Advances in technology such as social media or computer based training have made it easier to provide training any time and any place at the convenience of the learner. It also gives learners more control of their training. It allows them to progress at their own pace as well as access information on as needed bases. For example, if you’re stuck on how to do something in Excel, you can immediately go to the internet and look up and learn how to do it. This is good news for businesses and organization since training is key in developing their employees. According to Noe (2013), for training to help a company gain a competitive advantage it needs to support the business goals and be delivered as needed to geographically dispersed employees. This is where technology can bridge the gap and allow organizations to provide any training to their employees wherever they may be. I will review five technologies and explain how they can impact how people learn and how they can be used for training.
The first technology that has increasingly grown is e-learning. Noe (2013) defines e-learning as training that is delivered using a computer through the internet or web. There two major types of e-learning and they are synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous e-learning allows trainees to learn online in real-time through chat and videoconferencing. This allows trainees to feel like they are in a classroom regardless of where they are located and they can interact live with students and their instructor. Asynchronous e-learning allows trainees to learn at their own pace and time since it is not in real-time. Training is delivered through a website, email and message boards. Trainees communicate with other students and instructor by posting messages on an online forum. The impact that this has on organizations is that they can use e-learning to save money on travel cost and provide training to all their employees regardless of where they are located. They have a choice of using synchronous e-learning to deliver live training through videoconferencing or asynchronous e-learning which gives their employees flexibility of taking the training at their own pace as well as ensures training is delivered to employees within different time zones.
Mobile learning is the next method that is being used to deliver training. Noe (2013) defines mobile learning as training that is delivered through handheld devices such as smartphones or tablet computers. Smartphones and tablets have become as powerful as a desktop computer and they can just as easily be used to access any computer based training and social media making it possible for learners on the go to receive training. There are also lots of apps available that provide training and just as easily an organization can have an app develop with specific training geared to their business such as one that covers policies and processes. The impact to organizations is that they can save money on equipment such as computers and on travel cost since now all their employees can access training through their phones. Imagine an employee out on the field and they are stuck doing a task. Now they don’t have to leave the location to get the info to complete the task because they can easily pick up their phone and have the information sent to them from the organizations home office or they can look it up on their phone using search engine on the internet or download an app.
The technology that I will discuss next is the blog. According to Noe (2013), a blog is a webpage where an author posts entries and readers can comment. A blog is like an electronic diary where a person can post daily entries that will be dated and kept on a webpage. A person can post anything on a blog and what makes them powerful for training is that a person or an organization can use a blog to inform workers on different topics related to work. The readers can also provide inputs allowing them to provide updates and share their experiences on job related tasks also. The impact to organization is that they have another available tool to train their employees wherever they may be located. It also can provide a place that employees can share their knowledge on different topics that can be bought up on the blog.
The fourth technology that will have a bigger impact on training in the future will be virtual worlds. Noe (2013) defines virtual worlds as computer-based simulated online three-dimensional representation of the real world where learning programs or experiences can be hosted. Virtual worlds such as Second Life allow learners to develop a computer based character or avatar that they can use to interact in a virtual environment. The learner through the use of an avatar can attend class in the virtual world and communicate with other trainees or instructor in a virtual classroom. Almost anything that’s in the real world can be replicated in the virtual world so this allows learners to practice work tasks or classroom tasks in a virtual environment and receive feedback immediately on any errors that they may have made. The implication of this tool for organizations is that they can actually build a copy of all the tasks within the organization in a virtual world and train employees how to do them their without actually wasting real resources due to errors. In the virtual world an employee can practice doing the task as many times as necessary until they master it. This is especially useful for training employees on dangerous tasks that might be part of their job.
The final technology that I want to discuss is YouTube. YouTube is a free video sharing website and social network (Woda, 2014). What makes YouTube a good media for learning is that anyone can make a video explaining how to do something or teach you a particular topic. YouTube currently has tons of video that can assist you on almost any topic. The implication of this for organizations is that they have another free resource they can use to train their employees wherever they might be located. Organizations can post training videos on job related tasks, policies and process and share it with their employees through YouTube. The videos can be private with only employees having access which ensure company processes are kept from the competition. Employees can also use YouTube as a resource to look up videos showing them how to do anything they might be stuck on that is not available through the organization databases or resources.
Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee Training and Development (6th ed.). NY, NY: McGraw Hill.
Woda, T. (2014). Everything You Need to Know About YouTube. Retrieved October 9, 2014, from http://resources.uknowkids.com/blog/what-is-youtube