Virtual Reality is a great platform for delivering a training app. The immersive quality of 360-degree images and videos allows people to experience a simulated environment from the comfort of their home or office. Plus the learning environment is much more memorable than text or static 2D images.
We’ve seen a lot of clients leverage our platform for training. This has included a virtual reality fire escape drill, demonstrating high-end automotive repair, allowing social work students to practice leading a therapy session, developing training material for field personnel, and training food safety inspectors — to name but a few.
Creating a VR training app necessitates a specific approach though. The mechanics of app production are the same — upload panoramas, augment with hotspots & navigation, create app home page & icon, publish cross-platform — but training apps differ quite a bit from entertainment or virtual tour apps.
In this guide, we’ll look at some of the high level questions you need to answer before embarking on your virtual reality training app.
1. What is the end goal?
One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to “Begin With the End in Mind.” With training using VR, you have to decide what you’re trying to accomplish and work your way backwards.
When someone takes off their VR headset, do you want them to: Have learned facts they didn’t already know? Become more comfortable in a specific environment? Recognize visual or auditory clues? Learn through repetition? Make decisions they will replicate in the real world environment? Do something that can’t easily or cheaply be done in the real world?
Once you have your end goal, you can get a clearer idea of what has to happen in your VR experience narrative.
2. What media should I utilize?
After you have your end goal, you can plan how to capture your training material. Questions to ask yourself, include: Will still images suffice or should I capture mp4 video? Do I need audio narration or will the user intuitively understand? How many images or how much video should is necessary? What resolution do I need to capture for things to be clear to the end user?
Answering these questions will help you decide what camera to use. It will also inform the recording process (ie optimal distance to record from).
3. How should I use Hotspots?
One of the best parts of InstaVR is the ability to add gaze-based hotspots. Hotspots augment your existing panoramic images or videos. They’re particularly useful in a training environment as they can add valuable information.
But what specific hotspots should you add? Let’s walk through the aforementioned client apps to see how hotspots can help.
VR Fire Drill – The hotspot can initiate text or audio telling users that they are going the wrong way.
Automotive Repair Training – Hotspots can be used to show close-up features of the car in static form that aren’t easily visible in video format.
Practice Therapy Sessions – Hotspots can initiate audio narration to explain how to better engage with a client, or how to interpret specific body postures.
4. How do I distribute my training app?
There’s two high level ways to distribute apps: in-house or via the App Stores. For in-house, you can email a link to a Dropbox or Google Drive account containing the Android APK, or invite users to the InstaVR site to download your .ipa file. This is a good distribution model if you have a small, core audience you’re trying to reach.
If you have a larger audience, you’ll probably want to distribute via the iTunes Store or Google Play Store. You’ll need a Developer Account, but InstaVR gives you all the instructions on how to get your app from InstaVR to these stores in a seamless manner. App Stores are a great way for people to discover your training app who might not otherwise have known about them also.
You’ll definitely want to also consider the means of viewing when publishing. For a small audience, it might be worth buying a few Gear VRs, as they’re the most immersive and effective mobile HMD. If you’re training a group of people, or your audience is in geographically disparate areas, it might be best to invest in Google Cardboards which you can mail inexpensively to your users. We also always suggest our Pro users utilize the Publish-to-Web option, as not all trainees may have access to headsets, but most should have access to a web page.