Top-quality training isn’t just about getting the right facts across. It’s about making the learning process memorable and engaging so that trainees develop crucial skills they need in practice. Augmented reality (AR) is fast becoming a popular method to help employees learn faster and retain more information through learning-by-doing. As manufacturing and service leaders look for solutions to close the industrial skills gap, AR has become a valuable technology for workforce training.
Every context will have different demands, but the following framework applies whenever you design a training program.
Start by establishing clearly why you are creating the program in the first place and what you want the outcome to be. Who is this program for? What do they need to accomplish? If you are designing a compulsory program for employees, what does the management need them to achieve? What kind of accreditation must they end up with? Think about the practicality of your training program and the type of hands-on immersive experience you would like to provide new employees with.
Even if you are a preeminent voice in the field yourself, it’s great to solicit different viewpoints and insights from people who know the subject matter inside out. It’s especially helpful to talk to peers working in a range of fields, sectors and business contexts, giving you a well-rounded picture of the practical issues, your students may encounter when they try to put this learning into practice.
Manufacturing processes can be both complicated to learn and hazardous. However, solely offering class-room training can be a barrier to employees’ learning and knowledge retention. Combining traditional lectures with hands-on training using AR helps employees to visualize important aspects of work instructions, safety hazards and the machinery itself. This creates a more flexible onboarding program and companies are able to train new employees more efficiently.
1. Work with trainees’ devices: By allowing trainees to use augmented reality applications on their own smartphones and tablets, you reduce the need for expensive and unfamiliar technologies.
2. Bring expertise into the room: Augmented reality allows subject matter experts to provide remote assistance. The teacher can view what the trainee sees and either annotate this or provide guidance, which can help to explain any issues or teach anything not covered in the curriculum.
3. Reduce Risks: With AR headsets, trainees are properly trained on the use of dangerous or fragile equipment and how to perform complex or difficult tasks, without endangering themselves or damaging the equipment.
4. Engage your employees: Used the right way, AR can help immerse trainees in otherwise difficult or dry material in ways that are genuinely interesting and engaging. This drastically improves their knowledge retention and empowers employees to make an impact sooner.
5. Future-proof the program: With physical handbooks and resources, every change means a new print run. Most organizations can’t keep up with updates fast enough. With digital work instructions enabled by AR, you can make changes in real-time that are instantly updated across the cloud.
The current and future generations entering the workforce are digital natives and are likely to respond to innovative approaches. As you implement new training programs, consider the benefits of incorporating augmented reality to serve as a powerful learning tool when developing new employee skillsets.