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Should I Make My Custom Educational Game in Virtual Reality? (Part 2)

Filament Games | Educational Game Developer

In Part 1 of this series, I shared my thoughts on why VR can be great for learning and great for your organization. In Part 2 of this series, I’m sharing why VR may not be ideal for your custom educational game project and some other considerations that you should be thinking about…

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Let’s jump in:

  1. If the setting of your experience is not important to the learning experience or if the learning doesn’t require you to use your body, VR may not be the right choice,  as you may not have the need to leverage VR’s unique affordances. Furthermore, it can negatively affect the experience if VR gets in the way of learning. For example, I wouldn’t want to learn how to do actuarial computations in VR or anything else that requires looking at a lot of numbers on a spreadsheet.
  2. As much as VR can create advantages for inclusivity for some, for other people VR can be the opposite. A rough poll conducted by VR Heaven found that about 60% of respondents have experienced some form of motion sickness in VR at some time, with this effect impacting women more than men.  One strategy to address this is to develop the game for multiple platforms (including a non-VR option) so that learners have options as to how they want to experience the learning game. 
  3. If the real thing is available, inexpensive, and accessible, it would be hard to argue that having that experience in VR is superior to having that experience in real life. One thing that edges out real life is that you can vary the parameters of the game to feed the learner more learning opportunities, and the data collected from the experience can be fed back into the game to fine-tune performance. Still, if you are learning to chop tomatoes, chopping real tomatoes is most likely going to be better than chopping tomatoes in VR.

One big consideration when thinking about making your custom educational game in VR which has nothing to do with learning is that a VR educational game requires physical equipment that most people don’t have easily at their disposal. This is a new device type that your IT people will have to maintain and update and something that needs to get to the individual learner. So whether making an educational game for a school or a company, you need to work out the logistics of how each learner will have access to their VR game, especially these days as we all grapple with working and schooling from home. 

A second consideration is hygiene, especially in a post-pandemic world. If your VR devices will be shared, you need to invest in a VR hygiene solution that’s proven to disinfect and eradicate contaminants. I don’t know about you but a quick wipe or a light spray is not going to do it for me, so make sure you think about how to keep things safe.

Did I miss anything? Let me know. And as always, if you are thinking of hiring a studio to make your custom educational game in VR or otherwise, we’d love to talk to you!

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