As learning professionals, we’re hearing about the realities more every day: virtual, augmented, and mixed. But what do we really need to know to make informed decisions on their use? Augmented reality (AR) is a content delivery method that not only makes sense, but also has a shorter learning curve.
During a recent webinar, I discussed the basics of AR: what it is and how it works, how it fits into the strategy with some practical use cases, and how you can get started building your skills using one of a few low-cost tools.
If you missed the webinar, a recording is now available for you to watch online. By the end, you will see how to incorporate AR as a powerful tool in your toolbox and have action items to get started. If you are looking for the abbreviated version, I wanted to offer a quick look at some of the key takeaways:
- AR is an excellent learning technology add for serving up contextual microLearning nuggets for in-the-moment, just-what-I-need performance support. Get in, get what I need, and get on with it.
- AR is not ideal for audiences who have access to their PC where they do their work. Consider other delivery methods.
- There are some low-cost tools that are as simple to learn as our rapid course development software tools (Zappar and Layar). A simple AR page interaction is developed in much the same way as a course page, though lower-cost, off-the-shelf AR development tools are not quite as sophisticated.
- Consider where you will gather, create, or curate your content from. Does much of it already exist? If yes, great! If no, you need to consider traditional artifact development timelines in addition to the build of your AR experience.
- Pilot, pilot, pilot. Start small and plan an AR experience for a select audience. Get their reaction to the content you serve up, the form factor they used, and how you communicated where and how to access the AR experience. Get smarter for round two before you go big.
After the presentation, several great questions came up from the audience and I wanted to share them with you. Below are those questions and my best answers. This is an ongoing conversation, and I encourage you to keep the questions coming in via the comments section at the bottom of this page.
Q: How much does an AR solution cost?
A: Like other tools in the toolbox, cost varies significantly by what you plan to do. Most off-the-shelf providers have either a subscription model, for which a seat license is paid to create AR experiences, or a per-AR-page flat fee that licenses the use of the page for a given time. Other off-the-shelf providers have tools that perform more sophisticated actions, and those typically have a multiple order-of-magnitude-higher seat license arrangement. At the top of the spectrum, there are consulting firms that build AR experiences; they use proprietary tools and specialized programming skills.
Q: Can you describe what a WYSIWYG is?
A: Great question and a good reminder to back off jargon in our sessions. 🙂 WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get. These tools allow me to drag and drop icons, links, and artifacts directly over top of my AR marker or trigger image. What I see is what I will get when I publish and test. I am actually seeing what the work will look like—think Storyline or Articulate Presenter. No direct coding required.
Q: Can you tell us more detail about storyboarding the experience?
A: For AR experiences, when we develop the learning journey for our people, whether it’s an ILT curriculum or a web-based experience, we’ll want to storyboard the AR from both content and serve-up perspectives; these can be interwoven, but let’s review each one separately for the purpose of our discussion.
- Content storyboarding: What content will I include and why, what’s its purpose, and what should trigger its availability?
- Serve-up storyboarding: What iconography, labels, or other visual cues will I add onto your stage to launch certain artifacts? What will they look like, and where will they appear on the stage? Where will they launch when the learner interacts with them? Full stage or part? Will it link them to another resource, or will the AR tool host your content (think InfoSec requirements here), and will the learner be prompted for credentials? This can interrupt your learner experience, so it needs to be well thought through.
Q: What is the best novice learner app to start with? AR Creator?
A: I started with Layar and it took a few hours to sort it out, and about 3 hours to create the augmented business card that I shared in the webinar. I have also built in ZapWorks, which is not unlike learning Captivate and then Storyline. When I began, I knew the features; I just had to sort out how they worked in one tool versus the other.
Lastly, if you will be at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions conference in Orlando in March, come join my BYOL session (315) and I will walk you through your first simple AR project! Fun stuff!