How to Use Augmented Reality to Crush Your eLearning Design

Augmented Reality (AR) promises to fundamentally change learning experiences. With AR, learners use a mobile or wearable device to augment their environment with digital content that is overlaid on their device’s screen. There is a lot of hype surrounding what AR will be able to do, and giant tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook are devoting tens of billions of dollars toward the development of this technology. Phrases such as “revolutionize learning,” “completely transform,” and “completely immersive” are often used when describing what new AR experiences will be like.

Let’s separate the hype from some real and practical experiences that AR can deliver right now in the learning space. Here are five new learning experiences that are enhanced with AR technologies.

AR Identification Badges and Business Cards

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find out more about people’s qualifications, experience, and/or interests when you first meet them? This could lead to better conversations and faster connections between you and the other person. With AR, you could view this information from an app on your mobile device when you hold it up to a person’s work ID badge or business card. The badge or card would include a graphic image trigger which will automatically pop up the information that the other person wants to share. This could include:

  • How to be contacted (phone, email, Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn)
  • Role/position (title, department, org chart)
  • Interests and expertise (certifications, current projects, hobbies)
  • Portfolio (work samples, video testimonials)
  • Personal information (favorite author/movie, hometown, charity efforts)

Using the app, you can view this information either live or at another time, tapping the person’s saved information and exploring all of the information shared. This allows you an easy way to connect with other people in a meaningful way.

New Employee Orientation AR Scavenger Hunt

Can you recall some New Employee Orientations that you’ve had? Many people will remember long, boring meetings followed by a brief facility tour and quick introductions to a lot of people that promptly get lost in a fog. Now imagine if that experience included a fun AR scavenger hunt using an app on your mobile device to launch activities such as:

  • Find the Rooms – use a map to walk to, find, and then scan image markers for important rooms (bathroom, office supplies, office printer, etc.)
  • Who’s That – search for and locate key people (office manager, your supervisor, teammates, etc.), then take their picture and notate some information about them (name, interests, duties)
  • Explore the Neighborhood – explore favorite places for lunch

Through this AR experience, you can not only have fun learning about your new workplace and colleagues, but you can review this information at any time to help you get up to speed faster.

AR Marketing Brochures and Printed Training Materials

Until now, printed brochures and training materials could only use text, graphs, and images. Wouldn’t it be great if you could also incorporate dynamic and live/real-time data into your printed material, making them more engaging and current? By including AR triggers into your printed marketing brochures and training materials, you can enhance them by:

  • Making a printed picture of a product endorser come alive by playing a short video clip of the person sharing an experience
  • Popping up a 3-D model of a product above the printed page that can be viewed from any angle
  • Making a graph on a page current with live/real-time data
  • Read, post, and reply to comments and responses about the material from colleagues and/or customers

Your printed materials will also enjoy a longer shelf life because they will be augmented with up-to-date content.

On Demand AR Performance Support

For workers who do not sit behind a desk, such as field technicians and manufacturers, often getting the right information when you need it can be cumbersome and requires that you leave your task. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could get the performance support you needed without having to look away from the task at hand? With an AR experience, you could simply hold a mobile device up and using AR’s object recognition capabilities:

  • View labels and diagrams superimposed over the object/equipment you are viewing
  • See step-by-step instructions of how to do specific tasks
  • Chat with or call an expert that can help you do further troubleshooting on the item you are viewing

Workers will be able to increase their productivity and accuracy by easily and quickly access the right type of support when and where they need it.

AR Enhanced Clothing and Tools/Equipment

Many work-related clothing items (safety vest, goggles), tools, and equipment often are associated with particular ways in which they should be used. Often, these standards and best practices can only be accessed via printed materials or on a computer. Imagine if this information could be accessed just by holding up a mobile device to it. Here are some possibilities:

  • See how to secure the safety straps of a vest. Handles of the vest will be indicated on the screen of your mobile device while each step is shown.
  • Watch a 5 second animation to indicate how to switch an adapter on a tool when you hold your mobile device up to it
  • See the inner workings of a valve both in the closed and open state (similar to X-Ray vision, but in AR) through the app and camera on your tablet

Your mobile phone or tablet can be your go-to device to get additional information on anything you use or wear at work.

As the AR field continues to develop and become more robust, there will be many more experiences that will enhance learning. But you don’t have to wait for some time in the future to incorporate these types of learning experiences into your business. Everything listed above can be developed right now to transform your learning.