When looking to train new staff, students, or anyone in between, it is paramount to find fresh and attractive ways to portray this knowledge, as to keep the learning mind from becoming disinterested. The introduction of new technologies such as the ever flourishing VR and AR scene has allowed us to place the goalposts that bit further and give the opportunity to innovate once again for peak efficiency. VMS Training is a new software for the Microsoft HoloLens that aims to push the forefronts of training technology by giving us a standalone and simpler way to create and use these experiences.
VMS Trainer runs in the Unity engine and allows for customisation of your own training software in real time, inside the HoloLens. While many other training programmes will require the creation of such scenarios to be made on a computer and imported onto the system in order to be used. A big plus for VMS Trainer is the ease of which the user is able to create, save, and use their own training scenario without ever having to remove the HoloLens from use. This can be a great way to generate your idea, test, review and finally tweak to your liking. It promotes the idea of trial and error to create something worthwhile and useful with its ease of creation.
When creating your own training scenarios, the first port of call is where to place your home button. This acts as a base point to which all of the other points will be orientated around for transporting the situation to another place or room, giving you the opportunity to design for consistency between lots of different spaces. Once this has been placed you are able to start to create your sequence of events that will be used to build the training. You are able to have up to 5 groups of shapes, and within each group you may use as many shapes as you like from the 5 available. You can create whatever you can from cubes, cylinders, rings, spheres, and pyramids. Each of which can be scaled, moved, and rotated around the space as needed. I found the shapes as well as the menus to be vibrant and colourful, which is perfect for the learning environment as many people use association with colours in order to memorise. Once you have created a shape you are also able to link it with some text, which can be typed or input via text to speech, to help explain how to install the part and what to look out for during the installation. I found the speech to text to work easily and efficiently, with only a couple of errors that were probably due to my own pronunciation than the software itself.
When loading into a training scenario you are presented with each stage one group at a time, not advancing until the previous tasks have been completed. Once you have done all that you need to do in each of the stages, the training scene will end and return to the main menu. I found that when saving my resources, you are unable to see a list of different ones to choose from. Instead you must key in the name of the resource and either remember or note down each one beforehand in order to access them again. This is not too much of an issue but in a future update it would be nice to see a list of saved scenarios that can be accessed at will.
I found that when using the software, I was very easily able to create these scenarios and test them on family, in which after a small tutorial on how to use the HoloLens, they were able to complete with ease. While the scenarios I made were simple in comparison to those that could be created, it is easy to see how a much more complex series of task can be put together. With the ability to attach a piece of text to each shape you can see that there are a limitless number of combinations available to suit every need or area of teaching/training required. It is also a great tool in order to have students create their own learning resources using the software to cement the learning themselves, it truly is a worthwhile addition to the teaching arsenal.
To conclude, VMS Trainer is a great tool that allows its users to create and share their own learning resources inside the HoloLens. The sky is the limit when it comes to how far this can be pushed, if you are a trainer or trainee you will be sure to reap the rewards that this software can offer with its new and improved way of learning. With future updates and inclusions such as new shapes, ability to use sounds sure to be added in due time, this is a very powerful look into technology that will hopefully be seen in schools as well as workplaces ASAP.