If you’re like most of us, you’ve delved into the world of virtual reality—exploring cities on Google Earth, playing games with friends, or viewing works of art at the Louvre. But VR can also play a valuable role in your blended learning programs.
Virtual Reality in the Real World
VR training is particularly useful for dangerous environments, such as caves or construction sites, or for tasks that are difficult or expensive to practice in real life, such as medical interventions or controlling expensive machinery.
Remember our blog post about creating a prototype VR learning experience, which recreated a construction site and focused on health and safety compliance? This is the kind of area where VR can be beneficial.
Swimming in a Virtual Reality Data
Incorporating VR learning experiences into overall corporate training is becoming more mainstream. And organizations implementing VR are moving beyond prototypes and starting to ask how they can track the use of VR to measure its effectiveness and their learners’ performance.
While xAPI is an ideal way to track VR experiences, what exactly should you track? Unlike many experiences where data can be difficult to obtain or access, VR presents the opposite challenge. There’s a sea of data about the exact position and orientation of a learner’s head and controllers every fraction of a second. So, how do you pull out the most useful details to create meaningful analytics?
Focusing Your Eyes on the Target
The solution is to identify and track specific key points in your VR learning experience. For example, these key points might include the following:
- Decision points. Choosing between certain options (e.g., which button to press on a dashboard).
- Tasks. Completing a defined task, such as putting out a fire with an extinguisher.
- Milestones. Reaching a precise point in the experience.
- Events. Significant instances when a learner is expected to respond to particular situations.
- Other actions. Looking at or interacting with other parts of the experience that may not be part of a learner’s core task list.
Think about additional training data capture and decision points for each of these. For example, you’d want to know what decision a learner made and the options the learner has to choose from.
For tasks, it would be helpful to have some measurement of success. So using the example of a fire simulation, you can measure success in how quickly a learner extinguishes a fire while using the correct steps or how efficiently the learner helps evacuate the floor if the fire is too large to contain.
In all cases, it is helpful to know when each key point occurred—capturing when something happened enables you to develop chronologies and patterns. And identifying these patterns can help you predict behaviors based on different circumstances and ensure you have training and resources to support them.
Blending Realities for Comprehensive VR Training
Good virtual reality training is supported by a combination of blended learning resources to prepare for and build on the VR experience.
A combination of blended learning resources supports good virtual reality training to prepare for and build on the VR experience. As you consider what data you want to capture from the experience, also think about how that data will fit with data about the other learning around the VR experience.
The kinds of questions you might ask of your data are:
- Did people who completed more preparatory reading perform better in VR tasks?
- Do people who read the instructions before the experience successfully complete that experience faster?
- Do people who perform better in VR training make fewer mistakes in real life?
Virtual Reality Reporting with Learning Analytics
Finally, when choosing what training experiences to track, think about how you will report on the data. For instance:
- Which stakeholders will be interested in seeing data from the VR experience, and what information would they like to see?
- How will you us`make reports and visualizations available to those stakeholders?
- How will you tie that data into overall learning programs and/or organizational goals?
Don't have any goals or KPIs?
If you don't have a learning program objective or business goal to tie in with your L&D data, then you probably don't need reporting because you don't need virtual reality in your training.
In other words, just because something seems cool doesn’t mean you need it.
So if you don't have a reason to use virtual reality in your training programs, well, don’t.
Your time and resources are probably better spent elsewhere.
About the author
As the Director of Customer Success at Watershed, Peter Dobinson is passionate about developing connected learning ecosystems that empower organizations to deliver exceptional learning experiences. With a strong foundation in product design and management, e-learning interoperability, system integrations, user-centered design, and data analytics, he thrives in helping organizations get the most out of Watershed’s capabilities. Peter's background in learning technology means he has the knowledge and expertise needed to drive the implementation of innovative solutions such as xAPI within the L&D industry. He also works closely with clients to ensure they understand Watershed's full potential and can maximize its power to create lasting, positive impacts. In other words, Peter helps organizations unlock the true potential of learning—one ecosystem at a time.
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