Aquinas Introduces Breakthrough Virtual Reality Business Simulations

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“We created these short, incredibly easy to share simulations to address a specific need: managers don’t have a good way to practice the skills that make them great,” explained Hugh Seaton, CEO of Aquinas.

Imagine if salespeople never flubbed a pitch? Or could learn new product details in a much shorter time?

What if negotiators could practice their skills in a virtual environment, becoming true experts before the big day?

Aquinas, the premiere learning reinforcement software company, today unveiled a cutting edge Virtual Reality Simulation product. Dubbed “Microsimulation Engine” the product was recently previewed at the NYVR Expo, where Aquinas co-led the creation of the conference and advised on the overall production.

Right now, companies spend over $71 billion every year on training seminars for their employees. Studies show that up to 90% of what’s learned in those sessions is forgotten within a week of the program.

Aquinas is a unique platform that gives learning & development teams the chance to extend the learning experience through two key products. The first of these is mobile reinforcements that allow trainers to deliver key takeaways from a training to the employee to help reinforce and put into practice the skills that are highlighted in training sessions.

The second and most unique aspect of the program is the Microsimulation™ – a feature that allows people to experience the pressure of a boardroom or the prying eyes of an auditorium through a virtual experience. These are designed to be delivered by the mobile reinforcements, enabling fast, easy deployment of VR simulations to a broad workforce.

Each of these Microsimulations can be customized without any developer involvement. At a time when most VR experiences require tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Aquinas Microsimulations platform is built for easy customization: L&D departments and sales trainers simply upload their content, click a button and send the exact microsimulation they want their teams to experience.

Developed internally, the Microsimulations product is the only one of its kind, and will continue to evolve as technology matures, networks improve, and users interact with it. The Aquinas Microsimulation engine is also one of the first VR Training products to use the new xAPI standard, which is currently taking the training industry by storm.

The utility of this technology can have an impact on diverse cross section of professions from teachers who want to manage a classroom more effectively to sales reps that want to close more deals.

Three scenarios illustrate this:

Just-in-Time training: Imagine a startup founder has an investor pitch on Thursday. Each morning his advisor, sends him a notification that tells him to practice his delivery – and the advisor has created a specific experience, with a background that looks like the place he’s pitching, and specific reminders. The founder gets these, walks into a quiet room and practices 2-3 times each morning – including the morning of the pitch. This is “just-in-time” learning on steroids.

Learning Reinforcement: Imagine a manager is being taught to negotiate. Over the course of 6 weeks, she is being taken through the key steps from Harvard’s project on negotiation. A schedule has been developed that starts with how to open, then how to counter different objections, then how to close (this is a rough illustration, not actual PON content). She is sent a mixture of videos, notifications, a few digests of papers, and a regular series of practice simulations.

Combination: In a combination of the two – a sales training firm offers an ongoing series of pitch practices, and our context-aware system sends specific sales simulations to learners the morning of big pitches, based on their calendars. It can pull in names of invitees to that pitch as part of reminders – telling the salesperson to remember to ask specific people questions.

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