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On-Demand Learning Using Education Technology to Speed up Learning Curve

By Alan Go, Deputy CEO, ERC Institute | Thursday, 13 Jul 2017, 23:30 IST

Traditional methods of training employees in class-rooms and waiting for their learning curve to reach competency level in three to six months time or longer are increasingly putting pressure on organizational performance in the fast-paced market place. Companies are looking for ways to speed up the learning curves of their new hirers and retrain current employees to meet skills set without compromising on quality of training. Using e-learning platform to learn and train people is constantly been debated on the learning outcomes effectiveness.

As early as 1996 a research by the Center for Occupational Research and Development in USA has indicated that education IT solutions will strongly aid schools as they attempt to prepare youth for the challenges of the work force. Twenty years later, in my opinion, on-demand training is possible and easy to implement. There are many innovative training ideas and pedagogy concepts that can be supported by an influx of highly adaptive personalized digital-delivered courseware tools to allow anyone to learn on their own or compliment by face-to-face instructions. Learner's adaptive technology will follow a learner's progress as to determine areas that a learner has mastered and identify areas that need further instruction. With proper learning analytics the application will identify additional learning resources and lessons until the learner gains mastery of the needed skills and knowledge.

Education technologies no longer are limited to just streaming video, chats, and online material. Education technology start-ups in Singapore such as VizioFly are exploring virtual reality technologies to put learners in a 3D environment, for example engineers could immersed in a factory and stand right in front of a complex machineries learning how it operates and having interactive engagements with the mechanical parts safely. Applications can be extended to teaching retail staff on customer's services, product development people on testing different product designs to meet market needs and even medical staff learning surgical procedures.

Irwin Luo, Chief Business Officer of VizioFly said "Virtual reality is enhancing learning outcomes within the classroom. By engaging the student's visual, auditory and spatial senses, deeper learning occurs." ERC Institute, an entrepreneurship-based school in Singapore, is experimenting how this technology can be used for applied skills modules creating business situations in corporate settings, besides embarking on online tools that even have gamification features to make learning more fun for young adult learners. To engage staff and make learning fun, game-based learning is a great training tool to build up learning concepts step-by-step and to simulate real work experiences. 

Advanced education technology if combined with already widely used concepts of blended-learning and flip-class rooms could easily be adapted to meet on-demand learning to speed up competency level in corporations. The concept of blended-learning is already used in many University programs, it combines internet and digital media with traditional teaching methods with learners having some own control over pace of learning. 

Recently, the flipped classroom method is gaining significant notice where face-to-face and "homework" parts of a course are reversed, learners need to prepare before coming to class by self-learning from audio, video and other online/virtual learning materials, when in class they applied what they learn guided by a facilitator. Using it in a corporation context, training time would be significantly cut while the focused of the actually training is really about the applications of the knowledge. On boarding will be faster with increased in productivity time. 
Organizations who want to embark seriously into education technologies need to recognize that learners' experiences are highly dependent upon corporate culture in the company. Companies need to have several values:
- Actively engaging with technology
- Determine to change and move away from traditional training model
- Optimism and open-mindedness towards new pedagogies 
- Senior management engagement to increase staff support

Knowledge management has been around for a long time but there are still gaps in effectively sharing knowledge stored in databases, discussing explicit learning and gaining more insights to implicit knowledge from daily staff interactions, especially where corporations have many different offices and facilities around the world.

Education technology has evolved to a point where features has "all-in-one" functions allowing a fully interactive communications and discussions over the internet or intranet, even integrating with Skype and other video conferencing technologies . With the correct education technology strategies, staff could revisit learning materials as and when is needed, pull out materials in any medium and even engaged in personalized discussions with more experienced colleagues, talk to experts and knowledge stakeholders.

The idea of on-demand learning is to create a wide variety of tools and processes to support the continuous learning process moving towards the concept of life-long learning. The availability of cloud computing, ever increasing innovation in mobile and wearable technologies and development in advanced learning analytics, corporations will soon be able to create an ubiquitous learning environment and further customizing training needs. Talent retention is really about having a career development process where evolving skills needs to be trained against known competency requirements over time. Education technologies will play a critical role within each stage of career development to provide learning on-demand to support the growth of every employee.

Alan Go
Alan joined ERC Institute in 2011 in the local sales department before moving to the academic department and is the Academic Director before being appointed to his current role. As Academic Director, he has led the Academic Division to new heights with new initiatives such as our Teaching Academy and also ensuring constant infusion of current Industry and business practices into our teaching pedagogies to not only stay relevant but providing an experiential learning journey for our students.

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July Special 2017
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