This June marks my 29th year at Omnipress. These anniversaries always serve as fresh reminders of how much training technology has changed over the years. Back when I started, we weren’t delivering content in Megabytes and Gigabytes, we were delivering content in printed volumes. As in large stacks of books that would wreck your back if you didn’t lift them right. Then of course, there was a technological breakthrough that changed everything: the floppy disk. (I told you this was a long time ago.) But, like my 8-track player, this technology was quickly replaced by the next big thing, and the next.
Technology has disrupted almost every aspect of how we deliver training and education. Remember, at one point, instructors considered an overhead projector to be a huge leap forward. Now with online content and other tools that enable learning to take place anywhere, an overhead projector seems quaint.
Today’s Training Technology
The technology that we take for granted today would have seemed like science fiction when I started at Omnipress. As the pace of development continues to increase, how will we be delivering course materials 29 years from now?
With the introduction of new technology on what seems like a daily basis, evaluating the effectiveness of training technology is a more important skill than ever. It’s a natural tendency for humans to be optimistic about what new these tools can deliver. But, as events like the recent worldwide cyber attacks have shown us, new technology does not come without its share of risk.
As new generations become the focus of our training efforts, it’s important to move forward on a cautious path. Investing time into every new advancement that promises great results is a losing battle. Rather than being on the cutting edge of technology adoption, focus on finding solutions that create great outcomes.
An Old-Fashioned Focus
So as you evaluate each “next big thing” that comes along, keep these two old-fashioned ideas front and center: How does this new training technology enhance learning and increase retention? Because as fast as technology changes, the human brain still relies on these two fundamental concepts to turn information into knowledge.
Do you produce printed participant workbooks, facilitator guides or seminar manuals for instructor-led courses or continuing education training?
If so, I’m sure you also have a strategy to move some of your printed training content to an online platform.
Some reasons leaders and innovators in the training industry are moving content online are to:
- Reduce distribution costs of printed materials
- Cost effectively distribute to an international audience
- Keep up with evolving technology(eReaders, smartphones, etc.) that makes print look boring and dated
If your reason for taking training content online is because it’s sexier than print, you might be interested in reading about some new print technology.
Print and LED Lights?
PC World recently published an article about how Swedish scientists have applied white LED lights to a printed sheet of paper. This means your printed training manuals could have the same LED lights as that Chevy Camero you see driving down the freeway. Yes, LED lights in paper!
This is achieved by applying nanothreads of zinc oxide to a thin layer of polydiethylflourene (a conducting polymer). Scientists indicate their white LEDs would be applied to any sheet of paper through a powder-based process.
While this print technology is not ready to make a mainstream debut, scientists are currently seeking a patent for the printing process.
[Read the Full Article]
3 Ways to Incorporate LED Lights in Printed Training Materials
Whether you’re an advocate of print or online technology, these new advancements sure make the future exciting. Just think of some of the changes this new LED print technology could provide for some of your participant handbooks or facilitator guides?
- Company Brochures. Use LED lights in your marketing brochures to really “shed light” on your brand and make it stand out.
- Participant Certificates. Use LED lights to make world-class certificates of completion your participants are proud to hang in their office. No spotlight needed!
- Corporate Advertising. Allow corporate sponsors to advertise in your participant workbooks to help offset the cost of print and distribution of your course materials. Imagine the sexy attractiveness of an ad with LED lights.
If you have any ideas or would like to share links to other cool topics, please leave a comment below.