Technology is transforming education at a phenomenal speed than ever. In this realm, wearable technology has a very strong possibility of extending the mobility of learning, further connecting learners to each other as well as to those facilitating their learning, and serving as another collaborative learning tool that can be integrated into the learning process at many levels. With wearables releasing from every large device maker and access to the general public increasing, companies and people will probably see quite a bit of experimentation as well as usage of wearable tech across all areas.
Devices like Google Glass & Oculus Rift can significantly improve how students interact with video tutorials and follow instructor demonstrations. As their hands are free they can interact with the software that they are learning without having to disengage from one screen in order to access another. The ability of voice control would also allow a student to engage seamlessly with the content or training. Wearable tech is a smoother process and one that could be applied to a distant learning model as well as a traditional classroom setting. The idea of hands-free exploration of an immersive world will only truly be appreciated once we begin utilizing the technology.
Some of the areas in learning and education that wearables can play a strong part are Instructional Videos (Repairs, Maintenance) of Automobiles, Architecture Walkthroughs (Modelling and creation of virtual worlds), Walk through of a business process (KYC, Policy Selling), A Day in the life simulations, VR Immersive Serious Games, First Person Videos (For collective experiences), Research apps for training modules et al
Hence, the need and usage of wearables is clearly seen as proliferating and one that will be adopted more and more in learning. The only thing that will need to be taken into consideration is the “invasion of privacy” as many of the devices have cameras as well as constantly gathering data and knowledge of user. The other thing that raises concerns in the education/learning space for wearables is of the “casualness” of the learning. Trainers, Professors will be entering a new classroom where every student has a camera aimed on them and nothing is sacrosanct and private anymore. Learning organizations will also have to grapple with the new world of WYOD (Wear your own device). The other concern will be the erosion of the traditional construct of the classroom, instructor led training where the professor or facilitator held the room.
However, from tracking students’ progress to providing a new way for learners to interact with data, their environment, and one another, wearable technologies have many practical applications in education and training. These uses span all educational environments, from elementary school classrooms to operating theatres and even to facilitator led training courses in the corporate realm.
As wearables proliferate, mutate, grow and become commonplace the current disadvantages of devices being expensive, heavy, low battery, discomfort and security will start to subside and new regulation will also come into place to make this technology commonplace.
Deepak Venkateshan is Principal Solutions Architect - Mobile & Tablet Apps. (COE), COE - Mobile/ Tablet Apps, Tata Interactive System