IT training gets an extreme makeover

From movie-like videos to hands-on hacker contests, fresh approaches to skills development have gussied up the world of IT training.

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Another pitfall of adopting the latest training methodologies is the risk of attrition. Even if you invest thousands of dollars in training IT employees, there's no guarantee that they'll stick around -- especially since the training makes them more marketable. That's a risk companies simply have to accept, says Presley. CareerBuilder does. The company helps IT workers earn MBAs, offering full tuition reimbursements or paid sponsorships -- with no strings attached. "If they choose to finish their MBA graduate degree and then, in a month, leave the company, they still don't have to pay that back," says Presley.

But the risk of losing an employee or two doesn't seem to have deterred employers from embracing new approaches to training. Lynda.com reports that 5% of its members now watch its training videos on smartphones. While that figure might seem small, it has more than doubled over the past year and continues to rise.

It remains to be seen whether it will one day be commonplace for IT professionals to watch training videos starring Hollywood celebrities on smartphones. What is certain is that offering high-quality, creative training via a variety of delivery mechanisms is now a business imperative.

Waxer is a Toronto-based freelance journalist. She has written articles for various publications and news sites, including The Economist, MIT Technology Review and CNNMoney.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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