As technology continues to advance, the workforce is becoming more “tech-dependent” than ever. These advancements, however, do not guarantee an increase in human resource budgets. Therefore, human resource departments are forced to make “smart” technology selections. In doing so, HR must consider what technologies are going to aid employees in doing their jobs better rather than taking them away from their work (Meyer, 2015). That’s the thing with technology; for many, it’s a necessary evil. The key to leveraging technology in the workforce is to choose tech tools that save on time while increasing efficiency. There are several tech tools in existence now that allow just that, and many of them are cost effective (and some are even free of charge).
Here are a few technologies that have proven to impact the way that people learn and interact and that may improve training and performance in the workforce:
- Social Media – Social media has advanced since its popularity exploded in the early 2000s. Websites such as MySpace and LinkedIn were first to gain prominence, and by 2006, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter appeared and are now some of the most popular social media networks on the World Wide Web (Hendricks, 2013). Social media creates interactive communication and allows for the exchange of user-generated content (Noe, 2013). In terms of training, while social media may not be suitable for delivery of training materials, it can be used to communicate new information and content through asynchronous communication. Social media may allow employees to stay abreast of updates within an organization as well as to share feedback.
- Shared Media – Slightly different from social media, shared media is audio or visual content that can be accessed via Internet or web and shared with others. An example of shared media that is most popular today is YouTube, while there are other shared media outlets like TeacherTube, a spin-off of YouTube that allows users to share content pertaining to education. Shared media can be useful for training purposes. A form of training is audiovisual training (Noe, 2013), and this form of training may be used to illustrate “how-to” procedures or processes. Shared media would be suitable for this form of training since it allows audio or visual content to be accessed online. Trainees may be asked to access a video that provides them with step-by-step instructions on how to access and navigate a new program or software that a company is implementing. Trainees could also be asked to view a video as a means of gaining “pre-knowledge” before a training session is actually conducted, say for instance if an organization is adopting Office 365 and wants to inform its employees about what the product is and how it can benefit the company.
- Learning Management Systems (LMS) – Learning management systems, or LMS, are technology platforms that can be used to automate the administration, development, and delivery of all a company’s training programs. Examples of learning management systems are Blackboard and Moodle. LMS are suitable for training types like audiovisual, on-the-job (OTJ), case studies, or team training. These platforms allow users to access content readily and to interact with the content on their own time and at their own pace.
- Virtual Classrooms – With online or e-learning becoming increasingly popular in higher education, virtual classrooms are now commonplace. A virtual classroom utilizes computer access and Internet to distribute instructor-led training to geographically dispersed employees (Noe, 2013). In fact, learning management systems, as shown above, can be used to create virtual classrooms.
- Applications (Apps) – Applications, or apps for short, are designed specifically for smartphones and tablets, although some apps can be accessed on computers with limited features or functioning. Some apps that are useful for training are Moodle Mobile, Apple Keynote, iTunes U, and Blackboard Mobile. These apps are “simplified” versions of websites or computer programs/software. Apps allow users to access information and content on a mobile device, which means that trainees or employees can participate in training on-the-go.
What technologies are you familiar with that support training or human resource capital management?
Hendricks, D. (2013, May 06). Complete History of Social Media: Then And Now. Retrieved April 11, 2019, from https://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/the-complete-history-of-social-media-infographic.html
Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
- Chapter 8, “Technology-Based Training Methods”
Meyer, P. (2015). Fostering Change. HR Magazine, 60(6), 60-61.