Despite the increasing buzz about the effectiveness of VR, many companies still hesitate to embrace this innovation. According to a survey by Accenture’s Technology Vision, more than 80 percent of executives are interested in VR technology, though only the boldest ones have integrated it into their companies already. VR is an investment, and with any investment it pays to look before you leap.
Luckily, there are many ways to explore VR and its efficiency for your business before jumping right into costly training. We narrowed them down to three main approaches that have proven effective during our eight years of working with VR technologies.
Initial VR Research
In our experience, initial research has proven to be the easiest and cheapest way to explore all aspects of VR usage, from problem determination to outcome measurement.
If you haven’t tried any VR training yet, it is best to start by looking at existing VR business projects that are relevant to your niсhe so you can get inspired by other companies’ solutions. Building on thоse insights, it’s much easier to plan further: look for a problem that can be solved with VR, prepare a script for the training, and define the efficiency metrics. Such research allows you to see your future project from a birds eye view and gives you a very clear roadmap before starting your VR journey.
The key to launching a successful pilot is to find one particular problem that can be solved with VR and choose a specific VR feature that works best to solve it. Making sure this problem can be solved during pilot testing will give you the green light to integrate a full-sized VR project. That’s exactly how Acron сarried out their process for a training to help employees learn to handle heights. The problem was on the surface: employees couldn’t get completely immersed into the heights simulation while training the traditional way, but the company wasn’t sure if VR will be well received and if people would take it seriously. Their pilot project was meant to test reactions to the concept of virtual height as well as employee perception of its realism.
The ability to recreate the heights environment in VR is incomparable – no other media provides such a realistic way of familiarizing a worker with the possible dangers. Acron had their pilot experience created by Varwin, instructing employees to complete simple tasks like getting on the elevator and controlling its movement. That required a free roof, a building, several objects from Unity, the sound of the wind, and some simple logic. It took Varwin four hours to create a project like that. After the test of the pilot project, Acron employees acknowledged the realism and immersiveness that could be achieved with VR.
Partial Integration to Measure
A VR training application is not necessarily a substitute for traditional training but is instead a perfect complement to it. Implementing VR into your traditional educational program is the perfect way to bring about change slowly while providing employees new opportunities to experience total immersion. For instance, there are many sales training programs that consist of articles, educational videos, and one-on-one sessions. A 5-10 minute VR simulation is an incredibly useful way to test skills and work on material in a realistic environment at the employee’s own pace, not distracting any colleagues or trainers. The same goes for public speaking training.
And here is the best part – unlike traditional training sessions, in VR you can track performance: how well did employees maintain eye contact with the client/audience, which phrases/sentences/redundant words did they use, how loudly or quickly did they talk, and what actions did they perform throughout the simulation.
This list of approaches is by no means exhaustive, but applying one of them is usually enough to test the waters. Once you have carefully considered the appropriateness of VR, the whole process of developing, implementing, and tracking VR training programs becomes far less resource-intensive. If you are still struggling with your decision, choose an approach that’s right for you, eliminate the risks applying it, and start the project with a light heart. Now it’s time to focus on the core benefit of VR: increasing the meaningful effect on employee development and satisfaction.