The Cost of Virtual Reality Training
Buyers buy VR training as projects
Virtual Reality has the potential to replace real life experiences with near-real experiences while maintaining high quality by providing virtual environments to gather near-real experiences.
Today everyone thinks of a Virtual Reality training as a new project that has to be made.
Partially because VR technology is "new" which most departments have yet to explore.
Thus making their first step with an allocated budget, seems like the right way to do.
Virtual Reality is already a matured technology, yet compared to other training technologies like e-learning, it is a few years behind. E-learning in a nutshell is a distribution technology that lets users access company-wide knowledge in the form of blog posts and other standard media formats.
If you zoom out a little and take a wider look, you can see that e-learning technology started at the same point around 3 years ago:
- In the beginning there were single exploration projects.
- Then departments began to systematically embed and order multiple e-learnings as part of a digitalization strategy.
- Then e-learning platforms enabled organizations to fully internalize e-learning development where continuous output can be created.
- Organizations today benefit from being able to rent any e-learning platform and don't have to pay for custom software development, but rather have mature infrastructure at hand, able to save tons of resources.
💡 What can we learn from the evolution cycle of e-learning?
- Virtual Reality will move in the same way: You won't need to buy projects anymore in the future, what you'll do is rent a platform and pay per content developed, internal or outsourced.
How to get there:
- Move fast. Do one or few projects to find out the nature of the technology. The learning value will be higher than the business value.
- Grow up. Don't stay in a learning phase forever. Carefully analyze and learn from mistakes and try to not repeat mistakes more than once.
- Apply strategy. With some experience, apply a strategical approach to bringing Virtual Reality into your department or organization as a system
💰 VR Training cost ballpark
- Wright State University College of Nursing and Health published a total cost of $106.951 for their Virtual Reality training.
- Roundtablelearning.com determines the cost of a virtual reality training "between $40.000 and $155.000 or more per project."
📈 Value Outcome <> Cost
Looking at the price of a Virtual Reality training simply from a single budget size is important for you to stay within your financial capabilities.
However it's completely useless and highly dangerous to not frame any new experiment by its business potential.
In a Virtual Reality cost study for health care training, Wright State University College of Nursing and Health has compared the costs per trainee per training not only for the first training program, but also for subsequent ones.
They have calculated the first year of training to be more expensive applying Virtual Reality technology at $327,78 average cost per trainee compared to their traditional real world Instruction Led Training at $229,79 average cost per trainee, which could not be performed in a remote environment.
However after the third year, the cost of the Virtual Reality training group had remaining costs of $115,43 per trainee,
while the traditional Instruction Led Training group kept their costs ongoing at $229,79.
Whether you can retreive your investment in 2 years or 3 months depends a lot on the savings difference and the through put.
Other VR Business value metrics
The biggest critique to the "Wright State University" dataset is that retention does not find its way on the cost side. Retention means how fast someone can pick up a learning and how little follow-up repeat learning is required to be done.
Because of its superior learning effects, Virtual Reality training cuts training time by factor 2 to 32 compared to classroom and face-to-face training, which can be significant multiplier on your business case calculcation.
If you compare different training techniques you will find that retention is the main driver for training time reduction which then leads to cost reduction. Scientific research is the basis for memorization studies with Virtual Reality compared to traditional techniques with indicators like the learning pyramid by Edgar Dale and more recent studies like those of Kaplan et al.
How much value can be derived from VR training can be seen by multiple publications of businesses with the most famous case study being from Walmart who managed to reduce an entire instruction led onboarding training day from 8 hours to 15 minutes in 2018.
Not only did they measure a 32x increase (or a 96% time reduction) but also were all new employees capable of autonomously onboarding themselves reducing training personnel costs for repetitive knowledge transfer.
💵 $100.000? Where does this come from?
Every VR training creation is undergone in nearly the same process with cost blocks that add up to the final cost.
- Hardware invest
Virtual Reality headsets are a material investment.
The best choice in Early 2021 is the Oculus Quest 2, which currently sells at around $799 with an $180 yearly subscription fee for the business version.
There are also other VR headsets like HTC Vive, but they require cable attachement to desktop computers and will make your life hard.
Preparation is all the overhead of aggregating the knowledge, creating a storyboard, defining the training goal. Our storyboarding guide with free templates
- 3D data refinement and aggregation
3D models usually have to be retreived from the IT department. After that, additional manual work like 3D modeling hast to be put in to fix missing assets and reduce file sizes. Learn how you can increase creation and deployment time by 10-100 using AUCTA and save 💩 tons of time and budget.
Simply buying VR devices does not yet solve the problem of continuous delivery to trainees. It also doesn't solve the problem of installing and updating VR training applications onto these advices. AUCTAs Player and link-distribution makes Virtual Reality devices optional, and you also don't need to install any application onto VR devices in order to distribute a new training.
- Application development
Application development is the part where VR developers have to build an environment for the application, define interaction and user interfaces so that content can be integrated into the application. Since VR development is expensive and usually unnecessary, you might want to see how AUCTA has pre-built a usable 3D-VR operating system for all devices.
- Content development
VR Content development is the actual part where VR content creators merge storyboard and 3D data into a meaningful training experience.
With a total cost of $100.000 for a VR training, your cost breakdown will likely look something like this:
How can I achieve more for my employee training?
You've seen a couple of mentions by us that AUCTA as a training tool is actually a better suited option than "a regular VR training project".
AUCTA as a platform
- 📱 🖥️ 🕶️ works on all hardware devices
- 👌 is cost-effective to create
- 🚀 installation and content updates on all devices are instant
- 💪🏽 flexibility for both insourcing and outsourcing is provided
- 💸 no application costs, pure focus on the content creation
AUCTA specifically provides you with a learning environment for interactive 3D-VR experiences (or immersive experiences) in a process based format, which makes it effective to create, but also comes with the downside of not being able to generate any possible form of experience, like soft skills trainings or VR simulations.
If you're interested in how AUCTA compares to other platforms, check out this comparison to Unity.
Comparing AUCTA to the "typical VR project" you should find a change in when return of investment can be achieved:
As the previous cost-breakdown has shown, AUCTAs platform benefits will likely not just cut costs for initial creation, but also for distribution and introduce a fundamentally new freedom to VR training:
The freedom of not needing to buy more VR hardware, since everything already works on all 2D displays and VR headsets, even Augmented Reality head-mounted displays by default.
Based on all current web compatible devices active in the global market right now (>5 billion), on average your organization should have around 328 devices that work with AUCTA for every VR headset available. With a higher audience, better distribution, your training cost will go down directly from the beginning.
Our mission is helping industrial companies harness the power of their data, to create and deploy 3D instructions anywhere, on any device.
We at AUCTA are happy you've made it this far and would be incredibly grateful if you took a step forward and reached out to us about how we could potentially help you, even if it's just an exchange of experiences and knowledge!