Welcome to the new L&D blog from Skills for Justice. If you’re an L&D manager looking for the latest news and trends from the sector, top tips on overcoming some common challenges and advice on how to keep staff motivated and help your budget go further, then our new blog series is perfect for you.
Each month we’ll be tackling a new topic and offering advice and guidance to help make your job easier, so keep checking back for new content, or you can sign up to receive updates and we’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions.
From virtual reality and artificial intelligence to getting back to communication basics, there are many exciting opportunities – as well as challenges – facing training and development professionals in the coming months.
It’s essential you adapt to the times to meet the demands of today’s workforce.
1. Rise of virtual reality and gamification
VR training is one of the fastest-growing areas of L&D. In a US study, nearly 98% of police officers who tested a VR simulator said they believed this type of training would have a positive effect on how they carried out their job. The wraparound screen can put police officers, firefighters and army personnel in realistic situations with a 360-degree view of what’s happening all around them. It offers an excellent training environment for them to master the skills required on the frontline. Digital games can also replicate real-life scenarios through role-playing.
Work with your IT team to review the devices on offer to see if your personnel can benefit from more immersive experiences.
2.Mobile learning to evolve further
As smartphones get smarter, they become more of a personal computer than a phone. So it’s only natural that people want to use them in all aspects of their lives, including career development. Mobile learning can help you deliver a wide range of learning content in a fresh, affordable and exciting way through videos, microlearning and performance support materials.
Social media can also be used as a learning tool, from discussion forums on best practice to instructional videos that allow team members to share clips of the tasks they perform with colleagues.
3. More emphasis on people skills
While innovation is changing L&D for the better, living in a digital world has perhaps caused some forms of communication to be neglected. Phone calls and face-to-face meetings are increasingly being replaced by emails and web conferencing. This can be a great way to save time and money, but soft skills shouldn’t be overlooked. Skills such as emotional intelligence, collaboration and negotiation are becoming more important as organisations diversify. See how you can refine the social skills of your workforce, especially those who deal with members of the public.
4. The instructor as coachPractical training is important in any job, but the instructor’s role is steadily shifting from facilitator for a large audience to a personal coach or tutor of a small gathering. There’s a growing emphasis on personalising the learning experience to ensure participants fully understand and retain vital skills. Millennials who have grown up with technology want engaging stories that make the content relatable to them as individuals. A one-size-fits-all approach to training isn’t suited to today’s talent.
Top tips for 2018
- Review training content: Now is a good time to have a spring clean of your learning management system, evaluating whether content is still relevant. Measure the effectiveness of your development processes to see whether they still offer good value for money.
- Attend a conference: L&D teams need to learn too. There are so many great events that can help you hone your skills and inspire you to create a successful training strategy.
- Expand your horizons: How many of the tools and platforms used to deliver learning in your sector are you familiar with? New technologies can be adapted to make them both engaging and effective for your audience.
- Make use of your engaged employees: Can they help with training? Act as mentors? Or just be an advocate for L&D throughout your organisation. Your most engaged staff are a valuable asset not to be ignored.
- Align L&D with organisational goals: Employee development works best when people can see how the training they are doing ties in with the overall plan for the organisation as a whole. Have conversations with your stakeholders about the direction for 2018 and plan accordingly.