Learning and development professionals have two primary challenges: How to create engagement, improve retention and drive learning outcomes with high-impact content; and how to monitor and manage learning effectively. Luckily for us, learning technologies have kept pace with the demand for impactful training solutions. Driven by the need to improve business outcomes and the accessibility of internet-connected devices, innovative learning solutions are now becoming the norm.
As you continue to develop new learning strategies to manage the current challenges in remote learning and the hybrid workplace, you may be called upon to prove the return on investment (ROI) of new learning technologies. Because of the newness of many of these tools, it can be difficult to demonstrate where they can be best applied in your organization. With that in mind, let’s explore a few specific use cases for a variety of the innovative technologies on the market to help you gain buy-in from your executives. Of course, it should be noted that there are many other ways to leverage learning technologies in your organization. Here, we will take a high-level approach to describing the top learning technologies for learning and development (L&D).
Using An LMS to Reach the Connected Learner
Learning management systems (LMSs) aren’t necessarily the newest tool in the toolbox, but they have grown immensely in their capabilities and functionalities over the years to become robust platforms that can integrate with other business areas to provide exceptional value. Data integration within LMSs has evolved the humble LMS into a critical tool for numerous business units, including human resources (HR), L&D, operations, finance and more. Their main function is as a learning management tool to manage and monitor learning activities in synchronous and asynchronous learning environments.
- An LMS can enable L&D to support business operations by integrating data between platforms. For example, an employee who has tested on a certain capability can be allowed access to a secure area in a warehouse. Integrating learning data with operations can more efficiently support employees’ development and streamline certain business processes.
- Learning analytics housed in an LMS can illustrate trends in how learners are engaging with content and demonstrate training’s effectiveness. Engagement statistics can show how long a learner spent in the system, in a particular course and even the length of time spent on an activity. Learners who appear to be drifting off course or demonstrating attrition can be flagged for immediate follow up.
- An LMS can personalize learning using unique learning paths and intuitive design. It also can allow learners to complete pre-assessment tests to skip over material they already understand. This prevents learners from wasting their time and getting bogged down in unnecessary activities. However, if a learner is struggling with an assessment along the learning path, they can be redirected to helpful resources or connected to supervisors for feedback and support.
- Within the LMS, HR can build engagement with new hires to ensure they are getting the support and information they need to succeed in their new role and in the organization at large. Automated emails can create simple touch-points to check in with new hires to make sure they are completing key onboarding and training tasks.
- An LMS can support social learning opportunities by connecting peers to others to encourage mentoring, coaching and knowledge sharing. In addition, LMSs can easily integrate with third-party content providers and social media platforms to share videos, Ted Talks, PowerPoint presentations, LinkedIn articles and groups, and more.
Augmented Reality for Service and Support
Augmented reality (AR) can be used to deliver information and training directly to a mobile device, wearable technology, or on a laptop. Using a heads-up display (HUD), extremely detailed information can be overlaid upon the real world so workers can see exactly what they’re supposed to do. With AR, workers and customers can also access support and services anywhere, at any time, reducing the time required to transport personnel or equipment to a specific location.
- An employee may be attempting to fix an electrical box and require support from an expert information technology (IT) support worker. Without the expense of having to dispatch a person to the site, support can be given using AR technology, allowing support to provide information directly into the line of sight.
- A new employee training in the proper way to operate a piece of equipment is at risk of damaging personal or company assets. Using AR, they can “see” the proper operating procedures. Since no worker needs to be deployed, there is less risk to them should they need to enter a dangerous zone.
Wearable Tech to Demonstrate Learning Effectiveness
Once a training program has been completed, there is always the risk that key learnings haven’t been fully absorbed or are at risk of being forgotten. To address this, L&D teams need to follow up with employees and monitor real-world outcomes. Wearable technologies such as watches and body sensors can monitor employees on the job and provide analytics to demonstrate that key learnings have driven behavior change.
- A warehouse worker may have been trained in proper and safe lifting techniques. Using a wearable sensor on their back can determine if they are following proper safety procedures. If they aren’t, alerts can be sent to managers to identify problem behaviors and be ready to respond in real time.
- Workers who interact with heavy, moving machinery are at risk of personal injury and damaging equipment. Even though they may have been trained properly, a worker may not always be aware of danger in the actual workplace. Wearable sensors can alert an employee when a tractor or forklift is a threat. And analytics can demonstrate to L&D where additional training may be required to remain safe, compliant, and efficient.
Training Simulations to Improve Efficiency
Airline pilots have been doing this for years. But in recent years, more organizations are reaping the benefits of training simulations. Not only do they provide learners an opportunity to train in near real-world circumstances and environments, they can greatly reduce the time it takes to train. Virtual reality (VR) training could also apply here, but that’s a topic unto itself. For our purposes, let’s focus on basic simulations for training in technical skills, like those used by airlines and railways.
- An airline pilot can train in a real-world environment without risk to self or others. The ability to practice and repeat experiences, to fail and learn, drive retention of key learning objectives.
- At a major CoreAxis Consulting, for instance, simulations can provide hands-on training at a fraction of the cost needed for on-site training, while also reducing time away from the job.
This article is just a brief overview of potential use cases for these emerging technologies. Once you learn more about their capabilities and abilities to perform at scale, you may very well discover new possibilities as they relate to your organization’s unique goals.
In the future, we will very likely be able to monitor voice feedback, tone, eye movement and biometric feedback, including heart rates, breathing, blood pressure, and even more, to better track training outcomes and behaviors. The potential for using this data in a meaningful way grows with each passing month.
To learn more about LMSs, learning experience platforms (LXPs) or other exciting learning technologies, consider signing up for our Innovation Workshop. Together, we’ll explore the potential impact these cutting edge tools can have on your business and learning strategy. And if you have any questions about how CoreAxis can help you deliver custom learning experiences to your audience, feel free to CoreAxis Consulting to us today.