30 June 2017

4 practical tips for launching Virtual Reality learning

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Are you thinking of launching VR training in your organisation, but are not quite sure what to do next? Here are some suggestions to give you a better sense of what it entails.

Let me share some useful observations from our explorations and experience in the VR space.

#1 Virtual Reality tech may be more doable than you think

Not all Virtual Reality tech is expensive and complex. The spectrum of available VR tech is so wide right now, one size doesn’t fit all.

Complex. Some VR technology and learning simulations require thousands of dollars of investment. They are complex to build and deploy, but the spectacular immersive experience and user intention justify the expense and effort.

Simple. Some VR technology is inexpensive and easier to use than you might think. You can easily build VR videos for workplace training by using a 360 camera, basic video editing software, a VR headset and a typical smartphone.

Ballpark figures for VR tech are:

  • $100 to $200 for a decent 360 degree camera
  • $0 to $300 for VR video editing software
  • $10 to $25 per VR headset
  • $0 extra outlay for a VR-ready smartphone
  • If you want to know more, check out my quick VR technology guide.

Once lessons are created, delivering lessons through a next-gen eLearning platform like Velpic helps you track learning progress.

Whether you choose the Complex or Simple path, one thing’s for sure: be very clear about why you are embracing VR.

#2 Find practical use for your VR lessons

I love discovering new technology.

VR is an exciting buzzword for our times and I admit I would enjoy losing myself in exploring all the cool things it can do just because I love it.

The great thing is, something so enjoyable can be put into practical use. What are some ways you could bring training to the next level with VR?

Site inductions. Impress your people a lot more with a simple switch from static images or 2D video to 3D video. It’s easy enough to walk through your site with a 360 camera. Capture live footage of remote construction sites, factories or plants or warehouses, new office locations, locations over water, and more.

In the example below, this clever maternity hospital lets expectant mums experience what it’s like to visit their birthing unit while the mums are still resting their baby bumps at home. 

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Equipment training. Create 360 videos to show users how to operate equipment, what best-practise procedures to follow, and so on. Upskill everyone to create a stronger workforce, no matter what their role.

Safety training. Just think of how VR training could improve work health and safety with more effective training. Walk your users through evacuation procedures, fire drills, locations of firefighting or first-aid equipment, and locations of emergency exits. You can improve learning retention by introducing game-like elements to potentially dry and boring training topics.

To fulfil a Safety Induction requirement, walking through a virtual world to spot workplace risks sure beats staring at a static computer screen and clicking ‘Next’ ad nauseum.

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These are just a few types of training. 

Think of your own situation:

  • Where do you currently conduct training and how would VR improve it?
  • Where do you NOT conduct training and how would VR improve things?

Furthermore, once your VR lessons have been created, you can deliver them easily through a mobile VR companion app like Velpic’s VR app. Velpic’s next-gen LMS software users also enjoy the option of creating and uploading both VR and and non-VR lessons.

VR is an exciting and engaging way to extend the learning process past traditional methods like participating in face-to-face workshops, attending presentations, watching 2D videos, and reading documents.

But it actually works best if you don’t think of VR as just replacement technology.

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#3 Use VR to complement existing learning

Cover more learning styles. Everyone learns in different ways and it’s important to cater to all learning types. The multisensory nature of VR training can enhance results for different learning styles.

‘Top and tail’ live training events. While VR training may overcome limitations of time and space that come naturally with face-to-face training, it is also useful as support training for face-to-face sessions, especially group training. Pre-event priming with VR sessions brings everyone to a similar starting point so that more can be achieved when everyone gathers together. After an event, repeated refresher lessons can enhance the recall and real-world application of what is learnt long after participants return to their daily lives.

#4 Have backup plans as VR is not for everyone

Understandably, different people would have different attitudes towards VR.

  • Some love to use VR straight away and jump right into learning by discovering VR.
  • Others will try it and enjoy it but will need time to get used to it.
  • Yet others will hate the VR experience not matter how easy and simple you make it.

10% to 20% of users will fall in this last bucket. They will tear off the VR headset within five seconds of putting them on no matter how much you encourage them to give VR a try. Make sure you have a backup plan/learning experience for these users.

The good news is that learning can still take place with the same content even without a headset. Most of the 360 degree VR videos/content created can be viewed directly on a smartphone or on a PC or app. The experience is not as immersive but it gets the job done.

VR is soon becoming mainstream, so keep yourself informed to make the most of it. I hope this blog helps you with your first VR project. VR is a great learning medium that will take your learning strategy to the next level, so give it a try.

And if you would like to explore what you can achieve with Velpic VR, we welcome you to contact us.

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