The Unseen Side of Training: turning a negative into a positive with xr

At Digitalnauts, we’re rewriting the training playbook, turning negatives into powerful learning tools. Led by our creative director, we dive headfirst into immersive XR experiences that don’t shy away from the consequences of missteps. From Openreach to Merck, our projects showcase the transformative impact of confronting worst-case scenarios. Join us as we pioneer a new era of training, empowering learners to embrace safety with a proactive mindset. Welcome to training that’s not just understood, but deeply felt. Welcome to Digitalnauts.

Picture of Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson

Creative Director at Digitalnauts

It all began with a seemingly innocuous question from a client: “Why do you concentrate on the negative impacts of training?” This query struck a chord and set the stage for a profound discussion on the essence of learning and the pivotal role of experience in shaping behaviour.

In the realm of conventional e-learning, the focus is often on teaching the correct methods and procedures, while the repercussions of incorrect practices are glossed over. However, at Digitalnauts, we believe that to truly understand the importance of safety and correct procedures, one must also comprehend the gravity of the consequences when things go awry.

As humans, we are innately driven by the experiences we share. Reflect for a moment on a distressing or horrific event you’ve witnessed. It’s likely etched in your memory, influencing how you perceive similar situations in the future. The vivid details of such experiences are remembered precisely because they were so impactful.

"Why do Digitalnauts concentrate on the negative impacts of training?"


This psychological phenomenon is precisely what we aim to harness in many of our training programmes. By illustrating the worst-case scenarios, we deliver a powerful impact that embeds itself within the learner’s memory. The rationale is simple: if you understand how bad a situation can become, you’re more likely to take proactive steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Why, then, should we shy away from the consequences when they are the very reason we have preventative training? Research suggests that negative experiences can serve to boost meaning because they stimulate comprehension. This understanding of how events fit into a broader narrative can be a pillar of meaning in life, and it’s this comprehension we seek to instil in our learners.

Moreover, the advantages of embracing the full spectrum of training outcomes are clear. Companies with comprehensive training programmes have reported 24% higher profit margins. This statistic underscores the tangible benefits of a well-rounded training approach that doesn’t shy away from the negatives.

It works for OPENREACH.

For Openreach, the challenge was to train their burgeoning workforce on the dangers of high voltage poles—a necessity brought into sharp focus when 200 such poles with Openreach attachments were discovered. The risks were immense, ranging from electric shock to potential fatalities. 

Our solution? A bespoke Virtual Reality (VR) training programme that not only educated Openreach engineers on the correct procedures but also viscerally demonstrated the hazards of high voltage environments.

The VR experience we created was not just a training module; it was a journey through the potential perils that engineers might face. By simulating life-threatening situations in a controlled VR setting, we ensured that the lessons would stick. The training was designed to be hazard-free, efficient, and deeply impactful, prioritising risk awareness and safety above all. right way to do things; we showed the consequences of when things go terribly wrong.


In our quest to redefine training, we’ve taken a unique stance by highlighting the negative impacts of incorrect safety procedures through a bespoke Risk Assessment for Merck’s factory. Our approach isn’t about fearmongering; it’s about presenting a realistic picture of potential consequences.

Through immersive XR technologies, we’ve crafted training modules that not only spotlight common errors but also urge users to rectify them in various scenarios. With our interactive design, featuring Risk Assessment VR (RAVR), users actively engage with animations and selectable elements, gaining a full grasp of consequences, including the risk of death due to malpractice—often overlooked in traditional training.

By empowering learners to make both right and wrong choices, we ensure lessons carry emotional weight, resonating deeply with them.

To sum up.

As we confront the negative head-on, we create a more resilient, aware, and prepared workforce. It’s not about fearmongering; it’s about empowering individuals with the knowledge and foresight to prevent disasters before they occur. At Digitalnauts, we’re committed to delivering training that leaves a lasting impression, ensuring that the lessons learned are not just understood, but felt.

Picture of Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson

Creative Director at Digitalnauts

If this is something you are passionate about or simply just want to learn more, I’d love to continue the conversation.