The potential educational boons of AR in training are manifold, but of course, the necessities of running a business mean that there need to be some benefits concerning costs and practicality to really make AR training a viable option. With any technological development, it’s only natural that some might be concerns that it’s going to be exceedingly expensive and finnicky to use, and that the possible plusses are outweighed by all the headaches of trying to get things actually working.
But rather than being a complicated and costly technique, AR training in fact offers some practical advantages for businesses – here are 5 of those significant benefits:
1. Slashes Risk and Boosts Confidence
For many high-risk jobs, inexperience can be a safety concern. The UK government’s Health and Safety Executive found that the most dangerous period for workers is the first 6 months of a new role, particularly for young people.
AR training means that new hires can be upskilled in areas of the job that might be dangerous for an inexperienced person to attempt in reality. Conversely, the same benefit can also be applied to industries like healthcare or social work, where the worker isn’t necessarily at risk, but the health and safety of a patient very much is.
With a PWC study finding that companies using AR training had a 40% improvement in task completion and a 35% reduction in errors, it becomes clear that augmented reality makes a trainee more capable – and most importantly safer - to tackle the challenge in real-life when the time comes.
2. Minimises Material Costs and Wastage
For industries like manufacturing, engineering, or technology, incorrectly assembled or even damaged components in the training process can be a drain on resources. In aviation for example, where a single jet engine can cost hundreds of thousands, AR models could allow for trainees to learn the ropes on a digital model before graduating to a physical unit. In fact, AR is already being trialled as a way to train aircraft engineers and support them on repairs including at aviation titan Boeing.
3. Accessible and Scalable to your Workforce, Wherever They Are
When it was first developed by the US military in the early 1990s, AR was both hugely expensive and tech intensive. But now, smartphones have become highly sophisticated, easy to use, and affordable to the vast majority, and many AR applications are specifically designed for mobile OS.
It also means that, with a large number of people working either completely remote or on a hybrid basis – 24% of all UK workers as of 2022 (ONS) - high quality training and upskilling AR content can be delivered without the need for specialised equipment. AR training is also easily scalable to whatever size company you have, so you don’t need to print more worksheets or book out larger training seminars. All your employees need is their phone, an app, and working Wi-Fi, and they’re good to go!
4. Improves learning outcomes including retention of key info
Studies of trials of AR training have demonstrated that the method offers measurable improvements in learning outcomes. Training can be overwhelming, particularly for new starters, and ‘information overload’ is definitely an issue. AR learning, however, can help package all of this information in a way that is memorable and adds long-term retention, whilst also being more time-efficient than traditional methods.
The learning pyramid methodology devised by the National Training Laboratory posits that participants generally remember about 5% of what is said by a speaker, 10% of what they read, and 30% of what they see – compared to 75% for a hands-on learning experience. Studies into AR, such as one conducted by Xu et al (2022) found that users recalled 78.21% of information about cultural artifacts learnt about using an AR app.
Making complicated and specialised knowledge stick in the minds of employees can be tough, but AR training could be the right tool for the job.
5. Delivers a Real Return on Investment
It might sound like a costly new direction to steer your learning & development program, and it’s always an understandable concern in a particularly volatile economy.
But AR training is not as costly as you might think – a ball-park figure for developing a basic app that can be expanded and built upon for your specific needs is around £7,000 - 12,000 (source: eLearning Learning)
Concerning the ROI, augmented reality training can provide a positive return as a result of more effective training and higher knowledge retention. This means that your employees can go about their day-to-day duties with a greater degree of skill and ability, leading to less wasted time on repair jobs, more efficient manufacturing, increased sales, and so on.