Augmented Reality (AR) is transforming training. According to Statista, AR users increased from 60 million in 2013 to 200 million in 2018, and continues growing.
AR is a powerful tool for creating highly engaging learning experiences. AR provides digital information, layered on top of real world objects and environments. AR technology is unique in that it engages employees, simply with a smart phone—without the need for special AR glasses or other wearables.
As organizations adopt this technology, for training people, simplifying processes and mastering technology, they are realizing remarkable benefits. Let’s look at 9 training opportunities where AR is taking off.
Welcome New Hires
New employee orientation is a wonderful opportunity to greet people, in a fun and inviting way. AR makes it possible to provide a consistent, quality welcome in every location.
Newcomers can use their smart phone to explore the office environment, access information, learn and review policies at their own pace, and speed up the entry process. Some companies are using AR portals to welcome newcomers, in their own language, with self-directed training.
Build Human Touch
Meeting co-workers creates a company culture. In an ever increasingly virtual workplace, human connection is vital. Many freelancers and virtual workers seek the camaraderie of an office.
AR offers a way to bridge the virtual distance. Whether for formal trainings or informal stand-up meetings, AR brings a form of direct contact—similar to meeting in a physical setting. Unlike email or texting, people can connect with facial recognition, gestures, voice and images. This brings a human touch to contact with new and existing co-workers.
Share The Vision
Imagine sharing the company vision, strategy and plans—a virtual sit down with the CEO, founders, and supervisor. Using a smart phone, employees in any location have a direct seat at the table. No more waiting for the corporate retreat or gathering to get everyone up to speed.
With AR, every employee has direct access to hearing, seeing and feeling the ideas fueling your organization’s direction. AR experiences can be accessed anytime, anywhere—matching the expectations and preferences of today’s workforce.
Picture this: transforming dull and boring topics into highly engaging experiences. Instead of requiring employees to read a 300-page manual or digest a dry policy lecture, AR offers a transformative opportunity. Information is instantly brought to life, with images, photos and videos—it feels like you can reach out and touch it.
Heather Andrew, CEO of Neuro-Insight, UK, notes, “We’ve researched brain response to many different media, and this study has shown that AR delivers exceptionally high attention levels- 45% higher than the average we see for TV viewing or general online browsing.”
Consider the implications for achieving true engagement and long-term memory. AR may be the best choice for sharing updates on critical topics that have been termed boring and dull: policies, protocols, and regulations.
Share Upbeat Updates
Promotions for new products and services can be challenging to communicate effectively, without large expense of travel, stand-up meetings and direct contact.
AR technology offers colorful options to make learning new product benefits feel like playing a game. Overlays of information show different aspects of a product, important features, showcasing the value of new products and services. Users are able to point at aspects of a product, and see a layer of useful information at the same time.
This is a uniquely engaging way to bridge the distance from headquarters to field locations.
Complex procedures and processes can be difficult to learn and hard to remember.
AR is ideal for wayfinding, whether in physical environments or a complex process.
By superimposing color, guidelines, and lighted navigation pathways onto the physical world or sequential procedure, users are able to follow a specific route to a final outcome.
A Harvard Business Review guide cites dramatic results in a Boeing study showing AR improved productivity in assembly processes by 25%. Studies from GE Healthcare show AR technology enabled workers to complete tasks 46% faster.
Simply put, no one wants to read a user manual. But everyone wants to know how to get oriented, do work error-free, and be a successful team member. With 3D models and color-coded cues, users can find immediately their way, on their own, to new information.
Using a phone to visualize instructions works to understand the way around a piece of complex equipment. It works equally well to get oriented to the flow on the manufacturing floor or navigate effectively in a restaurant kitchen.
Time saving tips and tricks
Experienced workers know the ins and outs, tips and tricks to save time. New hires and employees with less experience are able to use AR for just-in-time insights. They can get immediate help, tips and tricks to quickly master complex processes and technology.
Benefits include reduced down-time waiting for an expert technician, reduced travel costs, and self-directed learning, without costs of on-site training or formal classes.
At the same time, you’re creating a knowledge base, driven by users. The trouble-shooting feedback can be automatically compiled into reports, and quickly build a user-sourced hands-on library.
Leverage expert knowledge
AR can bring remote expert knowledge directly to the field—for workers and consumers. In cases where one expert has specific product or machinery knowledge, they can provide real-time feedback, live video, easy-to-understand sketches and voice direction.
Leveraging expert knowledge is key for creating value. Companies using this methodology cite: 50% increase in remote resolution rate, 30% improvement in first time fix rates, and 40% reduction in on-the job training times. Additionally, studies of organizations using AR find significant reductions in time lost due to waiting for an expert to show up.
Let’s briefly look at the benefits AR technology has for training and development:
• Faster, engaging new hire orientation
• Consistent high-quality onboarding
• Access for training new employees at any location
• Increased engagement and retention
• Authentic connection to leaders, vision
• Develop qualified and better-trained employees
• Better emergency preparedness
• Easy-to-conduct individualized learning paths
• Fewer injuries and accidents
• Visualization of wayfinding
• Increase in remote resolution rate
• Improvement in on-the-job training times
• Increase in first-time fix rates
• Reduction in travel costs
• Significantly reduced down time
To put it simply, Augmented Reality is transforming training. It is a technology that has the power to increase engagement, enhance collaboration, and strengthen human touch.