In today's evolving business world, staying up to date with industry standards is crucial for success. Standards provide a framework for best practices, safety, quality, and efficiency in various industries. From health care and manufacturing to technology and finance, adherence to standards is essential to ensure consistency, safety, and compliance.

How organizations train people plays a vital role in equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills required to meet industry standards. The professional training industry itself is experiencing significant changes. As organizations seek to adapt to the needs of the modern workforce, professional training is evolving to keep pace. Let's take a closer look at how it's changing.

Traditionally, professional training has been conducted through in-person workshops, seminars, and classroom-style training sessions. However, with the rapid advancement of technology and the increasing prevalence of remote work, digital learning approaches are gaining prominence in the training industry. Organizations are now incorporating a blend of traditional and digital learning methods to deliver effective standards training to their employees and partners.

Case in point: one of the world's leading providers of cloud computing infrastructure and services was growing quickly and needed to update its customer education program. It needed the ability to deliver training content in a secure manner to prevent unauthorized use while supporting audiences that included commercial training customers, event and boot camp participants, authorized instructors, and academic institutions. Plus, with a rapidly growing customer base and partner ecosystem, the ability to scale the solution was critical.

The ultimate solution involved converting traditional PDF-based training content into a secure eBook format that included defined digital rights management (DRM) settings as well as access restrictions based on user IP addresses of registered devices (including user-friendly mobile access). A white-labelled e-commerce system provided known user access for registered training partners as well as public (guest) access for transient students. In addition, a subscription-based access bridge provided instructors access to the associated content library to ensure that they were always using the most current materials. This digital transformation helped propel the learning program from startup to supporting 100,000-plus students in less than five years.

Online learning platforms, digital books, virtual classrooms, and e-learning are becoming popular choices for professional training, as they offer flexibility, accessibility, and scalability. Professionals can now access training materials and resources from anywhere at any time, allowing them to learn at their own pace and convenience. Digital learning also enables organizations to reach a larger audience, making training more inclusive and cost-effective.

One-size-fits-all training programs are no longer effective in today's diverse workforce. Different individuals have different learning styles, preferences, and requirements. To address this, professional training is increasingly focusing on personalization and adaptive learning approaches.

Personalized training programs consider the individual needs and preferences of learners, allowing them to customize their learning experience. Learners can choose their learning path, set their own goals, and access relevant content that caters to their specific requirements. Adaptive learning, on the other hand, uses data and analytics to track learners' progress and provide feedback in real time, enabling them to adjust their learning journey accordingly.

Personalization and adaptive learning approaches in professional training ensure that learners receive training that is relevant, engaging, and effective, leading to better knowledge retention and skill development.

In the past, training may have focused primarily on theoretical concepts and principles. However, there is now a growing emphasis on practical application and real-world scenarios in professional training programs. Learners are expected to apply their knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems, make decisions, and address challenges they may encounter in their professional roles.

Practical application and real-world scenarios help learners develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, which are essential for success in the workplace. Training programs may include case studies, simulations, role plays, and other interactive exercises that allow learners to apply their knowledge in a practical context. This approach ensures that learners are better prepared to handle real-world situations and comply with industry standards in their day-to-day work.

Organizations are leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and automation to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of standards training programs.

For example, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can provide instant support and guidance to learners, while VR and AR simulations can create realistic training scenarios, allowing learners to practice what they have been taught to gain hands-on experience in their specific area of study.

One example of the use of VR to enhance training is in the space of aircraft maintenance. Tools are now available to allow mechanics to experience and conduct a maintenance routine without initially accessing the actual equipment itself (which can be costly). By role-playing using VR, learners can apply what they have learned in a low-stakes and low-cost environment before moving on to the actual equipment itself.

In conclusion, while traditional classroom-style training continues to play a prominent role in the training industry, blended learning, adaptive learning, scenario-based training, and the use of AI and VR to enhance learning are growing in importance. Organizations are looking to embrace these and other available technologies to provide not only a better learning experience but also to ensure superior learning outcomes.

Matt Mozer, vice president of Gilmore Global, has been working with the world's largest professional training organizations since the mid-1990s. He has consulted on net-new certification training programs as well as providing insight and guidance for technology firms looking to evolve their learning strategies. Organizations such as AWS, Cisco, Dell, HP, Global Knowledge Network, Citrix, NetApp, Juniper Networks, VMware, and SAP America are a small selection of professional training organizations that have leveraged Matt's experience in support of their program development.

Matt Mozer, vice president of Gilmore Global, has been working with the world's largest professional training organizations since the mid-1990s. He has consulted on net-new certification training programs as well as providing insight and guidance for technology firms looking to evolve their learning strategies. Organizations such as AWS, Cisco, Dell, HP, Global Knowledge Network, Citrix, NetApp, Juniper Networks, VMware, and SAP America are a small selection of professional training organizations that have leveraged Matt's experience in support of their program development.

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