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How Training has changed over the decades

The world of training has been profoundly affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, one of the biggest changes being the growth in “virtual” training programs.

However, some things have been quietly changing for many years.

For example, sending a staff member for some training was often considered to be a one off experience, somewhat disconnected and theoretical with respect to their day to day job. Today’s employers and leaders want training that can actually be ‘taken back to the workplace’, with frameworks and tools that directly enhance the ability of an employee to do a better job.

Essentially, employers have realised the importance of reinforcing  the messages taught during the training program. This means that training does not end when the course finishes, and can continue for months or even years. Modern technology such as virtual meeting/conference software (e.g. Zoom) is making this easier.

There have been some negative changes as well though. Today, with everyone being continually connected to each other and their employers, people often feel that they are always at work, at the beck and call of their bosses. The effect on this seems to be that as people always see themselves as at work, that they resent anything, including training that places further demands on their time.

Many want the trainer to get straight to the point and tell them what they need to do and how to do it so they can get back to work in the shortest possible time.

Technology can be used during the training course to address this.

Training specialists also know that learning has a greater impact when it is more enjoyable and when it involves discussion, contextualisation and application.

This is one reason why simulations are far better than the traditional method of one-way presentation. Simulations offer an effective way of imparting knowledge, whilst also providing real experience to all attendees.

However, it is not a simple task to set up a simulation of a real world situation. The whole thing has to be carefully created to represent ‘real life’ in a way that people will believe in and feel able to interact with.

The facilitators also have to be subject matter experts as well as interpersonal stars, managing the interactions between participants whilst at the same time motivating them at an individual level, all with the goal of delivering an impactful training experience.

Companies like Prendo use sophisticated authoring and interface systems to create simulations that mimic real situations, which could have expensive or potentially catastrophic consequences if not handled correctly.

There are sure to have been other changes in the last 10 years, but one thing can be considered as a constant, the goal of training, which has always been, and will no doubt continue to be, to produce changes in the way participants act and carry out their duties, both inside and outside the working environment.

The way this goal is reached has changed, there being more emphasis on reinforcement and sustainment (verses the ‘one shot and it’s done’ system), technology also having revolutionised the way participants perceive and engage with the training process.

The one thing we can be sure of is that further changes will occur and that technology will increasingly be used to develop the skills and knowledge of tomorrow’s workforce.

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