Starting a virtual reality (VR) training program is no easy endeavor. However, there are steps that your organization can take to ensure this process is organized and meets your training needs.
- Set Your Business Goals Early On
- Involve Your Employees As Much As Possible
- Use Equipment And Technology That Align With Your Budget
- Research Multiple Virtual Reality Vendors
- Consider Combining Virtual Reality With Existing Training
- Run A Pilot Program To Test How Virtual Reality Is Received
This is the first installment of Exploring Virtual Reality Training that covers use cases of VR, benefits that come with VR, and how to get started with a VR training program. Part 2 covers scaling VR, while part 3 focuses on measuring VR training through metrics.
At Roundtable Learning, we know how exciting it can be to get started with a corporate VR training program. As we continue to work with our partners across the globe, we’re constantly discovering the best tips for getting started with a VR training program.
This article will explore use cases of VR training, review the benefits of VR, and provide 6 best practices for starting a VR training program at your organization.
Use Cases Of Virtual Reality Training Across Industries
VR training is proven useful across organizations in different industries. In the manufacturing industry, we’ve seen the effectiveness of VR for process training. For example, floor associates completed a VR training activity where they could practice stacking cases on a pallet before stepping foot in their warehouse, leading to a reduction in workers’ compensation claims and increased productivity.
VR is also useful in the healthcare space for customer service and technical training. For example, Aspen Dental Management Inc. implemented a 360° VR activity that trained office staff and dental professionals on customer care and complex dental procedures.
While VR is useful across different industries, the benefits of this technology consistently lead to improvements in processes, efficiencies, and employees’ confidence levels. Let’s dive deeper into the benefits that come with VR.
Benefits Of A Virtual Reality Training Program
- Creates a Safe Learning Environment — Learners interact with virtual scenes and hazards in a risk-free environment and make decisions that don’t affect the organization’s equipment, employees, or customers.
- Exciting and Engaging — VR engages learners by capturing their attention through exciting learning experiences, leading to higher knowledge retention rates.
- Realistic Technical Skills Practice — VR recreates any real-life environment and equipment, allowing learners to practice completing tasks with simulated objects that appear to be real.
- Collects Key Training Metrics — VR training collects metrics that would otherwise be unavailable with traditional training (e.g. learners’ progress, replays, and body movements).
- Scalability — With an extended reality system (XRS) and various access options, VR training is a highly scalable option that reaches learners regardless of their location.
Now that we know how VR can be used for training and the benefits that come with its use, let’s explore 6 best practices for organizations looking to start a VR training program.
1. Set Your Business Goals Early On
A critical first step when it comes to considering a VR training program at your organization is to evaluate your short- and long-term goals. By evaluating goals and needs specific to your business, your organization will accomplish the following:
- Identify the root causes of operational issues
- Set the foundation for implementing VR as a solution
- Establish critical VR training metrics used to measure success
Evaluating your business goals is a pivotal step toward determining if VR is the right solution for you. If the goals you set early on don’t align with the capabilities of VR, then your organization should consider using a different modality.
2. Involve Your Employees As Much As Possible
Your employees are central to your organization, so it’s important to keep them involved before, during, and after training. An effective way to do so is to send out employee surveys that determine whether or not employees would be comfortable completing VR training. These surveys could include questions related to VR training such as:
- Are you comfortable wearing a VR headset?
- Do you have experience using VR technology?
These surveys keep your learners central to the development and planning of your VR training program and are an effective way to receive direct feedback from your workforce about the possibility of a VR training program.
3. Use Equipment And Technology That Align With Your Budget
When considering your options for a new training program, it’s critical to set a budget early on and maintain it throughout your program’s development. While a custom VR program costs $20,000-$150,000 or more, this technology can boost your organizations return on investment (ROI) and yield major benefits regarding knowledge retention and productivity.
Luckily, there are ways to lessen your costs with VR training, including:
- Check your internal resources
- Consider alternative access options
- Determine the scope of production
By using equipment and technology that align with your budget, your organization can ensure you make informed financial decisions and stay on track with your spending.
4. Research Multiple Virtual Reality Vendors
Unless your organization has an in-house extended reality (XR) team, you’ll have to outsource your VR training. Outsourced VR gives your organization access to expert L&D professionals and is a short-term commitment with a quick turnaround time.
In order to find a trusted VR training partner, your organization should complete the following steps:
- Examine each vendor’s portfolio
- Ask pricing questions upfront
- Research case studies
- Find reviews and ratings
Finding the right vendor for your VR training is critical to your program’s success. Your organization should complete the above steps to ensure you partner with the best vendor that meets your needs and delivers your program on time.
5. Consider Combining Virtual Reality With Existing Training
Instead of utilizing VR as a standalone training modality, another option for your organization involves combining VR with existing training through a blended approach.
For example, your organization may already use eLearning for safety training. VR can be combined with these eLearning modules to put learning into practice and reinforce key learning objectives. While eLearning introduces safety terms and practices, VR creates a risk-free space where learners feel like they’re actually at work and can practice addressing safety incidents.
By combining VR with existing training, your organization will build off of your current programs in a way that provides more varied and individualized modes of learning for employees.
6. Run A Pilot Program To Test How Virtual Reality Is Received
If you decide to go forward with developing your first VR program, your organization should run a small pilot group. The pilot program will reveal the following:
- Which elements of the activity work and don’t work
- How learners react to the learning content
- Learners’ opinions of the VR hardware
A pilot program creates a space where your organization can request direct feedback from learners through surveys or in-person discussions. This way, you can make changes and improve the program before its official launch.
Are You On Board With Virtual Reality?
We hope that after discovering these 6 tips, your organization can more confidently determine if a VR training program is the best fit for your workforce.
Ready to start designing your custom VR training program? Schedule a one-on-one meeting with one of our experts or explore more of our resources on all things VR training.