Workplace Learning Technologies

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Think about the workforce employed by your company.  Look past the demographics for a moment and focus on the type of employees you have.  Think about the way in which they interact with one another and the environment around them.  What’s different as compared to the workforces of 20 years ago? 

More than likely, at this point, you’ve zeroed in on the fact most employees, if not all, have a mobile device on their person; a smart phone or a tablet of some sort.  This single device has changed the way in which the workforce of today consumes information and applies it to their personal lives.

Those personal lives inform their professional lives.

Workplace Learning

Knowing that now, how do you translate learning in the workplace?  Engage with the employee.  That engagement can take on several different forms.  Those include:

  • Surveys and appraisals
  • Committee/roundtable discussions
  • Employee designed courses
  • Employee training

According to data gathered by the HR Exchange Network, most HR professionals and companies lean toward time tested surveys and appraisals as an indicator or learning satisfaction.  Information gathered in all four forms can help hone the strategy.

But that’s not enough.  We also need to understand what technologies are being used to train employees. 

Engaging, Flexible, Mobile Content

Several technologies can be used to deliver content, including gamification and social media.

But first, how are these technologies useful in learning?

Gamification is simply education by gaming. Essentially, employees are allowed to play a video game of sorts while at work. Often, the game is rather short in nature and offers educational content as part of the game. The game is able to track employees’ already-gained knowledge and the knowledge employees lack. The game is then able to adjust to the individual worker and tailor questions based on the knowledge lacked.

Learning through social media is a bit more involved in that workers have to engage with content in a social atmosphere. Take Pinterest for instance. A custom boards can be created for employees with resources from the web pinned there. Employees would also be asked to pin resources for other employees to use. Twitter and Facebook can be used to connect employees directly to subject matter experts (SMEs) in a particular field or topic.

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Putting It Into Play

Checkers and Rally’s drive-thru restaurants are using these technologies in their training strategies.

Guest recovery is when a customer is unhappy and an employee must go above and beyond in resolving the issue. To train workers for that, Checkers/Rally’s decided on a social media theme for the training. The reason: it would relate to their young employees, most of whom are 16 - 24 years old. The eLearning platform looks similar to a YouTube playlist. Each video is recorded and uploaded by a customer who had a bad experience at a Checkers or Rally’s restaurant. The learner watches the video and judges the employee’s performance using social media tools like emojis and hashtags.

Playing games has become a successfully way of training employees.

The Drive-Thru Challenge brings the restaurants key concepts for great guest service into focus. Each concept is broken down into sections. The learner reviews each section and then watches two characters performing tasks involving the. The learner then has the opportunity to judge how well each character performed the tasks. Throughout the game, learners answer questions that determine the best way to face a bag toward the customer, whether a voice is smiling or frowning, among other things. These interactions highlight what the learner needs to be looking for during the character videos. Learners are encouraged to observe mistakes the characters make loosely creating a “learn from your mistakes” experience. The Drive-Thru challenge is mobile friendly, allowing the learners the flexibility to take it during breaks or on the go!


Regardless of which technology you choose, keep in mind the strategy should focus on consistency, logic, and flexibility.  You must also include your employees in the process.  Some have said trainees/employees themselves are a challenge.  Don’t view them this way.  View them, instead, as part of the solution.  Ultimately, learning and development is about more than simply providing training to employees.  It’s about creating a culture of development; a place where learning isn’t just expected, but is a way of life.


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