Computing power has doubled every two years since 1959. Your laptop today is roughly four billion times more powerful than Eniac – the first mainframe computer, built in 1949! Every smartphone and tablet is equipped with a camera, phone, or voice-over-internet access. Gone are the days when you had to yell at someone across the house to “get off the phone” so you could use your very slow dial-up internet. At its current evolutionary pace, computers will have the processing power of the human brain by 2030. So fasten your seatbelts!
With the enormous strides in technology that touches online training — graphics and display devices, artificial intelligence, internet access — how do you keep up? More importantly, what does this mean for your organization? We know that technology continues to evolve exponentially and, despite Hollywood’s claims to the contrary, continues to serve our needs — not us theirs!
Mobile Training On Your Doorstep
Stop what you’re doing right now and take a look around your office. Take note of the amount of mobile computing that your co-workers are using right now. Some of the devices might be assigned by your organization; more often than not they’re the mobile devices are ones that employees already own.
Not too long ago the primary means to access the internet was through a laptop or desktop computer. Mobile computing is a game changer and will affect the way an organization will deliver training to its employees.
As a result, corporate training departments have no choice but to consider tablet support in their business requirements. The good news is that the technology is already here — and works! Developing online training that both looks and works well on any device your staff happen to use is something that can happen right now. There are ways to do it wrong though.
When developing a course that you expect to be taken on a device with a smaller screen like a smartphone or tablet, it’s not just a matter of taking existing online training and shrinking it to fit the screen, the course has to adapt to make the best use of the screen. Let me explain.
Have a look at our website vantagepath.com on your desktop or laptop and take note of how it looks. Now have a look at our website on your smartphone. You’ll notice while the content is still there, elements have shifted so that it makes the best use of the screen. Online training should do this as well if you know that it may be taken on a smartphone.
An example of how this could work is our mobile course demo. By clicking on the different icons that represent screen sizes, you can see how the course responds to the new screen size.
The fact of the matter is that your employees will be the ones driving change. As more of them have access to an always-connected mobile device, that will be how they want their training delivered.
But what lies ahead….
Mobile Training Down The Road
As graphics and display technologies evolve, online training needs to keep pace, especially in the area of mobile learning. Learners are expecting their online learning to support multiple platforms because, increasingly, that’s where they’re spending most of their time online.
In effect, online training courses must follow the learner and be immediately available on whichever device they happen to be using at the time. Online courses that can be played on smartphones and tablets as seamlessly as it can on a desktop are quickly becoming an expected feature. However, just when you start to get comfortable, something new comes on the horizon.
New developments in consumer level mobile technology such as wearable screens will mean that online training will be extended to smart watches like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and eyeglass screens like Google Glass.
While there’s still a lot of buzz surrounding wearable computing, there are still some important questions to be asked other than “Does this go with my shirt?” There are technical considerations from both a course development and a hardware standpoint. Just because you can use HTML5 to squeeze an interactive course into a 320 x 320 pixel display on a smartwatch doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Your most important goal is to provides an optimal learning experience to the user.
While exciting, wearable computing still has a way to go before it’s an efficient, effective course delivery medium.
It’s an exciting time to be involved in training employees. Technology has opened up doors that allow your knowledge to reach further and more effectively than ever before. Deploying training across branches and to employees on site or in the field is as easy as clicking a mouse.