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Insights

Why L&D Pros Should Use AR Like Marketers

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
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If you asked consumers what augmented reality (AR) was a decade ago, many wouldn’t have had a clue. However, AR has since grown tremendously in the marketing industry and branched out into other industries like L&D.

What exactly is AR? AR expands on our physical reality using data-based computerized images that people can interact with as if the images are part of the real world. This phenomenon gives customers a firsthand experience on everything a product or service has to offer before they purchase it. In L&D, it offers learners the opportunity to interact with the content, which leads to better retention.

If you’ve ever seen yellow distance markings on a football field during a live game on TV, you have experienced AR in its early days. Of course, AR has evolved over the years and is now used for training purposes in fields such as healthcare, manufacturing, design, retail, and more. Here’s why AR is gaining traction in both marketing and L&D.

Encourages Learners to Engage With the Content

Marketers promote AR apps like Ikea Place, which allows users to try out different furniture or design pieces in their home without leaving the couch. Instead of spending money on multiple items to find the right product, consumers can use AR to customize and choose what’s best for them.

With AR they can foresee the outcome before making an investment. Additionally, the marketing strategy behind AR is that it subliminally creates more engagement between customers and the product.

For many L&D professionals, engaging learners with the content isn’t always an easy task. But AR creates an interactive experience that makes it easier for learners to understand the information in the context of its use. For example, L&D professionals could use AR to show the names and functions of machinery in context of the actual machine.

An Advanced Yet Affordable Technology

AR is an affordable solution compared to other modern technologies that come with a hefty price tag. For organizations that encourage continuous growth, investing in different modern technologies, with all their equipment and materials, quickly adds up.

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Compared to virtual reality (VR), the development time and equipment investment is substantially less with AR. The only equipment learners need to experience AR is a portable device they may already have.

Provides Information in Real Time

Expectations have changed over the years. Today it’s no secret that people expect to have access to information on all devices at all times. Companies realize this and have made AR easily accessible through apps on both tablets and smartphones.

Apple offers many apps that use AR for an enhanced experience and immediate information. For example, an American Airlines app shows relevant information in real time, such as how to get to your terminal, food and drink options, and the restrooms surrounding your terminal gate. A user arrives at the airport, pulls up the app, begins walking, holds up the device in front of them, and information as well as points of interest will overlay on the camera view.

Likewise, I benefitted from a similar educational experience in Quebec City where I was able to use AR to identify the names of historic buildings around me and get a story about the significance of each.

Imagine if there were an AR-driven job aid. This type of learning experience could provide managers real-time, high-level, summarized statistical data about the equipment around them as they walked the plant floor. The manager could see the aggregate data versus benchmarks in the context of the process around them.

This type of performance support could reduce the need for supervisors to compile tedious information to present to the manager. It also reduces the risk of the manager not knowing the significance of the equipment data as they walk the plant floor. In this way, performance support tools can move from dusty binders to become a seamless part of an efficient workday.

It’s Just the Beginning of a Digital Future

AR offers an effective, affordable way for marketers and learning professionals alike to increase engagement with their audience. Although AR will likely continue to grow, develop, and change in the future, your organization can gain the upper hand by incorporating AR into workplace learning.

About the Author
Danielle Wallace is an instructional designer and learning director at Beyond the Sky, a provider of custom learning solutions. Previously, as a marketing executive with Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, she learned strategic marketing and advertising principles, which she applies to learning and development to create compelling breakthrough solutions. Danielle is also a certified training and development professional (CTDP).
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