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4 Questions to Ask Your New AR/VR Vendor

Congrats! After careful research and consideration, you have selected your new VR and AR vendor and there is an incredible training program on the horizon. New working relationships are exciting; however, the newness of it all can interfere with important follow-up questions. After making it through the vetting process, your inquiries shouldn’t stop once you’ve signed the dotted line with your new extended reality training vendor. 

Effectively communicating with your vendor requires asking questions that help you stay informed about what goes into developing your XR training program. This will also give you a secondary opportunity to evaluate the competency of your VR vendor’s development team.

If your organization is ready for the adoption of XR training, it’s likely you’ve already been exploring best practices for incorporating experiential learning to transform your training program. In order to implement the best possible learning solutions, communicating effectively with your vendor is a sure way to stay on the same page from start to finish. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 questions to ask to keep your AR/VR project on the path to success! 

4 Questions To Ask 

1. What is your process of creating training from ideation to final product?

There are many stages of content creation that involve the passing of the baton between team members. From ideation and planning to design and development, XR training content requires frequent and intentional collaboration. Ask your vendor to describe their development process from start to finish. 

Experienced vendors will give you useful insights and can help clarify your role during the development process. In the beginning stages, it will be a top priority to create clear learning objectives. This is where you step in by asking about the process.

The development process poses an array of new challenges. How often will your vendor communicate with you? While the ideal goal is for the development process to be smooth sailing, knowing how your vendor responds to hiccups will give you a better understanding of how creative they can be when problem-solving. When you inquire, look for evidence of a solution mindset.

When you’ve selected the right vendor, it’s important to get a comprehensive understanding of what goes into the development process before signing a statement of work (SOW). Pose essential questions that help distinguish between in-scope and out-of-scope options. AR and VR developers must be flexible and ready to adapt when project development is subject to change.

An effective process of developing XR training may follow these steps:

Discovery: The discovery process involves reviewing the objectives of the training program and visiting the training site to gain critical information and insights.

Design: Instructional designers take the critical information and resources gathered from discovery sessions and site visits to create a flowchart. The flowchart is essentially a comprehensive blueprint for the development team. 

Development: Once the flowchart is passed on to unity programmers and 3D modelers for asset creation, the team of developers work with a critical eye to replicate the geometry, realism, and learning objectives to achieve a polished product.

Demo: The different phases of development include Alpha, Beta, and Release. Each stage should include client testing and feedback to ensure the project continues to move forward and avoids major change orders.

Read More: How to Develop a Blended Learning Training Program

2. Can I get sneak peeks of product development?

Technical previews are typically provided on a case by case basis. Ask your new vendor if you can get a sneak peek of your AR or VR project before it’s approaching alpha state. While mid-development reviews are not always a given, setting up a time to check in with your vendor can help benefit everyone involved. 

For example, checking in mid-way through the development of a VR project may be helpful to review the geometry or 3D models of your program to see if they accurately reflect the references you’ve provided. If your program isn’t what you expected, this is a great opportunity to catch inconsistencies before they extend to final product delivery. Sneak peeks will also help you avoid change orders and ensure your training immerses learners in a realistic virtual environment. An additional benefit to mid-development peeks is ensuring the likelihood of getting your product within the agreed timeline.

3. How can we best prepare for our AR/VR training program?

Home runs are not hit by chance but by preparation. Asking your XR vendor how you can best prepare for your new training program will help you launch your project seamlessly. 

Organizations should take proactive approaches to integrating AR and VR by focusing on how leadership can best introduce XR technology from the top down. If this is your first time implementing AR or VR, a clumsy introduction to XR training will not make the epic first impression you’re planning for. These additional preparation-focused questions can point you in the right direction. 

How can I become more familiar with the hardware before jumping into testing our custom product?

Too often, the first time people put on a VR headset is when they demo their own training program. This can lead to frustration that stems from navigating newtechnology for the very first time. Asking your vendor ahead of time for tutorials or on-site demo visits will help your organization avoid any learning curves.

What physical space will this training require?

We recommend at least a 10×10 free space with an 8×8 play space marked on the ground (for six degrees of freedom applications) per learner. If you haven’t designated space for how many learners you’d like to train, it’s a great idea to consult with your vendor to create a plan for how to jumpstart your training program and accommodate employees. While XR training is extremely scalable, plan accordingly for how many learners you’d like to reach in one training session.

4. Where can I analyze learner metrics? 

Why invest in VR if you can’t measure its success? It’s important to know if your VR partner understands your goals and needs, including how to generate strong ROI. Ask your new vendor how they can help you track learning outcomes and measure the success of your program when it’s ready to be deployed. Through collaboration with instructional designers and developers, organizations can customize their training programs to measure essential skills. 

A tool is only as effective as the team using it. For each learning objective is a specific set of actions that VR can address. Whether it be safety or technical training, with extended reality platforms like Mercury XRS, organizations can deliver and report on measurable skillsets within their XR training programs for each individual learner. With the ability to assess training metrics on accuracy, speed, and completion rates – organizations can design their extended reality training around specific learning objectives and use those KPIs to ensure stronger learning outcomes. Using data from training, organizations can optimize the performance of their workforce. 

A Successful Partnership 

Finding an XR) vendor that shares your commitment to learning and development is essential. While virtual reality content has a growing bank of impressive features, unless they are implemented to help enhance learning objectives, they are simply bells and whistles. Incorporating XR into your current training programs transforms the way employees upskill and accelerates onboarding with experiential learning. The right vendor will help your organization develop best practices for successful VR adoption.

We’ve constructed a list of qualities that mark a successful partnership:

  • Learning is prioritized
  • Clear goals and shared objectives 
  • Frequent communication
  • Competent and flexible development team

Are you ready to spark a new level of engagement in your training program? XR programs elevate learning, increase the productivity of your workforce, and facilitate organizational growth. Ask your new vendor the right questions to ensure a thriving company culture! Want to learn more about AR and VR programs? Check out Roundtable Learning’s Training and Development Channel for expert learning insights, XR demo videos, and more!

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