Learning Technology Trends for 2019 – What’s Ahead?

Learning Technology Trends for 2019

Learning Technology Trends for 2019 – What’s Ahead? 

During the past few years, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented speed of development in the learning technology space. Likewise, the year 2019 looks to be no different. At Learning Crafters we are lucky to have an inside view to much of the development happening in the learning technology space thanks to our work with some of the leading technology vendors. Therefore, we thought it would be worthwhile to share some of our thoughts, views and first-hand experiences on what’s ahead for the industry next year. Hence, here are four key learning technology trends for 2019. 

Learning Technology Trend #1: Big Data will deliver exponential impact in 2019

For the past few years, organisations have been adopting tools and technologies to capture, analyse and execute on business data. While the human resources function in general seems to be lagging slightly behind in that adoption, 2019 looks to a be a big year for big data. For learning and development, the holy grail of learning data – the Experience API (xAPI) – has already been available for several years. While adoption of the xAPI standard has been slower than expected, any organisation claiming to do “learning analytics” today cannot remain credible without involving with xAPI. The old, commonplace ways of capturing learning data (e.g. SCORM) are simply not powerful enough. As we move into data-driven decision making in the L&D space, big data capabilities are an absolute requirement – and that will be delivered with xAPI. 

Learning Technology Trend #2: Artificial Intelligence (AI) will undergo rapid developments

Naturally, in the era of machines, the xAPI learning data will not only be used for analytics. Rather, this type of behavioural data (comparable e.g. to Google Analytics) will be used to develop more advanced AI. Now, what is AI good for in the learning space? 

Currently, AI in learning is being used to build adaptive, as well as personalised learning. Furthermore, the currently available more advanced AI applications are able to curate learning content based on the individual roles, needs and preferences of the learner. In 2019, we’ll definitely see major developments in both fronts. Additionally, we predict another AI application in learning analysis. In other words, the use of artificial intelligence to form insights on the link of learning and performance. 

Learning Technology Trend #3: Virtual Reality (VR) will become more “commercial” 

If you’re a learning professional and didn’t hear about VR in 2018, it’s time to go out! While a lot of the hype surrounding VR is arguably just that, hype, 2019 looks interesting. In addition to developing an industry understanding of what VR is good for, we are likely to see some major enablers.

The first major problem with VR currently is the price tag. Arguably, building VR the way companies currently build it does not enable long term adoption. Since VR is currently mostly developed with game engines, there are few possibilities for the non-tech-savvy to build content. If you look at e.g. how videos have grown the their current dominance, that’s because every single individual can produce them. 

The second major problem with VR this year has been the lack of data capabilities. Without the ability to record big data from the VR experiences, organisations cannot possibly prove the investment worthwhile. While VR experiences are definitely a great gimmick, many organisations have vastly over-invested in it. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel already in 2019. In fact, we are already seeing some of the first VR content editors emerge. These tools require no technical knowledge, game-engines or programming and come with big data capabilities. Hence, they overcome some of the two current major problems and are set for wider adoption. 

Learning Technology Trend #4: Augmented Reality (AR) will redefine workflow learning 

While VR has been on everyone’s news feed, augmented reality has gone largely unnoticed in 2018. However, several companies both in- and outside of the learning field are developing their AR tools. With the current pipeline of technological development, AR is likely to have a major impact on bringing learning into the workflow. A lot of the initial impact will focus on the technical fields, such as engineering. 

For the first time in history, people will actually be able to learn without interruption to work. This will happen with specialised AR headsets, which you can use to open learning content into your additional layer of reality. Best of the tools will have voice control and come with remote capabilities. This enables, e.g. trainers and experts to follow the learners and guide them through activities. Through a live connection, the trainers may influence the “reality” visible to the learner. Furthermore, the advanced headsets will likely incorporate cameras and tracking capabilities to capture great amounts of data. This data will be incredibly useful both for learning and the business as a whole, as it enables a totally new level of recording work, understanding workflows and the learning happening during them.

Now, the four technologies here represent only a part of the future of learning, but arguably they’re the most hyped. Later, we’ll look at some other technologies as well as emerging methodological trends in L&D. 

Is your organisation ready to take advantage of the upcoming technological developments in the learning space? If not, we’re happy to work with you in building that capability. Just contact us. 

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Supporting Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Objectives with Digital Methods

Bloom's taxonomy digital learning methods cover

Supporting Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Objectives with Digital Methods

For several decades, Bloom’s taxonomy has belonged to many L&D professionals toolbox. While the frameworks itself are somewhat dated, they still provide good tools for structuring learning objectives. In fact, along with Kirkpatrick’s model for training evaluation, the taxonomy is perhaps the second most prevalent industry staple. While in the future we are likely to move more into performance-based learning objectives, we still continue to educate people in knowledge heavy areas where immediate performance impact is not self-evident. Hence, it pays to evaluate how we can use Bloom’s framework today in the learning space where a digital forms a large part of the delivery. Therefore, we’ll look at Bloom’s taxonomy in more detail and how to support it with digital learning methods. 

The six levels of Bloom’s taxonomy progress as follows: 

  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation

Delivering “Knowledge” with Digital 

For a long time, digital (or eLearning for that matter) has been a common way of delivering knowledge. However, to fulfil the knowledge part of the learning objectives according to Bloom’s taxonomy, we have to pay attention to the delivery. Firstly, it’s highly important to understand what helps learners to remember and recall knowledge. Tools and methods like spaced learning and microlearning are modern ways of structuring digital content to aid in just that. 

Ensuring “Comprehension” with knowledge checks

When developing learning, we’d naturally like the learners to grasp the concepts beyond just the factual level. Hence, it’s important to build adequate comprehension elements into digital learning experiences. While an increasing part of the comprehension analytics can be accomplished with seamless learning tracking, on many occasions it’s good to build proper assessment. Generally, you should build assessment and knowledge checks that go beyond factual recollection. Furthermore, it’s beneficial to distribute the knowledge checks within the materials and space them over time. 

Supporting “Application” with digital 

Generally, the application part of the Bloom’s taxonomy and learning equation occurs in the workplace. However, that’s not to say we shouldn’t utilise the power of digital to facilitate that application to the best of our ability. Ideally, the scope of your learning analytics would cover the relevant behavioural and performance metrics to find out whether application is actually happening. In case your data capabilities are not yet at that level, you can (besides contacting us for help!) use different techniques to try to gauge the rate of application. For instance, digital surveys and 360 evaluations provide tools to assess behaviours on both individual and organisational level. However, keep in mind that self-reported data is often full of bias! 

Facilitating the “Analysis” of knowledge

A good part of learning deals with understanding what we already know and how that related to the grand scheme of things. Naturally, you can facilitate the analysis part with various types of self-paced assignments requiring critical thinking. In the age of digital, however, you could use the power of social media tools to facilitate social learning. Modern social learning tools provide a good way for learners to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts at hand and their relationship with current workplace practices and strategy. This enables learners not only to rely on their own conceptual understanding but to learn from others’ as well. 

Providing a platform to “Synthesise” information

Building on the analysis stage, the synthesis of knowledge is highly important to bring the learning back to the workplace. With highly abstract topics (e.g. leadership, soft skills etc.), collaborative learning activities can deliver high impact. As synthesis is a lot about creating new ways of working based on the newly learnt and existing knowledge, you’ll want to focus on that. At this stage, the confines of the learning system (e.g. LMS) become too narrow, and we need to find other pathways to success. Collaboration tools (e.g. Slack) provide a good platform to not only support learning, but also to produce and share work and practical applications of the newly learnt. If you’re not yet employing collaborative platforms, user-generated content can be a meaningful way to execute some of this as well. Learners can e.g. share their experiences of different applications and learn from others. 

Enabling reflective “Evaluation” via digital platforms

The highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy is evaluation. Evaluation generally involves presenting and defending opinions based on the developed conceptual knowledge and synthesis. Similar to “Synthesis”, collaborative and social learning tools provide great mediums for facilitating the evaluation level. Learners can share their own opinions, engage with others’ and hence refine their thinking. While there’s a lot of tools for this type of delivery, a proper mindset is equally important. As an organisation, you should encourage the sharing of opinions. To do this successfully, you naturally need to acknowledge that those opinions may be critical or not aligned with the current practice. However, you should not aim to silence all the critics as it is these types of discussions that spark internal innovation in organisations. 

Are you using Bloom’s taxonomy to structure your learning objectives? Would you like to find out more about different digital methods to support the learning process? If so, just contact us here – we’re happy to share! 

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Rapid eLearning Authoring Tools – 3 Behaviours to Avoid

Rapid eLearning Authoring tools

Rapid eLearning Authoring Tools – 3 Behaviours to Avoid

During the past several years, we’ve seen rapid eLearning authoring tools become massively popular among instructional designers and learning professionals. Generally, rapid eLearning tools comprise of different slide-based authoring tools. Compared to the “old”, programming-heavy eLearning development, these tools provide huge advantages. Learning professionals’ work becomes faster and easier, thanks to the built-in capabilities and massive content libraries. Due to the efficiency, these tools have become a standard of sorts for eLearning development. This has led to a worrying development – professionals believing these tools solve all eLearning needs. Don’t get me wrong, we love the tools and use them on a daily basis ourselves. However, there are a few things that we like to remind learning professionals of when working with these.

Slide-based learning is not the answer for everything

A vast majority of the most popular rapid eLearning authoring tools are slide-based (e.g. Articulate, iSpring, Captivate). As wonderful as these tools are, the slide structure empowering them is also their biggest problem. Sometimes e.g. videos or animations will provide a much better result than slide-based elements. Instead of automatically resorting to a storyboard or slide-based course, learning professionals should consider what could be the most effective modalities out there. The rise of mobile learning has brought about another problem for these rapid eLearning tools. The slide-based output is not really mobile friendly. Sure, all the major providers support HTML5 and have even worked on built their own mobile players. Yet, the user experience leaves a lot to be desired, e.g. readability, font sizes, image scaling etc.

You should never sacrifice interactivity for faster development

The wonderful quality of rapid eLearning authoring tools is in their name. “Rapid”. The unique value proposition of these slide-based tools is that you are able to build much more interactive material with them. You can prompt learners with questions, build adaptive branching scenarios, gamification, assessment and much more. The unfortunate fact is that many learning professionals don’t take advantage of these capabilities. The result of eLearning authoring may be a slide deck with very little interactivity, except an integrated test in the end. In terms of learning value, the result is very close to a powerpoint presentation (read: very little value). Digital learning needs to be interactive, and unfortunately it takes a bit of time. But if you’re not using the rapid eLearning authoring tools to build interactive learning, you might as well not use them at all.

Too many templates result in too little variety

Another factor considerably speeding up the content development process with rapid eLearning authoring tools is templates. Just like in powerpoint and other slide deck builders, you can build pre-defined templates to use across the spectrum. With a good template master, you could potentially save yourself almost all the visual design work. However, the problem with using too many templates is the variety of end products. If you’re using rapid eLearning authoring tools, I suspect you’re not only building one course. Instead, you’re building many. And when you build many, the courses start to repeat themselves very fast, even though the actual content is different. This is a killer for learning engagement. Learners grow easily frustrated with the lack of variety and learning becomes just a click-through exercise rather than immersing in engaging and fresh content.

Overall, many companies do use these tools to their full potential. However, as they are so easy and quick to use, it’s easy to space away and forget what really makes a great learning experience. Be vary of that, and try to avoid the behaviours above!

Are you using rapid eLearning tools or would you like to give them a try? We can recommend you some of our favourites that we frequently use. Just drop us a note

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360° Training Immersions – Examples of Use Cases

360 Training Immersions

360 Training Immersions – Examples of Use Cases

With the introduction of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, companies are increasingly realising the opportunities in immersive learning experiences. However, neither quality AR or VR are yet at the reach of organisations with limited budgets. Both the hardware and software need to develop a bit further to achieve feasible economies of scale. However, the technology is already available for 360 training immersions requiring no dedicated headsets or other hardware. Thus, employees can consume this type of learning content on mobile as well as desktop, which increases learning accessibility and penetration. Furthermore, these types of 360 training immersions are cheap to produce.

Take a look at this example some of our staff put together while staying at a hotel.

Example of 360 Training Immersion

*Use full screen for best experience regardless of device, whereas if on mobile, tilt horizontally!*

 

 

The great thing about the 360 training immersions is that you can embed additional content within the immersion, similar to augmented reality. Text, pictures, videos, documents, surveys, navigation etc. The user can handle and access it all within the simulation.

What are the use cases for 360 training immersions?

For use cases, there are several where immersive experience could bring additional and needed flavour for otherwise sometimes dull topics. Some viable use cases include:

  • Safety training – Using immersions to help illustrate and visualise concepts related to fire safety, evacuation, emergencies etc.
  • Security training – using 360 tools to get staff acquainted with the security features of any facility, displayed as hotspots
  • Property management –  helping staff to visualise layouts, enable digital walkthroughs, and familiarise them with e.g. different tasks in a property using short videos.
  • Onboarding of new employees – how about introducing the new joiners to all the company’s offices and sites as well as new colleagues with an immersive experience?

Naturally, the use cases are only limited by imagination. 360 training immersions are becoming more popular due to increasing learning engagement and interactivity. But more importantly, they are cheap to produce and can be implemented with relative ease. Thus, even organisations with limited budget and a low-risk approach can use them.

So, can you figure out a use case for 360 training immersions in your organisation? We can help you to produce them, or just guide you to the suitable tools. Just drop us a a note.  

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Training Evaluation in Digital – Kirkpatrick Model & Learning Analytics

Digital Training Evaluation

Digital Training Evaluation – Using the Kirkpatrick Model and Learning Analytics

Ask an L&D professional about how they measure training effectiveness and learning. The likely answer is that they are using the Kirkpatrick 4-level evaluation model. The model has been a staple in the L&D professionals’ toolbox for a long time. However, if you dig deeper, you’ll find that many organisations are only able to assess levels 1 & 2 of the model. While these levels do constitute valuable information, they help very little in determining the true ROI of learning. Luckily, thanks to technological development, we nowadays have the capability to do digital training evaluation on all 4 levels. And here are some best practices on how to do it.

Level 1: Reaction – Use quick feedback and rating tools to monitor engagement

The first level of Kirkpatrick is very easy to implement across all learning activities. You should use digital tools to collect quick feedback on all activities. That can be in the form of likes, star ratings, scoring or likert scales. Three questions should be enough to cover the ground.

  1. How did you like the training?
  2. How do you consider the value-add of the training?
  3. Was the training relevant to your job?

Generally, scale or ratings based feedback is the best for level 1. Verbal feedback requires too much to effectively analyse.

Level 2: Learning – Use digital training evaluation to get multiple data points

For level 2, it all start with the learning objectives. Learning objectives should be very specific, and tied to specific business outcomes (we’ll explain why in level 4). Once you have defined them, it’s relatively easy to build assessment around it. Naturally, we are measuring the increase in knowledge rather than just the knowledge. Therefore, it is vital to record at least 2 data points throughout the learning journey. A handy way to go about this is to design pre-learning and post-learning assessment. The former captures the knowledge and skill level of the employee before starting the training. Comparing that with the latter, we can comfortably identify the increase in knowledge. You can easily do this kind of assessment with interactive quizzes and short tests.

“If you’re measuring only once, it’s almost as good as not measuring at all”

Level 3: Behaviour – Confirm behavioural change through data and analytics

Finally, the level 3 of measuring behaviour is delving into somewhat uncharted territory. There are a couple of different angles for digital training evaluation here.

First, you could engage the learners in self-assessment. For the often highly biased self-assessment, two questions should be enough. If no behavioural change is reported, another question captures the reason behind it, and L&D can intervene accordingly.

  1. Have you applied the skills learnt? (linking to specific learning, can be a yes/no question)
  2. If not, why not?

Secondly, since self-assessment is often highly biased, it’s not necessary meaningful to collect more data directly from the learner itself. However, to really get factual insight into level 3, you should be using data and analytics. On the business level, we record a lot of data on a daily basis. Just think about all the information that is collected or fed into the systems we use daily. Thus, you should be using the data from these systems with the self-assessment to get a confirmed insight into the reported behavioural change. For instance, a sales person could see an increase in calls made post training. A marketing person could see an increase in the amount of social media posts they put out. The organisation has all the necessary data already – it’s just a matter of tapping into it.

Level 4: Results – Combining Learning Analytics and Business Analytics

Finally, the level 4 evaluation is the pot of gold for L&D professionals. This is where you link the learning to business performance and demonstrate the ROI through business impact. With modern ways of digital training evaluation you can eliminate the guess work and deliver facts:

To be noted, it is highly important to understand that the evaluation steps are not standalone. Level 4 is linked to levels 2 and 3. If there was no increase in knowledge or behavioural change did not happen, there’s no business impact. You might see a positive change in results, but you should not mistake that as the product of learning if the previous levels have not checked out. But once levels 2 and 3 have come out positive, you can look into the bigger picture.

Firstly, you should look back at the learning objectives, especially the business outcomes they were tied to. If your aim with the sales training was to increase the number of calls made, it’s important to look at what happened in that specific metric. If you see a change, then you can look at the business outcomes. How much additional revenue would those extra sales calls produced? The results can also be changes in production, costs, customer satisfaction, employee engagement etc. In any business, you should be able to assign a dollar value on most if not all of these metrics. Once you have the dollar value, it’s simple math to figure out the ROI.

All in all, there’s really no excuse for not dealing with levels 3 and 4 of Kirkpatrick. You can manage digital training evaluation and learning analytics even with limited budget. It’s just a matter of embracing data and the benefits of data driven decision making.

Want to start evaluating your learning on all levels? Click here to start.

 

 

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Why xAPI is the Most Important Thing in the Future of Learning?

xAPI

Why xAPI is the Most Important Thing in the Future of Learning?

The new interoperability standard and specification of eLearning, the Experience API (xAPI), is replacing SCORM. In today’s mobile world, where learning happens all the time and data is everywhere, it was necessary to develop a future framework for digital learning. Project TinCan not only achieved just that, it set out to fulfil the dreams of L&D and HR professionals with the Experience API. The specification enables us to capture vast amounts of data previously unavailable, run powerful analytics and link learning to business performance. In fact, xAPI is so powerful, that it will be the cornerstone future learning is built on, and here are just a few reasons why.

If you’re not familiar with the Experience API, you can read more about it here

xAPI enables us to track behaviours and interactions

Whereas SCORM enabled us to track test scores, completions and other basic factors, xAPI goes much deeper. With similar concept to e.g. Google Analytics, xAPI tracks interactions. This means that we can record every single click, comment, learning interaction and activity. This gives an immensely rich picture into how learning happens in the organisation. For the first time, learning professionals really know whether learning content works or not, i.e. do learners really use it. This makes content curation and decision making much easier. Learning professionals can also pinpoint the individuals or groups who require learning interventions. Furthermore, xAPI enables us to truly measure the ROI of learning in relation to all possible KPIs.

xAPI can track all learning activities including informal and offline

Nowadays, learning is increasingly happening outside of the workplace and schools – outside monitored environments. For a long period of time, learning professionals have struggled to get a complete picture of the whole life-long learning journey of individuals. However, with xAPI that is possible. The technology can track all imaginable learning activities, whether they happen outside of the employer’s system or even completely offline. For instance, it can track websites and articles that employees read and engage with. Capturing learning data is no longer confined within the borders of the learning management system (LMS). Every single interaction anywhere can be communicated with xAPI to a learning records store, which acts as the database.

xAPI enables us to finally link learning and business performance

Finally, the greatest struggle of learning professionals has been identifying the business value of different learning activities. Establishing links between performance and learning has been guessing game since the beginning. However, xAPI is here to change also that. We can use it to pull data from all systems (think ERPs, CRMs, HRMs, PMSs). Hence, with the right use of analytics, we can monitor business performance in all imaginable metrics and track it against the learning that is happening in the organisation. Thus, we can pinpoint whether employees in the organisation apply the learning, i.e. is there a behavioural change. Furthermore, we can confidently assign dollar values to these behavioural impacts, and hence the learning activities as well. Measuring the ROI of learning goes from a guessing game to data-driven science. Hence, you can be comfortable knowing that you’re getting the most out of your limited resources in L&D.

Do you already use xAPI for advanced learning insights? Do you want to finally link your learning to business performance? If yes, contact us, and let’s transform your learning together. 

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3 Great Tools for Digital Learning Support

Digital Learning Support

Digital Learning Support – 3 Great Tools for Real-time Problem Solving

The last years of constant connectivity and rapid technological development have solidified one specific behaviour. People expect and want things to happen now rather than later – they seek instant gratification. This has resulted in e.g. customer service functions in many industries improving their accessibility by introducing hotlines and online channels. This phenomenon is making its way to the corporate world as well. It’s no longer acceptable to leave emails or inquiries for weeks or even days without a reply. This also affects L&D professionals, who are tasked with supporting the learning infrastructure of the company as well as the learners. Hence, we introduce you three great tools for providing effective digital learning support.

1. Chat modules provide a basic level of digital learning support

A simple chat module is a great way of providing real-time responses to rudimentary learning inquiries. You can find many different systems quickly, some of them even free. You can often easily incorporate these to a company website, intranet or a digital learning environment. This creates a help desk for the employees to go to when they encounter problems with their learning. The problems will not get buried in email boxes and you can solve them faster. This results in less downtime for the learners, which translates to better efficiency. Also, you can easily configure and manage the chat systems to enable small teams cater to large user bases. All of the modern chat modules come with mobile interfaces as well as support ticket management. These help the L&D support staff to support queries on the go and keep track of all the activities.

2. Using Video Chats to provide quick, real-time learning interventions

Going a bit further, we can add picture and sounds the text based chats. Result: a video chat! Video chats provide a great way to provide quick interventions or guidance to the learners. If verbal explanations and support are not enough, staff can easily share screens to show how they do things. Furthermore, this can also help the L&D department to troubleshoot issues with the learning systems, as they are are able to access live footage remotely. Also, video chats can be used to provide virtual instructor-led training and virtual coaching.

In terms of usability, lighter systems which can connect people with just 1-2 clicks work the best. Effective real-time digital learning support requires effortless accessibility, which traditional video conferencing software sometimes fails to provide. Also, video chats, as well as normal chats, work best when integrated with your own learning systems. This way, you can easily pool the data from them with your overall learning data. This helps to provide better learning insights and single out situations where you need to intervene.

3. Using AI-powered chatbots to reduce manual labour

Thanks to the adoption of the previous tools, chatbots are also becoming increasingly available to reduce the amount of manual labour that goes into support functions. For L&D, chatbots can effectively be used the same way as traditional chats. People can communicate with chatbots, who with a bit of training will be able to answer basic queries related to learning. This AI powered technology can help to alleviate a lot of pressure from the L&D staff by handling the low-value-add inquiries. Hence, the learning professionals are able to put their time where it matters – in the high-value interventions.

Furthermore, you could easily incorporate chatbots into the learning content as well. Employees could engage the chatbots when faced with subject-matter specific enquiries. This type of use provides a great way for doing on-demand performance support. Also, you can easily configure chatbots to become interactive, engaging and even funny FAQ portals. Just type in your questions and let the bot do the rest!

How do you handle learning support in your organisation? Are you making sure that learning downtime stays at the minimal? If you’d like to find out more about these digital learning support tools, just drop us a note or chat with us!

 

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Augmented Reality Learning for Onboarding and Team-building

Augmented Reality Learning

Augmented Reality Learning for Onboarding and Team-building

Augmented reality is a technology that captured the world’s attention roughly two years ago with the launch of Pokemon Go. The Pokemon game became instantly popular and gained massive media attention. However, the game’s popularity would start to decline rapidly only a few months after the launch. As a game, this AR phenomenon might have been short-lived. However, the underlying technology has endless applications when it comes to training and development. And it’s highly likely that augmented reality learning experiences will form a key part of our learning mix in the future.

In fact, some early adopter companies had been experimenting with augmented reality already before Pokemon Go. Later on, as the game’s popularity declined, we started to see more and more corporates as well as educational institutions adopting the technology. To illustrate its use cases, here’s an example of how you could use similar AR technology in a corporate setting.

Example: AR onboarding and team-building experience

Onboarding and orientation form an integral part of the employee’s learning journey. It’s the first touch point with the corporate learning culture and an area for the L&D department to show off their A-game. The last thing we want to do is overwhelm our new joiners with information in a short time-span (cognitive overload). Rather, we’d like to ensure they get the essential information to be productive while establishing relationships with their new colleagues. Also, letting our new employees have a bit of fun in the process is not going to hurt. Rather, having fun while doing it can relieve the anxiousness and stress of joining a new company. So, let’s combine the formal onboarding with augmented reality learning technology and have some fun while doing it.

Mimicking the idea of Pokemon Go, we could build a location based augmented reality experience. Our new employees would set out to the city in teams, equipped with their smart phones. They would visit different hotspots defined on the map. When arriving within a certain proximity of a hotspot, their phones would buzz. A piece of onboarding learning content would pop up. The content could be videos explaining company vision, history, lines of business – practically anything. This way, we can bring the “formal” part into an “unformal” setting to ease tensions.

Furthermore, we could prompt the learners for different types of input, e.g. shooting a video of their own, doing introductions or answering quizzes as a group. To take it a step further, lets enable a playful, competitive element. Let’s have teams compete against each other in shooting the video or answering the quiz. Putting people to work together in a non-stressful environment should bode well for camaraderie and forming new relationships. And that could just make the onboarding process much smoother.

What other areas of training could AR excel in?

Augmented reality learning experiences have major opportunities for many training tasks. Whereas the future of interactive VR will be great for training for hazardous, inaccessible and difficult situations, AR might just have equal potential. Augmented reality will revolutionise several tasks including technical training, engineering and maintenance work. With technology that will soon be available, we are able to combine augmented reality and live situations. Physical location is no longer a barrier, as trainers and managers are able to see what the learner sees. Furthermore, they’ll be able to augment the reality of the learners and influencing their actions.

Are you interested in finding out more about the future of AR in technical training tasks? We would be happy to share you about an upcoming technology that will revolutionise the technical training industry. Just drop us a note here

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Learning Simulations – Driving Behavioural Change

Learning simulations featured

Using Learning Simulations in Driving Behavioural Change

In today’s hectic corporate environment, the L&D professionals need to capture and engage the learners more than ever before. There are many different ways to increase learning engagement, but learning simulations have proven to be particularly appealing. As with all learning, the goal should always be to drive behavioural change. It doesn’t matter whether you’re training people on customer service, compliance or soft skills. If there’s no behavioural effect, learning has not translated to action, hence it has become as good as nothing.

Learning simulations have proven to be effective in driving these kind of behavioural changes, i.e. making learning stick. Naturally, all simulations are not created equal. Hence, it’s important to visit the fundamentals that make your training simulations effective and engaging.

Learning Simulations Mimic Decision Making Scenarios

Over the course of our daily lives, we learn through the mistakes we make. Whenever we make decisions that backfire, we (hopefully) take a mental note and refrain from committing the same mistake twice. Simulations provide a great way to explore the different courses of actions and their effects. And it’s really all about communicating the effects of different models of behaviour. None of us work inefficiently, mistreat people or provide bad customer service intentionally. Rather, it’s often that we don’t realise the effects of our behaviour. Through well-made simulations, we can better understand the effects our own behaviour has on our stakeholders, customers and colleagues.

Learning Simulations
Simulations provide a good way to train decision making scenarios, which can be linked back to company SOPs, guidelines and the “formal” part of learning. The learner will be directed onto different paths based on their decision in the simulation. 

Taking engagement levels up with comprehensive gamification

Naturally, a simulation is generally a type of gamified learning content in itself. However, by enabling more gamification across the board, we can keep our learners more motivated and engaged. You can build simulations that don’t necessarily a single set of right answers. Rather, there could be multiple possible paths to achieve the desired outcome, but with slightly varying scores. Sticking to the most preferred methods could yield more points, whereas other viable solutions could be awarded for the effort. By enabling a competitive environment between the learners through leaderboards and alike, we keep the learners on coming back in attempts to try to increase their scores. This creates repetition which in turn affects learning retention very positively.

Positive and Negative Reinforcement of behaviour through continuous feedback

As mentioned, behavioural change should be the primary goal of the learning content. To get the best effect, we should reinforce the desired behaviour and attempt to weed out the undesired. We can do this by enabling continuous and instant feedback. Whenever our learners make the desired choices in their simulation, we should acknowledge it. Similarly, when our learners choose undesirable ways of solving the situation, we should clearly communicate them their mistake and provide explanation on why the behaviour is undesirable. Furthermore, we shouldn’t limit our feedback to just words – visualisation never hurts!

Learning simulations feedback
Our learner has chosen an undesirable type of action. We inform the learner of his mistake and explain the effect of the behaviour. Now, the learner can go back and explore alternative courses of action. Feedback is both verbal and visual. 

Overall, simulations provide powerful tools for training for many areas. However, we need to keep in mind that constant and instant feedback is absolutely critical. Without it, the simulations can easily become ineffective and irrelevant.

Are you looking to explore learning through simulations in your organisation? Feel free to contact us with your problems, we’ll be happy to help you. You can also check out our partners who provide great tools for creating different types of simulations. 

 

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Virtual Reality in Training – Is the Technology Ready?

Virtual Reality Training

Virtual Reality in Training – Is the Technology Ready?

Thanks to the recent rapid advancements in technology, virtual reality training has become a hot topic. And indeed, virtual reality is arguably one of the technologies that will fundamentally change training and development. However, as with any emerging technology, wide-spread adoption takes time. Furthermore, technologies need to go through several iterations before reaching an appealing level of scalability. That being said, here are a few things to consider if you’re looking to implement virtual reality training.

Understanding the Two Types of Virtual Reality

As far as the public perception goes, people seem to think of virtual reality as just one thing. However, similar to AI and its different levels, virtual reality comes in two different types. These types have massive differences in application, which means they should not be mistaken with each other.

The first, more rudimentary type of VR is Passive Virtual Reality. In passive VR, the user is able to view and look around his surroundings with a 360 degree view. However, the user remains a passive observant, as he is unable to interact with the environment. In the interest of training, passive virtual reality is clearly lacking, as learning requires interactivity. Unfortunately, due to issues in technology scalability, passive VR is the current prevalent mode of VR.

However, we are moving towards the second and more effective type of VR – Interactive Virtual Reality. With interactive VR, the users are able to interact with their environment and the VR simulation. This type of VR is the one that will change the field of training. Naturally, it enables superior learning experiences for people with preference towards kinaesthetic learning. Furthermore, it enables us to train for hazardous/unsafe/difficult conditions in a safe way.

Scalability Issues with Interactive Virtual Reality Training

Unfortunately, there remains a big issue keeping us from leveraging the “real” interactive VR. As it is, the technology infrastructure is not quite there yet. Yes, we can build interactive virtual reality training experiences already. However, this kind of VR production is very expensive and out of reach for most organisations’ training budgets.

A major issue is that there are no real content production tools for building this type of VR. Everything has to be built by hand, from scratch, with programming playing a major part. Producing quality VR hence requires a good bunch of dedicated personnel with niche expertise – programming, design, etc. To understand what it takes for VR to develop to a mature enough state, we should look at other technologies that came before.

For instance, one technology that has had a major impact in learning and training is video. Again, motion pictures have been popular for a long time. Yet, the real wake of video did not occur before two changes happened. The first fundamental change happened when we got the ability to consume videos on-demand through platforms like YouTube. The second, and perhaps more impactful change happened with the launch of smart phones. Due to these events, all of us finally had the means to both produce and consume videos. Ever since, videos have become increasingly easy to produce – just point, shoot and edit on the spot. Hence, we have been able to adopt them in different fields and use cases, such as training and learning.

Obviously, Interactive VR is not at this stage yet. Passive VR is almost there, as we nowadays do have the tools to produce and share 360 degree images and videos.

Are you applying VR to Relevant Training Needs?

For the moment, as the technology is not mature enough, we need to stay cautious about our use of VR. If your organisation does have the budget to experiment around with high risks, you should keep in mind the application. VR is a wonderful technology, but at this stage of limited scalability, it can be a waste of resources for many training needs.

Currently, we would limit the application of VR to only the critical training needs, which are impossible to fulfil by other methods. Some examples could include dealing with hazardous settings or critical high-difficulty maintenance and engineering works. Furthermore, we would advise against investing on extensive application of passive VR. There are many more resource efficient ways for creating engaging learning experiences. Most of the general needs could easily be fulfilled by animations and other modern learning tools. Moreover, passive VR will be surpassed by technology development enabling interactive VR. As it is though, it will most likely take a few more years to mature enough. Meanwhile, augmented reality could provide interesting opportunities for organisations looking for wider scale adoptions.

In case you would like to find out how augmented reality will change the training field in the coming year, let us know. We would be happy to share about some upcoming disrupting AR training technology. 

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