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Getting Prepared … Using Augmented and Virtual Realities in Learning

It’s time to get prepared! Among the technologies coming to the forefront for use in learning, augmented and virtual realities (AR and VR) are gaining traction in many industries and functions.

Augmented reality is the ultimate performance support tool, particularly for users in manufacturing and service functions. Imagine wearing a pair of glasses on the job that can serve up reference documents, videos, step-by-step instructions, and an over-the-shoulder expert to guide you through a task in the moment of need — all while keeping your hands free to do the work. Virtual reality offers a complete immersive simulation to allow learners to practice doing dangerous tasks, such as fixing a live downed power line.

These technologies offer leading-edge, engaging, performance-focused learning that future generations coming into the workforce would be comfortable using and expect. But they’re technologies that come with capital expenditures and other considerations that require a strategic approach to be deployed successfully. A good strategy that’s properly executed can ultimately improve employee performance, save time and money, and ensure these learning technologies contribute to your organization’s bottom line.

Considering adding AR and/or VR to your learning mix? Here are some elements of a good strategic approach:

  • Craft a three-year vision that articulates how your organization will benefit from AR and VR applications (e.g., type of learning topics addressed, cost savings realized, and so on).
  • Identify the target audiences for these technologies and their learning needs at a macro level.
  • Research and specify the AR and VR delivery methods and development tools that’ll fit your needs, including the necessary equipment.
  • Document how you’ll procure the content (e.g., custom-developed for ABC applications, off-the-shelf for XYZ applications, and so forth).
  • Indicate how you’ll evaluate the impact of the learning.
  • Map out the organizational structure required to support your vision.
  • Develop an initial implementation plan.

An important outcome of your initial plan is to develop a proof of concept for each of the technologies. Focusing on developing one solution will bring your vision to life, prove its value, and pave the way for organizational acceptance and future funding.

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