Your company needs to train employees in XR.

Spatial computing provides more effective training than traditional methods.

Michael Eichenseer
Apr 8 · 3 min read
The more complex the product, the more benefit XR training may have for retail associates.

A new store in Boston just opened today, and it’s your first day as a retail sales associate. You reach and grab a nearby product perched on its display. You turn to the customer and explain features relevant to their needs. A list of top features pours from your mouth as each question asked is answered. The customer decides this is the product for them. You head to the register, and another sale is made. The process is natural to you, as you’ve been practicing for weeks.

For the past few weeks your store has been under construction and inaccessible, but you’ve been in the store many times before, and worked with many customers, virtually. A digital twin of the store was built from the same plans used to construct the real one. This twin was populated by digital versions of products, information, and people. Even as the physical store was being built, you stood inside its virtual twin practicing the art of matching people to products. By the time the real store opened you had sold virtual versions of most every product and service to a plethora of customers.

As you practiced, a team of trainers in a Midwestern city watched your progress. From time to time they hopped in and provided feedback as digital avatars, working with you on how to improve. Every metric from your time spent in the store’s digital twin provided insight into the effectiveness of your training, and when necessary your training was tweaked by your trainers from their offices miles away.

A team of individuals spread around the country worked together to ensure your success using a set of extended reality tools built to work with existing learning management systems. Your training profile was saved to the same LMS used in the days of slideshows and videos. Tests taken while immersed were scored and saved using SCORM. Your performance was monitored, tested, and honed before you ever stepped foot in the real store.

On a quest for high quality employees, companies have poured resources into training facilities, world class trainers, and learning management systems. Despite innovations on all fronts, hands-on remains the most valuable form of training, but it requires physical facilities and often repeated and expensive travel. Classroom style trainings with videos and slideshows are more scalable, but are only as effective as the amount of attention paid. With a young workforce increasingly attached to their phones, holding the attention of trainees is a growing challenge.

When training with XR, a trainee is immersed in the training environment. Digital overlays maintain a user’s attention, and even block outside stimuli entirely. Trainees can explore and interact with virtual versions of their work environment as if standing in the real thing. Metrics as simple as time spent immersed, or as complex as eye tracking data, are stored and analyzed to further enhance training.

Using XR technologies, employees can train on hardware that doesn’t yet exist, visit locations not yet constructed, and have every metric tracked and analyzed from a distance. Remote training teams can adjust training methods on the fly, jump into training environments for live role-play, and provide 1-on-1 feedback to trainees without having to physically travel.

With increasingly easy to use tools like Amazon’s Sumerian and the Unity game engine, building in house XR training has never been easier. And a growing number of studios will happily build XR training applications for your company as well.

Michael Eichenseer

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Virtual reality writer, designer, and player. Improving human fitness with immersive technologies. Founder of VRdojo.org