With an Intranet, the same training materials can be viewed by any employee. As a result, you needn't worry about several copies of out-dated information circulating around the office, as may be the case with print-based communication.
Pull vs. push approach:
Too often, we provide employees with more information than they can possibly process or retain. An 80-page training manual that we push to employees may be viewed with dread. However, Intranets allow you to provide access to as little or as much information as employees wish to pull onto their desktops.
The emergence of Web development tools, such as Java™ and Shockwave™ have brought a greater degree of life to Web sites. Even with basic HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), you can create discussion groups, comprehension tests and other two-way communication tools for integration into your training materials.
Ease and low cost for updates:
Many of you may have experienced the frustration of creating a high-quality print publication, only to have a sudden change by management render the piece obsolete. With an Intranet site, you can easily and inexpensively update online publications and training materials—and you can do so as frequently as needed.
Intranet applications typically use an interface that's conducive to point-and-click navigation. If employees can easily get to the information they seek, they're much more likely to look for that information.
With an Intranet, employees can access information from a central database at any time, and in any number of geographical locations. Self-training can be completed at home, in the office or on the road.
Simplicity in creation and maintenance:
Unless your needs are elaborate, Intranet sites can be created and maintained with a minimum of programming expertise. Once the basic shell is in place, support staff in your department can easily make most updates to information.
Keeping up with your workforce:
As more and more younger employees enter the workforce, keeping up with technology will become increasingly important. Employees will be less willing to receive training information through slides or print because they're used to being intellectually stimulated through electronic media.
An Intranet can be an ongoing work in progress. Of course, you must start with a meaningful foundation or employees will lose interest. But once you have a site in place, you can keep building a library of training and reference materials that will increase in value as it evolves.
As the evolution of Intranet sites continues, more and more features will emerge that expand its functionalism. For example, real-time training that combines a live mediator, online information and several remote attendees, will soon be practical.
Personnel Journal, July 1996, Vol. 75, No. 7, p. 28.