We hear a lot about digitization, it’s a concept that’s quickly becoming a buzz word in the region mainly due to the momentum of technology’s growth that we’re seeing today. But what does it really mean for learning and development, is corporate training going to become purely digital? Is it effective to digitize the whole training and development process? Are on-site workshops and face to face training sessions dead? And perhaps most importantly, will we be cooking our next meal in VR? The answer, in my opinion, is no, we can’t ignore the importance of human interaction, nor the significance it has on a learner’s knowledge retention. But on the other hand, resisting the impending change that technology has sparked in our modern times is like resisting a breath of fresh air. Even if you want to, you will have to breathe in eventually.
First of all, you don’t need to understand quantum mechanics and superposition in order to introduce digitized training into your organization, the process of digitizing training material starts like any other process, identify what you hope to achieve, in other words, your objectives, both short term, and long term, and plan for what’s to come. It helps to keep in mind that in a digital age, information is accessible, so anything you need to set your organization on the path to digital transformation is exactly where you’d expect it, online. Even a definition on Quantum mechanics took us roughly 30 seconds to find.
I won’t go into a lengthy article where I pull up fancy graphs and animated charts and speak about industry standards and trends, I’m sure you can find a treasure trove of that type of information on the web; however, I will tell you this. If you are to focus on three things when digitizing your training and development, specifically in the GCC. These are the three focal areas you should keep in mind.
Talk the Talk
We hear a lot of buzz around words like podcasts, gamification, animated motion graphics, Learning Management System (LMS), cloud hosting, AR, VR, and so on, but most of us aren’t millennials, though a little research can give us some understanding on what these terms are, the first step to proper digitization is to have the capacity and patience to research, try, and understand what these technologies are, how their use might benefit our training and development, and identifying if they are the right fit for our training needs and objectives. Take for instance Virtual Reality, One could invest in a team to design a massive virtual world, and another team to program and code various elements into this world, then another team to do audio and yet another to test and maintain and manage the servers and all the rest of the tech jargon we hear every day, but in the end. Cooking in VR is still a bad idea if all you want to do is make an omelet.
Understand your needs
Which leads me to my next point, understand your needs. Let’s say your training and development was previously done in-house with no digital aspects to it what so ever. I’m talking Chalk and board type of training. The introduction of highly advanced training mediums and tools would probably benefit your organization in the long run, but how long until your L&D department learns to adapt to this change, you can argue that there will always be a learning curve, however, it’s up to us to make sure this learning curve is as simple to cope with as possible. In my previous example introducing an overly complicated system, though beneficial would hinder the training and development cycle, but introducing what you need, in stages, would ensure that your team and organization are gaining the most benefit in the least time needed.
I know we all speak about localization; we all know that it’s vital to training and development, but I want to explore the depth of localization needed and what that means for a digitized training experience. The GCC as a whole, and the UAE, in particular, are aiming to pioneer digital transformation in the region and beyond, but this is mainly being done through specific plans and processes that align with nationalization efforts. This means that it’s important to keep in mind that our workforce today is composed of local talent, to ensure that the rate of learning retention is maintained and that the local employee relates to the provided material, it’s of vital importance to make our training efforts localized to the culture and relatable to the workplace. This is done by using the right artwork. The right actors, the correct language and accent, the proper local attire, and the right situational relevance in our training and development material to name a few.
At Marefa digital, we handpick our voice actors, video actors, and animation visual assets to keep them locally relevant – our LMS solution is user-friendly and mobile ready, this means that the end user and organization will find it simple to implement it without hindering the existing training and development process or plan. And finally, we always aim to make our digitized material interactive and animated which ensures that the learner gets the best possible experience when viewing our eLearning modules.
I will conclude with this, the GCC has seen great strides in digital transformation over the past number of years, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down now. Therefore, it’s crucial for training professionals to understand how this digital transformation is being incorporated in training and development from a professional’s standpoint.