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Technology’s Role in Leadership Development

September 23, 2013
Related Topics: Leadership Development, Technology, Leadership Development, Technology

The workplace is increasingly dominated by technology.

The trend is especially apparent in corporate learning. As learning leaders look to cut costs and improve efficiencies, e-learning, point-of-need performance support and other Web-based tools have taken over the space formerly occupied by the classroom.

The shift has been particularly effective at teaching technical skills. A call center worker can easily and efficiently master the process of fielding calls through a business simulation or e-learning module. Likewise, a generous portion of sales training can happen over a mobile application.

But as more businesses look to virtual classrooms, webinars, self-paced e-learning courses and mobile technology, many wonder whether being on the cutting edge — and saving money — is better when it comes to developing employees’ soft skills, the kind organizations are keen to develop in the next generation of leaders.

Technology plays an important role in leadership development: 86 percent of companies report a significant investment in learning technology such as webinars, videos, mobile applications and simulations in soft skill development, according to a 2013 survey by Impact Instruction Group, a corporate training and development firm.

Technology overall is also making up a bigger piece of the learning pie. Technology-based methods accounted for 37 percent of formal learning hours in 2012, according to a report from the American Society for Training & Development. That’s a nearly 21 percent increase from 2000, when technology-based learning methods accounted for 16 percent of formal learning hours.

Still, many industry professionals question whether technology is the most effective means for soft skill development — skills that learning leaders say are difficult to master even in a face-to-face environment.

Online Soft Skill Development: Is It Possible?

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