As training budgets remain under pressure, the use of technology in training will continue to grow as part of the solution to deliver cost reductions.
The use of technology to provide training however has evolved from the use of Computer Based Training (CBT) which began in the 1960s. A dramatic increase in activity came with the introduction of the PC in the 1980s and the World Wide Web in the 1990s when these new technologies opened a vast range of possibilities. Now, the history continues as new technologies are harnessed to allow learners to access training programmes, learning management systems and virtual classrooms that enhance their learning experience.
The flexibility offered by technology-led training has been embraced by many organisations. The creation of a dynamic learning environment enables training to take place at different locations and times and eliminates training costs such as travel. Content is delivered through a variety of technology such as blogs, social networks, webcasts, web conferencing, collaboration workspaces, online course libraries and podcasts, with learners interacting with the training content through exercises, applications, and simulations. In addition, knowledge and best practices can be discussed and shared by learners through a blog, or discussion forum, networks formed through a social network site and experts or resource materials accessed.
As well as reducing the costs associated with delivering training, new technologies have also made it possible to increase the effectiveness of the learning environment by helping training contribute to business goals. Employees have a customised, consistent learning experience so everyone in an organisation receives the same message while learning at their own pace from their own workstation. The instructor then becomes more of a coach and resource rather than delivering training content.
From looking at development of technology in training, it’s clear that technology has become a great asset to the training programme. However, its important to remember that used without appropriate care and knowledge, technology can actually hinder training initiatives. Collaboration, active learner involvement, and access to other resources as well as the capacity to build relationships between trainees, training content and instructors, are all aspects that need to be considered when designing and developing a training programme. In a global business world, it’s essential that training keeps up with the rapid pace of change through constantly assessing and appraising movements in technology and society.