In a robust economy, we see more employees being promoted into positions of leadership -- ready or not. The question is, how do modern organizations ensure that these new leaders are ready to execute all of the important responsibilities of their new roles?
Technology is playing a significant role in leadership training for aspiring and newly appointed leaders. In most cases, the role of technology supplements in-person training, including internal company workshops and external leadership seminars.
From the learner's perspective, online, self-directed assignments work to mirror the daily tasks of leadership, some of which are solitary. Other assignments involve teams and large groups. From the organization's perspective, the combination delivers scale -- the ability to train more people in more locations, more cost-effectively. An online MBA program can prepare you to participate in and benefit from online learning tools in the corporate leadership training environment.
Leadership training initiatives blend a variety of goal-centric online training tools into their programs. They vary by company but usually focus on the core skill sets required on a daily basis by leaders within the organization. This emphasis on pertinent skills prevents information overload and maximizes learning and retention. The larger the organization, the more these programs tend to be tailored for specific roles and personalized development plans, due to economies of scale.
These resources are often offered to existing leaders who are dealing with new challenges. In fact, companies that offer such training often promote this fact in their recruitment efforts to lure talented leaders who may need to fill specific niches.
Using these online training tools helps to increase participants' familiarity with core concepts before developing and practicing them during in-person sessions. The following tools are typically cohort-driven experiences that enable collaborative learning and peer reliance, which participants can then build upon during live sessions:
Webinars: These are typically one- or two-hour online courses, delivered by a live instructor. They often feature a presentation, followed by a fast-paced interactive session, during which participants can ask questions in real time.
Workshops: Typically two- or three-hour sessions, these add breakout team or group sessions to the webinar. The emphasis in workshops is usually on developing skills through case studies, e-learning scenarios and simulations. Often, workshops feature individualized coaching and feedback from peers. One of the key points we see underscored in workshops is that participants must not be afraid to make mistakes. This enables risk-free learning opportunities, a similar dynamic to the online MBA experience. In many cases (especially in large corporations with many offices), online workshops take the place of in-person programs.
Seminars: Seminars come in a variety of forms. Some build on the workshop format with multiple sessions. Often, these seminars deep-dive into specific skill development. Some seminars are recurring and feature different speakers and trainers, each working with the group in their specific areas of expertise.
Discussion Forums: Categorized discussion forums become valuable archives of content, enabling participants to ask questions, get answers, and search by keywords and phrases for previous discussions on a topic.
Social Features: Many corporations are integrating Facebook and LinkedIn into their online training, enabling leaders in large organizations to network with leaders in other countries, states or offices. LinkedIn user groups are often used to facilitate discussions following training or topical threads that participants can refer to at any time following the training.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to blending these tools. They all work well with a corporate commitment to fostering a learning culture. With such a culture in place, participants can build communities; share best practices; and receive continual guidance, advice and coaching from other leaders within their organizations.
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