Here are some of the common myths on VR training and the truth behind it.
1. VR training is equivalent to using Zoom or Microsoft Teams for training.
#Truth: There are key differences.
VR training immerses a trainee in an immersive interactive experience with 3D content. The interaction is on one to one scale and realistic, giving the trainee an experience closest to interacting with the real environment. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are screen-sharing applications where a trainer may share documents, videos, or an application such as CAD to show 3D models on a flat-screen. In a virtual reality collaboration platform like iQ3Connect, each participant can interact independently with the virtual content, avatars of virtual participants, and a virtual instructor. VR training is the most realistic simulation of the training is like a virtual classroom. The participants can interact live with the 3D models, components, and features such as chat, whiteboard, and annotations. Imagine enabling an engineer to learn to disassemble a complex valve with hundreds of components in a virtual space from anywhere. Imagine an instructor’s ability to train a group of technicians to maintain a diesel generator engine in real-time. This real-time interaction available to every participant in collaborative VR training is impossible with flat-screen sharing applications.
2. VR training can be boring and isolated, which detracts from the learning experience.
#Truth: VR training provides a much more focused learning environment.
VR training can be engaging and provide an unmatched learning experience to a trainee that cannot be matched by any other digital learning approach dollar for dollar. It has been proven beyond any doubt that an immersive and interactive learning experience results in better retention. (reference PWC report). The VR experience of presence created by avatars and freedom to explore a virtual world has proven to create less fatigue than web conferencing. In the iQ3Connect’s virtual environment, unlimited participants can join the immersive virtual meetings. Multiple engagement modes are possible in VR training. The VR training can be instructor-led, self-paced, or multiple-user, interacting with the same content. Try some examples of instant VR experience here.
3. VR training can’t use instructional materials in other formats.
#Truth: Existing instructional materials can be very effectively incorporated into a VR learning experience saving time and cost.
Most enterprises have an existing investment in training material such as PDFs, videos, product images, and other multimedia. These can be easily incorporated into your VR training module and broader strategy. On the iQ3Connect platform, such existing content can be uploaded from the dashboard, or referenced via links. The content can then be used in creating VR scenarios using iQ3Connect no-code 3D VR workspace and knowledge capture tools. Watch this video on how to embed multimedia in the iQ3Connect VR training platform
4. VR training is expensive relative to other modalities.
Truth# VR training is more cost-effective.
Video training content can cost thousands of dollars to develop and has a limited shelf life. Some of the iQ3Connect customers were stuck with outdated training. A video-based training can cost $5000 per minute, and 360 immersive videos can cost three times more. As the benefits of VR training are reasonably well established and understood, there are strategies to cost-effectively leverage VR training. VR training can replace high-touch face-to-face collaboration delivered in physical classrooms and using expensive travel and onsite equipment. In the current business environment of constant business disruptions, VR training provides a far more effective strategy than other remote learning modalities. Now if we stack the costs of travel, infrastructure, lost time, and sustainability requirements, VR training is a modality leadership in any company cannot ignore in their digital transformation portfolio.
5. 3D Content for VR training is complex to create.
Truth# Existing 3D content can be efficiently reused with minimal effort.
Many enterprises don’t realize existing 3D content in CAD drawings, reality capture scans, and 360 videos can be easily imported and used in creating powerful VR experiences with new technologies. There are also several content sites, such as Sketchfab, Turbosquid, and GrabCAD, where ready 3D content is available. To create a VR experience enterprise does not always require 3D artists and game engine programming. 3D content can be complex in its component geometry and number of components. This can easily exceed several thousand parts and millions of triangles rendered in VR devices for industrial models. Optimizing models is a time-consuming task, especially when using game engines for building training experiences. New technology platforms like iQ3Connect offer automated optimization and highly optimized rendering pipelines that can enable non-experts to create VR-ready 3D content on their own on the web. iQ3Connect provides a dashboard where users can manage their content and create reusable VR models at scale. These VR-ready models can be used for product collaboration, training, remote support, and marketing experiences from one unified platform.
6. VR training is expensive to scale.
Truth# VR based training can be scaled in a cost-effective way
VR training can be expensive to scale because almost all VR solutions built on game engines need programmers, 3D artists, and studios. Apps built on game engines can be large in terms of file size and hence challenging to deploy to many devices. Especially if there are changes in the content to accommodate modifications in 3D CAD content or other changes however small it may be. Maintenance of training apps can also be expensive since they are more akin to video files. In contrast, there are approaches, like the no-code, web-based, platform as iQ3Connect has developed, that more easily lend themselves to content creation by non-experts. Automatic 3D content optimization that does not require making a priori decisions on simplifying complex 3D content, and frictionless deployment in web browser-based URL links are all possible with iQ3Connect. This approach also lends itself to maintaining a centralized data repository and delivering with link sharing. Content can be updated far more easily while preserving a relatively permanent link to the training modules. A web browser-based approach also serves the content more efficiently and securely on demand rather than in a single massive app download to a device. Finally, a web browser-based approach can also be implemented to be device and ecosystem agnostic making it very cost-effective and future-proof for enterprises.
7. VR hardware has a steep learning curve.
Truth# VR headsets are becoming mainstream with easy access and comfortable use.
For many employees, thinking about interacting in a virtual world can be overwhelming. Wearing a headset can also seem embarrassing to some. However, everyone we watched enjoyed their first VR experience. It may take a few minutes for the first-time user in the simulated virtual environment to get used to it. VR stakeholders in enterprises must have a well-defined path to introduce new employees to VR sessions. Precautions such as being seated initially, allowing for sufficient space around the VR user, and short initial sessions of a few minutes are a few best practices to ensure that early adopters have the best experience and come back for more. One should avoid roller coaster experiences on the first try. In our experience, most users become pretty comfortable with the VR headset and controllers in an average total time of 30 minutes.