Immersive technologies have found their way into many learning and development programs in recent years. Call it a silver lining of the remote working model, organizations are increasingly exploring solutions that supplement physical environments with digital access. In fact, the global spend on immersive technologies is set to cross $72 billion by 2024.
Using immersive technologies for learning and development allows organizations to effectively train their employees in real-life scenarios via risk-free simulations for consistent training with clearly defined success criteria. Immersive technology consists of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality – often referred to as Extended Reality (XR). While a complete shift to virtual training might still be a few years away, the current XR tech is more than capable of delivering robust training at a relatively low cost.
Why Should Organizations Invest in XR?
Organizations that keep their workforce engaged and care for their employees’ future often enjoy their commitment. This kind of investment in the workforce ensures high productivity and overall loyalty. Immersive training is a big step from conventional training which has certain restrictions like passive learning and specific actions directing the right or wrong outputs. Training with immersive technologies helps learners apply their knowledge and skills in a virtual reality setup displaying real-life situations. XR allows learners to practice continuously, which ensures they can sharpen their skills while practicing for different scenarios. Practice-based learning is limitless. The non-linear approach of immersive tech allows learners and organizations to better understand the impact of even the smallest changes in the normal protocol.
Fig 1: Benefits of Leveraging Immersive Technologies for Learning and Development
What to Consider Before Leveraging XR Solutions
While XR shows a lot of merits for learning, there are many aspects to consider in order to realize the true benefit of immersive learning. Following are the top four considerations for organizations planning to invest in XR:
It is important to understand the final result before investing in XR solutions. The use of XR tech must go beyond the novelty of using a cutting-edge solution and offer exceptional value to the organization and users. The need for new hardware directly depends on the intended use case. Before investing, extensive research must be conducted to decide which devices are best suited for the organizational needs, goals, and office environment. When selecting the appropriate XR devices, it is also necessary to check specifications like minimum battery life, maintenance costs, reliability, sturdiness, future use, storage, environment, and functionality.
The L&D strategy needs to align with the IT team and with all the digital transformation initiatives at an organizational level. There needs to be a clear definition of the security requirements, technical demands, and approvals needed for implementation. Certain XR solutions may also be ecosystem-specific, so prior evaluation of the organization’s infrastructure is necessary to ensure smooth implementation and easy integration with existing systems. Any miscommunication at this level will result in failure of the training method and loss in terms of efforts, time, and money.
Once the organization has zeroed down on the approach for delivery, the next logical step is to focus on content that is compatible with the immersive nature of the L&D program. Developing rich content for the program is equally important to enhance the knowledge retention rate. It is critical for the organizations to identify the learning goals, storyboard lessons, contract, record videos, design visual components, and simplify the process. Taking inventory of which existing training materials are compatible with the XR tech along with developing new content is important to reuse investments and further lower the costs for achieving the desired results.
If appropriately done, implementing immersive tech can be simple. Organizations should analyze their corporate culture and identify the prominent places of resistance along with being a part of the larger digital transformation. It is highly effective to start the implementation process in stages and start small to proactively identify and eliminate any hurdles. A pilot program is a must to demonstrate the value and encourage support amongst users. Regular organization-wide communication also helps create a buzz of excitement and an eagerness to adopt the new look, mechanisms, processes in the solution.
Immersive Learning Is The Future of Learning
The goal of every learning program is to upskill and future-proof their workforce and thus increase retention (churn has a very high cost of replacement). To ensure that, the learning programs need to be engaging, relevant, and accessible for a training protocol. Immersive tech promises exactly that by plugging digital information in scenarios where it might not be possible generally.
With rapid technological advancements, immersive tech like AR, VR, and MR will become less expensive in the near future, and devices will become less chunky, quicker, and more engaging. The tech offers the opportunity to constantly improve learning effectiveness by bringing digital data to the real world.
Reach out to our experts to know more about how Adeptus can help you leverage immersive tech to achieve your L&D goals in the new normal.