Wearable Technology: Does Google Glass still has the potential to transform Learning?

Posted on : March 2nd, 2015
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Mobile Technology has reached a new landmark as the number of estimated mobile devices has crossed the 7 billion mark. Added to this, is the growing popularity of wearable gadgets that enable continuous connectivity for users. The learning industry is making use of mobile devices to deliver just-in-time learning for some years now. Added to that, wearable technology will also be increasingly utilized to create better and more impactful avenues of learning.

Google GlassLast year, all predictions pointed to the evident trend of utilizing Wearable gadgets for training and learning. We use smartphones daily – to read news, shop, look for directions and so on. But we have to hold a smartphone in our hands to use it. With wearable gadgets like Google Glass, the device can be worn on the head which projects an image onto a transparent screen suspended in front of your eye. So, it is possible to do anything while wearing the device and use it when required – to read messages, send emails or even learn. But with all the initial hype around Google Glass, all was not looking up for the device. Many users found it cumbersome and there were of course some serious issues on the concern of privacy. With a high price range added to other tiresome glitches like low battery life and other hardware problems, the device was pulled off the shelves for the general public in January 2015.

However, the device still holds potential and according to a Google blogpost, the Google Glass project is not being shelved and we can hopefully see future versions of Google Glass, which would incorporate the most useful features like recording video, facilitating hands-free calls or text messages, instead of assuming that people will wear Google Glass all the time for the virtual dimension that it brings to their lives. This will also increase the scope of utilizing Google Glass for training and learning – especially in the corporate scenario. Mashable created a very interesting infographic on the various utilities of the device for Learning.  We bring to you our top 10 pick from the exhaustive list.

  1. First-person video guides: Instructors and trainers can utilise the video recording feature of Google Glass to create and share video guides that can be shared with the class – before or during the lesson. While a video can be also shot with a smartphone or tablet, the added advantage of Google Glass is that the instructor can wear it and make the video himself with no one to hold up the device or the distracting stance of the ‘selfie’ video. The first person video guide can also be shot while the instructor is on the move – through the factory floor or even while working on a new software programme.
  1. Document and share lessons that have to be demonstrated: Many skills taught in the classroom are physical and the learners actually have to ‘see’ a person do it to learn it well. With Google Glass, lessons that require being hands-on can be recorded, documented, saved and shared for future reference or re-enforcements that learner’s later need to learn the skills taught well.
  1. Augmented reality feature: With this feature of Google Glass, facts and figures can be displayed supporting the lesson – even when the learner is on the move. This is very useful for a sales personnel going in for a pitch, if he knows a bit about the customer as well some useful selling tips to sell his product better. Similarly, it can also help employees going in for an important presentation by providing useful tips on voice modulation, eye contact and so on.
  1. Remote teaching: One–to-One trainings can be conducted using Google Glass, through virtual classrooms. The experience will be superior to a virtual classroom via tablet or a laptop as it will be as if actually sitting in front of each other – in real time.
  1. Connect with other educators: Instructors and trainers can connect with each other better with Google Glass and ‘sit in’ on lectures or sessions to provide expert inputs. The views or comments can be transmitted directly to the instructors’ set without disturbing or interrupting the class – all the while making the learning experience richer for the learners.
  1. Share imagesShare videos/images directly: Instructors or learners themselves can take videos or images during the course of work and share them directly through Google This provides an instant platform of sharing and encourages sharing as a behaviour to inculcate collaborative learning through shared experiences.
  1. Real time search and cross reference: With Google Glass, students and instructors alike can search and cross reference while taking in a classroom session or even a self-paced e-course. For instructors it gives them yet another chance to enrich the lesson. For learners, it can provide answers to queries that arise amidst the learning experience and enrich the experience as a whole.
  1. Provide academic positioning: The academic achievements of learners – strengths and weaknesses can be displayed on the device that can help trainers align the classroom sessions accordingly. This will create a learner-centric teaching mechanism that does not follow the ‘one-size-fits-all’ paradigm.
  1. Provide instant student feedback: Students, even the most reluctant speakers can be encouraged to post their queries and feedback via text messages or emails directly to the device of the instructor – after a classroom session. This makes sure that the feedback can be better incorporated into the lesson – in real time. Questions and queries too can be better answered to make sure that the entire learner group is able to understand the lesson in its entirety.
  2. Collaborative learning and content creation: Different teams working on different aspects of a project – research, testing or field – can collaborate more closely and actually ‘see’ each other’s progress and achievements. This paves way for closer collaboration and creation of better learning content which can be utilized better by learners as well as their peers.

Wearable gadgets are a new development in the world of technology. They make their entry at a time when eLearning technology is also fast changing. Like any other new gadget on the scene, it will go through a testing phase – where hopefully the practical workability of the device will be trashed out and we can look forward to a more user-aligned device which certainly has the potential of changing the face of learning. Watch this space for more developments in this area or write to info@gc-solutions.net

Arunima Majumdar

Arunima is an e-learning blogger and likes discussing innovations in training & learning for the new-age corporate sector.

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