How can I Reduce on-the-job Training Time and Costs with Augmented Reality?
Updated: May 29, 2019
Despite many common fears of technology replacing all our jobs, a recent study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute indicates that as many as 2.4 million positions may go unfilled within the next 10-years, due to the manufacturing skills gap. Augmented Reality (AR) is an extremely beneficial technology for training in the field of maintenance and assembly. Instructions, or location-dependant information can be directly attached to physical objects. As a trainee views assets that they need to work on, AR glasses can display instructions or information relevant to the specific asset.
With AR glasses, trainees can be provided with the information they need when they are physically at the asset they will be working on. The glasses are a hands-free way of providing detailed step-by-step training instructions while a worker is practicing the activity they are working on. Studies have shown that providing instruction in this immersive way provides a much higher level of engagement and therefore a higher level of knowledge retention.
AR glasses can be operated through voice commands, by touch, or through a wireless controller. They also allow users to transfer information (such as images and video) back-and-forth, communicating between devices, often enhancing the collaboration by permitting other employees/trainees to view what the headset wearer can see. As a result, many manufacturing companies have managed to reduce the time needed for inspections, production and training with the use of AR technology.
“We have discovered that training with smart glasses is a grand slam. New product launches, multi-operation and new hire training are easily administered and audited for success”.
-Peggy Gulick, AGCO’s Director of Business Process Improvement
Reduce Training Cost and Time
As technology evolves and internet upload and download speeds continue to improve, more and more sectors are recognising the potential of AR technology. While set-up costs have tended to limit the implementation of AR, the cost of the related technology has decreased, making AR more and more accessible.
The immersive component of AR training is what significantly reduces training time required by employers. On-the-job training can be limited to studying information then carrying out tasks at a later time. AR technology allows trainees to view step-by-step instructions, hands-free, while carrying out the required tasks. It provides employees with a hands-on method of learning that helps trainees to retain their learnings, offering a new dimension to corporate training. AR-enabled workplaces have machine learning built into the system to retain the learnings and allow employees to benefit from these insights.
One of the main reasons companies have doubled-down on their use of immersive technology is its cost-effectiveness. According to a 2014 report from the Association for Talent Development (ADP), businesses with a minimum of 100 employees spend roughly $1,200 annually per employee on training. This does not include various “hidden costs” involved in on-the-job training. AR and VR lower, and in some cases eradicate, these hidden expenses by allowing trainees to practice using digital elements and information, removing the need for physical equipment and instructional supervisors.
As technology evolves and internet upload and download speeds continue to increase, more-and-more sectors are recognising the potential of AR tools. Agricultural company, AGCO, was one of the first large manufacturers to implement technologies such as smartglasses and AR for manufacturing and training purposes.
Siemens use AR technology to help trainees to learn how to weld. Trainees practice by simulating welding as trainers review their efforts - displayed on another screen. Trainees from Siemens have commented that this solution permits them to practice faster and more often.
Verizon began using AR to up the ante on technician training. They deployed augmented reality technology to train its FiOS technicians in the field and create what equates to a newfangled knowledge transfer system with the goal of:
Create multiply skilled workforce
Quickly create training content
Develop a culture that uses the platform for community building