Developing a Learning Culture

New Wave eLearning: How Wearable Tech Could Change Everything

You’ve heard it so often that it has become background noise: Google Glass and other wearable tech will change the world. Sure, it might work for international businessmen or tech savvy hipsters, but will wearable tech go mainstream for eLearning companies and L&D pros? Will wearable tech and eLearning ever be a thing? App availability and training budgets haven’t quite caught up to the excitement of wearable tech for eLearning, but that doesn’t mean it won’t. Here, we explore three ways that wearable tech could change the way businesses onboard, train and certify their employees.


We know that solid onboarding efforts improve employee retention and aids in succession planning, but wearable tech could make it even easier for new workers to assimilate into work culture. Consider an H&R pro who could effectively research and screen a prospective employee while he’s sitting right in front of her, pulling up social media accounts and checking online portfolios.

Once chosen, that candidate can put first-day jitters to rest with wearable technology. Forgotten coworker names or understanding work culture could be remedied with a quick scan, so less time is wasted on the “getting to know you” stage and more time is focused on the “let’s get to work portion” of the first few weeks with a new organization.

Compliance Training

Here’s where the applications for wearable tech and eLearning get interesting: Compliance training. Traditionally, courses which outline compliance to rules, regulations and policy isn’t exactly riveting stuff. Paired with the ability for simulations, wearable tech could revolutionize the way you train.

Consider your annual harassment training: It’s kind of awkward and boring for everyone involved, right? But what if, instead of watching videos or talking about scenarios, learners were able to enter simulated scenarios themselves? By detecting facial expression, listening to a conversation or checking body language, a learner could actually select the right course and be rewarded for the right answer, all using their personal wearable technology. Not only would it modernize compliance training, but give employees training that they’ll actually use on the job so that mandatory training doesn’t feel like a waste of time.

Ongoing Training + Tech

The possibilities for ongoing training with wearable tech are practically endless. From mLearning applications to coaching and mentoring, what wearable tech really offers learners is a way to stay connected. And with mobile learning trends becoming more popular and effervescent, mLearning will be truly relevant.

Take the UPS delivery guy: He’s trying to drop an Xbox off and no one’s home. With wearable tech, he could find the homeowner’s phone number, contact him and work out alternate delivery instructions all without setting down the box. That’s a form of mLearning: Using your resources to get just-in-time information you need.

Or, what about sales coaching? After a seminar on a specific sales technique, wearable tech could then be used to simulate sales environments for practice, or could even give a sales force a leg up by offering information about a particular product or customer.

Of course, we’ve only uncovered a small portion of the possibilities with wearable tech. With Google Glass, smartwatches and other hands-free, in-time information delivery devices, innovation will be the real test of how and when the technology will be assimilated for L&D purposes – and not just Silicon Valley hipsters.