Questions To Ask Before Considering 3D Interactive Virtual Training

JIP0046764The use of 3D Interactive Virtual Training is certainly compelling – it’s ready when, where and how you want it; it’s made to your specifications; and it can save your training team a significant amount of time and money.

Is it for everyone? We’re going to help you sort that out.
Here are questions and concerns we typically hear, along with answers to help guide your thinking:

1. Why wouldn’t we just train our technicians live and in person?
Training live and in person requires resource coordination and that comes with a comparatively hefty price tag. You’ll need technicians and instructors available at the same time and in the same place for in-person training – and you’ll need equipment available to train on (unless you’re considering merely talking at them about the topic, which is never a good idea!). If your trainees and trainers are all centrally located and your equipment is cheaply available, then in-person training may still work. But if they’re not, you should consider alternatives for cost and efficiency sake.

2. What is the cumulative cost of our training (rough order of magnitude) the way we conduct it today?
Consider your cumulative training costs today, from creating through implementation and all its associated costs. New technology sometimes seems like an additional expense till we realize how much we’re spending on traditional training methods and how it would augment or replace a part of that.

 3. What would be the life of this interactive training course and how many users could take it annually?
The life of the course depends on how often your training will change – and even then, it can be updated. And the amount of users that can benefit from this training is limitless, really – constrained only by the extent of your implementation. Amortizing the cost of the development over the life of the course and number of users is an important exercise to run through, as it will help prove the business case and ROI (see #6 and #7 where we speak to maximizing the life of your training and ROI, specifically).

4. We are already conducting classroom instructor-led training – but what is missing from the existing course? Do the students seem engaged or do they appear bored or like they’re being forced to sit through it?
Our clients report (and our experience bears this out) that students demand more participation and the ability to explore, but when taking instructor-led courses this isn’t usually an option as courses are pretty rigidly designed. Instructors want students to practice what they’re taught, as ‘Learning by Doing’ is the most effective way to retain information – and this is especially true when it comes to Operation & Maintenance procedures, but a one size (or one pace) fits all approach doesn’t suit all trainees.

And in keeping with the field technician saying, ‘If there is no practice, there is no training,’ 3D Interactive Training gives techs the ability to practice and explore in ways that maximize individual learning.

5. Do we want to distribute this as self-paced lessons?
We often hear that training managers want the ability to refresh their courses and have students practice at appropriate intervals, since training is not something you do just once.

6. Do we have a mobile and/or web strategy?
A common answer we hear is, “no, but we know we’ll need one in two years.” To avoid paying for this twice, our team at Heartwood makes sure mobile and Web are part of your training and technology roadmap, and not just an afterthought. So even if you don’t need it today or your customer is not demanding it, you’ll be prepared for what the consumer world already knows.

7. How do we calculate ROI to justify a business case?
Every scenario is different, so we have a separate post where we explore some examples that may assist in crafting a business caseSecuring Training Budgets With A Better Business Case.

3D Interactivity looks expensive – and possibly unnecessary at first – much like early cars must have looked to folks used to walking from point A to B. But in both situations, once the time and money saved per trip (or training) is amortized over the life of usage, it is not only affordable, but the best way to arrive at point B efficiently.

8. Is the objective to impart knowledge (training) or to assess the level of retention (testing and evaluation) – or both?
Our customers often require testing and evaluation as part of the course, so we architect the application in such a way that one leads into another. This way, users are not merely tested using multiple-choice questions (which are not that effective), they are required to actually perform the procedure themselves (whether on a PC or tablet). From there, we can collect data about mistakes made, about hints requested and pass/fail results for each step in the training. This provides valuable feedback that helps improve the training while training the users!

9. Would we want to re-purpose this into some sort of job performance aid or OJT (on-the-job) training?
If the answer is yes, then we have exciting news! Please contact us and ask us about our ‘Checklist App’, specifically designed to assist technicians on the field, while they are performing procedures. It uses voice and gesture recognition and will reduce errors by walking them through the steps live.

Are there any questions we missed? Please feel free to reach out. And we are always happy to elaborate further on any of the points detailed above as well.

And be sure to read our post covering the flip side of this equation: Questions To Ask 3D Interactive Virtual Training Vendors.

Demos of 3D Interactive Virtual Training can be viewed here.