New-age en­gage­ment

Edu­tain­ment, as a mode of train­ing, is fast be­com­ing pop­u­lar among in­di­vid­u­als look­ing to sharpen their skills

The Hindu - - EDGE - The au­thor is vice pres­i­dent, Pear­son Pro­fes­sional Pro­grammes

On the net, edu­tain­ment is de­scribed as a ne­ol­o­gism sim­i­lar to in­fo­tain­ment, that ex­presses a com­bi­na­tion of ed­u­ca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment in the form of me­dia such as a TV pro­gramme, video games or live stream­ing through a web­site, in­tended to be both ed­u­ca­tional and en­joy­able.

This holds spe­cial rel­e­vance in to­day’s work­place, where ev­ery minute mat­ters and where skilling is an in­te­gral part of ca­pac­ity build­ing. For years, learn­ing pro­fes­sion­als have strived to find the per­fect bal­ance of “in­struc­tional in­tegrity” and amuse­ment, to cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion and re­tain the at­ten­tion of busy learn­ers, and, edu­tain­ment seems to be the per­fect an­swer.

Learn on the go

Most edu­tain­ment modes of­ten re­quire no home­work, tests or pres­sure. One learns or lis­tens at any time, while ex­er­cis­ing, com­mut­ing, or just re­lax­ing. TED talks, for ex­am­ple, cover al­most all top­ics — from sci­ence, busi­ness to global is­sues — in more than 100 lan­guages. An­other pop­u­lar mode in­cludes pod­casts. This is also a great way to learn lan­guages, if the job post­ing is in an­other coun­try. You can down­load the pod­casts, es­sen­tially cre­at­ing a ra­dio sta­tion fo­cused en­tirely on the top­ics you want to lis­ten to. Most of them are avail­able free of cost, as video and au­dio pro­grammes dis­trib­uted over the In­ter­net, and can be viewed on your tele­vi­sions, lap­tops, tablets, or even smart­phones.

To sharpen their skills and max­imise em­ploy­a­bil­ity, pro­fes­sion­als turn to sites such as CreativeLive.com, where they can fine-tune their Pho­to­shop ex­per­tise, or learn how to use In­sta­gram as a sales chan­nel. The site has served more than two bil­lion min­utes of free ed­u­ca­tion to ev­ery coun­try, streamed live from the com­pany’s broad­cast stu­dios in Seat­tle and San Fran­cisco. Here, there is a dif­fer­ence though. Ini­tially, the classes are free, and then a charge is levied for on-de­mand ac­cess. This gen­er­ates rev­enue to em­ploy bet­ter teach­ers and im­prove pro­duc­tion value.

Varun Dhamija

Ef­fec­tive­ness

But are these edu­tain­ment modes re­ally ef­fec­tive? To­day’s train­ing must ed­u­cate in­di­vid­u­als by im­part­ing skills, trans­fer­ring knowl­edge, and pro­duc­ing de­sired re­sults. Thus, train­ing must be con­ducted in ways that are en­gag­ing and in­ter­ac­tive, as per the VAK (vis­ual, au­di­tory and ki­naes­thetic learn­ing) model where, peo­ple watch ma­te­rial, lis­ten to other trainees and a trainer, and fi­nally move around the room and take part sim­u­la­tions.

These days, there are some pro­po­nents of “en­gagu­ca­tion” or en­gage­ment in learn­ing, which peo­ple say, trumps edu­tain­ment. By study­ing the needs of learn­ers (em­ploy­ees) in ad­vance, and pre­par­ing skilling mod­ules specif­i­cally meant to chal­lenge and en­gage them, this mode is more fo­cused, ap­pli­ca­tionori­ented and even shorter, in many cases. This leaves learn­ers more in­formed about the topic, and they can ap­ply lessons learnt to their work, bet­ter. Trainer or mod­ule se­lec­tion re­quires care­ful back­ground checks.

Help your trainer know the trainees — their age, ex­pe­ri­ence, ed­u­ca­tion, job func­tions, cur­rent chal­lenges, and so on. Man­age­ment should work with the trainer and per­haps even at­tend ses­sions. Take reg­u­lar feed­back from trainees to im­prove mod­ules. Whether you choose edu­tain­ment or en­gagu­ca­tion as the mode of train­ing, mon­i­tor­ing the re­sults of any train­ing or skilling is im­por­tant. The mode of train­ing is cru­cial. For ex­am­ple, The World Bank’s 2015 World De­vel­op­ment Re­port “Mind, So­ci­ety and Be­hav­ior” notes that en­ter­tain­ment ed­u­ca­tion or the pur­pose­ful use of mass me­dia en­ter­tain­ment may be an ef­fec­tive tool to change norms and be­hav­iours for mil­lions of in­di­vid­u­als, es­pe­cially among poor and less ed­u­cated pop­u­la­tions. So, dif­fer­ent modes in the de­vel­op­ment sec­tor, vis-à-vis the cor­po­rate sec­tor, would be re­quired.

By 2030, many of the world’s largest economies will have more jobs than adult cit­i­zens, to do those jobs. There are sug­ges­tions that coun­tries may need to look across bor­ders for mo­bile and will­ing job seek­ers. in work

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