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Corporates invest in innovative training to manage costs

Chitra Unnithan  |  Mumbai/ Ahmedabad 

When a leading global supplier of passenger automobiles did not find the desired impact on job performance after various instructor-led, course-based programmes due to low-literacy level and different cultural backgrounds among its factory workers, the company created a vivid presentation using animations, simulations and procedural videos that increased curiosity among the workers who absorbed the messages in the highly-graphic training presentations.

Brushing aside the economic slowdown, Indian companies are finding ways to automate learning and adopting more technology-based and concept-based learning, which allow them to deliver the same content in a more efficient manner while reducing the management costs significantly.

And the drab module-based learning sessions have been replaced with innovative training sessions in the form of movie-based learning, animation, game-based learning, besides yoga and meditation.

Animation training includes using animation to instruct people in skills, knowledge and to illustrate and strengthen educational and training processes. Nilesh Vani, executive vice president, Aptech Learning Services and chief strategy officer, Aptech Ltd, says, "Past couple of years, there has been a shift in the approach and reach of animated training - thanks to the proliferation of broadband internet at affordable costs, affordable access devices and Web 2.0, not to forget the 'IT comfort' of today's generation of employees vis-à-vis the earlier generation who would deal with IT as 'manage to overcome IT divide'. Earlier, animated content was either 'flat/transitions' or 'media heavy' as a result of which it was more dvd rom based and used as emulators in defense or such industries. We exploited this era of Web 2.0 to come out with innovative solutions in training space and the response has been good. Our estimate would be that companies spend between 20 to 30 per cent on animated training."

Vani believes that the future is going to be even more interesting with penetration of broadband access and the mobile revolution — 3G et al. Organisations are already looking at leveraging mobile and internet-enabled to address their training challenges.

M-learning is designed to fit with the unique work-style requirements of the mobile workforce, linked to their office by cell phones, laptops and handheld devices. Pune-based Upside Learning Solutions helps delivery of eLearning on a mobile handset, which provides companies with opportunities like a training podcast on the mobile, or a scenario based induction training on mobile phone.

According to Amit Garg, co-founder and director, Upside Learning Solutions, "Due to its sheer penetration and the kind of features built in, it was inevitable that mobile becomes a tool for delivery of learning on the go. mLearning has been talked of for a while but what we have done is made it a reality for the enterprises. We expect good demand from the Indian market for mLearning in the near future."

With newer concepts and emerging at a fast pace, companies are looking to trim training costs without compromising on the content or delivery. For example, eInfochips, a leading chip and systems design services firm, has taken the examples of the Australian cricket team, besides programmes like Lagaan, to enhance soft-skills of new hires, Pegasus, for developing project management skills and Altius for creating effective leaders.

"We have made use of a few video clips in our training session as a tool to make the training livelier and easy-going. To give an example, we have used video clips from the film 'Guru' in our leadership workshops. We have also analysed the structure of Australian team along with their succession plan for key positions like that of a coach, captain, etc. This helps us to create a strategy for the team members while executing international projects," says Nirav Shah, director of marketing, eInfochips, which dedicates 3 per cent of its revenues towards training.

While there are some like Anil Products, who consider training their employees as an investment rather than expenditure. "We normally spend about Rs 1 crore per annum in training our employees. The training specifically focuses on developing a balanced life style. The coaching is not only related to development of leadership and managerial skills, it is also to help individuals live a more fulfilling, rewarding and happy domestic life. We get in professional mentors to coach and guide our senior management team on balancing work-home schedules. We have a fitness trainer who comes in everyday for physical fitness training of our senior and middle management team. Apart from these, we periodically conduct yoga and meditation sessions to encourage our people to regularly follow these practices," says Amol Sheth, MD, Anil Products.

First Published: Fri, August 21 2009. 00:42 IST