This article will report how several hotel chains have transferred live training to iPod like devices and then answer the question, Can these devices replace trainers?
The New York Times recently reported on hotel chains that are using iPods and Sony Play Station Portables as training devices.
Similarly, Marriott’s SpringHill Suites and Hilton’s Garden Inn use the Sony PSP. Starwood’s Aloft began using iPods to train its staff in early 2009.
These technologies solve several vexing training problems:
- The technology appeals to younger employees who likely are familiar with them.
- IPod video creation costs less than a DVD ($250,000 to create a 20-minute training DVD vs. $30,000 to $50,000 for a iPod video).
- Trainer scheduling is less of an issue.
- Delivery is consistent from trainee to trainee.
- Training can be delivered any time of day.
- Training can be translated into any language needed.
- Orientation programs no longer require a number of trainees to congregate in a guest area while the trainer must holler information so all can hear.
IPod videos do however have one distinct disadvantage: they lose the human touch. They can never fully replace the need for social interaction.
As Kathy Crabtree, director of design and development for the Marriott brands, explained, one risk of these devices is that they can depersonalize training. “The use of technology is important, but we will never go strictly to technology.”
That’s where we trainers, teachers, and speakers come in. As long as we are as engaging and entertaining as these devices, we will likely be needed.