The world of work is changing every day. Industries are experimenting with and implementing evolving technologies and processes at an unprecedented level, as survival of companies in the highly competitive globalized world depends on embracing efficient processes and the latest technologies. With rapidly changing technology environment at work, the skills necessary to work with them and derive maximum value out of them need regular renewal and upgradation. As the industries are moving fast into the knowledge focused age there’s a need of an overhaul of training and learning strategy at organizational level, a need to look beyond onboarding and initial training and bring in place a provision for continuous retraining and upskilling, whenever and wherever they are required.
Onboarding, training and skill development are part of an enterprise’s expenses, in form of resource engagement, space occupation, equipment expenses and sometimes travel cost. Evolution of technology is an unending chain of events, technologies come to rescue here, providing efficient and powerful tools that can disburse training to a great number of learners. Technologies like elearning, and artificial reality and virtual reality in near future, can provide less expensive pathways to continuous and efficient learning for employees. Thoughtful implementation of these technologies can make the management of learning and knowledge resources within an organisation cost efficient, stress free and streamlined.
While growing section of organisations are leveraging technology for skill development young employees on the other hand see learning opportunities as a motivation bigger than fancy perks to stay in an organisation. There is a demand for lifelong learning and development stemming from a looming threat, as blue collar jobs are being snatched by hi-tech machines, and there is this ever growing competency of automation and artificial intelligence on the other side. A survey last year by the Pew Research Center found that 87% of workers believe it will be essential for them to get training and develop new skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace.
The principles of academic e-learning can be applied in employee learning, it elevates learning in two ways: Firstly, the learning does not only consist of content which needs to be memorized and understood, the learning becomes alive with inclusion of fun and interactivity. Secondly, learning becomes personal and collaborative at the same time. A learning platform like iPC Scholar that imparts consistent experience across devices like laptops and smartphones lets users access the lessons anywhere and anytime; learning is not confined to training rooms. The bite sized modules of tutorials rendered on the phone app of the platform help in on-time consumption of information. This ‘plug and play’ platform enable access to smaller bites of just-in-time education to employees throughout their tenure. It addresses the most pressing challenges facing the workforce today – from skills gaps to employee diversity to talent retention
Albeit there’s still a long way to go before they are anywhere close to commonplace, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are becoming more of a reality for enterprise training purpose. At UPS (United Parcel Service), new drivers will use VR headsets to simulate city driving conditions during training while Walmart has rolled out initiatives in VR assisted employee training. Industries with high-risk working environments such as energy, industrial and manufacturing or construction are the early adopters of enterprise VR training applications. In heavy industries, VR training prevents risks associated with training hazards such as safety of trainees in the dangerous workplace or accidental damage of equipment.
Sales training can be made highly effective with VR simulation, new joinees and trainees of sales for a new product can be ran through different scenarios confronting a virtual customer. By giving different options to respond with, the trainees’ competencies can be evaluated and they can learn by trying different methods and discover for themselves the most effective ones. In virtual learning environment, employees can also interact with remote trainers and co-workers from a distant location – this is especially beneficial for offshore locations, in many cases companies save on travel cost by conducting online trainings powered by virtual reality. According to Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner, the top three enterprise AR use cases right now include task itemization (think a tool that gives you a list of what to do on the warehouse floor), design and collaboration (like furniture placement for architectural or aesthetic fit), and video guidance (such as talking to someone and outlining what to do on your screen to finish a job or learn a skill).
A massive shift is undergoing in the learning modalities worldwide in educational institutions and organizations replacing the traditional model of education, the new models put the learner at the center, imparting personalized lessons and interactive activities that inculcate deep understanding of concepts. Employee learning and training can greatly benefit from technology assisted new models of learning, a personal, interactive, continuous and renewed learning with the power to engage the learner and provide life like experiences. It’s a self driven learning where the employees have the freedom of time, pace and space. A new mode of training which puts the early adopters in the front line of knowledge and skill acquisition, helping them in improved overall operations and revenue. This model of learning is no longer a nice to have, but a need to have for employees and employers to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving world of work.