4 Benefits Of Incorporating Emerging Tech In Learning And Development

Why You Should Incorporate Emerging Tech In L&D

The field of L&D is rapidly changing and evolving. The rise of several emerging technologies has paved the way for more dynamic learning opportunities, and traditional Learning Management Systems are being complemented with, or sometimes replaced by, a range of tools that more effectively support performance improvement. As younger generations enter the workforce, companies are recognizing that offering innovative, engaging training needs to be part of the strategy to motivate and retain employees. An article by Deloitte[1] says that “the impact of the fourth industrial revolution is fundamentally changing the nature of work and meaning of career, and making it imperative to constantly refresh one's skills.” Emerging tech goes hand in hand with this transformation; these tools can be used to design cutting-edge learning experiences that demonstrate to employees that their companies care about investing in their continued professional growth. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of emerging tech for learning.

eBook Release: Top Emerging Technology Trends And Their Impact On L&D
eBook Release
Top Emerging Technology Trends And Their Impact On L&D
Discover the benefits of incorporating emerging technologies in your Learning and Development programs.

1. Using Emerging Tech To Increase Learning Efficacy

In an article published by Training Industry[2], W. Todd Maddox, Ph.D., says that training’s true goal is retention: “The brain is hardwired to forget. For training to be retained and guide long-term behavior, it must be stored in long-term memory.” Indeed, all Instructional Designers (IDs) want their courses to be memorable and have a long-lasting effect. Maddox adds that training designed for retention focuses on “reducing forgetting. Three critical elements are required: high-quality, engaging content, optimized training procedures, and spaced testing and targeted retraining.” Through the use of emerging tech such as Virtual Reality (VR), IDs can create immersive, realistic environments for learners to step into and have first-hand experiences that can’t be replicated in any other medium. “People feel like they’re really there and they’re really doing it,” says Mary Gannon, Ph.D., Senior Learning Strategist at SweetRush. “We know from designing eLearning experiences that the extent to which we build courses for learners that mirror their work environments, that are realistic and practical for use in their jobs, the stronger recall those courses will have,” says Gannon.

2. Emerging Tech Enables Learning Experiences That Are Difficult Or Expensive To Recreate

Both Augmented Reality (AR) and VR transport learners into another world, in which they can gain experience without risking their safety, or a potential negative impact to customers or colleagues. VR and AR enable IDs to mimic environments that would be too difficult or too expensive to recreate. For example, implementing VR training would be far more cost effective than flying dozens of employees from across the country to receive a more traditional, on-site training. An architect could use AR to showcase a building to investors during a meeting and convince them to develop the project after giving them a realistic sense of it. “We can even do things that would be impossible to do in the real world,” says Justin Mitchell, Creative Engineer at SweetRush. “For instance, in a VR environment, an architect could view his design from 1,000 feet up in the sky.” Emerging tech innovations also provide a safer alternative for training, which translates to lower risks and higher productivity. In this regard, an article published in Training Industry[3] states: “Technology-assisted learning is propelling organizations and employees to an optimum level of performance, significantly reducing accidents and costs.”

3. The Time-Saving Benefits Of Emerging Tech

Here’s an idea for a party game: Take out your phones and do a Google search that begins with “My” and say aloud the first suggestion you see. (I got “My dog hasn’t pooped in days”—seriously!) This potentially embarrassing experiment showcases Artificial Intelligence (AI) in action: The Google Search Engine learns and gathers data from each user’s past searches, and then makes a suggestion based on that information. In a similar way, AI can be used in L&D, learning from users in order to simplify their access to the information they need. “AI can ask questions of the learner, and from the answers it receives, it can learn what they need to know pretty quickly,” says Gannon. “It’s time saving, and that increases learning efficacy.” Gannon also underscores how AI and other forms of emerging tech are ideal for “just-in-time information. You ask what you need to know right there, at the moment.”

“The personalized delivery of appropriate learning experiences, based on what you need at that exact time, drawn from data on you, others taking the course, even your (and others’) behavior on previous courses, can all be used to decide what you need at that exact moment,” states an article [4] by Donald Clark. “This ‘adaptive’ learning is almost certain to increase the efficacy of online learning.”

4. Emerging Tech Can Create A Memorable And Practical Experience

A common buzzword related to emerging tech is “experience”. You want your learners to have an experience they will remember. Emerging technologies can, indeed, provide learners with a range of experiences that stick with them and enable them to recall the information later. “Emerging technologies provide an experience learners want to go back to, not because they feel obligated to, but because they are interested,” says Mitchell. “Technology creates an exciting atmosphere around it. You put somebody in a VR headset and they are immediately interested.” To create a memorable and interesting experience, it’s important to take a more practical approach. People tend to forget about theoretical concepts very easily. In fact, “forgetting” depends on many variables, and research done by Will Thalheimer[5] confirms that “learners who receive repetitions, retrieval practice, feedback, variety (and other potent learning methods) are more likely to remember than learners who do not receive such learning supports.” Emerging technologies offer immense possibilities in this regard. Dry content and concepts that are hard to grasp can be far more interesting and engaging when presented with VR and AR through a practical application. As Christopher Pappas puts it, “This helps learners to appreciate the importance of concepts and ideas instead of merely brushing them off as a theoretical knowledge that has no correlation with their work duties or responsibilities.”

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Training is about providing learners with the best tools so they can be as prepared as possible to achieve their fullest potential and do the best job they can. As we’ve seen, using emerging tech in L&D offers tremendous benefits to help employers provide workers with the skills they need to perform a task.

Did you enjoy this article? Check out 5 Emerging Technology Trends Influencing Learning And Development for more insights.

Stay tuned for more thought leadership on emerging technology trends for L&D from the SPARK team at SweetRush.

Download the eBook Top Emerging Technology Trends And Their Impact On L&D to see how the emergence of virtual reality and augmented reality can open up new ways of working for L&D professionals. Learn why they are new powerful tools in teaching and affecting behavioral change and how they can help you achieve your business objectives.

If you want to discover more fantastic features you need to implement Virtual Reality in your organization, check out the webinar Virtual Reality: Real-World Hilton/SweetRush Project Case Studies. It is brought to you by SweetRush and teaches everything you need to know to run an exceptional VR learning program.

References

  1. Careers and learning: Real-time, all the time
  2. Training for Retention in Virtual Reality and Computer-Based Platforms
  3. How Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Microlearning Are Innovating Health and Safety Training
  4. Personalised learning – what the hell is it? 10 things that work...
  5. How Much Do People Forget?
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