Don’t make the mistake of dismissing wearable tech as a passing trend: According to Juniper Research, 13 million wearable tech devices were shipped to lucky consumers. By 2018? That number skyrockets to 180 million. While the idea of first-person simulation and virtual reality might still sound a little like Back to the Future to the average learner, present-day devices and applications are making wearable tech in the now for eLearning tasks. Find out how some organizations are harnessing the technology and where you can expect it to affect the way you implement eLearning for training and development.
Mobile Device Wars
When you think “wearable tech,” a few usual suspects probably come to mind. After all, the idea of utilizing technology physically worn by the user isn’t exactly new – fitness enthusiasts have been wearing diagnostic wristbands for years. But gym rats aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of wearing their tech on their sleeves, thanks to other devices and apps. Check out just a few making waves in the eLearning sphere.
- Google Glass. Though Google has yet to release sales numbers for their wearable computer glasses, a report by Business Insider suggest that the tech giant will be shipping as many as 21,000,000 units per year by 2018. When combining eLearning and Google Glass, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of capabilities and applications, with everything from simulation-based training to in-class and client facial recognition and even pulling exact product specs when and where you need them the most. Expect Google Glass (or similar wearable computer devices, like the Sony SmartEyeGlass) to act as a major player going forward.
- Theatro. A wearable device specifically for those who find themselves on the sales floor, Theatro is a major breakthrough for the retail market. When worn, the device can compute analytics for daily employee performance, can ping the wearer’s location and even offers communication tools for messaging and sending vital information to sales reps when they need it the most. It creates a smoother line of communication and real-time analytics for better insight and improved results.
- Smart watches. More accessible to the everyman, L&D pros should be especially cognizant of what smart watches mean for content delivery. With the available to stay connected 24/7, smart watches can do everything from sending messages and delivering information to allowing the user to quickly access learning catalogs and share materials quickly with colleagues. And, since smart watches are integrated with the user’s other tech devices, eLearning becomes an organic and continuous process.
A huge trend for 2014 and going forward, wearable tech still has a lot of untapped potential, owing to its newness and a lack of device availability. But while it may make up a small part of your eLearning strategy today, growing availability and a changing learner will make it a larger player going forward. Consider the tech “one to watch” and you won’t get stuck in the past.