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Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
Incorporating Technology into Training
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Incorporating Technology into Training

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This is a white paper I wrote on how to effectively integrate technology into a training curriculum.

This is a white paper I wrote on how to effectively integrate technology into a training curriculum.

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  • 1. Executive Summary Ideally, people entering the workforce would be familiar with the most current technologies; however, because technology has been rapidly advancing with “the next best thing,” it is often too costly to incorporate newer methods of eLearning principles. Therefore, it is necessary to explore other ways of incorporating technologies into the training environment. The following are modern technologies that may be easily adapted into a training environment:  Podcast  Online Training Program  Hybrid Training Program  Website  Online or Networked Database  eLearning Module  Interactive PowerPoint Presentation  Strategy Game  Training Video  Manager’s Blog  User-Built Content System (Wiki) These technologies will help companies stay current with industry-wide initiatives, offer a competitive advantage in the job market, as well as provide various learning techniques to meet the needs of the newer generations entering the workforce.
  • 2. Table of Contents Introduction 1 So, what’s the problem? 1 What am I trying to tell you? 1 Podcast 2 Online Training Program 2 Hybrid Training Program 3 Website 3 Online or Networked Database 4 eLearning Module 4 Interactive PowerPoint Presentation 5 Strategy Game 5 Training Video 6 Manager’s Blog 6 User-Built Content System (Wiki) 7 How can you use these examples in your training environment? 7 What can you take away? 9 Works Cited* 9 * This works cited section includes all .pdf and websites referenced throughout the document. However, references to Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary, Wikipedia.com, and Wikieducator.org are excluded from this section as they are cited in footnote format on the page they are used.
  • 3. Introduction Why is it necessary to incorporate everyday technologies into a training environment? There are vast differences in understanding and approaches to information across each generation; it is imperative that today’s workforce begin to strategize and alter their training techniques. As the technologies in today’s society are quickly changing to the “latest and greatest,” companies must follow suit and incorporate these trends in order to viably compete in the job market. Outdated computer systems and traditional ways of relaying information are no longer acceptable to the newer generations. These former ways to “play the business game” are unattractive to the more skilled employee. Younger generations find it frustrating to work in an environment where technology is outdated because it represents a slow growth of the company as a whole. “Having an opportunity to fast-track up the career ladder has to be in the foreseeable future, not 5 years down the road but 1 or 2.” – Anita Tang, 26, Hong Kong1 Ideally, people entering the workforce would be familiar with the most current technologies; however, because technology has been rapidly advancing with “the next best thing,” it is often too costly to incorporate newer methods of eLearning principles. Therefore, it is necessary to explore other ways of incorporating technologies into the training environment. This addition to training environments will help companies stay current with industry-wide technologies, offer a competitive advantage in the job market, as well as provide various learning techniques to meet the needs of the newer generations entering the workforce. So, what’s the problem? The generation of “Baby Boomers” is nearing the age of retirement from most workplace jobs; however, with the current state of the economy, there are many from that era that will choose the option of not retiring.2 Those who do not wish to retire will be working alongside colleagues from the generation X and millennial eras. Newer generations are more familiar with technologies, thereby creating a problem in determining the best format to effectively train each employee. Though workforce newcomers will fill most of the entry-level positions, it is necessary to account for additional training to stay current with industry standards and technologies. What am I trying to tell you? The most ideal solution to incorporating new technologies would be to hire a consultant to tell you what to do. However, a good consultant can cost a company more than they are willing to spend. The most cost effective way to incorporate modern technologies into a training atmosphere is to begin by making slow changes. Though a fully online or blended training environment might be preferred, it may take too long to implement and slow the pace of the existing curriculum. Page 1 of 9 Page 1 of 9
  • 4. Below is a list of suggested examples, including the definition, purpose, advantages, and disadvantages of each training method, to incorporate in a training environment. Podcast What is it? A podcast is a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.* Purpose: The purpose of a podcast is to allow others the option to hear a thought, opinion, fact, or theory in their own leisure time. Once the podcast has been downloaded from the Internet, the user will then be required to play that podcast using a multimedia player. Some free multimedia players include QuickTime†, Flash‡, or Windows Media Player§. Advantages Disadvantages 1. Broadcast a simple 1. The message message to a lot of people. may accidently “leak out” to others if it is 2. Easily saved for a downloadable file. record-keeping purposes. Online Training Program What is it? An online training program is an entire course that is taught only online. Purpose: The purpose of an online training program is to allow anyone the ability to “attend” class, no matter where they may be located in the world, as long as they have access to online materials using the Internet. Advantages Disadvantages 1. Easy to share files. 1. The message may accidently “leak out” to 2. Chat feature or discussion board is usually others if it is a downloadable file. included to ask direct questions. 2. Network server may fail. 3. Internet-dependent. * Definition taken and adapted from Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary found at http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/podcast † To download your free version of QuickTime, please go to the following: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download ‡ To download your free version of Flash Media Player, please go to the following: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer § To download your free version of Window Media Player, please go to the following: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/10/default.aspx Page 2 of 9 Page 2 of 9
  • 5. Hybrid Training Program What is it? A hybrid training program is a course that is taught in both the classroom by an instructor, as well as online with that same instructor or someone different. Purpose: The purpose of a hybrid training program is to allow the majority of the course work to be completed online, while still being able to assess the training results in person. Advantages Disadvantages 1. Easy to share files. 1. The message may accidently “leak out” to 2. Chat feature or discussion board is usually others if it is a downloadable file. included to ask direct questions. 2. Network server may fail. 3. Gives the option of not having to attend on a 3. Internet-dependent. regular basis. 4. May be difficult remembering when it is necessary to meet in person. Website What is it? A website is a group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization.* Purpose: The purpose of a website is generally to relay information (facts or opinions) to others. A primary audience is usually targeted. Advantages Disadvantages 1. Easy to share general information with anyone 1. The message may accidently “leak out” to browsing the website. others if it is a downloadable file. 2. Can be multiple pages releasing any 2. Network server may fail. information necessary. 3. Internet-dependent. 3. You may easily direct a target audience and 4. If you are trying to send out any play to their appeal using design, layout, or “company sensitive” information, you other aesthetic features. must provide a secure network for your information. This may be too costly for just a training environment. 5. Trainees may be distracted and steer away from training website. * Definition taken and adapted from Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary found at http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/website Page 3 of 9 Page 3 of 9
  • 6. Online or Networked Database What is it? An online database is a contained system of information. A networked database acts similarly, but is within a network of computers and not available online. * Purpose: The purpose of these database systems is to allow multiple people access to certain information. Both often have strict access requirements. Advantages Disadvantages 1. Easy to share company information internally 1. The message may accidently “leak out” to with anyone who has access to the database. others if it is a downloadable file. 2. Can put as much information on the network 2. Network server may fail. or server as allowed by storage capacity. 3. May be difficult to secure the network if (Additional storage can be added with a fee.) this has not already been established. You 3. If online, the information can be accessed could hire to help resolve this issue, but it anywhere you can get an Internet connection. may be too costly. eLearning Module What is it? eLearning enables us to deliver both learning and information at will—dynamically and immediately.3 As the name suggests, eLearning is held primarily online or through a computer network system. Purpose: The purpose of eLearning is to tap the knowledge of experts and nonexperts and catapult those messages beyond classroom walls and into the workplace; and to know, who is learning, referring, and contributing—and who is not.2 Advantages4 Disadvantages3 1. Easy to share information. 1. The message may accidently “leak out” to 2. Collaborative and explorative learning. others if it is a downloadable file. 3. Cross-platform (information can be seen on 2. Network server may fail. several types of computer operating systems). 3. Limited formatting options. 4. Inexpensive distribution of materials. 4. Not enough storage space (can be 5. Easy to update content. upgraded for an additional fee). 6. Savings on time and travel. 5. Web space and domain must be 7. More people are familiar with how to navigate provided. on the Internet. 6. Application downloads may be time 8. Direct access to additional training resources lengthy. (web links, papers, etc.) 7. Very little “true” interaction. 8. May take a while to become familiar with the program. * Definition taken and adapted from Wikipedia.com found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_database Page 4 of 9 Page 4 of 9
  • 7. Interactive PowerPoint Presentation What is it? Interactive PowerPoint presentations differ from regular presentations in that they are multifaceted—meaning they contain a lot of linking within slides, images, website information, videos, and other forms of multimedia. Purpose: The purpose of an interactive PowerPoint presentation is to keep the trainees involved and paying attention. These presentations can be used by a trainer giving instruction to a class, or on the individual’s own time. Because the presentation is interactive, it allows the trainees more freedom to navigate at their own will, pausing longer where something is more difficult and skimming through portions they may already understand. Advantages Disadvantages 1. Easy to share information. 1. Trainee may skip over something that is 2. Allows more creativity and access to the of key importance to the training. individual’s own thought and learning process. 2. May get “lost” if the presentation is not 3. Information easily changeable. properly navigated. 4. Stimulates more of an interest since the user is 3. Because of the allowance to “jump able to work on their own and progress at their around” in the presentation, the trainee own pace. may skip a section (purposefully or not). Strategy Game What is it? A strategy game is a game in which the players’ decision-making skills have a high significance in determining the outcome.* A strategy game is similar to a simulation scenario, which could be best performed when preparing for an assessment of knowledge at the beginning or end of a training course. Purpose: The purpose of a strategy game is to put theory into practice—meaning a demonstrated ability to carryout the procedures of the job. Advantages5 Disadvantages 1. Gives the trainer the ability to see the trainees 1. May be cause for taunting behavior by in a real-world scenario. other trainees. 2. Provides a visible and self-gratifying award for 2. Potentially uncomfortable for those who efforts put forth into trying to learn. are easily shy or intimidated by being 3. Less work for the Instructor to present. “graded” in front of colleagues. 4. Shows trainer where the group, as a whole, 3. May be difficult to create in the initial may be struggling. phase of development. 5. Provides opportunity for trainees to ask questions that were not necessarily covered in other parts of the training course. * Definition taken and adapted from Wikipedia.com found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategy_game Page 5 of 9 Page 5 of 9
  • 8. Training Video What is it? A training video is a visual demonstration or representation of a real-world example of the job. The video may either be informational—provide analysis of risks and instructions—or may present scenarios in which a class, or trainer, would analyze and determine effectiveness and appropriateness of handling situations. Purpose: The purpose of a training video is to provide another way of relaying information. A conventional instructor-led training may take an entire day to present information that could feasibly be completed in 1-2 hours, with 30 minutes to an hour’s worth of questioning time available. This shortening of time is able to happen because the instructor will not be interrupted, visuals are provided, as well as a “plot” or “theme” is typically developed to stimulate audience interest. Advantages6 Disadvantages6 1. Consistent training materials, no matter who is 1. The message may accidently “leak out” to instructing. others if it is copied too many times. 2. Easily shared—making copies. 2. Can be costly to develop, produce. 3. Trainees are able to set their own pace. 3. Difficult to modify information presented. Manager’s Blog What is it? A blog is a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.* A manager’s blog is a blog produced by a manager of a department, for the purpose of this paper, the manager of training. Purpose: The purpose of producing a manager’s blog is to provide information and keep employees current with what is happening in the training curriculum. Advantages Disadvantages 1. Easy to share company information. 1. The message may accidently “leak out” to 2. Standardized format to providing new others if it is not on a secure network. information. 2. Network server may fail. 3. Not changed very often. 3. May go unnoticed if the employees do 4. Consistent and informative with current not check often. training initiatives and working procedures. * Taken and adapted from Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary found at http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/blog Page 6 of 9 Page 6 of 9
  • 9. User-Build Content System (Wiki) What is it? A wiki is a web site that allows visitors to make changes, contributions, or corrections.* Purpose: The purpose of a wiki is to provide information on various subjects, while allowing viewers to become the content developers and editors. This could be useful as a frequently asked questions (FAQ) website for employees. Advantages† Disadvantages† 1. Anyone can edit the content. 1. The message may accidently “leak out” to 2. Easy to use and learn. others if it is not on a secure network. 3. Instantaneous information sharing. 2. Network server may fail. 4. The user can be located anywhere there is an 3. May go unnoticed if the employees do Internet connection. not check often. 5. Every edit made is tracked. 4. Anyone can edit the content. 6. There is no pre-determined structure, leaving 5. Open to SPAM and vandalism if not it in the creative hands of the user. properly monitored. 6. May be hard to find information because there is no specific structure or layout. Though adding more technical methods to a training curriculum may make for a more enjoyable training environment, it is just as important to remember that it is not a fix-all solution. Incorporating a lot of the above-mentioned ideas may take some time. Therefore, it is recommended to transition slowly by introducing a few things at a time over a longer period of time. How can you use these examples in your training environment? Going from planning to implementation can be quite a difficult task, as you are probably aware. It is important to take a step back and evaluate what would be most beneficial and what is needed right away. While having a fully developed online database may be the most beneficial, it may not be the most practical for your company at this time. Take a look at the following scenario to see one example of how criteria can be measured. Scenario: Nationwide Retail Store Manager Training What is the problem? Sports Unlimited is a major chain corporation in the United States, selling the highest quality of sporting goods for over 50 years. Nationwide, they have hired over 100 new employees to work as managers in their retail stores, starting within the next two months. Sports Unlimited takes pride in owning all of their retail stores, none of them being a franchise. In order to train all of * Taken and adapted from Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary found at http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/wiki † Taken and adapted from Wikieducator.org found at http://www.wikieducator.org/Wikieducator_tutorial/What_is_a_wiki/Advantages_and_disadvantages Page 7 of 9 Page 7 of 9
  • 10. these managers the “ways of the business,” they are trying to figure out the best way to provide them the necessary information, including company background information, which products have the highest resale value, how to run the cash registers, close the store at night, maintain and take care of any deliveries, as well as dealing with shortage—theft—and disgruntled customer service issues. Their current methods of training include a weekend seminar at their corporate office in Atlanta, GA. At this seminar, they are provided with pamphlets and brochures on “best business practices” and go through a series of instructor-led workshops in which they are able to ask questions to the trainers. What sort of training can Sports Unlimited provide to cut the financial and timely costs of flying everyone to Atlanta, GA for a weekend training seminar? As the problem states, the managers will begin working in the next two months. Immediately, it is necessary to send all of their previously developed pamphlets and brochures to each of the trainers. To cut back on postage costs, they could send an email to everyone providing a unique username and password to a private wiki environment, which could easily be set up in a timely manner. All of the pamphlets and brochures the trainees would have received at the seminar could be stored in the wiki. In addition to the paper documents, they could videotape one of the instructors going over the main points of the training from the seminars and workshops. Instead of sending everyone a CD version of the video, the trainer could easily post the video onto the wiki, where it would be available instantaneously. When companies hire employees, they generally expect to do some form of on-the-job training and are willing to use company time for this purpose. In addition to providing materials on a wiki, the company could provide a strategy game or simulation during one of the first days on the job. A senior-level manager could perform this simulation function. Though this scenario is fictional, the situation assessment is similar to what may be encountered at any workplace environment. It is most important to step back from the situation and accurately determine the best solution for the problem. An online training program may have been the best solution for this example if it had already existed; however, because nothing was already in place, simplified options could be used to resolve this issue. Page 8 of 9 Page 8 of 9
  • 11. What can you take away? As it is increasingly apparent, the generation gap of the workforce is consistently expanding. Many people from the baby boomer generation do not want to retire, and the millennials are joining the workplace. While it is understandable that everyone learns in different fashions, there is a need to stay current with modern technologies and to integrate those technologies into the training environment. In staying current, your company will offer a competitive advantage in the hiring market, as well as provide learning techniques that meet the needs of the newer generations, who will eventually take over the positions from the baby boomers. The Internet is available at our fingertips. When utilized properly, it is easy to find how-to sessions and instructions on virtually any topic imaginable. You may have to do some hefty exploring, but chances are high that the information can be found online somewhere. While it would be more helpful that I provide step-by-step instructions, it is impossible for me to detail specifics since every company would have a different scenario. If for some reason the information you are searching is not accessible online, try talking to someone who works at your neighborhood bookstore. About the Author Stephanie L. Webb is a student in the Technical Communication program at Mercer University in Macon, GA. As someone from the millennial generation, and having had previous work experience as an Instructional Development Specialist Co-op in a predominately instructor-led training environment, Stephanie felt compelled to further explore this issue of integrating technologies into the workplace. She has previously written seminars on Web Site Development and Personal Branding. Feel free to visit her portfolio website at http://www.stephlynnwebb.com. 1 Tapscott, Don. “Grown Up Digital.” McGraw-Hill Publications. New York, NY. Copyright 2009. 168. 2 Ware, Janice, Rosemary Craft, and Steve Kerschenbaum. “Training Tomorrow’s Workforce.” T+D Magazine. April, 2007. http://www.astd.org/LC/2007/0407_ware.htm 3 Rossett, Allison, and Antonia Chan. “Engaging with the new eLearning.” Adobe Systems Incorporated White Paper. April, 2008. 1. www.adobe.com/resources/elearning/pdfs/95010205_elearningengage_wp_ue.pdf 4 James, Gary. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning.” Parsec Infotech White Paper. Updated October, 2007. 1. http://www.comminit.com/en/node/210058/36 5 Schaaf, Kenneth. “Combining Tools and Techniques to Enhance Training.” Technical Training. July/August, 1999. 6. 6 Borysowich, Craig. “Pros and Cons of Training Methods.” Observations from a Tech Architect: Enterprise Implementation Issues & Solutions Blog. Posted June, 2007. 1. http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/enterprise-solutions/pros- and-cons-of-training-methods-16921 Page 9 of 9 Page 9 of 9

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