What Is Extended Reality? Everything You Need To Know
Read Time: 6 minutes
Extended reality (XR) is a universal term inclusive to immersive learning technologies virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR).
- Virtual Reality — VR training creates a simulated learning environment where learners can complete realistic interactions with objects and people.
- Augmented Reality — AR training adds interactive, digital elements to a live, real-world environment through a phone, tablet, or headset.
- Mixed Reality — Uses advanced computer technology, graphics, and input systems to blend physical and digital worlds.
These technologies extend reality by adding to or simulating the real world through digital materials, and are an effective way to modernize corporate training programs.
Did you know that training with extended reality (XR) technologies, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), can make employees 70% more efficient in their role?
Extended reality (XR) is changing training as we know it. As more and more organizations across the globe realize the benefits of XR training, it’s time to consider whether or not XR training is a good fit for your organization.
At Roundtable Learning, we’ve helped clients across the globe develop, implement, and manage their XR training programs through expert instructional design and project management. We know what it takes to create a successful XR training and have seen firsthand how these programs transform an organization’s training program.
This article will define extended reality, provide examples of extended reality for corporate training, and unravel the pros and cons of its use.
What Is Extended Reality?
XR is a universal term inclusive to immersive learning technologies VR, AR, and MR. These technologies extend reality by adding to or simulating the real world through digital materials, and are an effective way to modernize corporate training programs.
By integrating XR into your training, you can immerse your learners in a multisensory environment that’s more interactive, engaging, and effective long-term.
Now that we know what XR training is, let’s dive deeper into the main XR technologies: VR, AR, and mixed reality.
Read More: How To Select The Right Modality For Your Training: 5 Must-Ask Questions
Virtual Reality Training
VR training allows learners to develop their skills and encounter true-to-life scenarios without facing real-world risk. VR training utilizes an environment made up of 360° VR (pre-recorded video) or full VR (full simulations).
- 360° VR — Places learners in a fixed position and uses an environment made of a recorded video, providing a 360° view.
- Full VR — Uses an entirely digital environment that allows learners to move freely within their virtual environment and complete realistic interactions with objects.
Cost Of Virtual Reality For Corporate Training
A custom VR training program typically takes around 8-10 weeks or more to develop and may cost $20,000 to $150,000 or more on average depending on whether 360° VR or full VR is used.
Augmented Reality Training
AR training adds interactive, digital elements to a live, real-world environment through a phone, tablet, or headset. AR training may use any of the following technologies:
- Image Recognition — Learners scan real-world 2D images and overlay 2D video, text, pictures, or 3D objects on it.
- Plane Detection — Places a digital 3D model on a real-world flat surface, like a tabletop or floor.
- Object Recognition — Attaches a 3D digital object to an existing real-life 3D object.
Cost Of Augmented Reality For Corporate Training
Custom AR training can cost from $25,000 to $50,000 or more depending on the type of interactions, 3D modeling hours required, and the AR capable devices you choose.
Read More: 5 Ways Augmented Reality Training Can Save Your Organization Money
Mixed Reality Training
MR utilizes both AR and VR to blend the physical and digital worlds. This type of XR uses advanced computer technology, graphics, and input systems that allow learners to co-exist and interact with physical and digital objects in real-time.
With mixed reality, learners can direct their vision in 360° across an entire space and in every direction. Learners can view pictures, watch videos, and complete realistic interactions with objects and people.
Examples Of Extended Reality For Corporate Training
XR technologies can be used across a variety of corporate training topics, including:
- Onboarding — Start your new hires off on the right foot by using AR to train them on how to operate complex machinery.
- Diversity And Inclusion (D&I) — Simulate real life situations and test learners’ responses to microaggressions with 360º VR.
- Sales Training — Use AR plane detection to place a simulated cash register in front of learners and test their customer service skills.
- Technical Training — Place learners in a simulated warehouse environment through full VR where they practice stacking boxes with the correct weight and orientation.
- Leadership Training — Use 360º VR to allow learners to practice having difficult conversations with their team members.
Read More: How To Effectively Use XR Training In High-Risk Industries: 4 Examples
Manage An Extended Reality Training Program With An XRS
An extended reality system (XRS), such as Mercury XRS, allows organizations to manage, deliver, and assign XR training to learners regardless of location. An XRS delivers content by acting as a single app with visibility over each user’s activity and direct delivery of content updates.
An XRS appears just like an app on a phone’s home screen. The major benefit to an XRS is that it provides an unmatched flexibility for XR training that allows organizations to wirelessly reach learners at any time all from one convenient platform.
Pros And Cons Of Extended Reality
Pros Of Extended Reality
- Allows for safe experiential learning — XR training creates a safe training space for experiential learning where learners can practice taking risks and learn from their mistakes.
- Realistic hard and soft skills practice — With XR technology, learners can develop their hard skills (e.g. operating and repairing equipment) and soft skills (e.g. communication and empathy) through realistic interactions with people and equipment.
- Convenient to scale and reuse — With an XRS and additional access options, organizations can conveniently scale their XR training across their organization and reuse content as much as needed.
- Collects key metrics that help determine ROI — An XRS helps organizations collect key training metrics that measure knowledge retention and indicate if their investment has a measurable ROI.
Cons Of Extended Reality
- High upfront development and equipment costs — Given that XR is a newer technology in the training space, there may be higher upfront development and equipment costs compared to more traditional learning modalities.
Solution — There are ways to mitigate XR training expenses, such as begin with a pilot program, and use internal resources or personnel.
- Health risks and side effects — AR and VR technology may pose certain health risks to learners, such as nausea, headache, and eye strain.
Solution — To avoid potential health risks and safety hazards, organizations should provide alternative access options to training. For example, learners who may not feel comfortable wearing a headset could access their XR training through their desktop.
- Technological advancements and occasional updates — As with any of the latest technology, XR is subject to occasional hardware and software updates.
Solution — Invest in an XRS that makes it easy to deliver updated content to your learners regardless of location. An XRS avoids the need to travel or transfer equipment every time content needs to be updated.
Are You Ready To Extend The Reality Of Your Corporate Training?
This article has covered everything you need to know about XR training, from what it is to the pros and cons that come with its use. We hope that by reading this article, your organization has a better understanding of the ways XR can transform how you train your employees.
Ready to extend the reality of your corporate training? Schedule a meeting with one of our experts today or explore more of our resources at our comprehensive resource center.