Immersive Media today has opened up many new avenues in terms of visualising and interacting with content and information. This can range from being fully immersed in a virtual environment to being able to interact with holograms in our real space. Needless to say, these technologies are dramatically transforming the way we work and operate.
One key aspect of the workplace is training and development. Ever present in almost every industry, training is essential to ensure that employees are fully equipped with the skills, knowledge and competencies to be able to perform their tasks well. Conventionally, training has been conducted through media such as instructional manuals, lectures, and videos. Mixed Reality paves new ways that we can conduct training, and greatly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of such training programs as well.
Mixed Reality blurs the lines between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, allowing us to enjoy the best of both worlds. We are now able to interact with virtual objects while still being in touch with the real world. The virtual objects have spatial understanding, and can exist in our space as if they were actual physical objects. Such technologies allow for concepts such as holographic training and job simulators to be closer to reality than to science fiction.
Users will be able to fully simulate actual procedures on Mixed Reality headsets; where they can interact with 3D holograms and be aided by instructional guides overlayed in the real world. Such forms of innovative training methods can provide a more realistic and augmented learning experience as compared to conventional methods. Hours and hours of content and curriculum can now be condensed into mere minutes of experiential learning simulations.
Reducing Costs of Training
A huge pain point for companies is the cost of training. According to the 2019 Training Industry Report, on average, US companies spend about US$1,300 (S$1,800) per employee on training alone. On top of that, there are also many other indirect costs attributed to training as well. Training would often involve having to attach a senior staff to supervise the new employee or hiring an external trainer to deliver the course content. This puts a huge strain on labour resources and can also influence the productivity of the company. There will also be a need to prepare training material, an appropriate training space and practice equipment. The equipment would also have to be regularly maintained to ensure that they remain functional.
Mixed Reality can greatly reduce the overall cost of training in the long run. Mixed Reality training solutions can allow training to be conducted at the convenience of the individual. The solutions are fully contained within the mixed reality headsets, allowing for access anytime, anywhere. This is especially poignant today, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, where remote work is now the new normal. Training no longer has to occur at a training facility or in the office space, and the physical constraints of space or possessing the physical equipment on -hand are now eliminated as well. There will also no longer be any need for senior staff to supervise as the trainees can undergo the training on their own in a safe way, interacting with the training holograms.
Transfer of Learning
One key consideration when it comes to creating training curriculum is transfer of learning. You can have very detailed training schemes and development plans; but ultimately, what matters is that the trainee is able to absorb the content and execute on the job. Reading off an instructional manual or watching videos alone often will not translate to on-the-job competence. Holographic training empowers self-directed exploration, where the trainee can learn unrestricted by physical constraints in a safe environment. This can lead to better transfer of learning, as the learning is purely self-initiated and self-driven. Studies have found self-directed learning to be especially effective to individuals, as it pushes them to focus on key information that they do not yet possess. It has also been shown to generally help with the encoding and retaining of information.
On-the-job training often involves hands-on experience. Holographic training can also provide this, where users can interact with various holograms as if they existed in our real space. Users can fully simulate the actual procedures and steps, bringing about kinesthetic learning. The combination of high-fidelity 3D models with intuitive animations and interactions brings about a whole new way for companies to conduct on-the-job training, not limited by physical or spatial limitations.
Mixed Reality can augment existing training management systems and bring about more efficient ways to monitor training progress and implement follow-up measures. Mixed Reality headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens 2 have added features such as eye tracking, which can open up more ways to analyse and assess performance. Data can be extracted through the training solutions, and we can now measure things such as where the trainee is looking at when performing the training, and how long they look at certain objects or features. Metrics such as an attention gaze map, and time taken to complete various steps can be easily measured and used to generate post-training reports. Such data can now be accurately and efficiently obtained, and clear feedback can be given to trainees on the areas that they need to improve on. Together, such solutions can provide for a more value-added and effective training process.
A budding technology that is just beginning to pick up traction, we have only scratched the surface of what Mixed Reality can do for us in transforming workplace training and operations. As more research and development is done, the sky is the limit for what Mixed Reality can bring us and what it means for training in the future.
As part of our Industry 4.0 Mixed Reality Activation Suite, HoloGuides is HelloHolo's latest white-label holographic training solution featuring high fidelity 3D models, step-by-step instructional guides and data analytics for all of your training needs. Click here to find out more.