Augment Your L&D Program the Pokemon Way

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Oct 17, 2016

Hit Factors? Lure Modules? Gyms? It’s a Pokémon Go world out there and we are all a part of it. Since the game launched in July 2016, it has generated millions; more than $500 million by one estimate. So what makes Pokémon Go different from any other app that is on the market? And what can Learning and Development teams take away from this viral sensation?

One reason why the game is so successful is the level of engagement of the user. Your smartphone essentially becomes a window to augmented reality. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality combines technology with real life. Augmented reality experiences are enhanced by superimposing virtual components such as digital images, graphics, or Pikachu, as layers of interaction with the real world. In the case of Pokémon Go, schools, businesses and libraries became gathering places (you may have heard these places referred to as “gyms”) for those searching for various Pokémon characters. The technology has been around for decades, but only recently has it become mainstream.

Another reason why the game has become hugely successful is anyone with a smartphone can participate simply by downloading the app. And there is enough of a challenge in this augmented reality world that users are motivated to continue engaging with the game (sometimes for hours). There are points and badges and quite frankly, bragging rights on the line. How many times have you caught Pikachu?

As augmented reality finds itself in the mainstream, companies are taking notice. BMW, Macy’s, and most recently Porsche, have all utilized augmented reality experiences in their marketing campaigns. As Pokémon Go (and similar apps that are undoubtedly under development) evolves, more businesses will likely try to capitalize on the augmented reality trend. But this trend shouldn’t stop with the marketing department. Augmented reality can easily be assimilated into training.

Utilizing the principles of augmented reality, you can let employees take control of their own training. One of the features of Pokémon Go is training your Pokémon to attain different levels in the game. This puts learning and training into the hands of the user. One way you can replicate this experience is to simply create an app that allows new employees to create virtual characters that can be trained to perform tasks mirroring real world applications (or job tasks). This allows the user to apply concepts and skills that were acquired during their onboarding. Successful completion of tasks during the game could result in points and even prizes. And like Pokémon Go, you can add new features and levels for employees to unlock as they progress through the game.

Here are some other tips to making your training content go viral:

  • Create content that encourages social interaction
  • Incorporate nostalgia (if appropriate) in the content or training
  • Foster a positive competitive culture with a point system and leaderboard
  • Encourage exploration and analysis
  • Make the content digitally accessible

The principles of augmented reality are a great way to connect with your employees, as well as foster a positive and fun training culture.

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