Students are flocking to new technology rather like a bunch of pigeons pouncing on peanuts in London’s Trafalgar Square. And that means there is going to be the need for wholesale change in the way your business operates in the years ahead.
According to a study published by the American Society for Horticultural Science, one in five students now register for courses or course modules which are delivered entirely online. The research also showed that in the space of a year 10% more registrations were seen for online courses, yet there was only a 1.5% increase in student numbers. In other words, there is a significant shift towards online learning, away from traditional methods of education.
Indeed, other research has shown that when Twitter is used in the classroom, student participation increases.This suggests that even when traditional face-to-face educational methods are used, the addition of technology makes the learning more engaging.
Both of these studies point towards a necessary change in business, which may be a considerable leap forward for many. It suggests, for instance, that for new graduate entrants, at the very least, training courses and staff development needs to shift away from the traditional workshop into an online approach. It also implies that the use of technology at work, in ways you may not have thought useful, could actually be highly valuable.
For instance, staff meetings are often dominated by one or two vocal individuals. Others sit in the room, itching to say something – but never do; they then go and gripe about the meeting at the water cooler. By using Twitter to engage people and facilitate staff discussions, these non vocal people will participate more and get their views across, if the research on students is anything to go by. In essence, even something as simple as Twitter can improve traditional, person-to-person internal meetings.
With universities now using Twitter to enhance learning and with many students also preferring online courses to offline ones, it all suggests that the way businesses train their staff and communicate with them needs to change. If it doesn’t, those new entrants will feel excluded; and that will cause another problem. They will Tweet about their dissatisfaction with your company for millions to see on Twitter, or with updates on Facebook.
The result is that organisations which do not encompass the use of technology in learning, staff development and internal meetings are all destined for Dodo territory.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+