Explore Tek Experts guide to the top 5 trends in software training and education in 2017

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2017 looks to be another crucial year in the IT training and education market, with a continued requirement for multi-platform engagement in addition to the need for new software to accomplish more and reach even further with new features and benefits.

Today, we talk to Rick Sullivan, Global Education Manager about what he feels will be the top trends in software training and education in 2017.

Trend 1 Micro-training

Rick begins by outlining the importance of micro-training this year and how it can impact effectively without being time-consuming.

“When it comes to micro-training, we’re talking something between 30 seconds and 5 minutes. This may be a ‘how-to’ video, e-learning or just a talking head. The training needs to have a highly-targeted message. People don’t have a lot of time, and they may know a product well but just need to know one fact as fast as possible such as ‘how do I configure this software to do X with this hardware?’

A lot of companies have this type of training embedded into their website and learning management systems and as part of their marketing message. Rick continues, “The good news is that, because companies have the infrastructure to support this, micro-training modules can be built at what I call the ‘speed of cloud’ development. However, the proliferation of micro videos might also be difficult to manage. With too many different sources, there has to be a degree of thought behind the content curation.

Trend 2 ‘How to’ video training

On the face of it, ‘how to’ video training might sound the same as micro-training. But ‘how to’ training videos are a format to cater for different audiences whenever they need the information. This can fit better into a company’s overall training strategy.

Rick said, “The difference between micro-training and ‘how to’ video training is that ‘how to’ video training can be as long, or as short, as you want it to be. I’ve seen some enterprise software videos that are over an hour in length.”

A’how to’ video has to have a certain process behind it. It needs to take someone through step-by-step and connect the dots between knowledge gaps along the way. ‘How to’ videos have been around for a while, but now companies are starting to realize how that media and delivery format actually fits in with their wider training vision.

“It’s also true to say that due to the Generation X and Y, and now Millennials, people have less attention span when it comes to sitting in a classroom for long periods of time. So we need to take this into consideration and adapt training to gear up with all generations, as well as making it more efficient.” Rick highlighted.

Trend 3 Triple A

Triple A training is a form of training that can be undertaken anytime, anywhere and on any device. A trend that is surely on the rise, as most people’s computer of choice is increasingly the one they carry in their pocket.

Rick argues that the younger generations are more determined to learn on the go and at their convenience. They like the freedom to learn in different locations and then being able to upload their progress. This is a trait that companies can learn from and adapt to with the correct software.

Rick continued, “The generation X and Ys are always learning and they want to determine when they can learn. People need to be able to access training materials at any time of the day or night. A participant might be hooked in through a Wi-Fi connection to undertake training, testing or simulations. Other times, they may be in a place where they can’t get online but should be able to download material and use it offline. Progress can be recorded and when the participant reconnects, everything needs to update automatically.”

Moreover, software is being developed in the cloud that is mobile orientated these days and software is designed to run on anything between a cell phone and a desktop, so the training that supports that software must be able to be undertaken on those same devices.

Trend 4 Tiered free vs training strategy

With so many different training options available, in 2017, companies will have to think more about how to stitch together a cohesive training strategy.

A complete strategy really looks at the gambit of the simple micro-training and ‘how to’ videos, right through to sending your system admin on a multi-week boot camp with a certification at the end of it. As companies grow, they have to understand how to put all this together.
“So, it’s really having that end-to-end tiered strategy to understand what is free and available to everyone, and what people have to sign up for.” Rick confirmed.
Organizations need to be saying, ‘We have lots of free resources and training but when you’ve exhausted the free stuff and want to learn more, we have some fee-based training available too.
Thus, it is vital for companies to understand how to fit all their training options together for the maximum impact without wasting money or resources by mismanaging the different training options.

Trend 5 Personalization

To conclude, Rick stresses the importance of personalizing the training methods for various departments and customers to achieve maximum efficiency and impact.

“You really can’t have broad brush training; you simply can’t deliver the same training to your end customer that you’re delivering to your tech support person, your partners or your sales teams. Content not only has to be personalized but so too does the delivery method.”

People need to select the training that fits in with their need case and their budget, while organizations need to create personalized learning paths for the various groups that require training.

In the past, the danger of offering only a one-size-fits-all boot camp is that customers who can’t afford to attend end up calling tech support and start picking the tech support person’s brain. Tech support calls really aren’t designed for giving out vast quantities of information and eventually the customer may simply decide that it’s too hard to deal with your company from a services perspective.

Rick ends by highlighting that a constant focus on the need, and how best to address it, will remain the central vein running through training and education developments in 2017.
“Training has to come with a purpose. Not everything can be done through training; we can’t fix the world through training. But when you do identify an area that can be trained, you need to really focus on all the details to make sure you’re getting it right.”

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