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Google Cardboard and 360 eLearning Video

Let’s continue diving a bit more into our favourite topic of 2017. And I say favourite because as it is a developing technology, here at Pathways we are proud of being one of the first training and eLearning companies in Canada, implementing 360 video and virtual reality into eLearning.

While developing our 360 eLearning video, we also started thinking about how to bring the final product to the next level, keeping in mind that only by having the 360 video integrated with an eLearning module, we are bringing training to a whole new level.

Of course, we have to admit that the process of working with this technology, and researching and working with different tools than we are used to work with, has a steep learning curve, so it took us a couple of weeks to get ourselves familiar with the process of editing the videos, adding hotspots and integrating them with eLearning authoring tools.

That being said, we are aware of the challenges we have had so far, and the challenges we will have if we want to take this 360 eLearning video one level higher, and we genuinely think, this higher level is the usage of Google Cardboard.

But, what is Google Cardboard?

Probably a lot of people is familiar with this Google product, but if you are not, Google Cardboard is a simple head-mounted device that allows you to experience virtual reality with your smartphone. It is made of cardboard (as the name states) with two lenses that distort the image from your smartphone just enough to create an immersive environment for the user.

And what does this have to do with eLearning and 360 video?

Well, we know for a fact that Google has been promoting this device for a few years now, and a lot of entertainment companies (specially mobile video game companies) are adopting this technology and are coming up with very interesting deployments, one example being YouTube itself; if you have the most updated version of the app, you will find it now supports Google Cardboard for 360 videos, giving the users the option of rotating the camera just by moving their heads (thank you accelerometers!).

So there is where eLearning comes into play, because we now have the ability to shoot 360 videos without breaking a sweat (in theory, but always the practice differs a lot) and we have the ability top add interaction to it, and the only thing left to do is to make it Google Cardboard compatible. But how to do it?

Well, it’s another steep learning curve (for those who haven’t developed for Google Cardboard before), because we either have to use YouTube and try to recreate the interactions via its GUI or develop our own mobile app that’s Google Cardboard ready. As much as I would like to say that using YouTube is the easiest and fastest of the two options, I think in the long run, developing our own mobile app allows us to make our product much more engaging.

As complicated as it may seem, we are on the verge of achieving something very innovative for the eLearning field, that will hopefully set the benchmark for other companies.

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