For corporate organizations looking to implement the next level of training, Augmented Reality or AR-based training is quickly cementing itself as the technology of choice. Augmented Reality training in a corporate setting is the ideology of bringing training to life by animating daily objects and scenarios that an employee interacts and engages with. It is only a natural progression in the field of training and development via eLearning, and as some may agree, it brings a fresh approach to an age-old concept.
Global Mixed Realities Market Analysis (2017 – 2023) predicts the AR and VR based training market will touch $2.83 billion by 2023. This is compounded by the fact that quite a few organizations are already investing in augmented reality.
Corporates currently using augmented reality as a part of their training initiatives:
- US Army
- General Electric Healthcare
Augmented Reality is certainly not limited to just these organizations. On paying close attention, you may realise that each of these organizations are from distant industries and each has a well-defined need and reason to implement augmented reality-based training.
So, as a corporate, what can you really expect from an AR-based training curriculum, more importantly, why is it a technology to consider?
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Augmented Reality is engaging
With concepts such as eLearning, there is always an underlying inference to training being more engaging. People in charge of training—HR, L&D, Human Development—are cognizant of this. However, people generally assume that concepts such as gamification or certification is what makes eLearning engaging. After much research through the periods of 2017 through 2019, it is pretty evident that gamification and certification are not what makes eLearning engaging. Rather, features that actually aid with training such as mobile learning, microlearning, and other such features make eLearning engaging.
“Augmented reality is the same, it is a feature that aids with the actual process of training and that is what makes it an engaging technology!”
AR is a feature that aids with the actual training itself. For example, a pair of AR glasses—as sleek as your normal reading pair—are more than enough to guide an employee on how to successfully operate the office printer without wasting pages, ink, or even rendering it useless. Now, this is an actual solution to a situation where you’d normally have an 8 or 9 step instruction sheet stuck next to the printer with plain words explaining how the printer works.
Augmented Reality based scenarios strengthen decision making and employee development
Scenario-based training is a strong way to develop employees in general. Augmented reality fits perfectly into this equation. Whether it is talking to your colleagues, interacting with clients, or understanding what is acceptable in a social surrounding, augmented reality recreates scenarios to aid with employee development and is well suited for corporate training.
“Augmented Reality recreates corporate scenarios, helping employees develop and learn in a safe environment, committing as many mistakes as possible”
Scenarios are effective training tools for decision making as well. Since it easily simulates scenarios, it helps the wearer visualise outcomes of multiple decisions in a safe environment. For example, how does an employee deal with a difficult customer? There are multiple choice of actions that the employee can test, each will result in a unique outcome—training the employee on the best mode of action to take.
AR is highly accessible and that is very evident, courtesy to the July 2016 Pokémon Go mobile AR-based videogame phenomenon. Over 60 million users accessed their phone’s inbuilt AR feature to play the game globally. This suggests that AR-based technology is widely accepted and already available, it is only a matter of time before more organizations realise how amazing the technology is and adopt it as a part of their training.
“Apple’s ARKit 3 is an AR developer friendly software to create amazing AR-based content with relative ease”
Such large scale acceptance coupled with the availability of user-friendly development tech makes it is safe to say that the technology is also cost-friendly, making it further accessible.
Augmented reality is a powerful technology bringing real-time information to employees, aiding with corporate training activities. The Apple ARKit in the hands of able AR and VR developers has already yielded some amazing results.
“Applications such as AR powered GPS, AR-based browsers to search images, and AR powered visiting cards are now a reality”
Simply point the device in the direction of an object to receive real-time information. We can expect workers equipped with AR devices relaying information with minimal delay. NASA is testing this technology. They plan on training astronauts using AR devices which relay information directly to the wearer’s device.
Knowledge retention AI
Knowledge retention AI is another application where AR comes in strong. This concept aims at recording every action that an expert wearer takes when working on projects or interacting with customers. AI then decides the future course of actions to take based on its study of these experts and their decisions or actions. This way, the AI feature retains an expert’s knowledge even after they cease to operate. Its application in retaining skills in highly technical industries is unrivalled.
This is almost groundbreaking for the technical industry.
AI also lets remotely located experts guide employees.
“An experienced person can remotely guide the wearer while providing real-time information directly on to their AR glass display”
For corporates, harnessing AI capabilities or the real-time information ability is a huge bonus to boost sales and marketing training or even live sales!
Does Augmented Reality Really Help with Corporate Training?
Compared to some other learning tech—yes!
2017 through 2019 many terms like gamification, certification, and xAPI made the rounds. Over time, the eLearning industry has realised that many of these terms are either a passing fad or a buzzword. Some held great promise, but either the price of implementation or the knowledge needed to use the technology was a deterrent (xAPI).
Given the situation, AR and VR both have come out strong in the corporate training department. AR is an advanced, cost-effective way to train employees using technology. It presents great everyday applications, it’s engaging, and has a minimal learning curve involved.
Your organization must consider AR in the next year or so. It is greatly advisable to implement it early in order to really master its application as a training technology.
Areas where AR is an immediate fit:
- Sales training
- Scenario-based training
- Product Training
- Compliance training
- Specialist training
Augmented reality and virtual reality are promising technologies with a strong future in eLearning and especially for corporate training. However, this was not always the case. In the early days, AR and VR originally faced great difficulties in taking off as a technology. In the article AR and VR in eLearning, we discuss its early days and how it slowly got to where it is.
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