A meeting room with a smart tv and a Skype portal. An expert talking to me from a few states away. My HR rep sitting next to me working on their own work. A dashboard in front of me with figures and numbers cascading across the screen. Recorded demos seeming playing one after another. This was the setting for my training at my first job out of college.
Within a day or so, I was asking my coworkers how to complete some simple tasks and how to input some of the data. My 8 hours in a conference room didn’t really stick with me. While there are dozens of different ways to train new employees, the same problems that I experienced are prevalent in almost every method.
Two Problems With Traditional New Hire Training
First, whether the new employee is training for work in a factory, at a desk, or any other position, traditional training methods such as packets and manuals are unable to replicate and translate what a day in the life of an employee will be.
Second, even if you can replicate all the on-the-job tasks in training, how do you create a memorable training program, so the new employee can be productive sooner and doesn’t have to revisit the material at a later date?
Companies have been trying to combat these two problems for years, and a relatively new technology is solving these difficulties – Augmented Reality!
What Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality (AR) superimposes computer generated images and graphics onto the real world. These AR images can take the form of information such as surgical guidance, 3D animations, digital hosts, way-finding directions, and so much more. All of these augmented reality designs and experiences are activated by pre-programmed triggers. Users can see AR images and information through the use of specialized augmented reality viewers. These viewers can take the form of specialized lenses, screens, smart mirrors, and even your cell phone’s camera.
So how does the technology that helped Pokémon Go become so popular translate to new employee training? It tackles both of the problems that we outlined above - creating realistic training experiences and making the materials memorable – to increase the productivity of new employee training!
Simulates An Average Day for an Employee
At a large factory, an employee probably shouldn’t be operating heavy machinery on their first day. It isn’t because they are incompetent or don’t like their job. It’s simply because they don’t have the experience. New employee training is supposed to prepare an employee to work almost immediately, but it is almost impossible to properly train an employee without allowing them to actually complete a few tasks. Augmented reality training programs help simulate an average day for an employee by allowing a new employee to train in a real environment.
How does AR training programs accomplish this? Instead of having to sit in front of a computer screen in a room far away from an actual work station, augmented reality glasses and goggles allow for new employees to be hands on in their training. With AR triggers pre-programmed into a training simulation, the new employee can see information and instructions appear directly on their workstation. This type of training delivers far more benefits than reading an instruction manual or completing a standard computer program.
Makes The Training Material Memorable
Training simulations and programs can cost millions of dollars, but if your employees can’t remember the majority of the material then your millions of dollars turn into a waste. Augmented reality training applications alleviate this problem by creating a truly unique and memorable training simulation. AR training applications are able to achieve this because of several reasons, but let’s just highlight three.
First, augmented reality makes the learning process much more enjoyable. Whether it’s for a job that requires manual labor or an office job working on a computer, the 3D graphics and animation add a sense of entertainment and enjoyment to an otherwise rigid and boring training process.
Next, augmented reality is able to break down barriers in a natural way. When having someone show you how to complete a task or operation, the new employee is subject to the expert’s mannerisms, total knowledge, personal habits, and many more little details. AR training simulations use graphics and information that clearly define and illustrate the information in a manner that can be easily followed and learned regardless of personal preferences and habits.
Finally, the majority of individuals have not experienced an augmented reality training program. People remember new experiences much longer and more vividly than the same process slightly altered. With AR training programs being a new experience, an employee will retain the material presented much longer than if they read or viewed it in traditional training formats.
The days of new employee’s dreading the training process and companies hoping some of the material stick is over thanks to augmented reality! Already, the technology is present in factories, hospitals, interior design firms, the military, fortune 500 companies and more. With AR training programs already revolutionizing the training process in dozens of industries, expect to see it in yours soon!