Saturday, October 18, 2008

QR Codes, Mobile Devices, and Learning, Oh my!

[cross-posted from work blog]

An upcoming seminar topic from the e-learning guild attracted me to look into the possibilities of QR codes for performance support. If you don’t think you know what I’m talking about here, don’t worry. Have you ever purchased groceries from the self-checkout line and had to scan your items before paying? Then you’re familiar with how this technology works.

When you scan an item, the scanner reads the data found in the bar code and correlates it to product information stored in a database. These bar codes are used all over the world, and in all kinds of industries. The problem with the bar code, however, is that it is extremely limited in the amount of information it can contain.

QR Codes, also known as 2-d barcodes are a relatively new addition that allows more data to be stored within it, for example web addresses, phone numbers, and text messages. You’re probably saying to yourself, “so what Erik? Who cares?” Here’s the deal. Many new mobile devices, like the iPhone, have built in applications that use the phone’s camera to scan these barcodes. This technology is exploding in Japan right now. Companies are now using these for marketing, communication, and yes, performance support. Imagine this, you’re visiting Yamagata, Japan on vacation and you want to find out the best places in the area to eat. Lucky for you, the Chamber of Commerce has maps and posters available around the city with QR codes on them. Within a couple seconds, you can scan a code on a poster, which directs your mobile device to an English website with the highest rated restaurants in the town. Not bad eh? How about finding out the history of a building? Simply scanning a QR code provided on a brochure could provide this. Or, perhaps you’d prefer to test your Japanese instead? ‚¨D‚Ý

Conceivably, this same concept can be applied to help provide performance support on the job. Need to troubleshoot a piece of machinery that you’re not familiar with? Scan the QR Code with your mobile device and you could be provided an online tutorial or video. But why stop there? Social Media allows us to not only consume information, but also contribute to it. Was the restaurant you ate at in the example above worthy of the five stars? No? Then contribute a review yourself, so the next person that is looking for food in the area has your review handy. Think about the possibilities.

1 comment:

Brent Schlenker said...

We're going to be introducing attendees to QR codes at DevLearn08 in a lot of fun ways. Stay tuned to DevLearnLIVE for more information.