The Challenges of XR Training (and some solutions, too!)

Bringing immersive reality into a training program can present a number of challenges. In this blog post, we identify some common areas of struggle and present some suggestions on how to address these challenges.

Hardware

Selecting hardware for Virtual or Augmented Reality can be a daunting process. New devices are being released each year with new features, and you want to make sure that what you’re getting is going to support your training efforts moving forward.

You have two strong paths here:

  • Commit.  Do your research and make a commitment to purchase. You should be looking at equipment that is going to last for your training needs over the next 2-3 years. IT is often involved with this decision to help create a plan for maintaining, securing, and supporting the devices. Think about what you need in terms of hand tracking, wireless freedom, graphic resolution, budget, etc. When in doubt, lean towards including the option; you’ll have more freedom later on to expand and your devices will likely last longer.
  • Lease. Many VR/ AR solution providers include a hardware leasing option with their software. This provides a no-hassle way to get the equipment you need that’s guaranteed to work with your solution. One of the great aspects of this is that often (but certainly not always) the IT department’s involvement with this is greatly reduced. The maintenance, software updates, and technical support are often handled by the vendor.

Once you have hardware defined, the software decisions become a little bit easier. You can have all software discussion in terms of “does this support my current devices” instead of adding a hardware decision on top of a software decision.

Software and Content Availability

The biggest problem that companies see today with off-the-shelf software is not one of quality but of quantity. For the investment in the gear, companies want to be able to run several training programs through. This increases the ROI on the hardware investment and creates a more comprehensive training program where XR technologies are seen throughout.

Your best plan of action to address the software issue is to invest. This can be an external investment, in which you help external vendors create the library of content that you need. This can also be an internal investment, in which your team is trained to create and produce the content themselves.  There are several tools on the market that allow instructional designers to create their own VR and AR content without any programming knowledge. Either way, the money spent on developing the software you need will create better opportunities to realize the ROI of the overall investment in XR training.

User Acceptance

Bringing in new technology always faces an acceptance gap.  New technology can cause concerns whether or not people are properly prepared to use the new technology. The industry used to have this concern around computers and cell phones, but time and again we’ve seen that our workforce is a resilient one.

The best thing that you can do as an organization is believe in your employees. Trust that they have the skills to adapt to the new technology. Where needed, provide support to ease the transition and provide alternatives for those who cannot use the technology.

As you’re beginning to introduce the technology, a great way to get people introduced to the technology is to give them a chance to explore. Instead of diving directly into a training exercise, give new users a chance to explore and get comfortable with the headset and controls. A few minutes spent here can give a great feeling of comfort and familiarity to the user.

Use Cases

There are lots of good use cases and data points out there, but it may take some persistence to find ones that are relevant to your training curriculum. 

In some cases, you may want to look at bigger learning objectives. Although you may not find a use case that speaks specifically to the subject matter that you’d like to train, what can you find that’s similar? What data points are important to your organization? If you’re trying to train a soft skill, would other soft skill use cases be helpful? These can often give insight into how companies are addressing and framing the training in ways to set them up for success.

At JMXR, we have a database of use cases that we can tap into for our clients to help identify important data points, processes, and lessons learned for future projects.

What are some other challenges that you’ve seen? Or do you have other solutions that you’ve implemented? Please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to do a follow up video to this that provides answers your questions.

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