360 degree videos have been popping up everywhere and the trend is not going away. Big companies are latching onto the power of 360 degree video to tell stories, highlight products, and showcase experiences. But, can this technology be used for training purposes?
Social platforms, creative production houses, and game developers have created 360 degree video to stay ahead of the curve. Facebook dropped an immersive video, with a storyline, featuring Grand Central Station*. GreenFish Labs also filmed a 360 degree look behind the scenes of the live play The Passion.* and video game developer Farm 51 created a 360 video series highlighting the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster*. With the right browser, these videos are a truly immersive experience.
* You must use Firefox or Chrome to view these 360 degree videos in their entirety.
How 360 Degree Video is Different
With 360 video, audiences can engage with a story differently than flat video. The latter forces the user to have a frame of reference given by the video creator. You cannot look at anything else. Conversely, 360 degree video allows the user to find what is and what is not important in the video for themselves.
In a 360 degree video, the user has the ability to look around the video experience and focus their attention on more than one thing. In other words, 360 degree video allows the user to be present, and make choices within this video world.
How Can It Be Used?
There are endless possibilities for training in 360 degree video. Medical teams can shoot procedures, the military can highlight in-field training for situations requiring an on-site presence, and athletes can review a play to enhance their off-field training. These types of videos implement training practice, role play, and repetition.
However, there are reasons why certain industries are not getting into 360 degree video for training. First, there is a sense of inaccessibility when it comes to this approach. The general public does not understand its capabilities or how it’s made. Also, many don’t believe their training subject is worthy of such a video.
With this mindset comes missed opportunities. 360 degree video does not have to be just for high action scenes or situations.
Why It Should Be Used for Training
Trainers, both online and in-person, agree that in-person training trumps online training in many ways. With in-person learning, you are more engaged, and tend to have better recollection. Arguably, 360 degree video is a bridge between the two approaches. When a user is watching a 360 degree video, they can imagine themselves in that world.
Imagine you are an employee at a college cafeteria being trained on new safety standards. Having someone from the corporate office physically present would be ideal, but is often unrealistic. Just watching a traditional video lecture can be tedious, but a 360 degree video—showing the new safety standards in practice—would simulate in-person training without having someone actually there.
Being immersed in a more interactive, virtual environment will likely create longer-lasting training results. Implementations will vary, but we’ve only just begun to see the potential training power of 360 degree video.