As technology progresses, what new training opportunities will emerge?

Would you describe yourself as constantly connected? Do you feel out of sorts when you forget your Blackberry, cell phone or laptop? Have you been to You Tube or watched a news item on the Internet in the last week…day…. two hours? We are a constantly connected, on-demand, “I want my content now” society. Many of the new technologies we use in our everyday lives are also being applied to the way we deliver training to employees.

1 Streaming video
If you’ve been to the Web, you’ve experienced streaming video. Streaming video allows you to access video media online, from any computer with a Web browser, without the need to download to your computer. Streaming video content is on-demand 24/7, when and where you need it. With streaming video, trainers no longer have to shelve video libraries, ship videos to and from locations, or travel with them. Trainers can simply log in to the video library, select a topic, and play the video. It eliminates shipping and handling, and trainers always have the most up-to-date version of the video program. Training industry experts indicate that many customers who purchase or rent video and DVD training programs are moving to streaming video because it’s more convenient.

2 Social networking
Have you ever thought how great it would be to get the opinion of a group of your peers on a certain subject? You can…simply update your Facebook status with your question, share it on a Linked-In forum or ask your question in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Social networking may not be the way you deliver your training, but it could very well become a usable work tool for trainers and safety professionals.

According to an article in theWall Street Journalon October 12, 2009, from August 2008 to August 2009 the number of users on social-networking and other community sites jumped 31percent to 301.5 million people. Social networks allow trainers to share ideas, links and even content. Organizations can use a Linked-In or Facebook page to quickly and easily share information with employees, including notices and new policies. However, there are a few downfalls. Social networking can make communication less personal, and beware not to share too much information. If your boss is in your network, you may not want to post those vacation photos from Cancun.

3 On-demand training
In a learning-on-demand solution, courses, references, help files, documents, webcasts, audios, videos, book references and presentations are all made available via an Internet platform, right where the employee needs them. On-demand learning allows the employee to access the info in a quick and flexible manner, especially when paired with thorough initial training. On-demand information can change the way the employee views learning. It allows the employee to quickly and easily access the snippets of information they need to successfully complete a task. In some cases, if the information isn’t readily available, employees may take a shortcut or complete something incorrectly. On-demand training gives them the power to easily look up the info and do the task right, possibly preventing an accident and injury.

4 Multimedia training
With Web content delivery technology, many organizations have begun to deliver training to employees using multiple media formats that include traditional classroom training delivery, online delivery and streaming. When training adults, utilizing multiple media formats is the best way to increase comprehension and retention of materials. Even if you are solely using online training, you should be sure those training courses include video, engaging graphics and true interactions (not just quiz questions) to prevent student zone-out.

“Keeping the content fresh, even though the message may be the same, is an important part of adult learning theory,” comments Scott Wallace, production manager and authorized OSHA trainer for Summit Training Source. “Utilizing various formats, such as video in a classroom, streaming video, online, and on-demand learning, in the various training situations, such as new hire orientation, refresher training, new job task training or toolbox training, keeps the message fresh and at the top of the employees’ minds. Digesting the information in multiple ways solidifies the learning gain.”

5 Smart phone/mobile device
Is there an app for that? In the not-so-distant future, training could be delivered on mobile devices such as smart phones. As smart phone use, such as iPhone and Blackberry, become more prolific, specific software applications are being developed to run directly from your mobile device. New technologies are allowing us to absorb content in entirely new ways, such as the Amazon Kindle e-reader. As bandwidth increases and data becomes easier to transfer over wireless connections, more mobile devices will support content, including training content and training administration content.

The future offers training administrators many options to share information and deliver training to employees as well as manage the training. Training will always be essential, but delivering the content in new and exciting ways is advantageous for both training administrators and students. See you on Twitter!