Instructional designer using laptop

How Can Instructional Designers Build VR Training Experiences?

With more and more companies using immersive training on a daily basis, instructional designers all around the world need to upskill themselves to make sure that they know how to build VR training experience for their needs. Luckily, there are more options today than in the past.

What are VR training experiences?

Immersive training or virtual reality (VR) training places individuals in an interactive learning environment, either physically or virtually, to replicate possible scenarios or to teach particular skills or techniques. Simulations, role play, and virtual learning environments can be considered immersive learning.

There are several methods on how you can create virtual reality training experiences. One way of doing this is by using computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create an imaginary world. Another way is to use 360-degree media to capture snapshots of the real world and turn it into interactive virtual reality experiences. They both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

What do instructional designers do?

Instructional designers are paramount in the process of learning. They are tasked with redesigning courses, developing entire courses or curriculums and creating training materials, such as manuals and guides. The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) defines the responsibilities of instructional designers as “the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management and evaluation of processes and resources for learning.”

Essentially, instructional designers implement theory and research processes to design and implement learning materials that produce greater outcomes for a specific group of people.

Looking at a video editing program

How can instructional designers build immersive training scenarios?

Let’s assume that as an instructional designer you want to go down the route of using 360-degree media to build you VR training modules. This is usually a faster and more affordable way in getting your feet wet. It also delivers results faster, but it does limit the trainees movement.

You can use open source solutions

If you are more tech-savvy and HTML don’t scare you, you might consider using some sort of framework like A-Frame. A-Frame is a web framework for building virtual reality (VR) experiences. It is based on top of HTML, making it simple to get started. As an independent open source project, A-Frame has grown to be one of the largest VR communities. That said, you will need to invest a lot of time if you want to add more complex interactions.

You can use dedicated authoring platforms

Another way to do it would be to use a 360-degree authoring tool like Viar360. Viar360 is one of the most intuitive immersive training platforms on the market. It allows you to build self-learning training scenarios or host multi-user group sessions. You are able to build an immersive training experience in 4 simple steps:

  1. Upload the media files to Viar360. Create a new folder in your media library and upload 360-degree and regular media files.
  2. Create a new project and add your 360-medial files. Each file you add will represent one individual VR scene.
  3. Add additional media files and interactions in each individual VR scene. Open each scene and use Viar360’s editor to add additional media files and interactions inside your 360 scenes.
  4. Publish the experience and download the VR app to view it on your VR headset. Once you login to the app you will be able to play the VR experience inside your VR headset.