By Jason Silberman
Almost fifty years ago, a long-forgotten promotional movie was bade, called 1999 A.D. This promotional movie featured the life of an upper middle class family in the far off year, and demonstrated forecast modern conveniences they would enjoy and which the people at the time did not.
When this film was rediscovered, in the first decade of this century, people were stricken by how prophetic this visionary piece was, featuring microwave ovens, video phones, computer-centric households, and cloud learning for junior.
Yes, in the late sixties, they predicted an internet and cloud-based communications, shopping and learning system which we are just now beginning to enjoy in reality. And, we take for granted how amazing our futuristic technology can really be, and what a fantastic realization of grand science fiction the cloud really is.
For employee training managers, this is a godsend, for innumerable reasons. Truly, when they showed the young child taking his lessons in the great hulking computer room of the plaeofuture house, they greatly underestimated the raw power of e-learning, and how much it would benefit not only the students, but those which had to teach them!
So, as amazing as 1999 A.D. was with its predictions of fantastic computerized learning … let’s take a look at why the real future is totally better!
Security for employee training is a logistical nightmare, not so much due to outward intrusion, inasmuch as just, making sure students are accessing things they should, and not things they could accidentally damage.
The problem with digital learning systems of the past was, they were too limited, because security demanded levels of access like any other network. The cloud however changes this.
With the cloud, all data is remotely stored, processed and returned, and through this process, only information pertinent to a specific account (an account created with the as much ease as a Twitter or email account), so that everyone has the permissions they need, without the worry of these permissions making it easy to make damaging mistakes.
This sounds like an obtuse thing to open with, but as a logistics person, which a training manager would be, this sort of safe sorting and ensured functionality is a godsend. The rigidity of old systems kept collaborative, location independent e-learning a pipe dream for a long time.
Managing to get all of the students together, in their busy schedules, for lab or class time is like pulling hair from an alligator – impossible and silly. Well, with the cloud networks, this is no longer an issue. Just as the centralization and heuristic sorting helps security be a non-sequitur, it also makes location a pointless factor.
As long as there is a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G signal around, just about any Android, Windows. Mac or iOS device can connect easily to these cloud networks, and with SaaS powering all interactions and processes, they are instantly platform-independent.
If a cooperative learning task needs to be done, but Susan has a dentist appointment and Mark has to watch his nephew, Mark can use his iPad from his living room, while Susan joins Mark and the in-office team from her smartphone on the dentist’s waiting room. All can exchange communications freely, and work in tandem on the project or material at hand, or even listen in on lectures, or coordinate with other circles in bigger learning teams.
Of course, the training handler will have full control of the meetings, and be both moderator, helper and teacher all in one. It is so much easier to focus all of this as one solid 5th dimensional classroom, than to try to account for absentees or scheduling of busy adults.
This also has the benefit of, if used to its fullest, being a way to make training more pleasant, as people can relax and live their lives while they participate this way.
This is the way all desk work will go one day.
Great Learning Technology
Harnessing not only digital learning and the cloud for this mobile, secure and truly futuristic approach, this also opens up some amazing learning software which can help coordinate learning across devices and across groups.
Software like WalkMe was specifically designed to handle that, but these programs do more than that. They were designed to be live, automated tutorial frameworks to physically guide the user through a user experience. Being able to directly control pages, as well as monitor them and the users, they can learn and adapt to teach and reteach what students have trouble with the most.
They also work as great metrics tools to monitor how well the different students and different groups are doing, and where different ones struggle. This can all be homogenized as simple reports through the cloud. These programs don’t require formal programming, and are compatible with all platforms given their SaaS design.
So, we see that while the ancient vision of the future was spiffy, what we have now crafted makes it look like a telegraph. We live in an era where location means nothing, because all data is accessible from anywhere by any device with a screen, a transmitter and a microchip.
The office, the classroom and the logistical nightmares of old fashioned work and learning, mention nothing of the tedium of these, is soon to become an artifact of the past.
We enjoy a future where training managers can just pull up an app on his phone, have it signal all the students, give out their assignments, and let them network from wherever they are, to cooperate on completing the assignment. Smart tutorial software and a shared cloud drive work in tandem to give everyone on all points of the planet instant and tandem access to the information, and to anything being edited.
The smart software guides them, with minimal input from the manager, who then receives both the completed assignments, and the tutorial system’s condensed reports. From here, he adjusts schedules and course plans to account for anything not up to par, and once more he merely pushes a button.
If only school, for both the teachers and the students, had been this convenient, right? Well, here’s to the future then, when the cloud does even more to make our digitally augmented lives yet more like paradise.
Jason Silberman is Marketing Director at WalkMe, an interactive online guidance system and engagement platform which helps businesses reduce training costs while raising performance levels. He is the lead author and editor of Training Station, a blog devoted to news and ideas on training, learning and employee performance. He recently published a free eBook – “Express Train: How to Accelerate Employee Time to Competence” – with tips on overcoming some of the common challenges in employee training. Follow him at @tstationblog.