Since I first learned about Quick Response (QR) codes several years ago, I’ve found or read about them cropping up in all sorts of places. To read them, you need a mobile device (e.g. Smartphone, iPod, tablet) equipped with a camera and QR Code-reading software, which is available free of charge on the Web or from Apps stores. You take a photo of the Code and, voila, you see a text message up to several hundred characters in length or, if the QR Code is a URL, can be taken directly to a Web site.

You can also download free QR Code creation software which allows you to type in a message or URL and have it translated instantly into a code which can be printed / displayed as you wish.

In the work world, QR codes attached to controls on a machine can provide just-in-time reminders about their function, or take the viewer directly to an online manual. A QR code imbedded in, for instance, a safety poster can launch a short video demonstration of a first-aid procedure or evacuation route.

I read recently that some firms use QR codes in new employee orientation. As newcomers tour the workplace, they encounter QR codes at key locations that provide information about departments, equipment, procedures, people, and fun-to-know facts about the organization.

Clearly, the applications are almost limitless. They certainly present an innovative tool for formal – and informal – training uses.