In today’s world companies face proliferating challenges through intensifying global competition, digital disruption from innovative startups, the worker skill gap, and other macroeconomic factors.
These outside pressures are pushing the training ecosystem to change to just-in-time learning methods that are scalable, situational, and immersive for workforces and their employers to truly benefit from them. Delivering training resources and information ‘just-in-time’ negates poor knowledge retention occurrences common in out-of-context training methods (instructor-led classrooms) and current costly challenges and bottlenecks (scheduling) plaguing industrial companies.
Augmented reality is the leading technology to solve this. Through immersive experiences and more effective training procedures, it can elevate organizations’ digital transformation initiatives centered around smart connected people and make workforce productivity and quality soar.
The greatest opportunity to mitigate current training challenges around knowledge retention and scaling expertise for deskless workers comes through augmented reality. This powerful new tool is perfectly suited to create just-in-time training resources for the worker through delivering, capturing, and analyzing tasks.
Here are some examples:
Augmented reality delivering on-demand virtual work instructions in-situ provides the worker with timely and contextualized information, reducing extraneous cognitive load associated with out-of-context learning methods (classrooms, paper-based manuals). A front-line worker accessing an AR experience with an interactive digital twin of the real-world product is a powerful AR use case that spans beneficiaries across manufacturing, operations, and service organizations.
AR has been a crucial ‘on-the-job’ training platform for organizations scaling expertise globally by remote expert guidance. It enables less experienced technicians to solve more complex problems with on-demand knowledge transfer, which further mitigates scheduling and service challenges related to product complexity. This virtual hands-on collaboration improves servicing KPIs (first-time-fix-rate, mean-time to repair etc.) while uplifting knowledge retention across the technician base.
Using ‘AR-as-a-Sensor’ input, which utilizes native sensors like cameras, GPS, and accelerometers, businesses can capture employee workflows and processes. This enables more effective knowledge transfer through training experiences built for auditory, visual, tactile and kinesthetic learners, also unlocking novel workforce KPIs. The interact use case will emerge as humans and machines synchronously communicate with each other in increasingly intelligent industrial environments.
The importance in investing in the workforce is a pillar of digital transformation; attracting and retaining personnel are necessary feats to fend-off broader industry issues such as the skills gap. It’s also mutually desired by today’s worker; when 360,000 employees and jobseekers were asked ‘what matters most on the job?’ one of the top answers was learning and training opportunities.
Anecdotally, AR adopters are citing the innovative tool as a critical recruitment tactic for attracting the next generation of front-line workers and reducing onboarding time for new hires. Hard metric improvements from AR experiences are being reported in areas like reducing servicing errors and improving first-time-fix rates, lower overhead costs from more efficient scaling of expertise, fewer physical prototypes needed in initial training phases, and less reliance on other traditional out-of-context training methods.
These cases of perceptible success elevate the case for AR to deliver relevant digital information in-context to front-line workers. The more ‘just-in-time’ learning methods transferred to a trainee or worker in-situ, the greater the acquired knowledge is retained and seamlessly acted upon in real-world environments.
Augmented reality will increasingly be the innovative tool for the next-generation of training, and inevitably the future platform for learning.
Learn more about how AR connects users across digital and physical worlds, transforming people, processes, and products.
David Immerman is as a Consulting Analyst for the TMT Consulting team based in Boston, MA. Prior to S&P Market Intelligence, David ran competitive intelligence for a supply chain risk management software startup and provided thought leadership and market research for an industrial software provider. Previously, David was an industry analyst in 451 Research’s Internet of Things channel primarily covering the smart transportation and automotive technology markets.