Online training trends on the horizon

There is a growing trend toward providing free online learning material and resources.

New learning mediums such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have already gained popularity while innovators like Salman Khan are being recognised for their contribution to making education more accessible through free online learning platforms like the Khan Academy.

The concept of open educational resources is becoming widely accepted throughout the world and the free online education initiative recently launched by the Regenesys Business School is one example of this shift.

The value that educational institutions provide in future will centre largely on facilitator expertise and the ability to offer learning opportunities through forums, workshops and face-to face tutorials.

There will be greater emphasis on helping learners practically implement what they have learned by relating education to real-life work situations and experiences. This educational trend has developed as a response to the changing needs of employers and employees, he says.

In the past businesses would compete through elements such as price or distribution, but international competition has forced businesses to gain their competitive advantage in other spheres.

Employers have realized their need to retain workers who are knowledgeable and skilled who can contribute innovatively to the business.

As a result employees need to remain up to date with the latest advancements in their industry to stand out from saturated labour markets and demonstrate their value to employers.

There has been a definite shift in thinking for employees. Today working professionals are more actively pursuing and achieving their career goals.

These prospective learners are development-oriented and in some ways are more in touch with what is needed to excel in the workplace than some of the larger educational institutions whose inflexible and bureaucratic procedures often result in outdated learning programmes.

Working professionals are becoming totally averse to theory-based education and are displaying a single-minded interest in practical training courses.

As the ‘go-between’ HR professionals need to balance the needs of the business and employees in order to benefit both parties.

HR is well advised to avoid “passive training interventions”. This refers to classroom-lecture style training programmes where trainers teach static content to a mass audience. In this setting student engagement is generally low and very little knowledge is transferred in the area of practical workplace application.

HR professionals are encouraged to look for training programmes that add value by equipping the employee for the real workplace.

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