The impact of the global pandemic has seen many activities normally performed face to face, now occurring online. In the corporate world, this move online has been even more significant. Working from home has become a necessity for many workers, while collaborating digitally via meetings on your platform of choice are now a daily and hourly occurrence.
One business function that has been turned on its head because of COVID-19 is training. With a large proportion of training pre-pandemic still being delivered face to face, change was needed to ensure organisational capability and accreditations could be maintained.
The response from many organisations has been to simply convert classroom-based training to online. This has been met with varying degrees of success while some organisations have gone back to older delivery formats such as e-learning and video.
However, some have used this opportunity to truly innovate and begin a true digital transformation. This period has also seen a massive increase in the interest in the adoption of immersive tech such as Virtual Reality (VR). Up until recently the adoption of VR technology for training has been limited to big-budget organisations. However, with new developments in VR hardware, software, and the growth of affordable content libraries, we are now seeing many make the leap.
At JBHXR we have been working with organisations since 2020 to help them integrate immersive learning, including VR, into their training curriculums. Evidence abounds to the benefits of VR, offering realistic, engaging, and repeatable practice and assessment experiences that have been shown to deliver significant improvements over traditional training.
For Learning and Development (L&D) professionals or educators looking to implement immersive VR to train their people, one of the key concerns identified is how to access engaging, effective, flexible, scalable, and budget-friendly learning content without having to invest in costly custom-built VR modules.
JBHXR offer organisations several options for sourcing VR content that can meet any budget.
Right now, numerous industries including education, telecommunications, energy, utilities, construction, healthcare, military, first responders, and manufacturing are using XR technical and soft skills training solutions to train their teams in a safe and affordable way.
Many of these industries are using ready-made “off-the-shelf” training modules instead of spending time and money developing new virtual content. Companies can gain access to content libraries filled with a wide range of 3D immersive training modules that are tailor-fitted for their existing industries.
Accessing content libraries for VR training is similar to how content libraries from platforms such as LinkedIn Learning or Udemy are being used by organisations. They offer a cost-effective and flexible way to access training content without reinventing the wheel. VR content libraries offer the opportunity to use the content as-is or as a base that can be modified to suit specific company needs. Using immersive VR modules to provide meaningful practice within a traditional course provides an ideal opportunity to redesign and refresh training for the new digital world.
JBHXR has available an extensive library of content. We have also created a range of safety-related training modules that offer organisations base content that can be used across industries. Modules for topics include Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, First Aid, Pole Top Rescue and Low Voltage Rescue have been created to meet Australian national standards. This base content has also been taken and adapted for other markets and standards at a fraction of the cost and time taken to develop it from scratch.
For JBHXR “Having access to the world’s largest single library of VR content means our clients can experience VR learning without having to worry about restrictive upfront development expense.”
Self Authoring VR Software
One of the biggest barriers to the adoption of VR for organisations is that creating content has required the support of a range of technical experts to create and deploy the content. Like the early days of eLearning and even video production, this often-meant outsourcing, taking the control of the development process away from L&D teams designers and SMEs.
We often get asked the question, can the VR training content be self-authored by your team? The answer to this now is yes.
JBHXR has partnered with an innovative Australian VR software solution provider called Facilitate. The Facilitate platform offers the chance for organisations to build their own “no-code” experiential learning leveraging VR headsets, 3D environments and assets as well as 360-degree media.
Facilitate also allows for the creation of both Asynchronous and Synchronous learning experiences.
‘Live’ sessions can be created to bring learners together (from dispersed locations) in an immersive learning environment. Avatars can be customised and have live tracking, audio and lip-syncing. These experiences can be designed to maximise collaboration and interaction with all VR content and models. This provides an ideal way to bring teams together for a truly immersive learning activity. Something not possible using 2D computer sessions.
Most VR sessions are taken asynchronously. on-demand where and when the user needs and wants to do their learning. Facilitate software allows you to create sessions with a clear pathway for learners as you would in most traditional learning.
The inituative and easy to use creation tools in Facilitate means that learning designers, educators and SMEs can bring their experience and expertise to the development of immersive learning with no need for coding or developers.
Working with JBHXR the Australian Registered Training Organisation JB Hunter has developed several immersive VR practice exercises that utilises both 360-degree media and Micro VR Simulations to support their accredited training for Gas Detection.
JB Hunter runs Gas Detection as either a face-to-face course or online. The practice modules have been designed to use in both scenarios. During the face-to-face training, VR headsets are available, and the simulation is used as practice and refresher to reinforce theory content. During online delivery, students can launch the simulations in 2D on PC or tablets or if they have access to a headset use that to take the activity.
“Using Facilitate, JB Hunter has been able to develop an immersive 360 video solution that our students can access in a VR headset or from their PC/tablet, putting them in the “real world” without needing to leave their workplace or home. For us, the proof is in the doing and we are seeing much higher levels of real-world competence for learners undertaking the 360 immersive experience compared to those viewing a traditional 2D video”
Helping L&D to take the next step in the digital transformation of learning.
Research by the Fosway Group has indicated that 53% of organisations reported digital fatigue! As the need for digitization in business continues the demand on L&D to show how digital learning can evolve to provide engaging and sustainable learning will continue to grow
With access to both VR content libraries and self-authoring software such as Facilitate one of the main barriers to adoption for immersive learning has been removed. As a result, VR provides L&D with a key tool to support continued transformation and future success.