The importance of digital technology in all spheres of life, both private and professional, is no longer debatable. In-company training can also benefit from digital technology, particularly to make classroom-based learning more dynamic. In this article, we offer trainers three ideas for making their classroom-based training more interactive and innovative.
1 — Draw inspiration from the world of video games
Video games can capture and hold our attention, even leading to addiction in the most extreme cases. In classroom-based training, sometimes considered boring, games are a powerful tool for keeping trainees interested, motivated and engaged.
- Serious games: serious games use the element of fun for teaching purposes. They are already employed in a number of fields, from raising awareness about health issues to scientific research, and are perfectly suited for use in the classroom. The possibilities are many and varied: simulated interviews, practising correct conduct, raising awareness about safety and security procedures, etc. Several online tools exist to create mini-games in the form of applications or animations.
- Virtual reality or augmented reality: virtual reality offers some incredible possibilities for training. Whatever the company’s business and the position of the trainees, it is possible to create almost any scenario for learning behaviour or skills: use of a machine, safety evacuation procedure, etc. Virtual reality offers real added value for the company, in particular for training in unknown environments or those difficult to employ (machinery in a factory, vehicles, etc.). The learner, on the other hand, can experience professional situations that would be hard to recreate in real conditions, with a personalized gradation of difficulty. Of course, this type of tool implies a significant investment, both in terms of hardware and, above all, to develop the simulation. It is therefore only suitable for certain large-scale courses.
2 — Develop social learning
Social learning means learning with one’s peers through face-to-face group discussions and in informal contexts (lunch breaks, etc.), as well as via digital technology (emails, social media, etc.).
Social learning prevents trainees from feeling isolated and encourages a swifter acquisition of skills, with increased motivated thanks for the group effect. Trainees move away from passive learning towards active and collaborative learning. The younger generations are already very much involved in various ‘communities’ (social media, online video games, etc.). Using digital tools to actively contribute to their own learning process therefore comes naturally to them.
Social media can provide a cheap basic platform for sharing information and exchanging ideas. Various types of materials can be posted: videos, images, texts, surveys, documents and links. It can, however, discourage people who don’t like social media or the Internet in general.
More specialized social learning platforms exist that may be more costly but have the advantage of being independent and offering more targeted training functionalities. These platforms can form part of a comprehensive training management solution.
3 — Use all the possibilities offered by mobile learning
Mobile learning is a form of learning in which the trainee learns using a mobile device (tablet or smartphone), in different contexts. Trainees interact with their peers (social learning) and with the content. They can learn whenever they want.
It can be used in a variety of innovative ways to reinforce and anchor knowledge: additional video or MP3/streaming content, course materials, fun activities that the trainee can do at home or in public transport, etc.
Content available on mobile devices makes it possible to optimize note-taking and interactions with the content (on-screen annotations, centralization of materials, etc.).
Mobile learning imposes certain constraints on the course design. The content must be designed to be portable from the outset and needs to be visual and interactive (such as short videos that can be easily ‘consumed’ at any time).
It is also important to think about responsive design, i.e. designing content that automatically adapts to be perfectly displayed on any size of screen.
The examples above are only some of the learning methods that can be combined as part of a ‘blended learning’ process to enrich traditional classroom-based courses.
As long as these digital tools are well thought through, suited to your target audience and enhance your content, they add value to your training by compensating for certain weaknesses in the classroom-only format and generating greater engagement and motivation in your trainees.
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