While organizations are now very aware of VR training benefits, managing VR training has remained a challenge for trainers.
Fortunately, there are things learning and development (L&D) professionals can do to effectively manage their VR training and harness its power for the entire organization’s benefit:
- Utilize a Extended Reality System
- Use WebXR to Deliver Training Content
- Give Yourself a Manageable VR Activity Workload
Learning and Development professionals all over the world are adapting to virtual reality training. While organizations are now very aware of VR training benefits, managing VR training has remained a challenge for trainers.
Fortunately, there are things learning and development (L&D) professionals can do to effectively manage their VR training and harness its power for the entire organization’s benefit.
In this article, we’ll explore the main challenges of managing VR training and highlight how to address them.
What is Virtual Reality Training?
Let’s start with a brief review of VR training. VR is an extended reality (XR) technology that places learners in an entirely new reality through a VR headset. There are two types of VR:
- 360° Video — Uses an environment made of recorded video shot with an omnidirectional camera, providing a 360° view where earners are fixed to a location and can look around them
- Full VR — Uses a fully simulated environment that allows learners to move throughout the three-dimensional virtual space
You can use virtual reality training to:
- Challenge learners to coach frustrated employees
- Teach learners how to stack and wrap pallets in a warehouse
- Help learners practice safety protocol in the event of an emergency
All of that, and more, can be done in a safe, virtual environment without real coworkers, real equipment, or actual emergencies.
Such an environment allows for dynamic practice and produces real results. According to research from PwC, participants in virtual reality employee training were 40% more confident than eLearning participants to apply what they learned.
VR training effectiveness has been proven many times over, often on a project-to-project basis. And yet the question persists: How can organizations effectively manage VR training at scale?
Common Challenges of Virtual Reality Training
Many VR training challenges relate to standard training operations. L&D professionals want to deliver, assign, update, and track their employee training efficiently regardless of what form it takes. Performing these tasks during the early-adoption years of VR was not easy. While L&D professionals could rely on learning management systems (LMS) for eLearning operations, they had few answers for VR training.
The most critical tasks were time-consuming. Trainers would have to:
- Manually access headsets for a VR training download link
- Manually track and record training metrics from VR training sessions
- Manually re-access headsets to download updated VR training
Working in those parameters isn’t conducive to successfully managing VR training, especially not on a national or global scale. If your training professionals need to travel to access headsets, or if you need to take on costs to ship headsets around, your organization will forever be behind the eight ball. Thankfully, you can say goodbye to those days. You can mitigate the pain points outlined above, or you can eliminate them.
Here are some solutions for managing standard VR training operations.
Utilize an Extended Reality System
An extended reality system (XRS) helps organizations manage, deliver, assign, update, and easily track their VR training. With an XRS, you can typically provide VR training to your employees in three ways:
- By plugging your VR headsets into a computer
- Over Wi-Fi with the support of additional software
- Over Wi-Fi without any additional training apps
All three setups eliminate the need to access each VR headset and navigate to download content manually. The latter two methods allow organizations to deliver VR training without being in the same physical location as their VR headsets.
The best XRS empowers you to execute all VR training operations to varying degrees. To get the most value from an XRS, choose one that lets you assign each VR training project however you like — by location or user. Also, seek an XRS that automatically tracks VR training metrics (bonus points if an XRS assembles that data in easy-to-read dashboards!).
An XRS license typically runs between $10 – $20 monthly per license. You’ll need to account for one license per VR headset and a baseline fee for a web-based dashboard. Software subscriptions often adhere to economies of scale; the more you purchase, the less you pay per license.
Use WebXR to Deliver Training Content
WebXR is an alternative way to deliver your VR training content to your learners. In this arrangement, the VR training lives on the web, and your learners access it in the headset.
Like an XRS, WedXR eliminates the step of navigating to a download link within the headset. It also facilitates remote content delivery, enabling you to put your VR training on the web from anywhere. However, WebXR does limit the quality and complexity of your VR training. Training that operates via a browser can only be so powerful. This delivery method is best suited for 360° Video in which the VR experience doesn’t allow for learners to move throughout the virtual space.
Additionally, WebXR aids only with the delivery of VR training content. You’d have to determine other ways to handle the assigning, tracking, and reporting on your activities.
Give Yourself a Manageable VR Activity Workload
If you don’t get an XRS or use WebXR, you must make strategic decisions that leave you with a manageable load. In this scenario, you’ll have to perform these crucial VR training tasks by manually accessing your VR headsets and attending VR training sessions in person. To do so with any sort of efficiency, you’ll need to:
- Make Sure Your VR Training Volume Is Manageable – If you don’t have the resources to tend to a vast VR program, stick to a handful of meaningful projects you and your team can handle.
- Restrict Your VR Headsets To One Business Location – Make the location of your VR training administrator the hub that employees travel to for training activities.
- Have Personnel At Each Location Qualified To Manage The Headsets – The goal is to cut out the need to travel or transfer your VR headsets from one place to another.
- Create A Template For Tracking The Training Metrics – Doing so helps you streamline the data gathering process.
Well-Designed VR Training
Ultimately, improving employee performance is the goal of VR training. Effectively managing your program starts with well-designed VR training. Make sure your content is grounded in instructional design. Conduct a needs analysis and formulate measurable learning objectives. Taking those initial steps will help you decide:
- What type of VR training you need
- Which headsets to purchase
- How to evaluate the training
If you opt to work with a VR training partner, be sure to assess potential providers thoroughly. Review their portfolio, ask for pricing information, and check for any reviews or ratings. The best VR training providers should answer any of your questions with full transparency.
Ready to Manage Your VR Training?
As this article indicates, effectively managing VR Training is a serious undertaking. The good news is that L&D professionals have more options today than ever before. Hopefully, this article sparked some ideas for managing VR training more efficiently.