How technology is improving employee job training

by Sarah Schmid
New tech tools are turning learning on the job into something different than our traditional notions of learning.

We have new ways of communicating, new ways of sharing, new ways of seeing things, new ways of accessing information. It was only a matter of time before all this newness changed not only our jobs, but how we go about job training.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Starz and other savvy employers are finding ways to use cutting-edge technology to significantly expand and improve the reach of their training programs, often with dramatic results.

What Starz, Chipotle and others have been using is a tablet-based enterprise platform called PlayerLync.1 It was initially developed to allow professional sports teams to share game tape and playbooks offline, and in a organizational context it’s still all about sharing: you can send content from tablet to tablet for instant, native offline access — with no need for a high-speed internet connection or real-time video streaming, and therefore saving the users time and money (and battery power).

​Collaborative technology that automates the distribution of the latest job training materials solves an ongoing problem: Access to information in order to ensure your team is on the same page at the same time.

What job training looks like today

Collaborative technology that automates the distribution of the latest job training materials solves an ongoing problem: access to information in order to ensure your team is on the same page at the same time. Some of these new platforms even allow trainees to make notes or comment on the materials, making the training process even more responsive and interactive. And it sure beats sitting in a conference room all day, listening to your manager drone on about the best way to fold a burrito.

What are some specific ways that technology is improving the job training process?

Pick your pace: Electronic training programs often rely on self-paced learning. The click-as-you-go format allows employees to select the courses or training exercises they need when they need them — whether it’s a 10-minute video or a 10-day course.

On-demand skill upgrades: Free, online courses like the kind offered at Khan Academy and Udemy are changing the future of education, and now their influence is spreading to job training.

For example, ALISON, a company based in Ireland, offers free, interactive education online to help people get basic workplace skills. ALISON’s most popular class is ABC IT, a 15- to 20-hour training course that teaches students the skills offered in the widely recognized International Computer Driving License2 course. Employers can check the skills of those who have completed the course through flash tests with randomized questions. With no fee and attractive assessment capabilities, expect employers who are benefiting from improved worker skills to formally integrate these courses into the company’s official training policy in the future.

Mixing old and new

The fact is that classrooms aren’t totally obsolete (yet). To get the best of both worlds, try combining traditional lessons with new forms of technology to create a hybrid learning environment. For instance, employees can use computer-based tools to tackle a training simulation online, and then participate in a discussion or role-playing exercise later in the classroom. Technology isn’t replacing the old tools so much as enhancing them.

And keep in mind that, though the courses are digital, a crack human resources team is still needed to stay on top of assessing current workforce capabilities, along with what the organization needs to prosper and innovate.

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Sarah Schmid
Sarah Schmid is a writer with more than 15 years of experience in the workforce, with stops including a newspaper newsroom, a political campaign office, and in a government public relations shop, where she became intimately familiar with the key issues that are affecting today’s worker. During her travels, she’s seen it all – horrible bosses, co-workers that have become life-long friends, backstabbing rivals and great mentorship. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Montana and is a resident of Detroit, which she proudly calls “the most fascinating city I’ve ever lived in.”
1 PlayerLync: