Training has never been so important to our industry and while this may not change in the short term, the way we approach and deliver training certainly will. With the growth of everyday Web usage and e-commerce, organisations think increasingly at a global level and are all too aware of the competitive pressures that confront them.
Executives at all levels recognise the need to derive maximum benefit from the IT systems and software they install and use. There's also pressure on the IT department to show a return on their IT investment - as soon as possible.
Yet there are still some industry Luddites that fail to integrate technology itself into their IT training strategy. UK companies are spending almost half of their total enterprise applications' project budget on training, with interest in technology-based training rising. So why not use technology to teach technology? There is evidence that satellite or internet-based training results in much higher customer satisfaction ratings.
It is an area which is set for explosive growth. While the US might be way ahead of the UK in technology-based training, the rest of Europe is even further behind us. Its time has come. Technology and, in particular, software is becoming incredibly sophisticated and this pattern will continue.
The internet, for example, is already there for many of us. So why not use the Web or TV to deliver training and professional updates? It won't ever replace instructor-led training (ILT), but surely Net or satellite-based training has many advantages that can work alongside ILT? If customers' needs are understood, both will be applied accordingly.
The obvious benefits include the flexibility, cost (especially for those overseas), the number of delegates reached in one effort and retaining an interactive function. Updates to the training or information may also be added quickly and launched to its audience immediately. The interactivity is an extension of people's working environment, where delegates are invited to pose questions to the experts by email or the phone.
Network technology is constantly improving and the speed and quality of educational 'broadcasts' is very good. Ten-Tv, for example, has its own co-located servers in London for direct internet broadcasts to Europe, thus eliminating quality problems. Our delegates enjoy seeing real people in front of them on the TV or PC monitor delivering their training. They find it more stimulating than viewing white board scribblings or sample software screens.
On the Web, important data is archived and available whenever you need it. I think there's growing acceptance that technology-based training really works and that it's the way forward. It would certainly be shortsighted to ignore it.
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