L&D leaders today face the greatest opportunity in a generation to revisit traditional learning models and find better ways to support their teams. COVID-19 has led to surges in demand for skilled workers, and at the same time, people have also had to build capability in new areas. These changes can be challenging, but they offer a chance to test new training approaches.
Many business managers have subsequently had to rethink their training methods to meet these needs and safeguard against future uncertainties. That’s why they’re turning to new and innovative ways of delivering accurate, timely, and practical training.
In this post, we’ll explore four of the new training methods and tools that are helping L&D leaders manage employee learning in a rapidly changing world. With these methods, you can give your teams the power to choose what they want to learn, and how they wish to innovate.
These days, more organizations are turning to simulation training to provide an immersive experience for employees to learn how to solve real-life problems in artificial settings. This contributes to fast-paced learning, as players apply new concepts and techniques in a simulated environment.
Many educational, medical, and aviation facilities are now using simulated learning environments to train, nurture, and engage employees in their training and expand their abilities. A number of healthcare centers also deployed simulated clinical encounters to help their staff learn best practices for giving COVID-19 patients the care they need while staying safe.
Similarly, simulation-based educational tools can also be used in corporate settings through an augmented or a virtual reality system. This is a great way to introduce new methods, tools or apps in a space that mimic real-life use — especially in remote work settings.
And speaking of remote work settings...
People learn from people — that’s why training activities centered around discussion and peer-to-peer exchange are so effective. This collaborative approach offers a way to train people through storytelling, observation, problem-solving, and social learning — even from a distance.
With remote collaboration tools, you can gamify your online learning activities for better engagement and enhanced workplace collaboration. These tools offer features like screen-sharing, forums, and quizzes. Because these activities offer rewards through points, prizes, and communal recognition, they reinforce behaviors that improve knowledge retention.
When your team collaborates and shares ideas and learning content, it gives them a chance to showcase their creativity and experience. Use project management tools with critical features such as centralized file storage, time tracking, and user-friendly communication dashboards to enhance collaboration and provide ongoing real-time feedback on learning content.
This focus on gamification also matches existing trends in favor of bite-sized content over long-form training material. Now, when learners are busier than ever before, shorter and more engaging content helps them retain information and develop new skills faster.
One other thing to consider before you invest in these kinds of online learning tools? Your data infrastructure and security requirements. A cloud-based storage system with the right security and encryption protocols can protect your data from leaks, making it easier to create courses and monitor learner completions.
According to London-based web and software developer Alex Williams of Hosting Data, “There isn’t any guarantee that the cloud storage service you’re using is safe, especially from security threats. If the service is compromised, its backup safety net could also be removed, putting you in a position where your sensitive data is no longer secure. This is why you need to understand your provider’s security precautions better.”
Similar to simulation training, immersive situational training allows learners to practice a skill by replicating high-intensity real-life events in a safe environment. Meanwhile, their trainer can provide them immediate feedback to adjust their behavior in real-time. This is crucial for activities such as complex industrial operations.
This training technique is an excellent way for managers to review and analyze which employees will be better suited for particularly demanding roles. For example, a live crisis situation can show how well an employee can control their anger and remain calm under stress.
This technique isn’t just great for high-stress situations, though; situational training sessions are also vital for customer service training. Businesses in the United States lose $62 billion collectively every year due to poor customer experience, so the stakes are high for learners.
COVID-19 has fundamentally altered our customer service expectations, with a greater focus on efficient delivery, improved sanitation and social distancing, and shifting to automated online experiences. With immersive situational training, employees can use dialog prompts and interactive tools to polish their communication skills and exceed these expectations.
Mentoring programs are an established technique for businesses to integrate new workers into organizations. These programs make people feel welcome, and ensure that they have the resources needed to carry out their new roles successfully. Businesses of all kinds have used these programs for years.
So, what’s new about modern mentoring? Now, we’re now using different technologies to help match existing mentors with incoming mentees, and to ensure the experience is tailored and data-driven. With all the uncertainty in the world, we’re also adjusting these programs to go remote, so that these relationships can continue no matter what happens.
When done right, mentoring programs are about much more than just making onboarding easier. We’re not talking just about the 'follow Steve around' style of mentoring or buddying: now, this mentoring is tailored according to the career objectives, communication styles, and organizational roles and aspirations of mentor and mentee.
When matched well, a mentor can become a coach, an advisor, and an internal advocate who can help mentee find ways to meet their professional goals. This makes mentoring a useful way of establishing trust and security, allowing employees to broach topics they may not be comfortable discussing in a group setting, or with their manager.
In challenging or uncertain times, L&D leaders need to find new ways to support their organization with the right tools and techniques to train and grow on the job. No matter what’s happening in the world around us, people need to keep learning new skills and capabilities.
These uncertainties might be difficult to manage, but they also offer an opportunity to revisit established training methods and decide if they’re still up to scratch. Instead of relying on traditional classroom training and course delivery, now is the time to see how new methods such as immersive situational training, gamification, or remote mentoring could help.
Consider these four new training methods and tools, and think about how they could enhance your existing culture of learning. In the meantime, take a look at what leading tech companies are doing to prepare for the post-COVID world.
Thanks for reading!