What is Augmented Reality and How Does It Benefit Employees?

Designing Digitally


What is Augmented Reality

Human beings have such an incredible predisposition for creation that the human race continues to evolve and reinvent itself. When applied strictly to the growth of technology, the human race has managed to bring sci-fi elements into reality in a few short decades. Enter the cassette and Walkman, CDs, DVDs and BluRay, the internet, Cloud storage, VR, and AR- to name a few. Virtual Reality and Augmented reality are two sides of the same coin and the next step in the continual expansion of human capabilities and possibilities. Let's explore what augmented reality is and what the benefits of AR in learning/training are!

Read also: The Differences Between AR, VR, and MR

The Thing About AR

Augmented Reality is an immersive experience in which computer-generated images, sounds, and other elements are superimposed onto a real-world environment. Unlike with VR, where users are completely disconnected from the real world, AR users are aware of both the natural environment and the CGI elements that enhance the experience.

The story of augmented reality begins in the 1960s with Bob Sproull and Ivan Sutherland- inventors of the first HMD (head-mounted display). The device was primordial but one which nonetheless set the base for further developments. Throughout the 1970s and up to the 2000s, Videoplace, Eye Tap, ARToolKit, and AR Travel Guide pushed the envelope for AR developers. Today, Google's Google Glass and Microsoft's Windows Holographic and HoloLens are paving the way for incorporating this technology in employee training programs.

Read also: Top 2019 Augmented Reality (AR) Trends and What You Can Expect to See in the Future

4 AR Types

So far, there are four modes in which augmented reality can be used for practical purposes:

  • Marker AR- has a lot to do with image recognition and requires a camera for scanning

  • Markerless AR- provides data on a user's location by utilizing location-tracking devices like GPS, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer

  • Projection AR- allows user interaction with holographic images

  • Superimposed AR- an object recognition method that replaces an item fully or partially

Each type lends itself to different outputs, and choosing the right type for your company can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful employee training program.

A corporate training course that makes good use of AR has almost unlimited teaching capacity. The wide range of platforms and devices that allow AR simulations is also impressive and growing. Employers can run their AR training program over mobile devices, AR devices (heads-up display or HUD), smart glasses, smart lenses, and VRDs (virtual retinal display).

Read also: Using Augmented Reality to Improve the Employee Training Experience

AR Applications

Far from its initial application for military training purposes, AR can now be adopted by almost any industry. The educational, medical, art, tourism, broadcasting, and design sectors already use AR for training. Most of these learning programs come in the form of game-based learning or gamification. Companies can:

  • Train technicians in machine installation and repair

  • Provide an immersive orientation and onboarding experience for new employees

  • Teach sales skills 

  • Enable employees to do their health and safety training anytime, anywhere

Application possibilities are virtually endless. It all depends on the evolution of technologies and the inventiveness of the human mind.

See also: Augmented Reality Resource Management Serious Game

AR Benefits for Employees

The benefits emerging technologies bring employees, in the context of continuing education, are diverse and ample. Augmented reality particularly helps employees deepen their knowledge and sharpen their skill set thanks to its immersive quality, but without taking the learner out of the context of their environment.

The most impactful benefits that AR brings employees are:

Easy Understanding of Complex Subjects

AR is a virtual learning-by-doing method. Learners have access to a graphic, 3D, or video representation of an object or concept that would otherwise be harder to understand in an abstract environment.

Higher Engagement

Since augmented reality applications are often viewed as games, learners interact with the content more relaxed. This increased engagement leads to higher knowledge retention rates and a more enjoyable learning experience.

Removal of Fear Factors

Depending on the type of learner you are, in-class training, demonstrations, and presentations might feel utterly intimidating. After all, you wouldn't want to break down or make a mistake in front of your peers, let alone a customer. But, this is where AR sweeps in and saves the day.

AR helps employees learn vital concepts and internalize essential skills in an easily digestible manner. As a result, learners can make as many mistakes as needed until they know how to solve the problem in the best possible way.

Extensive Accessibility

Employees can access the AR application from their own devices and in their own time. This gives them the chance to learn at their speed and in their own time.

Read also: How Does Augmented Reality Work in eLearning?

Get on the Augmented Bandwagon!

So, what is augmented reality? It is the high-benefit, next-generation tool for effective employee training programs. Designing Digitally can help you take your outdated training and transform your L&D with innovative learning experiences. If you would like to talk with someone from our team to see how we can help you make all your AR dreams come true, get in touch with us today. 

Please note this article was updated by our team on 6/17/2021.

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