The human element behind today’s economy is being asked to do more than ever. The workplace is more connected and demanding than ever. New tools like microlearning and mixed reality are helping training professionals prepare workers for new challenges like never before.

The New Workforce

According to the Pew Research Center, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force just three years ago, outnumbering baby boomers and Generation Xers. These tech-minded workers can be better at using digital technology but may possess shorter attention spans than their predecessors.

A changing workforce requires a change to traditional skills, brand culture and management training. There is a shift toward offering short, real-time bits of information to employees as well as interactive, gamified experiences in an effort to reach this demographic.

What do you need to consider when implementing new training techniques? Let’s take a look at ways organizations are planning for new training technology as these innovative tools and methods penetrate the market.

Digital Transformation

With the constant release of new, complex business tools, organizations are continually seeking ways to become more efficient and eliminate silos. The process of digital transformation, which applies the latest advances in technology across the enterprise, is indiscriminate: It benefits every aspect of a company, from sales and finance to human resources and training.

As new employees enter organizations that have not focused on shifting toward digital transparency, it becomes even more difficult to create programs that effectively train them on operational processes, the brand connection and job functions. SCORM, which Business IT calls “the lowest-common-denominator file format” is still commonly used to distribute courseware. In addition to the fact that this approach is outdated and lacks the interactivity that new technology like VR can provide, using SCORM, employees can become disinterested and lose focus, and the training becomes ineffective.

Forbes community voice Michael Graham outlines the importance of modernizing employee training, especially in the age of contractors and with the rise in the remote workforce. In Deloitte’s 2018 “Global Human Capital Trends” report, 37 percent of the leaders surveyed said they expected to see a rise in contractors by 2020, 33 percent predicted a rise in freelancers and 28 percent predicted a rise in gig workers.

When determining where your company is on its digital transformation journey, it’s important to consider how using new technologies such as VR can complement new and existing processes and systems. VR and other mixed reality technologies are just one way to stay ahead of the tech curve.

Freedom of Choice

New training technologies also offer an advantage over traditional tools when it comes to addressing varying adult learning theories. While older systems tend to follow linear learning formats, new methods allow for personalized learning experiences. For example, microlearning, which breaks down lessons into organized and searchable segments, allows workers to “get the right information delivered to them at the right time — in their flow of work,” according to a Forbes contributor. The indexed and searchable qualities of microlearning make it well-suited for customization.

Another method of nonlinear training technology is immersive or mixed reality experiences, which encompass virtual reality, augmented reality or a combination of the two. Many virtual reality training programs are set in unique 3D worlds that allow learners to explore at their own pace. Learning by exploring, rather than being directed at every step, can help cement information in the minds of employees.

Fast, Factual and Responsive

Employee training is most useful when training managers can track and verify the progress of trainees. That’s why learning management systems are so useful: They allow managers to document employees’ learning patterns.

Once mixed reality experiences are integrated with an organization’s LMS, VR and AR are easier to include in training programs. Training managers can assign experiential learning and view completion rates and scores in the same way they do for standard courses and assessments. VR is not meant to completely replace the physical teaching environment, but you can use it to reinforce other training with hands-on learning, resulting in greater retention.

As microlearning and mixed reality training are included more often in standard training paradigms, the world of corporate learning is moving into the future. By increasing engagement and working with the changing preferences of the labor force, these technologies are keeping employees ready for new challenges and helping employers eager to adopt more efficient ways of learning.