Virtual reality can be a powerful learning and training tool to increase empathy and learn how to handle delicate situations.
ILO Bangkok, Better Work Indonesia, the ITCILO and BodySwaps collaborated to design an immersive and interactive virtual reality simulation to teach factory workers about the risks of sexual harassment at work.
So excited that we completed the pilot training combining VR and training under the ILO - DWSCA Project and with ITCILO, and in collaboration with BWI to tackle sexual harassment at work.#genderequalityatwork #techforgood #zerotolerance #ILOAsia pic.twitter.com/Xrlla3TkJ8
— Joni Simpson, Senior Specialist (@jonisimpson) October 2, 2022
Virtual Reality (VR) can be a powerful training tool to evoke empathy and practice the best ways to react during tricky situations. Research suggests that VR can be especially helpful for training people to handle difficult circumstances as they can “practice handling the situation in a safe environment.”
With VR, people have the opportunity to actively learn by putting their skills to the test while at the same time developing a deeper emotional connection to the content.
"I found that the training excites me a lot. It Improves many things on the way we deliver the training. We found that with this training, we could learn from experience. We found that we can also become someone else. I mean, how if I coach myself, can I accept it or not? Can I change? Because of the coach. So, it's very interesting. I recommend it."
Dedi Wahyudi - EHS Manager in EHS, Compliance & Maintenance Department, Avery Dennison RBIS Indonesia
"Today I joined the training that's really really interesting training. This is the first time for me to have the training method using Virtual Reality. Which is quite interesting because we can focus, and I can get many learning from this training today and also, the thing is, I'm very happy with the coach. Thay can deliver the messages that really straightfully and I can bring to my factory. Which is now it's not only talking about the sexual harassment, but also about the violence and harassment that we need to be established in our factory. I want to recommend it, this training, to all of the new participants. You can enjoy and happy during this training."
Dikimore Sari - Talent Acquisition and Compensation & Benefit Manager, Avery Dennison RBIS Indonesia
In this VR module, participants meet Dewi and Linh, two garment factory machine operators and their struggles with abusive co-workers. Using their own words, they practise direct intervention in a sexual harassment episode.
Throughout the module, participants are guided by virtual coaches. These coaches take participants on a journey through a series of practical exercises.
Before the training starts, participants join the virtual coaches in an informal, relaxed space where the mentors provide one-on-one sessions for learners. At this juncture, participants select a virtual avatar and go on to learn how to embody them by speaking aloud and interacting in the virtual environment
Through an informal conversation with the virtual coaches, participants are asked to decide what constitutes unacceptable conduct through a gamified activity. While participants provide their opinions, they are also able to reflect on their own level of understanding and their assessment of complex and challenging situations.
Learners are then shown a conversation between Dewi and Linh, two sewing machine operators talking about their recent interactions with some of their male colleagues. During the exercise, participants need to identify whether an action is likely to be sexual harassment using the legal definition provided earlier by the coaches.
After a debrief on the previous activity by the coaches, participants are transported to a scene where a male coworker of Linh’s behaves inappropriately. The exercise then allows the participants to play out the 5 different approaches to being an active bystander. This helps them plan to step up when and where they can.
During the final exercise, participants demonstrate the direct approach by speaking directly to the perpetrator about their behaviour. As best as possible, participants use their own voices and bodies to communicate the key messages they want to deliver. Once performed, participants swap their bodies with the perpetrator to see and learn from visualising their own delivery. Lastly, they are presented with the opportunity to play out an ideal interaction as well as view an AI-generated assessment of their performance.
How do I get started?
Do you also want to teach others how they can identify and fight sexual harassment at work? This ready-made module can be replicated and used by other governments, institutions, and organizations. Some elements, such as language and objects/machinery, are customizable.
The ITCILO is open to collaboration on new VR modules on similar topics. For more information, contact us at email@example.com.
The Sida-funded Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia (DWGSC) project is a 4-year ILO regional initiative aimed at strengthening knowledge and insight into “what works” in driving Decent Work in the garment sector, and leveraging this for enhanced regional coordination, action and impact across the supply chain in Asia.