Software Engineer at Google VR Ian MacGillivray espressed in a blog post that while people learned faster and better inside of VR as opposed to individuals who were trained by watching YouTube tutorials, using coffee for the experiment may have bean a mistake.
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Daydream Labs hoped to better understand how interactive learning might work in VR, which prompted the coffee making prototype to be created. A detailed tutorial was created, and users were asked to learn how to pull espresso shots by doing it in VR. Another group was asked to learn by watching YouTube videos.
Both groups were able to train for as long as they liked before trying to make coffee outside of the VR simulation. “We were excited to find out that people learned faster and better in VR. Both the number of mistakes made and the time to complete an espresso were significantly lower for those trained in VR,” writes MacGillivray. However, the experiment provided insight for future endeavors in interactive learning.
For example, the Daydream Labs team discovered coffee was a bad choice, since the physical sensation of tamping couldn’t be replicated with a haptic buzz. Some users would virtually touch the hot steam nozzle, while others would get too close to it. “This suggests that VR technology isn’t quite there when it comes to learning some skills. Until gloves with much better tracking and haptics are mainstream, VR training will be limited to inputs like moving things around or pressing buttons.”
The experiment was deemed an overall success, with the Daydream Lab team hopeful of the future of interactive learning inside of VR. “It may be that VR is a useful way to introduce people to a new skill, and then can help them practice and consolidate once they’ve tried it in the real world.”
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