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.

By Cindy Waxer, Computerworld |  IT Management, gamification, training

It's a self-directed, piecemeal approach to training that's particularly appealing to today's typically independent, supervision-resistant techies. In fact, since launching its online training service in 2002, Lynda.com has enlisted more than 3,000 corporate clients and more than 2 million individual members. And content is always being refreshed, with nearly eight new courses every week.

"While it's always beneficial to have live instructors that you can ask for help, a lot of IT professionals are very good at teaching themselves," says Lee. "Actually, a lot of them prefer [video-based training]. They just like that environment."

Comic Relief

Content is also undergoing an extreme makeover in some surprising places. Consider Broadway Bank in San Antonio. In the past, Diana Huntsman, Broadway Bank's vice president and information security officer, had a simple formula for teaching employees not to scribble their passwords on Post-it notes: "pages and pages of materials, a question-and-answer period and PowerPoint."

That was the case until Huntsman began rolling out Digital Defense's SecurED program in late January 2012. SecurED is a series of 12 online training modules that are designed to help companies reduce the risk of security breaches. What makes SecurED different, however, is that Digital Defense partnered with Hollywood actor Fred Willard, of Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman fame, and Emmy award-winning comedy writer T. Sean Shannon to develop highly entertaining training modules. While there's nothing funny about the topics tackled -- physical security, phishing, social engineering -- viewers are warmed up with a comedy skit before delving into serious subject matter. As a result, Huntsman says the SecurED program promises to be a pleasant switch from "humdrum" material to "humor that is really going to capture our employees' attention." In fact, Huntsman suspects that SecurED has the potential to become a powerful recruiting tool for the financial institution.

"As the younger workforce comes in, they expect something different from IT training," says Huntsman. "They expect training to be faster and more concise, so I think SecurED is going to be a very good way to accommodate that need."

Educational Experimentation


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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