This thesis explores Virtual Reality (VR) as a digital medium for teaching in a professional context. In collaboration with ABB, a pioneering technology leader, questions were raised whether VR could be the future medium for training ABB service technicians. The aim of the collaboration was to study VR as a digital medium, to highlight benefits and complications in an educational context.
Through researching VR, it was apparent that it was relevant to discuss how you can design for VR, without compromising the learning outcome needed for the professional user. To further the discussion, three experience prototypes were designed as the final concept. These experience prototypes aim to highlight educational use cases through VR, covering collaborative work, safety guidelines and various utilities.
The goal of the final experience prototypes is to engage potential users and designers in a dialog concerning VR as an educational medium of the future.
Inspiration and Method
My inspiration as an Interaction Designer came from exploring how art, games and professionals use VR to convey experiences. I found it relevant to highlight the different strengths and weakness when interacting with a virtual world, to better understand how people react when you change their ‘(virtual) reality’.
The intention of the thesis was to study the use of VR experiences on the current market, with the purpose to create a catalog of knowledge, that will help frame and understand the potential of VR technology. With this understanding, it was then relevant to consult the relevant stakeholders for ABB and their training, to validate or disprove potential hypotheses through ethnographic research and user testing. ABB’s initial question of whether virtual reality is relevant to them was framed further through my research, to ensure that the project scope was within reason and had room for exploration.
The result of the thesis includes three experience prototypes, which individually displays different aspects of educational VR for ABB:
1. Collaborative | Maintenance
The first experience is a collaborative experience which focuses on team work. As a team, you must repair a virtual version of the wind turbine drive using a hardware manual.
2. Individual | Safety Guidelines
For the individual experience, the user should memorize ABBs safety guidelines, to safely prepare the drive for repairs.
Unlike the previous experiences, the utilities experience focuses on micro interactions in VR. Here multiple examples are displayed as a sandbox experience.