Mastering drama: obstacles & conflicts in immersive training

Danny de Bruijn
Founder & CXO

Virtual reality is revolutionizing not just storytelling, but also the way we train and educate. At Warp VR, our mission goes beyond telling captivating stories to ensure that creating impactful VR training modules is accessible, intuitive, and rewarding for everyone involved.

The power of impactful immersive training comes from its ability to deeply engage users. Two key elements that drive this engagement are obstacles and conflicts. Let's dive into their power and how to use them effectively.

The essence of storytelling

Let’s first define what we mean with obstacles and conflicts:

  • Obstacle: an immediate challenge that blocks progress. It's like a locked door in your path. Find the key, and you move forward.
  • Conflict: a deeper emotional or ethical struggle that drives the narrative. Often, it's the internal debate about whether or not you should enter the door, even with the key in hand.

These elements become especially powerful for setting player experiences, shaping reactions, and forming the essence of engagement in VR. To illustrate this, we can use the following scenario.

The Vertex Corp dilemma

Vertex Corp, a leading medical equipment provider, is at a crossroads. A crucial shipment of life-saving medical equipment is delayed. The shipment's exact location? Encrypted, with the decryption key securely housed in a vault at Vertex. Only two co-founders, Richard and Angela, can access it. Angela, however, is on a humanitarian mission in a remote region with limited communication options. This leaves Richard with a critical dilemma:

  • Obstacle: The shipment's location is encrypted. The challenge? How to access the key.
  • Conflict: Richard is caught in a moral dilemma. Should he play by the rules, trying to reach Angela despite the potential time risk? Or should he explore unconventional methods that might jeopardize Vertex Corp's reputation?

Further insights with brief scenarios

Consider the following scenarios to further illustrate the difference:

  • In a customer service training module, a trainee has to deal with a difficult, angry customer (obstacle). The conflict arises when the trainee must choose between strictly adhering to company policy or bending the rules slightly to appease the customer (conflict).
  • In a cybersecurity training program, an employee receives a phishing email (obstacle). She must decide whether to report it immediately, potentially slowing down operations due to an investigation, or to simply delete it and continue working (conflict).
  • In a medical training VR scenario, a nurse has to administer a specific medication to multiple patients (obstacle). However, there's a limited supply. The nurse has to decide who receives the medication first, factoring in the severity of the patients’ conditions (conflict).
  • In a fire safety training program, a trainee encounters blocked fire exits (obstacle). He need to choose between using an extinguisher to handle a small fire or immediately evacuating through an alternative route, possibly leaving others at risk (conflict).

Crafting your narrative: obstacles vs. conflicts

Whether you start with the external challenges (obstacles) that set your story's pace or dive deep into emotional or moral dilemmas (conflicts), both options can lead to compelling narratives. The choice often depends on your learning objectives in VR training: Are you targeting skill mastery or decision making?

Feedback from our users

Customer feedback has highlighted the importance of these storytelling elements. For instance, during a security training module, participants felt that textbook knowledge was often insufficient. However, when presented with a VR scenario where a security officer was swayed by a criminal's emotional story, they recognized the real-world complexity of balancing empathy with duty.

Conclusion

Drawing from the expertise of seasoned scenario writers and our experiences at Warp VR, obstacles and conflicts prove to be powerful storytelling tools. Whether you're an experienced creator or a budding storyteller, the immersive world of VR training awaits your unique touch. Eager to master the art of immersive storytelling? At Warp VR, we offer specialized workshops to help you create impactful narratives for training. Learn directly from our experts, gain hands-on experience, and transform the way you engage with your audience in virtual reality.

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