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Transformational Training and Professional Development

Face-to-face classroom training, while extremely effective, requires the availability of local subject matter experts or considerable travel time and expense. Traditional classroom delivery also is constrained by the available, local technology. 

Integrated, cohesive availability of webinars, virtual classrooms, and web-based services provide the opportunity to directly link the best experts worldwide with large, geographically dispersed audiences. Here are some additional benefits.: 

  • Webinar training enables the utilization of polling and instantaneous response, whiteboarding, and consensus building. Participants, while often separated geographically, feel an increased sense of inclusion.
  • Virtual classrooms offer substantial tools and techniques to engage remote participants. Experience suggests that the utilization of avatars increases the active participation of cultural attendees who might otherwise remain silent during traditions seminars.
  • Web-based services enable training delivery customization, brand recognition, and measurement feedback loops.  

Continuous learning  

In prior decades, learning was primary delivered face-to-face in the classroom. Training solutions were characterized by a finite duration requiring trainers and participants to schedule time on their calendars, frequently including travel and recurring cost. Agendas tended to reflect a distinct set of objectives to accommodate the general audience. A broadcast style of delivery was utilized with a limited degree of interactivity.  

Today, training is no longer constrained by time or the physical classroom. The advent of webinar, e-learning, virtual classroom, and sophisticated software systems has enabled participants to select the topics, timeframes, and duration of learning solutions for their convenience. 

The integration of these new capabilities also is transforming classroom learning. Innovative, personalized, network-based, preclassroom activities better prepare classroom participants and enable classroom trainers to customize each solution to the specific needs of the participants. Examples of web-based, prework include interactive perception exercises, base-lining, and content introduction. These networked capabilities are increasingly being integrated into the classroom providing enhanced interactivity, personalized training, and experiential learning. 

Effective learning strategies also incorporate post-program services extending training beyond classroom solution. The network enables classroom participants with the ability to access e-learning self-study training reinforcement and customized solutions and best practices for challenges participants confront subsequent to the training program.  

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Examples of additional, post-program offerings include timely content notification, FAQs, and “ask the expert” services.  

Continuous learning strategies additionally enable Level 3 behavioral feedback and measurement.  

Just-in-time training 

Prior to network ubiquity, the scheduling of a training solution and a participant’s need for that training were frequently out of sync. Effective learning environments require availability of individualized training services at the precise point of need. The ubiquitous information network provides that opportunity. 

For example, most point of sale and service (POSS) associates rely on a networked appliance— a computer, a tablet, a smart phone, or a customized device—to complete their tasks. 

Just-in-time learning design enables integration with POSS devices, which provides the associate with the knowledge and insight to deliver exemplary service. These services should be intuitive, focused, and provide rapid response to the remote user, thereby enriching the consumer experience. Consider: 

  • a hotel front desk registrar possessing immediate access to cultural information regarding the customs and requirements of each international guest to tailor the welcome experience
  • a U.S.-based corporate executive with expanded responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region that requires frequent visits to China, Korea, and India having mobile access to local communication styles and expectations of managers
  • the back office customer service representative presented with a script tailored to individual callers, including prior interactions, and descriptions of applicable, new product or service offerings.  

These features should not be considered mutually exclusive with classroom training. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. For example, consider a classroom training program where each participant’s smart phone is linked to a web application enabling polling and instant feedback that would be available during the class.  
Integration of information networks and mobile technology into the classroom enhances the opportunity to leverage technical innovation while delivering consistent, quality training geographically regardless of the modality.  

© 2013 ASTD, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.

About the Author
Neal Goodman is an internationally recognized authority on globalization, global mindset development, and cultural competence for global corporations. His programs have helped hundreds of thousands of corporate executives to be more effective in international settings by learning how to apply a global mindset. Global Dynamics, the company he co-founded in 1983, designs, organizes, and implements programs that support global mindset development, cultural competence, global team building, global leadership, virtual workforce effectiveness, and diversity and inclusion in leading Fortune 500 companies that wish to succeed in the global arena. As CEO of GDI, he leads a team of more than 400 innovative, cross-cultural experts from around the globe to create in-person, blended, and web-based solutions for his clients.
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