Putting Augmented Reality to Use with an Interactive Brochure

You probably have heard a lot about Augmented Reality (AR) and how it helps to create highly engaging, interactive and meaningful learning experiences for users. If you haven’t, you can go through my earlier blog – Augmented Reality for Learning – Digging Deeper. This is something that will interest you especially if you are related to learning, development or education in any way. The blog also lists some use cases and interesting examples of using AR for learning.

In this blog, I am going to share niceties about an innovative brochure created by our team at Harbinger, using AR technology. This brochure gives readers information, demos and deeper insight into Harbinger’s learning solutions and competencies, in a stunningly interactive way.

Why a brochure in the first place?

Conventionally, chances of grabbing reader’s attention with a short and visually appealing printed material are higher than an email or a web link. Our team at Harbinger follows a culture for innovation. Hence, instead of creating a plain brochure, we thought of bringing it alive using AR. The idea was to create an immersive experience for readers, who can explore different sections of the brochure in a stimulating way.

Like to see how this brochure works?

Anyone with access to Harbinger AR app and the brochure can experience the unique AR interactivities. You can also watch this short video that demonstrates how the brochure works.

How did we do it?

We developed this interactive brochure with a modular framework called Metaio SDK. The broad process we followed was:

  1. Conceptualizing the brochure
  2. Developing AR image marker with Metaio SDK
  3. Printing the brochure with AR marker image
  4. Integrating interactive assets with the Harbinger AR app
  5. Publishing the app on the App Store

And the outcome?

With this brochure, we have been demonstrating our pioneering capabilities of AR based learning solutions at client meetings and conferences. It has proved to be an icebreaker for conversations, and centerpiece to maintaining reader’s attention.

As a next step, we worked on couple of more AR projects for our clients. These clients have had very encouraging feedback from their customers and learners. 

What are your thoughts on this brochure and experiences of using AR for learning?

I would love to hear from you!

Augmented Reality for Learning – Digging Deeper

Augmented Reality – sounds like a fantasy? Not really. It is in fact one of the most stimulating technologies around that has been creating a buzz in the learning and education sphere for a while. Over the past two decades, Augmented Reality (AR) has changed the way people learn by putting real world context to digital learning.

Put simply, AR blends the real world with the virtual elements to create an amazing learning experience for users. It enhances the physical learning environment with digital information, using various apps and devices. The digital information can be in the form of text, audio, video, 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional graphics and animations. The real time interaction of users with the virtual elements and the real world brings abstract concepts to life and stimulates greater understanding.

AR is adaptable to constructivist theory which believes that humans construct their own knowledge, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. This theory promotes active and exploratory learning where learners take control of their own learning. With AR, learners can manipulate and control augmented environment in real time which is connected to real world. AR can thus bridge the gap between theory and practice in a safe environment.

Few use cases of AR for training:  

  • Ideal for healthcare training e.g. human anatomy, performing a surgery etc.
  • Useful in industrial training of procedural tasks e.g. maintenance, repair and assembly of any equipment
  • Assisting in situations (just-in-time) or when people do not have much time in hand to access information e.g. firefighting and military trainings
  • Excellent resource as Job Aid and Performance Support
  • Presenting multi-dimensional models and exploratory information of products/objects.
  • Addition of three dimensional interactive multimedia to make any textbook or manual come alive

Interesting examples that show how AR can be creatively used in various contexts:

This is a video of an AR show run at the National Geographic exhibit in Rotterdam. The visitors are amazed to see themselves with astronauts, dinosaurs, rainstorms or lightening.


This is an AR training demonstration that illustrates how AR can be used for self-guided training. Trainees are allowed hands-on opportunities to learn how to maintain a pump on their own.

This video shows how AR technology can be used in schools to augment classrooms, text books and lessons – bridging the physical world with the virtual.

This AR demo shows how real world objects can be recognized with AR and how product specifications and usage instructions can be effectively communicated to users in real time.

This is an example of AR in healthcare training where trainees can practice diagnosing and treating patients in a risk-free environment.

To conclude, AR technology has opened a window of exciting opportunities to make the learning experience highly engaging and interactive for users. Gartner says Augmented Reality will become an important workplace tool. It has the potential to improve productivity, provide hands-on experience, simplify current processes, increase available information, provide real-time access to data, offer new ways to visualize problems and solutions, and enhance collaboration.

The purpose of this blog was to provide a brief introduction and use cases of AR. In my next blog, I will write about how my team at Harbinger Interactive Learning used AR innovatively to create an interactive brochure for conferences. Stay tuned to experience this interesting brochure.

You don’t want to miss: Webinar on Storyboarding Essentials and More

The_Art_of_Storyboarding_webinar

Storyboard is the blueprint of any eLearning course. Instructional designers and course creators mostly intend to create a good storyboard for their courses but something or the other hinders them. At times, it is their inexperience which leads to the apprehension of laying out all their content properly into the storyboard, sometimes it is the fear of the storyboard not being interpreted correctly by their team members. At times, some of them feel that the storyboard might make their course too linear. Whatever be the stopping factor, storyboard is actually central to eLearning course development.

Laying out content easily and effectively into any storyboard requires the complete know-how of all course elements, course objective and even knowledge of some tools. Most people find getting started with their storyboard the most difficult part in the whole storyboarding process. They are stuck right at the onset. To answer all such apprehensions and queries related to storyboarding, Harbinger brings to you an exclusive session on ‘The Art of Storyboarding’.

The session will be conducted by Desiree Pinder – Executive Director/Founder – Artisan eLearning. Desiree is also a Thought Leader on Interactive Learning. Through the session, she will guide attendees through the key nuances of storyboarding like:

  • Top mistakes people make when storyboarding and how to avoid them
  • Tips on setting up the course canvas
  • Tools that can be used for storyboard writing

This complementary webinar will take place on June 25th, 2015 at 10:00 AM PST. You may register here to attend it.

Approaches to Adaptive eLearning Design

Adaptive e-learning Design

In my last blog, I introduced you to the concept of Adaptive eLearning Design (AED). Today, I’ll talk about a few approaches we follow at Harbinger to create AED based courses for our healthcare and pharmaceutical customers.

These approaches are easy to follow and implement and designed to ensure great ROI.

1.    Design Models

The most commonly preferred approach is incorporating the AED strategies while designing the course.

It could either be implemented through Strategic Chunking of the software simulations or through a Flipped Classroom model. In Strategic Chunking, the design is instructionally chunked into several self-contained small units so that it becomes easy to implement changes across the required unit rather than disturbing the whole system.

In the flipped approach, you could design the system in a way that there are multiple short instructional videos for people to see. The training content doesn’t include many activities or interactions. This part is handled in the training room. So, the amount of changes to be done in the content reduces.

2.    Show Me, Try Me, Test Me

An interesting paradigm that could be followed for creating AED is by carefully modifying the typical Show Me, Try Me and Test Me model. These three steps should ideally be followed in a sequence for a perfect AED enabled system. On a higher level, it involves showing something to the learner and then letting them try it themselves and finally, testing them on what was shown and tried.

 Here are some tips for designing Show Me – Try Me – Test Me:

In Show Me, the system needs to be designed in such a way that it incorporates multiple closely knit images that give the illusion of a video. It is adaptive in the sense that you could simply change the image when required without recreating the complete video.

Try Me can be considered an analogy to ‘Learning by Doing’. In this particular model, the course is heavy on instructions. This approach performs best when the instructions are textual and not audio/video based. That enables you to just replace the instruction text quickly when demanded and need not get into the cumbersome process of re-recording audio/video.

 3.    Training Instructor Guide

Another approach that you could choose for AED is, opting for training with your eLearning partner. In this approach, partner provides you with an Instructional Guide Manual of the system and also trains you at the end of the project delivery. The training would be on the package design as well as maintenance. In such cases, strategically selecting a rapid authoring tool that is not complex and can be easily operated by your team is the key. We have been designing such instructor guides for our customers which they have found useful once they own the responsibility of maintaining the content.

Apart from the above options, if companies have limited resources and budgets, they may even ask for an annual maintenance contract (AMC) with their eLearning partner. AMC works best when there are constant changes planned.

These changes could be at an instructional design level or simply at screen level. They key to a successful AMC is a partner who is willing to go an extra mile to understand the changes you are anticipating in future as maintenance. The partner team should be able work out a strategy for a cost effective AMC based on your needs.

Many of our clients prefer going the AMC way due to the complimentary instructional and authoring skills we bring in.

Each approach has its own benefits and limitations. The best suited approach can be decided after a thorough analysis of client requirements and expectations. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. I would love to know your thoughts. Do share your comments below.

Why Pharmaceutical and Healthcare should NOT stick to traditional eLearning?

traditional_learningYes, you read it right. You would always find me advising this to all my healthcare and pharmaceutical customers. You might have a different argument, but read on for my viewpoint and we might reach a common ground.

Not very long back, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies used to invest heavily in classroom training to train people on various business applications like SAP, iREP Veeva systems and process automation tools like Delta V. These systems are generally developed and implemented across any company over a period of few years.

With advancement in technology and processes, companies took to traditional eLearning practices to train resources on these systems. As a part of the traditional eLearning practice at these companies, content development is generally outsourced to eLearning partners due to the volume and complexity of the content. Now, the point in consideration is that since these systems keep evolving over time, their features and training requirements are bound to change too. So, when it comes to training new hires on such systems, change seems like the only constant.  With the frequent changes, the turnaround time for content updates in that case becomes a key challenge. As a result, content becomes obsolete faster as compared to it being developed. This also impacts cost along with timelines.

In this scenario, it makes sense for every healthcare and pharmaceutical company to NOT stick to traditional eLearning anymore. It’s time to move to Adaptive eLearning Design (AED)!

AED involves courses designed in a way that content can be easily, quickly and frequently updated without impacting other related elements. The content change can then be handled even by the companies directly rather than eLearning partners. Harbinger’s AED approach has successfully designed such solutions for many healthcare and pharmaceutical companies. And the results: great ROI

The next obvious question is – what does AED do to create and maintain this constantly evolving eLearning content? For that, stay tuned for my next blog post about AED!