Solving for skills training with Virtual Reality

How we use Virtual Reality training modules to engage learners and create a richer corporate training curriculum for our clients.

As workers start returning to a changing workplace and the war on talent accelerates, training becomes even more critical. Nakheel Properties, a leading property developer in the UAE, was looking to innovate their leadership training programme. They worked closely with PwC to create a corporate training curriculum that was more engaging and delivered better results.

PwC & Microsoft

"Wow, I felt like I was actually in those situations, speaking to those people! I honestly could have never gotten this type of experience in a regular training because the VR experience made it so personal and even emotional at some points throughout the modules."
Nakheel learning programme participant

Our role

PwC Academy has been exploring immersive training methods for corporate clients in the context of leadership training. As part of a pilot programme, the PwC Middle East EmTech team with PwC Academy incorporated Virtual Reality (VR) into the Nakheel Properties leadership training programme to trial and assess the use of VR for soft skills training.

The leadership training programme was delivered through a blended curriculum with classroom and VR soft skills training. 21 participants from Nakheel took part in a two-day training session which included performance and behavioural feedback training modules in VR.


To assess how VR measures up as a training tool for leadership and other soft skills, the PwC Middle East EmTech team tested all participants before the VR training session and after. On average, participants scored 44% higher on their assessment after completing the VR module.

What our learners told us about VR training:

  • All participants preferred to incorporate VR as part of their learning curriculum

  • They enjoyed the rich virtual content, felt the interaction was more enjoyable than traditional methods of training and were completely immersed in the virtual environment

  • Participants felt that VR reduced distraction because they were unable to multitask and were focused on the task at hand

Wow, I felt like I was actually in those situations, speaking to those people! I honestly could have never gotten this type of experience in a regular training because the VR experience made it so personal and even emotional at some points throughout the modules.

Nakheel learning programme participant

The VR advantage

According to PwC’s VR Soft Skills Training Efficacy Study (2020):

1. Employees in VR courses can be trained up to 4x faster
When you account for extra time needed for first-time learners to review, be fitted for and be taught to use the VR headset, VR learners still complete training three times faster than classroom learners.

2. VR learners are more confident in applying what they’re taught
Because it provides the ability to practice in an immersive, low-stress environment, VR  training results in higher confidence levels and an improved ability to actually apply the learning on the job.

3. Employees are more emotionally connected to VR content
Simulation-based learning in VR gives individuals the opportunity to feel as if they’ve had a meaningful experience.

4. VR learners are more focused
In a VR headset, simulations and immersive experiences command the individual’s vision and attention. There are no interruptions and no options to multitask.

5. VR learning can be more cost-effective at scale
The value VR provides is unmistakable when used appropriately. The more people you train, the higher your return will likely be in terms of employee time saved during training, as well as course facilitation and other out-of-pocket cost savings.



As employees return to the workplace, delivering an immersive training experience that can offer a sustained outcome and faster results is more important than ever. VR training is a human-led and a tech powered approach to delivering soft skills training and will be an important part of a blended learning curriculum.


“Working with the PwC team opened our eyes to the impact of innovation on our future and how a technology upgrade can lead to a full business transformation.”

Kathie Morgan
President, ASTM International

“As they say, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ We helped ASTM bring the cultural change needed to help them deliver on their strategy.”

William Tate
Managing Director, PwC

EmTech overview

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Reza Essop

Reza Essop

Middle East EmTech Lead, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 4 304 3100

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Contact us

Ali Hosseini

Ali Hosseini

Chief Technology Officer, PwC Middle East

Imad Abuizz

Imad Abuizz

Partner, Digital and Technology Platform Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +966 50 426 3478