Tag Archives: video

Augmented reality in learning materials – go on, you can do it!

stars-sky

“Cassiopeia! Ursa Minor!” I shouted excitedly when an 8-year-old pointed to constellations during our evening walk from a friend’s house. With my mother’s teachings and just a little help from the augmented reality (AR) app Star Chart I was able to teach the names of the main constellations to a curious mind.

A lot of people talk about AR in education and research on it has been going on for years. I hear it’s being used in corporate learning, too, but I’ve never seen concrete examples. Being a curious mind, I couldn’t help but give it a go. Below is a video demo showing my experiment on how to create an interactive CV using the AR tool Blippar:

Blippar lets you create an AR experience with for instance video messages, photo slideshows, music clips, links to websites and social media channels – and a lot more if you do know how to code and are willing to go through the trouble. Just think of the possibilities in corporate learning materials! Even a dull old working book for a class training could definitely use some AR additions on its pages.

Downsides of Blippar? Not much that I can think of when it comes to learning solutions. I think that as long careful consideration is given to high-quality content, AR can significantly enhance user experience and learning.

I can’t help but think that I did something a bit similar already three years ago with QR codes – the technology is of course different, but the outcome isn’t that far if you think about learning: I put training videos behind QR codes and we stuck the QR codes to relevant locations. For instance, a sticker with QR code that contained a link to a soil cultivation video was placed on the dashboards of forest machines so that the operator was able to watch the video as a revision before he started work. A fire extinguishing video was placed the same way next to a fire extinguisher so that a trainer conducting a safety walk with employees was able to scan the QR code and open the video directly to show the right technique for using the fire extinguisher.

There are endless potential uses of AR in corporate learning, all the way from making printed training materials more interactive to supporting sales people by providing AR versions of the devices they sell. Why not build an induction to new employees using AR only? Visualise this: You enter the headquarters, it’s your first day on the job. Instead of a tour of the office, you are given a map that shows locations you need to visit in the headquarters. Each of the locations has an element – eg a poster – that starts off with an AR experience like the CEO’s video speech. Self-paced, modern – what’s not to love about that? Looking forward to potential AR projects – but as always, let’s make sure we only use it when it actually creates value and when we can ensure high quality content. Otherwise we’ll lose those precious curious minds.

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Achieving Zen in eLearning projects #eLearning

reaching_instructional_zenI recently listened to eight (!!) presentations from Learning Solutions and Ecosystem 2016 Conference that took place in Orlando, Florida in March.

To mention a few presenters, Connie Malamed, the lady behind the popular blog The eLearning Coach, gave an excellent crash course on visual design and Julie Dirksen from Usable Learning talked about the science of attention, willpower and decision-making.

My favourite presenter however was Sean Bengry from Accenture who discussed how to achieve Zen in eLearning projects.

Sean asked an interesting question from the audience: “What if money wasn’t a barrier?” In other words, if you had enough money to do what you want in an eLearning project, where would you spend that money?

Despite, or rather because of, the fact that I wasn’t sure how to answer this myself, I realized this was an absolutely brilliant question.

As an eLearning professional I am expected to find the best learning outcome on a limited budget and schedule. While trying to balance project resources for writing, media production, graphics and client meetings, I often find myself asking, “What is good enough”? When is writing, interactions, graphics, video and other media on a level that promotes good learning, blends in with the rest of the organisation’s image, but is still manageable within a project budget?

According to Bengry, if presented this question most people will still want to spend money on great graphics and better quality videos. This is understandable, as the visuals are often the components that stand out quickly and that people can comment easily.  From a pedagogical viewpoint this is interesting since better media doesn’t equal better learning outcomes.

If not media and graphics, then what? From a pedagogical angle I would of course spend money on analytics: pre-studies of how much people already know, and post-studies on how their behavior changed after they took the eLearning. I would spend ample time on defining the current problems, creating a business goal for the training and defining the means to measure it. I guess if being presented with absolutely no barriers in the budget, I would focus on – well, solving the business problem!

Bengry was along the same lines. Quoting one of my favourite logo designers and illustrators of all time, Ivan Chermayess, Bengry said wisely: “to design is to solve human problems”.  Like Bengry, I’d like to believe that when keeping that in mind you are on a path leading to Zen.

PS: The image in this post is from Goanimate where you can nowadays make Common Craft style videos and images – my next post will be about that!

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