5 Unconventional Training Methods that are Changing the Game

Posted by Derek Reynolds on September 21, 2017
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As technology advances, and the world shrinks, we’re increasingly exposed and connected to new and unique training methodologies. These methods have always incorporated a wide variety of techniques: experiential, immersive and virtual learning. While many of these methods aren’t new, the context in which they’re being applied is.

1. Virtual Reality (VR)

            VR is now being used to teach everything from the process of frying chicken to managing retail crowds on black Friday. KFC’s training simulation is visually captivating, fun, engaging and slightly terrifying. The escape room themed game requires players to complete the chicken frying process, while a robotic Colonel Sanders barks orders. It seems like a perfect way to learn the ins and outs of chicken frying, without getting your hands dirty.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

            With the rise of machines comes the assured destruction of the human race…. Wait, that’s not right. Smart machines are designed to make our lives easier. Cogito, a software company that uses artificial intelligence to measure and improve the quality of certain key conversations, is using AI to make humans more empathetic. Although it seems counter intuitive, a computer is perfectly suited for the task of listening and providing instant feedback. The system recognizes and alerts users to things like overlapping speech, too much talking and emotional distress. It’s currently being implemented in the areas of customer service and mental health care.

3. Video Games

            Learning through video games is a tried and true method. What’s most surprising about the current state of video game learning is the level of skill that can be honed with what many see as a children’s entertainment platform. Undergound, a game that follows a little girl and her butler robot friend into dark and scary mines, is being used to teach surgeons. This game is teaching doctors laparoscopic motor skills (used in minimally invasive surgery (MIS), band aid surgery, or keyhole surgery). This is a modern surgical technique in which operations are performed far from their location through small incisions (usually 0.5–1.5 cm) elsewhere in the body. I’m still blown away by this one.

4. Pilgrimage Training

            Imagine being dropped off in the mountains, with a map, a compass and no cell phone. This is a reality for thousands of employees, with over 100 Japanese companies implementing this technique. The idea is to give participants hands-on experience while forcing them to focus on a singular objective… get out of the mountains. This training method takes the idea of incorporating real-world experiences to a whole new level.

5. Board Games

            I’ve lost count of the number of “Board Game Resurgence” articles that I’ve read in the past year. The reasons are consistent and clear. Board games are social, portable and in the event of a power outage, you can still play. At times, it can feel like technology is both aiding and assaulting every aspect of life. When you sit around a board game, absent of distracting notifications, you have a chance to make real connections with real people in real time. Because of these qualities, board games are being used to teach business acumen, project management, leadership development and a whole host of other issues that face every organization. It’s no wonder that board games, whose origins date back to 3500 BC, are still relevant.

Although these training methods have some level of fun and excitement, they’re not all interchangeable. Each method has its merits and areas where it will shine brightest. When accounting for the cost, portability and logistics of designing/implementing one of these methods, there seems to be a clear winner.

Are you curious about how board games can work for you? Find out HERE.

Topics: Experiential Learning, Technology