​Businesses across the world have heard the call to step up their game to improve in-office training and gain an edge on competitors still lecturing to bored groups of professionals. Of course, the art of engaging and fast-paced learning isn’t static. A single upgrade isn’t going to be the magic feather of effective training. Learning is a technology, and like all technology, it is constantly evolving. If your organization has eLearning, it’s time to upgrade again as the possibilities for corporate learning continue to improve. There are now dozens of high-tech training options and we’re about to list our favorites to help you choose which cutting-edge approaches will work best for your industry and company culture.

1. Online eLearning Classes

With the rise in digital training techniques, it has now also become possible to onboard new team members without actually bringing them into the office. Even companies with on-site positions have found that by making their digital training courses available online, employees can study, learn, and review the materials before they ever step into the office, effectively streamlining the training process and providing more reference material to new hires.

2. Virtual Reality Scenario Training

Virtual and augmented reality has had a hard time finding footing in gaming, but in the business world, the useful applications are surprisingly numerous. For occupations that involve a certain amount of risk like mining, manufacturing, and labwork, virtual training allows employees to get used to a risky environment and make their first few mistakes without putting themselves or their coworkers in danger.

If your company has been looking for a way to new-hire mistakes, virtual reality training can give your professional students their ‘first day’ from the safety of the training room where mistakes can be gently corrected and quickly learned from.

3. Cognitive Computing

On the cutting edge of eLearning technology lies cognitive computing. This computerized, digital system is meant to mimic human brain function to come to conclusions using a mix of artificial intelligence, neural networks, machine learning, natural language processing, sentiment analysis, and contextual awareness. By quickly studying patterns and analyzing a problem or process from many sides, cognitive computing is meant to replicate humans, while expediting the process and helping make decisions.

Although this is exciting technology with many applications, we have yet to see it truly take on it’s own potential in most businesses. However, early reports are promising. As an example, Towards Data Science shares a few real work applications.

“With the help of IBM Watson, Royal Bank of Scotland developed an intelligent assistant that is capable of handling 5000 queries in a single day. Using cognitive learning capabilities, the assistant gave RBS the ability to analyze customer grievance data and create a repository of commonly asked questions. Not only did the assistant analyze queries, but, it was also capable of providing 1000 different responses and understand 200 customer intents. The digital assistant learned how customers ask general questions, how to handle the query and transfer to a human agent if it is too complicated.”

4. Interactive IoT Learning

The Internet of Things, Smart Home, and Smart Business innovations are changing the landscape of modern business tech quite significantly. Companies across the world are replacing their light bulbs with color-changing LED alternatives, installing WiFi security cameras, smart programmable coffee pots, and decorating the office with self-watering plants. However, where IoT really shines is in business automation, especially when combined with the voice controls of the smart “home” hubs.

Any process that can be automated can also be voice-activated, meaning you can significantly streamline repetitive tasks to be completed in an almost conversational way with a computer or smart home hub. Naturally, you can also configure IoT integrations to effectively help teach systems to new trainees. Simply having an infrastructure that responds to voice and mobile app commands can help professional learners gain a stronger grasp on company procedures.

5. Paired Learning with a ‘Pen Pal’

It has long since been found that training works better for most people if they do it in a collaborative way. Working together with at least one other person allows trainees to share the information they’re working with and process more thoroughly by explaining it to each other and discussing the lessons. One way to bring collaborative learning to the workplace even when you’re only training one employee in a facility is to give your employees a training pen-pal, someone who works in another facility but is either also learning or can teach the subject in question.

Paired learning can either by going through online training materials while partnered with another student in a different location or it can be used to pair your individual trainees with a mentor when the pair will be in two separate locations. This allows collaboration and interactive learning without anyone having to learn away from home. Video chat is usually considered the best way to do paired learning though, of course, email gets a fair workout during this process as well.

6. BYOD Mobile Training

Some companies believe the highest possible technology for modern training techniques is going mobile. It’s true that the mobile app has come great leaps and bounds in the last ten years going from very simple small-memory applications to full-sized pseudo-VR video games. A mobile training platform allows you to train equally well in the office, on the go, and to hook up remote hires with the same training that everyone else receives. Of course, the usual question is then what mobile devices to use.

While some companies are still focused on getting everyone a company cell phone, with the reliable capability of most modern devices, the new trend is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) when it comes to mobile training and interactions both in and out of the office.

7. Cloud-Collaborative Project Learning

Many business positions are not for an independent role, but part of a team. This means each new hire must not only be well-versed in the software, but a good team player that can handle collaborative efforts. There are hundreds of software options that allow for collaboration and version control, but the most reliable are all now based on the cloud. The cloud, unlike software that relies on your local network, ensures any project is not only accessible to remote employees, but is also backed up and safe from malware attacks on local systems.

There are two ways to use cloud-collaborative project learning in your training methods. The first and most popular method is to coordinate a group of fresh recruits to work on a test project together using your collaborative software solution. This gets them all used to the process of saving, making notes, and working together without interrupting workflow. The second option, often implemented later, allows you to slowly introduce new team members to the collaborative projects currently being worked on by the teams they are about to join.

8. Gamified Skills Assessment and Training

25 years ago, business stood by the concept that work doesn’t have to be fun. As it turns out, we now know that people work harder, are more committed to results, and are more loyal to a company when they are having a good time. This has encouraged business training leaders to design new eLearning solutions that are built to entertain as well as educate.

Gamification was introduced. With the use of animations, scores, and game-like features to convey the training material, trainees will strive to become better at their job tasks partly just to beat their own high scores while incidentally absorbing and actively using the material that was important to teach.

9. Video Libraries for Self-Guided Training

Let’s not forget self-directed learners, who prefer to explore a library of knowledge on their own. Traditionally, companies have built up libraries of dry explanatory materials and old reports. However, with new video recording and sharing technology, it is now surprisingly easy to both record training videos and make them available to both new hires and current employees pursuing in-line training. If stored online, even your remote employees can gain the benefit of the video training library.

How is your company currently handling onboarding and online training? If you’re still holding classes in the old lecture fashion, it’s high time to look into what modern technology has to offer in order to speed, up, streamline, and increase the engagement of your office courses.

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