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3 Mistakes People Make When Designing VR Training

You did it! You’ve convinced your team that VR is the way to elevate your training initiatives —more innovation, more efficiency, and leaving your competitors in the dust. The budget’s got the green light, schedules are locked in, and you’ve got a whole new team to back you up. So, how can you make sure your VR project is a success? 

We’ve all cringed at the stories where a company took a leap of faith outside their comfort zone, pouring thousands into a new idea, only to watch it crash and burn due to poor planning – a horror no one wants to see.

Luckily for you, we know exactly how to avoid VR design mishaps.

Avoiding Common Mistakes 

Given the unique capabilities of VR, it may be surprising to learn that even the most cutting-edge technology is susceptible to pitfalls. No matter how innovative VR is, it isn’t foolproof. We’re not just talking about the select few who get motion sickness. More often than you’d think, the development phase of creating extraordinary content can see its fair share of trials and tribulations.

It takes a village to design and develop meaningful learning experiences. To deliver training programs that successfully engage learners, organizations need to understand common mistakes and how they can be avoided. As Warren Buffett famously said,

 It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people's mistakes.

So, let’s take a look at what mistakes people make when designing VR training programs and learn from them. 

3 Mistakes People Make When Designing VR Training

1. A lack of clear learning objectives

VR is so impressive, it’s easy to assume the technology itself can solve your broader learning challenges. A major oversight people make is designing VR training programs that focus solely on high-level training objectives.

If you’re looking to elevate your organization’s training impact, designing a learner-centric training program in VR requires establishing clear learning objectives. It’s one thing to create a virtual simulation that is a fun experience for your employees, but creating a virtual training program that can produce measurable results is an invaluable asset to your organization

Narrow your learning objectives by looking at their root cause. VR should be designed to address the problems that learners face. Whether it’s speed, proficiency, or safety – looking at what areas can improve these umbrella terms is where VR training can make a tremendous impact. Look closely at the reasons for the objectives being called out to better target performance deficits and build VR programs around these skills. With attention to these details, your organization can track meaningful training metrics to measure the success of your VR program.

Scenario 1  

Let’s use the example of safe lifting practices. Workers compensation claims are skyrocketing because your warehouse employees are constantly pulling their back while on the job. You realize it’s time to update your training program and you’ve decided VR is the way to go.

Common Mistake:

You design a VR program that looks exactly like your warehouse. Impressive! The training content simulates employees lifting boxes and putting them on a truck. Your team gets hands on with the training. Once they stack a few boxes, they’re done! While you may have perfected the realism, what skill deficits were addressed?

Best Practice:

Your team designs a training with specific learning objectives in mind. You design a scenario where the VR training can identify exactly how the learner is bending and lifting objects. If learners lift with their back, they fail and are asked to try again until they get it right. By identifying the underlying skill that needs practice, learners can correct their mistakes and VR can track specific performance measurements to help combat the broader objective of reducing injury rates. This is what makes the needle move at your organization. 

Read more: How to Create Clear Learning Objectives for Your Training Program

2. Assuming everything belongs in VR

Not every kind of training works in VR. What works in eLearning, may be stagnant in VR. What fell flat in an instructor-led session, may be brought to life in a VR headset. It all comes down to the way the training is taught. 

Too often, organizations take the wrong approach to VR by trying to transfer their current eLearning content to VR without realizing a 1:1 conversion won’t work. Because VR should be action based, heavy text and dialogue in eLearning reduces the effectiveness of learning engagement in VR. 

Virtual reality training provides tactile and interactive learning scenarios for your workforce to sharpen their skillsets through experiential learning. One helpful tip is to select training that requires learners to perform physical tasks or practice critical thinking. Think of it this way – what training information can be acted out in an immersive environment?

Scenario 2 

Common Mistake:

Your organization is ready to revolutionize the current onboarding program, so they borrow all training content and push it through a VR headset. The copy-paste method may be appealing based on the veneer of convenience, but learners end up overwhelmed by an overload of information that isn’t compatible with an immersive experience. 

Best Practice:

You have new hires that need to familiarize themselves with your manufacturing facility. Your organization creates an impactful onboarding experience that utilizes the right mix of ILT and eLearning to provide fundamental and compliance information with immersive VR breakout sessions. This allows learners to explore and engage with the right content.Your VR program immerses learners in a tour of your facility, complete with VR interactions that allow new employees to fully grasp the process of how company products are made.

3. Limited collaboration

Don’t give up your ownership from the start! If you’ve set the intention to customize a VR training program, sitting on the side-lines won’t serve anyone. Too often, people limit their collaborative power by getting involved too late. 

Developing a custom VR training program demands a high standard for collaboration, especially in the design phase. Imagine building a home and seeing the layout for the first time after it’s been built. It would be less than ideal!  

Before a project’s design is underway, the entire team should be present for decision making processes and read carefully through the statement of work (SOW) before the development begins. Organizations that limit their collaboration may become easily disconnected from their VR developers and, by default, disconnected from the project overall. Early involvement in a VR project invites everyone to the table – SMEs, leadership, and important stakeholders. 

Scenario 3 

Common Mistake:

VR is so impressive that you’ve drawn up a flow chart prematurely. SMEs haven’t even entered the chat. Your organization requests a technical preview and key influencers identify major gaps in the training material. Scope creep becomes a factor and catches everyone off guard. Prolonging development timelines is like throwing money out of the car window. 

Best Practice:

Your organization gathers essential information and insights from SMEs and works closely with instructional designers to make up a foolproof VR development plan. Important details are reflected in the design and development process, delivering an effective training program that elevates how your employees upskill. Chef’s kiss!

When VR is Done Right

When done right, virtual reality drives learning engagement. 

Get ahead of your competitors by thinking about how virtual reality training fits into your comprehensive training program. This will help you design immersive learning experiences that complement and reinforce the training content delivered in other modalities. VR should enhance your full training program by giving learners the opportunity to practice actionable skills. 

Here are some helpful tips to keep your VR training strategy sharp.

  1. Identify the root cause for your learning objectives and address them in VR
  2. Consider the training environment.
  3. Focus on the end user experience. 
  4. Your current training content does not have a 1:1 conversion to VR
  5. VR should not be point and click
  6. VR should limit text and dialogue
  7. VR should be actioned based and physical

VR puts people at the center of learning. Want to get a head start on planning? Get in touch to start designing your VR training program the RIGHT way. 

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