Live training had its day in the sun. These days, it’s expensive and it’s not necessarily better than online training. With online training, you get something you could never fully pull off in the live training classes: one-to-one interaction. Sure, the employees are staring at a computer screen, but software programs have gotten very sophisticated these days, with some of them taking advantage of adaptive learning technology. Here’s how your employees benefit from all that.
Email. Smartphones. Laptops. All of these are potential points of failure in your company. For example, hackers and scam artists have become very sophisticated in their schemes. They can target email users, and indeed entire companies, with scams that trick users into handing over sensitive company information like account user names and passwords.
You probably don’t want egg on your face because an employee opened a malicious email that brought down your company’s servers. Online training can immerse them in the email program of your choice so that they become familiar with the security features unique to that program.
Online training also sensitizes employees to the dangers of wireless Internet connections. They are a remote worker’s best friend, but they are also hotspots for criminal activity. Since most public networks are insecure, valuable information can be plucked right out of the air, so to speak. How would you feel about your entire company being compromised because of a trip to Starbucks?
Finally, smartphones represent a major leak in data security in most businesses. Almost half of Americans have them, and they have pretty sophisticated capabilities. Sadly, most people choose not to use security features like pass code locks because they’re annoying and intrusive.
They worsen the “user experience.” While that may be true, they also keep the device secure. If your employees are using personal cell phones for business use, you don’t want them transmitting sensitive data out of the company (or at all) on them – especially if they aren’t locking the device when not in use.
The Training Is Very Flexible
Just about all computer training courses have some element of flexibility built into them. The fact that you can take online training when it suits you means that your employees are empowered. Training classes aren’t limited by location or time like they used to be.
They’re mostly just limited by Internet connectivity – such as it is. This flexibility extends into how employees take the class too. It’s natural for some employees to learn at a faster pace than others. In the old days, you just tried to balance the slow starters with the fast learners. Not anymore.
Everyone moves at their own pace with online training. You can set “soft” deadlines but, for the most part, employees will get a better grasp of what’s being taught because they’re learning at a pace most comfortable to them. That eliminates a lot of frustration, employee turnover due to lack of competence, and builds morale.
Employees Get Mentors
Just because there may not be a live human being on the other end, doesn’t mean that your employees won’t get mentors. The designers of the training become defacto virtual mentors. It works pretty much the same way as live training, in that respect. If the course is well-designed, “if” being the operative word, then your employees will feel some kind of bond with the trainer behind the program. After all, he (your employee) is basically learning everything that the trainer knows.
Employees Can Customize Lessons
Some employees don’t have the gaps in knowledge that others do. With online training modules, employees can create their own lessons and classes, within reason. This kind of customization is previously unheard of.
For example, let’s say you’re offering a training class on communication. You know that most of the employees have already taken most of the modules in the course. There are a few stragglers and new hires, though. For those in the minority, they need to take all of the classes or topics being taught.
For more seasoned employees, they may only need one or two classes. Rather than waste their entire day on the Full Monty, they can take only what they need. They save time, you save and make money (in employee productivity), and everyone walks away happy.
Another way employees can customize lessons is in the scheduling. Let’s say you have a single mother in your company. She can’t take all of the courses or classes at once. Instead of forcing her to jam everything into one day, which would probably be counter-productive, she can take them spread out over multiple days.
In this sense, you control the content of the training, but the employee controls the distribution. In the end, this saves time because employees are able to take classes when it bests suits them, optimizing work flow and minimizing interruptions during important projects.
Anthony Buckley is constantly finding innovative methods of improving employee productivity. He enjoys writing about his findings and experiences on business blogs.
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