VR training is a topic you’ve likely heard about. Aside from attracting interest because VR is innovative, it’s been tried and tested in recent years by companies across industries and proven to deliver great learning outcomes for employees and students alike.
The clear advantages of VR training quickly led to demand for VR training modules to be easier to create, with VR application development, 3D asset creation, content distribution to VR headsets, and other complexities blocking the learning and development industry from adopting VR training at scale.
In this blog post we’re going to go over the solution to that problem: no-code custom VR training content creation tools. These tools make it possible for anyone to create VR training modules for any topic—no more coding, no more 3D asset creation, and no more barriers to entry.
First, we’ll cover some background on no-code content creation tools and explain how the trend has arrived in the VR training industry, and then we’ll get into the details of the features of no-code VR training content creation tools that make them so easy to use—if you want to jump right into the overview of custom VR training content creation tools, feel free to skip this section and jump to section 2.
Blog Post Overview:
No-code software platforms have become a big topic and fueled the rise of the creator economy in industries ranging from website development to video editing and graphic design. These tools lower the barrier to entry for disciplines and activities that were previously difficult to do, eliminating the need for more complex tools and skill sets and making it possible for anyone to be able to create content in the respective format the tool is designed to create.
For example tools like Webflow, Wix and Squarespace have made website creation easy for anyone, with drag and drop tools and the elimination of the need to know how to code in order to create websites.
Canva has accomplished a similar goal with its browser-based design platform that makes designing assets like social media graphics, presentations, and websites easy thanks to drag and drop tools and free templates—these tools lowered the barrier to entry for anyone to be able to design beautiful assets.
This same trend is occurring in the VR training industry. The industry had a problem: VR training had clear ROI and there was high demand for adopting it as a learning modality, but doing so was complicated.
Just a few years ago you needed to have a large budget and access to skilled talent in areas like VR application development (engineers), 3D artists to produce virtual environments and assets, and animators to design the user interactions within VR training experiences.
This created a significant barrier to entry for reaping the benefits of VR training, blocking many organizations from adopting VR for its workforces, and preventing learning designers, instructional designers, and learning and development professionals across industries from being able to create VR training content.
No-code VR training content creation tools like CoPilot Designer have made it possible for anyone to create and publish VR content.
Enter: no-code custom VR training content creation tools. Tools like CoPilot Designer are built to bring the same ease of use to VR training content creation that the aforementioned tools brought to web development and graphic design.
Its drag and drop tools for learning experience design, animation, publishing tools, and free 3D asset libraries eliminate the need for coding, animation, and asset production in order to create a VR training module.
Let’s take a look at the key components of a no-code VR training content creation tool and explain the role they play in helping people create immersive learning experiences.
Writing the narrative dialogue is one of the foundational elements of a VR training module, and one of the key components of a VR training content creation tool. In CoPilot Designer, the narrative design tool is called the “Flow Editor,” which is where you write branching narratives which serve as the foundation for a VR training simulation.
The first key step in creating a custom VR training module is narrative design. For a soft skills training module, narrative design will determine the structure of the virtual role play scenarios learners will engage in in VR.
A no-code platform like CoPilot Designer features what is called a “Flow Editor” where narrative designers can use a drag and drop editing interface to write dialogue sequences, designing conversations that are aligned to the learning objectives and skills that a module is intended to teach or assess.
This includes writing the dialogue options employees can speak during simulated role play, as well as writing the dialogue that virtual human characters will speak in return. These dialogue sequences will lead to a design for a branching narrative that employees will be tasked with navigating in a learning module.
Using a node-based authoring system, you can write dialogue nodes for the learner or virtual character, as well as create other node types, like scoring nodes that track key learning points and the application of specific skills.
With a component like a Flow Editor, no-code VR content creation tools make the learning design process fast and empower learning designers to create effective VR training content.
Another key component is the virtual environment asset library. Virtual environments are where VR training “takes place,” and are the VR equivalent of a training classroom or the setting in which an e-learning video takes place. The environment is the setting for a VR simulation, and can be thought of as where employees “go” when they put on a VR headset.
Prior to no-code content creation tools, these environments needed to be custom-created, requiring the expense of outsourcing 3D model creation, or necessitating having that skillset in-house.
CoPilot Designer, for example, features a library of pre-made virtual environments that can be used to create custom VR training modules. This free asset library includes virtual training environments ranging from office spaces to classrooms to industry specific facilities like medical facilities, warehouses, and storefronts.
3D virtual environments are where VR training modules take place, and represent the virtual location learners can explore during learning modules.
Asset libraries like this one solve a big challenge for VR training content creation, as you can select thematically relevant training environments that support learning goals without the need to create them from scratch. For example, you could use a virtual office environment to create a module teaching sales skills. Or you could use a home office environment to create a VR training module designed to teach Virtual Leadership skills related to hybrid work.
Virtual human characters play a critical role in VR soft skills training modules. These characters serve as virtual role play partners for difficult workplace conversations, for example, or mentors that coach employees through training simulations.
Previously these characters would have needed to be created as custom 3D assets, requiring a 3D design resource or an outsourcing budget for a 3D artist or vendor.
A key feature of a no-code VR training content creation platform like CoPilot Designer is a free asset library of virtual human characters—this negates the need to create custom characters yourself.
This preview of an Empathetic Persuasion VR training module showcases virtual human characters being used as role play partners and training coaches.
The virtual human asset library features a range of characters and attire, making it possible to design simulations ranging from workplace conversations featuring virtual characters in business casual clothing to healthcare training scenarios featuring virtual humans dressed as doctors or nurses.
With the ability to pair any character in the library with different clothing and voice templates (read more on voice during the animation section), you have the power of custom virtual human avatars without the time or cost required to create them.
Designing the mannerisms, speech, and body language or virtual characters is simplified by no-code tools that have a draft and drop animation system. This eliminates the need for animation skills or animation software when creating custom VR training content.
Animation is arguably the coolest part of a no-code VR training content creation tool, and that is because its where your immersive learning experience comes to life,
Depending upon the content creation tool you are using, this part of the process may differ. In CoPilot Designer specifically, there is a part of the tool called the “Performance Editor” where you can use a drag and drop interface to assign animations and emotions to the virtual characters that match your narrative dialogue.
For example, if the dialogue node you wrote is a line that would typically be spoken with anger or a level of frustration in the real world, you can add an animation preset for those emotions in the Performance Editor. By the time you are done with this step, each piece of dialogue from your VR training module’s narrative design will have a corresponding animation to go with it in the final VR training experience.
The Performance Editor features a preview tool where you can watch your animations and make adjustments in real-time.
The Performance Editor is also where you can assign voices to your virtual characters by selecting from the available voice library, or uploading your own custom voice over.
If we zoom out a level, the combination of the narrative design feature (Flow Editor) and the animation tools (Performance Editor) enable you to write custom VR training scripts, and to bring those scripts to life through custom animation and voice over. The result? Emotionally realistic immersive learning experiences that engage learners.
After you’ve created a custom VR training module, publishing it is the last step to make it ready for employees to consume. CoPilot Designer enables you to seamlessly publish learning modules to VR HMDs like the Meta Quest, or to desktop devices for learners to stream in their browsers.
Learn more about publishing and distributing VR training modules to learners: Distributing Immersive Learning Content: An Overview Of XR Devices, 2D Devices And LMS Integration For Immersive Learning
After reading about all of these features, you might be wondering what a VR training module created with a platform like CoPilot Designer looks like. In order to show you, we’ve listed a few examples of VR learning modules created with CoPilot Designer that exemplify the features covered in this blog post, like virtual human avatars, virtual characters, and scenarios that reflect narrative design.
This “Empathetic Persuasion” VR training module is an example of a module created with CoPilot Designer.
These examples showcase some of the possibilities for the content that can be created with a no-code VR training content creation tool.
You can create your own VR content by using virtual reality content creation tools. For example, CoPilot Designer is a no-code custom VR training content creation tool designed to help anyone create their own immersive learning modules.
Content created with a tool like this can be created with no coding or animation skills required, and enables you to publish VR content to VR headsets like the Meta Quest. Tools like this present themselves as an alternative to custom application development efforts that can be expensive and complex.
Previously requiring a custom application development process, you can now create VR for education using no-code VR training content creation tools. Similar to the way no-code website development tools let users create custom websites without needing to learn how to code, custom VR training content creation platforms like CoPilot Designer make it possible for everyone to create their own VR training content for education.
Tools like this offer virtual environments, virtual avatars, and narrative design tools for customizing educational VR training content.
Video content creation is one method for creating VR training experiences. Platforms for VR video content creation usually feature a 360-degree camera capable of filming 360 videos. Those videos are then edited using post production software.
While these solutions are popular, CG content creation tools present an alternative with benefits such as the ability to edit content later, which is not possible with pre-recorded video without another filmmaking session. These tools can also be more affordable thanks to features like free asset libraries of virtual characters and environments that can be used to design learning modules.
You can find VR content in several ways, including adopting an off-the-shelf VR training content library, or creating your own custom VR training content. Off-the-shelf VR training content libraries like this one from Talespin feature pre-made VR learning modules that cover common skills development needs across industries, such as leadership and communication skills training. These content libraries can be used for use cases like employee onboarding, manager upskilling and reskilling, and leadership development.
Custom VR training content is a great learning tool, enabling you to create immersive learning scenarios for any use case, and to customize them with subject matter and nomenclature that is best aligned to your learning goals and use cases. With the no-code platform revolution having arrived in the VR training industry with platforms like CoPilot Designer, you now have a low barrier to entry for creating your own custom VR training content.