Technology

How to Effectively Incorporate Augmented Reality Into Online Training

Augmented reality is the future of online training and education programs. This is everything you need to know about AR training.

How to Effectively Incorporate Augmented Reality Into Online Training

Augmented reality is the future of online training and education programs. This is everything you need to know about AR training.

Online training is the backbone of education, thanks to the democratization of technology and the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, students and teachers alike are adapting to a seemingly limitless medium.

Virtual training and education come with a steep learning curve for some people. From learning new technology to figuring out how to troubleshoot issues, it can take a while for people to absorb new knowledge.

What's the best way to reduce the severity of this learning curve and maximize technology for online education? Augmented reality.

What Is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is the combination of real-world and computer-generated elements. A good example of augmented reality is Google Maps.

You can sit at your computer and 'walk' through a neighborhood's streets. While you're still present in the real world, you are virtually imitating the experience of strolling through a neighborhood.

Augmented reality has few limitations, which means computer-generated elements can be auditory, olfactory, visual, and more.

Why Does It Matter?

When it comes to virtual education, there are a few roadblocks that educators must remove in order to give their students the best experience. However, it's a brave new world out there, which means these roadblocks are increasingly complicated.

For starters, augmented reality helps reduce mere regurgitation of facts. Many educators critique a system that focuses on studying to pass a test. Any facts that students retain after the test is over are merely a plus.

That's a dangerous way of education. Rather than actual learning, it's a short-term rollercoaster of information that doesn't really create life-long learners.

For instance, many students take a few years of a foreign language in high school. But after graduating, they can barely introduce themselves.

Why does this happen? Often, it's a result of stilted teaching methods. With augmented reality, students are able to engage with the material.

They can manipulate a digital world to their liking. This mimics the real world and triggers memories that are based on experience rather than just words.

Instead of reading about facts in a book, they're able to have a memorable, tactile experience through augmented reality. This allows students to engage with the material in hands-on ways.

Learning Challenges

Comprehension challenges are also another issue. With endless chapters, lectures, and videos to sift through, learners often throw up their hands in frustration.

Augmented reality can break lessons down into manageable chunks, which makes it much easier to learn.

The third challenge is a cultural one. The introduction of a technology-obsessed world has left no facet of our culture untouched. Learners live in a world where Photoshop can make anything come true.

By contrast, many learning techniques are terribly outdated. They're a few decades behind the explosion of the Internet age. Students aren't learning in ways that are relevant to them anymore, and it shows.

Augmented reality is a way to recognize student challenges and meet them on their own turf.

How Is It Used?

You might associate the combination of online training and augmented reality with advanced fields, like math or science. No matter what the topic is, online learning can benefit from the implementation of augmented reality.

For instance, consider a history student who might be writing a thesis paper on the Holocaust. That's a broad scope, so they have narrowed their attention to the town of Eisiskes. This Lithuanian town had a thriving Jewish population prior to World War II.

Eisiskes is one of the primary focuses of the Holocaust Memorial Exhibition located in Spokane, Washington. Armed with photographs of the town's citizens, researchers have put in countless hours to find out what happened to each person in each picture.

The result? Budding history students can walk through the exhibit and peruse these photographs. By holding a smartphone over them, a detailed biography and history of each individual pop up.

This interactive method of displaying historical data is a treasure trove for students. Of course, it can be applied to any field!

It's important to note the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality in this context since the two are sometimes confused. Virtual reality is completely formed from computer-generated elements. This is what happens when you see people wearing goggles, stumbling around an empty room as they engage with a completely virtual experience.

On the other hand, augmented reality is a blend of real-world and computer-generated elements. The photographs in the above exhibit, for instance, are real-world. Scanning the photograph and seeing biographical information pop up is a computer-generated element.

Depending on the context of the online training environment, both virtual and augmented reality can be useful for educational purposes.

How Can Augmented Reality Be Effectively Incorporated?

Even if you're completely sold on the benefits of augmented reality in virtual education, how do you implement it?

One of the first methods is to embrace the ubiquitous nature of the smartphone, rather than fighting against it. For many teachers, smartphones represent distraction. Their appearance can mean students are scrolling through Instagram or texting friends, rather than actually paying attention to the material.

Instead, embrace all that smartphones have to offer. There are lots of great augmented reality apps that students can download in order to better engage with the material being presented.

However, it's important to forecast any difficulties this may cause. Not all students can afford smartphones. And even if they own a smartphone, not every student will own a newer model that can support augmented reality applications.

It's worthwhile for educators to invest in school-owned devices with the proper augmented reality capabilities. In this way, no one will be left out.

Augmented Reality and Online Training

When implementing new technologies, it's crucial to expect a few speed bumps along the way. Changing up your entire curriculum to make it more interactive and tech-friendly is no small task!

With the rewards of increased student engagement and the ability to create lifelong learners, though, online training is worth it in the end.

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