Technology is making seismic changes not only to the way we work but also the way we learn in the workplace. Staff training used to be a world dominated by in-class sessions and stale PowerPoint presentations, but now all that is changing. As employees’ working practices become more flexible, so do the methods available to train them.
Online coaching and eLearning are just a couple of examples of how technology is revolutionising the learning and development of professionals across a wide range of industries and sectors. But that really is just the tip of the iceberg. There are also many more tools, techniques and platforms that can be used to deliver staff training in a more convenient and engaging way.
But what are some of the most effective staff training tools and techniques HR managers can use to boost employee development in their organisations? Let’s take a look..
1. Adopt microlearning
The beauty of the technologically-driven world is that it enables workers to be connected 24/7. But that can be a blessing and a curse. While it removes the time boundaries that used to prevent people from connecting, it also means that many people are constantly ‘on call’. That puts greater time pressures on employees, which can reduce their ability to focus on their development. The solution is ‘microlearning’.
Microlearning is a method of learning complex concepts and skills in bite-sized chunks. Each five or ten-minute session is targeted at just one learning objective, so each session can stand alone. That makes it much easier for employees to fit personal development into their hectic schedules and ensures they are actively engaged with the digitally-delivered content for the whole time. The learner-driven nature of microlearning improves the efficiency and engagement of training and delivers a host of other benefits.
2. Take your first steps in the virtual world
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been called the ‘next big thing’ by many tech experts in the world of staff training. Although relatively nascent, this technology is already being used to replicate the real world and deliver professional training to pilots, engineers and surgeons.
VR and AR have the potential to deliver safe and controlled on-site training in a diverse range of applications and give employees access to locations, situations and equipment which would otherwise be dangerous and cost prohibitive. Not only is VR and AR technology more engaging than classroom experiences, but the technology is also becoming much more accessible to the masses as the cost of headsets continues to fall.
3. Gamify the learning experience
Gamification is the process of introducing challenges and competition into the learning experience to improve levels of employee engagement. While that might sound like an expensive undertaking, simply introducing a digital checklist that employees can tick off as they complete microlearning modules can reinforce the importance of learning new skills and help to motivate the team.
The theory is that everyone likes games and a bit of friendly competition and introducing rewards for employees who achieve top marks can help to improve the skill-acquisition of employees. It’s essential that complex tasks are broken down into simple modules so employees can learn without the stress or fatigue that can come with more traditional approaches to staff training.
4. Introduce social learning
The range of technological tools on offer is helping to create more collaborative working environments, even when employees are geographically dispersed. This same technology, such as internal social platforms, can help to boost learning by allowing team members to support one another, offer advice and help with tasks other employees may not have experience of. Instant messaging, video chat and other social tech tools all allow employees to build their job skills and working relationships at the same time.
Smartboards can play an important role in the collaboration of geographically dispersed teams. They allow employees in two completely different locations to edit documents in real time, at the same time, which can be beneficial for the training of employees in global organisations.
5. Encourage company collaboration
Collaboration between employees in the same organisation is not the only way modern firms are improving their staff training. Some companies are taking this one step further by agreeing to collaborate with other companies to create a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Some businesses are partnering with suppliers, clients, vendors and other stakeholders to boost their knowledge of business practices at different stages of the supply chain and improve their level of service. This can be a cost-effective staff training technique that’s a win-win for both parties.
Staff training does not become more engaging by accident. From microlearning to virtual reality technology, HR managers must identify the modern tools and techniques they can use to transform stale employee development procedures into something refreshing and new.
About Irma Hunkeler
Irma Hunkeler works for Re:signal, a digital marketing agency. Her work allows her to get in touch and collaborate with experts across different industries including travel, retail, recruitment, technology and charitable institutions.