The hype of Virtual Reality (VR) has led to the belief of using it like a magic wand or a magic bullet to enhance learning for the workforce. Though it has immense benefits as it helps in creating a real-world experience that enables learners to explore places and make learning effective and comfortable. However, it is recommended to never use VR in your organization wrongly. Employees may be a part of such new technology instantaneously, but if they don’t have a good experience, it will hurt more than it will help them. Hence, it is critical to follow these five checkpoints before you plan to implement VR in your learning space.
Start with the real need
VR is extremely immersive as it creates an entirely different virtual experience. Hence, there is always an inclination towards using it to know more about it. And in such a rush, many times we miss to assess the real need. Hence, ask yourself - Will this new VR training solve the problem of reducing the cognitive load of my organizational learners?
Also, equally diabolical is the high cost and challenging content required to develop through VR on what your learners need. Therefore, determining the real need is a must! Ascertain the type of knowledge that learners will be able to absorb and how they can use that knowledge during the job. Quantitatively and qualitatively verify whether VR is right for your organization in the current situation and how it should be used.
Create your combined business case
Every organization is governed by its own ecosystem. How exactly the technology will manifest itself in business is only partially known and dependant on various internal factors specific to each organization. For example, one organization’s VR case may be successful; however, the other organization’s similar implementation may fail miserably. Hence, L&D and tech chiefs together must build a combined business case for using virtual reality as an effective and realistic strategy for adoption.
While creating the case, one must quantify the expected benefit from the training in terms of increased performance, decreased errors, and productivity gains. Mapping those benefits against expected costs to understand the ROI for the project is equally crucial.
Determine the pedagogy correctly
Many organizations do not understand how to create VR experiences using the right pedagogy. For example, in a hospitality firm setting using VR; if you simply record a customer service associate’s movement throughout a hotel and then have trainees watch that movement using a VR device, they may be nauseous. Alex Faaborg from Google VR team clearly suggests two discomforts of not using the right pedagogy - don’t make people sick and don’t scare people. The discomforts of motion sickness, lack of space, sudden changes in heights, and threats from sharp objects can be made very real. Organizations need to have plans in place for a safe space or room to conduct VR training.
Apart from this, it is also critical to ascertain hardware related issues while implementing VR solutions for your employees. For instance, VR hardware designed for mobile devices generally cannot withstand training as long as ten to fifteen without overheating and shutting down. It directly implies that while using VR in mobile training; one needs to be sure that the training experiences are brief in nature.
Build a world where learners control their own movement
Begin with a pilot program. Start small to evaluate the effectiveness of the VR training and its adoption within the organization. This will help melt away the psychological, physical, and financial challenges that prevent VR from being implemented widely for business upskilling. Let learners choose and control their own movement by adding VR to your workplace training mix.
One strategy is to pilot into entry-level VR like watching a VR lesson using a Google Cardboard viewer or just use some pinch of VR in your onboarding programs. This will help to generate excitement amongst the employees and will also help test the waters. And if the adoption succeeds, get set go with the future plan to launch VR into the next phase - the top end immersive VR.
Quantify the benefit and scale the program
It is desirable to use the results of the pilot program to validate initial estimates of ROI. And then modify the program based on what worked and what did not. Scaling needs to be done in scope or size of deployment once all relevant data points are at hand. An apt example of how the benefits were quantified was evident at the pilot location in London. Audi offers a VR experience in some specific European markets. The Audi VR experience in London was able to increase new car sales from 60% to 70%. Almost 50% of customers in the first year of London dealership's Audi VR experience pilot ordered vehicles without a physical test drive. And it was quantified through data points that the decision base of the purchase was based on their virtual experience.
By keeping all the above-mentioned data point in mind, companies planning to adopt VR will get more than a flashy new technology. The entire learning strategy needs to be centered on how the whole process be made right. With proven evidence that VR can support much more improved learning and retention than traditional methods, ensure that VR fits your organization’s needs and you’re using the right process effectively to make your VR training initiative a success.
Know more about such trends at the People Matters Learning & Development Annual Conference 2018 on 23rd October. Register here.