Incorporating technology into training can offer many advantages. For one, it can save money by reducing or eliminating the need to train with expensive materials or equipment when the training can be simulated through today’s technology. It can also save money by allowing a single trainer to remotely train employees across the country or around the world. And technology can improve safety by allowing trainees to simulate dangerous activities before performing them in real life. And yet, many observers feel that we are missing out on a lot of opportunities to inject new technology into our training. Enter the Millennials and the digital natives.
Raj Raheja, writing for Born2Invest, argues that tech-savvy younger generations have enabled the potential for increased use of technology in workplace training. He notes that the use of technology has come a long way since the 1980s and 90s. “Whatever advantages there might have been to using computers in training,” he writes, “they didn’t outweigh the reality that workers would need to know how to use the computers themselves first—and likely didn’t.”
Raheja also argues that companies will have a hard time keeping Millennials engaged without effectively incorporating modern technology into their training methods. “Given that they can easily livestream their on-the-job training with a couple taps of their fingers, how impressed or engaged can you expect them to be by your printed manuals, slide shows, and classroom sessions?” he asks. “It’s like asking today’s Minecraft-obsessed kids to go out and play Kick the Can.”
If Raheja is correct, the increasing proportion of Millennials and, increasingly, Generation Z in the workplace may help provide a tipping point for the incorporation of greater levels of technology in training processes. The comfort of these cohorts with technology, combined with steadily falling costs, may make technology such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and others more feasible, and even required, in modern-day training.