The Future of Training: Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Training Platforms

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On-the-job training experience is one of the best ways of imparting specific skills to your employees. Polishing the skills of your employees in real life day to day challenging situations, and keeping them engaged at the same time, can add value to your training program. And this is one area where Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) training truly shines out.

Virtual Reality (VR) Training Platform

Nowadays, VR is receiving more attention in the online training sector, thanks to devices such as Gear VR, and Oculus Rift. But, what is Virtual Reality Training? Basically, VR based training allows the trainee to explore a 3D environment that is related to the subject matter using a special audio-visual headset. The trainee is totally immersed in the simulation to the point that they start to respond to it just as they would in a real-life situation.

Not only do the trainees acquire the relevant information concerning their job, but they start practicing their skills right away in a virtual world. This virtual setting makes learning truly interactive, immersive, and engaging.

For example, if you have several coffee shops situated in different geographical locations, you can use VR to train your employees. Let’s say that you need your employees to improve their customer service skills. Using VR technology, you can create real-life situations with actual scenarios. In this case, create a 3D coffee shop, with customers of all sorts, where the employee needs to deal with unpleasant and even aggressive customers. Each scenario can be analyzed, and present the right way to deal with the situation if the employee didn’t handle it well.

Unfortunately, AR implementation may be very costly and not doable for SME’s. These days, the main industries to embrace the VR technology are gaming and medical industries.

The video games market was estimated to be worth 17 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, and is expected to reach over 20 billion by 2020. However, VR is not only fun and games; the healthcare industry is aiming at saving lives by allowing young interns to practice surgical procedures on virtual models rather than live patients. VR can also help patients to deal with fears of things like flying, and claustrophobia; soldiers also, with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Augmented Reality (AR) Training Platform

AR allows you to add layers of digital content onto the physical world that your learners can view via an iOS or Android device. An AR platform creates a mind-blowing experience that enhances the learning experience, and redefines the learning space. Learners create Augmented Reality experiences on the subject matter to bring their learning to life using a mobile app, such as Anatomy 4D.

For example, if one of your coffee shops’ technician is new and doesn’t know how to fix a certain equipment, an experienced technician in a different coffee shop can assist him without having to travel. Using both an AR app and his phone camera, the new technician can share a real-time video with the experienced technician, who then views the equipment via the AR app and guides the junior through the steps of fixing it.

You can record such videos, and archive them for future training or reference. In this case, AR training not only reduces delay, but also saves you the cost of ramping up the number of new technicians who can tap the expertise within the organization, irrespective of the distance. The result is an effective real-life training from the experienced technician who can now concentrate on other important company activities since he doesn’t need to travel off-site. AR technology is much more affordable than VR, and it is less cumbersome to use. All you need is a smart phone or tablet which you probably already have. Some vehicle companies already supply their customers with an AR app where they can point the device at the engine, and relevant text appears on the screen, showing the inexperienced driver what is going on under the hood.

It isn’t a secret that more engaged and motivated learners understand the subject better, and remember it longer. However, with emerging VR and AR technologies, the expected learning possibilities are endless. Sharon Stoerger, an author and professor at Rutgers University says, “These virtual world experiences also extend the boundaries of the traditional classroom where collective intelligence, as opposed to individual experience, becomes an important approach.”

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