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Technology and learning

Adapting technology in training employees allows for flexibility in learning, creates a collaborative work environment, and saves precious time

Technology and learning

India seems to have arrived in the space where technology is a bestseller. Digital marketing and digital automation are among the most-searched terms. This new craze is driving organisations to frantically look for and adopt smart technology-aided training interventions to rationalise training costs while enhancing effectiveness in performance and saving precious 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 most appropriate approach to enable further flexibility in learning. Corporate training need not be delivered based entirely on traditional methods. It can be merged with e-learning methods to make for a great L&D (learning and development) tool.

Technology-enabled Blended Learning (TeBL) is an appropriate solution for imparting customised training programmes which also save a lot of 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 building specific and 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 tailored and aimed at each 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 is able to derive the best out of each employee that they retain.

Corporate training sessions can be attended on Cloud-based frameworks across 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. The pre-workshop online material can be shared with learners even before the training session. The trainer and participants have equal 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 quickly adopted 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 training 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 unnecessary time on outbound training interventions.

Through VR, an employee can easily learn how to use complex machinery in a non-physical environment resembling real-life situations. The mistakes made in a virtual environment cause no harm to the employee or the equipment. AR can also be used for specialised training like the full-scale visualisation of machines and products without physically building them.

Digital transformation is also happening in training for 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. Thus, it is evident that technology allows flexibility in learning and provides a collaborative environment to work in, irrespective of the sector and the geography.

(The author is CEO and MD of Centum Learning. The views expressed are personal)

Sanjay Bahl

Sanjay Bahl

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