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From Livestreams to Learning Labs: How VR/AR is Leveling Up Knowledge Management

1 March 2024
Sarit Bain
A person wearing virtual reality goggles

Thanks to recent technological advances, we now have access to a wide range of experiences: live TV broadcasts, Facebook, Instagram live, Zoom calls, and mobile video calls create a feeling of being "present" at different events. We can virtually "participate" in concerts, and sporting events, and even witness births from our living rooms, experiencing a genuine sense of being "at the event." AR/VR technologies further amplify this trend, providing opportunities to utilize them for improving knowledge management and learning.

What are VR/AR technologies?

  • Virtual Reality (VR): This technology lets users immerse themselves in a different reality, using sensory illusions to “transport” them to an “alternate environment”. A common tool in this field is virtual reality glasses, equipped with an internal screen connected to a smartphone or computer. These glasses block out real surroundings, and project distinct images to each eye, creating the illusion of a genuine three-dimensional world. VR is applied in various fields, including the gaming industry, military training for simulating enemy territories, and, notably, knowledge management.

  • Augmented Reality (AR): AR enables the integration or addition of virtual elements into our physical world, without completely replacing it (unlike VR). For example, the game Pokémon Go aims to locate and capture virtual Pokémon in the real world. Additionally, cosmetics and clothing stores use AR to simulate how a product will look on a specific customer before they make a purchase.


The utilization of VR/AR technologies presents numerous advantages applicable to knowledge management and learning:

  • Knowledge Improvement and Knowledge Retention:

    - AR/VR simulations aid in identifying equipment malfunctions through virtual factory simulations, enhancing employee skills, and preparing for specific customer negotiations.

    - In healthcare, doctors can create three-dimensional images of potential treatments, presenting visual examples for the benefit of students. AR technology plays a crucial role in training by illustrating precise analyses and details of human anatomy, leading to a better understanding of various medical processes.

  • Improved Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing:

    - Augmented reality and virtual reality facilitate knowledge exchange among different functionaries, mediate knowledge transfer within the organization, foster team spirit, and encourage joint problem-solving. For instance, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) successfully utilized VR to simulate the interior of an aircraft, providing early insights into planning needs for routine maintenance. This proactive approach resulted in cost savings and a positive impact on the customer experience.

  • Personalized Knowledge Experience:

    - Customization to individual users contributes to effective learning, shorter learning times, and reduced training costs. The concept of "educating the teenager in their way" underscores the importance of tailoring experiences.

    - Virtual reality simulations can be personalized to individual roles and learning styles, offering tailored training experiences. This customization maximizes knowledge acquisition and application for each user.

  • Experiential Approach to Information:

    - Supported by several studies, experiential learning sparks curiosity, enhances understanding, and transforms personal memory into organizational memory. Consider the scenario where, instead of learning about historical processes from books or movies, one could actively participate in them, or observe the structure of chemical elements "from within." Interactive 3D displays allow learners to visualize information more effectively and engagingly.


The integration of virtual and augmented reality introduces its set of challenges, aligning with the idea that "there are no free meals." These challenges include:

  • Costs Associated with Early Preparation: Content development requires substantial resources from the organization, posing a financial challenge in the initial stages.

  • Training Operator/Developer Skills: Developing engaging and high-quality AR/VR content demands specific skills and knowledge, along with the need for regular maintenance.

  • Privacy and Data Security: Ensuring the security of user data, implementing access control measures, and responsibly collecting data within AR/VR knowledge management systems and the entire organization are critical aspects.

  • Specialized Equipment: AR/VR technology requires investment in technical accessories such as headphones, software, as well as technical expertise for implementation and maintenance. Notably, this challenge tends to diminish with the expanding accessibility of the field to the public.

It is crucial to emphasize that despite the widespread introduction of this technology across various fields, these challenges persist, necessitating ongoing consideration.

In Conclusion

The realm of AR/VR originated in gaming and military training, simulating real combat conditions. It later evolved into personal consumption and leisure, exemplified by innovations like Ride Amsterdam VR Rollercoaster—a simulator replicating roller coaster rides through the streets of Amsterdam and its canals. Gradually, these technologies are infiltrating various organizations and the field of knowledge management.

As a knowledge manager in an insurance company, I really hope that in a few years I will also be able to integrate technology into the knowledge management system in the organization where I work, for the benefit of improving work processes, transferring knowledge in an optimal way and creating added value for employees and customers.


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