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We’ve all heard the proverb about teaching a man to fish, but what if we also gave him an awesome fishing rod? Modern technology, and apps in particular allow us to achieve amazing things with our business, and one area that is a top priority for all is employee training.
Digital training apps make past-decade approaches to training (e.g. reading manuals, listening to lectures) look like fishing with a thread tied to a bamboo stick.
It’s time to upgrade.What do training apps look like?
Most of the time, a training app will be built specifically for one business or profession, and feature functionality and information intended to boost professional skills and knowledge. In other words, it replaces or adds to physical training and learning on the job. These apps can be built for different platforms like:
probably the most common format, being used since computers became indispensable in business. While such solutions are not as versatile as mobile, these apps are not limited to the restrictions of iOS/Android app stores.
xR:How training apps are being used today
Some companies are loath to disclose details about their inner workings and software, but there are still plenty of brands and industries which have gone public over how training apps have benefitted them. Let’s go over a few examples:1. Healthcare
With the help of a mobile app, Dis-Chem (a large chain of pharmacies in South Africa) is boosting the competency of pharmacy staff in multiple countries. This app was built to limit face-to-face interactions, and helps staff better remember and be knowledgeable about the products sold at their location. Just by letting pharmacists work with the app for an hour a day, the company has boosted engagement by 90% and quickly improved the skills of over employees.2. Retail
Burgerfi is an American restaurant chain with over 120 locations and 3,000 employees. To improve safety and limit contacts during the pandemic, they released an app (YOOBIC) for restaurant operators to provide a higher level of service. The lessons are made available to workers in game-like format and quizzes.
As a result of releasing the mobile app, Burgerfi has noted that operators can now better track employee engagement and progress, which makes it easier for them to plan further training and business operations more efficiently.3. Oil & Gas
Oil Platform Simulator is an application built by Program-Ace and designed for use by new and existing oil rig workers. It fully simulates a working oil rig, so workers can explore and learn how the machinery works before ever stepping foot on the platform. Over 500 workers were trained with this app, and it also lowered the frequency of accidents aboard the platform by 43%.4. Agriculture
Due to pandemic-related restrictions, the farming industry of New Zealand is suffering greatly, but the company Hanzon Jobs came up with a crafty solution. They developed the My Hanzon app, which is intended to get more people working in the industry.
With it, not only do new farmers gain a tool for sustained professional growth, but they are also able to better track yields and maximize profit. For example, by making smart decisions about cutting baleage, the need to throw away crops and lose money can be eliminated.5. Transportation
To address a shortage of truck drivers, a Florida-based company created a free app that helps potential drivers prepare for their professional exam. It features plenty of helpful instructions, 3D models and visuals, as well as numerous interactive options that give users all the helpful information they need to pass their CDL exam and start driving.
This approach is sure to attract a greater number of test applicants and increase the likelihood of their success. It also delivers a safe learning experience without face-to-face contact.Training apps are here to stay
Even in businesses where hands-on training is essential, apps can reduce risk and present a basic impression of what a potential worker can expect.
Training apps are not a temporary trend, and should be viewed as an essential instrument for any business. To begin future-proofing their business, leaders just need to figure out which business goals their application will fulfill, find a reliable virtual training company, and put their resources into this endeavor.
Your employees will appreciate it, and the boost to the safety and productivity of your company will put a smile on your face as well.Mikhail Shcherbatko
Mikhail Shcherbatko is a creative writer, translator, movie buff, and fantasy book fan. Writing guest posts for Program-Ace, he strives to bring useful insights to the masses. With rich knowledge of the world of software development, his expertise is wide-ranging. He especially enjoys writing on topics regarding augmented and virtual reality, and virtual training development, which are a major focus and strong points of his company.
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Apple made a surprise announcement on Friday when it unveiled plans to host a special education event at a high school in Chicago later this month. Apple says it will reveal “creative new ideas for teachers and students” at Lane Tech College Prep High School on March 27, and we already have a good idea of what to expect.Live Stream or No Live Stream?
Apple’s last major education event was held six years ago in New York City on January 19, 2012. Textbooks for $15 and under from major publishers coming to iBooks and the now-dated iBooks Author app for Mac were highlights of the event.ClassKit Framework with Education Apps
Based on code discovered by 9to5Mac‘s Gui Rambo, we believe Apple is planning to introduce a new developer framework called ClassKit that can be used within education apps on iOS.
From our report early last month:
It seems like Apple is introducing a brand new public development framework, called ClassKit, that’s aimed towards educational apps.
From a brief look into the code for that framework, it looks like it will allow developers of educational apps to create student evaluation features, users will be able to answer questionnaires that will be automatically transmitted to teachers remotely via iCloud.
Early betas of iOS 11.3 for developer and public beta testers also included preferences related to ClassKit apps for both teachers and students.
Based on the timing of this event and the expected release timeframe for iOS 11.3, we expect ClassKit to be officially unveiled and explained in greater detail at Apple’s event next week. We also expect to see apps that work with ClassKit to be demonstrated.New Hardware?
Apple focused solely on software — specifically for ebooks — at its last education event in 2012. The popular iPad 2 wasn’t quite a year old yet, and the first Retina iPad wouldn’t be released for another two months.
This time lots of new, lower-priced hardware is expected based on supply chain rumors, and cheaper products make sense for schools buying in bulk.
First up is iPad. Apple released the current $329 9.7-inch iPad around this time last year, and now an even more affordable model is rumored.
One report claims Apple is planning to strike somewhere around $259. That’s a big leap from the current non-Pro iPad price and supply chain rumors aren’t typically privy to marketing details like prices. Apple does offer the $329 iPad from $309 for education customers, however, so it seems possible to hit the sub-$300 level easily without upgrading the hardware significantly.
Next is talk of a cheaper MacBook Air … or MacBook. Apple’s notebook marketing alone needs a refresh since the slimmest and lighted laptop is called MacBook and the previously slimmest MacBook Air is much heftier by comparison.
The rumor mill seems equally confused on what is coming is when, but it boils down to two possibilities: a cheaper version of the current 13.3-inch MacBook Air that may or may not see any spec changes, and a cheaper 13.3-inch Retina MacBook that costs less than the $1299 12-inch Retina MacBook.
The MacBook Air remains popular for both everyday consumers and education customers alike due to its $999 starting price and legacy ports like USB-A over USB-C. The MacBook Air starts at $849 for education customers, and knocking $100 or $200 off the price of the current hardware could help promote Macs in the classroom.
A 13-inch Retina MacBook that costs less than the 12-inch Retina MacBook is a bigger change that would likely mean more changes to the whole MacBook lineup, so we’ll see on that one. It’s possible the MacBook Air is Apple’s education play while the 13-inch Retina MacBook is more of a general consumer play saved for a WWDC or fall event unveil if true.iBooks Author Update + Apple Books?
Apple’s iBooks Author Mac app hasn’t received a major new version since October 2012 with most new updates consisting of device compatibility changes. It’s fair to say a new version is long past due, and iBooks Author for iOS (or at least iPad) has long been desired. No guarantees that we’ll see any changes here, however, but the education focus of the event is timely.
We also saw iBooks rebranded as Apple Books during a few iOS 11.3 developer and public beta versions. Bloomberg followed that change with a report highlighting a new focus on the ebook service expected later this year. The shift from iBooks to an overhauled Apple Books experience ultimately may prove to be an iOS 12 change and not an iOS 11.3 change, however, so this is another wildcard for the event.iOS 11.3
We’ll likely see the final versions of iOS 11.3, tvOS 11.3, watchOS 4.3, and macOS 10.13.4 seeded to developers and public beta testers this week, followed by an official release either next week or a release date announced next week.
Follow our continuing coverage of each beta version to see what changes are included, and expect ClassKit availability to be attached to iOS 11.3. Note that iOS 11.3 also includes new battery health settings coming to iPhones in response to Apple’s resolution for unexpected shutdowns affecting iPhones with older batteries.Accessory Refresh
Even if they’re not mentioned in the education event, we also expect the usual spring refresh of colors for Apple Watch bands and iPhone and iPad cases. These could be saved for an update on chúng tôi following the event.
Apple’s new AirPower wireless charging mat for iPhone 8 and later, Apple Watch Series 3 and later, and AirPods with wireless charging case is also due any time this year based on Apple’s 2023 promise.
If AirPower is ready, we expect a mention during the event or after the event on chúng tôi and the new AirPods charging case with support for wireless charging will likely accompany the release.
There is a string of code in iOS that points to support for AirPower and was previously present in iOS 11.3 beta but has since been removed, however, so we don’t consider an AirPower launch a certainty.Total Wildcards
Even more up in the air is any other new hardware including iPhone updates. Apple released the original iPhone SE two years ago and doubled the storage for the same price a year ago. Rumors of a second-generation model with a faster processor have swirled, but no guarantees that we’ll see this unveiled next week.
Another possibility is the first gold-colored iPhone X. Apple released a limited edition PRODUCT RED version of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus a year ago (then discontinued it in the fall) so introducing a new color mid-cycle is not outside of Apple’s playbook.
Gold is currently only offered for iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, not iPhone X
Supply chain reports claimed correctly prior to the iPhone X launch that gold would not be ready for release in November, and new evidence today suggests a gold iPhone X could be around the corner, but this could also be saved for a second-gen version of the iPhone X in the fall.
Other new hardware will almost certainly be saved for future events later this year including new iPad Pros with overhauled designs and Face ID, second-gen AirPods with voice-activated Siri, over-ear headphones from Apple, and potentially new MacBook Pros. A new modular Mac Pro and high-end display from Apple is also promised for the future, but we expect only a teaser at WWDC at the soonest if even then.
As ever, stay tuned to 9to5Mac for full coverage of Apple’s education event for up-to-the-minute news and analysis!
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SAN JOSE, Calif.—It should come as no surprise that Cisco Systems and Adobe Systems, two companies that enjoyed spectacular growth establishing them as tech blue-chips during the nascent Internet, are also among the first companies to embrace the software-as-a-service model (SaaS) (define) as the vehicle of choice for the Internet’s next evolutionary phase.
On Thursday, both companies outlined their vision, their expectations and some of their new offerings for this emerging SaaS platform at the Software and Information Industry Association’s OnDemand conference in San Jose, Calif.
Several hundred attendees, ranging from established tech players to upstarts hoping to carve out a niche in this booming space, came in search of new ideas, potential business partners and maybe even a little validation of their emerging Web 2.0 strategies.
“What’s clear to me as I look out into this room is that I’m looking at the future of the software industry,” Donald Proctor, senior vice president of Cisco’s collaboration software group, said during his keynote address kicking off the conference. “We’re here at a pretty momentous time. We are starting to see some pretty fundamental changes in the world of software.”
Unified communications—the cobbling together of instant messaging, Web conferencing, e-mail, desk phones, mobile phones, blogs and all the other tools employees and businesses use to communicate into one central location or platform—and collaboration—the tools and processes needed for meaningful productivity—have replaced customer relationship management (CRM) (define) as the markets of choice for the SaaS crowd.
That’s partly because those applications lend themselves so well to a browser-based distribution model and partly because they’re precisely the type of applications employees and companies need to manage their data and business processes online.
Cisco CEO John Chambers, during a conference call Wednesday with analysts following the company’s first-quarter earnings report, couldn’t have been more clear when he repeatedly said unified communications and collaboration will not only be the key to Cisco’s growth in the next 10 years but will “drive the next wave of productivity around the world.”
“I cannot overemphasis the importance of leading this transition,” he said.
Cisco, through its $3.2 billion acquisition of WebEx in March, thinks it has a leg up on the competition. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also the dominant provider of network equipment, a platform from which it can extend its tentacles into enterprise and small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBS) alike.
“Collaboration isn’t just something that happens behind the firewall,” Proctor said. “We’re now collaborating with our customers, virtualizing our supply chain and our business partners as if they are part of our company. The days of keeping everything inside and controlling and collaborating only inside the firewall are gone. As time goes on, the next wave of collaboration will be driven not by intranets but by Internets and cross-company collaboration.”
Cisco isn’t the only company that’s caught on this tectonic shift in communications. Microsoft, Google, IBM and just about every other prominent software vendor is rolling out applications and platforms based on the SaaS model that chúng tôi legitimized for delivery of CRM applications.
Adobe on Thursday confirmed that it would ship a beta version of its online image-editing software, Photoshop Express, later this year and plans to make a full-featured version available on-demand sometime next year. The company is in the process of rolling out many of its most popular software applications (as well some new ones) in a SaaS format, a tacit acknowledgement that Adobe understands where and how people will be buying its popular software in the future.
As the new school year starts amid fresh uncertainty, educators are grappling with how to navigate what I’ve come to call the “And Era.” The And Era is not about going only remote or returning to purely in-person experiences, but adopting the best of both. While many schools are bringing kids back into classrooms this year, the spread of the Delta variant and other factors out of their control mean they must again be prepared to support a mix of virtual and in-person learning.
That means focusing on what they can control — developing and deploying a strong technology strategy that will give them the agility to combine varying degrees of in-person and remote elements into a seamless learning experience. The heart of that strategy should center around three interdependent components: hardware, software and the network.
While the stakes are enormous, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and its $130 billion in new K-12 funding offers great hope that schools will be able to secure the technology, expertise and resources they need to build an educational infrastructure for the next generation. Given the possibility that many students will spend one fourth of their learning journey under these trying circumstances, making best use of those funds to implement a thoughtful technology strategy is more important than ever.When it comes to technology, think “three” and prioritize
When drawing up a technology strategy, the elements of hardware, software and the network must be considered together. If any one of them gets overlooked, learning can grind to a halt. For example, when schools are evaluating form factors, they can choose from tablets, Chromebooks, full-blown laptops and more. But whatever they pick, it’s important to ensure those devices can support the software tools and network connections needed to enable a rich physical and virtual learning experience. A device without connectivity will only get a student so far when it comes to keeping up with the schoolwork from home.
But with ARP funds being deployed at varying times, schools have to make challenging decisions about what to deploy first. To do so, they should evaluate the most urgent priorities within their district based on the past year and half of the pandemic. It might be ensuring that every child gets a device. Maybe it’s doubling down on network security and privacy. Or perhaps it’s making sure that all devices have mobile data connections so students without Wi-Fi at home — including those who divide their time among multiple homes — aren’t left behind.
As we’ve seen, the pandemic only widened the gap between the digital haves and have-nots. We can’t lose sight of how digitization can exacerbate inequalities. As the father of a college student, I’ve witnessed first-hand how university can be a great equalizer because everyone on campus has access to the same dormitories, lecture halls and facilities. It points to the value of standardizing technology across grades to level the playing field for everyone. But to do so, schools need to define and prioritize the needs of their students so they have a clear roadmap to follow as funding materializes.Setting up for long-term success and dividends
Getting set up for seamless hybrid learning is not just a solution for today. It will also pay dividends long after the pandemic has receded. For instance, snow days and sick days might look very different if students can safely join class from home, which could help reduce learning loss. Yet there are growing challenges to navigate together as well. For example, the novelty of the online experience has worn off for many. One teacher recently told me that the vast majority of her students no longer turn on their cameras during virtual class. What does that say about engagement? As we hone the best practices and skills needed to use our technology thoughtfully and effectively, perhaps new approaches, such as curricula about good digital hygiene or regular mental health breaks, are needed to prevent burnout and stress.Fund your remote learning initiative
Learn how to create, present and secure grants for your remote learning technology needs. Download Now
All of this is a tall order. But the outcome will be invaluable. Developing a strong, cohesive technology strategy around hardware, software and the network will give our educators the ability to respond to future challenges and developments with agility.
No matter what your relationship is with your teammates, students, clients, or others, you need to collaborate. Because of this, there are many tools on the market that can help you. Pitching in on a digital whiteboard is the perfect way to develop ideas and build up a project. In this post, we look at the best whiteboard apps around. Before that, let’s talk about why using a whiteboard app is a good idea.Why You’d Want to Use a Whiteboard App
At first glance, you may not understand the benefits of using a digital whiteboard app. For the unaware, this is a “blank space” app where you can develop an idea, much like a physical whiteboard. Everyone pitches in to create and push a project forward.
There are many use cases for a whiteboard app, and you can get creative with its application. For example:
To teach remote students and provide the layout as a downloadable file after a lesson.
A whiteboard your remote team can use “asynchronously”. In other words, you don’t need everyone in the same room to collaborate.
To create “living documents” for each project. This is where a whiteboard layout will keep evolving over the course of the project.
There are many other use cases for a whiteboard app, but the central theme is collaboration. If you want to collaborate, a whiteboard app is ideal.The Best Whiteboard Apps
Over the next few sections, we examine the best whiteboard apps around in no particular order.1. Miro (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
First off, Miro is a popular visual collaboration app that includes an online whiteboard.
It’s straightforward to use and lets you design a whiteboard with your own requirements. Add branded colors, different fonts, and much more to create a whiteboard that suits your team.
What’s more, you can use elements that help you brainstorm, plan, and iterate through projects and creative sessions with ease. For teachers, you can also use Miro to develop resources for students, which makes Miro a fantastic interactive tool.
Miro has a free tier but also offers premium pricing plans that include more features, starting at $8 per month per member. This lets you jump onboard with no risk and upgrade if you need to. With the free tier, you only get three editable boards, and premium tiers remove this restriction. What’s more, you can access private boards, Single Sign-On (SSO), and an almost unlimited number of anonymous board editors.2. Whiteboard Fox (In-Browser)
In many cases, especially if you work in a fast-paced industry, you’ll want to set up and break down whiteboards quickly. Whiteboard Fox is a super-quick way to do so.
Whiteboard Fox takes its cue from video apps, such as Zoom, in that it’s quick to involve participants. You’ll set up a whiteboard, share the link, and let people “attend” the session.
Everyone will be able to view the whiteboard as long as they have a modern browser. What’s more, Whiteboard Fox is great on smaller screens, too, and syncing is fast and friction-free.
Whiteboard Fox is a free app, although there are premium tiers to choose from starting from $7 per month. In most cases, especially where you need a quick meeting to hash out an idea, the free app is perfect. Also, the free tier only lets you draw in seven different colors, and there’s a 14-day expiry time for whiteboards.3. Witeboard (In-Browser)
In the same vein as Whiteboard Fox, Witeboard is a free, quick-setup app that gives you a bunch of tools to generate ideas and collaborate quickly.
In fact, it’s fast to set up, as you see a whiteboard straight away, without a setup screen. The options are simple, such as either a black or white board style and what looks like a meager set of tools. However, here’s where Witeboard’s trump card comes in.
The app offers shape detection so that you can draw and convert those squiggles to dedicated shapes. You can save the board as an image, too, so that every participant gets a copy after the session.4. Zoom’s Built-In Whiteboard (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
Zoom is a powerhouse when it comes to video calling, but not many users know that it can also offer whiteboarding functionality.
In fact, it’s simple to generate a new whiteboard in Zoom.
It’s an extra string to the bow for Zoom, although it’s a functional edition rather than a game-changing one. Still, it’s an area the development team is looking to improve in the future, so look for this to become a key part of many online video meetings.5. Explain Everything (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
The developers of Explain Everything consider it the “best digital whiteboard” in the world. It’s hard to argue, especially given the wealth of functionality available.
This app is great for learning-based whiteboards, as you can create interactive layouts with ease. You can include almost any media you imagine, and attendees can use all manner of devices such as iPad, Android, and any modern browser.
The key feature of Explain Everything is how well it does at creating explainer videos. This means you can piece together content within the whiteboard, and output a video for collaborators. Coupled with the infinite canvas, it’s a fantastic way to involve a class or team.
Explain Everything offers a free tier, with other premium plans starting from €24.99 per year per user. You can start for free and expand if you need to. The premium plans offer you the full experience – you can access a practically unlimited number of projects, slides, and recording. Compared to the free tier’s three projects/one slide maximum, it’s a solid deal.6. Conceptboard (In-Browser)
Conceptboard is another infinite canvas whiteboard app that thrives when it comes to real-time collaboration.
While the app is good for asynchronous collaboration, it shines when everyone is on the same board. There are moderation tools to retain the session focus, and there is also role management functionality.
In addition, you can see users on the canvas, as each pointer is distinct and unique to the user. This can help remote collaboration sessions go more smoothly and help it be more creative.
Much like other apps, Conceptboard offers a very usable free tier, along with premium upgrades starting from $6 per user per month if you need it. While you don’t get access to premium team settings and the file storage is quite low, you do get live moderation functionality and an almost unlimited number of project boards.7. Limnu (In-Browser)
We think Limnu is going to suit two types of collaborative efforts: design-based creative sessions and “flipped classroom” environments.
This is because it offers a super simple approach to whiteboarding and provides cross-platform access. There are many security and moderation tools to keep a session flowing and plenty of ways to save your board for future distribution and use.
For work teams, the Slack integration will be handy if you use that platform. Something that doesn’t get a mention often is the smoothness of the drawing itself. Limnu is one of the best in this regard.
Limnu is also cost-effective. There’s a free tier, but the premium upgrade is only $5 per month. This is fantastic for such a well-thought-out app. It’s especially true when you consider how close each tier is. The free plan gives you 14-day access to whiteboards and offers you limited administrative controls. The premium plans essentially remove these restrictions and give you the full experience of the app.8. MURAL (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
MURAL is another digital visual collaboration app that includes a whiteboard. It’s akin to a combination of several other apps on this list, which means it’s worth your attention.
For example, you can set up a board fast, and either work in real time or asynchronously. You’re able to use a template to start, which lets you organize your session from the off. We also like some of the interactive elements, such as the summoning functionality to bring everyone back after a break.
You also get the opportunity to vote on specific elements and offer reactions based on how the session is running.
MURALs free tier is not as value-driven as other tools, but the premium tiers offer competitive pricing at $9.99 per member per month. It might not work for you as a free app, but it’s certainly great value when you upgrade. You don’t get in-app chat and email support on the free plan, and you can only invite a restricted number of guests to your boards. Also, private boards can only be found on the premium plans.9. Microsoft Whiteboard (Windows, iOS)
Most readers are no stranger to Microsoft. It’s a behemoth when it comes to most computer technology. It’s no surprise that a whiteboard app is also part of its offerings.
This combines a number of elements of Office 365, such as video calls, into one package. There’s flexibility in the package, too, as there are many elements not present in other solutions.
For example, you can use reactions, add images as “digital ink” representations, use sticky notes, and embed other Office documents. It’s clear that Microsoft Whiteboard works well as part of the whole 365 ecosystem, although it’s available for free on both Windows and iOS.10. Google Jamboard (In-Browser)
Google is another “Big Tech” company that almost everyone on Earth either knows about and/or uses. However, much like many other Google products, Jamboard isn’t as well known. Even so, there’s a familiar interface and workflow, which makes it a breeze to use.
Because Jamboard looks like a Google product, it means it doesn’t look as great as other solutions. While the functionality should trump all here – and there is a full gamut of elements to use within sessions – the visuals will have an effect on the user.
As such, Google Jamboard is a whiteboard app that will be more suited to corporate environments rather than school classrooms or even more creative working environments.Frequently Asked Questions 1. Do I need to purchase a physical display to use any of these whiteboard apps?
Not at all! While a dedicated display will look professional and give you more scope to collaborate, you don’t need anything other than the app itself.
In fact, there are some apps on this list where a whiteboard isn’t necessary. We’re thinking of remote collaboration tools specifically, although this could also apply for users who work in the same building2. Do whiteboard apps work for small teams as well as large ones?
Yes, although this does depend on the app in question. For example, a whiteboard could work for a two-person graphic design team to collaborate on a specific aspect of a project. You may find that a front-end and back-end developer use a whiteboard to pitch in with different ideas around a new design.
We should also mention the asynchronous aspect again. A whiteboard is an ideal way for a team to connect on a project if they work remote or at different times than others. There’s no reason to forgo a whiteboard app for small teams for any reason.Conclusion
If you want to collaborate with your team, other students, or clients, a whiteboard app is essential. It can help everyone literally get on the same page and meet a common goal.
This post has looked at a bunch of the best whiteboard apps available, including how Zoom can be used. For more on the popular video conferencing app, check out the Zoom features that make for better remote meetings.
Tom Rankin is a quality content writer for WordPress, tech, and small businesses. When he’s not putting fingers to keyboard, he can be found taking photographs, writing music, playing computer games, and talking in the third-person.
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blog / Workforce Development 5 Benefits of Team Training in the Workplace
Training your employees in new skillsets and new technologies is an excellent investment. But the benefits of team training, where you teach a working group together, extend even further for your business. As noted by Peter Senge of the MIT Sloan School of Management, who authored The Fifth Discipline, “Team learning is vital because teams, not individuals, are the fundamental learning unit in modern organizations.”
With talent shortages making it more challenging to hire new workers, upskilling your in-house teams simply makes sense. More than half (53%) of executives rank building skills within their existing workforce as the number one way to close skills gaps in their organizations, according to a recent survey by McKinsey & Company.
The Benefits of Team Training
To supercharge the benefits of upskilling your workforce, train your employees in teams where they can collaborate in a learning environment. Here are five benefits of team training for your workforce.1. Team training helps build employee relationships.
Your in-house team structure dovetails nicely with proven learning strategies that increase learning. Cohort-based learning (a model used in Emeritus’ online courses) places students in a group. They interact during classes, as opposed to each student watching a lecture and completing coursework alone. This type of education, allowing students to progress through the curriculum at a unified pace, became popular in the 1990s after it was realized students could motivate each other, increasing student retention and course completion rates.
Cohort-based learning is inherently hands-on, and a recent Harvard University study has shown that students gain more knowledge from active learning than from lectures. The collaborative aspects help students develop social capital and social networks, which can improve their understanding during class. It also impacts their future professional development by establishing strong social ties within professional networks.
Fostering these social benefits within a team unit brings the benefits of cohort-based education directly into the workplace and impacts team dynamics.2. Team training increases employee engagement.
Following the engaged learning in team training, team members can apply their knowledge directly to the work environment. Engaged employees are enthusiastic participants willing to invest their energy in the company’s success. Not only do engaged workers give their best in the workplace, but they are also less likely to leave the company, improving retention rates.
The statistics on the benefits of engaged teams are striking and measurable. A meta-analysis by Gallup found 36% of U.S. employees and 20% of the global workforce are engaged at work. According to Gallup, when compared to the least engaged teams, the most engaged teams had:
23% higher profits
10% higher customer loyalty
14-18% in productivity gains
81% less absenteeism
18-43% lower employee turnover
When you train a team together, you hit many of the features that improve engagement. These include opportunities for development and for employee voices to be heard. Though engagement and job satisfaction are not synonymous, engaged employees are usually much happier in their jobs. They find meaning and purpose in what they do and feel fulfilled by investing in their work products.
In addition, training a team offers a venue for professionals to interact differently with their colleagues. And it allows for improved workplace relationships, increasing social cohesion within the team.3. Training a team improves collaboration.
Even if your team training focuses on a technical subject area (like data analytics or blockchain), your team members will practice applying soft skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and flexibility.
Having employees go through the experience together, discuss topics with each other, and learn cognitive frameworks for evaluating and applying techniques and theories to their projects will expand their ability to work well together. Additionally, an instructor guiding team members in working together on problems offers new input on how the team can function efficiently. This improves the outcomes of the work your team produces.4. It benefits productivity.
As noted above, engaged teams are more productive. In addition, teams learn and adapt more quickly than individuals, according to Deloitte. Basically, when all team members learn in an environment together, they can apply the skills they gain to the group’s tasks. Collectively learning new ideas and methods gives employees common language and understanding to help them envision more successful and worthwhile goals for their business unit.
Productivity improvements accelerate when groups learn together. The whole team can get on board with a new way of completing tasks quickly. Teams that collaborate well are more productive, as the many benefits of team training feed into productivity gains.5. Training a team can improve company culture.
A healthy company culture embraces change, inquiry, learning, and discussion, and invests in its workforce through learning and development. Offering development opportunities to teams improves engagement, job satisfaction, and overall happiness, contributing to a positive workplace culture.
There’s no better way to embed the idea of learning into your organization than to offer team training. A learning format where team members interact helps inject a learning culture into everyday processes. Group learning encourages flexible thinking, which can set a course for your company that’s both culturally and technologically resilient. Promoting training within an organization helps employees feel valued and derive meaning from their work. This fosters a culture where the company mission includes individual well-being.
How to Train a Team
for the Future
As Senge once said in The Fifth Discipline, “A learning organization is an organization that is continually expanding its capacity to create its future.” You can add skills to your workplace by training individual workers, but you will gain even more through team training. Individual employees will enjoy the long-term benefits of upskilling. But the immediate application of learning within a collaborative team will help your company realize gains more quickly.
Engaged employees, learning together, can then apply 21st-century skills training to their planning and ideation, creating a future that will put your company in the best position to survive and thrive in an ever-changing marketplace.
By Julia Tell
You can schedule a meeting with Emeritus Enterprise to learn about employee training options for your workforce. We can help you deliver a curriculum that targets the hard and soft skills your employees need to thrive.
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