Virtual reality (VR) training costs anywhere from $20,000 – $150,000 or more. While the cost to develop a VR training program can be daunting, there are strategies to help alleviate these expenses.
Check out our 5 tips to mitigate virtual reality training costs:
- Begin With A Pilot Program
- Take Advantage Of Cardboard Headsets And Alternative Access Options
- Determine The Scope Of Production
- Invest In An Extended Reality System (XRS)
- Utilize Internal Resources At Your Organization
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Benjamin Franklin.
While investing $20,000 – $150,000 or more in a custom virtual reality (VR) training program is a big commitment, there are strategies to make these costs more affordable.
At Roundtable Learning, we develop custom employee training programs with integrated technologies for a diverse client base. Throughout this development process, we help organizations prepare for training costs including instructional design, programming, video production, headsets, an XRS, and more.
This article will break down the cost factors of virtual reality training, provide 5 strategies to mitigate virtual reality training costs, and explore how virtual reality training can actually save organizations money.
Cost Factors Of Virtual Reality Training
Virtual reality (VR) training costs $20,000 – $150,000 or more. Lucky enough, the cost of VR training has significantly decreased due to lower development and headset costs.
Factors that affect the cost of VR training include:
- Whether your program uses 360° VR or full VR
- Instructional design and programming
- VR headset costs
- The use of an extended reality system (XRS)
- Whether off-the-shelf or custom content is utilized
While these factors affect the cost of your VR training program, there are strategies to help mitigate these expenses.
5 Ways To Mitigate Virtual Reality Training Costs
Begin With A Pilot Program
We recommend that organizations begin with a pilot VR training program. A full VR training pilot program typically costs between $40,000 and $60,000 or more. With a pilot, you don’t have to financially commit to a full-scale project right out of the gate.
The capabilities of a pilot program may be more limited than a full-scale VR training program, but it is an effective way to get started with VR training at a relatively low investment. A pilot program is a great way to get started because you can:
- Learn about the process of developing your VR content
- Test to see if the technology is received well by your learners
- Figure out if your learning objectives can be met with VR technology
- See if the VR training is scalable for your business needs
If you work with a VR training partner, request that they build the pilot program just as it would be for a complete program. Then, if you realize you want to create a full-scale program, you will have already laid the foundation and can build off of your pilot for official launch.
Take Advantage Of Cardboard Headsets And Alternative Access Options
You can lower your overall cost of a VR training program by purchasing cardboard headsets. Cardboard headsets have the following characteristics:
- Cost roughly $7 – $12 per headset
- Can be custom branded with your organization’s logo
- Provide easy access through learners’ smartphones
The downside of cardboard headsets is that they’re more compatible with 360° VR over full VR. If your organization plans to create a training activity that allows learners to physically move or interact with items in the activity, we recommend purchasing standard headsets for higher quality learning.
In addition to investing in cardboard headsets, there are alternative, less expensive access options to VR training to consider. These options include a desktop and mobile version of VR activities. This provides learners with a more convenient and comfortable access option to the same training content that their peers complete.
Determine The Scope Of Production
The scope of production involves a variety of factors, including:
- Whether or not your training program will require 360° VR or full VR technology
- Whether your environment is custom or generic
- The number of details that need to be programmed (e.g. learner selections, triggers, buttons)
You can help mitigate the cost of various production elements by streamlining this process and adopting strategies that help reduce costs. For example, if your organization decides to use 360° VR, consider filming your scenarios on location to avoid the cost of rent. You should also consult your vendor about the cost of the camera, actors, and other development fees. Lastly, check your in-house equipment to see if you already have what you need.
If you choose to go with a full VR program, you should select one or two virtual environments for the backdrop of all your training scenarios. This way, you don’t need to recreate a setting from scratch for each project and can avoid the cost of comprehensive programming work every time. In addition, your organization should determine if the 3D assets that are created can be reused for other training.
Invest In An Extended Reality System
An extended reality system (XRS) can also help you mitigate costs. An XRS is a digital platform that helps to manage, deliver, and report on VR training content. Once you’ve identified your training goals and key-performance indicators (KPIs), an XRS reports on this data and helps determine whether or not your return-on-investment (ROI) is positive.
In addition to tracking metrics, an XRS helps organizations scale their training, paving a viable path to a cost-effective program. The more learners your program can reach, the more cost-effective and impactful your investment may become.
Utilize Internal Resources At Your Organization
A tip we constantly share with our clients is to take advantage of your internal resources. These resources could be any of the following:
- In-house instructional designers or project management professionals
- Unity developers or other software designers
- In-house equipment, filming locations, or using employees as actors
- Existing CAD drawings or blueprints
Depending on your external vendor, you may be able to mitigate the cost of your VR training by getting your own team involved and utilizing resources you already have.
Can Virtual Reality Training Save My Organization Money?
Believe it or not, VR training can actually save organizations money in the long run. So, while the above tips are helpful for mitigating costs, there’s an added bonus of VR training actually saving your organization money.
VR training can save organizations money in the following 4 ways:
- Reduces turnover by providing realistic job previews
- Lessens the time needed for onboarding new employees
- Reduces safety risks
- Creates more consistent training experiences
While VR training may come with an intimidating cost, it’s an efficient way to invest in your workforce, ensuring you develop long-term employees who are prepared, efficient, and safe on the job.
Virtual Reality Training May Be The Solution You’re Looking For!
Ultimately, VR training is a wise, cost-effective investment in your employees and the success of your organization. We understand that the cost of VR training is intimidating, but hope that this article has introduced you to strategies you can use to mitigate these expenses.