News story

Learning design company develops VR solution to build inter-team empathy

Brighton, UKLearning NewsMake Real

Make Real, an award-winning immersive technology studio, has unveiled their latest virtual reality (VR) training tool for Lloyds Banking Group. The experience trains team managers to excel with inter-team communication, recreating scenarios built to develop empathy.


The VR demo, playable on the Oculus Quest, can be found at Make Real’s booth at Learning Technologies 2020, located at Hall: N1-N6 Stand: G55. The event runs February 12th & 13th at the London ExCeL Centre.

Management teams are finding it increasingly difficult to train communication and empathy among employees with an element of consistency and objective feedback. L&D professionals can find it difficult to recreate the scenarios needed where a worker can train their skills with a colleague, lacking the conviction of legitimacy.

Lloyds Banking Group originally approached Make Real, now their long-term technology partner for developing VR L&D projects, to create a soft-skills training solution. Based on the latest embodiment mechanics studies from the University of Barcelona and Stanford, the Make Real team created a VR simulation of common interactions that employees would have between one another. The studies show that having avatars in a convincing scenario would lead to a faster improvement in the soft skills necessary for communication. The team built it on the Oculus Quest, a VR headset renowned for its portability, ease of use, and friction-free access to new users. Initial findings have found that it has led to an improvement in employee training feedback scores and a stronger desire for self-study sessions. Through providing soft-skills training via VR, rather than relying upon actors carrying out face-to-face sessions at a low volume scale, cost savings are already making themselves apparent, even with the initial outlay of developing the VR experience and purchasing of the headsets.

Sam Watts, Director of Immersive Technologies at Make Real, comments on the state of immersive L&D: “We see a lot of companies who want to make some big and flashy solutions to tick an innovation box – yet fall short of achieving any specific goals. Our approach is to start with small but validated use cases around measurable business or learning goals. Backed by the latest studies, and evolving immersive learning experience design, these are providing cost-effective solutions that lead to a genuine impact for the workforce. We believe VR works best when it is validated and measured, not just being used as a wow factor or gimmick.”

Make Real has worked with Lloyds Banking Group for several years, developing training tools for their employees. A recent example is a solution that helps improve the personal resilience and vitality of workers, fighting against the rise of stress-related conditions present in the modern workplace. The piece has been nominated twice as finalist for the Learning Technology LTAwards 2019 “Best Use of a Virtual Environment for Training” and the AIXR VRAwards 2019 “Enterprise VR Solution of the Year”.

At the booth, Make Real will also demonstrate an asymmetrical bridge-building game for Highways England, called CITB - Bridge Team VR. During the game, one user is on-site planning the structure construction whilst the rest are guiding them via a series of knowledge cards, associated with suitable terrains, concrete mix ratios and other related facts unknown to the VR user. Teams will be able to register themselves for the challenge at the Make Real booth, G55, to become the fastest, most effectively communicating team for a immersive technology prize.