New technologies continually arise in the workplace to improve your team’s performance, and the speed at which they arise forces your staff to continue to develop. But some individuals might think they don’t need to learn anything new, and some members of the board of directors might see training only as an expense. In both cases, new learning technologies are key to demonstrating that it is always possible to learn, while investing less than you already spend in face-to-face learning initiatives.
When we think about technology, we often think of great investments, absurd techniques, or some practices that are more entertaining than educational. We don’t want things to be overly complicated. We just want to train our staff with the best tools available. Having worked on implementing new technologies since 1998, I have seen their benefit.
An important part of training is that learners can practice in a controlled environment, able to make mistakes and correct them to get it right. This is a great use of virtual reality as a simulation tool. The concept is quite simple: you recreate the work environment in which learners will operate. For a long time, you could only do this by building 3-D environments, but new technologies have broadened this market.
For example, 360-degree cameras can capture images of the worksite, and with a little editing, you have an immersive real environment. Saving editing hours, the project tends to cost less than a traditional e-learning. The market has recently experienced an avalanche of virtual reality devices, such as the Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR, and Samsung Gear VR. This technology uses a mobile device, so it is not necessary to invest in computers to use.
And yet, according to ATD’s 2015 research report Global Trends in Talent Development, which surveyed talent development professionals in such countries as Brazil, Chile, and Spain, conventional training is still prevalent: A little more than 50 percent of corporate training is still conducted in the classroom. However, that number is down 5 percentage points from 2013.
Research illustrates that training departments throughout the world face the same needs and challenges, including the need to use technology in corporate education. My company, Telefonica Educação Digital—Brazil, did a study for a client that compared the cost of creating simulation rooms with TVs and routers to detect the most common errors during installation for 27 Brazilian cities with creating a virtual reality interaction. The study found that the cost of performing the simulation in a physical room was more than 15 times more expensive than the virtual solution.
The Global Trends in Talent Development report found that in Latin America, 22 percent of training is dependent on technological resources. The main technologies employed are mobile learning, virtual reality, and augmented reality, all of which have yielded excellent results in increased knowledge retention and student satisfaction.
Consider this example from my company when we developed virtual reality training for technicians. We created a 3-D environment with three fiber installations, two of them with common mistakes, and one of them with the right way to do it. Technicians thus had the opportunity to see and evaluate good or bad installations in a simulated workplace.
When we’re familiar with the environment in which we’ll be working, we can better concentrate on solving our client’s needs. And so because the technicians trained in a virtual simulation of a typical client’s house, they became less anxious and more confident when they started to serve clients in the real world.
We can achieve surprising improvements in all areas of the company through the use of technology in corporate education. With creativity, research, and effort, we can improve our employees’ job satisfaction. After all, satisfied professionals are much more efficient.