EduVation Insights

How Digital Tools Are Closing the Skills Gap

Sep 10, 2017 1:55:43 PM / by Jennifer Reed

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Businesses and schools are beginning to rely on technology as a way to improve the learning and training experience. This transition comes as a result of innovations in tech, which make digital tools able to serve as skills-building products.

Digital Tools Help Prepare Students for Their Careers

More importantly, these digital tools are preparing students better than any schoolwork or on-the-job training can accomplish. They provide a distinctive benefit because, with the right applications, the user can get the first-hand experience they need.

The best example of this exists within virtual reality (VR) training apps. There are already many businesses embracing this technology. For example, Wal-Mart now administers VR style training as a way to mimic real working scenarios. The trainees get a feel for how running the cash is like when things get super busy. Plus, they can simulate problem-solving experiences and better know how to handle customers in real scenarios.

Advanced Digital Tools for Today's Students

While the VR learning experience is a bit too customized to create for many schools, there are many simpler digital tools that fit in an e-learning setting. The most common example of this right now is gamification.

Through custom-made games and apps, it's possible to give real workplace training without having the on-the-job factor. This method is very valuable. For instance, a medical student learning advanced terminology will be more likely to remember what they learn through a gaming format than by just reading endless definitions.

A great way to push students to remember what they learn is through a "streak-based game," where the goal is to do better each time. With the medical terminology example, the goal would be to correctly define (or pinpoint the term for definitions) as many times as possible. It could be a simple daily activity, maybe with 2-3 tries, but the first failed attempt would end the streak. To enforce a higher level of focus, streak-based leaderboards can be used to track performance by student.

Other Types of Digital Tools for Workforce Training

There are many other examples that exist, although some are less common than others. Here's a look at a few digital tools that have been proven to work well...

  • Digital tutors: While teachers can handle most of the course knowledge, there are always times when specialized insight will help. A digital tutor can join in for these moments to provide more of a technical understanding of segments of the curriculum.
  • E-learning platforms: Bringing the online courses to an e-learning platform changes the entire experience. Students can enjoy the gamification aspect and also partake in a sandboxed social network among classmates. The communication channels and course-building tools are much more advanced and customizable for the teacher as well.
  • Video training: There's no denying the fact that students now, especially in the Gen Z population, thrive off videos. This also applies when trying to learn, which is an undeniable fact. For online courses, sandboxed video channels and playlists from YouTube can go a long way in providing targeted knowledge when necessary. Plus, these lists can always be customized based on the current subject matter.

That's just a scratch at the surface, but it includes more technical ways to prepare students for specific careers. From a general standpoint, improving online courses can also be done via other methods. Some examples include: iTunes U for extended knowledge, file sharing sites like Evernote, project management platforms like Trello, remote desktop viewing like TeamViewer and so much more.

Conclusion

There are many digital tools that help with educating and training students to become better employees. Some of these tools focus in on preparing students for specific careers, while others are more broad-based. Regardless, there is significant truth behind the fact that digital tools play a pivotal role in the online learning experience.

Topics: workforce readiness, digital training, Online Learning Challenges

Jennifer Reed

Written by Jennifer Reed

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