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Learning and Development Training

Learning solutions: Responding to the need for speed

The one-size-fits all approach to training and rote learning is long dead.  Trends reflect that the current challenge and opportunity for training professionals is their ability to deliver relevant, customized and individualized learning experiences that ensure learners reach proficiency speedily.  As attention spans diminish, learners needs change, the skills required by business evolve, and technological advances explode exponentially. Additionally, the speed of training delivery has become the differentiator of success. 

The first influencer driving change is access to smart devices and cheaper data, within the African environment particularly, which has exposed millions of people to social media, online shopping, gaming, online booking services and more. The second driver is the convenience of on-demand training and education services via online platforms.  This has greatly influenced the hunger for real-time information that speaks directly into both learner and business needs.

Non-linear learning

Learning is no longer linear, it’s far more fluid, intuitive and multi-dimensional. Any good learner will follow their curiosity and be self-driven in their learning.  Anyone is able to find the answer to just about any question via Google within seconds. ‘Google’ has become a verb.  If they don’t find the answer there, they can quickly ask a friend or colleague in a group chat or via a WhatsApp for their opinion, experience or input.

Social media and online platforms also cater for individualized learning: an aural learner will naturally be drawn to a podcast, where a visual learner may naturally gravitate to a YouTube video on the same topic.

To many, their phone is the only classroom they either have or need.  Practically speaking, when students have access to online learning resources, they also save   transport and many other costs involved in attending full-time studies.

Diminishing dependency upon a physical building, classroom or lecturer  means traditional lecturing is also dead.  In-class learning now has to be as interactive, dynamic and stimulating to learners as the web is. The advantage here, especially to adult learners, lies in the many benefits of group learning—collaborative class exercises are energizing and motivating vs. the potential isolation of learning at home alone.

New role of the trainer

We consider bringing learning to the learner via various platforms and creating a customized approach to learning in the face-to-face environment to be our challenge.

The new role of the trainer is to be the facilitator of an individual’s learning journey. Empowering learners is now about creating practical simulated work challenges and having learners solve problems in a safe, non-judgmental and facilitated environment that they can apply practically soon after they leave.

The primary challenge then for training is around how quickly we can design new learning solutions and how quickly learners can access information they need to do their jobs. At International Hotel School Training, we keep these questions top of mind.

Anticipating and keeping pace with future training needs

There is traditional and prescribed content which needs to be enhanced with  current, customized solution-focused content for clients.   Matthew Lambert, managing director, at Summit holds the view that the only way to do that is by going into the business to understand what the specific skill sets are that the business requires.  It’s also vital to stay abreast of what’s happening in a specific environment.

Summit responds to the need for speed by anticipating the training needs for the future. For example, training requirements for gaming have changed because the environment has shifted to the online sporting and betting environment, where telebet operators are required in contact centres to support this new environment.

“Where previously we trained for traditional casino gaming operations,  we’re now putting programmes together to match the growth and trends in this industry.  We keep pace by speaking to who we know in the industry and asking them if what we’re intending or designing will add value to their businesses. We then design programmes and qualifications around their needs and feedback. This is the ideal scenario—to design training programme proactively, ready for launch.  Anticipating what’s going to be coming up in the current environment in which you’re operating, as well as understanding what trends exist and then anticipating the training that will be required in response to those trends. We do this on a quarterly basis. We have individuals tasked with submitting research and development proposals, on specific speciality areas,” says Matthew.

Blended learning solutions

While there’s always more room for growth, Matthew believes that overall, Summit is keeping pace with industry changes.  Particularly, he says, in providing blended-based qualifications in the training environment. In the learnership, for example, there are many days required out of office for in-contact training because that’s how the qualifications were set up traditionally.

This has real business impact because there can be up to 98 days or a third of the year that the learner can be out of the business operation. By providing blended solutions Summit is reducing the number of days out of the field and ensuring learners get the know-how they require. This means individuals no longer have to leave the office and still obtain the skills required to obtain their qualification through their learnership. Summit is aggressively focusing on boosting blended learning solutions  and currently have all  Summit qualifications on a blended learnership.  There’s a clear win-win for learners and businesses when time out of the office is reduced.

On the Summit peer-to-peer learning platforms, learners are able to learn directly from one another’s real-time experiences. Mimicking the instant gratification they derive from social media platforms, as one person learns something new, they can share that instantly with their peers.  This factor alone greatly speeds up the learning process. Learning is no longer entirely reliant upon time out of office, the classroom or even a teacher.

“While we’ve had to catch up, shortly we’ll be front runners in providing the most diverse range of blended learnerships obtainable from one hotel school,” says MD, Matthew Lambert.