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Step Into the Future of Workplace Education

Step Into the Future of Workplace Education 

Taking advantage of onboarding

By Nancy Thompson, Executive Director, AWENS – Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia  @nthompsonED

As the Executive Director of an organization that focuses on workplace education and training, I’m often engaged in a discussion about what workplace education and training will look like in the future. I suggest we need to reflect on how youth are learning in school today, what tools and technology they are using; as the tools and technology being used in their classrooms will have to be considered as tools in our education and training programs. Today’s youth are the employees of the future.

Gamification is often being used in classes from grade 5 and up, coding in grade 6 or even earlier is taking place. Youth think and react faster, and they will want education and training in the workplace to be the same. This is the reason Grade 3 teachers are using gaming programs such as Kahoot! for testing and teamwork. In just 5 years (or less) a Grade 7 student may be on-boarding into your world of work, and you are going to be responsible for providing them with learning and development opportunities.

Trust me, if you do not have an impactful, interactive, innovative learning approach integrated into your learning and development programs, you will fail at continuing to develop the knowledge and skills of the young adults you want to employee.

Organizations need to be thinking about future employees, not just about the ones they employee today.  WAIT – STOP, did I say ‘think about future employees’? Sorry, think about your current employees as they are also interested in learning and developing their skills in an impactful, interactive, innovative learning approach.

When speaking with employers they express how they are trying to implement online learning, as are we. Aggressive forward-thinking organizations are the successful businesses, they have stepped into the future bringing virtual learning in the workplace classroom.

In a 2017 Forbes article, by Kris Kolo (Executive Director at VR/AR Association and formerly, of Verizon, Toys R Us and an Advisor of FlyBy) reported, VR can enable experiential learning by simulating real-world environments. Students can test their skills, record their work and interact with experts all within VR. Students have responded overwhelmingly positively to active learner engagement.

By the end of 2017, Walmart was using virtual training in 200 of its training centres, preparing employees for situations they may experience in the real world of work, programs from Leadership to Customer Service.

Another leader in the VR education and training is Honeywell. Like so many companies their senior employees ‘the baby boomers’ are retiring, and it comes as no shock to any of us, when they leave, a vast amount of knowledge and skills are lost.  Honeywell, has been able to use virtual and augment reality to capture some of this knowledge and transfer it to their new hires, the millennials.

In a Forbes article by Bernard Marr (2018), Director Youssef Mestari states that The Honeywell Connected Plant program, has redefined expectations on training and working practice to more closely align with millennial values.

Yes, it is NOW that we need to look at ways to integrate tools such as, VR in the education and training workplace classroom today, not in the future.

Nancy Thompson, AWENS Executive Director





Nancy holds an MBA in Global Leadership and a Diploma in Adult Education. Working in the field of Adult Education for over 25 years, she is dedicated to helping organizations build capacity from within, and insure adult educators receive the professional development they need to be innovative and build success in others.     Nancy believes, by investing in workplace education, everyone wins – the company, the people and the communities in which we live.

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