"Mixed-Reality" is a term used to describe both "Augmented Reality" and "Virtual Reality." When one looks at the history of virtual reality as a technology, one will be surprised to know that the technology was invented as early as 1957. Morton Heilig invented the Sensorama – a multimedia device, which is now considered the forerunner of all subsequent VR-based devices. Surprisingly, the term "Virtual Reality" was only coined in 1987 by a researcher named Jaron Lanier. You can learn more about the history of virtual reality from this webpage on the website of “The Franklin Institute.”
Understanding the Potential of Mixed Reality in Workplace Learning
The speed at which technology is changing is quite fascinating. Even before we can fully understand how a specific technology works properly, we observe that it impacts many lives. Today, we use smartphones that are essentially mini-computers and several times more powerful than regular desktops from a decade ago. High-speed internet and cellular connectivity have enabled learning to be delivered through smartphones. YouTube functions as the largest repository of information on all kinds of topics. There are videos for all possible topics from a recipe for pizza to assembling a computer on your own.
So, where does mixed reality come into the scheme of workplace learning?
We need to look at how virtual reality gained prominence and adoption in the USA and Europe and how it is closely linked to the development of video games as well. Have you ever had the chance to try out a Virtual Reality headset or VR glasses? It is a fascinating experience. Sitting right in your room, you are magically transported to a forest in the Amazon, or the pyramids in Egypt, or a space adventure. Despite still being in our room, we get to visit exotic places. The role of mixed-reality in modern workplace learning solutions is quite similar. It helps aircraft maintenance engineers understand how aircraft engines work; it allows employees to attend a virtual onboarding program and get a 360-degree tour of their office premises from their residence. These are just two scenarios or use-cases for mixed-reality solutions in workplace learning. The potential for deploying cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality solutions in workplace learning is immense.
Differences Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
It is important to understand the key differences between augmented reality and virtual reality.
Augmented reality adds to the existing reality of the user and presents a virtual layer of pictures and characters that can be viewed with a smartphone and a relevant/supported app.
Virtual reality builds upon the world of AR and creates an alternate simulation, which the user can experience with the help of special glasses, headsets, sensors, and gloves.
Augmented and Virtual Reality-Based Workplace Learning in a Post-Pandemic Era
The costs associated with mixed-reality-based learning solutions have always deterred organizations from investing in them. Unless it is a large tech-savvy and forward-thinking organization, the deployment of mixed-reality-based learning for internal employee training is quite rare. Once the pandemic hit and organizations realized that “work from home” would be a long-term working model, the use of virtual reality in workplace learning has gained traction and increased in popularity.
In this study published by PricewaterhouseCoopers in June-2021, it was found that employees are more emotionally connected to VR content, which in turn boosts learner engagement and retention of learning. Two other significant findings were that employees could be trained up to four times faster in soft skills by using VR, and VR learners are more confident in applying the lessons that they learned when compared to traditional learning.
Hence, it is evident that virtual reality-based workplace learning solutions positively impact learning and motivate employees to learn faster and improve retention of learning. L&D teams need to understand the different benefits that the application of virtual reality provides in varied learning scenarios.
Use-Cases for Augmented Reality in Workplace Learning
Workplace Safety Training
AR can be used to design workplace safety programs that help people understand the importance of a safe workplace and how to protect themselves from man-made and natural threats.
Aircraft Maintenance Training
Maintenance engineers working on aircraft, automobiles, locomotives, or other complex machines have to undergo a lot of training before working and repairing the machines and engines. AR simplifies the whole training process and helps the engineers and maintenance staff understand how complex machinery works.
Read this article to learn more about how augmented reality can play a big role in making employee training easier and more engaging.
Use-Cases for Virtual Reality in Workplace Learning
Virtual Product Tours
Virtual product tours can be made interactive and highly engaging with virtual reality. From SaaS-based products to complex machinery, automobiles, aircraft, virtual product tours built with VR have a greater recall value among learners.
Corporate law firms regularly hire many young graduates fresh out of law schools, and the learning curve can be quite high and challenging for these graduates who start as interns or trainees. Using VR-based learning solutions to train these young graduates with data from past cases handled by the firm, landmark judgments passed by the courts, how to present an argument in court, etc., can be taught using VR-based learning solutions.
Hospital Staff Training
This pandemic has put healthcare workers, the entire fraternity from doctors and nurses to support staff, under immense pressure. Several hospitals have seen a flurry of professionals quitting as the pressure was causing severe trauma to them. The pandemic has forced hospitals and medical colleges to bring in final year students of nursing, medicine, and surgery to provide support and lighten the workload of the senior doctors and nurses.
A matter of life and death is the difference between ignorance or incorrect diagnosis and properly focused care and correct diagnosis. Hospitals and medical colleges can invest in digital learning solutions that generously use VR and AR-based solutions to create life-like simulations of patients suffering from different diseases or injuries. The students/trainees can then be guided to offer the best possible care to such patients. When they handle patients in real life with such complaints or in the emergency/trauma-care war, they will be able to give better care to the patients. They could truly save lives.
At S4Carlisle, we have always believed in being future-ready and have invested in R&D and training of our staff in using tools to create VR and AR-based workplace learning and end-user product training solutions. If you would be interested in deploying a mixed-reality-based learning solution for your organization, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your requirements. Our team will get in touch with you and be happy to answer your queries.