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Why Blended Learning Strategy?

Learning Series – (Part 2)

In our earlier post-Learning Series – Crafting a Blended Learning Strategy (Part 1), we had an overview of a blended learning strategy. In this post, we are going to go a little deeper into ‘Why/ of a Blended Learning Strategy.

Why Blended Learning?

Blended learning is heavily favored for three primary reasons:

  1. Optimal learning strategies – mixed-media learning approaches have been proven to be the most effective means of learning, especially when you are dealing with large numbers of learners;
  2. Reach and flexibility –blended learning can reach across large areas at any time or (virtually) any place; and
  3. Economics – done right, blended learning is a highly valuable business solution that can be a very good economical investment.

Optimal Learning Strategy

Numerous studies are available in both the commercial and academic fields that clearly demonstrate that the most successful training approaches are those that involve higher interactivity and use more than one modality for learning transfer. Therefore, answering “Why blended learning?” becomes simple; it is the most effective approach for learning.

Be careful though, blended learning still requires sound instructional design in order to be effective. Simply creating a series of different modes of content does not make for excellent learning transfer.

Reach and Flexibility

Traditionally, training was completed by trainers who diligently traveled from site to site ensuring that all personnel was properly trained. Often the cost and time associated with delivery remained a challenge. Adding on large enterprise-wide training rollouts introduced a great deal of variation due to the sheer number of instructors required.

The face-to-face benefits of training are undeniable, but some form of interactive exchange mixed with face-to face training was required. Blended learning neatly fills that niche. Blended learning also offers flexibility. Considering instructor-led sessions, where participants are required to attend at set times, dates, and locations, blended learning offers flexibility in the delivery so that personnel can attend at their convenience.

A word of caution, though—simply setting up webinars as a distance learning solution without first truly understanding the learners and the business need is not a sound decision. Good intentions without well- constructed instructional strategies can still end in poor results.

Economics

Cost will always be a factor in the selection of a training approach. Blended learning requires an investment at the onset of the training. Like most things, you get out of the investment what you put into it. Instructional design steps can appear to be expensive steps that many organizations are tempted to skip. Beware of that slippery slope!

Building an optimized training plan through instructional design is really the only way to go. The old adage “penny wise and pound foolish” comes to mind. Many organizations pursue the false quest of a rapid blended learning solution that skips the details in the planning stages; consequently, the results can be catastrophic. Remember, most companies’ greatest differentiator is their people. Why are organizations in such a hurry to shortchange that competitive edge?

In our next chapter, we will talk about Blended Learning Approaches and how you can use them.

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Cloud Futrlabs Futureshift

Web-based Augmented Reality (AR) on Mobile

Augmented reality on mobile phones is set to drive new business and attract new customers. This comprehensive, lucid read for executives explains the basic concept of AR, its implementation options available, relevant web technologies and challenges faced by the implementation of a Web-based AR platform.

Overview

Augmented Reality to smartphones is bringing about a new wave of innovation after the widely successful location-aware search over the last decade. AR allows mobile users to interact virtually with their surroundings. Augmented Reality refers to a technology that superimposes computer-generated content over live images viewed through cameras.

The AR technology has been extensively used in gaming and military applications for many years on powerful computers. With the advent of sophisticated mobile devices, faster communication networks, plummeting data charges, and new developments in nanotechnologies that power micro-chips, AR has become inexpensive enough to put into smartphones and tablets. Such universality has spurred the demand in the new consumer-led companies who are looking at this to enhance the online shopping experience from apparels to eyeglasses.

AR is as sunrise technology for new e-commerce start-ups and is poised for a big take-off over the coming decade. The following are the critical components of a web-based Mobile AR.

Concept of Mobile AR

  1. Capturing the subject, the background environment at real-time via a Mobile device
  2. Depends on the speed of the Mobile hardware device and camera features
  3. The ability of the Mobile device to track subject and background and perform superimposing rendering of the final video in a seamless manner

Implementation Concepts

  1. Sensor-based mechanism – Based on accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses, magnetometers, GPS, and similar sensors on the Mobile Device. Risk of irremediable cumulative errors across multiple sensor inputs
  2. Vision-based mechanism – Camera-based Frame-by-Frame tracking requires immense computational work in real-time to provide a closed-loop system involving subject and background. The marker-based mechanism relies on pre-defined marker pattern as a guide to reduce real-time computational load on the device.
  3. Hybrid Tracking – Combination of Sensors and Camera to track the movement of the subject regarding the background. Example: Use Gyroscope data in conjunction with Camera images to process real-time image tracking.
  4. Embedded AI Chip – Devices with enhanced Integrated Artificial Intelligence Chips. Ex: Intelligent Camera + Gyroscope inbuilt in a single sensor.

Relevant Technologies

  1. WebRTC – Technical Specification Standard for Browsers to handle real-time communication including Media signals
  2. Native Web Assembly – Compiled Binary code support in native format (for multiple programming languages) included in Browsers
  3. Web Workers – Multithreading support on browsers to distribute computational load across multiple browser processes
  4. WebGL – Browser supported JavaScript library for high-performance Graphical computation and rendering

Challenges with AR on the Web Mobile

  1. Realtime Compute Capability on the Browser or Mobile device
  2. Network and Data Transmission delays
  3. High energy requirement for complex sensors and application.  Includes heating of Integrated chips
  4. Diversity of Operating System, Browser, Mobile platforms, and lacking standards
  5. Environment and lighting impact on accurate capture of images to enable non-lossy digital image processing in real-time.

Download PDF version here

Infographics

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