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Creating interactivity to printed content

Updated: Jun 18, 2021

I have always been fascinated, intrigued and inspired by emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences and interactions. The ability to create a virtual experience in a non-virtual environment to support the development and learning of learners is a powerful one if leveraged correctly, which in itself is inspirational. Who could have foreseen this development in technology just some 10 or 20 years ago? Today, our learners are located all over the world, speak many different languages and originate from a variety of cultures. As Learning Experience Designers, we have an obligation to provide experiences which leverage the latest developments in technology to further enhance our learners knowledge.

...unleash the inner explorer, adventurer and curious being in all of us.

It is with this innate passion with technology that I have recently begun experimenting with a range of new platforms, software and tools such as Zappar, Google Earth Studio, A-Frame VR, GlideApps, Google Poly and Google VR Tour Creator. These tools tear down the barriers of classroom walls, boring and stale print material and unleash the inner explorer, adventurer and curious being in all of us. Why tell when you can show? Why explain when you can explore?

Admittedly, this tech is expensive and has its limitations but as this tech becomes more accessible, so will it’s implementation, use and thus reducing its price tag. But, the good news is, if you're up for a challenge and able to understand code - then the A-Frame code frame work allows you to create your own virtual reality experience, completely free of charge and in a manner of minutes.

So, how does this all work?

There are a range of implementation opportunities and like all eLearning experiences, it is ultimately is driven by the learning objectives and of course your user. In my opinion, the most powerful implementation of these technologies is within printed material with a QR code (or similar) to print static, non-virtual content to life through multi-media, interactions and expanding the experience beyond paper. But, of course, they shine on their own.

Here’s an Example:

For this example, please click here to view the resource, but be sure to keep reading first. You will also need a mobile device (iOS or Android).

Close your eyes for a moment and let’s imagine for a moment we are teaching a geography class or some form of tourism related course, a history based lesson or perhaps you’re planning a trip to a destination you’ve always dreamt of journeying to...

Alright, the scene is set (see, endless opportunities) whatever you imagined, you are now looking at a static, non-virtual printed brochure, guide book or a classroom resource. Now this printed material uses a range of inspirational images and emotive text, but even the imagination has its boundaries - you can only see and feel so much in a static, non-dimensional environment.

Now, let’s bring this to life and unlock the true potential of our learners and the inner explorer in us all. Grab your mobile device and jump straight into your camera. Simply aim your phone at the QR codes on pages of the printed material. Your phone should provide you with a notification to launch your browser, go on... click on it and let’s explore!

Use your phone to explore this interactive and engaging interaction which leverages the A-Frame VR Code and your simple mobile device. Let’s explore the wonders of Milford Sound, complete with the ability for you to explore and go beyond the boundaries of static text.

What’s next?

This is just the beginning. Just a teaser. Just a simple example which I created in a manner of hours. My goal is to send my learners on a journey of discovery by combining virtual reality and eventually, augmented reality, to truly unleash their learning potential. From airport terminals, lounges and even the onboard product.

Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing more examples soon!


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