Augmented Reality Adds New and Exciting Elements to Corporate Training and Education

Augmented Reality (AR) is making training and education in the corporate world and in the school classroom more interactive and memorable for learners. With its ability to overlay information and instructions onto the real world, AR brings a new and exciting element to teaching that makes lessons stick in the mind of learners.

What is Augmented Reality?

To understand how AR is helping educators in the classroom, we first have to know what it is. A simplified explanation is that AR is digital information that is overlaid onto the real world and viewed with a device. The digital information can be viewed with a phone, a tablet, specialized goggles or on some other type of screen or viewing apparatus.

When a person looks at something in the real world using the viewing screen, a digital image or annotation can be viewed alongside the real object. For example, you could view a digital rendering of a table sitting inside your actual kitchen or you could see written annotations “floating” beside a vehicle engine when you’re looking at it.

There are different kinds of AR.

Marker-based AR

Some AR uses markers (like QR codes, for example) to indicate to the software where it should display the digital information. To access the overlay, you would scan the marker with whatever device you are using and it would access the information and display it accordingly.

Sometimes the markers are unseen, like when AR uses GPS coordinates to display information. The Pokemon Go game from a few years ago used GPS coordinates as markers.

Markerless AR

On the other hand, there is markerless AR, which does not rely on any type of marker at all. Rather, the information to be displayed is accessed some other way. It may be wrapped into an app or it may be accessed via a web link. The software scans its surroundings to find an ideal place to overlay the information. For example, you could access a 3D rendering of a chair from a link and the software will use your phone’s camera to scan your apartment and find a floor to “place” the chair on.

If the AR object is accessed via a web link without the need to download anything, this is known as Web-Based AR.

There are other types of AR like projection AR and stationary screen AR, which are not common for using augmented reality in the classroom.

Virtual Reality

Sometimes AR is mixed up with virtual reality (VR), but unlike AR, VR is 100% computer generated and requires special viewing goggles and other specialized equipment to view and interact with. When you are viewing VR, you are completely immersed in a digital world with no view of the real world.

How Augmented Reality helps in the classroom

AR not only makes learning more fun and memorable for children, it can actually help companies train and retain employees.

A PwC survey found that 35% of Millennials preferred employers who could help them improve their professional skills. By using AR for teaching employees, you will boost your employee retention rate.

Using AR, companies and schools alike can better estimate their training effectiveness instead of relying on tests and the perception of trainers. They can get quantifiable data on how well a trainee understands something by seeing exactly how they reached the conclusion they did.

Since a large portion of employees and students use their mobile devices on a daily basis, incorporating learning that uses mobile devices, like AR, uses a medium they are already accustomed to.

AR also provides more engaging learning content to supplement or perhaps even replace textbooks, slides and videos that may not hold student attention. When it comes to learning, doing is always better than watching or reading. AR allows students and trainees to perform tasks safely as they learn.

How Augmented Reality teaching can improve classroom efficiency

There are a number of ways AR makes training more efficient for corporations and learning institutions.

Real time assistance

Instead of just learning something ahead of time and then putting it into practice later, AR allows students to get real time information while they’re actually learning something.

People who are learning how to fix high-voltage equipment, for example, can learn safely by wearing an AR helmet and having the information fed to them as they’re performing a task, increasing safety and efficiency.

Any new information that an employee or student requires can be uploaded to the AR system, saving on the need to constantly retrain people. Once employees or students know how to use the AR, they can use it for training on virtually anything.

Currently, both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are using Microsoft’s HoloLens AR system to help teach future astronauts how to perform repairs in the International Space Station. The VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, which is heading up the project for the ESA, uses the HoloLens to show astronauts data as they perform maintenance on components of the station.

Remote assistance

In addition to HoloLens, See-What-I-See (SWIS) AR smart glasses enable video conferencing so anyone can see what the SWIS wearer is seeing. This will make it easy for companies to bring in experts and specialists when they need someone with a particular set of skills to fix a problem.

Rather than flying the person in, someone else can wear the SWIS glasses and the expert can remotely assist them to remedy the problem. It’s even possible that a company could tap into the knowledge of a recently retired expert without having to get them to physically go anywhere.

Augmented Reality training and education use cases

Augmented reality can be used in every step of the learning journey for trainees and students, from when they are first introduced to a concept until they’ve mastered it.

New hire onboarding

New hires have the most to learn in a corporation and it’s not always feasible to let them get hands on experience right away. But, you can speed up the training process with virtual training using AR. For example, they could learn about the components of a factory as they walk around and scan AR markers. They can learn how to troubleshoot repairs on a piece of equipment without having to actually interact with the physical equipment and without having to take up the time of a trainer to show them.

Performance support

For surgeons performing a particularly tricky surgery or factory workers using heavy machinery, AR headsets could stream helpful information to them and overlay it on the physical space, assisting them with the process.

Enhancing traditional learning

Textbooks are traditionally not very engaging, but they can be made more interesting to students with the help of AR. Imagine scanning a code with your phone and having a 3D rendering of whatever you’re studying show up in the room there with you, or scanning a photo of a historical figure and having that figure “come to life” to tell you a story about themselves.

Product knowledge training

With AR, there is no need to have new products physically in front of employees to teach them about those new products. Thanks to AR and a viewing device, new products can be viewed anywhere with all the requisite information about them. Products that are still in the prototyping stage don’t need to be physically built for everyone to have a look at them.

How to use AR in training

When it comes to using AR for education and training purposes, companies and schools have a number of ways they can use the technology to enhance learning.

AR Image Enhancement

Students and trainees can scan markers in books or on real-world objects and have AR videos, text or even digital 3D objects overlayed onto what they’re looking at that provides them with valuable information.

At the primary school level, children can color a picture in a coloring book and then use a tablet to bring the picture to life and even see the 3D model of the picture get filled in with color as they are doing it. This makes coloring a 2D image more engaging for children who have grown up in a digital world.
It need not be just students and employees who receive training via AR. Even consumers will benefit from it. Hyundai, for example, uses AR to teach vehicle owners all about their new vehicles and how to do some basic maintenance on them.

AR Objects

With its ability to produce 3D models that can be seen in the real world, learners will be able to access a 3D rendering of an object, “place” it somewhere in their environment, rotate it and take it apart to see how the object fits together and its inner workings. This can help new employees to perform something virtually before they go in and do it for real.

And it can help students satisfy their need for visual learning as opposed to merely reading and looking at 2D images. Subjects like anatomy can be enhanced by having students scan markers in books and having the 3D images appear on their phone screens so they can look at it from all angles and see inside something like the human heart.

Being able to see something like the individual parts of an atom and take it apart would give students a whole new way of looking at something they normally wouldn’t be able to see. Going in the other direction, the vastness of the solar system and how the planets and sun interact with each other can be explored and visualized more easily via AR.

AR Scenario Training & Gamification

Learners could recreate a scenario virtually — like performing a specific repair — using a 3D model and interact with that model in the same way they would if it were a real situation. Using virtual objects is a cost savings to companies and schools rather than having everyone learn on physical machinery and other objects that could cost a lot of money.

Many AR apps and tools emerging now have introduced gamification to make learning more fun for students. The Smithsonian Channel, for example, has the Apollo’s Moon Shot AR app, which includes several little AR games people can play to help them learn about the first mission to the moon.

Adding a gamification element to teaching and training makes learning more engaging. In fact, 68% of learners say having a gaming element to educational materials makes them learn better.

How to choose an AR training partner

If your organization does decide to invest in AR training, you can go a few different routes. Schools will likely be able to use the vast array of AR apps and accessories already in existence that are geared toward children’s learning.

For corporations that will likely require a bespoke AR solution, the success of their training endeavors will depend on choosing the right AR agency as a partner. The right AR agency will cooperate with you to choose the best type of AR for your purposes, the proper equipment and the right level of realism for what you’re teaching.

When you’re choosing an AR agency to work with, ask to see:
  • Their portfolio
  • Pricing informationPricing information
  • Any awards they’ve won
  • Past projects and references
  • Ratings and reviews for their work

Pros and Cons of Augmented Reality Training

Like any technology, using AR just for the sake of using it won’t work. It is meant to augment the learning environment and make the process more engaging so learners retain more information.


  • Provides a Safe Learning Environment – Students and employees can learn safely without risking equipment or other people or negatively affecting the environment around them in any way.
  • Makes Learning Interactive and Engaging – While AR is growing swiftly, it is still new to most people and it will create a buzz among learners and make learning more fun.
  • Innately mobile — AR requires mobile devices like phones, tablets or goggles to use, so it is built for mobility, meaning learners aren’t tied to a station. Your entire environment can become your classroom.


  • Costly to start – For schools, there are many free or low-cost options available already. However, for corporations, the cost of developing your own exclusive AR training program can be a bit steep. However, the longer you use it, the better your ROI, so it will eventually pay for itself. It may just take longer than other training options.
  • May require Constant Development — Technology changes so quickly that what is cutting edge today is nearly obsolete next year. To stay current and be able to have students and employees use their own ever-changing hardware, your program will likely require you to refresh your program every few years. Your AR agency partner should be able to advise you on this.
  • Lengthy development times — Again, this will depend largely on who you partner with, but you’ll need to develop your training course and then develop AR that fits into that training course and this can take quite a while. Using AR in your training and education isn’t a small step.

Once you take the leap into using AR for training and education, you will see how endless the possibilities are. Choose a good AR agency and they’ll help you to use your AR to its full potential.

Virtual measuring apps

These apps use a phone or tablet’s camera for accurately measuring spaces and they can help with drawing plans from existing rooms. The more advanced ones can show viewers 3D models in real time in their proper scale, transforming a plan into a 3D model hologram, or simulating life-size products, thus reducing the cost of creating prototypes.

Software that shows builders life-sized instructions

Some construction AR software aims to turn 3D models into fully life-sized construction instructions that builders can simply follow with the use of tools like a HoloLens. For particularly complex structures, builders could just follow step-by-step instructions that are overlaid onto the real world throughout the construction process.

Software that overlays the BIM

There are building site monitoring applications that use AR to overlay a structure’s 3D BIM with the use of a phone, tablet or other AR viewing device. These applications allow you to compare what has been built to the plans so you can see if it has been done correctly. This helps builders avoid errors and reduces construction costs.

With its ability to show people what is not actually there, augmented reality for architecture and construction is quickly becoming a must-have tool for design and construction firms that want to increase efficiency and keep their clients in the loop easier. It’s an obvious positioning advantage for companies that use it already and soon will be an indispensable tool in the industry.