So you’ve heard about the benefits of virtual reality training, and you’ve got just one question: why would you get into VR? How is it better than augmented reality (AR), and what’s the difference between that and mixed reality (MR)?
That’s a great question (or series of questions)! Rather than digging too deeply into the technical details right away – though we’re happy to do that, too – let’s talk about why VR is basically superpower training.
What are the big limitations on training new employees in the physical world?
Whether you’re training one person or fifty, you need:
- Space to train them and a dedicated team to lead them
- Equipment that won’t be available for actual work
- A willingness to accept some loss or breakage, as well as the possibility of injury
- A serious time commitment for administrative staff
- Training metrics that can overcome subjective bias
- To account for trainee attrition due to boredom
But if you’re willing to take a leap into VR, you can mitigate or eliminate some of these problems almost entirely! The best part about VR training is that it allows your prospective employees the freedom to experiment, fail, and try again, without impacting the overall operation of the business. You can prepare them for emergency situations. You can build impossible scenarios to test their problem solving skills. You can get them up close and personal with hazards. Risk of injury? Practically none.
The space requirements for VR training are minimized significantly from traditional training. All you need is enough space for people to sit, stand, and move their arms – perhaps 5’ x 5’ square. But in the virtual reality of that square, you can place your trainees in any environment you choose: a factory floor, a classroom, atop a radio tower, in a submarine, outer space – anywhere your imagination needs them to be. They won’t tie up vital production resources while they do it, either.
You can easily expand the training offerings to hundreds of users without significantly altering the format to accommodate a crowd. You can choose individualized training, one-on-one coaching, employee-led training, or multi-user participation and mentoring. The possibilities are endless.
With gamified VR training, your trainees will engage with the content, gaining actual muscle memory through repeated interaction and experimentation . Studies have shown students who used VR training – in which they simulated the actual work being done – retained up to 80% more of the material than trainees who were taught using traditional hands-off methods. Even better, VR is a technology that appeals to younger generations, and younger employees will approach it with ease.
Do you need to track how effective your training is, or verify that trainees have finished their courses? VR training does that. You can track and measure learning objectives, time taken, and scoring. You can create comprehensive filters for data analysis. You can generate teacher and class reports, and you can offer post-training evaluations to improve your offerings. If you want hard data on your training, VR is the way to go. You can drive improvements and deliver measurable outcomes for your employees and your trainers alike.
Best of all, VR training is the foundation of processed and procedures for the augmented reality hardware that will be ubiquitous in the future. Why not get in on the ground floor and get a competitive advantage?
That leads us to the second part of your original question:
What’s the difference between VR, AR, and MR?
- Augmented Reality (AR) provides what’s essentially a graphic interface overlaid on the real world. It’s like looking through your camera’s phone at a car engine and having the parts labeled on your screen. The filters on Instagram are actually augmented reality. You can use AR on a phone or, for a hands-free experience, wear special glasses that will display information on the lenses.
- Mixed Reality (MR) describes the spectrum between the physical world and purely virtual reality. Any mediated experience is considered MR.
- Virtual reality is a purely virtual, immersive construct rendered in a dedicated headset that (generally) blocks out visuals from the analog world.
The second part of the question is: Why is VR better for training?
- Augmented reality is an overlay on the world, providing data and graphics on existing objects. It requires real space, and your trainees and students will need to be able to traverse that space safely – whether along the sections of a complicated piece of machinery or traveling through an expansive warehouse. That means it exposes your students to the inherent hazards of those spaces. AR doesn’t change unless you change the environment. It’s great for the actual work, mind you – but it doesn’t have the built-in advantages VR has for training.
- Virtual reality can place your students anywhere, any time. It doesn’t require extensive space, and it doesn’t interfere with your existing operations. It’s not exactly the same as working on something in the real world, but it’s a close enough facsimile that trainees can hit the ground running when they’re ready to get to work.
If you’ve got more questions about AR and VR, feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com! We love to talk about this stuff, and we look forward to hearing from you.