Future Focus: Immersive Learning Set to Transform Corporate Training
According to IDC, one of the biggest challenges companies face is that many of their most knowledgeable workers are reaching retirement age and as they leave the workforce, much of the institutional knowledge is lost. And to add to this issue, for non-retirement aged workers, the median tenure in the private sector is 3.8 years.
Sixty-six percent of executives are concerned about knowledge transfer; 87% say augmented reality (AR) can help solve the problem.
Today, businesses require a variety of tools to propel employee engagement and retention. And as the technology landscape changes, global workplaces are finding more immersive and enriching ways to share and scale knowledge. AR technology provides employers with richer and more cost-effective options for knowledge capture and transfer, collaborating with and assisting remote workers, hands-on and on-the-job training, and experiential coaching.
In our own survey of L&D leaders, only 39% are currently considering immersive learning through AR, but according to IDC, "Focus is shifting from talking about technology benefits to showing real and measurable business outcomes, including productivity and efficiency gains, knowledge transfer, employee's safety, and more engaging customer experiences."
AR is a technology that expands our physical world, adding layers of digital information onto it. As a form of immersive learning, augmented reality allows you to work, learn, play, and connect with the extended world and capabilities around you.
We sat down for a Q&A with Senior Vice President of CGS, Doug Stephen about the application of AR in enterprise learning after his presentation at the annual ATD Tech Knowledge conference, which provides attendees with a glimpse into the future of learning. Doug’s presentation focused on how to propel productivity with AR and why it works:
What makes you passionate about AR?
It will be a big part of the future toolkit for scalable, on-the-job, experiential training. It’s a disruptive technology that will change the landscape of learning. In our pilots with customers, we are finding that AR-based training provides an increase in safety, boosts efficiency, and is allowing employees to iterate more quickly by working, testing, learning and connecting with technology that displays extended information in the real-world environment surrounding them.
We know there’s Collaborative AR and Interactive AR. What are the differences? Why would someone use one over the other at their organization?
Collaborative AR involves one or more people working on projects where the subject matter expert can see what the student is seeing and provide real-time coaching, and they are placing AR objects to demonstrate capabilities. Click the image below to watch a video of an example:
For Interactive AR, you can mix AR objects with real objects and the user can interact with AR to achieve a sequence of steps or processes. Both real-world components and digital components are able to interact with each other.
What is a great example of how to use Product AR?
Think of mesh modems that people install in their homes in order to extend their internet reach. Using Product AR you can showcase the internet strengths throughout your home visually on your tablet or mobile device. As a result, you’ll be able to determine more effective modem placements and optimize the range of your internet, saving you time and money you would have otherwise spent waiting for a technician.
“Today more than ever, organizations need to empower their global workforce whether in the office, store or remotely in the field,” said Doug Stephen, president, Learning division of CGS. “Not only must companies capture and transfer knowledge from their SMEs and older workers to a younger generation, we found that our customers were looking for something with seamless adoption; a solution that works with their existing technology, devices and platforms.”
What if I’m on a budget, how can I implement AR Learning at my company?
You can certainly implement AR on a tight budget. One option is to download a free augmented reality application called Roar. It allows you to submit a unique “poster” and then add a separate video file that’s digitally tied to this poster. Once you print out your poster, use it as a wall display in important gathering areas and anyone can use their phone to have the animated messaging come to life. This is a great use case for onboarding, orientations and employee events. But the cost of entry for custom content in AR with rich, life-like images is not high now that the technology is entering its next phase of maturity.
If a limited budget is not necessarily the issue but the mandate is global scale, what are the first steps? Here are three starter questions to ask:
- Is improving employee engagement and operational performance a top priority for your organization?
- Does your company have a significant amount of remote and/or deskless workers and training is costly, travel-intensive or time-consuming?
- Or do you have a population of technical workers who work with complex products, expensive tools, or hazardous equipment?
To dig deeper, take an AR-readiness quiz.
You must determine the basics before you can roll out AR on a global scale.
- Confirm that there is a corporate policy that allows the use of employee smartphones or other devices.
- Ensure that you select a platform that covers both Android and IOS systems. If you can’t, find an alternative to what you’re missing so that everyone can participate.
- Next, determine where AR learning makes the most sense for your business. Examples: help product and manufacturing teams iterate rapidly, securely and safely; healthcare and service workers train on equipment and troubleshoot issues in digital settings before working with customers; reduce product ramp-up time and increase quality of demos for sales and marketing teams; provide technicians with remote guidance and support at the time of need without the concern of in-person training constraints due to geographies or budgets.
- Lastly, measure the impact of AR compared to the non-AR method through quantitative metrics and where AR provides the most ROI for your business. Studies from Accenture show that AR-based training delivers a 60% increase in learning effectiveness. With this data in hand, you can gradually implement AR on a global scale
For more info on future trends and how to prepare, check out our guide from L&D Leaders on the Future of Work.
ABOUT CGS: CGS Enterprise Learning serves as a trusted partner to many of the world’s most dynamic companies, delivering innovative, custom learning solutions essential to scaling people, processes and performance. Through tech-forward engaging programs, leveraging AI, AR/VR, machine learning and gamification, CGS provides professional development solutions, blending emerging technology with essential shoulder-to-shoulder training. Each solution is custom-tailored and designed to engage employees and keep clients’ employee-related business fundamentals strong in an ever-changing corporate environment.