How to get started with
Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer a fantasy reserved for futurists and wealthy technologists.
We’re at a time when everybody with a smartphone has access to immersive technology. And since the first Oculus headset was launched in 2016, the technology has advanced beyond our wildest dreams. It’s even more affordable than most smartphones. In other words, it’s becoming increasingly accessible.
At the same time, more companies are waking up to how VR can accelerate their training programs. By harnessing the power of visual, immersive storytelling in virtual environments, we’re able to use 3D to unlock new ways of explaining concepts that are hard to communicate. We’re able to share knowledge with employees in a much more efficient and sustainable way. And if you’re looking for a scalable training solution that lets employees train whenever and wherever, then VR training is a great option.
But kickstarting your VR training program can be challenging for even the most seasoned veteran. Answering questions like where do you start, who do you involve, how do you set goals, and so on can often leave you feeling lost. That’s why we developed a 7-step plan to guide you through every step of the journey. Let’s take a quick look at the seven steps:
1. Strategy Development
Identifying your needs and setting goals for your training program
2. Experience design
Designing and customizing your training experience
3. Content creation
Creating the right 3D content to bring your products and services to life
4. Experience setup
Setting up your training experience in Virtual Reality
5. Device preparation
Making sure you have the right hardware
6. Implementation and roll-out
Creating scalable campaigns for adoption
7. Ongoing support
Supporting you with troubleshooting and software guidance
How the 7-step plan works
Step Number One
Behind every impactful technology, there’s a strong business case driving it. But this can be one of the most difficult challenges to address, and for some, the journey risks coming to an end before it even gets started. At SynergyXR, we have more than 14 years of experience helping companies define tangible goals that yield high ROI and make employee training more efficient and valuable to the organization. Our XR consultants partner with your team to identify your business needs, help formulate a solid use case, set the right goals, and guide you in putting together the right team.
At this point, most companies already have a use case and pilot project (if not, don’t worry – we can help you identify a good starting point in a “discovery” workshop). This most likely comes from the training challenges you’re currently facing in your organization. It can be everything from poor learning outcomes, removing hazards in employee training, reducing high costs in planning and executing training sessions, or something else. The outcome of this phase is to make sure the objectives and criteria for success are well documented and that everyone’s on the same page.
Step Number Two
Turning your strategy into an actionable training program is difficult if you have zero experience working with XR technology. At SynergyXR, we’re experts in designing and customizing the ideal training solution to help you achieve your goals. During this phase, we work with your team to define your VR training experience outcomes and capture the right look and feel. We also help you map out the ideal user journey and pinpoint the type of 3D content, videos, images, etc. needed to deliver the optimal training experience. The outcome here is a clear and shared understanding of what the experience looks like, how we define the roadmap, and what assets need to be created in the next phase.
Step Number Three
Once a well defined VR training experience roadmap is in place, our content creation team begins the creative process of transforming your ideas into 3D content. Our team includes some of the world’s most talented 3D designers and XR interaction design experts, who together with you define the scope, specifications and production plan for all content. This can range from custom 3D objects of your products, offices, etc. as well as customized virtual spaces to stage your training experiences. Through an iterative testing and review phase, you can follow and sign-off on every step of the content production flow.
Step Number Four
Experience set up
Once all the content is in place, we work with your team to execute your VR training blueprint and offer hands-on support to set up your training experience with the right content and user journeys. This is where the rubber meets the road and includes an iterative process of implementing, testing, and piloting to ensure we’ve created the optimal training experience.
Step Number Five
Once the software side of your VR training experience is ready to go, you need to equip your organization with the right hardware. As your partner, we help you pick the best and most up-to-date VR training devices. We have experience helping many other organizations procure hardware, set up devices, and guide you through the installation with on-site support.
Step Number Six
Implementation and roll-out
You’re now ready to launch your VR training program internally. But where do you start and how do you get employees excited about this? This is where our customer success specialists work closely with you to put together actionable, scalable campaigns and initiatives that drive mass employee adoption and engagement across your entire organization. In fact, this can be one of the most important make or break moments for your VR training program. Identifying the right channels and messaging frameworks as well as key internal champions to promote adoption are key to a successful VR training program.
Step Number Seven
Even after a successful launch and adoption, we’re still here to support you and have a team of world-class product specialists available to assist with product troubleshooting, software guidance, device management, and more. We’re constantly making improvements to the SynergyXR platform, introducing new features and incorporating your requests, so keeping you engaged in the SynergyXR community is beneficial for both us and you. We’re also constantly adding to our knowledge base, which makes it easier to stay on top of updates, view tutorials and find solutions fast and easy.
Putting together the right internal team
But before you start to embark on your virtual training journey, it’s a good idea to set the right internal team. There are a few key roles you’ll need to consider:
This person isn’t required in your day-to-day operations but is vital to your overall success. Depending on the size of your organization, you’ll need buy-in from someone senior level to guarantee that the organization will invest time and resources into your VR training program.
This is someone who can see the project through from A to Z and is passionate about taking ownership of the process. This person’s primary goal is to keep things on track and orchestrate resources.
You’ll need someone from your IT department to ensure there are no implementation issues and the adoption phase can run smoothly in line with the rest of the organization’s infrastructure.
Obviously, you need to test the solution to ensure that it’ll have the desired impact. Make sure to have a diverse representation across organization units, countries (if possible), and demographics, as well as diversity in experience and seniority.
Do a quick cost-benefit analysis
A good way to get organizational buy-in and commitment to you VR training program is to figure out your expected ROI. To do that, we encourage you to do a simple cost-benefit analysis to help establish goals and manage expected outcomes.
The easiest way, at least to begin with, is to do an honest assessment of what your current employee training setup costs. For starters, consider these 3 cost areas:
- The amount of time employees are using on training activities versus what that time could be used for somewhere else in the organization (i.e. opportunity costs).
- The effectiveness of the training (e.g. what’s the retention rate, satisfaction level, need to retrain, etc.)
- How much the organization spends on transportation
Once you have the figures for your current training program, try to do the same exercise for a VR training program. Next, you want to map out the benefits (incl. expected benefits) of each program. What we expect you’ll quickly see is that a VR training program is not only much faster and affordable, but more effective and sustainable.
VR training is complimentary
to existing training progams
A final point, and big one, is that a VR training program doesn’t have to usurp your existing training program. Actually, most companies use it to supplement and enhance their employee training programs. Depending on your product or service, VR training dovetails perfectly with classroom and e-learning. Like all approaches, there’s a time and a place for using VR training (e.g. when the subject matter is complex and requires visual reference and context). At the end of the day, however, we think it will continue to enable a better way to train employees and enable powerful new ways of working as we enter the next generation of working in the Corporate Metaverse.