Virtual reality (VR) technology has become increasingly popular in recent years, with VR training and education emerging as one of its top use cases.
VR training content has the potential to provide immersive and engaging experiences for learners, with advantages like helping to improve their knowledge retention, engagement, and upskilling and reskilling.
In this blog post we will look specifically at custom VR training content—exploring when you may need to create custom VR training vs. adopting off-the-shelf content offerings, and discussing the steps it takes to create custom VR training content with a no-code content authoring tool like CoPilot Designer.
Blog post contents:
Thanks to the maturity of the VR training market, off-the-shelf VR training content libraries now exist that offer the ease of adoption characterized by e-learning content libraries, but in a highly engaging format.
These content libraries offer VR training modules on popular training needs across job roles and industries, like leadership training, communication skills training, and diversity, equity and inclusion training.
Off-the-shelf VR content content libraries are now an available option on the market.
Benefits of off-the-shelf VR training content include:
While off-the-shelf content certainly has its benefits and use cases, there are also situations where content customization is called for. For example, training sales team members on pitching the value of specific products, onboarding for specific job roles, or delivering DE&I training with a company’s unique values and culture conveyed in the training content.
That is where custom VR training comes in.
Related: VR Training Platform Overview Guide - Talespin
Custom VR training content can be created through VR application development efforts, or the use of content creation tools. As immersive learning has grown in popularity in recent years, solutions for the latter are now available on the market.
These tools make it possible to design and publish interactive immersive learning modules featuring 3D graphics, simulated role play with virtual humans, and virtual environments—all accomplished with drag and drop tools and no coding necessary.
Talespin's no code VR content creation tool CoPilot Designer is an example, enabling learning designers to create and deploy scenario-based VR learning experiences. Now companies are empowered to create customized training at scale at lower costs than ever before—which is particularly useful as individuals face growing skills gaps and the need for large scale workforce reskilling increases.
No-code VR training content creation tools have made creating custom VR training easier and more affordable.
Custom immersive learning content can be created with attributes that include the following:
However, even with the right tools, creating custom VR training content requires careful planning and execution. In this blog post, we will outline the steps required to create your own VR learning modules for any training use case.
Let’s take a look at the steps involved in creating a custom immersive learning module.
In the process of creating a custom virtual reality training module, learning experience design is the first step you should take.
Learning experience design entails defining the learning objectives employees will aim to accomplish within your module, key learning points that will be used to measure those objectives, and predetermining the skills employees will apply while completing the learning objectives.
You will use these elements of your learning experience design as the basis for all of your other design decisions while creating your VR training module.
Related: The Anatomy of a VR Training Module – Explaining the Key Characteristics of VR Training Experiences
Before beginning to create VR learning content, it is important to define clear learning objectives. This involves identifying what the learners need to know or be able to do after completing the VR learning experience, and should be aligned to your top level training use case.
This “Psychological Safety” VR training module had predefined learning objectives that informed the design of the module’s narrative dialogue and virtual human role play.
For example, in this “Psychological Safety” VR learning module the learning objectives are:
Defining learning objectives helps to ensure that the content is relevant and effective, determines the skills a learning module will focus on teaching, and provides a clear focus for the rest of the learning design process.
Key learning points are learning elements that will be tied to specific decision points that employees will face within simulated conversations in VR. These key learning points represent specific concepts a learner can demonstrate proficiency in.
Examples of key learning points you could include in a VR training simulation include:
As you can see, learning points are actionable and tangible, making it possible to evaluate whether or not learners successfully navigated key decisions within a VR training module. These key learning points will be accounted for in the narrative design of your VR training module (see section 4 of this blog post).
Determining the skills a module will teach is another critical aspect of learning experience design for a custom VR learning module.
Skills represent the specific abilities required to complete a particular task. Now that you’ve defined your learning objectives and key learning points, you’ll be able to tie skills to each of your learner’s decisions.
Related: Level Up Your Scenario-Based Learning With VR
With learning objectives defined, the next step is to select a virtual environment to use for the VR training experience. This environment should support the learning objectives thematically. For example, if the learning objectives involve teaching workplace communication skills, choosing a virtual environment depicting an office space would be a nice fit.
A no-code content authoring tool like Copilot Designer offers a library of 3D environments that you can choose from so you don’t have to spend the time or money to create your own.
These include universally applicable virtual training environments like office spaces and home offices, as well as industry specific environments like medical facilities, an auto body garage, and a warehouse.
Another important aspect of setting the scene for your custom VR training module is choosing the virtual human characters that will be present in the simulation. These virtual characters can be programmed to serve as role play partners, guides, and mentors for learners—we will cover narrative design in the next step of this blog post.
No-code content authoring tools like CoPilot Designer offer a library of virtual human characters you can use to create custom VR training simulations.
Similar to the way Copilot Designer has a library of virtual environments to choose from, it also has a library of virtual characters. You can choose from a range of diverse characters with different ages, genders, ethnicities, and clothing styles.
With the basic visual components of your custom VR training module now determined, it’s time to write the narrative dialogue for the simulated conversations that will take place in your learning module.
CoPilot Designer features a “Flow Editor” where you can use a node-based authoring system to write branched narratives. This includes determining the dialogue options learners will have to choose from in the simulated conversations, as well as the responses their virtual human role play partners will speak in return.
The Flow Editor is also where your key learning points and associated skills from the learning experience design phase come into play. In CoPilot Designer, for example, you can assign skills after every decision node by using what is called a “scoring node.” Scoring nodes assess whether or not a learner applied a specific skill at each of the key learning points that you identified, and in turn, enables you to determine whether or not a learner is appropriately applying the skills that your custom VR training module is designed to teach.
With a narrative dialogue that is designed with specific skills and learning objectives in mind, you will end up with a branded narrative that serves as the framework for the VR training simulation that employees will engage in.
With learning objectives, designated skills, and the narrative dialogue all completed for your VR training module, the next piece of the puzzle is to bring your module to life through animation.
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 script will have animation applied to it.
The Performance Editor features a “3D 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.
After testing and refining the VR training content, publishing is the last step in your custom VR training module creation journey. 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
To create a VR training, you will follow a learning experience design process that typically involves steps like identifying learning objectives, writing a narrative design for the VR simulation, and determining the visual and technical elements like 3D graphics and building the VR application itself.
No-code VR training content creation tools like Copilot Designer collapse these steps into one platform. The platform offers a range of tools for building immersive learning content modules, including a node based editing system, a library of pre-made virtual environments and virtual human characters, and publishing tools for publishing content to VR HMDs like the Meta Quest.
The cost of creating a VR training can vary based on the method chosen to create or purchase the training. For example, creating custom VR training content with a development effort can be expensive, as the process will involve 3D asset creation and VR application development.
However, the VR training options available on the market have matured as the technology has become more popular in the learning and development industry. For example, no-code VR training content creation tools like CoPilot Designer, and off-the-shelf VR training content libraries have brought these costs down significantly. VR training can now be purchased just like any other SaaS platform.
Creating custom VR training content can be a powerful tool for improving training effectiveness and engagement. By following these steps, you can create effective VR training experiences that meet the specific needs and objectives of your learning and development programs.
To bring your immersive learning programs to the next level, check out the Talespin blog for further analysis, updates, and Metaverse intel.