Amongst the rich variety of new technological devices currently available to businesses, touchscreen technology offers particularly valuable opportunities for training, especially in the sphere of software specific skills. So, what is the technology and how can it be used by organisations to improve staff skill levels and build competitive advantage for their business models?
Touchscreen technology has been around in various forms for many years. Most of us are familiar with it from an end-user consumer experience for everything from interactive museum displays through to ticket purchase machines at train stations and in cinemas. The technology is extremely simple for the end user’s perspective. All interactions are carried out by touching a screen, via a very easy to use and intuitive interface.
From the maintenance viewpoint too, there are advantages, with no keypads to maintain, buttons to keep clean and keep working, or equipment to install. The technology is integrated, lean and effective. In fact, the value of touchscreens has been shown by their rapid adoption; the technology is one of the most recognised to have ever been developed and has helped facilitate the explosion of devices such as iPads and tablets, digital notebooks, smartphones and touchscreen PC monitors, all of which require the technology to work as effectively as they do.
For businesses, the benefits of touchscreen technology are clear. Training is quicker and easier and staff members don’t need to be removed from their day jobs to learn vital skills. Training can also be delivered remotely, using a range of channels such as the Verizon Fios choice of TV, internet and voice services. Business operations can also be improved through the technology.
Consider, for example, a restaurant. Using touchscreen technology, waiters can take orders at tables quickly and easily, without needing to write things down, risking errors at the back of house. For integrated models, the customer’s order is taken via a hand-held device, which is then taken back of house for processing. Payment can also be taken at the table, again using remote payment collection devices and touchscreen technology. Tables can be reserved at the front of house, using the same technology.
The same approach can be used by hotels, allowing staff to make bookings on the telephone by selecting a few buttons that are linked to up to date databases of reservation and booking data. Customer check-in can also be handled using the technology, allowing the process to be carried out as quickly and easily as possible, capturing data at the same time.
With both of the examples above, staff can be trained whilst on the job, by a mentor or by ‘self-training’ and following touchscreen instructions. The technology is simple and intuitive and users can often get to grips with it accurately and confidently with the minimum of training.
Other examples of business application include supermarket retail stores, where customers can use self-service checkouts and ATMs with touchscreens in banks. In both instances, the routine procedure is put into the customer’s hands. This gives staff the opportunity to learn different skills. With the basic processing handled more effectively using technology, businesses have the chance to train staff in higher value skills such as relationship management and cross selling, to retain custom and build its value.
Using Touchscreens for Training
The simplicity of the technology firstly removes the need for software specific training, therefore reducing training time and the expense of equipment. Users tap on the screen interface, selecting icons or active links. Navigation is handled by simply dragging applications or touching links and no mouse is needed. Tests can be carried out on screen as the user progresses through different levels with feedback generated automatically as the process happens. Many of the services are interactive, meaning the grading, correcting and re-testing can be carried out automatically if the system detects that this is necessary and the business can be notified when the staff member has been registered as fully competent.
This type of training offers additional benefits, such as allowing the user to train at their own pace. They can train whilst on the job and in small sessions, rather than needing to be offline and away from the role to learn new skills. It also reduces business costs.