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Updated: Oct 19, 2022

#1 Way Industrial Companies Accelerate Knowledge Transfer to Bridge the Skills Gap


How to deploy wearable computers to effectively train workers across generations. A whirlwind of forces has created a chasm between the needs of industrial businesses undergoing digital transformation and the skillsets of available workers. While companies have been attempting to address the lack of properly trained workers for years, the lingering effects of the 2007-2009 recession, increasing impact of an aging workforce and widening skill requirements have only heightened the need for a way to transfer knowledge effectively. The impact of the COVID pandemic has played a significant role in increasing the challenges of effective knowledge transfer. The workflow disruption and travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic have accelerated the need for digital transformation and connected worker programs that provide remote access to expertise and learning materials. Without the necessary digital tools in place, industrial companies are struggling to bridge the skill gap between worker groups to ensure faster business recovery.

The rise of micro-learning; this is the future of medical education and industry work-force learning. With RealWear, we are able to assist as well as educate U.S. Special Operations Medics any where in the world and see what they see using synchronous satellite enabled telehealth powered by Kymeta.” Dr. Patrick J. Fullerton, CEO, OPTAC-X

Today, leading organizations are moving towards interactive, video-based learning. Millennials and members of Gen Z are tech-savvy, and they don’t want to learn with a physical, hardcopy manual or clipboard. They prefer and expect videos for learning and grew up with digital, interactive learning platforms like Khan Academy and Coursera. According to a survey conducted by Google, millennials are 2.7X as likely to prefer learning by watching a YouTube video compared to reading a book4 . YouTube has become the primary source for all generations to increase their knowledge. Case in point: Nearly 500 hours of video are uploaded per minute5 , much of it focused on “How To” content. For most people, it’s common sense to search for a short, three to five-minute online video when the dishwasher breaks down or a smartphone isn’t working properly. This is because microlearning, or learning in bite-sized pieces of visually-driven content that is easy to recall and access when needed, is emerging as the preferred way to learn. In the case of industrial workers, it’s preferable to access this content on-the-job through short videos or video calls with experts, rather than in a classroom or through module-based e-learning. This way, young, newer or even experienced workers who are growing their skill sets can receive training while completing work—increasing productivity and retention of information. This makes augmented reality (AR) essential to training millennial industrial employees who must work with their hands and can’t safely stop to watch a how-to video on a tablet computer or make a video call to a more experienced worker with a bulky laptop. Gartner predicts by 2022, 70% of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies for consumer and enterprise use, and 25% will have deployed to production6 . To overcome the skills gap and enable microlearning, companies must adapt AR-powered, video-first training technology. That’s where wearable computers come in. Wearable computers empower HR and training leaders at innovative industrial businesses to leverage cost-effective AR and video training to deliver the education necessary to train technical workers now and in the future.

Wearable computers can bridge medical and industrial skills gap

In industrial settings, wearable, head-mounted computers with extendable boom-arm displays can be attached to safety helmets, bump caps, protective glasses and other gear, enabling hands-free, voice-controlled access for trainees who are learning on the job. They provide an AR environment in which workers can easily use voice commands to watch short training videos, access manuals, view mechanical drawings, look up spare parts and access other materials critical for experiential training. Wearable computers can be as powerful as a tablet computer and can utilize lenses that make it appear as though the worker is looking at a 7-inch screen. A front-facing camera can be used to make video calls and show a remote expert any problems that a trainee experiences–without requiring the use of his or her hands. Unlike immersive AR or VR systems, purpose-built wearable computers are less likely to distract workers from the task in front of them. These devices can also streamline the creation of videos for microlearning. Experienced workers can quickly make bite-sized, easily consumable training videos as they work and upload them for instant access via voice search or a QR code on a piece of equipment. Existing PDFs, videos and other references can be easily added to a training program and accessed by an entire team or workforce on an industrial wearable computer. Through this process, knowledge transfer can be achieved far more rapidly, helping to close the skills gap. To facilitate knowledge transfer across the organization, require that the wearable computer solution you choose for a digital transformation or connected worker program has the following five features:

● Rugged drop-proof and dust-proof design to enable use in harsh environments and reduce downtime for repairs. ● Hands-free voice operation to increase productivity and ensure safety in critical environments. ● Noise cancellation microphone that works reliably in loud industrial worksites. ● Long charge times that can perform through an entire shift, because video streaming uses substantial battery life. ● Intrinsically safe design for use in restricted zones to avoid explosion or fire in oil and gas, textiles, pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing sites.

Overcoming the skills gap In an industrial environment, on-the-job training is critical to ensure that employees can share their expertise with each other and that companies can maintain the workforce needed to power their business models. With the percentage of millennial workers growing each year, a seamless transfer of knowledge and skills from older, experienced workers to the younger workforce is crucial to bridge the skill gap. Emerging technologies and digital transformation are drastically changing the way information and expertise are distributed and consumed. The COVID pandemic has proved beyond doubt that remote work is not only possible but is also highly feasible in the long term with the right connectivity tools in place. As remote access increasingly becomes the norm, physical manuals and classroom-based training are no longer an effective way to train up the younger generation, and companies must adapt in order to close the skills gap. Those who leverage hands-free wearable computers that enable AR and video training will overcome the myriad forces contributing to the shortage of trained workers and secure the long-term benefits of a well-trained workforce.

Source- RealWear Blog 2021

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