Making is to be learned – Augmented Reality at the Interface of Theory and Practice

Making is to be learned – Augmented Reality at the Interface of Theory and Practice

Knowledge transfer is nowadays an important factor in every company. Almost every larger company has its own department that deals with further education and training of employees. But all too often these trainings are not efficient. The use of Augmented Reality (AR) not only increases the quality of training measures, but also saves time. The positive effects range from employee motivation to increased company productivity.

Applying learned theory to practical models

In times of digitalization, it is very important for companies to train their employees in this area. In order to meet the challenges of digitizing products and processes, the way in which industry workers acquire their skills must change. They need to be able to collect the knowledge for new productions and processes very quickly, possibly even while working. Learning and working are getting closer and closer. In order for this to be successful, a framework must be created which, on the one hand, allows learning to take place directly in the workplace and, on the other hand, allows training to be carried out efficiently and quickly. AR applications make it possible to transfer information and data precisely during work. This way, learning takes place while the task to be performed is completed. Without the new technology, this overlapping of learning and work would not be possible, since the worker must have both hands free to carry out his work.

It is crucial that the information that is needed is displayed in an appropriate place. Thanks to AR, it is possible to make the functionality of a machine transparent and to visualize how individual parts and machine components work together. Step-by-step instructions, which are displayed on screens or data glasses, explain production and manufacturing processes. The efficiency of a training course can also be better monitored, as it is possible to record whether the employee has retrieved all the information and carried out all the steps.

Advantages of training

Training is not only beneficial for the employees, but also for the company. Valuable know-how is transferred to the company, which employees use in their daily work and ideally pass on to their colleagues. The knowledge and qualification of the employees have a decisive influence on the success and reputation of the company. In addition, they contribute to the attractiveness from the point of view of potential employees, because ambitious applicants prefer a job with innovative training opportunities. Further training is also perceived as an appreciation, especially if the employer provides highly modern and effective training methods. This is a sign of trust and of interest in long-term commitment. The motivation of the employees is increased. After all, a specifically trained employee can cope better with the daily challenges and work processes, which has a positive effect on productivity. With AR, these advantages can be fully exploited and their effect multiplied. Training with AR is more efficient than conventional trainings and contributes immensely to increasing the success of the company.

Learning in virtual and real working environments – a comparison

In the real working environment, learning is harder than in virtual or advanced environments. One of the reasons for this is that in the real working environment, the complexity of the environment is always 100%. A reduction of unimportant, disturbing details and contents is not possible. No or only limited influence can be exerted on the dynamics of the environment. Contents are often abstract and can only be influenced to a limited extent. Transparency depends on the visibility and accessibility of the environment. Hidden, invisible parts can hardly be used to learn and train processes.

In virtual and enriched work environments, it is usually possible to reduce complexity. Items that are not relevant to the process to be learned can simply be hidden. In principle, the dynamics of a process can be influenced indefinitely and the degree of networking can be regulated. With regard to transparency, the accessibility and visibility of the real environment can be artificially extended, which brings enormous advantages. Important components or danger zones can be marked in colour and the learner’s attention can be controlled by hints in the field of vision. In the virtual working environment, complex exercises are thus possible by reducing unimportant details, increasing clarity, targeting orientation and better comprehensibility.

In the real working environment, learning often comes with negative consequences, such as the cost of materials and time. In addition, they are usually time- and location-dependent. In the enriched work environment with AR, however, the required resources are drastically reduced, since work is not done on the component itself, but on a representation. Only the procurement of the system represents a cost factor. In the use, for the training itself, the costs approach zero. Also errors which can accompany a high material loss, accidents, or standstill in production in real working environments, remain without consequences in the virtual world. In principle, AR systems for training purposes are available independently. In the virtual working environment, learning as well as the individualization and flexibilization of training times and locations is possible.

AR in reality: VISCOPIC and Volkswagen

Together with the Volkswagen Education Lab, VISCOPIC enables robot training with AR. Using holographic representations of robots, technicians can learn how to operate the machines using the Microsoft HoloLens. This can significantly increase handling and production reliability. Since the physical machines will be replaced by holograms, the carmaker is also able to carry out training efficiently at any time and any place without incurring additional costs.

One thing is clear: modernization and digitization with efficient and innovative solutions in the sense of industry 4.0 can only be successful if it is accompanied by education 4.0. The development of a company is decisively influenced by whether it also relies on the transformation into a new age when it comes to knowledge transfer. Through targeted training and education with modern technology, efficiency is increased and the company can work future-oriented. The use of AR as an interface between theory and practice is no longer a rarity, but increasingly a necessary standard in industrial companies that do not want to lag behind.

Has the use of AR between theory and practice arisen your interest? VISCOPIC offers individual solutions, which also bring far-reaching advantages to your company in all mentioned aspects. We support you in digitizing your industrial company with customized 3D and AR solutions. In workshops moderated by us, we create a sensitivity for the current technology and illustrate the opportunities and possibilities it offers. We develop a concept and a prototype, evaluate application cases and accompany you during the implementation of optimized software solutions.

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