Using Multimedia Applications to Train Employees

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 Using Multimedia Applications to Train Employees  





Training is a large cost in any corporation. Enormous amounts of training need to be done in any company, particularly large ones. The costs associated with training are not only financial-they are the time devoted to training, and perhaps equally important, the time and money wasted if a company doesn't properly train its employees.

Training needs to be done to orient new employees to the corporation itself-things such as teaching about corporate procedures, where to find information, how to fill out forms, rules that managers must follow, and other similar orientation issues.

Another level of training has to do with how to use particular pieces of software at the corporation-for example, how to use the accounting system or a database.

The most complex level of training incorporates not just how to use software or how to follow procedures, but how to actually do business at the company. For example, many companies put new sales employees through a substantial amount of training that encompasses teaching about the industry in which the salesperson is selling, information about the product to be sold, as well as specific sales techniques to be used.

Training is not just for new employees-it needs to be an ongoing process. New products and goods to sell mean people need to be taught about them. New software and business procedures require that people be taught how to use them.

An intranet can help with all these kinds of training. It can cut costs, save time, and ensure that people get better training. On the simplest level, Web pages can be built to train people. The Web can be used as a multimedia training tool by including pictures, video, audio, with the text. It can be interactive as well-people can answer questions, take tests, and try out procedures.

More revolutionary will be intranet-based multimedia applications. Videoconferencing will allow trainers to teach people across the entire intranet. People won't have to be physically in the same room; instead, they can be seated at their PCs. And they'll be able to interact and ask questions using the technology as well.

With whiteboard applications (in which people can see what is on each other's computer screens), a teacher can demonstrate how to use a particular piece of software, and everyone connected can see on their computer screen what the instructor is doing, and can ask questions by doing things such as circling a portion of the screen, and asking questions about it.

Streaming video and audio technologies (which allow people to watch videos or listen to audios without having to wait for them to completely download) can be used for training as well. The ultimate training tool, however, may be virtual reality. A virtual world is built that someone can walk through and interact with in the same way as with the real world. Virtual reality has been used by the airlines and the military, for example, to train pilots.

Using Multimedia Applications to Train Employees

Training employees is a major cost to many corporations. All employees require training on an ongoing basis-training for mundane things such as how to fill out new forms and procedures, to more sophisticated things, such as being given information about new goods and services the company sells. Multimedia on an intranet can be a very effective training tool.

  • It can be expensive for CyberMusic to fly instructors across the country to teach small classes-many instructors need to be paid, in addition to travel costs. With intranet videoconferencing, however, a single instructor can teach a class live, and people across the intranet and across the country can follow along on their computers via desktop-to-desktop videoconferencing using a videoconferencing program like CU-See-Me. With CU-See-Me, people log into servers called reflectors, and can then participate in a videoconference. They can be seen and be heard by the instructor, and so can ask questions as well. CyberMusic uses videoconferencing to train its sales employees on sales techniques.
  • Sometimes, particularly with a sales staff, it can be difficult to make sure that everyone can participate in a videoconference at the same time. Additionally, people may at times want refresher courses when a trainer isn't available. To solve the problem, CyberMusic videocasts training videos across the intranet, using streaming video technology. Anyone who wants to watch a training video can click on a link on a Web page to a video clip, and they can watch the training video at their own leisure. The video clip is played from a streaming video server.
  • Audio technology can be used for training as well-in particular one called RealAudio. People can click on a link on a Web page, and when they do so, they will hear an audio clip. The clip can also display HTML Web pages as it plays the audio clip. In the case of CyberMusic, RealAudio is used to teach its employees what records are in their catalog. People can click on music clips from all their recording artists, and as they listen, can view Web pages with pictures and information about the artists. The audio clips are played from a RealAudio server.
  • For in-depth training on how to use a particular piece of software, CyberMusic uses whiteboard applications. Whiteboard applications allow many people to view what is on each other's computer screens. An instructor can teach, step-by-step, how to use a piece of software, and everyone connected to the whiteboard can see what he is doing on their own computer screen. The instructor can also mark up the screen, and everyone connected can see what he is marking up. CyberMusic uses whiteboard applications for training its accounting department how to use a new accounting system. CU-See-Me reflectors allow for whiteboard applications.
  • Virtual Reality has long been used in training applications-notably by airlines and the military in training pilots. In virtual reality, virtual worlds are built that people can walk through and interact with. At CyberMusic, virtual reality is used to teach recording engineers how to handle a recording session. A world has been built in which engineers have to not only handle the technical aspects of how to use the recording hardware, but even have to contend with rock artists gone awry, intent on destroying the recording session.




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