Tailored training: harness the latest technology
Organisations must embrace the latest technological innovations to remain competitive. A successful learning programme should cover the following aspects: devices, formats, data and personalisation.
Robust learning and development (L&D) is essential for companies to build and maintain the skills they need to succeed and for employees to progress and reach their full potential. Providing the right training is a huge first step, but it isn’t the end of the story.
Successful outcomes can be achieved by tailoring training to suit employees, and by providing specific feedback along the way to help them make progress.
97% of organisations believe employees’ L&D is important and 82% have a formal learning programme in place.
Such L&D personalisation might sound difficult and time-consuming, but it needn’t be. With the help of technology, it can be efficient and effective.
Employers and employees alike place a huge value on training. An enterprise survey we conducted earlier this year demonstrated this quite clearly. It found that 97% of organisations believe employees’ L&D is important and 82% have a formal learning programme in place.
Over three-quarters of employees said that workplace learning is important to their continuing professional development and 38% would consider the quality of employee training when offered a job. This shows just how much of an impact a company’s outlook on training can have on its ability to recruit talented employees.
Training delivery impacts outcomes
Providing training is therefore essential, but close consideration should be given to the form that training takes and the way it’s provided, as these can have a big impact on achieving desired outcomes.
The first consideration should be how you will get people to do the training. This can be tricky, with people working out of different offices and many working from home. For some, blocking out a set amount of time each week for training will work, while for others, this may be impossible.
Close consideration should be given to the form that training takes and the way it’s provided.
Many people will work from a number of different places and use a range of devices over the time they’re expected to complete training assignments - all of which means that flexibility is key.
Online learning, or a blend of digital and face-to-face, can make it more convenient for employees by helping them factor time into their schedules and potentially even adopt a little and often (or bitesize) learning approach.
Convenient and engaging
The same survey showed that employees are on-board with the opportunities that digital ways of learning provide, with a substantial 78% saying it’s important to leverage new technologies for learning.
What’s more, 60% believe their employer should implement mobile learning - an approach that can bring even more convenience to employees who choose to use their smart phone for many tasks and who spend a lot of time on the go.
These are sound methods to make the process of taking training as easy as possible, but once employees have embarked on the programme, how can you ensure they get the most out of it?
One way is through adaptive learning, which is possible with a modern learning platform. This facilitates a ‘one size fits me’, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Video is likely to help them retain information and for all, quizzes can help apply gained knowledge and cement understanding.
Rules-based tools enable personalised learning paths to be developed; ones that adapt to meet individual learner needs, which can make for more engaging learner experiences. In this way, technology not only eases training delivery, it also enhances the work of the L&D professional through personalised learning pathways.
Format also has an influence here. For visual learners, video is likely to help them retain information and for all, quizzes can help apply gained knowledge and cement understanding. Not to mention add a little interest if an element of competition among colleagues is also introduced.
Achievements through the course of the programme can be rewarded through badges and the gaining of points. This application of tools and techniques commonly associated with gaming can boost engagement and keep interest levels high.
Evaluate employees’ skills and provide feedback
Then there’s feedback to keep learners on track. This can be hard to do on an ongoing basis. If training is simply put out there and employees are left to work their way through it, it’s very difficult to get any kind of meaningful feedback on how they are doing, short of knowing when they’ve completed it.
A next generation learning management system (LMS) can provide a range of ways to keep a check on employee progress; supporting evaluation and feedback that is more interactive and more immediate. A structured scoring guide simplifies skills evaluation and provides a framework for clear and constructive feedback.
It can show employee performance over time, linking training to skills development and the mastery of skills and give insight into what the next steps will be. Not only that, but it can support the collection of quantifiable information from a range of assessors including managers, technical specialists and peers.
Such granularity of feedback is especially helpful when evaluating soft skills and technical training. It brings the personal touch and individualisation to training which can otherwise be difficult to achieve.
Learner progress can be tracked, measured and reported on with a high level of detail because LMS-based training programmes generate data all the time.
If there are any indications that individuals or groups are falling behind, rapid action can be taken to bring them back on track. What’s more, the pan-company insight analytics can provide is invaluable in understanding return on training investment.
Technology-based learning provides a range of tools that can help motivate and encourage employees, whilst providing detailed insight into learner progress and tailoring the learning experience according to individual and company needs.
It combines the convenience of training at-scale, together with the individual attention of a personalised learning pathway.
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Elliot Gowans is Senior VP International at D2L. Prior to joining D2L in 2015, Elliot spent more than 10 years at software and services firm Blackbaud Inc., serving in a variety of senior commercial roles, most recently as General Manager within Blackbaud’s European division. Elliot holds an MA (Hons) in Philosophy from The University of...