Four Steps To Implement A VR Training Program For Your Business
Founder at Pixaera.com, transforming learning standards at scale
Virtual reality (VR) is one of the most exciting training technologies in the market today. Many researchers, including those from Stanford University and Technical University of Denmark, have found that participants using VR simulations experience a significant increase in learning effectiveness compared to those using traditional methods. VR training sparks creativity, draws emotional reactions and increases participants’ comfort with new technology.
Company leaders face many challenges when implementing VR: a lack of alignment throughout departments, inadequate infrastructure and an inability to measure ROI. You can spend big on an exciting new product and generate a short-term wave of buzz, but ultimately lose momentum and end up with expensive hardware sitting on the shelf. Things started so well: Why is no one interested anymore?
My experience as the founder of VR and immersive learning training platform Pixaera informs how I guide business leaders in implementing their own VR training programs. The first version of VR products deployed are clunky and unfinished, with robot voices, glitches and uncalibrated AI. These initial versions guide our road maps. To learn, we must churn out a minimum lovable product (MLP) and start testing it.
I view new corporate VR programs the same way. Once you identify why you need VR, get your training program running as soon as possible. You can then start gathering feedback and data from your users. A successful VR rollout isn’t as simple as writing a check; it requires constant effort and adaptability.
Here are four steps to implement a VR program that works for your company — now and in the long term:
Step one: Identify the problem you’re trying to solve.
This is the most important guiding principle for implementing a successful VR training program. Look inward at your company’s needs before you look beyond your organization for different products and offerings.
Ask yourself: What skills or lessons can I teach to provide the most value?
Does your company need a cultural simulation that will help bridge gaps between employees worldwide? Are you having technical problems that lead to failures on project sites? Can you reduce on-site incidents, like workers going down manholes without an atmospheric tester?
Focus on the problems that need solving — and which ones would provide the most value if alleviated.
Step two: Figure out the simplest way to solve the problem.
So you’ve decided what you need to teach. Here’s where most people start to get confused. There are so many ways you can approach a learning simulation, but selecting which one addresses your needs can be difficult.
Think back to the problem you identified in step one. Now, your goal should be dealing with that problem as simply and seamlessly as possible. You can start by addressing the root causes with simple interactions as your first version and build on from there. Gamify the specific actions and allow users to experience the impact of their decisions.
Maximize your value by stripping away the overcomplicated aspects of VR.
Step three: Get to your “gray box.”
At this stage, you’re still validating whether or not the path you’ve chosen is the right way to address your problem. You’ll eventually start to gather user feedback and data (more on that in a moment). For now, it’s about getting VR options out there to start the testing process.
This is known to many as “gray box testing.” Your first VR option is bound to evolve multiple times. You might make tweaks, introduce new products or test out simulations on different departments. This is similar to the MLP model described earlier.
A close connection with your users is what breeds success; collect their feedback as you progress through multiple versions of your project.
Step four: Set the right data points to measure success.
As you validate your “gray box,” identify a way to measure success. ROI is the main target, but you likely have other KPIs along the way to make that calculation.
You can leverage metrics like user retention for quantitative data, measure user behavior or conduct surveys for qualitative feedback. Developing the right data points helps ensure that you’re not investing loads of money into a training simulation that isn’t effective. Additionally, this data can inform how you improve and add to each iteration of your VR program.
Search for a platform or partner that helps you seamlessly progress through each of the four steps above — building quickly, deploying globally and securely and measuring KPIs every step of the way. (Disclosure: My company provides a VR solution.) When evaluating partners, search for a solution that’s aligned with your company’s goals. Off-the-shelf products, which have been vetted by thousands of users, can also be a great starting point for a quick liftoff.
This four-step plan is a great start for implementing an effective VR training program. It’s important to embrace a growth mindset throughout the development process. You’re unlikely to reach an immediate solution in two or three months. The more thoughtfully you move through steps one through three, the more likely you are to achieve positive metrics in step four.
Think of your VR training program as a living, breathing thing that requires constant adaptation. Identify your problems in a simple way, get to a “gray box” as soon as you can and find the right metrics to measure your program’s performance.
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