November 12, 2014

The world is beginning to harvest the advantages achieved by bringing technology-based learning into both the academic classroom and the corporate training environment.

In education, many of the foundation skills and competencies — upon graduation, so critical to the workplace — can be achieved through the use of technology in the classroom.

“Students using technology demonstrate any number of improvements: more confidence, higher motivation, peer mentoring, collaboration, and enhanced self-esteem” (Barbara Means). They are also able to handle more complex tasks and “acquire a basic understanding of how various classes of computer tools behave, and a confidence about being able to learn to use (the) new tools” that they will encounter in the years ahead.” (Barbara Means).

“Compared to conventional classrooms with their stress on verbal knowledge and multiple-choice test performance, technology provides a very different set of challenges and different ways in which students can demonstrate what they understand” (Barbara Means). Added benefits may be found in that “students watch less television, while improving problem-solving and critical thinking skills . . . technology rich schools report higher attendance and fewer dropouts” (NEW YORK TIMES: “Study Finds that Online Education beats the Classroom”).

And, so it is also proving to be in our adult work world. Organizations that are moving from traditional “live instruction” to the multiple benefits of multi-sensory learning are leaping ahead.

An article (“Re-evaluate approach to training, reap benefits from technology”) in the Rochester Business Journal by Candace Walters describes some of these changes:

“I recently spoke with Kristen Fyfe, senior manager of communications for the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) about this change. She told me businesses around the world today are re-evaluating their approach to training and experimenting with how it is delivered.

‘Just as technology is transforming everything else in our lives, it’s also transforming the way that companies are training and developing their workforces,’ she said. ‘We work in a fast-paced business environment. We need to step away from a completely traditional approach to learning and leverage emerging technology.’

The frequency of training programs also is changing. A recent Deloitte Shift Index study, which looks at the dynamics changing our world, found the work skills acquired during college have an expected shelf life of about five years. The need for continuous training, along with advances in technology, is creating new possibilities for companies to deliver real-time training in ways that are cost-effective.

‘Companies must commit to the idea that mobile training is here to stay, as well as company Intranet, Facebook-type platforms and micro blogging,’ Fyfe said. . . .”

Again, multi-sensory media instruction comes to mind as the most flexible solution. It offers privacy to the adult learner, ease of use, scheduling flexibility, and stands ready to offer initial or refresher training as needed.

The world is changing. And, both the reading minority and the less adept readers will benefit from the technology advances that are rapidly improving learning.

More on Monday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder of ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)