How to Expand the VR Training Program at Your Company
We’ve previously discussed first steps in launching a VR for Training program. Now we’ll discuss the important steps necessary to expand your VR for Training program throughout your company.
Before we begin, here is what you should already have:
– A Proof of Concept VR application built, likely focusing on one department, or even just one job function
– A means of distributing this app, be it a mobile VR headset (ie Oculus Go or Gear VR), a tethered VR headset (Oculus Rift or HTC Vive), mobile phones (iOS/Android/Cardboard) or Web/Learning Management System
– An internal champion who will vouch for the effectiveness of the VR Training
– Coffee, lots of it (optional)
When introducing any new technology at a company, you want it to spread virally. The easiest way to get adoption is for employees to learn about it and request it. The other approach is to focus on top management, who make the decisions on which technology to deploy.
If you spent 2018 building your VR for Training prototype within one department, the start of 2019 is perfect for putting energy into getting it into other departments.
We’ll discuss those steps in a moment. But first a few caveats:
– Not every department will benefit from VR Training. Accounting, for example, might not see much benefit. Focus on the biggest impact departments.
– If your Proof of Concept app isn’t getting raves, you may need to start over and do a new one. That happens. Making VR applications becomes easier the more you practice, and your second POC might be even better.
– Virtual Reality has gotten a lot of media attention over the last few years. You must reinforce the technology isn’t just all hype… there are real gains (immersion, memorization, focus) being made with the transition to VR Training.
With that, let’s go through your follow up steps to expand your VR for Training program.
1. Identify a second department to do a second Proof of Concept app with
Yes, we can hear the groans. But you probably shouldn’t just launch company-wide after your first successful POC. You need to show it’s repeatable, impactful, and document how easy it is to create VR for Training apps with a 360 camera + InstaVR.
You’ll again want to choose a department where VR has maximum impact. We’ve lately been hearing clients in the medical field, in warehouses, in sales training, in disaster preparedness all making training apps. There are a bunch of “best use case” areas for VR.
The best departments to first focus on are always the ones where they need to train for something rare or dangerous or non-repeatable. Those have instant impact and are easy to envision how an immersive training application would be beneficial.
2. Gather some data and testimonials to back up your claims of the success of VR for Training.
People can take off the headset and tell you how great their VR for Training experience is. But as you go to expand the program, you want quotes & data.
Capture how many people viewed your VR application, ask them for quotes on their experience in writing, test them (if possible) on recall and improvement, look at heatmaps to determine where their focus was, etc.
WalMart, which just rolled out VR Training to 17,000 associates, has data which shows VR learning “improves employee retention of new information by 10 to 15 percent compared to the typical combination of videos, online demos, and classroom work.” (Vox.com) That’s a huge number!
If you can demonstrate a 10-15% lift in information retention in one department, which is actually in line with what University of Maryland researchers have shown, you’re doing fantastic and can more easily pitch other departments.
3. Roll up your marketing sleeves, and promote, promote, promote!
If your POC training app is awesome, don’t be modest. Get out there and promote the heck out of it. Write a company newsletter article on it, showcase it at conferences, get people involved to tell their friends about it.
In an interview with our client University of South Wales, Dr. Dean Whitcombe talks about how they’re running departmental workshops to showcase the technology. Going department to department, training them on how InstaVR is to use.
That might just be what you have to do too — schedule time with your targeted departments to show the end results in a headset, as well as how easy it is to create.
4. Once you have all of this, it’s time to start pitching top management
Some organizations, particularly big ones, are run top down. To expand your VR training program, you’ll have to get department head sign off to introduce a new technology.
After you’ve done your workshops, written up your results in the newsletter, have your apps loaded on VR headsets/phones… that’s when you need the audience who can get you budget and approval.
You don’t want to do this too soon. Emerging technologies get dismissed as emerging if not for hard evidence. So get that anecdotal and hard data on your VR’s effectiveness, and then ask for the budget.
Expanding a VR for Training program may seem almost as daunting as starting one.
But with the ease of use of both 360-degree cameras and InstaVR, you’re well-positioned to replicate your Proof of Concept app in other departments. The rest of the expansion takes a bit of leg work and some marketing skills — finding the right people, pitching them, and showing your apps and results.
You’ll be reading a lot about VR for Training in the coming year. Walmart might have made the biggest splash with purchasing 17,000 Oculus Gos a few months back. But the amount of different industries and companies that can benefit from VR Training is huge. And we’re just starting to see the adoption curve shift from “Early Adopters” to “Early Majority.” These are exciting times for this particular VR use case…
Interested in more articles on VR for Training by InstaVR, check out…
Training Industry – Virtual Reality a Great Fit for Employee Onboarding
VentureBeat (ReadWrite) – How VR Training Apps are Finally Becoming a Reality
To schedule a call, demo, or in-person meeting with an InstaVR Central team member, email Andrew — andrew at instavr.co. Look forward to hearing from you!