Choosing the best modality for VR training

More and more companies are realizing the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) for training. While the automotive and medical fields have been using VR and AR for years now, mainstream corporate America is now getting on the bandwagon and taking advantage of everything VR training has to offer.

Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin and Associates, a leading industry research and advisory firm in enterprise learning, recently said, “There is a very big market for VR training. Why? Because in so many situations it is expensive, dangerous, and just impractical to create a real-life simulation that works.”

Despite the fact that industry influencers are on board and the cost of the technology has become more affordable, it’s still a bit of a mystery as to what flavor of VR is best suited to your individual training needs. This article will help you plan your journey through the proverbial maze of VR devices and options that best fit specific learning goals.

Training: Scenario
Immersive Tech: 360VR
Device: Standalone Computer, Mobile, Oculus Go, Google Cardboard

Let’s start with soft skills. A 360VR video scenario is a great option. By immersing learners in a first-person perspective of real-life situations, they will get a realistic sense of what that situation is like and learn how to make critical decisions. Not to mention learners can take the learning anywhere as the course can be deployed to a laptop or mobile device.

The course can be deployed to a laptop or mobile device and allows learners to click and drag or swipe their fingers to look around the 360 view. But the greatest effect happens when the learner is fully immersed in the situation with a standalone headset like the Oculus Go or Google Cardboard.

Training: Technical Skills/Motor Skills
Immersive Tech: 3DVR
Device: Oculus Rift/HTC Vive

When you need to teach someone how to put together the driveshaft assembly of a tractor or how to load a delivery truck or properly stack an end-cap, you need the learner to physically interact with the virtual world. While it’s true you can construct some of this interaction with a 360VR image, you will not get the full benefit of the simulation compared to using a device like the HTC Vive. With the Vive, you have the ability to physically walk around an environment and, using hand-held controllers, pick up virtual objects, push buttons and more. You can include real-world physics so bottles break if they hit the floor, boxes fall if not stacked properly and a forklift damages a wall if it runs into it.

A great rule for when to use this type of VR training is when a topic is too dangerous or expensive to train on-demand or on a regular basis.

Training: Multi-Step Task
Immersive Tech: AR and 3DVR
Device: iPad, iPhone, Android Device, Oculus GO, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive

If you provide technical support, your associates must understand how to walk through each step of the process. Examples might include troubleshooting why a customer’s lawn mower won’t start or learning how to repair the motor on an elevator door. In this case, you not only need to move around an object in 360 degrees, but you must also be able to complete multiple steps. The great thing about this type of training is that the item you are training on is the focal point. You don’t really need to create a VR environment, just a 3DVR model of the item. Which means it lends itself perfectly to AR as well as 3DVR. You can either distribute this using the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or even your iPhone or iPad if it meets the minimum system requirements for ARKit or ARCore.

Training: Onboarding
Immersive Tech: AR
Device: iPad, iPhone, Android Device

When new employees join the team, you want them to get up to speed quickly on their role, the history of the company, and the culture they’re entering. Company culture videos are a great start. Walking around and talking to department heads is important. And reading literature about company values, the handbook and more are all part of a comprehensive onboarding program. One way to make this journey more engaging is to utilize Augmented Reality to place the journey in the hands of the learner. Image targets can be placed around the office building. When these targets are scanned with the tablet, a different AR experience is presented to the learner. A virtual treasure map can be used to guide them to each location and help them explore the workspace they will be joining and learn about all the great benefits of working for your organization.

The possibilities and applications for AR/VR are truly endless, but getting started can be overwhelming. Rest assured our team has the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you plan the best approach for Immersive Learning.