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Please note this was originally published by our team on HR.com.
More and more companies are using multimedia tech to increase their employees' productivity and efficiency. They are going beyond traditional classrooms and eLearning to provide an immersive learning experience. Enter VR and AR! Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are opposite sides of the same real-world simulation coin.
Virtual Reality replaces real-world perception entirely. You usually have to wear a head-mounted device (HMD) to run VR applications. Conversely, Augmented Reality gets worked into real-world environments seamlessly. The user interacts with the AR solution through their mobile device. AR apps superimpose computer-generated content over real-world objects offering various inputs, like somatosensory, visual, auditory- even tactile and olfactory.
These technologies first took flight in the 1990s via entertainment and gaming industries. Today, both VR and AR are used in education, commerce, art, architecture, construction, and literature. So, why is augmented reality in employee training so important? Because no other technology can offer real work environment settings as AR can.
Improving the employee training experience through augmented reality can bypass a lot of the usual issues. Employees often:
Feel they don't have enough time to finish work assignments
Are not motivated to learn more if things are working well as they are
Feel pressured or stressed by the idea of going 'back to school'
Fail to see the benefits of ongoing learning
Go through training courses just for the sake of doing them
Through the use of AR applications, you can motivate your employees to attend training. This is because AR will offer them a completely interactive experience. You will essentially be making learning fun again. The beauty of augmented reality is its complete customization capabilities. Imagine teaching an employee how to use a machine or leaving small batches of information around the workspace for a new trainee.
Augmented reality offers endless learning possibilities. You can enhance your employees' learning experience and expand your L&D department exponentially. As opposed to VR, where total immersion depends on a head-mounted device, AR solutions are completely mobile friendly. Your employees can access AR applications anytime, anywhere. They will be able to scan or view training content within their surroundings. This will provide instant learning opportunities. Your employees will learn faster and retain information more efficiently while using multiple senses at once.
Practical use of augmented technology solutions within the workspace can lend itself to:
Employee Hiring and Orientation
Machine and Equipment Training
Instant Task Support
Info Refreshers for New Employees
Before initiating an augmented reality learning experience within your company, take the time for proper planning. Ensure every employee has a mobile device and that the workspace doesn't have wifi dead-spots. Figure out what interactive elements you'll want to incorporate (video, image, 3D). Then, test it out! You'll want to start with a small project and a user-friendly AR app.
Choosing the right AR software is crucial. The best software will be web-based and facilitate easy user navigation. This will eliminate IT security concerns and the need for installation. Users will use their mobile devices to interact with real-world objects inscribed with digitally overlaid information. You can also track user engagement through most AR apps. This will give your real-time data about how your employees are performing in their learning process.
The majority of AR solutions come with multimedia elements. Video, audio, 3D animations, and text can all be used in refining employee training modules. Keep in mind that not all sensory elements should be used all the time. If the work environment is noisy, you might want to stick to images and text. If your employees are performing a team task, video might be a faster learning medium. Still, make sure to have text overlay to avoid misunderstandings.
Augmented reality apps will also allow image mapping. This means that the mobile device camera will perceive the real-world object, and the AR software will overlay real information about that object. The app can also show an x-ray version of the object if your employee needs to learn its mechanical aspects.
Other multimedia elements, such as slideshows, can be employed during training. Since all documents and media files are stored on the app's cloud, you can access them whenever you need to. You can also choose which information is displayed in which way and how. Your AR app should allow for customization so that you can match the display form to the user's learning needs.
Setting a process in place will save you lots of heartaches when using augmented reality in employee training. Find the AR app that matches your needs and compile the data you want it to process. Your employees will simply download the app and start using it.
You can always look up other mobile learning options as well. When in doubt, work with experts to help align your business needs with your employee learning and development processes.
Articles: Top 2019 Augmented Reality (AR) Trends and What You Can Expect to See in the Future and How Does Augmented Reality Work in Elearning?
Case Study: Augmented Reality Resource Management Game