive learning content, LBG became one of our first clients to fully embrace the emerging Oculus for Business enterprise hardware offerings for Oculus Rift, Oculus Go and later Oculus Quest.

However the Oculus Rift full VR setup was ruled out of the longer-term strategy due to the reliance upon additional VR PC hardware, being tethered via cable and the additional costs and complications around IT and procurement that this entailed, enabling LBG to focus purposefully on standalone VR options, firstly with the Oculus Go and then the Oculus Quest.

In order to increase range and scale of deployment across LBG training centres, the immersive learning experiences were developed with a three-tiered design approach, allowing one code base to generate a full VR experience (Oculus Quest), a mobile VR experience (Oculus Go) and a desktop 360º video version that could be launched from a web browser. However after evaluation it was decided for the purposes of impact and cost effectiveness, to concentrate on the VR deployments to make best use of the benefits of the technology as the number of units deployed increased against rising demand.

Year Project Description Technology
2018 Difficult Conversations Proof-of-Concept 5-min training experience to validate VR use case VR
2019 Personal Vitality + Resilience Training scenario around interpersonal team and colleague well-being and communication approaches VR
2019 Relationship Management Increasingly complex scenarios around creating trust, rapport and balancing communication and departmental outcomes with colleagues and clients needs VR
2020 Conflict Resolution Training around Transactional Analysis methods and ego-states associated with intermediary colleague and team management VR
2020 New project/s Further immersive learning experiences VR

Impact

LBG have noted many of the expected benefits of using immersive technologies, in this case VR specifically, as part of their blended learning approach, including:

  • Learner “superpowers” – Gives learners enhanced capabilities, tools and confidence
  • Reduced time to train – Learning objectives can be delivered in shorter sessions anywhere
  • Reduced costs to train – Learners do not need access to real world assets or travel for training
  • Reduced risks of training – Virtual scenarios allow safe fail states without real world repercussion
  • Improved training scenarios – Edge cases and greater depth of interaction and involvement
  • Greater knowledge retention – Learn by doing, building up muscle memory
  • Deeper formed memories – Greater number of senses involved with learning
  • Greater memory recall – Greater knowledge retention and deeper memories to draw upon later
  • Repeatable – Virtual simulations can be easily replayed and repeated or customised
  • Consistent – Many forms of traditional training suffer from consistency of training where humans are involved to provide the same level of quality over and over

Unique Outcomes

  • Confirmation that VR can be used for interpersonal, soft skills training when designed and deployed appropriately.
  • ‘Personal Vitality + Resilience’ was nominated finalist for the VRAwards and Learn Tech Awards 2019 for its use of virtual training environments and outcomes.
  • LBG have reported back 6-figure training costs savings from deploying ‘PV+R’ alone.
  • LBG have incorporated ‘Relationship Management’ across 5 existing training courses, including:
    • Building Stakeholder Relationships
    • Temperament & Interaction Style
    • Life is a Negotiation
    • Retail Accelerated Development
    • Commercial Accelerated Development
  • Specific metrics only available within immersive learning experiences:
    • Eye/gaze-tracking heatmaps
    • AI-driven ego-states and body maps showing interaction reactions
    • AI-driven rapport system between learner and character
    • Future capabilities of voice input and analysis
  • Characters within the immersive learning experiences are generating empathy with learners, with cameos and appearances being requested across scenarios
  • LBG have been able to position themselves as leaders of innovative immersive learning within the wider industry, being asked to and giving talks and presentations on their journey, learnings and outcomes of deploying VR for interpersonal, soft skills training
  • Early adopters of Oculus for Business enterprise hardware
Key Facts
Dates Deployed
2018 - 2020+
Number of Projects
4*
Immersive Hardware
Oculus for Business
Rift / Go / Quest

Get in touch

We’re always happy to talk to you about how immersive technologies can engage your employees and customers. If you have a learning objective in mind, or simply want to know more about VR, send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.