5 Reasons VR Training Isn’t What You Need Next: Bridging the VR Chasm
Virtual reality (VR) offers incredible advantages for engagement in training and unique data for assessment. It enables users to fail in safety; learn from choices; operate in impossible, impractical or hazardous environments; and perform motor memory tasks.
So, why isn’t VR learning what you need next? Few VR companies are maximizing audience reach and adoption beyond VR itself. The VR chasm is the value gap between a solution that requires a specific set of VR equipment and the audience wanting to engage with that solution. VR-ready solutions bridge the chasm by focusing on the key value an experience provides and maximizing access across varying devices and audiences.
There are five reasons to look to VR-ready solutions instead of VR-only training.
1. You have too many heads or not enough headsets.
Most organizations don’t have much – or any – VR equipment. Consider:
- How many headsets does your target audience have?
- Does your audience need to buy new hardware for the experience?
- Is the audience at many locations?
- Would you need to ship headsets?
- How many users could go through an experience per hour or per day?
A VR-only solution would require staff to visit the headset location while only a few people at a time could access the training experiences. Compare that to a platform-agnostic, VR-ready solution that works on a smartphone, tablet or computer as well as in VR or augmented reality (AR). This solution means obtaining buy-in for the widest audience possible without the headaches of convincing procurement that VR isn’t just for video games.
2. Your audience doesn’t have adequate equipment.
The laptops typically deployed in large organizations do not have the ability to run immersive VR. The computing power necessary to run VR-only experiences smoothly comes at a price; expect to pay at least $1,200 per computer, plus $300 for an entry-level headset.
VR-ready solutions address this issue by using content that gracefully degrades to meet target devices or layers functionality based on the type of equipment used. These solutions mean you can train an infinite number of employees on existing hardware or on their personal devices, so they can squeeze in extra training time on the go.
3. IT departments are paid to keep programs off company terminals.
Organizations have processes to work through before they can consider digital infrastructure changes. However, VR equipment requires custom software and installation. An organization could buy a dozen VR headsets to find that users can’t install them with the IT policies it currently has in place. Alternatively, standalone equipment solutions leave experiences disconnected from an organization’s information networks.
VR-ready solutions can transfer content from within the organization to learning experiences to increase timeliness of information, support personalization and assessment, and improve ROI. No extra installations also means that your IT department will spend less time trying to keep up with firewall permissions and system requirements when you have thousands of terminals that potentially require individual attention.
4. Employees develop simulator sickness.
As Guido Helmerhorst wrote in the July/August issue of Training Industry Magazine, “it is really a ‘make it or break it’ experience; once the trainee removes the headset out of frustration or nausea, you will have a hard time convincing him to put the goggles back on."
Being VR-ready offers alternatives to simulator sickness. If employees don’t want to use VR because they have had bad experiences in the past or are uniquely sensitive, use AR or a tablet as a “magic window” into the VR world.
5. VR would be great, if you could store scores in a learning management system or learning record store.
Game engines don’t integrate well with enterprise systems; they become hard to maintain and require uniquely talented staff to make changes. The ultimate integration platform is the web. Hundreds of thousands of different services and applications can extend and leverage each other to create great value at economies of scale.
Consider how integrating and leveraging existing systems in your organization might provide a greater outcome for users and a better ROI for the organization. Deploying a VR-ready solution designed for the enterprise L&D landscape means you can “plug-and-play” with your existing infrastructure. This integration keeps programs consistent and helps you quickly determine the effectiveness of training when compared to previous learning initiatives.
Today, 3D content is viewable in browsers on all major devices and platforms. It’s a fundamental shift; 3D media is the core building block for VR and AR and is now universally available.
It’s early days yet; there are only a few toolsets for building web-deliverable VR. There are fewer still that address the needs of instructional designers and learning architects rather than programmers. However, it's the right time to start exploring. With a VR-ready mindset, your time won’t be wasted; it will be invested, allowing you to make informed and strategic decisions that are effective, efficient and future-proof.
Danny Stefanic is CEO of LearnBrite.com, providing VR-ready tools for educators to enhance learning through avatars, non-linear dialogue, gamification and virtual environments while delivering increased engagement and memorable self-paced and collaborative immersive experiences.