Using this technology in training is nothing new – However, the world of Leadership and Management Development is way behind in unlocking its potential. Advances in technology have made this more and more accessible and, for those who are old enough to remember Princess Leia being projected in a 3D image in Star Wars, thirty years later we are now bringing this into the world of learning.
Raise the Bar has been using 2D augmented reality to bring workbooks and communications to life with messages from trainers, senior leaders and thought-leaders for some time, but the next step for our development is 3D, and it is just around the corner! So, imagine being sat at your desk and receiving a personal message, tips, reminders or instruction from an expert that appears, as if by magic, right in front of you at any time!
The technology involved is mind-blowing, but it is only through recent developments that it has now become accessible to everybody and, again, the learning environment needs to understand how to leverage this for a new generation of learners and make it stick.
One of the biggest barriers to this has always been download speeds, but with an increase in speed that we never imagined possible when the first smartphone launched, it now means that we can download even large files in an instant. 5G technology, due for launch soon, will again dramatically increase what is possible in this area and it is important for us to look over the horizon to understand the implications of this. Another factor that has had an impact is cloud storage – so combined with the ability to stream with fast downloads and the ability to store much more on our phone has created really stable environments and an infinite amount of possibilities for the learner to access information all through one place… in your pocket.
Once again, virtual reality is no stranger to the learning environment, especially to technical, engineering and defence type environments, but again the use of virtual reality is close to transforming how we learn in soft skills and our team at Raise the Bar are working on some amazing possibilities.
For instance, many of us have been on presentation skills courses but delivering powerful, authentic presentations in the real world is a completely different story. With multiple things going through your mind, with your heart beating out of your chest, palms sweaty, mouth dry and an audience of people waiting with baited breath for what you have to say it is a very different proposition from the workshop environment. Key to being a great presenter is live practice – but how do you do this in a safe environment?
Virtual reality provides the answer, so what better way to hone your skills than to enter into a completely immersive experience where you can recreate presenting to a large group? For us, it’s just around the corner and the use of virtual reality through a smartphone device will be one of the most exciting developments in learning.
Presentation skills are just one area but, with a bit of imagination, it is not hard to understand what will be next with all sorts of simulated environments recreated for live practice.
More and more we work in a smart environment and the days sat in front of a desktop are slowly disappearing. We need learning to be delivered in an accessible way whilst on the move.
What has made this area really interesting is the technological advancements in smartphone cameras, and it is this that has crept up and made learning on the go much more relevant and engaging.
Only last week I sat in Pret in London surrounded by other diners, oblivious to the fact that I was taking part in a webinar delivered through technology that looked brilliant on my phone, I didn’t need wireless; it was perfect through 4G, and this would have been extremely difficult to achieve even 12 months ago. I could see the 20 other Raise the Bar delegates, I could interact with them, I could ask questions, I could view slides, I could vote on snap polls, all nothing new through desktop solutions but it is the accessibility that is changing the way that we work as I can now achieve the same results and better from almost anywhere in the world.
So again, this element never replaces face to face, but it keeps the momentum in the learning, it’s non-onerous making learning accessible and when done the right way it is a catalyst for embedding and making learning stick.
So, that’s webinars… but the same can be said for things like podcasts – bite-size learning on the go again. Last week on the way into work, I was able to listen to three podcasts in the car from our Head of Experience, each lasting no more than three minutes each but instantly playable through my Bluetooth, so for those learners that tell us that they don’t have time – it is about providing the right tools that fit with the culture of their job to achieve the same results.
Podcasts and webinars are nothing new but the expectations and accessibility to them from the learner are, and we need to Raise the Bar to meet them.
Technology is changing at an exponential level. It is the responsibility of the learning sector to look at the best ways to engage with learners at a level that suits them, not what suits us. The smartphone may be getting some negative press in the workplace environment but at Raise the Bar we see the possibility to enhance the learner experience.
After all, it will be with us for a long time to come!