How to Get Started with a VR for Training Program
VR for Training is having a moment.
Last month, Walmart announced they were purchasing 17,000 Oculus Go headsets for training associates. UPS is training 4,000 drivers using VR to avoid potential road hazards. And Cleveland Clinic just named AR/VR for Medical Training the 6th most important medical innovation for 2019.
Both large enterprises and tech-forward startups are recognizing the advances VR provides in the field of e-learning — it’s immersive, memorable, enjoyable (89% of Tyson Foods employees preferred VR training!), and helps reduce costs substantially.
While exhibiting at HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas last month, we encountered one question quite often: How do I get started with a VR Training program?
Companies recognize the benefits, but they’re not sure where to best start. InstaVR offers a simple and comprehensive platform for authoring and distributing applications. InstaVR Central, in particular, provides you the 360-degree camera, headsets, software, and in-person training to kickstart a VR for Training initiative.
Here are some key steps to ensuring your VR for Training kickoff plans are a success:
1. Choose a very specific employee group to focus on during a Proof of Concept
When introducing a new approach to training like with VR, you want to start with a narrow focus. Why? If you go too broad, your efforts will be spread too thin. You want to put your best foot forward so your training program will gain momentum and expand throughout the organization.
You want to choose a specific group — employees on a certain factory line, new truck drivers, intake nurses — and put together a focused training for them and featuring them.
What about that particular job function would be enhanced through immersive training? Let’s use UPS as an example.
Instead of focusing on all the things a delivery person does — loading the truck, scanning packages, driving, placement at doors, etc — in one proof of concept training app, just focus on one aspect.
If you’re a new driver, you’re likely to encounter a whole host of obstacles while driving a given route, but maybe not all in a short time period. They might be rare. That’s why an immersive VR training app can be so beneficial for this specific use case. So that when you do encounter that rare instance of a particular road hazard, you’re prepared.
By narrow focusing on just helping UPS drivers identify obstacles in the POC app, the VR for Training program is more likely to get initial positive feedback and gain momentum within a company.
2. Choosing 360 filming equipment
If you’re an InstaVR Central Enterprise customer, this is easy. We’ll give you an Insta360 Pro or similar professional camera to use, and train you on best practices through an included one day boot camp.
For non-Central users, you’ll have to purchase a 360 degree camera. We’ve written on the topic before.
If you’re on a strict budget for your POC, you may also consider a “prosumer” camera, like the new Insta360 One X. It won’t break the bank (~ $400), but will still give you fairly clear images and videos for use in your training app. We generally suggest also looking at 360-degree camera comparison charts, like the one published by Tom’s Guide.
Beyond a camera, don’t forget to also purchase a tripod/monopod, head mounting gear (if you’d like to show a 1st person POV), additional potential microphones (for example, if you’re interested in capturing surround/spatial audio), and a DSLR camera for close up images or videos for hotspots and for creating custom icons.
We can help you in this decision making process… just attend one of our live trainings on Thursdays or message our Customer Success team!
3. Storyboard, prep for shooting, and film!
If you’ve read our interview with Kelly Peterson from Chili’s Restaurants, you’ll now how important storyboarding was to their initial app creation. They saved so much time and energy by planning ahead using storyboards. It also helped immensely in prepping their “tour guide” featured in their videos. Doing all that prep work led to a shoot day that was short and efficient.
While filming for your POC training application, do make sure to take into account things like camera placement. The closer to the action or people, the crisper the images or video will be. And make sure not to have anything distracting going on in the background — you want the focus to be on the learning!
We’ve given tips on 360-degree filming before. In the context of a VR for Training first app, you’ll want to keep things relatively tight — we advise 5 minutes or ideally less for a VR video. You can work your way up to long-form VR video, but initial learnings should be clear, concise, and memorable.
But do film more than you need to at first — you can always cut it down and edit during the app making process!
4. Authoring for success using InstaVR
A core tenet of InstaVR is simplicity. Our goal is to save you time and energy as you put together your 1st VR for Training app. Our web-based InstaVR Pro solution is all drag-and-drop, so you can build and deploy your VR app completely within your department.
We’ve put together the following guides, which can help you as you build out your 1st app:
Beyond the basics of your VR for Training app — adding navigation to scenes, adding voiceover, adding branding — you’ll likely want to make your 1st app interactive. To that end, we suggest using Hotspots. You can read all about Hotspots here and here.
Hotspots are important because they engage the viewer. That makes your application more memorable, and especially for younger employees raised on video games, they enjoy a certain amount of interaction. Hotspots can be used to show close up views, to explain things, or even to ask questions and supply answers.
5. Publish to the platforms that make the most sense
InstaVR publishes across all the major VR platforms — iOS, Android, Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, Daydream, and WebVR.
You can publish to one of them or you can publish to all of them. It’s up to you.
For a truly immersive experience, you’ll want to use a VR headset, likely a mobile one such as Oculus Go or Samsung Gear VR. The reason Walmart chose Oculus Go is because it’s immersive, has strong audio, is easy to distribute to, and comes in at a good price point (retail $200 USD).
A popular platform that still provides a strong user experience is mobile VR apps for iOS/Android. If you can distribute low cost Google Cardboards to employees, great. If not, you can still publish from InstaVR to mobile apps that reside on users’ phones. With every employee of a company likely having a smartphone, this is an easy and effective means for distribution. Even if you do use a mobile VR headset like Gear VR or Oculus Go, it’s great to also give your employees secondary access to the app they viewed via their mobile phones — if even as only a refresher.
WebVR is generally better for images than video. We discussed why here. But if you have an eLearning platform accessible via Web, it’s smart to publish from InstaVR and embed directly on web pages, assuming your eLearning platform accepts outside HTML. To see what an embedded image-based web app would look like, check out the Renwick 360 Gallery from our friends at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Ultimately, distribution comes down to budget and employee access. For Walmart, they chose Oculus Gos because the employees would be using them in-store. UPS used HTC Vive because the app was built into a driving simulator. Medical Centers generally combine some sort of more immersive on-premise headset-based VR (Oculus Go, Gear VR, HTC Vive) along with mobile apps.
Consider what the best user experience would be and how you can get VR into employees’ hands before you even embark on your Proof of Concept.
VR for Training is kicking into high gear as we enter 2019.
It’s the enterprise use case that has the most buzz and potential ROI. With our InstaVR Central offering, we give you the white glove treatment including on-site camera training and InstaVR editing training, an Account Manager, priority support, and more.
But even if you’re just using our self-service InstaVR Pro platform, you can still set yourself up for success. Choose a narrow employee group for a Proof of Concept, storyboard your 1st app, buy the right hardware, add interactivity via InstaVR, and choose the right distribution method before publishing.
With over 40,000 InstaVR users, we have a lot of experience interacting with clients using VR for Training across a broad swath of industries. If you’re not sure how to get started, reach out to us!
And stay tuned for a live webinar we’re doing in November exclusively focused on using InstaVR to create your first training app…
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!