Is AR or VR Right for You?

Is AR or VR right for you?

Disruptive technologies are changing how we interact with the world around us. This change is especially evident when we look at how immersive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) impact the enterprise training landscape. While these technologies aren’t new, their evolution continues to present learning teams with an opportunity to create more effective and engaging training programs.

As learning teams dive into what’s possible with immersive technology, the question often gets asked, “how do we know if we should use AR or VR?” The answer to this question is not one-size-fits-all, so let’s dig into how these technologies work and the best way to leverage them.

Augmented Reality (AR)

One of the most widely recognized uses of AR was introduced to consumers back in 2016 through Niantic’s viral game, Pokemon Go. While this B2C use case had gamers delighting in capturing Pokemon everywhere from schoolyards to backyards, enterprise organizations have looked to AR to enhance the real-world environment employees operate in.

Gartner defines Augmented Reality (AR) as “the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects.”

The digital overlay on top of the real world enhances a user’s reality. The digital and real-world interaction is the critical difference between augmented and virtual reality and makes it an ideal candidate for job support and training environments.

One example of AR’s practical use is its ability to provide support within complex manufacturing environments. Boeing highlights this by using AR to increase manufacturing speed and guarantee accuracy by overlaying digital 3D wiring diagrams on KC-46 tankers and 767 freighters. These overlays allow technicians to reference digital instructions, guidance, and support, rather than reference a manual or on-site subject matter expert. 

Delta Airlines has also found innovative ways to incorporate AR, with plans to equip cabin crew members with iOS 12 devices to visualize where items are stowed within the cabin.

Virtual Reality (VR)

When we look at how to leverage VR in training, procedural, safety, simulation, and soft skills training are four use cases that have gained immense traction over the years. 

Gartner defines Virtual Reality as a “computer-generated 3D environment that surrounds a user and responds to an individual’s actions in a natural way”. The ability to completely immerse a user into an alternate reality makes the technology ideal when looking to simulate environments involving a high degree of risk and a low degree of previous exposure, are expensive to recreate, or require 

The Mine Safety and Health Administration, in partnership with the South Dakota School of Mines, took advantage of VR to simulate an open-pit mine where miners were asked to identify site safety hazards. Once inside their headsets, miners were transported into a virtual world that looked and sounded as if miners were in an open pit mine.  The simulated environment prevented new miners from being exposed to site hazards and was an incredibly effective training medium, with an 86% increase in retention noted over traditional training methods.

In Conclusion

With so much possibility within AR and VR, remember to think of the experience you want your learner to have. If they need enhanced support while working through a task, you may want to consider AR. If you want to immerse them in a simulated environment prior to having them engage with that environment, you’ll want to consider VR.

Whether incorporating AR or VR, the true power of these technologies is harnessed when your choices are made in alignment with your business objectives. Once you’ve defined your key use cases and learning outcomes, our immersive training experts can help you understand which medium will best suit your needs and how you can implement AR or VR using Motive.

Are you considering VR training but would like to see more proof of its benefits?
Download our white paper: The Case for Immersive Training.

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Jennifer Pastega

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