There are no two opinions on the fact that virtual reality training programmes are effective, exciting and engaging to the attendees. Virtual reality technology is increasingly adopted as an effective tool for corporate training over a range of different industries.
The last decade saw immense development in VR technology for training purposes. Check these out:
- Walmart shifted to using VR technology for giving training sessions to their employees. In 2018, the company purchased over 17,000 Oculus go headset for training purposes.
- Murison has built virtual tools to train employees on diversity and inclusion by reducing unconscious bias and encouraging interactions.
- United parcel services started using VR technology for training their drivers to avoid any road accidents.
- Boeing started using VR technology for training engineers and mechanics to assem ble various parts of 737 aircraft. The company has successfully employed VR for astronaut training.
- Cleveland Clinic has named VR Medical training as one of the top 10 medical innovations of 2019.
Tips for creating a VR training programme
Here are some vital steps to ensure that your VR training programme provides successful outcomes:
1. Identify the purpose of your VR training programme
The VR training programme can often be tempting to implement. But before you do so, think for a moment to verify whether it is the most suitable method or not.
You need to have a clear cut idea of the learning outcomes and objectives before planning a VR training programme.
Clearly marked goals will help you understand the exact needs of the trainees, their current levels, their preferences in terms of virtual environment settings, interaction requirements for the study, the need for using high end technology, etc.
2. Check whether you have enough time
VR training programmes can take anywhere within a month to a year to develop, depending on the complexity of the training levels required.
It is a time taking process to replicate complex real-world environments/scenarios and develop the digital assets required for the training programme.
Ensure that you have enough time to prepare and test the VR training programme in advance without compromising the quality.
3. Make a well-structured training programme
If you create a long and complex training programme for your employees, it will often be counterproductive. On the other hand, extremely simple exercises create boredom in your participants, making the whole operation ineffective.
The best thing to do is to follow a well-structured training programme. Using a modular approach that focuses on a single challenge at a time will help to facilitate a profound learning experience.
4. Focus on the needs of the participants
One of the great things about VR training programmes is that one session can be equally effective for multiple participants with different requirements.
Make sure that you give full emphasis to the training needs of the participants. If required, segregate your training groups based on their learning needs.
By understanding their training requirements and placing them in a well-planned training environment, it will be possible to reap maximum benefits from the VR training programme.
5. Create a perfect learning environment
When you develop a VR training programme, it should be crafted in a way that its purpose is fulfilled.
The training should be created so that the attendees have a wonderful journey enriched with experience and excitement.
Storyboards help you to effectively create the structure of the VR training programme.
You could think of potential scenarios that a worker might encounter at the workplace and add it to the training programme to capture the interest of the attendees.
Make sure that the overall learning experience you provide through your VR training programme is immersive, inclusive and interactive.
6. Give confidence to the attendees
It is possible that some attendees in a training programme might be using VR technology for the first time. For any such scenarios where the users experience discomfort during the sessions, add a pause button for them to take a break or return to the real world.
Before starting the training sessions, make sure that you give out clear cut instructions to the participants. Carefully guide them from one level to the other.
In a classroom-based training programme, the instructor is usually available to help during any situation. The same can be implemented in a VR training session through text or voice-based instructions directly displayed within the VR session.
Some companies even go a bit further by introducing a virtual trainer into the session for assistance.
7. Simplify the controlling system
While designing a VR training session, ensure that you simplify the navigation systems. Many participants won’t be tech-savvy and might be using the device for the first time in their life.
The hand controllers should be easy to handle, and the user should be able to identify which button to press for what.
8. Carefully guide the users
At the beginning of the training session, explain how to put on the headset and use the hand gloves or controllers.
If the training is done remotely, sufficient instructions should be given to the users to ensure that they maintain enough space and not bump into real-world objects.
9. Test and evaluate the effectiveness
The training programme has to be continually improved by constant testing. You have to identify the potential flaws and fix them before releasing the final version.
You will have to monitor the number of clicks, time taken to complete a module, common errors in usage and movement of the eye.
Evaluating the user response combined with this data helps to improve the training programme and remove the unnecessary features while retaining the useful ones.
Virtual reality training programmes will undoubtedly transform the world of corporate training. With VR, you have a fantastic opportunity to have a 360-degree transformation within your employees in a short period.
Still thinking about using VR in your training sessions?
Remember what the research says- VR helps in inducing skill development more effectively and quickly.
The article is a part of our comprehensive series on “Virtual Reality: How Does It Work?”
Co-founder and Managing Director
Stuart Harris, co-founder of Growth Academy Asia, has a vast background in corporate events and learning & development. As co-founder and managing director at Team Building Asia, Stuart has developed a large network of international clients over the past 20 years and brought an innovative perspective to the more traditional elements of team building, which lead to the founding Growth Academy Asia. With GAA, he aspires to disrupt the L&D industry with the immersive VR organisational and leadership programmes.