There is no question that technology has had a major impact on all facets of life, and the business world is no exception. What is surprising, however, is how much technology has changed how businesses train employees. More and more businesses are turning to technology to train new employees or to provide current employees with new skills necessary in a changing business environment.
Online Courses and Videos
Although using online courses and videos to train employees is not a new approach, methods used by many companies today are changing. Employees often reported a feeling of disconnect when they sat alone watching a video or taking an online course. Often, they were unable to ask questions or discuss what they were learning with others. A recent report found that Canadian companies who used a blended approach to training, combining online courses with in-person training, increased their ROI. Employees reported that the blended approach helped them grasp the concepts they learned online much more easily. In addition, the companies found that costs were much lower with a blended approach as employees grasped concepts more quickly.
Virtual training is another growing method for teaching employees. In fact, the statistics on the growth of the virtual training industry is staggering:
- Virtual reality applications are expected to become a $15 billion industry by 2020
- By the end of 2018, the industry is expected to be as high as $3.6 billion
- The number of people using virtual reality devices is expected to grow to 171 million by 2018
- Revenue from the virtual reality business is expected to reach $5.2 billion by 2018
All types of industries are using virtual reality methods to train staff members. New surgeons are learning skills through the eyes of a trained surgeon while the military uses virtual reality to train battlefield medics as well as paratroopers and others who need special training.
Another technological advance for business is micro-learning. In the past, employees spent the first few days on the job in orientation, completing courses or in training with another employee. This required a new employee to learn a significant amount of information in a short period. Once the training ended, the employee was expected to know everything they needed to do in their new job. Now, companies can upload short videos or instruction sheets that an employee can access as they need to learn. Often, podcasts and webinars are free, making this method more economical than older methods of training. Your employee can access the video at any time, so if there are tasks they must perform periodically, a podcast or video can refresh the skills they need to perform the task.
Internal Social Media Platforms
In a world where social media is ever-present, using an internal social media platform is another way to train employees. A discussion board that is accessible only to employees allows staff members to exchange ideas and suggestions. Learning from others is how most employees say they develop skills which is why a social media platform is an excellent way to encourage employees to ask questions, provide their own expertise and resolve issues that may be reducing customer service.
Training on Demand
At one time, even online training meant your employees had to be tied to a computer. If the employee did not have a computer at home, you had to provide one where they could train in a quiet location away from distractions. Today’s mobile devices eliminate those problems. Employees can access training on a tablet, mobile phone or laptop wherever they are and when it is convenient for them. Self-service portals provide secure access to company and industry training so your employees can obtain the training they need when it best fits their schedule. This is especially helpful for industries with varying shifts, like manufacturing companies, healthcare administrators and staff or law enforcement. Secure company portals also allow your staff to update skills or refresh their knowledge.
There is no doubt that technology has changed the way business operates. Training is just one way that new technology allows you to keep employees trained, provide new staff with the training they need to succeed and keep your staff up-to-date on the latest industry information.