Learning and development enable employees and organisations to keep up with the latest industrial changes. The late Harvard Business Professor David A. Garvin once quipped, “a learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.” It is crucial for every company to adopt a culture of a learning organisation in order to keep up with the increasingly complex and creative competition.
Fortunately, the virtual world has made it easy for workers to tap on updated training material anywhere and anytime via their mobile devices. E-learning is becoming popular among industries due to its flexibility, enabling employers to conduct courses without venue and schedule restrictions.
There are three significant trends on how e-learning can refine learner outcomes for enhanced performance at the workplace. According to the e-learning industry, these trend categories include improved engagement and performance, immersive learning experiences, and ways to maximise ROI. Employers may consider selecting and integrating elements from all three trends for a comprehensive learning experience.
Virtual Trends That Engage (For High Performance/Response Rates)
The modern worker spends more time online (on average) than any previous generation. Many trainers and organisations have considered the mobile trend, coming up with new ways to engage demography known for its short attention span. Additionally, modern learners enjoy having flexibility over their training content and schedule, facilitated through self-directed learning opportunities.
Most of the time spent online involves a mobile screen. A mobile training approach provides learners with the convenience of accessing valuable course content on-the-go. Such platforms work well in industries where the team grows increasingly remote or with frequently traveling staff.
Additionally, mobile learning makes learning highly accessible, eliminating the dependence on local area network connectivity. Mobile learning makes it possible for employees to manage their learning journey according to their schedule, while trainers can upload and update content through the ease of their digital devices. Communication between trainers and learners becomes a breeze with mobile learning platforms, which may come equipped with built-in chat systems for seamless discussions.
Social learning relates to training that involves employees and other people on the ground as regular contributors. While a social learning strategy might include social media outreach, the terms are not exactly interchangeable. Social learning may take the form of podcasts, live streams, webinars, and other content that provide solutions to real-world industry issues from a relatable perspective.
Peer-to-peer training is a dynamic method of empowering staff while encouraging open and effective communication among teams. Additionally, employee-trainers have an intimate understanding of internal practices and workplace culture to adapt the most relevant training content. Organisations may consider integrating employee-contributed content into their native training applications as part of peer-to-peer training – a process that can make a substantial positive impact in virtual workforces.
Immersive Virtual Trends
Recent advances in mixed reality technologies resulted in the possibility of blending real-world situations with novel environments and visualisations for more memorable and varied learning journeys. An immersive training and development course should encourage active participation and feature highly stimulating content that motivates learners to retain and apply information. It also ensures that learners stay engaged and become more likely to finish a program.
Virtual reality (and alternate reality to a lesser extent) provides the ideal training solution for employees in harsh and life-threatening work environments. Some examples include oil rig workers, construction technicians, and chemical engineers. The corporate workforce has also adopted mixed reality training to simulate realistic training environments that mimic actual work situations (i.e., frontline customer service) and classrooms.
The VR process usually involves digitals headsets or HMDs (head-mounted displays), which enable users to view and experience alternate 3D environments. For instance, employees in the automobile industry may benefit from VR training to provide a safe environment where they can test out practical skills and build their confidence.
AR training is a less hardware-dependent method where a program deploys an overlay of graphics over real-world images (i.e., objects and spaces). There are multiple methods to achieve the AR effect, with SLAM (simultaneous location and mapping) being the most effective and popular approach.
AR/VR enables trainers to deliver the classroom experience regardless of location, saving up on travel time and avoiding schedule clashes. As such, mixed reality training programs provide a similar experiential learning experience, yielding up to 75-90% retention in learners.
Gamification functions through the traditional concept of reward centers. Learners will have an added interest in a lesson if it provides them with the opportunity to score points and fulfill milestones. The LinkedIn team applied gamification elements in a friendly challenge among departments, resulting in three times more engagement among participants.
If trainers decide to apply gamification to their program, it is necessary to provide each participant with the opportunity to make a mark in the “game’s scoreboard.”
Gal Rimon, the founder, and CEO of Centrical employee performance platform explains the concept in company culture terms. “If there are 10,000 employees, and the leaderboard only shows the top 10 performing employees, the chances that the average worker would be in the top 10 is almost zero, and that demotivates the players.”
Virtual Trends for Assessments and Improved ROI
Finally, organisations need reliable applications to validate that an L&D program works. Every dollar in the training budget goes a long way, and some advanced virtual strategies can provide organisations with the insightful data they need to optimise their ROI.
Learner Analytics and AI
Learner analytics are systemised information that informs organisations on how well learners benefit from their training programs. Analytics supported with AI capabilities results in an automated learner data flow that can improve learner engagement and motivation to optimise training outcomes.
AI-supported analytics will acquire key data points from employee feedback to customise highly engaging learning pathways. Additionally, some organisations have implemented AI-driven chatbots in their L&D processes due to its conversational style and ease of use. Freeman Company, a leading name in live events and brand experience, applied AI chatbots in communicating with employees after a sales fundamental course. The move saw a marked rise in learners who followed through with post-training commitments and goals.
L&D remains an inevitable process in maintaining a healthy organisation, and with a host of evolving virtual strategies, leaders can keep workers engaged and motivated in novel and powerful ways.
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