Technology has transformed the finance sector and in line with the increasing digitization of financial and trading markets the teaching of this subject has had to incorporate new ways of doing things into its own systems. Finance is one of those areas in which we expect and indeed demand information that is up to date so it is no surprise that as an industry it has fully embraced the technical and digital revolutions. From online banking and market trading to the provision of advice, tech has become a core feature of the financial world.
Financial firms rely on workforce training to keep staff up to date with changes in the sector. In an industry subject to continuous change, such as the introduction of new rules and regulations, it is critical that key workers are kept abreast of developments, but handing someone a handbook or running a workshop have never been the most effective or exciting ways of keeping employees up to date. Technology has brought with it a new and more effective way of training financial sector employees. Newer approaches include:
- Blended learning
- Knowledge on-demand
- Developments in collaborative learning.
Blended learning refers to the use of person-to-person and technology-based training provision. The benefit to employers is that a blended approach does not remove staff from the office environment for a long period and helps firms to cut costs. Employees get the best of both worlds, with the combination of both independent and interactive teaching environments offering a more holistic training approach.
On-demand knowledge broadens the scope of training beyond the classroom. In the past training was limited in terms of the time available for instruction and learning but the advent of mobile technology and apps means that staff can enjoy access to educational materials at any time and in any place. So, for example, video instructions can be accessed by an employee on their tablet or other mobile device and are not limited to an in-house PC or one at a training center. An organization can develop and put in place a training portal that can be accessed by employees using a mobile device at any time. This is particularly useful for those times when a worker needs a quick refresher course or wants to review their skillset.
In the case of new employees, there is a need for an initial and often intensive period of training. You have likely experienced a situation like this at some point in your career. Most of us will agree that processing huge amounts of new information in a short period is not the most effective approach. Thankfully, the availability of short, Web-based courses means that it is possible to provide training in shorter bursts – a process known as micro learning. This approach enables employers to provide training in skills at a time when the employees need it most. The ability to put new information immediately into practice is of huge benefit to employer and employee alike. Micro-learning has the additional benefit of encouraging continuous learning.
Collaborative learning, also known as social learning, has also benefited from technological innovations and the advent of the Internet in particular. We learn more when we interact with others and the Internet is nothing if not a tool for communication. Whether it be instant messaging, social media, or discussion forums, the Web offers a number of different ways of communicating with each other, sharing ideas and information.
In-house training is one aspect of financial education but for a more formal qualification that is translatable beyond the workplace many professionals go to or return to college. For many of us, a hectic lifestyle limits the time available for study but colleges and universities have moved to offer degree and other qualifications entirely online, offering access to lectures and coursework on a 24-hour basis so you can study when you like. NEC’s online masters in accounting is one such course, offering a route to a formal and prestigious accounting qualification online and without any residency requirements in a bricks-and-mortar college.
As technology continues to evolve you can expect changes too in the way in which finance – and other subjects – are taught and that can only be to the benefit of education and training providers as well as those who are doing the learning. Clients right across all sectors of the economy are becoming increasingly comfortable with conducting transactions online and financial sector professionals need to be up to date with technology if they are properly meet customer needs.