people working with computers Making sure you or employees that work for you are productive on any workday can be a difficult task. Various forms of technology have always improved how we do our jobs from the industrial revolution through to today. We have increased the productivity of production and the efficiency of the average worker many times over.

The iPhone was launched in 2007 along with Amazon’s Kindle and Google’s Android operating system. Millennials were born in the period of 1981 – 1996 meaning they were in the ages of 11 to 26 when this technology was released. Primed and open for adopting this new “productivity tool” into their everyday lives as well as their jobs.

 

A Shifting Workforce 

It has been determined that within five years, 75% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials.  In 2030, which is only 10 years away, will see Technology Professional jobs as those that have increased the most in percentage per million, while office support jobs, administrative assistants, production work and equipment operators will be at the lowest - since technology will have replaced the productivity tasks that many of those job duties entail. The same technology that began with the personal hand-held computer everyone owned – the smartphone.

But, it is becoming increasingly evident that the rate of technological change is now exceeding the ability to adapt to it, or in the case of learning and development – keeping up with it. What do you do at your company to keep up?

 

The Age of Digital Learning 

We talk a lot about the challenges of keeping training up to date with the technologies companies and employees are using today. In our 2019 Training Survey 37% of respondents said that they had company-specific training material available to them, but it was old and or outdated.

Today is the age of E-Learning with micro-learning being the hot term over the last couple of years. Our goals in this age have been that anyone should be able to be trained from anywhere at any time. In our launch of video-based SAP instructor courses, we found micro-learning studies telling us that we had better keep those lessons short as most learners won't watch videos longer than 5-7 minutes.

 

An Updated Look at Productivity 

What does it mean to be productive in an average workday? Many jobs today include tasks that are simply searching for and collaborating on items of information. Items such as reading/responding to email inquiries, searching company and internet sites for data, and other collaboration tasks which take away from the tasks specific to their actual described jobs in which they are valued for and measured by for productivity.

To build a modern learning adaptable training model – we must include attributes that allow employees to make the little time they have to train be worth their time and effort. It needs to cover productivity items that are both in the I need help now and the I want to learn something new categories.

In a recent MMC blog article on Productivity - how to be more productive - we learned that multitasking actually degrades our productivity and doing one thing at a time actually helps you get more done! This is pretty interesting as most people today feel that they CAN multi-task more than 10 years ago because our smartphones allow us to make appointments, read articles, watch videos, answer phone calls, etc, etc.. Should you eat your lunch, answer emails and listen to a training video all at once? To be productive in online learning, students should focus on small lessons, throughout the day that are repeatable for reinforcement as well as being available for on-demand learning.

 

Next Generation Technologies 

What is leading the next big technology push in learning? Intelligent, personalized, machine-driven learning. Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence are on the horizon now even within SAP! Your productivity will be further evaluated and aided by technology, allowing learning to be accessible at the time that it is needed – and on the job from within an application.

But how do we determine if all this new technology is actually improving our employees' productivity? When starting any new training program no matter the technology, determine what the goals and milestones are in order to determine if these have been met at the completion of the training. With technology it may seem like producing more widgets per hour is improved productivity – but will that apply to the jobs of the future?

We do know for certain that we shouldn’t be thinking in terms of once and done learning – knowledge retention needs reinforcement. If an employee can’t use the knowledge immediately and start being more productive right away – they need to be able to locate the answer quickly and review the information immediately when the question/issue comes up again.

 

Fostering a Productive Learning Environment 

Are you or your students mastering new skills and improving productivity or just getting through the day? Even with all of the aided machine learning – to learn a new skill we need reinforcement.

What about social interaction? Humans have always learned by this method, with coaching and mentoring alongside technology. Do you have your employees teach others on your teams for reinforcement of their own skills and knowledge sharing and mentoring? 

Or how about something as simple as having students – bring one thing they learned in training during the week to the Monday morning huddle. Do you use social tools to broadcast questions, answers, and discussions about newly learned productivity items?


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Leslie has worked in IT divisions for over 25 years with deep experience developing user-based materials for business software applications. When not designing our eLearning, Leslie spends time in her garden or art space creating something beautiful.