The moment Google gets in on the ground floor of a technology, encouraging users to learn their way through and essentially grooming early adopters, you know it's time to pay attention.
Augmented Reality apps, known as 'AR' for short, have been around for a while. Remember 'Google glass'? Well, that was only iteration one. On Jan 26, Google released a course known as 'Introduction to Augmented Reality (AR) and ARCore" on Coursera so that everyday users can begin to learn, develop, and popularize AR content cost-free.
This adoptive strategy is proving very effective for corporate training programs, which are the first swaths of 'normal' consumers to take advantage of these advances. AR, corporations hope, could help to stem the overwhelm of the 'Silver Tsunami', a phenomenon in which 25% of the workforce will be over age 55 and approaching retirement by 2025. AR could be the antidote to enhanced training programs that are also cost-effective, helping these aging employees upgrade their skills in an immersive manner, without having to contend with learning new software.
When done right, Augmented Reality technology used for employees decreases the number of mistakes by 90% and the time it takes to complete a task by 50%. At the same time, it enhances the performance of employees who use AR for training rather than other materials by 150%. Since companies are already spending about $1,000 in training per employee, AR could ensure that these investments have a substantial ROI, as long as they follow some best practices for AR training program development.
So we've put together a list of 5 'Dos' to consider when creating an AR training program in your organisation.
Incorporate Real-Time Information
AR hardware such as glasses or safety helmets are intended to be used to assist employees in the field make real decisions and get familiar with an environment through training. This is especially true when adding or upgrading systems.
In order to prepare workers for field work that is relatively familiar, but with entirely new additions, incorporating real-time information can help to undertake the learning of a real procedure faster and more efficiently.
Plan For A New Level Of 'Remote' Operations
Today, being 'remote' means sitting at your laptop and communicating with individuals halfway around the world who also happen to be doing the same. There's no need, in other words, to be present at work.
But what about field work and technicians who have to be on-site? Incorporating AR in your training programs will help individuals do more than simply communicate with each other; instead, AR in organisational training will allow employees to interact with their environment, building their expertise in field services without ever needing to be on-site.
Integrate AI With AR
What's fundamental here is that you have to ensure a steady improvement for your AR online training program. That would mean that your corporate learners not only raise their performance, but acquire skills that will benefit both them and the organization from now on.
In this case, organisations would do well to harness the power of ever-watchful, ever-curious and intelligent AI so that the latter can 'play referee' to the former. Artificial Intelligence platforms could learn and adapt the AR training by actually tracking the progress of workers, what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong to suggest (and execute on) actions to make augmented systems smarter or even safer.
Make AR Immersion Learner-Centric
Part of the Augmented Reality 'experience' is to make the immersion learner-centric. This means two things: firstly, that everyday devices be offered up as viable platforms to host AR software. An example is Apple's ARKit, which turns current hardware into AR training tools.
The second is based on the learner's own psychological and emotional profile, not to mention the learner's strengths in learning methodologies or styles (visual over auditory, for example). Creating an AR training program means accounting for customizability in the interactivity, also allowing corporate employees to choose focus areas of study.
Create Environments That Are Experiential
Just like in Virtual Reality, environments that are shaped like narratives, that are experiential in nature, are prone to not only mimic learning in life but remain with the learner, forming an emotional connection within their memories.
A mere blend of visual, text, auditory, and kinesthetic experiences, while varied enough to hold a learner's attention, simply cannot be melded as seamlessly as a purely AR-based training can. Here, you have the opportunity to make your online training truly immersive.
While these are all incredibly important aspects to designing a successful AR-powered training program for any organisation, it comes with a caveat. While it's true that investments in VR and AR technologies are on the rise, the promise of these rising stars also means that more companies than ever will be vying to enter the space; and are likely to go 'bust' before actually taking off.
In other words, it's wise to make sure that, as you're selecting a partner for your organisation's AR training, you choose hardware and software solutions that are robust and poised to actually exist for more than a few years down the road.