By the year 2024, over a quarter of the American workforce, or baby boomers, will have reached the ages of 60 to 78. As they approach retirement, there is a worry that this could create a shortage of workers who are skilled in major areas from telecommunications, manufacturing, and other trades.
According to Forbes, the heavy proportion of older skilled-trade workers puts into focus more than just the pending retirement for baby boomers and oft-cited, but rarely quantified gap, between the skills that employers need, and what the available workers possess. It also touches on the fact that American high schools have largely shifted their focus to preparing students for four-year colleges rather than vocational school.
Augmented reality technology is set to not only address these issues from our aging workforce by revitalizing these industries to attract and engage more younger generations, but overall increase productivity by fundamentally changing how employees are trained overall.
U.S. companies are spending large sums of money by investing in training per employee, largely delivered in outdated fashions such as classroom-based lectures, or online training modules that mimic classroom learning. These ways of training were once suitable for memorization and application, but over time, it is recognized that understanding why information is important and how it relates is the main goal of learning.
Additionally, these common training procedures do not outline the complexity of the technical tasks they are attempting to teach.
AR technology can not only close this gap between these outdated methods of training, but also help to increase production, efficiency, and task performance rates.
In the very near future, AR will take educational approaches to the next level by helping to empower workers to have the latest, most accurate information available in context, whenever and wherever they need it.
Heads-up Displays and Real-Time Information
Augmented reality technology integrated into heads-up displays or AR glasses, or even safety helmets, will assist workers by being able to recognize equipment and provide guidance to workers through step-by-step troubleshooting or diagnostics. Workers would only need to learn how to use the hardware, and they will be already prepared for their line of work. This greatly decreases costs of training for companies.
This interactive style that AR technology provides not only increases learning, but also reduces errors, saving companies even more in the long-run.
In one white paper, the following statistics and benefits were compiled based on numerous augmented reality technology studies in the work setting:
- Researchers found that AR instructions overlaid in 3D resulted in a 82% reduction in the error rate for the assembly task;
- 50% faster task performance, 50% increase in concentration, 90% decrease in mistakes;
- 60% increase in learning time, 60% decrease of consumable training materials;
- Students’ motivation is increased and the total length of training is shortened.
Boeing, for example, has their electrical technicians use augmented reality headsets to see a step-by-step maintenance checklist. This lets Boeing reduce the time needed for the operation by 30%, and a 40% improvement in productivity.
Remote Assistance and Collaboration
The Future of Augmented Reality Technology in Industry Training
Augmented reality technology will have big potential and valuable features for training purposes in a multitude of industries. As with the use of multimedia, or web-based training, the use of AR has obvious benefits that are easily identifiable and provide solutions for the modern challenges that face employee training.
Most importantly, AR technology will need to be implemented with the right instructional approaches, and at the right time within the process. The ability of augmented reality technology to dramatically cut costs, and significantly increase training efficiency, can only continue to benefit companies, should they continue to further their support and drive this medium of technology for their industrial training.