February 22, 2023
Performance measurement is probably the most important factor for creating effective VR training applications. However, implementing effective performance feedback can be a difficult task, as it is influenced by multiple factors: User emotions, feedback frequency, and the type of feedback.
Below we share some best practices for implementing performance feedback in VR training that we have learned over the years working with a variety of clients in different industries.
Our mood and feelings have a significant influence on learning performance. Neuropsychological theory suggests that positive emotions stimulate cognition (e.g., creative problem solving, cognitive flexibility, etc.), mediated through the dopamine system. Dopamine itself is key for executive functions, motor control, motivation, reinforcement, reward, and much more. Therefore, a positive state of mind makes it easier for us to assimilate and retain what we have learned. In contrast, negative emotions hinder information processing and thus reduce learning performance.
Performance feedback offers great added value here because it helps to promote effective learning through positive emotions. For example, the use of gamification elements is important for increasing the motivation of those who otherwise have to complete tasks that are not very challenging, too monotonous, or too complex, and thus feel underchallenged or overwhelmed. In addition, direct positive reinforcement is useful in motivating trainees to behave positively by providing them with an incentive to make good choices. As they associate a certain behavior with positive responses, they are encouraged to behave in a certain way.
The frequency of learning feedback has a major impact on the effectiveness of learning performance. For example, immediate feedback shortens the learning loop, which in turn leads to greater clarity about what needs to be improved and how. The ability to correct mistakes and repeat the same task further increases the learning effect. This is because through repetition, a skill becomes practiced and rehearsed over time and gradually becomes easier. This shifts a skill from the conscious mind to the unconscious mind. It moves from short-term to long-term memory. Repetition also allows you to adjust your behavior by overwriting a wrong behavior in order to learn a new behavior.
How and when to use performance feedback
There are three distinct phases during training and learning. These are explaining, training, and evaluating. Each of these phases requires different types of performance feedback, which we will analyze below:
During the explanation phase, the trainee must fully understand the requirements and the activities to be performed. It is important that the trainee has the opportunity to ask questions and clarify things to avoid confusion and frustration during the learning process. This increases initial motivation and can enable the trainee to achieve the best possible result.
During training, the trainee needs constant, immediate feedback. This is critical to shorten the feedback loop, promote rapid learning, and keep spirits high. This way, the trainee can immediately see whether the activities are performed correctly. This fosters motivation and promotes efficient learning.
In the evaluation phase, the trainer gives the trainee feedback on his or her performance. Ideally, the instructor highlights the trainee's strengths and points out specific areas for improvement. This encourages reflective learning and helps the trainee develop critical thinking skills. This is especially important because analyzing what has been learned and progress made will improve the trainee's future performance.
Performance feedback is critical to the effectiveness of VR training. There are three different criteria you can use to develop your VR training with the best possible results:
User emotions: The stimulation of positive emotions is crucial for the generation of dopamine, which is essential for motivation, reinforcement, and reward. Gamification elements and positive reinforcement techniques are useful methods to contribute to dopamine generation.
Frequency of feedback: Immediate feedback shortens the learning loop and thereby accelerates learning. It also encourages repetition of actions, which is crucial for transferring knowledge from short-term to long-term memory and replacing incorrect behavior with correct behavior.
Type of feedback: Good VR training takes into account the three phases of feedback: First, the trainee must fully understand the requirements and the activities to be performed. During the actual training, immediate feedback is essential to accelerate and shorten feedback loops. Finally, transparent and objective performance review promotes reflective learning.
Now that you know how to effectively design performance feedback in VR training, you can start creating your own VR training applications.