What is Computer-Based Training?

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Computer-based training has been applied for several years in the corporate world. But organizations had not exploited it fully until a few years ago. It is defined as any form of training that largely relies on electronic media and communication technologies. Computer-based training is mainly delivered through a computer. The computers are used to impart training, monitor trainee progress, provide feedback, and assess final outcomes.

Making the Shift to Computer-Based Training

Computer-based training has developed tremendously over the years. Organizations are now capable of exploiting it to teach valuable skills and knowledge. Software and hardware advances have made it possible for companies to use this kind of training cost effectively. A variety of software has been developed to allow companies to offer training on various topics such as productivity advancement, production quality, and safety. Web-based training is one form of computer-based training and it is rapidly becoming one of the most popular options for organizations that want to impart training. This is attributed to the fact that it can be offered to employees in different locations. The web-based training option allows employees to learn even when they are out of the office. Organizations no longer have to rely on in-house training offered in classrooms to ensure their employees have skills and knowledge required for their work. Classroom training still plays an important role and it can be used to complement computer-based training. Why Use Computer-Based Training? An organization has to understand why it is necessary to use computer-based training. It offers a variety of benefits for a company and individual employees. Boost Productivity Computer-based training can help an organization to boost productivity. This training option is flexible and employees do not have to take time away from work to learn. The training can be offered when it is convenient for an individual employee. Training material can be accessed at any time from various locations. This means that a company does not have to work with reduced staff during training. Employees can continue with their tasks and get the training at an appropriate time. Enhance Learning This kind of training also boosts learning. When employees have an opportunity to determine when they will learn, they are more likely to retain the material. There is no pressure for them to learn the material in a single day. Its convenience helps to enhance learning. Saves Time Computer-based training typically takes less time compared to classroom training. Research reveals that this training approach can reduce the amount of time spent training an individual employee by about 50%. This is significant because every minute that an employee spends in training should be valuable. Computer-based training saves time because most of the programs available are designed to suit individual learning requirements. Employees only have access to learning material that is relevant to their job. This is different from a situation where employees are required to gather in a specific location for training. It is impossible to customize training material to suit every employee in this kind of setting. Promotes Learning Retention Retention is essential when employees attend training. Computer-based training makes it easy for employees to retain the information they learn. This is because they can spend more time on specific areas that they have trouble with. The training can also be interactive and this allows employees to apply their skills and knowledge during the training. This takes place in a relaxed atmosphere and the employees do not have to worry about criticism. This is not possible in a classroom setting when an employee is with colleagues. They may find it embarrassing to ask questions when everyone else seems to grasp a certain concept. There is reduced pressure on the amount of time that an employee is required to take to learn the material and this enhances retention further. An organization can also enhance retention by using computer-based training programs that can be customized to suit various learning styles. People learn in different ways and customizing the material and medium used helps to enhance retention. Some employees may prefer to learn by reading while others prefer to listen to the material. Training can also be offered in stages to give an employee time to digest and apply the material that they learn. It is impractical to achieve this in conventional classroom settings. Offers Relevant Skills and Knowledge Employees’ skills and knowledge should be updated regularly. This is not always possible when training has to be organized in classroom settings. It may take a while before an organization can identify the most appropriate time to have a certain number of employees out of the office for training. On the other hand, computer-based training can offer relevant skills and knowledge as soon as they are required. Employees can access training material when they require it and apply it immediately. Cost-Effective When computer-based training was initiated, it was quite expensive but this has changed over the years. It is now considered a cost effective way to provide training. It costs less to offer this kind of training compared to organizing classroom training. An organization spends a lot of money to organize a training venue and ensure all the necessary facilities are available. Computer-based training software may be expensive upfront, but it saves significant amounts in the long term. How to Make Computer-based Training Work for You It is obvious that computer-based training offers several advantages for an organization. However, just like any other form of training, it has to be well planned. Employees need to update their skills and knowledge but they need to understand why they have to learn. The training has to help an organization to achieve specific goals. An organization needs to base the training around certain objectives. This allows employees to know what they are working towards. It is also important to hold the employees accountable. They should apply the new skills and knowledge in their jobs. However, they need an opportunity to apply them. This means that the organization has to put in place processes that require the new knowledge and skills. Technology has made it easier for organizations to offer training. Computer-based training can help organizations to boost productivity and save resources. Employees also learn better through this form of training becomes it can be customized. Computer-based training can be used to attain competitive advantage by ensuring employees have relevant skills and knowledge.    
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog