“With the rapid pace of technological development, most employees have realized that they will need to become lifelong learners to remain competitive in today’s workplace. With the continuous emergence of new technologies and new business practices, the skills that were required to succeed yesterday are not the same as those required to succeed today or tomorrow”.
Last week, I examined the nature of corporate training, which is currently changing rapidly to meet the demands of learners as well as making use of technology. I also referred to extracts from the blog of Corporate Training Materials, which have been a reliable supplier of corporate training materials over my five years of association with them.
We have discovered the history of corporate training in the early years, followed by evolving trends in the 1900s and the late 1990s. Today’s article continues from the 2000s and 2020s. This eye opener has set the pace upon which corporate trainers should also follow to be relevant to meet the needs of the Generation Ys and the Millennials, who now make up over fifty percent of corporate staff, and are gradually taking over the leadership mantle in many organizations.
The History of Corporate Training (Continued)
** Courtesy, Corporate Training materials
Even with all these technological advances, in-person, instructor-led training was still the most common form of training. However, by the early 2000s, technology was gaining more and more momentum.
Social media influences a more informal style of learning to have community building within training, and the continued popularity and advancement of smart phones made mLearning – The delivery of training on mobile devices, such as smart phones or tablets – more prominent than ever. This allowed for training and support to be taken anywhere, making it flexible and convenient for companies to use.
In 2006, the use of digital learning was at an all time high, and trainers were starting to realize how beneficial combining this with in-person training is for a complementary learning experience. Blended learning that combines traditional face-to-face instruction and electronic learning has showed many benefits and better suited to different learners.
“From the early 2000s to the 2010s, things remained fairly consistent for the training industry. However, by 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic meant trainers had to re-evaluate their participants needs. eLearning and the use of Learning Management Systems were now more than a convenient option – they were a necessity for trainers to continue to educate their participants and work towards their organizational goals.
Virtual Instructor-Led Training (vILT) was the number one option to continue to train employees while people worked remotely. vILT proved to have various benefits that went even beyond the safety and wellbeing of both trainers and trainees. By using the many tools available through online training, trainers were still able to provide effective workshops with high levels of engagement and participation.
Beyond vILT, eLearning was used to provide efficient, high quality training for remote participants or for refresher of previously learned content. The experience trainers gained in providing online training with good retention provided them with skills that they can take with them for years to come.
Trainers had to completely rethink how they delivered their material, and trainees had to adapt to learning in ways they may not have been used to before. Corporate learning has been shifted from in person in the boardroom, to our home offices on our computers via Zoom or Windows Teams.
Lessons from History
What are the lessons learnt from the history of the training industry? The number one thing is that the training industry is highly impacted by external circumstances. Whether it is the war, the digital revolution, or a global pandemic, the training industry has to be flexible, and has proven its resilience and importance time and time again. The best thing we can do to anticipate the future of the training industry is to be prepared to continue to adapt to the changes that impact it.
How has Covid 19 improved training opportunities? Has it transformed training for the better? Let us examine the pros and cons:
- The first challenge for trainers was the sudden restructuring of teams working from home due to the pandemic.
- Within a short period, organizations had to rethink how to deliver training, and determine which content would engage employees who were now occupied by the distractions of home life.
- Overworked and stressed, many employees didn’t have time for full-day instruction, so training departments had to find a way to deliver training in short sessions.
- The dynamic changes in organizations caused the necessity of training updates requiring the creation of fast-track new training materials.
- Long training times are over. Working from home is stressful — especially during a pandemic. People are juggling personal and professional responsibilities and many feel overwhelmed and overworked. The last thing anyone wants is to put important tasks on hold as they spend hours training.
- There is the need to introduce micro-learning in the form of lessons or modules. It has become imperative that instead of hosting full-day training sessions, specific and immediately relevant information can be shared as short lessons. That way, employees can seek out the exact information they need, when they need it. Each microlearning lesson should only take a few minutes to complete, so it fits around your learners’ workflows and allows them to get back to their important tasks.
- The training content has become very key especially with regular Directives from Legislators, Regulators and new processes to withstand the external shocks. These need to be customized into the institutions’ policies and filtered down to the employees.
Are Corporate Trainers Prepared for the Millennials?
Karla Guttierrez, a digital marketing consultant and strategist, describes the Millennial generation or Generation Y “ is made up of people who were born between 1982 and 2000. They were born into technology and grew up tinkering with gadgets and video games. They prefer to express themselves in 140 characters instead of writing an email. They think and learn differently than the Baby Boomers.
So it is no wonder that you have to revamp your training to catch their attention, hook them, and make them come back for more”. She continues to ask this question: “Are you prepared for the Millennials? Whether you are a training manager, learning & talent development consultant or an eLearning designer, it is now time to take a fresh look at your audience. They have changed! The Millennials are everywhere, and they make up the lion’s share of your audience.”
I will pause here, next week, we shall examine the modern training needs of Millennials against the “Baby Boomers”, which corporate Trainers need to appreciate in order to satisfy their insatiable thirst for regular knowledge sharing to fill up the growing need for agile employees for the industries in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, supported by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
TO BE CONTINUED
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.