Corporate training is essential for any business that wants to retain employees, improve productivity and reduce the rate of error in day-to-day work. Finding time to train employees effectively, however, can be difficult. This is especially true right now, as businesses grapple with record levels of demand and pivot away from centralized, in-office workforces toward more distributed teams.
Coordinating a learning and development (L&D) team and new hires can quickly become a major challenge under these conditions. Remote workers may have schedules that are completely unaligned with the schedules of experienced employees who can provide training.
Partial or fully automating training initiatives can help significantly improve the efficiency of these programs, while also making them more accessible to a distributed workforce. The strategies outlined below will help you implement automation in your own training programs.
Key Benefits of Automated Training Programs
Automated programs have been demonstrated to offer significant benefits both for businesses and their employees. If a business has struggled with coordinating remote workers and in-person employees for training, an automated solution can be a vital asset.
Almost any repetitive task can be automated. Rote administrative work necessary for training programs — like transferring files, generating training records and tracking learners’ progress — is especially easy to automate. Many modern learning management systems (LMSs) are built with the automation of these tasks in mind.
For example, trainers may need to email course resources to every trainee enrolled in a particular course. With the right platform, it may be possible to automate this process, helping to reduce error and the amount of prep work that L&D leaders need to do. Additional tools, like business process automation platforms, can help round out the LMS’ features.
These automated systems make it much easier to scale up your training programs. Having less administrative work and automated record-keeping helps businesses handle the training of a growing workforce without significantly increasing the amount of work the business will have to do coordinating that training.
Automated solutions can also help streamline training for teams distributed around the globe. Onboarding international hires can be difficult without the right practices in place, and training in particular poses certain challenges.
Tools that automate resource distribution and communication can help ensure all learners stay in the loop, even if they are signing on from across the globe.
Strategies for Employee Development Automation
Many include features that help to automate both in-person and online learning. Typically, businesses wanting to streamline their training programs with automation begin with these features.
Tools like rule-based group assignments, automated awarding of certificates, and triggered notifications will help ensure less administrative work for training managers at large.
With these features in place, learners may also be more likely to receive the resources and notifications they need, reducing the chance that they’ll have to follow up with a teacher to move forward.
Some eLearning systems and LMSs also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-powered automation tools. For example, there are new tools that can automatically generate assessments based on uploaded course material, allowing training managers to test learners’ knowledge quickly, even if they don’t have an assessment prepared.
The same platforms may also offer courses that algorithmically adjust difficult or content based on learner behavior. These features can help keep learning personalized, even when a course leader can’t provide individual attention to each learner.
It’s also possible to incorporate non- eLearning tools to help improve the function of LMS platforms. Machine vision apps can transcribe text and generate written descriptions of diagrams, illustrations, and images. These tools can help make courses more accessible, automatically creating alt-text or descriptions for images that can be read aloud by a digital text reader.
AI-based eLearning applications are likely to become even better in the near future. Many LMSs are already investigating how to use innovations like natural language processing, the technology that enables AI-powered chatbots and customer service representatives to improve automated learning solutions’ functionalities.
Integrating Automation in L&D
No matter which automation tool you choose, it’s good to plan for some disruption. Even adopting business process automation for something as simple as sending emails can upset workflows. More extensive automation tools — like AI-powered assessment generation features — will almost certainly require training managers to adjust accordingly.
New eLearning platforms and training automation typically work best when integrated slowly. Larger businesses may benefit from pilot programs that enable the gradual rollout of new solutions, as well as the opportunity to A/B test different platforms and or automated training strategies.
If management is considering an automated learning solution, it’s important for you, as a training leader, to join the conversation as soon as possible. This communication can help minimize disruption by helping management identify which processes are most in need of automation.