I think virtual reality is super cool, and I'm excited for its potential to be used in the Learning & Development space. That said, I want to share a few things that need to be considered before going "all in" on VR.
The cost of headsets is coming down, making VR more financially accessible for organizations (though out of price still for individual use for many). On the other hand, VR is heavily dependent on immersion in a visual environment. Are the visually impaired being considered when L&D goes the VR route? What about those who suffer from motion sickness? Is there a backup plan?
#2: Time Efficiency
VR is a great solution for short sims, but I see companies proposing their VR solutions as alternatives to Zoom. This worries me because VR is much more taxing on the body. Headsets are not designed ergonomically. Your neck and face do start to hurt after extended use. Even though the headsets are "light," they do pull your face and neck down and forward. Seeing as how many companies haven't figured out how to trim down excessive meetings, employees would essentially go from being trapped in Zoom all day to having blistering cheeks from having a headset on all day. There's also the "boat" effect, where you feel like you're still kind of in VR even though you take the headset off -- like when you still feel like you're on the water after you've come off a boat.
Considering I see Storyline to essentially create presentation slides with little interaction, or used when training shouldn't be implemented at all, I do urge you to consider when VR is an appropriate solution versus when it's not. It will make you sound like you have a cutting edge learning program if you say you've implemented VR. That is true. But if you're just using VR to do everything without thought to how it's being use, then you could undermine the true value of VR. VR's key value adds are that 1) it's immersive, thus creating more emotional impact and the possibility of muscle-memory development, and 2) it's a graphic interface, meaning you don't need to situate all content in reality. For example, in reality, you can't trash $2 million equipment to show the impact of a potential mistake on the job. In VR, you can! In reality, you can't allow your management team to make inappropriate remarks to show you how that might negatively impact a colleague, but in VR, you can.
So, now I want to know...
Are you using VR at your organization, or do you plan to in the near future?
How are you accounting for accessibility, time efficiency, and purpose?
What other considerations did you have when choosing (or not choosing) VR as a solution?
Cross-posted to LinkedIn
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