As the workplace is constantly changing and undergoing more and more digitization, enterprises have been compelled to redefine their learning strategies. Augmented reality (AR) is part of the immersive technologies that are taking hold on the business front.

Marketers have been especially successful using AR to promote their products and engage their customers. We’ve witnessed many examples of this in immersive marketing campaigns by big brands like Ikea, Coca-Cola, Mercedes, etc. There are many benefits to exploring this immersive tech as a training option.

1. It’s an intuitive way of learning

Augmented reality is cutting-edge in that it overlays real-world objects and environments with data in the form of graphics, texts, or sound. When this data is contextually superimposed on a real-life object of study, it can open up new ways to interact with one’s surroundings—from accessing analytic data to practicing how to maneuver machinery.

Just like marketers use AR to provide the real-life experience of their product before a purchase is made, AR can give your employees the opportunity to practice with reduced risks that accompany real-world experiences. An example is a participant operating or servicing high-stakes machinery. With AR for the training environment, the risks to safety and the systems are mitigated. Augmented reality also takes advantage of the brain’s high affinity for multisensory information and yields better memory retention and recall.

2. It’s an advanced, affordable tech

Augmented reality does not require a lot of equipment to set-up; it’s even accessible as an app on a smartphone or tablet. Most expenses are around the initial program and equipment setup. Unlike its virtual reality counterparts, basic augmented reality experiences with low budget equipment are still effective and don’t have the risks of making people dizzy, a side effect from skimping on virtual reality hardware and software.

3. Knowledge or skills are acquired in context

Augmented reality empowers learners with in-context information. Training is more likely to be focused on the practical aspect than theory, and participants are allowed to focus on self-guided learning and exploration.

The marketing industry already has many successful examples to draw inspiration from. Sephora created a Virtual Artist app with Modiface to show consumers how makeup products look on their face via their phone's camera, as well as mini tutorials about how to apply the products. The app shows how the products work in a real-life context, with the convenience of experimenting anywhere and without the risk of trying it on in real life and not being satisfied. Use this same strategy for learning solutions and it’s an effective example of providing in-context training.

Is your organization ready for AR?

Given the benefits of incorporating augmented reality in your training program, it’s time to find out if your organization is ready for it. Here are the questions you need to be asking:

1. Does your field of work actually reap the benefits of AR?

Some enterprise functions require immersive training more than others. Augmented reality provides low-risk training for industries with high-risk functions. It adds another dimension to learning. With this technology, organizations can create new learning environments that would be too costly to re-create in the field. Medicine, aerospace, and manufacturing industries that are hazard-prone can benefit greatly from using AR.

2. How will your employees respond to AR?

Consider the composition and needs of your workforce and whether your learners will be receptive to augmented reality. How will your own workforce actually respond when the device is in their hands? Similar to how marketers understand their audience and consider if the tactics fit, learning professionals need to consider if AR will actually be the most effective tool to meet their learner’s needs. Although it’s usually hard to veer from old habits, AR’s accessibility and immersive ability puts it at an advantage over standard classroom training.

3. What business need does AR in training solve?

You need to make sure you’re not using AR just for the sake of using AR. How does AR in training provide a benefit to learners or the company that’s not otherwise realized? If it’s just that AR provides novelty but doesn’t provide an additional benefit over traditional classroom training, you may need to reconsider the investment in AR. Focus on the business goals your training meets for help determining if AR is right for your business model, and how much time and resources you should invest in it.

It’s undeniable that AR has been wildly successful in marketing and now it has broken ground in the training field. It’s time to find out how incorporating AR in your training strategy could be your best bet.

Learn more

Danielle Wallace will address AR at The eLearning Guild’s DevLearn Conference & Expo, Oct. 23 – 25, in Las Vegas. Her session is titled “Leveraging AR Success from Other Industries”.