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A New Type of Training – from Every Angle

By Richard Morgans, CMO, ONVU Technologies

We currently live in a world of extreme self-improvement. The interconnected world of TV, radio, blogs, social media posts and podcasts have become vehicles for much more than entertainment – there is a large and growing number of people using these alternative channels to become better informed, contribute to discussion, and become better colleagues and citizens.

In many ways, people ‘get’ the benefits of training and improvement without the need to be convinced of the benefits of investing time and energy in self-improvement.

What’s more, the same technology wave that has propelled some of these channels, from podcasts to YouTube, mean that employees are much more open to seeing how technological solutions can influence or add value to their everyday lives. This is why ‘smart video’ solutions have a place in workplace training. Now come of age, smart video solutions use the power of some of the most impactful new technologies plus some that we’re already very familiar with, to create something entirely new.

Smart video uses IP connected video (digital, internet connected sensor technology to take still or moving images) plus intelligent decision-making on the chip at the sensor. That means that the device can be programmed to take decisions or analyse the live feed as it’s recorded or processed. Such actions include simple steps like counting the number of people entering a room, measuring how full a space has got, how fast vehicles are moving – or to more complex analysis like how happy do patrons in a shop look, how many are men or women, and are any regulars (sentiment analysis and facial recognition).

What’s more, the device may take an action after reaching a conclusion: ‘This queue is full, admit no more guests’, or there too many customers, it’s time to alert a manager to assign more check-out staff’.

An example from education – improving teacher performance

But what do these actions matter to trainers and those looking for coaching to improve?

Performance anxiety and fear of being observed or tested are important factors in decreasing performance – put simply, most people have a dislike of being watched and judged. It’s a recognised problem in teaching in particular, where it can provide blurred results in classroom observation. This leads to a double problem – an over-rehearsed performance, and the missed opportunity of learning from a natural environment.

Video capture, especially via a 360-degree sensor can show not only the subject of a scene, like a teacher, but the surroundings too – like the students and the entire classroom environment. In this way specific cues that elicit certain behaviours can be watched and learnt from, from all sides. What’s more, with no external observer in the room, natural performance can be achieved.

With video, as golf pros know, the person undergoing training can take home and review their performance, and seek to improve specific elements of their behaviour, technique, or performance.

New ways of interacting

What’s more, using new technologies can provide unexpected new ways to interact with the training process.

In a group training situation, breaking to take answers or gain feedback can stop the flow of the session and change the learning dynamic. But with technologies like 360-degree video, with a high or ceiling mounted video solution, the trainer can get the group to raise hands, or hold up answer cards or whiteboards to the sky, and review how members did later, keeping the flow of the session going. And if that analytic power on the device was harnessed in this situation, then the algorithms could automatically count the cards held up, identify objects on the cards and provide real-time feedback to the trainer. It also allows the trainer to self-review his or her performance and how they interacted with the students. The video can be reviewed at a later date and analysed to help the trainer deliver more effective training modules.

So just as the mirror arguably helped kick off the age of healthy self-regard, now smart video can help us fine tune both one-on-one and group training situations. Various types of analytics on the device can offer instant feedback and trainer assistance that speed the learning process. Given the proliferation of cameras into the home, from webcams, and cameras mounted within smart devices of all sorts, it’s not hard to imagine society looking to make ever more effective use of the tools around them.

Solutions like these, marrying the best of technology and new ways of thinking, promise to be transformational for learners and self-improvers. With high performance being the new ‘average’, the well-being and professional development of all should be front of mind by educators, trainers and enterprise management teams.