For learning and development programs to be effective and successful, they need to meet the users where they are. The virtual landscape has proven that “meeting users where they are” doesn’t always mean meeting them in the physical workplace. As L&D programs equip employees with the knowledge and tools to be successful in their role, it’s no surprise HR leaders need to look deeper into these programs to determine whether the current strategies support virtual workplace success. Utilizing technology to develop effective L&D programs is nothing new; however, there is one technology growing in popularity among HR leaders — augmented reality.
The term “augmented reality” often floats visions of the large headwear allowing users to transport different realities into their minds, which is more closely aligned with virtual reality. Augmented reality is, in fact, a set of technologies that superimposes digital objects into the world of the user, effectively intertwining physical and digital components. AR can be effective in L&D efforts because it enables users to learn, engage and experience new material at their convenience and pace and from their work location, whether that is at home or in the workplace.
Maximize learning retention and efficiency
Executing effective L&D programs requires hands-on experience mingled with supervision, engaging tasks and interaction. While the most obvious answer is to conduct in-person programs, that isn’t always possible. In the current “digital-only” environment, many business functions have been forced to go virtual, leaving HR teams to transition their efforts while still maintaining effectiveness. AR serves as a beneficial alternative to in-person L&D programs because it can incorporate hands-on experiences, interaction and engaging tasks into an at-home training experience. AR can allow the employee to not only learn the tasks from home, but retain more information throughout the process.
In fact, a recent study showed digital reality allows for 75 percent higher learning retention rates, meaning users are retaining more information they were taught or experienced as a result of AR.
From a business perspective, AR can not only allow users to retain more information, but it allows for a more effective learning and development process. AR can distribute training and information through a user’s smartphone, allowing them to scan a QR code and immediately gain access to real-world experiences and on-site instruction that aligns with certain areas of the workplace. With this capability, you can train more people simultaneously, providing them a personalized experience from their device. For example, a company offering AR or VR training solutions to health-care professionals trained more than 300 workers in half an hour, receiving a 570 percent gain in learning efficiency. Aside from improving the training processes, AR can also provide learners the capability to learn at their pace and experience the training from their perspective, as opposed to generic slideshows or watching online training videos.
You’ve heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” Often, in the workplace, employees don’t have the ability to practice without having real-world consequences. With AR, employees can learn and practice as often as they feel necessary to reduce errors during real tasks.
Boeing, the leading aircraft manufacturer and seller, utilizes AR to deliver guidance and instruction to aircraft technicians. The use of AR in this instance resulted in a 25 percent reduction in production time, a 40 percent increase in productivity and significantly decreased error rates.
AR can support performance improvement through virtual maps, markers and AR cards that provide information, instruction and tools to the user’s device and bring the learning experiences directly to their perspective.
In the current virtual environment, it is imperative to be versatile. For HR teams, L&D programs are crucial components that shouldn’t be forgotten in the transition process. AR serves as a beneficial tool for employees to continue learning and training without hands-on experiences and instruction from managers. It is leadership’s responsibility to provide opportunities to enhance performance and knowledge through L&D programs regardless of the workplace. As the environment is constantly evolving, AR may be the technology your company needs to support continued learning and performance and come out of this transition a stronger and more versatile organization.
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