We’re on the cusp of a new generation of business managers; 20-something-year-olds who have grown up with technology and instant connectivity are working their way up through the ranks and are beginning to take up senior roles within their respective companies. As the Millennials take up management positions, its inevitable demand for digital development is set to grow and grow.
Digital development is ideal for lager organisations who have had their training budgets cut or for business owners and SMEs that may not have the capital to commission a bespoke in-house management training programme but still have a staff development need. In addition, digital development allows businesses to monitor which employees are taking control of their own learning, benchmarking their development and identifying other areas for improvement. However, in order for digital development to be meaningful and to deliver real business results, there are three things SMEs and business owners should take into consideration before commissioning such training schemes:
Content: This is the most important element to consider but is often the most overlooked. Think about the learning materials that will be used as part of the digital development. Is it relevant to your business and sector? Is the information presented interesting and will it keep learners engaged? Is it up-to-date and does it communicate relevant industry-specific as well as corporate key messages? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, the chances are the content is not right for your business and therefore will not meet the development needs of your people.
Technology: Secondly, think about the technology that will be used to deliver the digital development. Wrapping the content around the technology is ultimately how the digital development scheme will be delivered. In today’s ever-connected world, technological options are almost endless; will the content be delivered via a series of video tutorials or a series of case studies and comprehensions hosted on a Virtual Learning Environment?
Whatever the technological delivery method, also give due consideration to accessibility. While one of the many benefits of digital development is its flexibility for people to dip in and out of according to their time commitments, how people can access the digital development platforms while on the go may vary. For some it may be a laptop, others a smart phone or tablet. Think about how the content will look across these different technologies and the learner’s user experience.
Application: Think about it: just because a manager may know how to deliver a successful appraisal, doesn’t mean they actually have the skills to physically deliver the appraisal effectively in the workplace, so when it comes to application, it really is a question of theory versus ability. One of the down falls of digital development in the past has been the inability to test the learners’ ability to apply their new-found knowledge in the workplace. However, thanks to platforms like Skype, learners are able to demonstrate their abilities remotely through webinars and remote coaching, for example.
In all, there’s no denying digital development has its place in a business – the positives far outweigh the drawbacks. Ultimately, to ensure any online learning scheme is right for you, your business and your people, think about the content, technology and application. In following these simple steps, you’re better placed to find the right digital development solution to meet your people’s training needs, and in turn benefit your business with improved performance.