During a recent conversation with a friend and fellow business owner, I questioned his current training needs by asking, “Are you using anything to educate your employees beyond ‘on the job’ training, as in just demonstrating your knowledge and using your time?” In short, his answer was, “No, not really.”
While this response is not unique even with large businesses with hundreds, even thousands of employees, it still surprises me as someone whose career is developing training solutions incorporating video and digital media.
Even though almost all employees own smart phones, many employers are not aware of the training options available that are cheap or even free as mobile apps. Our smart phones are portals which link us to almost all human knowledge ever recorded, yet we still don’t use them to our advantage as business leaders.
In between using various mobile apps for arguing with strangers about politics and watching talented animal videos, I was able to sort through my long list of resources and select a few of my favorite mobile applications to share them with you to help with training your employees.
1. YouTube?: You had better be!
First, this one you should know and use already. According to Youtube’s statistics, the amount of Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers using YouTube is 81%, 58%, and 43% respectively. Over 1 Billion videos are viewed everyday… yet only 9% of small businesses are members (as of Spring 2015). Let’s agree to improve that statistic, together.
Even with low business members, YouTube has more training information than you can imagine. Search just about any topic and you may find multiple videos on exactly that subject. To use this resource well, you must first create a Google account, and then create a YouTube channel. If this sounds complicated, just ask one of your millennial employees or anyone under the age of 25 such as a teen member of your family, and I assure you, they can get you set up in no time.
Once you have a YouTube channel, you can search and “subscribe” to other YouTube channels and add videos from those to yours! Ask your employees to review the videos you hand-picked for them… and voila, you’ve started a training program that no longer takes your repeated time and effort. If you choose your videos well, your employees might dig deeper and watch more videos on the same topic. I am aware of at least TWO major corporations who deliver almost all of their training content through their company’s YouTube channel. Albeit, theirs is a private channel which means their employees have to have a link to see the video content… and they create all of their own videos professionally… but how to do all of that is too much to cover today in detail.
2. Coursmos: Micro-Courses, of course!
There are several reasons why you should use Coursmos. First, like Youtube, you can find many videos on a number of topics. But unlike Youtube, Coursmos utilizes “Micro-courses”, which are a series of videos on the same topic, made by the same producer, to make it easier to consume specific chapters of a major topic.
Second, Micro-courses can be easily created using web tools as well as their mobile application available on both Android and iOS. I could add or record video for my own Micro-Course using their mobile app on my phone, albeit the quality will be limited to what I can do with my phone… but it’s that easy! Then I can align my micro-course with other existing courses to create a more comprehensive solution. There is also the opportunity to request courses from the Coursmos community. Existing courses are available for free as well as for a small fee per user.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are well known to trainers, and if you go down this path, get ready to blow your mind! MOOC’s are best described as “courses of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people”. Much like my other examples, MOOCs are mainly delivered a series of videos which the instructor or expert can easily produce using, you guessed it, your smartphone (or, ahem, hire a professional!). MOOCs have been around in some form since 2008, and now there are thousands of courses, but that shouldn’t stop you from making your own for your team.
4. Do you want to play a game? Your employees do!
Perhaps you want to test the knowledge of your team, but don’t like tests. Well it’s time you start using Kahoot.it. Kahoot is a “Multi-participant quiz game where at least two ‘players’ must link in to test their knowledge”.
The website describes it as a way to, “Create a fun learning game in minutes (we call these ‘kahoots’), made from a series of multiple choice questions”. You can add videos, images and diagrams to your questions to really draw in your teams! The best part, players answer on their own devices, while games are displayed on a shared screen, such as that huge TV in the conference room you are suddenly really glad you bought, creating a ‘campfire moment’ – and giving the players an opportunity to look up and engage!
Try it soon and you will witness any group wake up and engage in your content.
Training for ourselves and our employees will always be important. Engaging your employees by using training methods and technology to solicit the same level of enthusiasm that my son builds towers and even computers in Minecraft (ask me about it!) is the goal of any training department. And if the technology is still a challenge… ask a millennial, or a teenager… or, honestly… ask a pre-teen. They will be entering the work force soon, so you might as well engage them now… on their terms… and on their devices.
We will always need to train our team, but it shouldn’t be the hardest and most time consuming part of our business