We can all agree. Tech is cool. We all become kids again when confronted with new avenues of emerging technology. (Here at Maestro, we’re obsessed.) Whenever new technology hits the web, it’s easy to jump in head first and say, “I want to use this in business or training!” But using emerging tech in practical ways that produce measurable results can be more difficult. Here’s a step-by-step starter guide to how you can successfully implement emerging technology in adult learning.

1. Understand the technology behind the buzzwords

Emerging tech is always a hot topic (because there’s always something new), and it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. But in order to successfully implement this tech, we need to understand what it means and how it works.

Holograms: Project yourself somewhere else

As Endgadget.com says, “Teleconferences over webcams are so 2018.” By using interfering light waves, holograms create 2D or 3D images which can appear startlingly realistic. Unfortunately, while holograms are no longer a Star Wars exclusive, they’re still exclusive. Holograms use completely specialized technology, so if you want to use holograms in your learning and training, be prepared to make a large investment. On the other hand, if you successfully make the tech work for you, be prepared for an incredible experience.

Check out how Mimesys is working toward more affordable holograms using VR and AR headsets.

Virtual reality: Bring your learner to a new world

With VR, you can bring your learners a completely new world, explore historical locations, or drop them into digital experiences for situational training. VR tech uses headsets and controllers, and it’s becoming more affordable, feasible, and innovative by the day.

Check out how Pimax is taking VR to the next level.

Augmented reality: Bring a new world to your learners

AR is quickly becoming a practical tool in everyday life, partially due to Apple’s ARKit 2 (included on iOS 12 and above). Because of this, AR is a quick, easy, and affordable solution if you’re eager to start incorporating new tech into your learning and training. If you want to take AR beyond the phone screen, AR headsets like Hololens provide a more immersive experience for learners (while working toward the coveted mixed reality (MR) experience).

Check out how Google’s implementing AR into Google Maps.

Mixed reality: The holy grail of emerging tech

Unlike the holy grail, however, MR is on the fast-track to establishing itself as real-life technology. MR involves bringing both augmented reality and virtual reality together, overlaying the digital experience in reality (MR) and overlaying reality into a digital experience (VR). Mixed reality will completely overturn the learning experience, so it’s a good idea to start researching how MR works.

2. Brainstorm how to implement emerging tech in learning

This is where you gather up all the tech hype, sit down, and dream about how you can use emerging tech to help your learners. And while it’s great to keep the excitement up and your minds open, it’s also important to start thinking about how and why behind your ideas. Challenge yourselves with the questions:

  • How does this tech help communicate information to the learner?
  • Why is this tech the right way to communicate that information?

Tech is cool. But it needs to do more than be cool to help your learners.

3. Determine specific learning use-cases for emerging tech

This is where you step back from the technology hype and start strategizing. Determine your focus and ask the following questions:

  • Who are your learners?
  • What is your subject?
  • What’s your objective?
  • Which type of technology best fits your learners, subject, and objective?

Once you’ve established your learners and subject, you’ll be able to take a step back and ask, “Can we adapt current learning for the new tech, or do we need to create new learning for the new tech?” Often, creating new learning tailored to the technology is the best way to go.

4. Determine the location where the learning takes place

As surprising as it may sound, location is key when deciding which tech best fits your learning objectives. For example, if learning takes place in a classroom or office, VR might be your best choice. You can keep the headsets and technology on site and use it as needed. If your learning takes place at home or on the move, AR is a much better alternative. Learners can use personal phones for the learning experience and do it in their own time.

Think about it this way: in VR, your learner goes scuba diving in the ocean with dolphins. In AR, your learner watches the dolphins swim through the aquarium glass. In both situations, the learner learns more about dolphins, but the depth of the experience depends on the location.

5. Find a technology and design agency to create your learning experience

The key here is to find a technology and design agency. After all, you’re not only building a cool experience, you’re also creating an experience that accomplishes a measurable learning goal. This means the technology and design agency needs to know four things:

  • How to build cool technology
  • How to write powerful learning
  • How to design a fantastic user experience
  • How to make all the above perform as a cohesive whole

New tech also comes with some hurdles, so finding an agency with experience and passion is a great way to get your learning project off to a great start.

6. Remember that emerging tech comes with some challenges

New tech is, well, new. Because of this, there aren’t many established processes to support development and implementation. You’ll be carving a new path. But if you pick your technology and design agency well, you’ll have a reliable partner by your side for the road.

Emerging tech is a new horizon. Be willing to get lost a few times on your way to your goal. Experiment with new possibilities. Flex deadlines. And most of all, focus on clear communication with your technology and design partner.

Focus on the learning goals

Technology is a tool to create better learning experience — not simply a chance to show off (though we admit, that’s nice too). If you love new technology (just like us) and you’re interested in wowing your learners with both an educational and a visually fantastic experience, place your learning goals front and center.

Just remember the prerequisite: dream big.

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