What are the benefits of augmented reality in corporate training?

(last update 2 years ago)

Augmented Reality provides a nimble and cost-effective way to engage corporate learners, particularly the Millennial workforce that has grown up using their mobile devices for gaming and communication. This article continues our blog series about how to benefit from various extended reality tools and techniques in the corporate training context.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) refers to the overlaying of on-screen digital objects such as images, text or video, with real-world, physical elements. The applications of AR are already versatile, and the list of use cases is rapidly growing: Christie’s invites clients to explore its fine art auctions in AR; Gatwick helps passengers navigate the airport with an AR wayfinding app; and Caterpillar uses AR to guide service technicians through complex procedures. Read how Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science Finland utilized AR in maintenance instructions.

From gaming to shopping, the number of AR users grew from an estimated 60m in 2013 to 200m in 2018, and the value of the AR market is estimated to reach US$ 198,17 billion by 2025. The popularity of AR among consumers drives the growth in the use of AR in corporate training.

AR in corporate training

Automotive supplier Bosch is currently launching AR applications to make complex technology more transparent in the training of workshop personnel. Learners pointing their tablet computers (or smart glasses) onto a vehicle component receive explanations, 3D objects or videos overlaid on the physical component. In a multi-user scenario, the trainer can control the participants’ tablet devices to supervise the learning experience and customise the contents to each specific training group. Embracing AR for training is not limited to a specific sector or industry. Whilst its use is growing particularly fast in the Education and Healthcare contexts, industries from Hospitality & Tourism to Oil & Gas, and organisations as varied as Boeing, DHL, Honeywell, Cisco and the US Marine Corps have already employed AR in their training programmes.

The strength of AR lies in its ability to provide a mixed-life experience, adding digital elements to the physical environment of the learner, allowing users to learn and practise skills safely in a realistic environment. AR can increase engagement and skills retention in diverse learning situations, from new employee onboarding to receiving real-time support for challenging or rarely performed tasks. AR is also ideal as a didactic support for mobile eLearning applications.

AR should not be confused with VR, which refers to an entirely digital and fully immersive environment, experienced in a way that shuts out the real world. Both approaches have their uses in the digital training toolkit, depending on the specific learning goals.

Augmented reality drilling.

Benefits of AR: engage, on-demand, anytime, anywhere

  • Great way to engage Millennial workforce and younger employees
  • Mobile devices allow learning anywhere, anytime
  • Mixed-life experience & personalised learning increase engagement
  • Safe training for dangerous or life-threatening situations
  • Particularly good for decision-making training due to real-life component

Cost-effective, nimble, relevant, real-time

  • Many Android & Apple phones are AR-ready, saving money on hardware costs
  • Due to consumer familiarity with mobile-phone based AR, little training is required to get started with AR learning
  • AR is cheaper than building entire VR environments or using gamification
  • Cost-effective solution for off-site training
  • Potential to measure outcomes of learning, and push specific content to learner
  • Trainers can provide relevant, real-time guidance to off-site learners through connecting to their mobile devices and “seeing what they see”

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