VR Analytics: What you Need to Know
VR companies like to tell you about fancy features, analytics are no exception to this. If you’re shopping for VR training for your company, you’ve probably heard a lot about advanced metrics that will be available to you. Eye movement, heart rate, body heat, and so on. Cool, right? Getting the data on these things is presented as self-evidently good. Why wouldn’t you want more data, collected in crazier ways?
The truth is, more data is not always better, analytics are only useful when they support your goals. If I’m training you to follow a procedure so that you don’t compromise materials in a lab, I don’t care where your eyeballs are. I care that you don’t ruin everything.
Don’t get me wrong. Occasionally, these analytics are actually useful. Sometimes, for example, VR training can serve as exposure therapy for high-pressure situations. Recently, we were working with the Air Force on a mid-air refueling simulation. An inherent part of the training was making sure that prospective pilots weren’t freaking out. And in that specific scenario, heart rate is a useful measurement of how calm a student is in an environment. The more stressed out a student, the higher their heart rate and the more likely they are to make a mistake.
It's really easy to collect data on, and setup analytics for the wrong things. Things that aren’t related to your learning goals or training outcomes. So what are VR analytics really good for?
The true advantage of VR analytics is you can get the precision, easy collectibility, and statistical outcomes of a written test along with the benefits of hands on training. In real life, it would be difficult - or at least prohibitively costly - to monitor 20 surgeons dissecting 10 real cadavers each, gathering information and data about each stage of the process.
With VR training, you can do this because the analytics will give you insight into precise tasks the trainees aren't accomplishing correctly. And, as in a multiple-choice test, you can see where everyone went wrong at a glance. Say the liver is particularly difficult. There’s a high failure rate at that stage. Good to know! You can then use that information to direct further training—make sure trainees spend more time on that portion of the dissection.
None of that necessarily requires biometric data. Instead, it requires setting up the analytics properly, and being attuned to the critical components of any training scenario.
Our Approach to VR Analytics
Thus, our focus is to make that as easy as possible. When we work with clients, we set up a custom dashboard that displays all of the most relevant data. This dashboard can be modified on an ongoing basis, as your VR journey teaches you more about which data you should be looking at.
As this is being set up, we encourage you to resist the urge to ask what you can track: there are a million things you could look at, and the vast majority of them are irrelevant. Instead, we encourage you to be in tight communication with the relevant SMEs, starting with only the data that gives you more insight into your goals, and refining from there. That’s when your VR training will shine, not when you’re looking at a long list of features and wondering what you can get away with using.
It’s fun to know what the heart rate of your trainees is. 74 BPM—very nice! However, it’s more fun to know where their crucial missteps are, so they don’t crash the plane. We’d be happy to help you use analytics to achieve that reasonable business goal. To find out how, click the button below.