The Future of Corporate Education

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The traditional model for training departments is to develop training courses, design the structure and obtain subject matter experts in the company to provide content

The traditional model for training departments is to develop training courses, design the structure and obtain subject matter experts in the company to provide content

Three employees are gathered in a corner huddled around a tablet computer. They are discussing how to solve a problem they have been assigned as a team. Just like a professional football team breaking out of the huddle to confront the opponent, they move en masse to a mainframe and input some code taken from the tablet being held by the team leader. A trial run of the new code inputs produces a print out for inspection. From the smiles and high fives, it’s obvious that the learning team has solved a problem and come up with a new productivity enhancing solution. This scenario is typical of a new corporate approach to learning and training. With the rapid advance of technology and knowledge, corporations are changing in the way corporate training is being delivered and used.

The traditional model for training departments is to develop training courses, design the structure and obtain subject matter experts in the company to provide content. Classes were scheduled and work schedules adjusted accordingly. In the classroom, content was “pushed” at the learners and hopefully some of the important content would stick. Today, more companies are moving to online learning of the classroom content where scheduling problems have been greatly addressed but pushing content was still the teaching method used. However, in recent years, the basic concept of how content of e-learning is delivered has been undergoing a major paradigm shift. Content is no longer pushed on learners rather learners are “pulled to the content.”

Pulled content is a model where learners are presented with content and then given the choice to pull the content from the training to help accomplish a team task. This allows learners to not only choose what elements they think are important to the task but also learn from team members. Most employees have a variety of experiences that can provide real added value and insight into the subject matter. Indeed, critical thinking is promoted by not providing “formula solutions.” Moreover, “M-Learning” (using mobile devices) allows for the real time use of content on the job and can be reviewed at anytime and anyplace. And there is more.

Industry subject matter experts are being contracted outside of the company to design and record training content. This move to outsourcing is aimed at gaining the most up-to-date content as well as gaining exposure to best practices in the industry. Moreover, as with many fixed costs, training departments are being downsized as more and more content is outsourced. This may imply that the ROI besides more immediate use of knew training. However, so far there is no published studies to confirm this belief. But one thing is clear, learners love being able to immediately use and have access to the content of their corporate training. Moreover, team learners find team learning a valuable experience not only in terms of learning how to elicit ideas from team mates, but also learning how to function in a cooperative manner.

Often, team learning can become a trying event as clashing personalities and agendas seem to be a natural human condition. Learning how to work in groups helps to develop leadership as well as collaborative “followership.” Indeed, depending on the workplace and its product or service, training employees to work in collaborative groups with minimal management has a growing number of supporters. Some preliminary data shows that effective collaborative groups are more productive, happier and more liberated to develop their particular skills. Happier and more productive employees also translates into less turnover and its associated costs.

 

Additional Reading

How to Achieve Operational Excellence in the Private Equity Industry

Assessing Corporate Culture

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