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Effective Augmented Reality Training for Healthcare

By following some simple user experience design best practices, organizations can vastly improve performance and maximize the return on their investment in AR training.

Article Jan 05, 2024

Lisa Douglas

Face-to-face training is time-consuming and expensive because an expert must be available on-site to deliver the content. Meanwhile, as healthcare organizations respond to technological changes, continuous guidance from an experienced colleague has become hard to scale.

The labor shortage in recent years has widened skill gaps within the workforce. The strain has caused some healthcare organizations to need to catch up on regulatory requirements.

More and more organizations are using augmented reality (AR) technology to deliver healthcare-related training to overcome these challenges. Effective AR training design must take a user-centric approach, which can be grouped into two areas: usability design and cognitive considerations.

Usability Design

  • Create a simple and user-friendly interface. You can’t expect to see results if participants can’t find the content they need or navigate the training modules.
  • Provide dynamic instructions based on each user’s interaction and response to the content. Show scrolling text, voice, or video instructions according to the participant’s progress.
  • Display personalized feedback in real time through intuitive interactions. The comments should be constructive and actionable to encourage trainees to act immediately.

Cognitive Considerations

  • Reduce cognitive discontinuities between old and new clinical practices. Avoid functional discontinuities or gaps in operating modes. In practice, it means making the transition between the natural and augmented worlds as seamless as possible.
  • Lower cognitive load by aligning workflows with the user’s mental state. For example, if a user is in a distracting environment, you should provide simple, step-by-step instructions. If the setting supports focus and concentration, you can introduce more complexity.
  • Simplify and generalize how instructions are represented, which helps facilitate knowledge transfer onto new problems or different situations.
  • Allow the user to control the pace of the training and the speed at which the instruction progresses. For example, do not move the training forward automatically.
  • Motivate users with quantified self-information through gamification, such as measuring the time spent completing each task or how accurately it is performed.

Maximize the Benefits of AR in Healthcare Training

AR training can yield at least the same or better performance than traditional methods. It is a superior option under many circumstances where scalability, flexibility, accessibility, and cost-efficiency are the priority. An AR experience should follow these design guidelines to help you reap the most benefits:

  • Simple, user-centric design: The training materials should encompass all required functionality—no more and no less—and prioritize the user experience.
  • Feedback and user engagement: The system should provide regular feedback to help trainees understand their progress and improve performance.
  • Consistency: The system should offer a consistent training experience, for example, by using commonly accepted standards to deliver the content and evaluate performance.
  • User control: The training should allow trainees to control their pace and progression by going backward or forward and starting over at any point.
  • Individualization: The system should adapt to meet each user’s demand based on language preferences, roles, and specialties.

AR training offers many advantages to clinicians and organizations by making knowledge-sharing more scalable, flexible, accessible, and safe. You can also standardize the learning process and monitor progress to ensure that every employee completes all the required training in time.

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