Why VR may be the next big thing in training development
February 18, 2021
What is VR?
Virtual Reality (VR) is defined as “a realistic and immersive computer simulation of a three-dimensional environment, created using interactive software and hardware, and experienced or controlled by movement of the body.”
Since training development often utilizes tools such as gamification and simulation, it’s not hard to see that VR would be appealing to developers because of its ability to provide realistic simulated environments for learners to explore.
Not surprisingly, VR has already been in use for quite some time, and in fact, VR has been around for much longer than you may think, even though the actual term was coined in the 1980s. VR has really taken off in the past 5 years or so, especially across the gaming scene, as technology has started to advance at a rapid pace, allowing for many ideas to become a (virtual) reality.
How can VR be used in training development?
Since VR is a simulated environment within a computer, it allows the potential of creating almost anything one can imagine. The challenge then, is being able to take those creations and find a way to turn them into achievable learning objectives that can be tracked and repeated to demonstrate competency.
For a business to be able to determine if VR is viable for their training, they should have a desired outcome in mind that having VR would help learners or the company achieve. For example, if your company deploys workers in dangerous/hazardous situations, a VR training simulation could help workers learn how to navigate those situations from a safe environment. This would be much more hands on than traditional training while still being safer than immediately introducing live training in those dangerous environments.
Once you have determined the desired outcomes of the training, it’s time to move on to how best to measure success within VR training.
How to measure VR training success
Luckily, because of recent advancements in how Learning Management Systems (LMS) track data, it’s feasible to track data from VR interactions and be able to demonstrate whether learners have achieved the objectives of the course/module.
Dave Beck from the Association for Talent Development agrees when he says, “the good news is that VR training integrates with learning management systems (LMS) and generates multiple data points, so showing its impact is easy. The key is to align the data to business goals and create a narrative about training that the C-suite will understand.”
Since it’s viable to track many data points from VR training, it becomes more about what’s important track for your business as opposed to what is currently possible to track.
Is VR training right for your business?
If VR makes sense from a training development standpoint, the next step is to determine whether it makes sense for your business.
With the ability to create nigh-limitless situations or simulations, plus the ability to track metrics related to course interactions in VR, the major hurdles of VR training development for your team are likely to be one of the following: the desired outcome of the training, your team’s resources or their skillset.
Desired Outcome of Training
Just because most training could be created in VR, doesn’t mean it should be. It’s important to analyze what learning competencies your training is designed to teach or impart, so you can determine whether these goals make sense to invest the resources to develop in VR or in a more traditional manner.
Once the hurdle of “objective” is cleared, the next major obstacle is often cost, whether that be money or time. Developing VR training has the potential to be more costly than standard eLearning or ILT development, because of the required programming, testing, and purchase of equipment required to develop/administer it.
However, development kits for VR as well as VR equipment are becoming more commonplace and less expensive as time goes on, allowing more businesses to consider this avenue.
If VR is the right medium for your training, and you’ve handled any time and money concerns, the next major challenge is your team’s skillset. Do you currently have the bandwidth and competency within your team to be able to develop the type of training you desire?
If you’re unsure, there is also the option of outsourcing some or all of your development to a third-party if your team lacks the correct members to complete the development internally. Additionally, it may make sense to hire team members who specialize in VR development, if this area becomes a high priority initiative for your business.
VR has a strong potential to help teams achieve greater understanding of subject-matter, and companies to reach their competency goals. VR training development has taken great strides in the past decade to the point where it has become a viable development tool for SMBs and companies on a budget. It’s not the right fit for every situation, but it’s another powerful tool you might be able to add to your team's training development toolbox.
Positive Results™ is a Training Development and Cloud Services company that helps companies analyze their business processes and solve for any gaps that are found in those processes through implementing the right training and tools.
We have assisted businesses in understanding the potential of new and existing training tools (such as VR) to help them make informed training decisions that best benefit their business.
If you have additional questions or need support, contact us at:
Positive Results™ Custom Business Solutions