When talking about employee education and training, most people imagine training sessions with numerous participants that last several hours or a full day. But with the technical progress we have made in the last few years, new opportunities for more efficient types of employee education are opening up.
Unlike traditional education, smart education uses various digital tools such as mobile devices, laptops, audio-visual tools, augmented and virtual reality. When compared to traditional education, it has many advantages:
- Flexibility – students can learn at their own pace and at any place they feel comfortable and can focus, such as at home or a café
- Large variety of courses – the courses aren´t limited by time or space constraints
- Lower cost – online training and knowledge management systems cost less than live trainings with numerous participants
- Easy communication and collaboration – students can communicate with teachers and collaborate through various digital channels with no need for appointments
- Digital study materials are easier to keep – instead of keeping paper documents, students have access to the video and course materials after finishing a class
Smart education methods have gained their place in field service employee training, be it onboarding or regular employee education. In-person training for newly hired employees often requires diverting experienced employees from their tasks to train their colleagues. Digital onboarding, on the other hand, only requires the presence of the new employee who´s being trained.
Furthering the education of your long-time employees can be costly and unnecessarily complicated. You need to get everyone to come to a certain place at a certain time. That can be challenging, especially with ever-changing schedules and busy field technicians.
What are some of the most popular smart education methods?
1. Online courses & webinars
The biggest advantage of online courses and webinars is that employees can take part and complete them whenever and wherever they have the time. They can learn from the training videos at their own pace, pause the course, rewind it when something is unclear or they didn´t catch what the lecturer said.
Students are also not limited by country – as the lecturer doesn´t need to be physically present, he doesn´t have to live in the same country as the students. Therefore, when choosing the right course for your staff, you can focus mainly on the quality of the course without having to think about proximity. However, there are some drawbacks. Webinars and online courses understandably focus more on theory than practice and require self-motivation and good time management.
Microlearning is one of the newest forms of e-learning. It´s a more engaging and less time-consuming method that allows delivers content to learners in small doses. This content can be in the form of short-term learning activities, such as games, tests or quizzes or small learning units, such as audio, videos, text or images. Microlearning can be used for various kinds of training such as employee onboarding, training short-term employees, learning about your company´s new products, compliance training or professional skills training, etc.
The main advantages of microlearning are that it´s flexible, affordable, and engaging – it might not feel like you´re studying at all. On the other hand, it isn´t ideal for learning about complex topics or studying a subject in-depth.
It is proven that game mechanics in training such as levels, leaderboards, experience points, streaks, or rewards help increase student engagement. When students feel engaged, they enjoy training more. These game mechanics help make the learning experience more personalized, and thanks to this, employees focus on training areas that are the most relevant for them. You also get access to instant feedback – you see your employees´ progress and what topics they struggle with right away. Moreover, platforms such as Duolingo show us that a combination of gamification and microlearning can lead to very good results.
However, you will need specific software or equipment. Another issue is translating the student´s progress from gamified learning to fulfilling course objectives and tying it in with course assessment.
4. Virtual reality
Another technology that´s starting to make waves is virtual reality (VR). VR provides students with an immersive experience that´s as close to learning on a real subject as it gets. Students or employees can learn not only by listening and reading, but also by directly interacting with the subject, which helps them better understand the topic. VR is proving to be exceptionally effective in fields such as medicine. After all, learning by doing is one of the most effective approaches to learning.
The downside is that it´s not flexible – when the student is using a specific software, there´s no rooms for asking questions or doing anything the software doesn´t allow. VR´s also expensive, and like with any other software, functionality issues can arise.
5. Knowledge libraries
In many industries, experienced workers are starting to retire, and there is no one to replace them. This phenomenon is called the „silver tsunami,“ and if companies fail to react, it may cause the loss of undocumented know-how. That, in turn, will complicate the onboarding of new employees who won´t have anyone to teach them about the company´s processes and best practices.
Knowledge libraries will help you retain precious tribal knowledge. Your senior technicians can create instructions and guides for their current and future co-workers by documenting each step of their tasks. What´s even better, they can do all this on a mobile device. Newly hired and junior technicians can then use these guides when learning how to complete a task or as a walkthrough when working on it.
The pros of knowledge libraries are that employees can have immediate access to the guides anywhere they need, the information is always up-to-date, and you can store a large volume of data here. However, to create a good knowledge library, you need skilled professionals willing to share their knowledge. Students also need to be connected to the internet to use these guides.
Resco Field Service 2.0 will show you a different perspective on employee education
The useful features of Resco Field Service 2.0 will help you educate your technicians and give them access to your company´s knowledge libraries. Check out Field Service 2.0´s official product page or book a customized demo today!