Initially corporate trainings were synonymous with never ending program schedules and celebrations. Induction programs meant going to beautiful locales, stationing new employees in high class hotels to attend seminars and work shops. This procedure used to fall heavy on logistics as well as expenditures. Then, economic slowdown, rising inflation and increasing need of talented human capital has led the corporate world to switch to modern technologies for more effective and cheaper means of communication.
Relief came for corporate trainers when a few years ago, a research done by Forrester Research on Computer and Web-based training revealed that use of digital communication media for web based training initiatives resulted in higher completion rate, trainees found it more acceptable and efficient as they could run these programmes at their own pace and compared to traditional training, this proved to be more cost effective.
Digital communication has long been acknowledged as a self paced, dependable and the only alternative to conventional instructor led training. As mentioned above Forrester Research revealed that computer and web based training reaped higher rates of completion because web has always been an intriguing media for everyone, it has not only helped the novice but also professional trainers in improving their own performances. The ‘self paced’ characteristic of digital communication helps employees in engaging in learning processes whenever they find time, without disrupting their work schedules. The third finding of the research revealed that companies found web based training more reliable in long run as it enabled them to get more work out of fewer efforts and lesser budgets.
The corporate world is constantly evolving and at this point of time the competition, technology and tools are rising up and amalgamating together to define what business education and training will look like on the World Wide Web.
Different ways of e- training
e-training today has been made more accessible and more interesting. The interactive nature and the use of multiple media have generated more interest amongst corporate trainees. e-learning is a confluence of myriad technologies that make it more exciting. Here are a few e-learning methods or trends that have already proved their efficiency in the arena of digital communications.
Video conferencing is a computer based learning tool that has been there in the corporate world for quite some time now. This digital technique has helped the corporate world in diminishing boundaries. A video conferencing provides an effective platform to address audiences across the globe through a single instructor. Recent addition to this tool is that one no longer needs to be present live in the conference room while the video conference is on. Now the live audience can be extended to anyone with access to a web browser. Intelligent portals with strict security controls look after such video conferences and make sure that right information is provided to right users. The advent of technology has lead enterprises to leverage existing conference room assets into virtual class rooms that span across continents.
Research shows that some people are able to concentrate better on visual medium and some are more receptive to sound. For people who are more receptive to audio medium and for the ones who are visually challenged, digital communications have provided a wider horizon to impart knowledge and train corporate employees through sounds, voiceovers and music. A lot of people find it boring and difficult to read off the computer screen, for them voiceovers or sound effects not only make reading interesting but also help them concentrate better as sound is a personal medium that generates pictures in the mind. Voiceovers also aid in customizing the e-learning process according to the target audience’s language. For instance Enterprises in which training manuals are printed in regional languages generally combine their texts with a translation in English or any other regional language to connect with trainees from different cultural backgrounds.
Graphics or Comic Strips
Graphics or over simplified comic strips are being used effectively to leverage circumstantial role plays. Certain soft skills like negotiation skills, body language and objection handling skills can be best explained in situation only. A verbal or textual account cannot have as much impact as a visual account. Hence simplified comic strips, caricatures or video graphics are used to teach trainees how to handle certain situations and the role they are supposed to play in those situations.
Games are no longer frivolous or a waste of time. They are being effectively used to give circumstantial exposures to corporate trainees and to test their skills. Most corporate trainers have a range of favorite games for which the results are tried and tested before hand. These games give a wider scope of exposure and interaction. The interactive nature of web has transformed gaming into a powerful gaming tool today. Games make the training process more fun and exciting. The army has been using games for training since 1980s and the corporate games market is small but it is growing at a fast pace. Such games make up for 15% of the serious or non entertainment category of the gaming industry.
Why would a company pay for an entire team of trainees go to a particular job site or production site to learn the production techniques when the job site itself can reach the trainees on their desktops and PCs? Yes, the video technology has also transformed the digital learning process. Now it is possible for enterprises to take their new trainees on a virtual tour of their distant production sites with the help of video clips. Now with the help of Chroma Key technology, it is also possible to have a trainer in the video clip explaining the production module without the instructor having to be present at the location. This saves time and cost for the enterprise to set up an entire shoot at the production site. All that they need to do is get footage of the production site and rest everything can be digitally manipulated while editing sessions. The web now allows streaming such videos and uploading them so that any employee with web access can enlighten himself with such virtual training sessions.
Much of training is about using a Show-and-Tell model to teach people. The limitation of the old WBT modules lay in their inability to show something in a dynamic way (video) and to actually talk about it (audio). Now, leveraging an Internet technology known as Flash Video, it is possible to deliver fast-loading, lightweight video content without gobbling up enormous Gigs of bandwidth. Moreover, the video can be programmed to start playing while the rest of the file continues to load at the backend — thus, the trainee does not have to wait for the whole file to load before he/she can view the video.
As tools and technology mature, an increasing number of choices will be available for business learning via the Web including off-the-shelf turnkey solutions for customers who desire shrink-wrapped solutions and powerful development tools for organizations willing and desiring to build more customized environments