Immersive Virtual Reality as a Competitive Training Strategy for the Biopharma Industry

Study finds that virtual reality simulations are as efficient and engaging as traditional training of new biopharma manufacturing employees in SOPs (standard operating procedures).


Wismer, P., Cordoba, A. L., Baceviciute, S., Clauson-Kaas, F., & Sommer, M. O. A. (2021). Immersive virtual reality as a competitive training strategy for the biopharma industry. Nature Biotechnology, 39(1), 116-119.


This study was conducted with industry-operator trainees. Before entering the workforce in pharmaceutical manufacturing, aspiring industry operators are trained in measuring techniques (metrology) at production schools for vocational education.

The training focused on conducting and documenting a pH calibration and adjustment. This topic was chosen for its relevance to a large number of employees in biopharma manufacturing. Study participants were randomly assigned to one of three training conditions.

In the first condition, participants read a 20-page SOP on pH calibration and adjustment — an established method for compliance training in the biopharma industry. The second condition consisted of a first-generation VR simulation for compliance training based on the SOP and a set of predefined knowledge questions used for evaluating employees after training (compliance test). The final condition followed the protocol of the VR simulation, but with real-life training in an on-the-job laboratory setting.

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