GUIDE

The Ultimate Guide to VR Training & Spatial Computing

An in-depth look into the realm and usage of immersive learning technologies, simulating real-world environments, spatial computing and offering an immersive platform for learners to engage!

Ultimate Guide to VR Training

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Table of Contents

Introduction to Virtual Reality Training & Spatial Computing

Another year in the proverbial metaverse has arrived, and we see no slowing down for an industry where hardware (and software) is still in its relative infancy. With extended reality (XR) headsets growing in adoption, we are starting to see more robust enterprise use cases. With players like Apple diving head first into the fray this year, this could be a breakthrough year for immersive technology.

In this ultimate guide to VR training, we will take a deep dive into the world of immersive learning technology, specifically extended reality (XR) and how it’s being utilized in meaningful ways around the world for a variety of applications. The blend of both virtual and augmented reality (XR or more recently spatial computing) allows for enhanced learning opportunities across many different sectors, learning outcomes, and use cases.

You will learn exactly what VR training is, why it is an effective tool, the differences between XR and Spatial Computing, as well as where it’s being utilized today. We will also take a look at both the hardware and software options available and provide the reader with some key takeaways for successfully implementing XR technology within their organization.

So strap on your wearables, plug in your PC-powered optics, and read on for a wild ride into the world of immersive learning for 2024.

introduction ultimate guide to vr training

What is Virtual Reality Training?

Virtual reality training is a form of training that uses technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), extended reality (XR), and other immersive technologies to simulate real-world environments and scenarios. It gives learners a safe and immersive way to learn and practice the skills they need to succeed in their roles.

Using virtual reality for training has tremendous value in simulating hard to replicate scenarios & can provide a number of benefits for trainees and instructors alike.  There is a widespread application across a variety of industries and the computational power of the VR hardware is only getting better and better over time.

Overall VR training is an effective tool for teaching complex concepts, enabling learners to experience the consequences of their decisions in a safe, simulated environment. It can also be used to teach soft skills, such as communication and leadership, as well as to increase safety awareness and compliance.

Why Use Spatial Computing for Immersive Learning?

Spatial computing has many advantages over traditional training methods. It allows learners to experience, practice, and develop skills in a safe, simulated environment. This enables learners to make mistakes and learn from them without any real-world consequences. Think for a second if you are working with radioactive waste or on a nuclear reactor — would you want to make a mistake on the job that could have terribly harmful consequences? VR training can also aid in hard to access places by bringing a digital double of those hard to reach places to a virtual world.

Immersive learning also encourages active learning, allowing learners to “learn by doing” and develop their skills through practice. VR training also offers a more engaging learning experience for the end user, as learners are immersed in the environment and can interact with virtual objects almost as if they were in the real world. This leads to a much more memorable learning experience and content digested during that period will be recalled more effectively, creating a more impactful learning outcome.

vr training course development

Typical Process for VR Training Course Development

Furthermore, VR training is highly scalable and cost-effective. It can be used to train large groups of learners without the need to invest in physical equipment or travel to remote locations. And, because it’s digital, it can easily be updated to reflect changes in the real world.

With advancements in artificial intelligence, the medium of virtual reality growth is only going to continue to evolve rapidly, and while it may be hard to predict just how quickly this sector will grow, we will do our best in this guide to outline all the essentials for you.

Comparing Options for VR Training

There are a number of different virtual reality training options in terms of usability available. The most common are as follows:

standalone vr device
Standalone VR HMD's
pc powered vr training
PC-Powered VR HMD's
full body vr simulator
Full Body Simulators

Tools & Technology Leveraged in VR Training

In addition to the platforms mentioned above, there are several tools and innovative equipment available to support VR training simulations. These include the following:

vision portal analytics

Analytics Tools

These tools provide insights into learners’ performance and enable organizations to measure the effectiveness of the training. Typically trainers will measure interaction design and object manipulation during a training simulation. This data can then be integrated and synced to a learning management system (LMS). Here at VR Vision we’ve developed the Vision Portal for scalable enterprise VR training course management, administration and deployment.

mobile device management

Mobile Device Management (MDMs)

These platforms allow easy use when managing a fleet of devices on a network. Allows remote managing AR & VR devices, deploying content, and controlling what users can see and do in the headset. There are two leaders in the VR MDM space: ArborXR and ManageXR

360 video training

360 stereoscopic Cameras

These are used to capture real-world images and videos, which can then be used to create virtual environments and scenarios. Often a 360 stereoscopic video camera(s) is used to capture and replicate a real-world environment. The Insta 360 Pro Titan camera pictured in the example here is being used to film a variety of safety protocols in a factory setting. This allows us to get a fully immersive reproduction of real world job processes that can then be replicated for a virtual simulation. For more information about check out our page on 360 Video Production.

motion tracking

Motion Tracking

This technology enables learners to interact with virtual objects and environments naturally. With full body motion tracking we can gauge where the trainee is moving, how they are moving, and what corrections would possibly be needed for the learning outcome. As motion tracking evolves we will see headsets use more cameras and sensors to allow for better optics on hand movements, interactions, and eventually full body feedback.

haptic feedback

Haptic Feedback

Haptic gloves & feedback suits exist for the learning to wear during training to simulate various effects that would happen in the real world. An example of this could be a construction worker getting electrocuted during training, the haptic suit would provide force feedback to the wearer. <a style="color:#0056b3" href="https://haptx.com/" target="_blank">HaptX</a> gloves for virtual reality and robotics — a leader in the tactile haptic feedback for VR training space.

Virtual Reality Content Production Options

360 Stereoscopic Video
360 stereoscopic video

360 stereoscopic video is a type of video technology that allows a user to experience a three-dimensional or 3D visual environment. Basically its six 200° lens cameras that are combined to film scenes in a full 360° aesthetic. It is also achieved by capturing video from two cameras that are set apart at a certain distance and then combining the images from the two cameras to produce a single 3D video. This 3D video can be used to view an object or scene from different angles.

The most common application of 360 stereoscopic videos is in VR training scenarios. By using this type of technology, instructors can provide a realistic, immersive training experience to their students. The video will provide depth and realism to the user to make the experience feel similar to the real world equivalent.

By allowing individuals to view an environment from different angles and distances, they can better understand how to react to a given situation. In addition, they can learn how to navigate a space and interact with objects safely and efficiently.
This type of training can be invaluable in helping individuals prepare for real-world situations.

Immersion

360-degree stereoscopic video provides an incredibly immersive experience that closely mimics the real world. This allows trainees to practice in virtual environments that closely resemble the actual conditions they will encounter on the job.

Interactivity

360-degree stereoscopic video allows trainees to interact with the virtual environment in a way that is not possible with traditional 2D video. This provides a more engaging and interactive training experience.

Safety

With 360-degree stereoscopic video, trainees can practice in virtual environments that are not possible or safe to replicate in the real world. This includes hazardous environments, such as industrial settings or emergency response scenarios.

Cost-effectiveness

360-degree stereoscopic video can be more cost effective than traditional training methods, such as live simulations or on-the-job training. This is because the virtual environments can be reused multiple times and are not subject to wear and tear.

Flexibility

360-degree stereoscopic video can be easily customized to meet specific training needs. This allows for tailored training programs that are more effective for individual trainees or specific industries.

Computer Generated (CGI) Simulations
cgi vr training

CGI, or computer-generated imagery, is the use of computer graphics to create realistic images, animations, and simulations. When combined with VR technology, CGI simulations can create highly realistic and immersive virtual environments or digital twins that are ideal for training purposes.

Realism

CGI simulations can create highly realistic virtual environments that closely mimic real-world scenarios. This allows trainees to practice in environments that closely resemble the actual conditions they will encounter on the job. Many times these scenarios are digital twins of real-world environments and job processes.

Safety

With CGI simulations, trainees can practice in virtual environments that are not possible or safe to replicate in the real world. This includes dangerous environments, such as industrial settings or emergency response scenarios. An example would be working with electricity, in VR you mitigate risk entirely by using a virtual environment.

Cost-effectiveness

CGI simulations can be more cost effective than traditional training methods, such as live simulations or on-the-job training. This is because the virtual environments can be reused multiple times and are not subject to wear and tear.

Flexibility

CGI simulations can be easily customized to meet specific training needs. This allows for tailored training programs that are more effective for individual trainees or specific industries

Scalability

CGI simulations can be used to train a large number of trainees at once, making it an ideal solution for organizations with a high volume of trainees. For true scalability there would need to be a management and administration solution in place for seamless adoption and roll out, we look at solving this issue with the Vision Portal.

Single Player & Multiplayer Courses

CGI, or computer-generated imagery, is the use of computer graphics to create realistic images, animations, and simulations. When combined with VR technology, CGI simulations can create highly realistic and immersive virtual environments or digital twins that are ideal for training purposes.

surgical-medical-vr-training

Single Player Course Modes

These are the standard and more widely recognized VR courses. There are typically three modes, which can sometimes be combined either entirely or just for specific functions. For example, hazard identification training allows users to learn about hazards while also being simultaneously evaluated on their performance.

Toyota Material Handling Core Electric Forklift Part Identification VR Training
Read the full case study available here.

Computer Guided

The system will provide visual highlights, voice-overs, and other user interface elements to guide the user through their training.

Non-guided

The trainee will be given a task to complete. They will have to know each step in the procedure and follow through without any assistance.

Evaluation

Similar to the Non-guided mode, the system will not provide guidance on completing tasks. The trainee’s interactions with the course, including mistakes, completion time, and other metrics, will be tracked.”

Multiplayer Course Modes

Multiuser (multiplayer/metaverse) courses are a new industry tool for collaborative learning and knowledge sharing, but designing courses for them can be much more complicated due to factors such as multi-user behaviour and evaluation systems. There are three main modes of multiplayer VR training.

Instructor led

The trainer can start a course, assign a PIN to lock it, and the LMS will send a notification for the course schedule along with the PIN. This way, other members of the organization cannot join the shared course. The instructor will then proceed to go through procedures and training in VR while the trainees have a limited range of interactions depending on the course design.

Co-Op

Similar to Trainer Lead mode, Co-op allows multiple users to join the same shared virtual reality course. The main difference here is that two users will collaborate to complete tasks while others (if any) can only observe. A great example of this is one person operating a crane while another person at the base is assigning loads.

Open Sandbox

In this mode, there are a few limitations on what users can do while in the same course. Trainees can pass tools to each other and complete tasks in any way or order they choose. This is the closest to an interactive digital twin that can be created.

Persistency, Saved States & The "Metaverse"

The concept of the “Metaverse” lacks a definitive consensus. It is recommended to avoid delving too deeply into its potential and instead concentrate on feasible options that are both stable and scalable.

This subject is closely related to the preceding topic, “Multi-User Course Modes.” It is worth noting that persistent VR modes are necessary for more advanced multiplayer courses. This indicates that the state of a course must be perpetually saved and accessible to any user with the proper credentials.

For instance, if a trainer arranges tools in a particular configuration, that configuration should persist for any user who joins the course at any point in the future. Think of this as saved games in the video game sense, except for immersive learning. The ability to have people save progress and pick it up where they left off at a later date can really elevate a learning curriculum.

Choosing VR Hardware for Your Training Needs

VR training has evolved from basic videos to interactive courses and shared virtual worlds. Hardware choice depends on specific needs, such as high-resolution visuals for surgeries or other priorities for construction work.

VR Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs)

These are what you normally think of when you are considering using immersive technology for a learning outcome or experience. There are quite a few options available on the market today, and we’re not going to cover all of them, but here’s an idea of the best options currently available as of writing this guide (March 2023).

meta quest 3
Meta Quest 2 & 3

CGI simulations can create highly realistic virtual environments that closely mimic real-world scenarios. This allows trainees to practice in environments that closely resemble the actual conditions they will encounter on the job. Many times these scenarios are digital twins of real-world environments and job processes.

One of the drawbacks is that the battery life is limited, and it may not have the same level of graphics as PC-based VR headsets. Even still it remains the best choice for mass adoption in terms of cost/quality/ease of use.

htc vive
HTC Vive Focus 3

This standalone VR headset offers high-end graphics and precise motion tracking. It is in many ways very similar to Quest 2, however, there are some downsides and key differences. It also comes with controllers that allow for a more immersive experience.

It is great for gaming and applications that require a high level of graphics and precision. Again cost will be a factor as this headset is 3x the cost of the Quest 2 and in our tests underperformed.

htc vive xr elite
HTC Vive XR Elite

The XR Elite will have a high-performance display utilizing advanced optics and AI technology to provide more accurate representations of environments. It also will feature a 7-camera array for better tracking and interactions with pinpoint precision.

HTC believes the XR Elite will be the future of immersive learning as they’ve designed a lightweight and portal device to compete with the likes of Meta’s Quest range of headsets.

Extended Reality and Spatial Computing’s Future

Mixed reality headsets like Meta Quest Pro and Apple Vision Pro combine VR and AR capabilities, shaping the evolving landscape. Combining the quality of Hololens with VR capabilities can enhance simulation experiences, driving the development of extended reality.

VR Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs)

These are what you normally think of when you are considering using immersive technology for a learning outcome or experience. There are quite a few options available on the market today, and we’re not going to cover all of them, but here’s an idea of the best options currently available as of writing this guide (March 2023).

meta quest pro
Meta Quest Pro

The Quest Pro boasts an array of features that set it apart from other devices. It offers a 5K resolution display, a wide field of view, low-latency tracking, and controllers that offer realistic haptic feedback. The Meta Quest Pro headset is also compatible with many devices, making it a great choice for anyone looking to enjoy a high-quality VR experience.

This is not without downsides..the much much costlier older brother of the Meta Quest 2 is simply for enthusiasts as many of the features simply will be under utilized. Even more important to consider is when looking at the VR training scale of adoption, many times it just doesn’t m