Bank of America VR Training: Excited Employees, Powerful Outcomes

Bank of America’s VR training has employees excited to learn. And the lessons stick – 97% of trainees are confident they can apply what they’ve learned.
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Bank of America VR Training

The Academy, Bank of America’s award-winning professional development organization, was the first in its industry to train associates using virtual reality.

The Academy’s immersive VR experiences are proven to help people learn faster and remember more. After training in VR, 97% of associates feel confident they can apply what they’ve learned.

When Bank of America created an ambitious VR metaverse to introduce 2,000 new hires to the company, ArborXR was there to support the experience so it went off without a hitch.

Tens of thousands of Bank of America associates have already strapped on a headset, and ArborXR is supporting the bank as it scales its VR programming to its entire 200,000-person workforce. From the beginning, the training has been enthusiastically received.

“The reaction to VR was the same regardless of where we ran it – employees were having fun. They were excited about it to the point they were actually talking to their family about it at the dinner table.”
Michael Wynn
Senior Vice President, Innovations and Learning Technology Executive for The Academy

How Bank of America Uses VR for New Employee Onboarding

In a recent new-hire event, 2,000 people from all over the world gathered for Bank of America onboarding. ArborXR helped The Academy make sure it was an event they would never forget.

In a room dubbed “the metaverse room,” 50 people at a time explored a virtual Bank of America world.

They interacted live with avatars of real Bank of America employees located across the country. The bank metaverse was filled with portals to immersive experiences.

bank of america vr training metaverse

“We wanted the VR experience to almost be like Disney World. You can’t explore it all. You have to go back to see what you missed,” Michael explained.

New hires explored company history at a Bank of America museum. Employee benefits were explained while they relaxed at Benefits Island’s tropical resort.

And to unplug from the stress of the day, one portal took them riding on a unicorn.

“If we had done traditional onboarding, people would have gotten the information but not remembered it the next day,” said Michael. “I promise you, I could call up some of those folks six months later and they will absolutely remember their onboarding.”

VR & AI Team Up for Employee Coaching

Among the 40-plus VR training modules available to Bank of America associates is iCoach. This conversation simulator uses artificial intelligence to take role playing to new heights.

iCoach can role play any kind of conversation – such as interactions with clients, managers, or direct reports.

Traditional human-to-human role playing is valuable, but variable. The feedback a person gets depends on the abilities and biases of the person playing a role.

Role-playing can also be fraught with tension. The person practicing might be trying to impress their partner. Or they might fear making a mistake.

bank of america vr training icoach

“iCoach is eliminating variability and giving them an opportunity to role play in a safe space by themselves. Nobody’s watching them. Nobody’s judging them,” Michael explained. “And at the end, you can press a button and listen to how you came across.”

VR Simulations Allow Trial-and-Error Without Real-World Consequences

One of the most valuable ways ArborXR helps businesses is through enabling simulations. Inside a headset, people can experience situations too costly, too dangerous, or simply impossible to simulate in real life.

bank of america vr training simulation

“Imagine being in a difficult coaching conversation and the associate gets mad, starts crying, and threatens to quit,” said Michael. “How do you replicate those scenarios in a web-based format?”

“In VR, people understand possible consequences to their actions,” he explained. “It makes you feel present in the moment. And if you feel present, you’re more likely to remember it at the end of the day.”

Overcoming the Challenges of Implementing VR Training

The strong positive reaction to VR training convinced The Academy executives it was worth pursuing. The first obstacle: cost.

There is, of course, a cost to investing in XR hardware, as well as a cost to developing high-quality VR/AR modules.

But that cost is dwarfed by the return on investment.

“If you start peeling back the layers, how much is being spent on web-based trainings and reference guides and classroom sessions?” Michael asked. “The money is getting spent. It’s a matter of whether you can spend it the right way and affect the right result. Because our folks are excited, they’re having fun, and they’re learning.”

bank of america vr training the academy

After going all-in on the VR concept, Bank of America faced its second hurdle: scale.

Deploying any technology at scale is challenging, and VR is no different. Experienced, reliable vendor partners like ArborXR help take some of the strain out of scaling.

As Michael pointed out, bad training is bad training in any modality. An experienced partner can guide a business to develop and scale VR training programs efficiently and effectively.

VR Isn’t the Future – It’s the Now

ArborXR is helping the second-largest banking institution in America apply virtual reality to its training academy, with fantastic results.

Every day, the technology progresses, new use cases are developed, and VR becomes a little more accessible to businesses of every kind.

How do you join this movement? ArborXR can point you in the right direction. Let us help you plan your VR program, from choosing and managing hardware to finding the right app developer to deploying and managing content.

Get started with a free trial today!

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