During the last few weeks, more and more people have come to us with the question: “can we use Virtual Reality to improve our online event / meeting / education?”
For us it is quite interesting to see how this question has suddenly become so relevant. Most organisations have the remote working conditions under control and are looking to expand and improve them while the Covid-19 restrictions continue. For example for special school events, teambuilding days or creative meetings. These are all situations in which being physically present has an significant advantage.
In this blog we provide five tips on how to implement Virtual Reality in your online event or remote education.
#1 VR is a part of the solution
What people usually think of when hearing the term ‘VR event’ is an event where everybody wears a VR headset the whole session; a simulation of a real meeting. The setting, presentations etc. are the same, only now wearing VR-goggles. Personally, I do not think this is the right solution.
VR should be one of the tools in your repertoire. It has both significant advantages and disadvantages and should therefore be used to achieve certain goals.
Do you want to give a 1-to-many presentation using your slide deck? A webinar probably suits your goal better. And when you have to create a project planning, collaborating in a document in Google Docs would be our choice. Let’s not try to do all of this in VR.
#2 Do not try to simulate an offline event.
Quite often I see virtually recreated conference halls and classrooms. Just recently I saw poster presentations and PowerPoint-slides on a virtual congress about VR and AR. That hurt a little.
I understand that pushing a completely new experience might be too much. Change comes slow and you want to offer people metaphors that are familiar to them.
However, let’s try not to copy affairs that are the way they are because of certain logistic reasons. Posters at congresses are used because the halls are packed. Classrooms mainly look the way they do because the building has to fit fifty classroom of thirty children each. You should not have to embrace these restrictions when working with VR.
Here we also run into the problem of the Uncanny Valley. If we want to make virtual events look as much as the real world as possible this evokes all sorts of funky feelings.
#3 Use VR’s power
VR as a medium is powerful in various ways. VR experiences can be quite intense and can really affect people. You can use this to your advantage in many ways:
- Work together in different ways, for example by collectively making drawings. This generates creativity!
- Take your audience around the globe in your presentation. Instead of an image on your slides, you place your audience in your area of choice.
- Play a multiplayer game in VR to function as an energizer and a whole different way of being and working together.
#4 Allow for some time to get used to the technology.
VR technology really matured in the last few years. An Oculus Quest costs around €500 and we see more and more applications that really deliver what they promise.
The biggest challenge however, is that people just have very little experience with the hardware. At physical gatherings where we use VR, we are right there to watch and help, adjust glasses and explain the controls.
Getting started online, you should reserve quite a bit of time for this. Provide clear instructions and tech support.
#5 Make VR optional
For the reason mentions above, it is not unlikely that some will not be able to make it work. It would be best if they could still follow the session, for example through a video stream. Or by picking an application that also works on laptop or tablet.
Do you need some help?
Do you need some personal help in making your virtual event a reality? Feel free to contact us.
Or perhaps you’re interested to join the VR Learning HUB, where you can learn all about using VR & AR technology effectively.