Museum field trips are about to get a lot more interesting—in a way that has important ramifications for corporate eLearning.

Picture this: As a child or small group approaches a cool exhibit, a nearby iPad tablet comes to life, welcoming the museum-goers and offering fun, interesting, and grade-appropriate content and activities. The children read content, play games, answer questions presented on the tablet, and enter free-text reactions to the exhibit. At the end of their visit, each child gets a personalized printout that summarizes his or her activities and learning. Best of all, this is all accomplished without sharing a shred of personal info about the schoolkids with the app or the museum.

Smoke and mirrors?

Nope. Beacons and badges.

DEEP, an acronym for Digitally Enhanced Exhibit Program, will roll out at the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum in 2018. The solution, created by TorranceLearning, is scalable and versatile with countless potential uses, offering tremendous potential to corporate eLearning developers and designers.

The secret? DEEP pairs an inexpensive beacon—a small plastic chip with Bluetooth signaling ability—with an ID badge for each learner.

Breaking down barriers

According to CEO Megan Torrance,in developing DEEP, TorranceLearning has literally “flipped the typical use case for beacons,”.

An initial widespread use of beacons was to beam ads or coupon offers to retail customers. The beacons were located in stores, and they triggered an app in consumers’ smartphones, pushing a notice with an offer or ad to any device within range that had the appropriate app. Not only did this approach have the potential to annoy customers if too many ads were pushed to their devices, it relied on each potential customer to proactively download a compatible app onto a smartphone or tablet and allow push notifications.