The best digital training evolves alongside emerging technologies and finds ways to integrate them into learning experiences. At Croomo, we’re constantly searching for innovative ways to integrate virtual technologies to enhance our training and extend the reality of what a user can experience. We utilise virtual and augmented reality to offer learners new and meaningful ways to gain valuable skills.
Just so we’re all on the same page, extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term that covers virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). If XR is a new term for you, be sure to drop it into conversation with colleagues and friends. This article focuses on virtual reality, but most of what is discussed can apply to augmented reality as well.
Should You Use VR?
You want your training to be modern, innovative, and immersive, so that it creates a meaningful impact and positively influences learner behaviours as they develop key skills. But does that mean you need virtual reality?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do learners need to use equipment that is in demand or costly to procure?
- Are there potential hazards when training in a real environment?
Do you have a large workforce to train in procedures, but limited resources?
- If you answered yes to any of the above, virtual reality could be part of a viable solution. There are a lot of advantages to using virtual reality and we’ve implemented it in our training to address all of these needs and more.
What’s So Good About VR?
A virtual environment allows you to have industry and role-specific elements that can be accessed at any time and can be reset quickly and easily. The virtual setting can be modeled on a real location, allowing users to practice skills in situ before attending the site in the real world, or it can be a non-specific training space or location, e.g. a warehouse, a dirt road, or a field. This environment can be populated with characters, each of whom have a specific role to play, and learners can interact with fully functional, industry-specific machinery and equipment.
One of the biggest advantages to this kind of virtual environment is that it provides a safe way for learners to engage with equipment, or participate in potentially hazardous situations so they can practice and master valuable procedures before being exposed to the real thing. Unique situations, such as weather-based events, can be engineered on demand, offering learners an opportunity to learn in a context that they might not have encountered during training.
Virtual training is always available and allows people to repeatedly practice what they need to do on the job. This would otherwise be an expensive process logistically in terms of the people required to train, and the cost of utilising equipment that would otherwise be earning the business revenue.
Part of the Whole
We’ve worked with many people including national transport and logistics, and mining clients to create highly immersive, robust, and expansive virtual experiences. The feedback from our clients and their learners has been overwhelmingly positive, and they’ve seen training positively impact behaviours. The common factor amongst all of the training we’ve developed in the virtual space is that, while virtual reality forms a critical part of the experience, it’s always integrated into a broader training strategy.
A virtual experience might be the right solution for a specific procedure or set of skills you want learners to practice, but there’s usually more to training than that. Often it works best within structured, facilitated sessions with supporting materials and classroom activities.
Leveraging Digital Assets
Generating a virtual environment means digital assets need to be created to populate it. These assets can then be leveraged for a variety of other learning materials, each of which complement the virtual experience.
This might include animation coupled with a professional voice-over to help explain more complex concepts, assets could be used as part of an eLearning module, as part of face-to-face training, or even feature in printed materials. This highlights the ongoing value that digital assets can offer your business, as they can be repurposed for a variety of training strategies.
One of our clients wanted to enhance training for drivers regularly travelling to rural areas in 4WDs. This often involved traversing uneven terrain, and depending on the weather, they might need to drive through a water crossing. This was a hazard that had been responsible for frequent damage to vehicles and injuries to personnel due to the unpredictable nature of water crossings.
Their drivers already performed in-car training, however, training all of their workers specifically on water crossing was challenging as this was dependent on weather conditions. The client desired a simulation that would allow learners to safely experience what it was like to navigate this hazard, the controls that were in place, and to learn how to assess this type of situation.
Croomo created a custom solution, combining virtual reality, real-life video of a water crossing, and a simulated vehicle. The experience was filmed using a 360 degree camera and the footage was overlaid with the simulated car interior. Hazards and controls were integrated into the live action footage using animation and photography.
The reaction from learners has been overwhelmingly positive, which demonstrated observable training value. This training also won a Silver LearnX Award for Best Simulation Design.
Try it Out
If you’re interested in expanding your training into the virtual or augmented world or just want to see what’s possible, get in touch. If you’ve never tried something like this before, come in and strap on the goggles and experience some of the work we’ve done.
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll show you a whole new (virtual) world.