ATD Blog

Reaping the Benefits of AR Like a Marketer

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The potential of augmented reality (AR) in engaging people continues to rise and marketers have taken advantage of this in creating authentic immersive experiences that consumers happily engage in. After making its mark on the marketing and entertainment fronts, AR has found its way into the learning and development world.

AR provides a refreshing take on traditional classroom learning that is often dependent on text, static images, and imagination. It eliminates the hurdle of trying to visualize concepts and instead uses its ability to superimpose virtual content in context to create clarity for learners. As an example, learners can view the placement of internal organs in context of the patient, something that would normally require dissections. Additionally, learners can view instructions for manufacturing equipment in the context of the actual machinery.

Benefits of AR Use in Training

The innovative way marketers have been employing AR to shape their customers’ experiences can serve as an inspiration for learning practitioners. Here are some of the benefits that L&D can reap from its use, including some marketing case studies.

1. Encouraging Interactivity in Learning

The IKEA Place app allows you try out furnishings from the company’s catalogue to see if the pieces fit in your own home. This is a perfect example of the level of interactivity AR can bring to L&D. These try-before-you-buy features allow you to interact with products before making a purchase commitment. Think about how groundbreaking this would be on the learning front to provide safe practice.

AR makes the possibility of interacting with learning content achievable because of its ability to overlay virtual training components with real life and eliminate any safety or failure risks that come with the actual task. It means the difference between learning about a skill from a textbook and looking at it being applied right in front of you in real life.

2. Prolonging Learners’ Attention Spans

The immersive nature of AR enables instructional designers to get learners’ attention instantly and keep them hooked.

If you remember the Pokémon Go! craze of 2016, you’ll recall how obsessed everyone was with the AR-enabled game. Another marketing example is the Virtex Arena app that was created for the Super Bowl. It gave fans the opportunity to compete against each other in football challenges during the breaks in the Super Bowl action. These games allowed for shared experiences between users and made standard events more interesting. Imagine the extensions of this idea to promote social learning beyond the classroom.

Also, consider AR in gamification. Picture being a learner and having your lessons turned into an interactive game. Done well and with the right business case, the blend of learning with fun and a bit of competition can keep learners engaged for longer periods.

3. Providing Just-in-Time Information

In a time where everyone is accustomed to instant information on their smartphones or tablets, meeting your learner halfway by incorporating AR apps into training could be a smart way to go. One example from the marketing world is Sephora’s virtual assist app, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to apply makeup.

AR in training delivers real-time information superimposed on physical objects that simplifies the process of information assimilation. It is the perfect choice for the introduction of in-context training in a space where information overload is a routine affair. Providing AR job aids, which employees can refer to while in context of the task, can help make up-skilling relevant.

AR as an immersive technology is creating a space for itself in the L&D world and is contributing to the massive digital transformation we see in the future of learning. It levels up the learning experience, which ultimately makes leveling up in skills faster and more effective.

Want to Learn More?

For a practical framework and tangible tips to apply to your next AR project, join me February 5-7 in San Jose, California for ATD Techknowledge 2020.

About the Author

Danielle Wallace is the chief learning strategist at Beyond the Sky, a provider of custom learning solutions. She combines proven marketing techniques with adult learning principles to create learning that sticks. 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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