India seems to be in a space where technology is a big favourite. Digital marketing and digital automation are among the top-searched words. This is making organisations look for and adapt smart technology-aided training interventions to rationalise training costs while enhancing effectiveness and saving time.
New technologies like Cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and similar such innovations are constantly changing and evolving the workplace environment. Leveraging this technology is the appropriate approach to enable flexibility in learning. Corporate training need not be delivered entirely based on traditional methods. It can be merged with e-learning methods to make a great L&D (learning and development) tool.
Technology-enabled Blended Learning (TeBL) is an appropriate solution for imparting customised training programmes which save time. When blended with instructor-led training programmes, e-training solutions produce remarkable results in terms of training retention, overall productivity enhancement and a better training ROI (return on investment). Corporates are quickly realising that if they want to stay competitive in business, it’s time to get serious about customised training solutions.
Customised smart solutions are also lithe because they have the added benefit of learners being able to access content anytime, anywhere and even specify the extent to which they need it. This also allows facilitators to impart training specifically aimed at every individual’s needs. A blended learning approach maximises the effectiveness of instructor-led and virtual training programmes in a format that is highly scalable and measurable.
These types of technology-enabled blended learning models cater to the needs of employees stationed in remote areas. With this, an organisation gets the best out of each employee that they retain.
Corporate training sessions can be attended on Cloud-based frameworks on all devices, including tablets and smartphones. The training has now become engaging as both the parties contribute equally to the session. There are several features to facilitate communication with groups and individuals. Pre-workshop online material can be shared with the learners even before the training session. The trainer and participants have ongoing access to training materials both during and after the workshop.
The option of observing one’s learning through performance assessments make these sessions more fruitful. AI-enabled chatbots play a crucial role here, as they take on the job of the trainer when he or she is not around to lead the training-related FAQs. In addition to this, Augmented Reality (AR)- and Virtual reality (VR)-based training simulators are also being used to deliver training at various levels.
For example, VR is widely being used by manufacturing-based companies to train workers on shopfloor safety. AR and simulation-based trainings have been employed by auto companies to explain off-road functionalities of SUVs inside the showroom itself so that the sales staff can understand key features without spending on out-bound training interventions.
Through VR, an employee can easily learn how to use complex machinery in a non-physical environment resembling real life. The mistakes made in the virtual environment cause no harm to the employee or the equipment. AR can also be used for specialised training like full-scale visualisation of machines and products without physically building them.
Digital transformation is also happening in training for the retail, tourism and hospitality, FMCG, apparel and furnishing sectors, as it is easy to upskill and scale the employees’ performance by assessing them on their actions to a virtual sales floor. So, it is evident that technology allows flexibility in learning and gives a collaborative environment to work in, irrespective of the sector and the geography.
(Sanjay Bahl is CEO and MD of Centum Learning. The views expressed are personal)