4 Tips for Managing Virtual Reality Content

According to McKinsey, about half of in-person learning programs scheduled for the first half of 2020 in North America were postponed or canceled as a result of COVID-19 (the number was closer to 100% for parts of Asia and Europe). In addition, as of Aug. 5, only 57% of U.S. workers had participated in remote learning this year. For learning and development (L&D) professionals, 2020 was a sea change that required innovative new thinking to ensure employees were equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to perform their jobs well.

Roundtable Learning and Aspen Dental Management, Inc. Awarded for Blended Training Solution

Training program provides professionals with an interactive education on dental implant patient care within Aspen Dental-branded offices

Chagrin Falls, Ohio (Oct. 27, 2020) — Roundtable Learning announced it has won bronze in Chief Learning Officer’s Learning in Practice Awards for Excellence in Blended Learning. Developed in collaboration with Aspen Dental Management, Inc. (ADMI), the winning program is role-based and combines instructor-led training, custom e-learning, and 360-degree virtual reality for a truly unique experience.

Roundtable’s learning and technology experts developed the program specifically to meet the needs of professionals at Aspen Dental-branded practices.

“This project highlighted a truly innovative collaboration between Roundtable and ADMI,” said Rose Robertson, director of learning solutions, Roundtable Learning. “It shows what a comprehensive blended learning program can do for an organization; we are thrilled to be part of building such an engaging and successful program.”

As demand for dental implants grows, ADMI identified an opportunity to educate office personnel on the importance of dental implants and best practices for patient care in the office. Dr. Sundeep Rawal, ADMI Senior Vice President, Implant Support Services, ADMI subject matter experts and Roundtable extended reality designers collaborated to create a VR component of the training that leveraged 360-degree VR to simulate various customer conversations that the staff may face when consulting with patients considering implants. Roundtable designed the scenarios using Aspen Dental office environments and real-life actors who were carefully selected to represent patients.

“The investments we make in developing doctors and teams across Aspen Nation are the best investments we can make,” said Kim Kavala, senior vice president of learning and development at ADMI. “To be able to build this blended model during a pandemic was a huge lift, but it has paid dividends. Participants overwhelming appreciated an option to learn outside office hours, to view procedures up close while connecting instantly with peers in virtual classrooms, and having an interactive, risk-free environment to apply learning.”

The Learning in Practice Awards are given annually to learning leaders and providers who demonstrate excellence in the design and delivery of employee development programs. The award recognizes “vendors that have deployed a variety of tools in support of a client’s learning program that delivers engaging learning combining multiple modalities.”

The full list of winners is available at the Chief Learning Officer website. For more information about Roundtable Learning, visit roundtablelearning.com.

About Roundtable Learning

Roundtable Learning is a full-service learning and development company. We partner with our clients to drive measurable business results for every stage of the employee life cycle. From setting objectives, instructional design, content creation, and delivery to data tracking and reporting, Roundtable has the solutions and experts to support your team.

About Aspen Dental Management, Inc. (ADMI)

With an innovative model that takes care of non-clinical business and administrative services so that providers are free to focus on patient care, the team at ADMI is driven by one overarching purpose: To care for the people who care for the patients. ADMI makes it easier for clinicians across 850 offices in 42 states to have the careers they’ve always dreamed of, delivering care to their patients with the support of a team of experienced business professionals who are committed to making their practices a success. Support provided by ADMI includes services and recommendations related to finding the right locations, leasing, acquiring equipment, accounting, and marketing, which allows doctors and their teams to deliver the quality care that patients expect in today’s changing healthcare landscape.



What is the 70:20:10 Model? Less Than 100 Words

What is the 70:20:10 Model?

The 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development is a commonly used formula within the training profession. The model suggests that 70% of the average person’s knowledge is obtained by doing on-the-job experiences, 20% from social sources such as interactions with others, and 10% from formal training and events. Origins of the model date back to the 1980s when researchers McCall, Lombardo, and Morrison were interested in explaining the key developmental experiences of successful leaders. 

The model describes the optimal sources of learning, suggesting that individuals obtain knowledge, skills, and abilities in their jobs mostly when doing hands-on experiences. They found that learners obtain knowledge best when doing hands-on activities because it enables them to discover and refine their job-related skills, make informed decisions, and tackle challenges at work. Another important factor of the model is that employees learn from their mistakes and receive immediate feedback on their performance. 

Read More: Why You Should Consider a Blended Learning Program


How to Apply the 70:20:10 Model

The model is often used to define the ideal balance for how to provide corporate learning and staff development opportunities. The model is considered to be of greatest value as a general guideline for organizations looking to maximize the effectiveness of their learning and development programs through other activities and inputs. By applying this model to your learning and development programs, you can ensure that your organization provides adequate learning and development opportunities catered to your employees’ needs. 

Part of what makes the 70:20:10 Model so attractive is that it generally makes sense on the surface as it represents a common-sense structure of developmental experiences of employees. Learning professionals should apply this model to their workforce by creating a controlled environment where learners can make choices and face consequences — both good and bad. Proper performance support is key throughout the application of this model to ensure that learners feel supported and guided at work. 


Moving Past the 70:20:10 Model

Some professionals argue that the effectiveness of the model is hindered because it originated during a time when the internet and modern technologies weren’t as prevalent. Unlike decades ago, the world is now heavily influenced by powerful web searches, social media, and cell phones. 

Modern learning and development tools and tactics are certainly richer than what was available before, so it makes sense that today’s training is heavily shaped by the influx of technology in the workplace. Some argue that while the model’s ratios may not reflect current learning and development practices, the model is mostly still consistent with the developmental experiences of employees.

The onslaught of learning technologies in the past couple of decades has altered the training industry’s views of the 70:20:10 Model. Some training professionals contend that the model doesn’t reflect the market’s fast-growing emphasis on informal learning and the constant evolution of technology. Whether you agree or disagree, the model continues to be used as a guideline on how to employ various developmental experiences.

How to Measure Diversity and Inclusion Training Success

The most successful training programs are rooted in solid instructional design and metrics to track learners’ progress. But when you have a complex subject such as diversity and inclusion – how do you know if your program is making an impact?

In this article, we will review diversity and inclusion training basics, how you can measure success, and what it takes to be a long-term advocate for diversity and inclusion.


Does Your Organization Need Diversity Training?

Although it’s a much talked about topic right now, let’s dive into what diversity and inclusion training (D&I) covers and why it’s essential.

D&I training addresses the differences that we face as humans and how we can work together to understand, accept, and value the differences between people in the workplace. 

These differences can include:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Language
  • Nationality
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Socio-economic Status
  • Age
  • Physical and Mental Ability

Organizations should consider adding or emphasizing D&I programs in their training strategy because it can not only address issues causing conflict within the workplace, but it can bring awareness to problems such as unconscious bias, cultural competency, and even lead to better performance from your employees.

Read More: Immersive Learning: What It Is and How To Use It 

When our learning solutions team talks to clients about diversity and inclusion training, we advise that D&I shouldn’t just be limited to a one-day training session; it should be a cultural practice within your organization supported through your leaders, employees, policies, and culture.


How to Measure Diversity and Inclusion Training Success

Measuring the success of D&I training is not as straight-forward as other training topics; it takes long-term tracking, benchmarking, and qualitative measurement. It’s crucial to stay on track, even if you don’t immediately have tangible metrics to report back.


Percentage Changes in Leadership Demographics

McKinsey’s global study of more than 1,000 companies found that organizations with the most gender-diverse leadership teams were more likely to outperform profitability (21%) and value creation (27%). 

Your organization can take benchmarks from your geographic area or your industry and use those stats to set D&I leadership goals. Over time, you can measure the diversity of your leadership team, though:

  • Percentage of Women in Leadership
  • Percentage of Minorities in Leadership
  • Rates of Changes in these Roles


Demographic Makeup of Employees

McKinsey’s global study also found that organizations in the top quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity were more likely to achieve above-average profitability. If your leadership reflects diversity, paired with unconscious bias training, it can lead to more diverse recruiting and hiring practices.

Unconscious bias plays a significant role in hiring at organizations. By evaluating your employees’ demographic, you can identify areas that can benefit from diversity training to break the habits of hiring new employees similar to themselves. Even beyond hiring, unconscious bias also extends into reviews, promotions, teamwork, and project management. When applying unconscious bias D&I training to leaders and employees, you can create a more inclusive, collaborative, and prosperous workplace.


Feedback from Survey Results

Regular employee surveys (quarterly, yearly, etc.) are important to keep your employees top of mind and ensure your leadership is in touch with the organization’s needs. You can add questions to collect employee feedback on their experiences with inclusion at the organization. By tracking yearly responses, you can mark the trends that your employees are experiencing.

Some questions may include:

  • I see strong leadership support of the firm’s value of diversity and inclusion. (Disagree/Agree)
  • I believe that people of all cultures and backgrounds are respected and valued here. (Disagree/Agree)
  • I am comfortable talking about my background and cultural experiences with my colleagues. (Disagree/Agree)
  • Management demonstrates a commitment to meeting the needs of employees with disabilities. (Disagree/Agree)
  • There is a career development path for all employees at this firm. (Disagree/Agree)


HR Reports Based on Diversity

By building a culture that allows employees to feel comfortable reporting D&I issues to HR, you can spot trends within your organization – whether favorable or not – and create an action plan to ensure the D&I initiative is continually evolving.

Read More: Management Training: Why It’s Important and Popular Topics 


Diversity and Inclusion Should Be a Journey, Not a Sprint

With the increased interest in D&I training, we have consulted many organizations worldwide on what kind of training is most impactful; we advise that D&I training be a journey – not a sprint.

But what does that mean?

Create a diversity and inclusion initiative and identify how you can continually make improvements – from leadership down.

Create a diversity and inclusion initiative and identify how you can continually make improvements – from leadership down. Start by determining your focus, where your most significant opportunities are, where you want to make an impact with a long term plan. Together with your learning partners, you can decide the most impactful activities for your teams – you may consider a long-term blended learning program.

Read More: How DE&I Professionals Can Enhance Your Diversity Training 

An example of a D&I blended learning program would look like this:

  1. Emailing out a senior leader video talking about the D&I initiative and why it’s important.
  2. Assigning an eLearning module about inclusive terms and practices.
  3. Using a 360º VR activity to put the learner in a role-reversal to allow them to walk in someone else’s shoes.
  4. Giving personal reflection questions for the learner to work on after the VR activity.
  5. During a 1:1 coaching conversation, discuss the VR activity and reflect on the experience with employees
  6. Host virtual instructor-led training sessions for leaders to share how their teams are doing and check-in on progress throughout the organization.


Are you Ready to Include D&I in Your Training Program?

Diversity and inclusion is a challenging subject to tackle and even tougher to measure and report on. An experienced learning partner, such as Roundtable Learning, can bring you ideas, advice, and support to help your organization exceed your goals and find success.

3 Methods To Manage VR Training That You Need To Know

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. 

Read More: 5 Hurdles to Scaling Virtual Reality Training & How to Overcome 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. 

Read More: 3 Ways to Integrate Extended Reality into Your Training Program 

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. 

READ MORE: Mercury XRS: What it is, How it Works, What it Could Mean For You


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. 

What is 3DoF (Three Degrees of Freedom)? Less Than 100 Words

What are Degrees of Freedom?

If you’re considering virtual reality training, one element you’ll have to consider is degrees of freedom (DoF). DoF describes how a learner can move in a virtual space. There are two DoF classifications. 

3DoF (Three Degrees of Freedom)

With 3DoF, learners become stationary. They can look left and right, up and down, and pivot left and right, but they cannot move throughout the virtual space. Additionally, learners can interact with the environment via gaze control or a laser pointer controller.

6DoF (Six Degrees of Freedom)

With 6DoF, learners retain the three types of movement that 3DoF enables and gain more movement freedom. They can move forward and backward, up and down, and right and left. Learners can observe and interact with objects placed in the environment, just like they would if those objects were real. 


When Should I Use 3DoF VR Training? 

While 6DoF allows learners to practice tasks that require more robust and dynamic movement, you don’t always need it. When used strategically, 3DoF VR training can prove equally useful. It lends itself to 360° video, a type of VR that uses footage of real-world spaces for the virtual environment as opposed to a fully simulated world. It is ideal for practicing soft skills that don’t require employees to be physically active, like navigating difficult conversations with coworkers.

Generally speaking, if 3DoF can accomplish your training objectives efficiently, then you’re safe to use it.   


Should I Get a 3DoF VR Headset? 

While companies do produce 3DoF VR headsets, the best VR headsets offer 6DoF. That said, you should base your decision on the type of VR training you believe you’ll conduct. If you’ll exclusively produce 3DoF VR training, then there’s no need to purchase 6DoF headsets.

However, if there’s even a slight chance that you’ll want 6DoF VR training in the future, the best value lies in purchasing 6DoF headsets, as they accommodate both DoF classifications. As always, a trusted VR training partner can help you make such decisions. 

3 Ways to Integrate Extended Reality into Your Training Program

What if you could keep your learners safe, reduce on-the-job mistakes, and engage your employees with advanced training technology they will remember? You’d probably be excited to learn more!

Extended Reality (XR) technology has made its way into the learning and development space, but do you know the best way to integrate it into your training program?

In this article, we’ll define XR training, explain the types of XR, examine XR training examples, highlight the pros and cons, and more. 


What is Extended Reality?

Extended Reality is a universal term for immersive technology such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These technologies extend reality through headsets, smartphones, and tablets. 

When used strategically, XR has a profound impact on learning programs. In particular, XR training can: 

  • Shorten the time participants need to learn
  • Reduce the number of learner mistakes
  • Boost the amount of knowledge retained
  • Help learners remember information long-term

Organizations far and wide see XR’s behavior-changing promise, most commonly with AR training and VR training programs. 


Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) enables you to superimpose text, images, video, and even 3D models onto the real world. 

There are three types of AR, all of which you achieve by scanning a real-world image, object, or surface with your smartphone or tablet. 

  • Image target, in which you overlay a real-world 2D image with video, text, images, or 3D objects 
  • Object recognition, in which you fix a digital 3D model to a real-world 3D object
  • Plane detection, in which you fix a digital 3D model to a real-world flat surface

Read More: Pros and Cons to Augmented Reality Training


Virtual stack of beveragesVirtual Reality

While AR offers an addition to reality, Virtual Reality provides an entirely new reality. Learners wear VR headsets and gain full immersion in a simulated environment. There are two types of VR: 

  • 360° VR — Uses a background made of recorded video shot with an omnidirectional camera, providing a 360° view
  • Full VR — Uses a fully simulated environment that learners can explore dynamically

Though there are stylistic differences between the two (namely, real-world footage vs. simulated environment), the main difference comes in Degrees of Freedom (DoF). DoF describes how much freedom of movement learners have in a VR training scenario. 

With 360° VR, learners receive 3DoF. They are fixed to a stationary position and can look left and right, look up and down, and pivot left and right. With Full VR, learners enjoy 6DoF. They get the same features 3DoF provides and gain the ability to move left and right, forward and backward, and up and down throughout the virtual environment.

Read More: 5 Hurdles to Scaling Virtual Reality Training & How to Overcome Them 


XR Training Pros and Cons

The advantages and disadvantages of XR training can vary depending on the type of XR technology you choose. AR training has its set of positives and negatives, as does VR training. 

Pros of XR Training

  • High Level Of Learner Engagement – Whether you offer AR or VR, you will engage your learners with XR training. Capturing and holding your learners’ attention is a necessary ingredient for knowledge acquisition, and XR training helps you do just that.
  • Impactful Experiential Learning – Regardless of a project’s scope, XR training delivers risk-free experiential learning, empowering your employees to learn by doing without real consequences to themselves or the business.
  • Less Time To Learn, Fewer Mistakes – Combining unparalleled engagement with practice-based training makes a measurable difference for your program. XR training helps your employees learn faster and able to apply what they learned quickly.

Cons of XR Training 

  • Timely And Costly Development – For all its behavior-changing capabilities, XR training carries higher up-front costs than other training modalities, and it often requires more development time. The total cost for Full VR, 360° VR, and AR training increases and decreases based on many factors. When developed strategically, the ROI from XR training can compensate for the initial costs.   
  • Young Technology That’s Quickly Advancing – Some may consider this a disadvantage, but some may find it to be an advantage – XR technology is still advancing in strides. This quick advancement means that you should plan for updates to hardware and software throughout your program’s lifespan.

Those are the overarching benefits and drawbacks of XR training. You’ll want to assess how each XR learning solution fits your needs on a project-by-project basis.


3 Ways to Integrate XR into Your Training Program

There is no one solution for corporate training. We don’t expect organizations to choose one modality and base their training program on just one way to learn. A blended learning program will utilize each modality to build a comprehensive training program that engages multiple learning languages. This allows you to integrate XR technology into a training program rather than replace your entire training program.

Read More: Why You Should Consider A Blended Learning Program 


1. Full VR for Safety Training

Virtual Reality is an excellent tool for safety training because your learners can be immersed in a dangerous environment to practice safety protocols without actually being in danger. 

Blended learning safety training may include:

  1. Provide learners with a safety protocol manual to review.
  2. Assign an eLearning module to review safety protocols.
  3. Walk the learner through the protocol steps in a Virtual Reality activity.
  4. Gather employees to review the VR activity and talk about what they learned.


2. Augmented Reality for Equipment Training

Augmented Reality is a great XR technology to bring equipment and other real-world items to your learners. It may not always be feasible to gather learners around one physical object – AR can bring a digital version of the object to them.

Blended learning equipment training may include:

  1. Videos from subject matter experts talking about the equipment and how to troubleshoot common problems.
  2. Develop an Augmented Reality version of the equipment to allow learners to view the equipment to-scale and explore the parts of the equipment.
  3. Instructor-Led Training to see the real-world equipment on-site to see how it functions on the shop floor.


3. 360º VR for Soft Skills Training

Preparing your organization’s leaders with the soft skills to manage teams is essential, but sometimes overlooked. You can put your managers in the hot seat and face-to-face with a problematic employee by using 360º VR.

Blended learning soft skills training may include:

  1. Host a Virtual Instructor-Led Training with business leaders to share experiences and hear a lecture from a subject-matter-expert.
  2. Assign a 360º VR activity where the manager has to diffuse an angry employee.
  3. Assign an eLearning module to see all of the possible ways the learner could have handled the angry employee in the scenario.


Managing XR Training

Despite the training industry’s adoption of XR training, the challenge of managing XR content at scale has persisted. Fortunately, the industry has responded with tools that eliminate the hurdles to efficient XR training management. 

Extended Reality Systems like Mercury XRS are at the forefront of this effort, which allows L&D professionals to focus on designing the best XR training for their learners. Beyond that, the best XR training management tools enable organizations to scale their XR training throughout the business. That’s good news not only for learners, but it’s also a positive shift for the bottom line. As organizations deliver VR training to more learners, VR training becomes more cost-effective, even more so than classroom training.

READ MORE: Extended Reality System (XRS): What it is, Costs, Pros and Cons


Choosing an XR Training Partner

Selecting a full-service XR training partner is no small feat. They should be a guide throughout every step of the process. That includes helping you:

  • Select XR devices for your workforce
  • Decide which type of XR training to use for a project
  • Design, develop, and deliver your XR training program
  • Manage your XR training company-wide
  • Update your XR training as necessary

When determining who can step into that critical role, you must be thorough. Be sure to:

  • Review their portfolio
  • Ask for pricing information upfront
  • Ask if they have won any awards for their work
  • Review case studies of past projects or a reference list
  • Check their ratings or reviews


Are You Excited About XR Training?

At the least, we hope this article helped you understand XR training. If you’re excited to discuss XR training with your coworkers and leadership, that’s even better! XR training is becoming further ingrained in employee training, proving it’s far more than a fad. 

6 Best VR Headsets for Corporate Training [2020]

Establishing a virtual reality training program is no joke. You have to set achievable learning objectives. You have to hire in-house Unity developers or partner with a learning technology partner to build virtual experiences. Plus, you must consider how you’ll manage virtual reality training throughout your organization. 

Faced with such overarching strategic decisions, learning and development leaders often lose sight of a crucial component: the virtual reality headset. Choosing which VR headsets to use is another vital decision tied to your VR training program. And with so many on the market, this decision isn’t easy! But have no fear. We can set you on the right track. 

In this article, we’ll call out the significant differences among VR headsets and walk through our favorites.


What is Virtual Reality Training? 

If you’re unfamiliar with virtual reality (VR) and how you can apply it to training, here’s a quick recap. Virtual reality is an artificial environment in which the user is fully immersed in an experience. Putting on a VR headset can transport a user to a new location where they can look around themselves, walk up close to computer-generated objects, and interact with items and people.

Virtual reality training has become an increasingly valuable tool in learning and development, allowing your education to extend beyond an eLearning course or classroom setting. VR simulates any world you can imagine, enabling your learners to encounter true-to-life scenarios without facing real-world risk. 

Read More: What is Virtual Reality Training?


What You Should Know About VR Headsets

When shopping for VR headsets, you’ll notice subtle yet essential differences in the tech specs, including variations in:

Refresh Rates 

The Refresh Rate tells you how fast the VR images refresh. Higher refresh rates reduce latency, which is the delay between a learner acting and the computer visualizing said action. A higher refresh rate helps prevent learners from developing headaches, eye strain, and motion sickness.


The Resolution tells you how clear the images are in the VR activity. The higher the resolution, the clearer the images. And the clearer the images, the more lifelike the VR training appears.

Field of View 

The Field of View (FoV) tells you how broadly the view extends to the user’s peripheral vision. A broad FoV creates a range of vision similar to that of humans. Additionally, a wide FoV is crucial for driver training, which requires learners to pay attention to the peripherals. 

Beyond those subtle differences, popular VR headsets also differ in ways that are more immediately noticeable.

READ MORE: 5 VR Training Safety Tips You Need to Know


Untethered vs. Tethered VR Headsets

VR headset developers tend to prioritize this distinction in their product marketing. Tethered VR headsets can operate only when connected to a PC via a cord. Meanwhile, untethered VR headsets are cordless and can run on their power or connect wirelessly to a PC. If you see marketing language like “PC-required,” that is code for a tethered VR headset. However, be sure to do your due diligence, as some tethered headsets have wireless adapters. 


Pros and Cons of Tethered VR Headsets

There are two main benefits of tethered VR headsets.

You can share the in-headset view on a PC monitor and cast that view to larger screens. That could be helpful if you’re designing an in-person instructor-led training session and want to include a VR component. An audience of learners could watch their peers navigate a VR training scenario and discuss it as a group afterward.  

You also get more power, as PC-connected VR headsets run on a faster machine. That yields better-simulated physics and higher-end graphics. It also allows for real-time lighting and effects, such as real-time reflection. If you’re conducting VR driver training, you may want the vehicle’s mirrors to act like real mirrors rather than remaining static images. Tethered VR headsets make that possible.

The main drawbacks of tethered VR headsets include higher costs, the need to procure VR-ready PCs, and user movement restrictions. Here’s how they compare to the alternative.


Pros and Cons of Untethered VR Headsets

Untethered VR headsets have a couple of primary perks.

You can use untethered VR headsets without a cord. That gives learners increased comfort and mobility while navigating a VR training scenario. They’re also simpler to set up, enabling you to get the VR training up and running more quickly. 

Untethered VR headsets typically come at a lower cost than tethered ones. That’s true with the headset price alone and the operation’s cumulative cost because you don’t need to invest in a VR-ready PC.

The gains in mobility, cost-effectiveness, and easy setup come with a loss in power. You don’t get the same quality graphics and effects that PC-connected VR headsets produce. That’s not to say untethered VR headsets deliver a low-quality experience. The quality is excellent. PC-powered headsets simply offer faster refresh rates along with more visual richness and complexity. 

Note: As you’ll see in our list, some VR headsets can connect to PCs wirelessly, gaining access to VR content that runs on a more powerful machine. 


Inside-Out Tracking vs. Lightboxes

Inside-out tracking or lightboxes is another crucial distinction to look for among VR headsets. With inside-out tracking, the cameras and infrared sensors that map the physical space exist within the headset. Other VR headsets track the room with the help of lightboxes. Lightboxes contain the cameras and sensors necessary to map the physical space. You have to place them around the room to use the VR headset.

The difference between the two methods in terms of impact on VR training is negligible. Just know that if you opt for light-box dependent headsets, you must account for additional costs, setup, and power to support them.


Degrees of Freedom

If you’re shopping for VR headsets, you may already be aware of degrees of freedom (DoF). If not, here is an overview.
DoF describes how a learner can move in a virtual space. There are two DoF classifications. 

3DoF (Three Degrees of Freedom)

With 3DoF, learners are fixed to one location. They can look left and right, up and down, and pivot left and right, but they cannot move throughout the virtual space. Additionally, learners can interact with the environment via gaze control or a laser pointer controller.

6DoF (Six Degrees of Freedom)

With 6DoF, learners retain the three types of movement that 3DoF enables and gain more movement freedom. They can move forward and backward, up and down, and right and left. Learners can observe and interact with objects placed in the environment, just like they would if those objects were real. 

6DoF allows learners to practice tasks that require more robust and dynamic movement, such as adequately stacking and wrapping pallets in a warehouse. 3DoF can be useful for practicing job duties that are significant yet sedentary, like navigating difficult conversations with coworkers. 

Our list of the best VR headsets includes only those that offer 6DoF. If you’re interested in 3DoF VR headsets, you can consider the Pico G2 series, cost-effective cardboard headsets, or others on the market.

READ MORE: When to Level Up From 360-Degree Video to 6DoF VR


Best VR Headsets of 2020

We hope that you’ll get more out of this list by understanding the significant differences and their practical implications. Without further ado, here are the best VR headsets for corporate virtual reality training programs, ranked in no particular order:

Oculus Quest

Untethered or tethered: Optional. Oculus Quest is built for untethered use and the flexibility that comes with it. However, you can also connect to a PC via a cord, accessing more PC-powered content.

Room tracking: Inside-out tracking

DoF: 6DoF

Controllers: Two controllers

Refresh rate: 72Hz

Field of View: Uses fixed foveated rendering (FFR), which means the highest-resolution pixels are at the center of your vision, and the lower-resolution pixels are at the peripherals. 

Resolution per eye: 1440×1600

Eye Tracking: No

Cost: Starts at $399

Of note, major retailers sold out of the Oculus Quest.


Pico Neo 2

Untethered or tethered: Untethered, with a wireless streaming assistant option available.

Room tracking: Inside-out tracking 

DoF: 6 DoF

Controllers: Two controllers

Refresh rate: 75Hz

Field of View: 101°

Eye Tracking: No. The Pico Neo 2 Eye does boast eye-tracking capabilities (and an increased price of $899)

Resolution per eye: 1920×2160

Cost: $699


Oculus Rift S

Untethered or tethered: Tethered

Room tracking: Inside-out tracking, with five cameras in the headset, compared to four in the Oculus Quest

DoF: 6DoF

Controllers: Two touch controllers, same as the Quest

Refresh rate: 80Hz

Field of View: 110°

Eye Tracking: No

Resolution per eye: 1280×1440

Cost: $399


PiMax 5K Plus

Untethered or tethered: Tethered

Room tracking: Lightboxes required

DoF: 6DoF

Controllers: Headset only 

Refresh rate: 144Hz

Field of View: 200°

Eye Tracking: There’s an eye-tracking module you can add

Resolution per eye: 2560×1440

Cost: $699


HTC Vive Cosmos

Untethered or tethered: Tethered, but you can purchase a wireless adapter for cord-free access to PC content. The adapter costs $349

Room tracking: Inside-out

DoF: 6DoF

Controllers: Two controllers 

Refresh rate: 90Hz

Field of View: 110°

Eye Tracking: There is an eye-tracking add-on available. 

Resolution per eye: 1440×1700

Cost: $699

The HTC Vive Cosmos also comes equipped with a flip-up front, allowing learners to switch to reality and virtual reality without adjusting the entire headset.


Valve Index

Untethered or tethered: Tethered

Room tracking: Lightboxes

DoF: 6DoF

Controllers: Two controllers 

Refresh rate: 120Hz, with a mode for 144Hz

Field of View: 130°

Eye Tracking: No

Resolution per eye: 1440×1600

Cost: $999


How to Manage VR Headsets

Selecting the best VR headsets for your training program is the first challenge. Training organizations also must determine how to manage VR headsets across the business. That includes how to order headsets in bulk, keep the devices updated, and access technical support. Some VR headset developers have addressed those concerns.

Then there’s the training content to consider. Organizations must find a way to deliver virtual reality training onto geographically dispersed headsets. They also must easily update that training and assemble KPI reports. Our contribution to those efforts is Mercury XRS, which leverages our cloud-based API technologies to streamline VR training management.

As the worlds of virtual reality and corporate training continue to blend, VR providers are growing increasingly aware of organizations’ needs, and there are sure to be more robust options for VR headset management available in the future.

READ MORE: 5 Hurdles to Scaling Virtual Reality Training & How to Overcome Them?


Have a VR Headset in Mind? 

Did any of the VR headsets in our list stick out to you? Still on the fence? At the very least, we hope you’ve come away with an understanding of how to assess the best VR headsets on the market and find the most appropriate ones for your training needs.