Roz Bahrami for It Business Canada writes: While online training has been around for about 20 years, its popularity in corporate North America is growing by leaps and bounds, thanks largely to new technologies that promote user engagement. These include:
Simulations: Though simulations were introduced as a traditional training method, development in software and computer technology has improved the learning and transfer that can result from simulators.
Avatars: Avatars are computer depictions of humans that are used as imaginary coaches, coworkers and customers in simulations. Typically, trainees can see the avatar, who appears throughout the training course.
The advantages of simulators are:
- It eliminates the need to travel to a central training location
- Meaningful and gets trainees involved in learning
- Emotionally engaging, increasing employees’ willingness to practice, encourages retention, and improves their skills.
- Provides a consistent message of what needs to be learned
- Can safely put employees in situations that would be dangerous in the real world
- Have been found to result in such positive outcomes as shorter training times and increased return on investment
The disadvantages of simulators are:
- Limited use due to their development costs
- Trainees may not be comfortable in learning situations that have no human contact