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What is VR training? The 2022 guide to VR training

VR training guide

With in-person learning becoming impossible during the pandemic, more and more organisations turned to VR to fulfil their training needs. And even now in 2022 with in-person training options accessible again, VR training does not fade into the background – many have now fully recognized the potential of using VR for training. But – what even is VR training?

VR training is literally that: Using VR for training purposes.

Virtual reality (VR) training enables employees to be trained in a digital, fully immersive 360 Degree environment. Using the headset and controllers, learners are allowed to see, speak and move freely in a virtual environment and can interact with simulated real tools, machines and other learners and instructors. Training participants can practise important skills in a virtual situation before they have to apply them in real life. 

VR training is widely used to simplify onboarding processes or to simulate difficult or dangerous training scenarios. That goes to show that it can be profitable for any business and in any industry, from healthcare, to social work to business administration. 

Want to hear about actual use cases for VR training? Then check out this article.

360° video vs CGI training – Which VR training is for you?

VR development has opened up exciting opportunities to deliver training content that is memorable and engaging. There are two main categories when it comes to VR training: Training in a fully virtually simulated environment OR training in an interactive 360 Degree Video environment. 

Both come with their own perks and challenges, which are worth considering before starting out with VR training. Let’s not derail your training train of thought and get right to it.

Interactive 360° Video training

360-degree videos, also known as immersive videos or spherical videos, have the potential to be powerful teaching tools that allow participants to engage with concepts on a completely different level. 360° VR videos make for an effective asset as they offer users the opportunity to experience something they do not have immediate access to. How is that made possible? By incorporating real-life scenarios with a 360° view of the respective location and the people, ensuring a photo-realistic experience. The higher the resolution, the more realistic. 

Numerous companies and schools have already successfully implemented 360-degree videos for training purposes. Particularly in the medical field, research studies have shown that simulations add another effective teaching/learning tool for psychomotor development, since participants learn by doing. But also in other industries, 360 Video training is advancing fast. And as creating videos is a relatively easy process (compared to CGI animation), companies do have the opportunity to get their hands on new and personalised training material rather quickly. 

So is 360-degree Video training for you? 

Start by assessing whether 360-degree video is the right medium for your project. Pinpoint your learning objective(s) and consider how they can be achieved with 360-degree video training. For instance: is it important to you to capture your workplace as it is to make the switch from training to real life more accessible (e.g. for onboarding processes)? Video is the medium to go with, as animation can not replicate it as accurately as video could do.
Some risky training situations (like flight training) or scenes in hard-to-reach environments can also be captured on film and allow learners to experience them in a safe, but realistic way. There are limits to this though – some situations are impossible to reenact for 360 video or simply too expensive to recreate. CGI could be a more appropriate fit then. 

With 360 Video training you can be sure that your trainees don’t do a 360 and end up right where they started. 

Check out the benefits of 360 Video Training: 

  • Inexpensive and therefore more easily accessible compared to CGI training
  • Quicker and easier produced than animation 
  • Realistic nature allows effective training of soft skills, empathy and communication
  • Potential to capture large areas of the employee’s workplace

Computer animated training

What, CGI is not only used in fantasy and superhero movies? In fact, CGI is widely utilised – for instance in XR.

With computer-generated learning technology in VR, companies have the opportunity to train their employees on how to handle risky or potentially fatal scenarios. Using CGI, users themselves become a part of an animated world and are in control of their own actions to comprehend workplace safety measures. Any type of situation can be recreated with CGI, ranging from battlefield simulations to emergency surgical procedures. There are actually no limits to what you can simulate – every scene you want to create, no matter how fantastical or hazardous, is possible with animation. 

These immersive and realistic features of CGI  are what allow users to feel as if they are truly facing real-life situations. Sure, it won’t be quite as photo-realistic as 360-degree-video, however, in most cases it will suffice and be immersive enough for the learning process. As a result, the stimulation remains in the user’s memory for a long time after the training.

Another plus: The ability to readjust and modify your training material afterwards – and be certain you can recreate the same scene. Sure, modifying still means a lot of work for the developer and it can be expensive, however, if you want to have the exact scene recreated that simply is more easily done with CGI than with 360 video – where you would have to rehire your filming crew, actors and location and still cannot be sure to get the exact same scenery again. 

The catch? Animation is quite time-intensive and expensive. So while it brings you a lot of freedom, it can come with a hefty price tag. 

The benefits of CGI:

  • Realistic and convincing computer animations that make a lasting impression
  • No limits in creating content 
  • Not just a spectator, but an active participant
  • Ability to modify and update content after the fact

Conclusion

In the end, only you can decide what VR training style to go for as both methods presented come with their advantages and disadvantages. CGI training offers you a limitless number of possibilities for content, while 360-degree-video is more realistic and affordable to boot. One thing is universally clear though: VR training brings a range of benefits, regardless of the style of content. To learn more about those benefits and when it makes sense to use VR in the first place, check out this article

Smart VR Lab develops and produces training content for businesses across multiple industries. To transform your business, simply contact Smart VR Lab for a demo and set up a meeting with our team. If you have questions on anything related to VR, you can always send us a mail to info@smartvrlab.nl

 

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