Augmented Reality (AR) Employee Training: Benefits, Examples & Steps to Build Your Program

AR Training Benefits & 4 Game Changing Examples

Training is a core part of just about any job. With the right knowledge, your team can work efficiently, enjoy their jobs more, and help your organization thrive.

Unfortunately, a lot of training efforts are for naught. According to the forgetting curve, most people forget 75% of what they learn within a couple of days. Further complicating matters, many training methods have to be adapted to suit different people’s learning styles. Some people prefer reading, while others might prefer listening to a presentation. But delivering a training experience that touches on all these learning styles is easier said than done. That is, unless you utilize augmented reality training.

Augmented reality training makes it possible to deliver a multifaceted experience to your team and engage them in active learning — a learning style that has increased knowledge retention and success.

What is augmented reality training?

Augmented reality makes it possible to enhance one’s surroundings through the addition of a digital interface or on-screen elements. Augmented reality training uses AR technology to enhance training by providing users with additional information or guidance. 

So, what does this training solution look like in action?

  • Simulated training in any available space

  • Guided navigation around a workspace

  • Assisted hands-on training

  • Quick access to product or space information via scanning

  • Realistic simulations for high-risk jobs, like airline pilots or medical professionals

  • Virtual coaching for jobs, athletics, and more

The possibilities for AR training are endless, with more use cases cropping up regularly. While AR training is especially beneficial for jobs requiring hands-on activities, it can be applied to nearly any profession or role.

6 Key benefits of AR training programs

Augmented reality training programs take pre-existing training methods and enhance them, allowing for many benefits.

1. Experiential e-learning with reduced risks

Experiential learning — learning involving active engagement or hands-on activities, coupled with reflection on the experience — is considered to be more effective than many other traditional training styles. In fact, some studies have found experiential learning allows for 70% more knowledge retention than other forms of learning.

Unfortunately, experiential learning carries risks for some professions. For example, experiential learning in a factory or medical setting can compromise the safety of others and the learner, too.

Fortunately, AR training makes it possible for trainees to engage in simulated hands-on training scenarios. This can deliver the same benefits as traditional experiential learning, but without any of the added risks that come with it.

2. Faster and more streamlined new employee onboarding

Employee onboarding can be an overwhelming time for new hires. Disparate sources of information, knowledge overload, and a lack of resources to properly guide new hires can all impact onboarding in a negative way.

With AR training, you can streamline new employee onboarding, reducing the time onboarding takes and improving its overall effectiveness. Augmented reality training can even help new hires reduce errors by 49%, saving you the time and money it takes to correct mistakes and helping new hires maintain positive morale. 

3. Remote job training opportunities

Remote work is no longer niche, but a mainstream form of work. Whether you have remote employees or your workplace is distributed across multiple sites, AR training makes it possible to deliver engaging training to all.

Using AR, you can provide virtual training that ties into the employee’s location, and deliver on-screen information and prompts. You can even use AR to assist remote or distributed employees with on-site issues, delivering feedback in real time.

4. On-demand instructions and manuals

Whether your team is in-person, remote, distributed, or a mixture, there will come a time when your teammates need instructions or manuals. Augmented reality allows you to quickly send instructions, manuals, and other documents to wherever your team’s at.

For example, if someone’s on a job site and needs help rebooting a piece of equipment, you can send them on-screen instructions that guide them through the process. This empowers them to keep moving forward with the task, and reduces the likelihood of a safety incident.

5. Quick learning & development opportunities to keep up with technology 

Even seasoned employees can run into hurdles, especially when it comes to emergent tech or updated tech. Using AR training, you can quickly send your team any relevant knowledge updates for tech or equipment. Your employees can get the info they need, the work barely slows, and risks are mitigated.

6. Costs reduction

Augmented reality training isn’t cheap, costing upwards of $25,000 to develop according to many organizations. Despite these initial costs, AR training can result in long-term savings.

  • AR training reduces time spent on training and tasks

  • AR training reduces the likelihood of costly mistakes

  • AR training frees experts from answering every question

  • AR training allows for faster support and fewer work interruptions

The above perks can result in a smoother experience for employees working in the field, while also saving your more experienced employees the time it takes to answer questions and offer support frequently. This allows them to focus on more challenging work while your newer employees get the help they need via AR training.

4 examples of AR training & their impact

Augmented reality training is incredibly versatile, driving innovation across a number of industries. 

1. Improves plant accessibility for remote safety training

Manufacturing and production are about as hands-on as a job gets. While some training happens at a computer or in seminars, the majority of learning for these roles happens on the job. Unfortunately, manufacturing and production don’t allow for many slowdowns, which are typical when someone has questions. With AR training, you can guide new hires through technical assemblies, deliver more insights on certain equipment or products, and provide a fuller training experience with fewer slowdowns. For example, RemSense used digital twins to build Virtual Plants for their client, Woodside Energy. Using Matterport Pro2 cameras in combination with Matterport APIs and SDKs to add sound a video, RemSense made it possible for Woodside Energy’s employees to remotely access facilities in a photorealistic way. Woodside trainees were able to engage in their training by wearing VR headsets to walk through the facility environment and understand the ins and outs of the plant, complete with audio.

2. Lower engineering training costs for construction 

Training in construction is often time-consuming and dangerous. On-site training is ideal, but can be especially risky for construction specialists with less experience. Not only this, larger worksites are often busy and tightly scheduled, making it difficult for trainees to flag a manager or seasoned employee for help.

Using AR training, you can help construction workers with on-screen guided prompts that walk them through various pieces of equipment, point out why certain materials are used, and so on. This allows new hires to safely learn on the fly, getting valuable hands-on experience while minimizing risk. And, they don’t have to hunt down a manager or trainer to answer as many questions.

For example, Aetos Imaging's Aetos Operate platform utilizes Matterport’s 3D digital twins to revolutionize building engineer training. With a focus on creating engaging simulations and modules, the platform allows for step-by-step guidance through critical operations. This training approach provides engineers with immediate access to comprehensive building information, optimizing operational efficiency. Notably, organizations using Aetos Operate have reported significant reductions in energy costs and enhanced onboarding processes for engineers. The platform's innovative training system is poised to transform the future of building management by significantly shortening the learning curve for new engineers and promoting overall sustainability.

3. Enhance workforce training quality and engagement

Having the most up-to-date knowledge is critical for field service staff. Long PowerPoint presentations can be fatiguing and rural locations can be a barrier to information exchange. Virtual training can improve information access by providing documentation on real-world contexts regardless of location.  Local Union 669 is the largest union in the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry in North America. With over 14,000 members, the union faces challenges in providing consistent training across its widespread membership, and has innovated by using digital twins to enhance workforce training for apprentices. This particularly benefits apprentices who are outside a hundred-mile radius of established training centers.  Matterport is used to create engaging online courses that allow apprentices to explore 3D models of equipment, access spec sheets, and complete courses remotely. By incorporating hands-on projects and Matterport 3D digital twins in classroom courses, the union has observed increased engagement and interest among apprentices. All this while reducing the requirement to travel long distances to access training.  Matterport's features, such as Mattertags, facilitate detailed study of equipment, linking directly to manuals and videos. The union aims to provide flexibility to instructors in implementing Matterport in their classrooms and sees it as a practical, immersive alternative to traditional teaching methods. Approximately 5,000 journeymen and apprentices across 80 locations have benefited from Matterport's 3D digital twins, offering a real-world context for confident and job-ready training.

Local Union 669 case study GIF

4. Improve the efficiency of frontline worker training

Frontline workers, from those in healthcare to fast food to manufacturing and beyond, typically do a lot of their learning on the job. This often entails shadowing or mentoring, which can slow down a more seasoned employee and lead to a poor employee and customer experience.

Augmented reality training is flexible enough to streamline frontline training across industries by providing on-the-fly information as employees need it. It’s even possible to use AR training to guide frontline workers through simple and complex tasks using instructions that appear wherever the employee is, or within digital twin spaces, allowing employees to learn about a space without having to be there.

For example, Matterport and CGS have partnered to create CGS TeamworkAR, which uses augmented reality and digital twin technology in manufacturing to deliver an immersive training experience for frontline workers.

CGS TeamworkAR example

How to build an AR training program

The right AR training program can help you take the employee learning experience to new heights, regardless of industry or role. You can’t launch AR training overnight, but with the following steps you can quickly build an AR training program that can deliver long-term success for your team and your organization.

Start with a pilot program

Before rolling out a company-wide AR training program, start small with a pilot program. Determine the scope of the program and what’s feasible for your budget, IT support, and team. Try to narrow the scope to a critical but manageable task that doesn’t require as much nuance or support as others.

Identify which team members are ideal pilot candidates. Ideally you want people who have a firm understanding of the company and tasks, as well as some technical know-how. Also, when planning your pilot, keep in mind the importance of internet coverage. Is there sufficient coverage at your facility to ensure the AR training will work?

Choose the right software 

With your scope and starting workflow(s) identified, it’s time to find the right AR software. Shop around and look for an option that fits your budgets and training needs, and preferably one with experience in your industry.

Keep in mind many AR platforms specialize in certain industries, while others are more general. General platforms are sometimes cheaper, but an industry-specific platform will likely have support that understands your industry and be able to make better recommendations for your corporate training efforts.

Include real-world surroundings

Augmented reality training lives and dies by how realistic and relatable it is for users. Including real-world surroundings in your AR training can help trainees relate to the material better, and result in training that’s representative of the task itself.

If your AR training isn’t simply on-screen prompts and info that displays over a real place, use scans to capture real-world environments and make the experience as accurate and lifelike as possible. This is especially useful if your team’s distributed or partially remote, as real-world objects and surroundings in your AR training and ensure everyone gets the same, uniform and realistic experience.

For example, Matterport Digital Twins allow you to quickly capture and create lifelike recreations of any existing space. From there, you can share the digital twin with employees and offer on-site training without the travel.

Choose the best equipment

The right equipment is as important as the right software. After all, what good is your training program if the AR display or captures aren’t usable?

To narrow down your search, consider the following:

  • Do you need head-mounted AR equipment, like a lens, or will hand-held AR via mobile devices suffice?

  • What kind of voice and communication functionality do you need?

  • What software compatibility concerns are there?

  • How many AR devices will you need to purchase and support?

  • Is this AR device the best for your use case?

At the end of the day, the best equipment is the one that works best for your use case and organization.

Fine-tune your training content

Like any other training methodology, you’ll have to refine your AR training over time. Collect in-depth feedback from your team and see how they feel about the AR training. Is it intuitive? Helpful? Are there points of frustration you can smooth out?

As you gather feedback, continue to monitor your own company metrics as well. Is onboarding quicker? Has productivity improved? Are there fewer safety incidents?

Work with your stakeholders and set core metrics of success for your AR training program, and fine-tune your approach and training content as needed.

Going beyond AR training with Matterport

The benefits of a digital twin don’t stop at training. Through Matterport’s partnership with Treedis, you can not only enhance training files, but also turn your digital twin files into customer experiences complete with live support from your specialists.

For example, Treedis used Matterport digital twin technology to help ŠKODA AUTO create virtual showrooms for customers. ŠKODA AUTO customers could enter these digital showrooms from anywhere, browsing inventory while getting agent support via live video chat. The company saw a 96% customer engagement rate and a sales growth of 15%.

Treedis’ AR technology revolutionizes employee training, extending continuous learning through versatile AR experiences from a single digital twin.The Port of Ashdod project showcases these advancements vividly. Here, Treedis’ AR solution dramatically reduced crane troubleshooting times by 84% for beginners and 50% for experienced technicians.

What previously involved navigating complex environments for instructions has evolved into instant, handheld device access to real-time guidance, significantly minimizing operational downtime.AR’s benefits in training are thus clearly immense, continually adding value post-onboarding and combating the ‘forgetting curve’ often encountered during frontline training.

Treedis distinguishes itself with its straightforward and scalable platform. Its no-code studio supports a comprehensive cross-reality training approach that includes VR, desktop, and AR, enabling straightforward digitization of workflows without any coding expertise. Treedis’ integration with Matterport’s Notes feature, takes the AR experience to new heights by enabling frontline staff to access and share real-time information tied to their exact location. This pioneering feature enables workers to view and leave annotations directly within the augmented reality, enhancing immediate communication and collaboration.This blend of accessibility and practicality makes Treedis a leader in AR training solutions, revolutionizing how businesses approach and implement training and operational efficiency.

The benefits of AR and digital twin technology are as limitless as the technology itself. In the past the barrier of entry for AR training was too high for most. With Matterport, you can start creating digital twins and delivering quality AR experiences for employees and customers alike across any industry. 


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