AS BUSINESS BECOMES EVER MORE INTERNATIONAL AND COMPANIES LOOK TO EXPAND THEIR GLOBAL FOOTPRINT, ORGANISATIONS NEED INNOVATIVE AND EFFECTIVE WAYS TO TRAIN AND MANAGE THEIR WORKFORCE.
Technological innovation has gone hand in hand with the globalisation of business, facilitating global communications and the distribution of information within international organisations. So how can technology be used to standardise training across a global workforce? Immersive learning environments might be the answer.
Businesses are constantly evolving and the issue of keeping employees up-to-date on developments in strategy, new products, technology and training can be a mammoth task for any global company. Immersive learning technologies allow organisations to train multiple employees operating in different time zones simultaneously in the same virtual space, thus ensuring that they receive the same information and consistent training. Streaming media, explaining developments and sharing knowledge with colleagues around the world in the same place and time are all made possible with virtual training. Moreover, training employees from different locations in the same virtual space fosters cross-cultural interaction and understanding, which is critical for the functioning of global businesses.
Example of an Immersive Learning Environment
In terms of practicality, virtual training offers a more cost-effective and efficient alternative to training employees in multiple locations and at different times, eliminating the costs of travel from the equation and allowing organisations to use one trainer. Training becomes much more flexible, allowing for classes to be scheduled to fit in with students’ timetables. It opens up opportunities for learning in any location, time zone – and environment. Immersive software can replicate any working environment or circumstance – from an airfield to a football field – allowing employees to train in situations they would encounter during their work. This can be particularly advantageous for areas that pose a health and safety risk in real life, such as an offshore oil rig. Technical training can be carried out using 3D representations of real machinery, eliminating the risks otherwise associated with this kind of training.
Training a global workforce poses difficulties not just in logistical terms but also when it comes to engagement with a subject. Through the use of avatars and virtual worlds, employees can become fully immersed in learning and interact with one another and their trainer in real time. Immersive training offers the most human experience possible without carrying out the training in person and can draw higher engagement from participants, resulting in more efficient and effective learning. One study by Traci Sitzmann of the University of Colorado points to the effectiveness of such training in terms of procedural knowledge and retention. The active element of learning in immersive environments makes it an unforgettable experience; as Confucius said, “I do and I understand”.
Today’s global businesses need modern solutions to engage and educate their international workforces consistently. Virtual training is a cost-effective, learning-efficient and stimulating response to these needs and offers a practical and innovative solution for the professional development of employees on an international scale.