With the peak hype of Pokémon Go in our wake, it's time to think (and dream) about how augmented reality could affect learning. As the technology becomes more and more accessible, what does the future of augmented reality mean for learning?
Augmented reality (AR) is "an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device". That device can be something as simple as your phone or as complex as a HoloLens.
Think for a moment of a workplace that is completely interactive. Where could you see yourself wearing a HoloLens or taking out your phone to assist in an activity? I see huge potential. We're constantly trying to find ways of getting the information and the point of need to intersect. Augmented reality is the ultimate intersection! Here are a few examples of how I see augmented reality assisting learning to become more experiential and engaging.
Onboarding and Exploration
Touring the facility. Usually someone helps you navigate through your new digs, or maybe you just get thrown in. But what if a device guided you through your new office? You could wandering while the AR informs you of fun facts, safety procedures, and even simple things like where the bathrooms are. Or maybe it's a full blown scavenger hunt and you have to capture all 10 company logos that are placed strategically throughout the facilities. Sign me up, please!
Performance Support + Job Aids
Nearly all industries and companies benefit from performance support and job aids. Whether you work at a sandwich shop and you have a printed list of what belongs on every specialty sub or you fix cars and walk through countless procedures with various tools in one day, having the information you need right by your side is helpful, and AR takes that to the next level. The information is no longer next to you, it's overtop of the material you're working on. Efficiency just got more efficient.
Get to know a new product with augmented reality. Let's say you are a medical device salesman and you're at the national sales meeting. While at the meeting you're asked to wear augmented reality glasses while you go explore three new products, one being a hip implant. As you pick up the hip implant and manipulate it, the AR is calling out and informing you of everything you need to know to be an expert on the product. As the sales rep, you're learning how the implant compares to the older product versions, how its features differentiate it from the competition, and how to respond to possible objections.
Role-play, to the extreme. We've created some impressive role play software that gets you really close to the real deal, but augmented reality role-play could trump that. Imagine walking up to a "client" and pitching to them. Sales reps could be evaluated on their sales technique and their body language all before stepping foot in front of a potential sale.
What's great about augmented learning is that it's not only experiential and engaging, it is the ultimate personalized learning. Learners can literally control their own pace of learning and interact with objects that are not real to acquire understanding and knowledge. Stay tuned, we'll see where this technology takes us!
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