The transformation in corporate training and its exciting developments (1)

Risk Watch with Alberta Quarcoopome: THE CLOSING BELL… end of year preparations by banks
Alberta Quarcoopome

“The corporate training industry is constantly evolving to accommodate trainer needs and technology advancements. Throughout history, it has proven its importance time and time again.”

We are in interesting times. Although I have been conducting virtual training and in-person training sessions separately, I recently had to conduct a combination of both, for an institution, and I must say that the combination was insightful and exciting for me, the Facilitator.  Although they were bankers from various banks across the country, about a third of the participants were connected virtually on zoom.

This evolved concept is a combination of intense excitement and mixed emotions. My most memorable was listening in (uninvited) to the “diasporians”, as I called them, during break out sessions, while the in-person groups were also busy in their syndication groups discussing the case. One notable thing which I give kudos to the “diasporians” was their need to listen intensely and also read the slides shared. They did not have the benefit of seeing me physically and watching my gesticulations as I discussed the issues. There were occasional technological issues as well.

Since then, I have been reflecting on how far corporate training has evolved in response to several changes (and sometimes external shocks) to meet the demands of the industry. It is time for us corporate trainers to also “go back to school” and learn the new techniques and best practices in on-line raining, such as concentrating on role plays, case studies as well as the emerging use of gamification to make the virtual training fun and interesting.

As we all know the opposite of training is ignorance. Banking continues to be the most regulated sector of the economy. New Directives continue to be churned out by the Central bank in answer to the numerous issues relating to the covid 19 pandemic, technology as well as threats to the industry by fraudsters. New fraud techniques, new processes, and developments, result in the immediate need for transfer of knowledge to all players, especially staff.

Corporate training in banking comes in various forms and can be especially challenging when the participants log in from various workplaces. Over a decade ago, when virtual learning was introduced in some of the banks for staff to upgrade themselves, many staff regarded the e-learning as a chore. Now it is a must have, and it does not come cheap. This is the time that e-learning programs must be appreciated and taken advantage of, while corporate trainers should also adapt well to these new learning styles.

The challenges of corporate training

According to John Findlay, an expert in game-based digital engagement, “Motivating employees to participate and engage with training has always been a pain point for training professionals. This has been amplified by the pandemic. Companies have learnt that PDFs and slideshows didn’t stand a chance against distractions like pets, children or Netflix” he goes on to say that:

“What works is – Training material that’s fun and interactive. The best example is game-based learning: simple, interactive modules like quiz games, spot-the-error, and role play scenario games drive learner engagement, repeat plays and drive better learning outcomes.

Many organizations have  implemented game-based learning to tap into peoples’ natural competitive drives, so that employees are motivated to learn as they play — and keep coming back.

Now that organizations know how to reach remote employees with engaging content, they can continue to create compelling training material, even if employees go back into the office. The days of dry, boring content are over”.

Brief History of Corporate Training- Extracts from “Corporate Training Materials’ blog on 9th July, 2021.

“The Corporate Training industry is dedicated to helping individuals meet their organizational goals through adult-learning techniques. Analyzing the history of the training industry can help us better understand how we have improved and predict future changes.

The Early Days: The training industry has been around for as long as there has been work to do. Observational learning – training in its most basic form – can be traced back to prehistoric times to teach others to do various survival tasks such as hunting, fishing, or lighting a fire.

However, a more systematic approach to workplace training can be traced back to 1872 thanks to R. Hoe and Company, a printing press manufacturer based in New York and London. They were the pioneers of workplace training by being the first to open a factory school that provided in-person, onsite training to the machinists working there in an effort to increase efficiency. The Company’s factory influenced countless other companies to follow suit in establishing structured workplace training.

The Early 1900s: During the First World War, a large volume of workers needed to be trained to build ships at a rapid rate. To implement this, vocational Instructor Charles R. Allen developed and ran a training program that breaks tasks down into four steps – show, tell, do, and check, now considered an early breakthrough in the corporate training industry. The concept, also known as preparation, presentation, application, and testing has been covered in his book, The Instructor, the Man, and the Job, published in 1919.

The need for effective workplace training continued on to the Second World War. The Training Within Service Industry (TWI), organized by the US government, expanded on Allen’s training process to provide training to those taking over the service industry while many skilled workers joined the military.  The models developed by them were implemented in over 16,000 organizations.

The Late 1900s: The invention of the computer brought on a modernization of the training industry that would continue to evolve for years to come. The Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations (PLATO), is a computer-based teaching system that was invented by Donald L. Blitzer in the early 1960s. By the late 1970s, it was used prominently by trainers, for forty years and was extremely influential to the eLearning software that trainers use today. Many even say that PLATO predicted the prevalence of social media, as it created a successful online community.

Users later wanted to be able to develop their own online training programs without knowing how to code. This led to the invention of the authoring tool which is a software that allows you to create eLearning material. The development of Hypercard and Authorware in 1987 allowed trainers to intuitively create eLearning courses in a more user-friendly way.

By the 90s, Computer-based corporate training continued to gain momentum. Instead of sending trainers to offices, CDs were sent instead to reduce costs while still providing training, and more advanced authoring tools were becoming available. Beyond this, senior leaders in corporations were beginning to truly realize the value of high-quality corporate training, and the correlation between this training and the success of their organization as a whole. This growth quickly caused the industry to face some unique challenges. The use of CDs quickly declined as it lacked engagement. Fortunately, this led to the invention of the shareable content, object reference model (SCORM). It serves as a standardized way for eLearning courses to be developed and delivered to ensure consistency. The success and prevalence of authoring tools continued and brought-on the term eLearning. eLearning is an umbrella term that means providing training and instruction through an electronic format, through a variety of different types of devices such as computers, tablets, and mobile devices. Any device with an internet connection can provide eLearning. By 1997, eLearning became more accessible than ever through more accessibility of digital devices.

Next week, we shall continue with training in the 2000s and 2020s and examine the new emerging methods and best practices.

Happy training



Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She is the Author of Three books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller: A Strategic Partner” and “My Front Desk Experience: A Young Banker’s Story” and “The Modern Branch Manager’s Companion”. She uses her experience and practical case studies, training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations and fraud.



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