How can technology enhance training and learning? What about enterprise training programs? Or individual learning processes? What… How… What if… These are just some of the questions which pop up in the highly dynamic environment where knowledge and technology constantly evolve and become more interrelated as days go by. Knowing the “how” part, many corporate organizations also understand the “why” when it comes to integrating technologies into learning. Companies which are focused on smart businesses invest in training and certification programs for their employees and clients. And nowadays providing and receiving quality training is pretty much impossible without the help of technologies. We are not only seeing but also experiencing multiplied agility, versatility and variety in terms of learning formats that are currently being adopted. We are living in a technology driven educational “all-inclusiveness”. We are acknowledging a transformational technological push.
So what does tech give to training and learning?
- Time and cost savings
- Instant connectivity
- Live streaming and virtual conferences
- Easy adoption of gaming and social-driven techniques
- Innovative approaches and opportunities for testing ultra-realistic or completely unrealistic simulation tools
- Remoteness, global outreach and accessibility at the same time
Statistics highlight that by 2011, 51% European companies have been involved in the e-learning business and offered an online training platform. What is more impressive, 77% of the companies in England and Spain, for example, used e-learning the same year, scoring the highest rates in terms of e-learning preferences in Europe. Still, corporate e-learning is set to go through even further expansions and is forecast to advance substantially – up to 13% in 2017. But it’s not just the corporate e-learning market that is rapidly evolving. The entire e-learning market, supported all together by corporations (that’s for sure), schools, universities, private academies and more, is swiftly changing as well. In a report prepared by Roland Berger School of Strategy and Economics, specialists indicate that the whole e-learning market is expected to reach more than 20% annual growth by 2017. With such progressive shifts, the competition will be fiercer than ever, investments will be more than ever and innovations will be introduced faster than ever. The teaching/learning environment will turn into a coliseum where contestants are chased by core technology-driven innovations. And, if they manage to tame the progressive thinking which the modern world requires, they will turn the game the other way.
In addition to this, online education also wipes out brick-and-mortar trends in order to revolutionize the way we learn. Tech in learning helps corporations overcome physical geographical barriers through virtual solutions. Instead of traveling from point A to point B to carry out or attend a course, lecturers and learners can now do it online. Which will save them a lot of time and money, respectively. Furthermore, digitalization of learning brings forward state-of-the-art business models and new opportunities for training providers, training attendees and companies as a whole. Then, there is the Generation Y, also known as the digital natives. Entering the workforce, they already know the power of technology. They have seen it. They have tasted it. They look for the improvements that come with it. They use technology in all situations, every minute and every day. So they instinctively feel that education can and should happen online – be that through social networks, learning management systems, mobile applications, virtual conferences and others. Trainers therefore must outswim that digital tsunami. To do it, one must be really fast in creating suitable digital fashion that digital natives look for… on the screen on their smartphone, perhaps. Otherwise training and learning will resemble a lesson performed in front of coders, who take down notes on their notebooks while the lecturer writes on the blackboard with chalk. That’s old. It doesn’t work now because everyone demands innovative approaches even when it comes to learning. And technology is capable of delivering it.
Learning platforms are in a replacement cycle
Taken together, the internet and technological product innovations cause massive genocide of old-fashioned paper-based learning methodologies. They open so many doors that the only thing one has to do is reach out with a hand and grab the next opportunity by the neck. Or at least, get hold of some technological device. The rest will follow on the fly. Similar is the situation with learning management systems. Companies are on the hunt for modernized platforms that offer easier usability and mobile learning options. But now, taking into account the massive use of smartphones, LMS vendors are focusing on one more thing – availability on many devices. And this is exactly what we also developed – a Learning Management System designed to incorporate the best and most flexible features one such platform can offer to the market. Used by Astra Nova, a leading UK based training provider within the clinical trial field, our LMS takes e-learning to the next level. Precisely, the benefits it offers include:
- Collecting all the training information in a consolidated system
- Improved tracking and reporting techniques
- Easy and handy upgrades
- More efficient and consistent learning methods
- Evaluation capabilities
- Availability on many devices
It’s estimated that by 2019, the number of smartphone users will triple and grow to the impressive 5.5 billion people. Which means the amount of data shared via mobile phones will intensify too. Having so many individuals spending a sufficient amount of time using their mobile device, the pool of online training candidates is expected to expand as well. With m-learning rising considerably, it’s no longer a matter of whether or not associations should offer a mobile version of their offerings. It’s a matter of how soon they can actually do it.
In this regard, the array of technology-lead movements, like BYOD (bring your own device), business owners and consultants are able to use their own mobiles, tablets, multimedia technologies, screencasting developments, simulation software and other portable devices to carry out training, consultancy, seminars and other courses. Video-conference links, audio technologies and video tutorials are also used to bring in guest speakers, thus saving on travel expenses. Due to these and many other similar conveniences, training formats can be easily redesigned, personalized or customized in a way that matches the business needs of employers, the educational content and the expectations of learners as well. On the whole, such traits propose more forward-thinking approaches and deliver engaging learning experiences.
It is fair to say that in 2016 technology-enhanced models of learning are not something new. This concept has been around for quite some time now. Even during the pre-computer years. In 1870-1880 the zenith of technical genius was marked by different inventions, such as the Magic Lantern. It represented an early type of image projectors that could project both static and moving images on glass plates. Over the years, technology started to evolve fast enough and later on introduced the overhead projector as a more-advanced education tool for students. It was quickly followed by videotapes, Skinner’s teaching machine, photocopiers and other systems which facilitated and complemented training and learning. In recent years, though, the demand for technology in education has been determinedly escalating.
Wherever we turn, whenever we look around, experts in the field point out to the need of tech-driven learning. True, there is an indication that computers, as the simplest and most frequently used examples, have long ago entered classrooms. It is also true that, lecturers, professors, tutors and other educators already feel and take advantage of the comfort that technology offers. It is simply inevitable. It is a standard demanded by the rapid evolution of the IT sector itself. And when such major thing happens, it is only natural it will have an impact on anything that stands in its way. Yet, enterprises are trying to polish the present status of the education system either by creating or implementing already created technological tools.
Undoubtedly, then, educational capabilities of both instructors and learners expand dramatically with the evolution of technologies and their adoption into enterprises, schools, universities, IT academies, colleges and other similar institutions. Course attendees can communicate with their peers via messenger, or other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube. Interns can stay in touch with their classmates thanks to open e-conferences. Lecturers, on the other hand, can use multi-media presentations with audio, video and clips from the Internet. They are also enabled to upload lectures online as well as other materials, granting training attendees free and quick access. Cultural and geographical boundaries blur to create one community of learners. Training academies can be built in the Cloud and teaching can take place online thanks to technologies. Isn’t this powerful enough to modernize learning and advance education?
In short, diversity in the education market is possible and achievable thanks to technology. It enables corporations, educational institutions and other organizations to take advantage of advanced training capabilities that bring life to the already exhausted traditional corporate tutoring. Technology-driven education has the power to transform how we train and how we learn from the ground up. Whether in the office, at school or in college, technologies provide with state-of-the-art education models for training providers and learners. Undoubtedly, the training landscape is changing and is expected to reach new progressive dimensions. Could that happen as soon as we hope? Well, it depends on what technologies are being used, for what purposes and how fast they are replacing old-fashioned training-learning techniques. One thing is for sure though. Technology-enabled learning is a tool that renovates not only today’s but tomorrow’s workforce as well.