More and more companies are turning to virtual and augmented reality learning to improve training results, increase safety and reduce training costs. VR technology brings many advantages to staff training.
These 8 tips will guide you through creating and implementing a VR training strategy for your business:
Create VR Training With A Clear Purpose In Mind
What are the key skills and processes your VR training program is going to teach or refresh?
Identifying these early on will help ensure that your VR training modules stay concise and focused on scenarios that teach those specific tasks or skills. Creating a complete simulation of a job role or scenario is usually not the most efficient approach.
Similarly, it is important to consider your VR learning tools in the wider context of your employee training. For example:
- Will employees use VR training at home or in a training area at work?
- Will there be a live instructor assisting with the VR training sessions?
- How often will employees have access to VR training sessions?
Identify The Key Components Your VR Training Needs
Once you know what the goal of your VR training program is, what are the requirements for making that training effective?
For example, if you are training employees to use tools or machinery, physical props may be a beneficial component of VR training. According to a 2019 research study, adding physical props to a VR training tool can increase the confidence and muscle memory of trainees for completing a task under pressure.
However, developing competence with tools and equipment may not be the purpose of your training software. If the goal is to teach diagnostic skills rather than tool use, then adding physical props to interact with may be unnecessary as they are not the focus of the training.
The amount of space the training sessions will require is another important consideration, especially if you want to implement VR in remote training. Minimizing unnecessary movement that does not aid training is always a good idea. It makes the VR training possible in smaller spaces making it more viable for training employees at home, and makes better use of the available training space on your business premises.
Keep VR Experiences Short And Focused
There are many reasons to keep VR training experiences short.
Keeping VR sessions short helps to also keep them focused on the key elements they need to teach. That means the important information makes a stronger impression on employees, rather than including lessons and details that can be taught just as easily through other means. It also helps your VR training lessons serve as quick and repeatable ways for employees to refresh their skills.
Additionally, while improvements to the technology have made virtual reality much more comfortable in recent years, the experience can still be overwhelming or nauseating to some people. Shorter training sessions give them the benefits of VR training without the motion sickness they might get from prolonged use.
For in-person training sessions, shorter VR lessons can also enable more trainees to get through the training faster, making more efficient use of a limited amount of training space and VR headsets.
Create A Scenario Storyboard
One of the easiest ways to keep your resources focused on the goals of your VR training is to create a ‘storyboard’ to plan out how a training scenario will progress. Taking this approach helps to identify which aspects of a task or job role need to be included in a training module, and avoids wasting resources on creating VR assets that do not contribute to better training outcomes.
Approaching VR training modules with this framework also makes it simpler to plan out branching outcomes and add to the scenario over time.
Onboarding Trainees Is Vital
As we’ve already mentioned in the previous point, virtual reality can take a bit of getting used to for some trainees. Many will not have used a virtual reality interface before, and will need some help learning to interact with a virtual world, navigate menus in VR, and orient themselves safely in the real world.
It is particularly important to consider this factor if your VR training modules are designed for use with a virtual instructor instead of a live instructor. In these cases, the software should include a training module to familiarize users with virtual reality and guide them through the basics of looking and moving around. This ensures that when the real training starts, they can focus on learning the module content rather than figuring out the VR controls.
Track and Optimize Results
As trainees use your VR learning, you can gather metrics on how they use it and how effective it is in improving their skills. You can use metrics like how long users take to complete a session for quantitative data, or measure user behavior or conduct surveys for feedback on its usability. The most important metrics to track depends on the goals of your VR training program, but there are a few which are always useful to pay attention to, such as:
- Time spent on each activity
- Task completion rates
- Final assessment pass rates
- Course completion rates
This data can inform how you improve and optimize each iteration of your VR program.
Consider The Available Physical Space
Whether your VR training modules can be completed while sitting at a desk or have trainees moving throughout a large space during the exercise, the physical space that training takes place in matters. Knowing whether your employee will complete the training while sitting at a desk or in an open space with plenty of space to walk around safely will help make better use of the space available.
The potential safety concerns of getting this wrong, such as having trainees bumping into walls and furniture they cannot see, can be mitigated with simple solutions such as warning in the VR display when the user approaches a boundary of the safe area.
Make Use Of Gamification
Gamification means adding elements of games and competitions such as scoring and other rewards to increase motivation and engagement in a task. Common examples of gamification include:
- Tracking and rewarding progress milestones
- Awarding points based on performance in a task
- Cumulative rewards for consistent progress
These elements can make trainees more engaged with training by giving immediate gratification for completing modules, and adding a competitive element that encourages them to improve and achieve better scores.
It’s not all about scores and rewards though. You can use elements of games to make VR training more engaging in other ways, such as through audiovisual feedback. Simple visual effects and sounds to indicate successful actions make a virtual training session more satisfying and engaging to interact with. As a result while gamification is hardly unique to VR training, virtual reality learning is an area where gamification techniques can be very effective.
OneBonsai has been developing virtual reality software since 2016. Expanding its knowledge with every project they create. Do you want to learn more about Virtual Learning and VR training? Contact us for a friendly chat and let us discover how we can help each other out!