Augmented Learning 102: Voice Activated eLearning - Listen Up!

Augmented Learning 102: Voice Activated eLearning
Summary: You’ve probably heard that the only silly question is the one that you didn’t ask. Well, technology has now taken that saying one step further. Voice recognition allows us to talk to, rather than through, our mobile devices. One of the best things about our mobile devices... they don’t judge. No question is too silly.

Augmented Learning 102: Voice Activated eLearning

It wasn’t that long ago when talking directly to an inanimate object and getting what we asked for seemed the stuff of science fiction. The people aboard the Starship Enterprise learned all sorts of juicy facts about the universe and everything in it from the onboard computer. Well, what used to be science fiction is now science fact. We practically treat our mobile devices as though they are alive. Used to be, if you argued with your phone, people gave you funny looks that meant the guys in white suits were on their way to take you to a nice, padded room. Argue with your phone today, and people look at you as if to say, “yeah, me too…”

Talking to your phone yet?

Think about it: every time you talk with yourVoice Activated Learning 2 mobile device and say, “Ok Google…” or “Siri, where’s the nearest…” you’re using voice activated technology. And if you’ve gotten an answer back,you’ve engaged in augmented learning, augmented mlearning actually.

If you have a “smart” device, and you’ve never used the voice-activated feature, this is the perfect time to start.

Take a device with the Google Now app, say “Ok Google”. Ask the question: “what is augmented learning?” If you’re an iPhone user, activate Siri, and ask the same question.

Google Now displays the Wikipedia article as a response to our question. Here’s the first paragraph as a definition of Augmented Learning:

“Augmented learning is an on-demand learning technique where the environment adapts to the learner. By providing remediation on-demand, learners can gain greater understanding of a topic while stimulating discovery and learning.”

Still think the computer aboard the Enterprise is science-fiction?

While there has been some resistance by the paying public, voice and speech recognition systems are all around us. Consider this: if you’ve ever responded to an automated phone system by saying, “yes,” “no,” “tell me my balance,” “place an order,” or spoken numbers, names or letters into your handset, you’ve interacted with a machine. The technology has been integrated into commercial uses for many years.

Voice Activated eLearning

That kind of power in the world of eLearning gives us unparalleled flexibility. Connecting a voice-activated interface with an LMS dramatically increases the rate of learning in almost any conceivable industry. When an operator requires information, they now can obtain information for a piece of equipment or a process, by simply asking for it. Command inputs can be tailored for specific tasks, or connected to a larger resource, such as the internet, in everyday language. Gone is the jargony vocabulary peculiar to a proprietary piece of programming. Just talk, and your words open up worlds.

How can Voice Activated eLearning be used?

Voice-recognition on a production line would be one practical implementation of this technology. The information for startup- and shutdown procedures, specific processes, troubleshooting, safety protocols and other functions could be available upon request. A worker might say, “startup procedures for production line C,” or, “what tools do I need to clear a jam on the finishing line?”

Devices can be programmed to respond when they “hear” a key phrase, as in the case of “Ok, Google.” This further expands the flexibility of a device’s range of responses. For example, an operator could say, “Emergency! I got dust in my eye from the grinder!” The device can be programmed to focus on key information: “Emergency,” “dust,” “my eye.” Vital information can then be provided both audibly (potential injury to the eye), as well as in a visual, step-by-step system that supports personnel providing assistance to the injured worker until emergency professionals arrive. It’s all in the programming. In other words, the system will do what you say.

Where can Voice Activated eLearning be implemented?

Voice activated augmented learning could be utilized in warehouses and distribution with great effectiveness. Personnel could obtain packing, shipping and handling instructions tailored to requirements that vary by material, weight, product dimensions, and safety issues without stopping to thumb through printed policies or manuals. Even information regarding international customs and other legal restrictions are available upon demand.

Voice Activated Learning 3In the medical field, patient care has been coordinated using voice-activated systems for over a decade. And tutorials for the system are built-in. Medical resources, such as drug interactions and allergies, insurance information, and medical histories are secured and available on demand by medical professionals who have been granted access to that information. Today, doctors, nurses and medical staff can coordinate patient treatment and care plans with voice-enabled systems. A patient’s follow-up visits, specialist consultations, insurance coverage and other medical services can be scheduled and coordinated with voice-activated systems. The patient no longer has to wait for 3 weeks to obtain scheduling and diagnosis information. Treatment and care plans for serious health conditions can be managed within minutes of a doctor’s visit, and those minutes can often make the difference in the quality of life for a patient.

We’re already talking directly to our mobile devices. We’re asking for information about the world around us. And we’re getting the answers that we need. The technology that makes it possible for us to communicate with our machines continues to evolve and adapt to our demands. Voice recognition technology in augmented learning means that we can have machines that teach us how they work. With voice-activated augmented learning, a focused relevant response is literally just a question away. So feel free to ask. There really are no silly questions.

This is the second article in my augmented learning series, about technology that we can use today to provide such learning experience. The first on was Augmented Learning 101: QR Codes - You can read it here

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