As technology changes and develops, so should a company’s training methods. Research indicates that a majority of traditional training techniques are mostly ineffective, producing short-term results or failing to boost performance at all. Oftentimes, this is due to a lack of reinforcement or outdated techniques.
Nowadays, training trends are moving towards incorporating technology and ramping up the schedule. Additionally, companies are focusing on providing more individualized training rather than scheduling one-size-fits-all group sessions. This improved, modern style can increase employee satisfaction, retention and performance. By employing some of the training methods listed below, companies can improve performance and employee satisfaction.
Online and Mobile Training
Companies are increasingly moving away from group or classroom-based training sessions in favor of online and mobile training. Group training sessions, with rigorously set schedules and a host of distractions, are an ineffective way of providing information to employees. Additionally, in-person training requires advanced scheduling and often applies to everyone. As a result, the skills being taught may not necessarily be useful for all employees attending.
However, online or mobile training options allow employees to “attend” a training at their own convenience. With less distraction and the ability to move at their own pace, employees can gain more from the training experience. Someone can review segments they have difficulty understanding without worrying about holding a class back or meeting an arbitrary daily deadline. Mobile training has the added benefit of being available on-the-go. Employees can access training anywhere they have a 3G connection, making it much more convenient to use.
Mobile and online platforms lend themselves well to a growing trend in training: gamification. Companies are increasingly adding traditional gaming elements to their training programs. For instance, a training app may include a point system, challenges, levels and scoreboards. Gamification works by adding a system of reward and competition to the training process, which satisfies fundamental human psychological needs.
This method of training can encourage friendly competition among employees. It can increase engagement in training and improve employees’ chances of retaining the lessons learned. Employees are likely to use it more often than a traditional training system because it’s entertaining. On a mobile platform, employees can complete quick training sessions while waiting in line or relaxing at home.
Regular Training Sessions
Whether employers move towards online training platforms or maintain in-person sessions, studies indicate regular training has a far more significant impact on employee performance than one-off sessions do. Regular sessions reinforce the lessons being taught. The content an employee learns in a single training session is often forgotten in a matter of days. However, employees do a much better job of retaining knowledge that is reinforced repeatedly.
Additionally, polls show that employees strongly prefer regular training sessions to formal sessions. A majority of employees want access to training whenever they feel they need it. Mobile and online platforms lend themselves particularly well to regular training because users can access them anywhere they have an internet connection. However, in-person regular sessions also provide the necessary reinforcement to help make training stick.
One benefit of moving away from group sessions and towards online platforms is that employers no longer have to bring all employees together to complete training. Group training sessions are often an inefficient method of providing training. Other employees can prove to be a distraction for someone learning a difficult concept. Class training often requires moving through the training sections as a group. Employees struggling to understand a particular concept may be left behind or forced to move on without clarification. Conversely, employees who already understand basic concepts may become bored and disengage, failing to learn new information included in the course because they are tuned out.
Individualized training means employees can receive only the training they need. Rather than completing a generic course that goes over every aspect of a position, employees can prioritize learning skills they do not already know. This improves the efficiency of training. Rather than spending time going over known skills, perhaps being paid to learn nothing, employees can improve their efficiency and address known individual weak areas.
Short, On-Demand Training
Many employees are used to the era of the internet, where any content is available immediately. Millennial employees are used to typing a specific question into a search bar to get a direct answer. This can be a challenge when using traditional training programs that start with the basics. Moving towards on-demand training that presents information on one particular skill at a time in small sessions can be more effective for this population. Individuals can pull up a lesson for exactly the skill they need, without going through the basics they are already familiar with. This can improve efficiency and reduce frustration, increasing the chance that employees will use the available training independently.
AI Training Tools
One of the most significant changes is the growing use of artificial intelligence tools in the training process. A growing number of programs revolve around using AI programs to analyze employee behaviors, efficiencies and weaknesses. For example, IBM’s Watson program can analyze an individual’s behavior to identify performance strengths and weaknesses. This can help managers identify what training an individual employee may need to improve.
AI programs can also generate automatic feedback, satisfying a persistent employee demand. Polls indicate that employees in America typically dread the annual review process, instead preferring consistent feedback. Millennial employees in particular often desire immediate feedback, accustomed to instant results from the internet. Rather than requiring managers or HR staff to sit down with employees multiple times a year, companies can employ AI programs to analyze employees’ output. Employees can track their own performance and respond to it accordingly without waiting for an intervention from a supervisor.
Adding AI to the training process can also help employers determine whether a particular training program is effective. Employers can analyze employee output before and after a training session to evaluate whether completing the course improved performance in any measurable way.
Studies indicate that a majority of training sessions are somewhat to completely ineffective, but managers often struggle to come to conclusions about the efficacy of different programs. AI programs can remove the guesswork for managers, allowing them to adapt training programs based on what works rather than what’s been done before.