Now that the final version of iOS 11 is available to download complete with ARKit capabilities, the app store is overflowing with AR apps to explore. Apps such as Ikea Place have been spearheading the flood of AR puzzles, games and tools making their way onto consumer phones across the globe in the last few months.
As much as I’m excited by the prospect of adding random AR GIFs to my surroundings, the sparkle of some of the more frivolous apps will begin to wear off very quickly. Once AR fever dies down, we’ll be left asking an important question: what value does AR add to an experience?
Alright, so it’s been well over a year now since we all started to hear whispers of a revolution within the digital dimension. I think it’s safe to say that we’re not quite at the point where we can celebrate some sort of VR Bastille day just yet. But let’s look at what we already know about VR learning, and where it’s going.
As Egle mentioned in her recent blog, much like gamification before it, VR and AR is in vogue at the moment. Her hesitancy to jump on the virtual bandwagon is valid, but I want to take this opportunity to make the case for why VR is here to stay (and why it’s going to take over).
‘All hail the kale’ was a big craze on the health food scene a year or so ago. Incidentally, that was the first thing that I thought of when I saw all the VR and AR banners at the Learning Technologies 2017 show a few weeks back.
Virtual Reality seems to have finally arrived and as learning designers we’re tempted to buy into its promise of effortless learner engagement and, let’s be honest, an opportunity to play around with the gadgets ourselves!
Virtual reality (VR) has been talked about so frequently, both in and out of the learning industry that it seems to have lost its buzz. For a technology that would offer gamers, and now learners, the chance to experience a scenario first hand, the hype around it seems to have run itself into the ground.
The era of sitting in-front of a monitor screen, learning click-by-click with traditional elearning courses, will soon be thrown out of the window. Learning by simulation, putting people into a representation of their real working environment, will become the norm.
Virtual technology allows learners the freedom to move freely around an environment, interacting with objects, carrying out tests, making decisions (and mistakes) until they have mastered the learning objectives. Confucius once said about learning “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Virtual technology gives learners the ability to ‘see’ and to ‘do’, helping them remember and understand difficult content.
Augmented reality (AR) has been a buzz word for some years, in fact Minority Report already had me hungry for the chance to experience a new digital dimension. Companies like Disney are using static content, a marker and a camera (could be webcam or my personal favourite, a mobile phone camera) to bring content to life and in this example they take sketching to a whole new level!
The marker, which is sometimes called “a target”, can be a barcode or simple series of geometric shapes. When the computer’s AR app or browser plug-in receives the digital information contained in the marker, it begins to execute the code for the augmented reality program. So far, AR has been mainly used in: entertainment, retail, travel, advertising, and social communication.
Google Goggles make use of AR tech in a refreshing way. The Goggles can “scan” various objects and Google Search will try to identify what it is for you. This works for things like landmarks and artwork along with things like consumer products and various media.
Perhaps its most useful feature is the ability to translate foreign text which was later added directly into Google Translate.
I was wondering how we could use similar technology to enhance learner interaction and have listed a few of my ideas below:
- Fire safety posters that reveal description on what type of extinguisher you should use during an emergency situation when scanned.
- Animating technical diagrams for training materials that explain processes.
- Financial charts that can come alive and share more detail about individual segments.
Speaking of augmented reality technology in learning, the first thing that comes to mind is the wonderful Aurasma app. Using the simple tools within the app, you can create your own Auras and share them with other Aurasma users. Anyone with the app can view the Auras that you make, and watch everyday things come to life with engaging graphics, vibrant audio and exciting content.
This example from SMART MOBILE FACTORY shows how it can be done.
There’s also full virtual reality (VR) to think about. I recently played with Occulus Rift during a product launch, the experience was wonderful but currently VR is in its initial phase with a lot of problems left to solve – not to mention the expense involved.
But now there is ubiquitous and cheap access to smartphones, we should explore bringing static images to life wherever we can with AR. The possibilities are literally limitless: brochures without physical boundaries, logos which reveal information about products and visiting cards which directly connect calls.
Augmented reality can also redefine learner engagement in elearning. It offers a ground-breaking canvas by merging digital learning materials with the real world. It creates an environment where learners control their own learning, through active interactions with the real and virtual environments. AR is now transforming the way we learn, making these experiences more engaging and rewarding.
What do you think we can do with augmented reality in elearning? Contact us to discuss your ideas.
You’ve been transferred to a foreign branch of your company. You’ve studied the language at school but you haven’t used it in years and you’ve never been to that part of the world. Besides, to comply with local regulations the work procedures are different. Now imagine, it’s your first day in your new role. You walk to your desk, log into the local system and start your work as normal. The phone rings, it’s your local client who wants to amend something on their project. The call isn’t in English but you manage to understand your client and agree on how to implement the changes. After the call, you email your team to inform them of the changes… all of this in the local language.