Technology has impacted the world of training and development and played a part in professional development among today’s workforce. But yet, it seems that many organizations do not take full advantage of what different technologies have to offer. As technology continues to influence formal and informal platforms for learning, let us explore different formats used and how they may impact the learning occurring in your organization.
Five Types of Technology Used in Workplace
Computer based Training
Raymond A. Noe describes computer based training (CBT) as, “an interactive training experience in which the computer provides the learning stimulus, the trainee must respond, and the computer analyzes the responses and provides feedback to the trainee” (2010 p. 303). In speaking with a fellow trainer last week, he explained that his company conducted this type of training to their new hires for pre service training. Trainers, are able to go into the learning management system where the computer based training resides, to see how well ( or not so well) the trainee has done in the training.
For training departments who only utilize an in classroom approach, this platform allows you to trainees to interact with trainees, and test learning to ensure participants are retaining information.
The Wonderful World of the Web
In training and development, most departments look to create and facilitate formal training only. Imagine the amount of time it will take an instructional designer to perform a needs assessment analysis, create a training, schedule classes on a topic surrounding the latest information on FASB that a staff accountant is curious about. Now imagine, the amount of time it will take for that same staff accountant to go onto Google and look up the same topic? Employees in the workforce utilize the world wide web to gather information quickly and have the ability to apply what was learned to their jobs pretty quick too. Depending on your organizations, IT security, surfing the web for quick learning opportunities may or may not be an option. But for those of you who have to ability to access information on the web quickly tools that are available through Web 2.0 have helped employees to collect information they need to know quickly. With social media and virtual communities, employees have the ability to learn from a vast group of people who may share the same experiences.
If you are in the field of training and development and you may not understand how tools in Web 2.0 may help you, think of this blog you are reading right now. Think of the community of readers who may leave a post or answer another person’s question. To really experience the sense of virtual community, I encourage you to get involved with sites like Yammer. ASTD has a group just of Instructional Designers. If you have any questions, want feedback on a course creation, or want a group to give you feedback on a particular vendor, this virtual community is full with active participants who will provide you with information that will allow you to learn and grow.
Online learning can be done either in an asynchronous or synchronous environment. Using platforms such as WebEx, GoToMeeting, or Vyew.com give the facilitator the ability to host live online learning. Once taboo and thought of as not interactive, vendors have added features to their sites that help make the online experience more interactive. WebEx has features that allow you to break large groups into smaller breakout groups to work on a group exercise, the facilitator has the ability to go into each breakout group and to check on each group’s progress. Vyew.com allows groups to access their webcam for web conferencing.
In the world of asynchronous learning, simulations and demonstrations have become interactive and allow learners to apply skills learned in a safe learning environment. Nursing students are able to use Second Life to conduct clinical rounds in a virtual setting before doing their rounds in real life, the use of avatars and story branching help sales staff and customer service reps handle difficult situations before being placed in their positions to ensure they are confident and prepared.
Mobile learning has become one of my favorite platforms for learning. I have yet to publish online modules that can be viewed on devices such as one’s iPhone but as an owner of an iPad, I use apps to learn on a continuous basis. My favorite app is ASTD’s magazine T+D. Each page is more than just an online version of the magazine, each page is designed as an online training. Graphics on the page are animated and are effective. Each graphic grabs your attention and is not overwhelming. Certain articles are narrated and give you the option to listen to the podcast instead of reading if you choose. Being able to access information quickly and when needed is not just important when sitting at your desk, but it is also the case when you are out in the field. IBM’s learning and development team created a mobile learning solution for their employees and found, “Finally, the study’s findings strongly suggest a direct, positive relationship between employee confidence level and self-perception of job performance” (Ahmad 2010 p. 50).
As an avid user of Apple products, I have become a fan of the iCloud. When researching what forms of technology is being used in learning, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about how cloud computing was being used. Educloud , provides types on how different schools use cloud computing to enhance the learning experience for students. One example of cloud computing is being used is in Springfield Massachusetts. English classes at West Springfield High are using Adobe Buzzword. This application allows students to review other students work and have the ability to provide feedback to their peers. ( Smith , Haywood)
Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Johnson, L., Smith, R., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2010). The 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition.
Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium