As international companies cope with cost and competitive pressures, many will embrace new ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness in their workforce training operations this year. Among their challenges is the harnessing of technologies that can develop and deliver fast-changing content to populations that span geographic regions, cultures and languages. A related priority is the delivery of a consistent training message across each organization’s global workforce.
Here are four avenues certain to receive attention during 2013:
Consolidation. Whether training functions are centralized or decentralized – or a hybrid commonly referred to as a “federated” model – one constant priority is the elimination of redundant training processes and platforms. Examples include the pruning of multiple administrative and development technologies, such as LMS and LCMS platforms to consolidate training records and related content libraries into central repositories. The virtualization of training technologies helps companies achieve these goals by sharing core resources.
Integrated distance learning: Recent advances in distance learning technologies such as virtual classroom training (VCT) and learner-centric portals are enabling companies to deliver high quality training to employees throughout the world. Benefits include dramatically reduced time-to-proficiency goals and meaningful cost-savings over previous training methods. In addition, integration helps training organizations meet challenges posed by reduced training budgets and broadly dispersed populations.
Mobile learning: The proliferation of tablets and the increased functionality of smartphones will make mobile learning a high priority. Mobile learning enables just-in-time training and performance support in a way not previously available through other delivery options. Advances in mobile learning technologies also enable training organizations to efficiently manage what training gets to which employees, track their interactions with that content and report those results back the LMS – finally enabling the ROI of mLearning to be calculated and reported.
Multilingual training: A top priority for training professionals facing multilingual audiences is ensuring consistency across the entire training population. It is always difficult to develop a standardized course master that ensures consistency throughout while also addressing cultural variations of local audiences. Too much standardization ignores the importance of local culture and language differences. Excessive variation from one language version to the next adds cost and can dilute the principal message.
What’s the answer? One innovative approach strives to eliminate the need for multiple courses for multiple language versions. It features a single master course that contains all elements common across languages, such as key messaging and content sequencing. Within that course master, a language variant can be created for a page to accommodate the localization of specific graphics and animations, and the language translation. Any changes to the master course will automatically update the language variants and trigger workflow to translate any page of the course affected by the update. As a result, course maintenance for multilingual courses is significantly reduced.