Wikipedia defines augmented reality (AR) as ‘an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory’.

Imagine being able to interact with the world that way. You probably have if you played Pokémon Go! once upon a time or have seen those superimposed distance markers on your screen while watching football. For a long time, this technological gem, AR, was relegated to the gaming and entertainment world. Marketers quickly picked up on its potential and used it in their advertising and sales pitches. These days AR has evolved into something indispensable in manufacturing, healthcare, design, travel, retail and more.

Now with the immense success that has been garnered by this incorporation into marketing, its potential is being explored in training. Here are the benefits of augmented reality making its way into the halls of L&D:

It Inspires better learning engagement
It has been proven true that we learn better by doing rather than by trying to digest hard-to-conceive concepts or even just observing. Learners need to see these concepts applied in context. AR simplifies complex training material by allowing learners to get a hands–on training experience of their work situation.

Much like how marketers use AR to provide the owner’s experience before their customers commit to a purchase, augmented reality can be used in training to create a simulation of a real-life, on-the-field situation and utilizes most of your senses to immerse you in the situation. A surgeon can learn how to perform surgical procedures on the human body and a pilot can learn how to fly a plane without risking lives and damaging property.

It doesn’t break the bank
Having to keep up with the growth and development of these emerging immersive technologies can come at a hefty price for enterprises that strive to keep up with the pace. Having to purchase and upgrade equipment and materials can get very expensive over time. In this case, AR has the upper hand by being affordable.

Unlike virtual reality that requires specially-designed headsets and other gear, augmented reality only requires the already ubiquitous smartphones and tablets. Everybody in your organization already possesses one or both. Your investment then only needs to be in the systems that get AR up and running.

It provides instant information
In these internet times, people are accustomed to obtaining information on their portable devices in real time and on the go. Augmented reality works on this principle of instant information and saves precious time and money. It enhances the training speed as learners receive information in record time and are better and faster engaged. It makes training and retraining possible.

Enterprises are advised to invest in working AR systems. A lot of applications on our smartphones already make good use of augmented reality for an enhanced experience. Think of the AR monocle integrated into the Yelp iPhone app that allows users access to reviews and locations of restaurants, bars and more reviewed establishments in real time.

Augmented reality can be used to create job aids that work in the same fashion as these apps to help workers in the assembly line operate machinery correctly. It can be used to compile information that would normally overflow binders for easy access to office employees and managers.

It is a stepping stone to the workplace of the future
Getting ahead of augmented reality puts your organization at an advantage in terms of training highly-skilled, highly experienced personnel faster. AR takes training to a global scale as different employees can receive the same training in different locations. It encourages collaboration since employees receive the same information at the same time and are encouraged to interact about their shared experiences. It is essential in propelling L&D transformation for the modern workplace.

With all the research and development of this technology, and more and more systems being designed to facilitate AR like Google Glass or Microsoft’s HoloLens, augmented reality in training may be well on its way to becoming the future of corporate L&D