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How XR can champion diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI)

There’s plenty of awareness about how XR can enhance the gaming experience, but there’s far less knowledge about how XR can promote diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) – particularly for training employees. 

Through virtual reality headsets or AR glasses, users can be quickly transported to different virtual environments – whether fictional or modeled off real-world locations. Industries such as education, healthcare, and manufacturing are already making use of XR technology and now, DEI training is poised to benefit from it too. 

DEI training and XR 

DEI training is an integral aspect of training across many workplaces. It helps promote more equitable and inclusive working environments, which is an increasingly important topic of conversation. Commonly, DEI training is completed online or through in-person workshops, but XR can help elevate training by immersing a user in a range of different scenarios. 

DEI training currently costs the United States 8 billion dollars annually. Despite these overheads, it does not always elicit the desired results. Indeed, there have been multiple reported instances of DEI training having the opposite effect of what was intended – a clear sign there’s a lot of progress needed within the space. 

The benefits XR can offer organisations 

Unlike traditional means of DEI training, XR has yielded many positive results so far. Already, the technology has the potential to reshape the way companies approach DEI training. Not only are the outcomes more effective, but in the long run, XR can also hugely reduce expenses. 

Through life-like simulations and immersive environments, XR can help employees and users better understand what it’s like to experience discrimination or inappropriate behaviour – and recognise it in action. Employees can practice calling out offensive behaviour and learn how to mitigate potentially dangerous situations, which promotes a safer working environment for all. 

Promoting inclusion 

Outside of the workplace, XR technologies are helping marginalised groups feel included. For instance, students with autism are already improving their public speaking skills with VR. With the help of features like foveated rendering, an app can present an audience of avatars that disappear if the student speaker ignores them. It offers autistic children a safe space to practice challenging tasks and overcome their fears. 

What’s more, there are other apps that can help individuals overcome phobias like agoraphobia and the fear of animals. Giving users exposure to triggers in a safe environment can help prepare them for similar real-life scenarios.  

Another advantage of simulation is that it can give us insight into the experience of those with autism. By placing ourselves in their shoes, we can better understand how an individual might process information. As a result, we can work with greater empathy and understanding for certain behaviour patterns that may be unfamiliar to us. With the right tools and training, these behaviours can then be regarded as simply different, helping to promote a more inclusive and accepting society and workforce. 

In a nutshell 

As technology continues to advance, XR will be increasingly used by a multitude of organisations for training and even conducting work. Through trigger exposure and high-immersion environments, XR can effectively promote diversion, equality and inclusion, which is undoubtedly becoming an increasing priority for workplaces globally. 

Date Published:

Nikolaos Tzoumerkas

About the author

Nikolaos Tzoumerkas

Nikolaos Tzoumerkas is a Market Analyst in the Consumer Electronics team at Futuresource Consulting. Having joined in January of 2023, his main research focus includes the segments of wearables, where he tracks smartwatches and sports watches among others, and XR where he tracks all the major types of hardware technology. Nikolaos has also worked on tablets and smartphones giving him a holistic overview of the personal electronics sector.

Olivia Lowden

About the author

Olivia Lowden

Olivia Lowden is responsible for the long-form content, press, and partnerships at Futuresource. Prior to her career at Futuresource, she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, demonstrative of her lifelong love of words.

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