Training: In-House and in the Know
No matter what industry you are part of, training is an essential part of any business. There’s onboarding of new staff members and the specialization of team leaders in new or expanding areas. It might be that there are new or updated regulations your business needs to follow, or perhaps there is a gap in expertise someone wishes to fill. Regardless of the circumstances, training should be a key consideration in all areas of your company.
This often comes in the form of externally sourced sessions, where team members attend seminars or workshops offsite in order to improve their knowledge and enhance their skills. However, while there are many excellent events and providers out there, there are always limitations to this, with budget and suitability being some of the biggest factors. Sometimes the training isn’t quite right—it covers the basics, but doesn’t delve into the specific areas relevant to your business. Being able to personalize your staff training to the exact needs of the business is the best way to achieve value-for-money and real progress, but unfortunately this isn’t often possible in sessions held by external training providers.
So how do we address this need without investing in external training?
This is where in-house training comes in. By driving change through training from inside the company itself, you have far more control over what your staff members learn and how this will affect the progress of your business. But how can this be achieved effectively?
The mass influx of digital technologies across all industries has allowed for the improvement of communication and the streamlining of a variety of processes, but when it comes to training, it is a resource that is frequently under-used, despite opening up a range of opportunities. E-learning and online training programs are growing massively, with an estimated 20 percent increase in the number of courses last year alone. This form of training allows staff members to participate in courses and seminars without having to travel long distances, and the cost of these events is often far less than venue-based sessions.
However, while this provides a great platform for learning, there is far more to be gained alongside this by using technology to improve in-house training sessions, including teambuilding exercises, research, and brainstorming. For example, if someone from your senior staff is running a session with new members of the team, a great way of gauging initial knowledge and continued understanding throughout the session is through audience response systems. This allows trainees to put forward their answers anonymously, without fear of judgement, through the use of wireless handsets or devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Those answers then can be projected onto an interactive screen and used as part of the session if necessary. This analysis not only gives the presenter some insight into how to guide the session, but also what topics need to be addressed, based on the actual knowledge of staff members in the business.
One of the main concerns that originate from technological learning, of course, is the loss of the human element in this process. It’s understandable that businesses might consider the use of technology to be an isolated process, with staff members all using their individual devices to work on their own. However, the development of interactive screens and touch tables has meant that several people can be working on the same device at one time, and learning in a far more social and collaborative way than you might think.
Another benefit of interactive technology is that traditional brainstorming exercises in training sessions can be enhanced with image and video content, and the final results can be immortalized in digital format for future reference. This form of learning is also helpful when it comes to businesses with multiple offices, whether it’s several regional offices in one country, or even a global spread of teams. Using technology, and especially digital collaborative workspaces, in this way allows several locations to receive the same training at once, meaning it is all streamlined and the messaging is consistent regardless of where staff are based. In terms of “losing” the face-to-face element, this still can be achieved through the use of videoconferencing platforms, allowing all colleagues, no matter where they are, to share their thoughts and experiences.
Differentiation in Learning
Another challenge businesses often consider is that certain individuals may struggle with the adoption of new technology and that their motivation to engage with training will be lost. However, technology has been found to be an effective tool due to its potential for differentiation in learning. Various approaches can be adjusted to suit individual abilities and preferences when it comes to learning styles. Using interactive screens and tables allows for businesses to annotate, share ideas, and comment with other meeting members. Technology is more likely to encourage staff engagement with each other, rather than restrict it. We learn best when we learn from one another, and when we are comfortable in our environment. As new generations of workers join a range of industries, the use of technology will become more and more prominent, so it’s understandable that businesses are making the leap now so they can be ahead of the game.
Investing in technology for in-house training and development can have a wide range of benefits, both in terms of convenience and cost-effectiveness. After all, it’s your staff who are most often the experts in what you do, so by having the resources to empower them in disseminating knowledge in-house, you’ll be giving them, and all of your other team members, the skills they need specific to your business. In addition, when new elements become an issue, individuals can be given the responsibility to find the online training that’s right for them, and then use this knowledge to upskill the rest of the company through the work they’ve done.
Ranjit Singh is managing director of Genee World, a manufacturer and international distributor of touchscreen technology and AV equipment. It delivers a range of interactive displays, kiosks, tablets, touch tables, visualizers, response systems, and software to enhance teaching, training, and presentations for corporate enterprises and the education sector. With the support and partnership of hundreds of UK and International resellers, Genee World distributes to more than 80 countries around the globe. Having graduated with a Business Management Degree (Hons) from Hull University, Singh briefly worked in the financial sector for a year before doing a post-graduate in Teaching (PGCE) at University of Huddersfield, specializing in technology. After qualifying, he went into teaching and held roles at various schools in the UK, making the transition from business studies and technology teacher to head of IT and part of the senior leadership team. In 2005, Singh set up Genee World as a manufacturer and distributor of technology, largely focused on the education sector.