In yesterday’s HR Daily Advisor we began to explore trends that are transforming the world of training. Today, we’ll look at a few more.
Even employees who are clamoring for more learning and development options can dread the drudgery often associated with such opportunities. For all its advantages, for example, mobile learning is essentially a lonely pursuit. Who wouldn’t prefer to play a game of some type with other people?
That’s where gamification comes into, well, play. Gamification “uses a combination of the science of motivation, distributed learning, and other neuroscience foundations,” explains Karl M. Kapp, professor of instructional technology at Bloomsburg University. It leverages some of the common elements of games—like keeping score, competition with other players, and rules of play—to engage learners.
“Utilizing game mechanics to spur involvement in learning has shifted from the fringes of e-learning and is now a key element in many professional services training programs,” an ADP blog says. “After all, friendly competition is a great incentive for learning—and a welcome change from the sometimes isolating nature of learning platforms.
“Video games, simulations and other online games relating to workplace scenarios boost creative thinking and enhance problem-solving abilities.” As virtual reality technology and devices take hold, you can expect gamified training to embrace them, too.
Gamification seems obvious when you consider how many of your employees play electronic games, whether it’s The Sims on a phone or Call of Duty on a huge TV. “Gaming is an intrinsically self-motivated passage of time, with people worldwide clocking in 3 billion hours of gameplay a week,” says Apollo Education Groups’ chief professional development officer Steve Rae.
“Over the years, Fortune 500 companies have made strategic efforts to add the feature to their repertoires, wanting to leverage gaming elements like badges, levels, and experience points to increase learner engagement.”
Rae notes that gamification also is well suited for producing the kind of metrics that the C-suite craves but that can be difficult for HR to come up with. “Gamification not only intrinsically motivates learners, thus engaging them, but it further succeeds in making that engagement assessable through use of digestible metrics like stack rankings on a leaderboard.”
You can use such metrics to measure and evaluate the success of learner engagement, as well as the overall program.
2. Social Learning
Think about how many times within a single workday your employees check in on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and other social media apps. With such social interaction so enmeshed in many of your employees’ lives, it only makes sense to take a social approach to training, too.
As noted above, online classes can be lonely and isolating. Other students might be “attending” the same session at the same time, but real-time interaction is limited or nonexistent. With a social approach, the ADP blog says, “employees can further their knowledge base through collaborative learning models, while also benefiting from peer-to-peer relationship building and more deeply rooted team dynamics.”
Rae expects that more online professional development programs will adopt what he calls “cohorted team-based experiences.” They promote autonomy and self-direction, he says, which increases overall learner engagement. Social learning also “provides visibility to other online teachers and learners for discussion, collaboration, friendly competition, and knowledge sharing.”
3. Interdisciplinary Training
The accelerated aging of work skills is one way our work lives are so different from those of our parents. Another is that employees in the 21st century are unlikely to stick to a single field for their entire careers. Some might prefer to, but the silo structure of the last century’s companies has largely been broken down, and training is beginning to reflect that change.
“There is … a new focus on convergence—bringing together disciplines such as sales, marketing, design, finance, and IT onto cross-functional teams to build products and solutions faster,” Deloitte says in its 2017 trends report. “Forward-thinking [learning and development] departments are facilitating this growth in interdisciplinary thinking by viewing the corporate university as a commons instead of a training center …
“The goal is a learning environment adapted to a world of increased employee mobility. Interdisciplinary skills development is critical because these capabilities align with the organizational shift to networks of teams. Learning should encourage, and even push, people to move across jobs.”
Interdisciplinary training might involve job rotations or cross-functional mentorships. Whatever the approach, such training has great potential to be win-win for employees and employers. Employees will value the development opportunity, improving the odds of retention, and employers can simplify recruitment by grooming current employees for new positions.