Training gets trendy

Training Gets Trendy

Training gets trendy

Decision Inc, a business intelligence consultancy, provides a mix between formal certified courses and additional in-house training, such as leadership development, internal technical workshops, and an intern programme.

A mixed approach

Decision Inc, a business intelligence consultancy, provides a mix between formal certified courses and additional in-house training, such as leadership development, internal technical workshops, and an intern programme.

The company has instituted certain training targets that employees need to hit as part of their performance appraisals, and taking personal responsibility for training goals is duly rewarded.

“We have to offer a mix of onsite, e-learning and out-of-hours training to help employees achieve their learning goals. Fortunately, our consultants always want to learn something new and like to be challenged on an ongoing basis,” says director Paul Morgan.

Interns on the job

Decision Inc also runs a one-year intern programme designed to immerse talented candidates in the multiple technologies they implement. Interns start in our Client Services team, solving real client issues while learning technology on the job, and being overseen by senior support consultants.

The company then moves them to client sites as non-billable resources so they can acquire client site experience. During this process, they are required to undergo relevant technical certifications.

Ingenious Friday

Grant Theis, co-founder of free calls app ttrumpet, says: “Because of the base skills and knowledge that our engineers already have, and given the fundamental lack of specific IT training, learning and training is done primarily through peers, forums and general search. Where solutions and answers are not readily available, our experience has been to build it ourselves from first principles.

“The little time that our engineers have at their disposal has been allocated to what we call ‘Ingenious Friday’. Fridays are a time for our engineers to come up with left-field ideas and concepts that are, in the main, divorced from the core business. If staff members come up with something worth pursuing, we reward them handsomely.”

A 360-degree approach

“Training comes in many forms, but the key to successfully up-skilling employees lies in a 360-degree approach,” says Premie Naicker, CEO of software distributor AIGS.

Soft skills are vital in any business, but Naicker says simple human touches are often overlooked in the IT sector. “The need to get a project done, or to follow process, can result in a loss of focus on the human element. However, business is based on the interactions between people, so learning soft skills is as important as training employees in the specific areas required for them to fulfil their roles.”

Game-based learning

Skills development has long been in the province of dry, passive and disengaging training, according to Lize Monametsi, head of the game-based learning division at Aim. “People today need more than a ‘talking head’ and a projector to keep their attention and get them engaged. We need effective, interactive experiences that motivate and actively engage us in the learning process. This is where gamebased learning comes in.”

Game-based learning is the ideal training solution for a number of reasons, she says. “For a start, IT people will have an almost automatic attraction to tech- based training, and good game-based learning applications can draw learners into virtual environments that look and feel familiar and relevant.”

Within an effective game-based learning environment, learners work towards a goal, choosing actions and experiencing the consequences of those actions along the way. They make mistakes in a risk-free setting; and through experimentation, actively learn and practise the right way to do things – without worrying about the system crashing. The virtual world is similar to strategy games such as SimCity and Civilization – complete with natural disasters and violent strikes.

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