Technology for trainers: tailored learning solutions
Today’s technology offers more opportunities than ever to tailor training for individual learners.
Tailoring your training to meet an individual’s needs has long been recognised as the best way to deliver positive outcomes for learners. When faced with many requirements and abilities, it can be a challenge for trainers to offer bespoke learning.
However, recent technological advancements such as messaging platforms, social medial and remote access, have meant that effective training and development has never been so easy or efficient.
So, how can this new style of online communication allow for a more tailored approach to learning and in turn, improve outcomes for learners?
A recent speech by Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman highlighted ‘room for improvement’ in the industry and the worrying fact that four in ten apprenticeship providers fail to offer the quality training that their learners deserve. The main reason for the failing being that too many providers are simply ticking boxes and not looking at the needs of the individual learners.
Apprenticeships are playing an increasingly vital role in providing the UK with a skilled and passionate workforce, as the UK’s skills gap continues to widen and value of degrees are called into question.
Learners are often, although not exclusively, a mix of millennials and generation Z, who are comfortable with using their phones to communicate and gain information.
In response to this, Ofsted is shifting the focus of inspections to include three key areas: behaviours, skills and knowledge, to reveal in more detail where learners are being let down. It is then down to learning providers and employers to ensure they take each individual learner and adapt any training around their qualities, traits and strengths.
Every learner should have access to a dedicated trainer who will remain their main point of contact throughout their entire course. For instances when face-to-face meetings are not possible, giving learners remote access to their mentor allows them to receive the required support as and when needed.
Learners are often, although not exclusively, a mix of millennials and generation Z, who are comfortable with using their phones to communicate and gain information, therefore it is important that their training experience reflects this.
Trainers should provide learners with mobile-friendly platforms with which to engage, such as online training rooms, WhatsApp messaging and Facebook closed groups. Not only does this increase the likelihood that the learner will feel comfortable reaching out for help, but over the duration of their course they benefit from a series of micro-learning moments, significantly enhancing their overall experience.
We have been using online platforms such as e-portfolios and downloadable resources for a while. They have continued to develop through the years and some now offer valuable features that help to deliver a more personal experience, such as live chat, tailored recommendations and remote access options.
We have found that learners much prefer using these tools to traditional methods, such as a helpline or email, as it provides them with instant results.
Many online portfolios will allow learners to log their progress and upload their most recent assignments, notifying trainers when work is submitted for evaluation.
Technology is constantly developing and providing us with new and improved ways of offering learners and employers new training opportunities.
Not only does this make submitting and assessing work easier for all involved, but also allows for quick feedback, backed up by the most effective way of communicating; face-to-face meetings to discuss a learner’s development and progression.
E-portfolios also allow learners to document their progress in one central place, which can be accessed at any time by the learner, the trainer and the employer. This not only encourages transparency throughout the programme, but also allows employers to become more involved in the journey of the learner, resulting in future employees sharing their business values and work-ethic.
Online support group
Most learners are comfortable using platforms such as Facebook groups to share and gain information. Not only is it cost-effective for trainers, but also it allows learners to meet and share best practice and experiences, creating an inclusive community that they can turn to for advice and support.
If training providers are not savvy enough to set up their own closed Facebook groups or similar, the probability is that learners will create them themselves, meaning that providers have no control over what information is shared to ensure that it is accurate and helpful for all.
Larger businesses may have the resources to develop a bespoke online learning platform as a benefit for their apprentices to use throughout their training programme. However, for small or medium businesses (SMEs), it may be more cost-effective to appoint a training provider who recognises the benefits of technology and incorporates this into its approach to learning.
Technology is constantly developing and providing us with new and improved ways of offering learners and employers new training opportunities that ultimately improve outcomes for all.
As training providers, we need to embrace the ever-changing world of technology to stay relevant and continue to develop highly skilled and motivated workforces across the country.
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