In an environment where knowledge and technology are constantly growing and evolving, training and development are key factors in organizational success. Smart companies invest in employee training and development to enhance job performance, improve productivity, and increase morale—all of which can positively impact an organization’s bottom line.
The Need for Technology in Training
The professional development of employees is crucial for a business to retain clients, stay competitive, and keep a firm grasp on company goals. In 2011, The American Society for Training and Development found American businesses spent around $156 billion on employee training, but it was discovered that when employees returned to their jobs, 90% of the skills they had acquired were lost. With little continued follow-up and consistent reinforcement of significant testing, only 10% of the information was retained. In the past decade, technological advancements are offering new corporate training capabilities, and while many ‘stand-and-deliver’ methods can be exhausting and tedious for employees, technology is bringing life to corporate learning. New instructional methods are requiring specialized instructors, particularly those with technology know-how.
Interactive Technology Heightens Employee Engagement
Interaction with others and relevant material is one of the foundations of basic learning, so why wouldn’t training involve real, hands-on interaction? Interactive technology is changing the game of learning, and the benefits for corporate training are immense.
Lecture-style training is not always the best method of corporate education, but the introduction of several types of technology is proving valuable to corporate learning.
- Immediate Response Systems, such as eInstruction Clickers, allow immediate feedback to the instructor. Handheld devices permit the instructor to test the class and also provide the employee with instant answers to proposed questions. Opinions can be gathered on the fly, and results can later be analyzed to improve future training. The learning environment itself becomes interactive, and employee progress can be monitored. Handheld devices can also provide anonymity for students who want to ask questions without recognition.
- Video conferencing systems allow instructors to reach a vast, often distant, audience. The popular video conferencing platform, Skype, had 663 million registered users by the end of 2010, and instructors both in the education and corporate world have found it to be a wonderful alternative to traditional face-to-face meetings. Business took video conferencing to another level with the introduction of GoToMeeting in 2004, offering the words “Work with anyone, anywhere,” and using the same foundation, GoToTraining was founded in 2010. Video conferencing allows for one-on-one meetings as easily as group meetings, and corporate training has found new reach with this type of technology.
- Everyone enjoys playing games, so introducing game play technology to training is an excellent way to engage employees during training, as well as boost their knowledge retention after training. Interactive games can be played on a variety of devices (including laptops or television consoles, and intermingling more advanced technologies, such as augmented reality eyewear or true-to-life simulators), can leave a lasting impression on employees. Training games have been found to provide faster and easier instruction delivery, higher test scores and lasting retention, and overall consistent instructional quality. As an added bonus, interactive games offer a significantly lower cost for materials and curriculum.
A Blend of Training Methods
Surely human interaction can never be replaced. Without extensive technology, employees are driven towards communication with each other and the instructor, and some knowledge can only be gained through conversation or interaction through online forums. Corporate training seminars should not only instruct attendees, but also invite them to interrelate with their fellow employees and gain wisdom through the learning process. Technology adds interaction with the material that allows the employees to gain and maintain the required knowledge. New instructional methods are requiring more specialized instructors, particularly those with technology know-how, and a Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology is proving to be a commodity in the changing world of corporate and educational learning.
As technology progresses, learning and training methods will continue to evolve. Those with specialized knowledge pertaining to the fields of Learning Design and Technology will be called upon to lead. For those serious about a career in education, now is the time to further their knowledge in advancing educational methods, particularly technological methods of instruction.