In this third article in our series about learning and development (L&D) strategies, we’re going to discuss technology’s role in corporate L&D programs.
Technology has permeated nearly every aspect of our lives. We communicate with each other, create things, generate and analyze data in so many different ways. All these high-tech options and methods have changed the way we live and work. With its expanding grasp, technology has also reached into and made its impact on how businesses create, deliver, and analyze L&D strategies.
Before an L&D team can determine the direction they want to take for a new learning initiative, they have to assess the current lay of the land and determine what their workforce needs to know, what they already know, and in what areas they lack mission-critical skills and information.
You can assess individual knowledge in the course of one conversation if you take good notes. However, as Bob Lockett, Chief Diversity and Talent Officer at ADP reminds us, “When you want to do this at scale within an enterprise organization and then apply those results to the development of individual employees, you have to get technology involved” (Spark). The right technological solutions can gather and analyze the data you need to create informed, effective L&D strategies more quickly and with greater accuracy than ever before.
In his article, “The Relevancy of Technology in the Learning and Development Industry,” Jacopo Mauri cited research claiming that practice, repetition, real-world context, and feedback are the primary factors that influence learning effectiveness (eLearning Industry). With those factors in mind, learning technology has evolved to include the following types of solutions that provide these needed elements (City A.M.):
- Simulations – Just five years ago, 48% of companies used technology-based simulations in their L&D programs. That number has now increased to 75%. Simulations are among the best ways to provide practice, repetition, and real-world context in the learning process.
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) – Used for visualization, immersion, and storytelling, AR and VR are rapidly growing in popularity as L&D delivery methods.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Machines now perform cognitive tasks usually associated with humans, like analyzing, learning, creating, and problem-solving. This ability allows them to create and deliver high-quality, low-error learning content very quickly.
Data analytics are a huge part of any good L&D program. It’s equally important to assess your employees after executing a training initiative as it is to assess them before you create one, so you can determine training effectiveness and whether you need to make changes moving forward. Again, technology and AI are an integral part of making this step in the learning process easier for you. You can collect and analyze employee feedback on a much larger scale and with far more accuracy than ever before with the right tech (eLearning Industry).
Jigsaw Interactive provides a virtual learning environment that automatically collects the engagement, productivity, activity and performance data so critical to analyzing objective data that helps identify the quality and outcomes of every virtual training event.
With everything technology has to offer in the world of L&D, it also presents two significant challenges: 1) How to choose the right solutions among all the shiny bells and whistles on offer, and 2) How to keep up with the rapidly-changing L&D tech landscape (LinkedIn). The benefits and possibilities are endless, however, and make the challenges worth facing.