Skills Assessment in Digital Learning – 4 Methods

Skills Assessment in Digital Learning

Skills Assessment in Digital Learning – 4 Methods Beyond Quizzes

Skills assessment in online learning can often be a challenge. Whereas we are used to using quizzes to assess knowledge, that may not be quite enough when it comes to practical skills. While quizzes and such often fare well in assessing conceptual knowledge, they have some shortcomings. While conceptual knowledge inarguably forms the foundation, it’s often the execution of the skill in practice that matters in the end. Consequently, that’s also what we should try to evaluate better. Here are 4 methods for practical skills assessment in online learning.

1. Work Samples as Evaluation Mediums

For many practical tasks and jobs, work samples can provide a way of assessing skills development beyond just conceptual learning. In the era of the smartphone and all kinds of pocket-sized recording devices, learners can capture themselves performing a task. They can then submit this to instructors, trainers or supervisors as a piece of evidence that they can indeed execute the tasks. This type of skills assessment in digital learning can also work in e.g. certification training or compliance training. While this does add an additional step to the workflows of both learners and trainers, it still can be easy enough to implement in circumstances that require it.

2. Task-based Simulations

Task-based simulations constitute another medium for skills assessment in digital learning. While you can design them on many different complexity levels, all of the simulation can still happen virtually. In the low-end of complexity, these simulations may consist of situation painted via pictures, text and audio. On the higher end, you can use e.g. videos. Add on questions centred around the practical skills execution, and you can already go quite a long way. Nowadays, tools like 360 immersions and VR provide another level of immersion on top of the conventional mediums incorporated in task-based simulations.

3. Online Collaboration and Discussions

For some particular type of skills, social collaboration and discussions via online tools can also provide a handy method for evaluation. Soft skills, and their practical execution, can be a good theme to centre online discussions around. While creating social presence in learners is important, these methods also help learners to articulate their own views, experiences and challenges. Discussion platforms also enable learners to get support from fellow colleagues trying to overcome the same kind of challenges. When it comes to skills assessment in digital learning, trainers can use these discussions and reflections as a base for their evaluation. The ways you reflect and articulate the meaning of learning tends to be quite a good indicator of learning. Furthermore, learners can also share evidence of “putting it into practice” via these mediums.

4. Branching Scenarios

Finally, branching scenarios and scenario-based tools can provide another effective way of doing digital skills assessment. The scenarios are built to depict real-life situations, and the learners’ task is to manage the situation at hand. These have proven quite effective in assessing skills in e.g. sales, customer service, SOPs, compliance, code of conduct and many more. With good tracking tools based on the xAPI standard, assessors can capture the data of all the interactions and choices taken in the scenario. Therefore, they have a more comprehensive view of the learners’ performance to support their assessment, instead of simply relying on a “final score”.

Final words

As our discourse in the L&D space moves from knowledge to skills, we need to make sure that our methods do as well. While there’s more to learning than just evaluation, skills assessment forms an integral part of modern learning. We need to thus develop better capabilities for assessing practical skills, and do that increasingly online. Therefore, it’s good to consider different methods for skills assessment in digital learning. While building this kind of assessment requires some effort up front, it does pay itself back. And should you need help in the design, we are happy to help. Just drop us a note here.

How to Digitalise Corporate Learning Quickly

How to digitalise corporate learning quickly

How to Digitalise Corporate Learning Quickly

The novel coronavirus epidemic that has taken much of our attention lately has had an impact on corporate training scene in 2020. Whereas many organisations used to rely heavily on face-to-face training, that has now become impossible. While many organisations have deemed it not safe to organise large gatherings, travel bans have also grounded trainers, especially in Asia-Pacific. Consequently, companies are scrambling to put together digital learning offerings to ensure business continuity, in case of a lengthy outbreak. Therefore, we decided to put together a quick guide on how to digitalise corporate learning quickly.

In a crisis mode, decisions we make may be different than those during status quo. Therefore, it’s important to point out that we construct this guide under the following assumptions.

  • Time is of the essence – discontinuation of training puts business continuation at jeopardy
  • The new types of training need to be rapidly scalable
  • New strategies need to be sustainable in case of a prolonged outbreak

How to set up digital learning infrastructure quickly

Now, the first problem that many organisations face is that there’s no digital learning infrastructure in place. While the selection and vetting process under a crisis may look different than usual, the focal points are the ones stated above. If we want to digitalise corporate learning quickly, we need to have a system that enables that. Therefore, a couple of key things to consider from a learning platform include:

  • Out-of-the-box functionality – you don’t want to spend unnecessary time doing custom development
  • Rapid cloud implementation – you’ll want it in the cloud, so people working from home can access. Fast implementation is again needed
  • Rapid learning content creation tools – this is by far the biggest bottleneck in digital learning, you’ll want to minimise it
  • Virtual classroom tools – while not necessarily optimal in the long-term, virtual classrooms enable the fastest training digitalisation

While you shouldn’t consider that list exhaustive, we believe it provides a starting baseline of capabilities to enable rapid digitalisation of learning in organisations. If you need help identifying or implementing such tools, don’t wait to reach out to us here.

How to digitalise corporate learning content quickly?

If you already have a system, or you’re about to have one, the next challenge you’ll encounter is content digitalisation. Normally, this is by far the most labour-intensive part of process. Therefore, you should look for ways to streamline it, and leverage your existing resource base as much as possible. Depending on your organisation and resources, it may be a good idea to engage a vendor to alleviate some of the time pressure. In any case, here are a few directions to consider:

Virtual classrooms

As mentioned, virtual classroom are by far the quickest way to quickly digitalise corporate learning. If your organisation already employs trainers, it’s smart to give them the tools to take their work online. And don’t worry about going into boring webinars, the modern virtual classroom tools can provide much needed interactivity. For instance, a good virtual classroom should enable questions, quizzes, collaboration, polling, smaller group sessions and individual coaching. Remember, it’s also important that mobile functionality and accessibility is good!

Interactive content curation

There’s a lot of great content out there. Likely, you already have a lot of it, too. While documents and slide decks might not be the solution of choice for online learning, you can make them more appealing with relatively small amount of work. For instance, some tools enable you to add interactivity into existing documents and files. You’ll cut the bulk of the work by using existing content, but you’ll also make it more engaging. In case you don’t have a lot of content in-house, you can also consider leveraging publicly available content, e.g. for curating interactive microlearning videos.

User-generated content & social learning

Another option to quickly collect and synthesise training content is to leverage your own organisation in doing so. As practically everyone carries a recording device nowadays, it shouldn’t be too cumbersome to solicit video input from your internal experts. Furthermore, you may also consider exploiting different social tools available to you to create communication channels, whereby people can share learning resources and important updates. During an epidemic like this, it’s good to have more informal communications channels between employees too.

Concluding thoughts

The current coronavirus outbreak situation presents a problem for many organisations. As most employees have suddenly become a part of the deskless workforce, it’s important to view training from a new angle. On one hand, it’s important to digitalise corporate learning quickly. On the other hand, it’s a process that conventionally does take a fair bit of time. However, by considering some of the thoughts above, you can streamline the process a lot. If you need quick help in tackling some of these problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here. We can help you get your digital learning delivery get up-and-running in no time.

How to Design Feedback Loops in Corporate Learning

Feedback Loops in Corporate Learning

How to Design Corporate Learning Feedback Loops

Feedback is essential to how humans operate. As we go about our lives, we encounter many cause and effect type of natural feedback loops. A certain event triggers a certain response, which in turn, becomes a trigger for another response, forming a long cause-effect chain. Ultimately, these chains benefit us as they guide our actions. Feedback loops in corporate learning, meanwhile, should work similarly. As learners complete tasks, we should provide them with positive or negative feedback, helping to adjust their future performance.

While feedback in general should always be of the growth type, it should also be timely and specific. Here’s a 4-step process on designing feedback in practice.

Everything should start with the aim

The aim of the learning is the most important thing to start with. A good learning objective unpacks and clearly communicates the learner what it is that they’re supposed to be striving for. Therefore, it’s vital to pay attention to the objectives already at the design stage. What do the people need to learn, and how does the particular learning resources contribute to achieving that. Every piece of material should always have an aim on its own too.

While knowledge-based objective tend to be the most common, we’d suggest trying to go a bit deeper. In organisations, learning is rarely important because of “knowing” but rather because of “doing”. Therefore, the objectives should be centred around doing too. In practical terms, this means setting up performance objectives in place of conventional learning objectives. Often, they are far less ambiguous and help to clearly communicate the expectations to the learner.

The feedback exchange

The next step for an effective feedback loop in corporate learning is to actually give feedback. First of all, feedback should always be specific. This means that rather than e.g. just pointing out that something went wrong, guiding the learners to the right path. Secondly, feedback should also be timely. The more often, the better. With different digital tools, it’s easy to build streams of feedback across a variety of activities. You can automate a lot of it, in fact.

Then again, feedback should also be non-evaluative to avoid any misunderstandings and keep the focus on getting back to the right path. Finally, all the feedback should be focused on the aims discussed above. If your feedback goes outside the framework of those aims, you might have to either revise the aims or making sure you’re sticking to the agreed-upon “rules”. It’s not fair to expect something out of the learners if you don’t clearly communicate it!

Give opportunities to revise and apply

For feedback to be effective, learners need to first of all identify the right course of action, and then get back on it. This means, that once feedback is given, there should be opportunities to try again. Hence, when designing your learning experiences, make sure the feedback is continuous. If feedback is only at the end, you might keep away the opportunity to improve. Rather, a good learning experience should include a number of ways to practice and apply the new knowledge. The learners would get real-time feedback of these activities, and be able to improve. Then, as another practice opportunity still remains, they can put the new knowledge into practice in a safe environment.

Again, digital tools and technologies grant a lot of possibilities in this space. One can use many different kinds of exercises and activities to give learners the needed space to revise and apply.

Reflection is a key to learning

Finally, one piece of corporate learning feedback loops that is often forgotten, is reflection. To form a closed loop, it’s important to look back at the initial aims and goals. Did learners achieve the given objectives? Did they grow their skills or increase in proficiency? Was learning put into practice?

Learners should, of course, be in the centre of this reflection activity. It’s important for them to grasp the process and their own performance. However, as learning designers, it’s our responsibility to build in such opportunities. Reflections may be personal and individual, but they could also be shared or facilitated digitally. This could for instance enable people to learn from each other’s reflection.

How to support feedback loops in corporate learning with technology?

Ultimately, technology helps us a great deal in designing for and facilitating good feedback processes. Things like digital surveys, social media tools, coaching assistants and personal learning analytics can provide very useful. On the content side, there are also tools like gamification, adaptive learning and scenario-based learning that build on the idea of rapid, continuous feedback. If you’d like to explore how to build better feedback loops for your organisation, get in touch here.

4 Levels of Analytics in L&D & How They Create Value

4 Levels of Analytics in L&D and How They Create Value

4 Levels of Analytics in L&D and How They Create Value

The learning analytics landscape is buzzing. Thanks to digital tools and technologies, the capabilities to track, evaluate and assess the impact of learning have increased manifold. This enables organisations to increasingly understand not only the learning process, but also the impact of learning to the business itself. However, there’s also a lot of misconceptions around analytics. We’ve seen a worrying tendency to paint a picture of deep analytics, whereas the real capabilities don’t extend beyond rudimentary statistics. To clarify some of the possibilities in this space, we put together this look at the different levels of analytics in L&D. Let’s take a look!

1. Descriptive analytics: ‘what’

Descriptive analytics, by definition, focus on “what happened”. Whereas there’s a lot of hype in the space, most “analytics” still constitute just this type. One could argue that a lot of the descriptive analytics is not actually analytics, but rather simple statistics. These, of course, are usually displayed in a visual and digestible dashboard format, reinforcing the perception of analytical power.

As mentioned, the focus is on phenomena and their magnitude. Some arbitrary examples of descriptive analytics could be how many employees completed training, how long it took them, how they engaged with the learning resources etc. Although the analysis part is limited, there’s still value to be had in this kind of analytics in L&D as well. A lot of these things provide a good basis for reporting. Engagement statistics can even help to improve the quality of learning resources. However, using this mostly quantitative statistical data, you shouldn’t forget to use also qualitative insights to get a complete picture.

2. Diagnostic analytics: ‘why’

Whereas descriptive paints a part of the picture, diagnostic analytics help to complete it. In general, these type of analytics aim to answer the question “why did it happen”. The focus, therefore, is in the underlying reasons behind the phenomena described above.

Overall, there can be incredible value understanding the ‘why’. For instance, why did the learners pass on an activity? Why did the learning not translate into action? Why is a particular learning experience successful? While descriptive information is important, it’s often useless unless we understand the why. By understanding the relationship between different factors, we can make better learning – and business – decisions.

3. Predictive analytics in L&D

While the segment of predictive analytics is not entirely black and white, e.g. diagnostics may contain generic predictive analytics, we’ll deal with it as one segment. Like the name gives away, predictive analytics deal with the future. In general, the aim is to answer the question: “what will happen”. This focus makes it a powerful decision making support tool for not only L&D teams, but the business as a whole.

For instance, predictive analytics in L&D can provide valuable insights on the expected outcome of training, i.e. what kind of effect or impact can we expect. It’s also possible to predict trends, e.g. which departments are on the rise, which are regressing. On a more granular level, it can also help trainers and L&D professionals to determine which learners may be at risk and intervene early, rather than too late after the fact. Another interesting value scenario could be to predict individuals’ potential in reflection to their performance in learning, something that one could use e.g. in leadership pipeline planning.

4. Prescriptive analytics in L&D

Finally, the fourth level of learning analytics in this mapping of ours is prescriptive analytics. Whereas predictive analytics focus on what the future is likely to look like, prescriptive analytics in turn focus on “how to make it happen”. Similar to the previous, these analytical tools tend to offer businesses significant support and power in their decision making. Just like a doctor, the algorithms prescribe a particular course of action to fulfil a given goal.

In the realm of L&D, prescriptive analytics can come in handy on many fronts. One application is to provide recommendation on learning interventions. For instance, the algorithms can calculate the optimal learning paths for different groups or individuals, and identify suitable resources or courses for them to take to progress. Furthermore, these tools also enable scenario analysis, e.g. how to best roll out certain programs. Overall, the goal is optimisation across the board, and the analytics provide the recommended courses of actions to do that.

Final words

Overall, all the different levels of analytics can provide value to learning organisations. Although, the value tends to increase the more sophisticated the analytics in L&D. The development in the space is rapid, and we are constantly finding new ways of capturing learning impact and delivering value through learning. Tools like learning big data, as well as artificial intelligence, are necessary pieces to the puzzle nowadays. They enable us to constantly develop even smarter solutions. If you’re looking to get your L&D analytics strategy up to speed to be able to visualise the real impact of learning in your organisation, don’t hesitate to drop us a note. Let’s take on the future of learning together.

AI Tools for L&D – Examples & Uses

Artificial intelligence tools for L&D

Artificial Intelligence Tools for L&D – Examples & Uses

The advent of artificial intelligence brings about significant analytical power that corporate L&D can take advantage of. While the AI technologies are generally nothing new, the significant increase in computing power has made the rapid development of recent years possible. Whereas the strong all-powerful AI remains a dream, there are a lot of practical applications for the technology. Here are 3 examples and specific use cases for different AI tools for L&D.

Recommendation engines & algorithms

One of the most commonly implemented AI tool in L&D is a recommendation engine. Most often used for recommending content, the engine analyses the context of an individual learner, and aims to offer a personalised curation of learning resources based on the materials given. However, it’s worthwhile to note that these types of recommendation engines have existed for long, even without AI.

Whereas content recommendation works on a relatively micro level, it’s possible to use the same principles on a wider spectrum. Some of the more advanced recommendation algorithms and AI tools don’t just recommend content, but can also extend to recommend different interventions and courses of action for the L&D team. For instance, the algorithms can provide suggestions on learning paths for different groups.

Grouping algorithms

Another great example of AI tools suitable for L&D are grouping algorithms. While they constitute a very basic form of machine learning, these algorithms can be a powerful tool. Essentially, what the algorithms do is they analyse different individuals or groups (e.g. business units, departments, locations) and their attributes. For instance, the algorithms could detect groups with similar recommended learning paths. Consequently, the L&D could use these inter-organisation groups as basis for organising learning, rather than arbitrary division.

Furthermore, another use case is to use similar grouping algorithms to group people based on their ability. This type of use would detect individuals’ and their groups’ common existing capabilities, and propose reorganisations based on that. In practice, this would enable further personalisation of learning by dividing the organisation into groups, and offering each group the optimal difficulty and degree of content.

Predictive analytics and modelling

Another great use of AI tools for L&D is on the analytics front. While there are several uses for learning analytics, AI makes possible more than what we are used to. Instead of simply reporting descriptive analytics, AI enables us to get into diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics. Diagnostics generally aim to answer why certain things happened (i.e. why did learning results drop). While that in itself is incredibly valuable information from an organisational development perspective, there’s still more to unlock.

Predictive analytics enable us to answer questions about potential impact (e.g. “what will happen if we get learning engagement to increase by 20%?”). This enables organisations to run “what if” analysis and supports them in identifying the areas of L&D where it’s possible to make the most impact. Prescriptive analytics, on the other hand, do a similar thing, centring around inputs (e.g. what do we need to do to raise learning engagement by 20%). While these kind of analytical powers require significant commitment in measurement and defining relevant parameters, they provide a tool for L&D to demonstrate its impact to the business that hasn’t been around before.

Final words

While AI is currently suffering a slight inflation thanks to its buzzword status, there are a lot of great AI tools for L&D out there and in the making. These tools not only enable learning professionals to offer better learning experiences, but also to understand the impact of learning. There’s also big potential in automatising a lot of the conventional information gathering. This, in turn, should enable L&D teams to focus on their core competence – delivering great learning. If you’re interested in the different possibilities AI can offer and how to use AI in organisational development, contact us here. We’d be happy to share some of our experiences, examples and research.

Delivering Training for Deskless Employees – 4 Tips

Deliverig Training for Deskless Employees

Delivering Training for Deskless Employees – 4 Tips

A majority of the workforce today is deskless, even if we don’t always realise it. Retail, hospitality and manufacturing are just a few examples of industries where the majority of staff don’t have a desk. However, that doesn’t mean these employees don’t need training – they do! While being deskless poses a challenge for L&D, it’s still possible to deliver effective learning experiences to this group of learners. Technology can be an effective tool, however, we shouldn’t forget the importance of good design and planning either. Here are 4 tips towards successful strategies for delivering training to deskless employees.

1. In the absence of computers, go mobile

One of the key difficulties of deskless workforce is that they don’t have computers. For office workers, computers are generally the primary medium for accessing learning on the job. However, being “out in the field”, the majority doesn’t have that possibility. As computers are out of the picture, and traditional instructor-led training isn’t always a viable alternative, we need another medium. Luckily, almost everyone today carries a mobile phone of some kind.

While mobiles are a challenge themselves, if not just for the sheer amount of distraction they provide, they can be a helpful tool for training deskless employees. However, when designing learning for the mobile, there are certain peculiarities you should keep in mind (you can read more on that here). In general, adopting mobile should enable an organisation to roll out scalable training initiatives to a dispersed workforce.

2. Deskless workers benefit from just-in-time learning

Often, there’s a bit of difference between the learning needs of deskless employees compared to conventional office staff. From a learning perspective, the busy work environment doesn’t likely constitute a good environment for learning. That is, unless the learning is directly related to the job at hand. The beauty of the situational context for these workers is that they are often able to apply the learning immediately. Therefore, just-in-time learning can provide a meaningful and significant performance benefit right from the outset. Instead of cramming information and spending hours in training rooms, you can deliver value to the deskless folk by helping them to perform on their job. Often, the employees are quick to see the value too!

Generally, we may divide this type of just-in-time learning into two categories. Performance support resources provide a frame of reference for employees to check their own knowledge. Then, there’s the more experiential learning part. A way of providing formal training to deskless workers can also take the form of learning through experience. Instead spending great amounts of time beforehand, learners can go through content in the moment, and apply immediately. From a learning perspective, this produces a much greater impact to simply acquiring the knowledge.

3. Accessibility and ease of use are paramount to success

However, an aspect that can’t be over-emphasised enough is the importance of user experience and accessibility. Many of the key considerations for user experience are related to the situational context of learning. As deskless workers are mostly learning while performing work, it’s important that they can find relevant learning resources rapidly. This might take the form of a powerful search feature, AI-based recommendation algorithms or even a less is more -philosophy.

Other things to take into account are connection speeds, bandwidth requirements, user interface choices as well as the context of the work itself. Firstly, working in out-of-office locations, internet connection may be slow. Therefore, we should avoid excessive media and resources that require a lot of bandwidth to load. Secondly, as employees need to find relevant information rapidly, you don’t want to clog up the user interface with unnecessary features. Navigation should be simple and intuitive. Thirdly, as there are many kinds of deskless workers, the nature of the training should work for them. For instance, a construction engineer might have to keep his hands working while referencing resources. In that case, a voice control feature might become a key feature to ensure work safety.

4. Success metrics should base on the work itself

Finally, like any L&D initiative, a good deskless workforce learning strategy should include impact measurement. The great thing about operating in this type of environment, where most of the learning happens in the flow of work, is that we can also evaluate the outcomes of said learning based on the work. Essentially, this means that instead of knowledge acquisition and retention, we’re evaluating the learning transfer itself – whether people apply the learning or not. From an impact standpoint, this kind of impact assessment is much more powerful, as it enables us to establish links between learning and business performance.

While intuitive feedback in this regard may often be quite accurate (people tend to know when a resource helps them doing their work better), organisational learning analytics can prove to be a big powerhouse. A proper analytics setup enables you to capture both the learning, as well as the impact on people’s performance. Furthermore, some of the most advanced AI-based analytical tools can help you to even identify the best kind of resources for a particular setting.

Final words

Training deskless employees is an important issue. Arguably, a lot of the job nature’s of the deskless workforce may undergo changes in the near future, which further reinforces the constant need of upskilling and reskilling. If you’re running a deskless organisation and would like to use learning as a tool for performance, you can contact us here. We’d be happy to take a look at your problem.

5 Tools for Corporate Learning Campaigns

Corporate learning campaign tools

5 Tools for Corporate Learning Campaigns

Finally it’s ready. You’ve just designed and rolled out a great learning program for your entire organisation. You’ve spent months working on it, but now it’s finally out there. The best content, great modalities of delivery, highly relevant topics – everything seems to be in place. But once you launch, the excitement stops. You find that only 15% of your people have used the program, whereas you intended it for the whole organisation. Rest assured, many L&D professionals face similar kinds of problems. They design great learning, but nobody knows about it, and therefore it goes to waste. However, you shouldn’t give up just yet! You just need to start running some corporate learning campaigns! Here are 5 tools for effective awareness generation at the workplace.

Email campaigns and newsletters

Despite the common sentiment, email is still a highly effective medium – just ask any marketing professional! If you want to create awareness around your corporate learning programs, email is a natural tool. As it’s probably the most widely used channel for official engagement, you have some of your work cut out for you. Nudging learners towards your content and reminding them about self-development can go long way. Also, should you want to add more marketing flair to it, you can consider e.g. newsletters. And don’t worry about getting your people to sign up to your learning campaign mailing list – you already have their emails!

Text messages get you closer

Some marketing research has found that text messages are in fact the medium with the highest open rate. People tend to open text messages immediately, contrary to e.g. email. Therefore, text messages can be more effective for inciting fast reactions. Some organisations have gone even further than just text message learning campaigns by using the medium for content distribution as well. E.g. you could easily distribute microlearning resources this way.

Follow the logic of banner ads

In organisations, especially large ones, there tends to be a lot of complicated software and tools that people have to use. Sometimes it’s too much to remember it all. Following the logic of banner ads that you see on just about every web shop, you could link learning resources back to their contextual environment. E.g. if an employees needs to deal with with the ERP system, you could display banner ads about the learning resources related to the use of that software within the software itself. In general, if your using company devices, it’s possible to display these kind of banners just about anywhere, e.g. on the employees’ desktop or screensaver.

Social channels can generate buzz

If your company has internal social media channels or similar kinds of productivity tools (e.g. Slack), they provide a natural habitat for corporate learning campaigns. These social channels enable you to spread the word quickly, and you can also enlist the help of your colleagues in spreading the word. Liking and commenting on posts, or sharing learning programs can provide the much needed personal testimonial that helps you to get more people to come onboard. You could also take a play out of the modern marketer’s playbook, and incentivise such sharing via referral campaigns.

Referral campaigns can create a snowball effect

The referral marketing scene has exploded in recent years. Just about any software or internet economy company has a referral program. In general, this is a trend that you could use in learning campaigns as well. Incentivise your people to share desired messages or their own testimonials about training programs and reward them for e.g. visibility, clicks, sign-ups or as their referrals complete the program. The rewards could range from non-monetary incentives to even aspirational ones. You decide how much you want to invest making sure people find your learning programs!

Final words

In our day-to-day, we see an unfortunate amount of learning programs and resources having sub-optimal usage or even going to waste. It’s not that the programs are not great, they are, it’s just that people don’t often know about them. Therefore, take a note of these learning campaign tools, and use them to get people to sign up for your own internal programs! If you need help in designing campaigns or the learning programs itself, we can help. Just drop us a note here.

2020 eLearning Predictions – Towards Smarter L&D

eLearning Predictions for 2020

Towards Smarter L&D – eLearning Predictions for 2020

As we’re setting our sights on 2020, we can reflect on how the field of L&D developed in 2019. However, it’s also important to keep an eye on the future, and the things that are around the corner. Whereas learning technologies are advancing at a great pace, the field of L&D is undergoing a philosophical shift too. Without further a do, here are our 2020 eLearning predictions and thoughts for the new year.

Learning technology “stacks” become more fragmented

One thing that we’ve witnessed over the past year is the growing shift away from conventional LMS systems. Legacy systems have not been particularly learner-centric, and that has become a challenge. Therefore, we are seeing the new category of Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) emerge. However, it seems that this space is going to move into a massive gray area, whereas LMSs are getting more LXP-like features and vice versa.

However, it’s likely that in the midst of this shift, organisations have realised that one product may not rule them all. These big systems and platforms have traditionally tried to do “a bit of everything”. Yet, we are learning to appreciate tools for specific uses that work well for just that task. For instance, there might be a great tool for a particular type of learning, e.g. social learning for leadership, but you’ll certainly need more tools alongside it. Hence, one of our 2020 eLearning predictions is that we’ll see more variety in technology. Should this prediction materialise, it’s important to make sure your learning technology is well integrated.

Move towards more human-centred learning experiences

While the past couple of decades have seen a big push for digitalisation, we might have been a bit too fast at times. It’s unfortunately easy to forget the learner itself. As an eLearning prediction for 2020, it seems likely that we are starting to re-evaluate how we approach the whole concept. Whereas learner-centric design and methods are getting a lift, we’ll also look to see a focus on fitness for purpose. After all, we are not learning for learning’s sake at the workplace, but to do our jobs better.

For the future, we hope to not be judged by the quantity, but rather the quality of content and experiences. As we reflect back, we can say that less is often more when it comes to learning. And we should live by that. Also, if we wish to build great experiences for our learners, we need to build empathy. Along with other design thinking methods, empathy helps us to focus on the human, the learner – the individual.

Increased focus on evaluation, measurement and analytics

Finally, one field that is rising constantly, is the field of learning analytics. For another eLearning prediction for 2020, it seems evident that this trend is only growing stronger. L&D has been in a difficult position for quite a while. A lot of great work is being done, but credibly proving that the work is worthwhile has proven to be a challenge. With the emergence of tools like xAPI and AI, we have reached technical capability.

However, an area we still need to spend time on is the methods. Unfortunately, the way we evaluate learning in organisations is often simply lacklustre. Feedback forms, “happy sheets” and assessment that only tests immediate recall doesn’t quite cut it from a methodological point of view. On the other hand, it’s not even enough to do that. As learning transfer is actually the important part, that’s what we should assess. Corporate learning only produced results if it gets people to change their behaviours in a way that positively supports the business. And what this means is that L&D is going to have to dive much deeper into the business in 2020!

Navigation Design in Digital Learning – 3 Approaches

Navigation design in digital learning

Navigation Design in Digital Learning

From a design perspective, the digital learning field has been evolving quite a lot in recent years. Whereas we used to rely on highly linear e-learning experiences, we have since understood that we might need other types of delivery too. When designing learning, navigation is an integral part of the final experience: do we want learners to be able to explore freely? Or do we want them to stick to the “path” that we’ve designed? Naturally, there are various benefits and downfalls for any approach you choose, so let’s examine them in more detail. Here are three different navigation design approaches for digital learning, and their potential impact.

Locked navigation: structured, linear paths

First, locked navigation is still probably the prevalent and previously dominant approach in e-learning. What locked navigations means is that learners have to proceed through the learning experience in a pre-defined order. Proceeding to the next step may require playing all the content in the module, completing assessment or performing other tasks. The predominant logic of locked navigation design is that there’s a pre-defined path and each learner should go through it all.

Benefits

  • If you’re using narrative in the learning experience, learners get the whole story.
  • The experience is highly consistent among all learners
  • The user experience and flow is smooth: learners don’t have to worry about where to go next

Pitfalls

  • Forces learners to go through everything, which often results in a more one-size-fits-all experience than something personalised.
  • Doesn’t address learner needs and context very well, e.g. some might only need parts of the information, which is now locked down.

Unlocked navigation design: free-flow discovery

Opposite to locked navigation, unlocked design entails more free-flowing learning experiences. Whereas learners were previously on a pre-structured path, here they’re able to choose where to go, based on their immediate needs and preference. In general, there is some narrative or linear sequence to the learning experience, and navigation aids to guide the learner, but the final “journey” is highly dependent on the individual.

Benefits

  • Individuals can pick and choose what to learn and when, which personalises the experience ever so slightly
  • They can direct their efforts as they see fit. E.g. skip topics they already know, while putting more time into the new things.
  • The experience is less likely to feel forced and “pushy”

Pitfalls

  • Without adequate cues or nudges, the learners might miss or skip some important things.
  • Narrative structures don’t work with a “free-flow” design approach
  • Learners have to self-regulate their own learning; are they capable of doing that?

Adaptive learning navigation design

Finally, a third alternative, enabled by technology, is adaptive learning design. What it means is that the choice and curation responsibility of the learners is eliminated. Instead, through careful and meticulous design and content mapping, each learner is directed onto a journey based on their previous performance. For instance, a learner scoring low for a particular topic might be given reinforcement on it, whereas a more advanced learner might be allowed to skip the module altogether. The idea is to deliver highly personalised learning and eliminate the burden of choice.

Benefits

  • The learning experience is personal and tailor-made to each individual
  • Continuous assessment of learning, skills and engagement to direct learners further
  • Each play-through can be different, and learners don’t have to worry about finding the right things

Pitfalls

  • Designing adaptive learning content requires an extensive amount of work initially
  • AI algorithms powering up the “adaptive” require training, however the process is possible to do without AI

Final words

Overall, it’s good to see that learning and development is utilising more varied navigation design practices. Just like with any design, the goal should be to find the right fit for the given situation. Therefore, it’s really important to spend time on these approaches in the design phase. If you’d like to explore possibilities with different navigation design strategies for your digital learning, don’t hesitate to drop us a note. We’d be happy to help.

How to Design Alignment in Corporate Learning

Alignment in corporate learning

How to Design Alignment in Corporate Learning

If your corporate learning lacks engagement – or strategic focus – it might be due to problems in alignment. Aligning corporate learning with various stakeholder goals is incredibly important. By aligning with employees, you build engagement and relevance, whereas focusing on the business can build strategic value. However, it’s not always easy connecting these two. Therefore, we’ll take a look at how you could design alignment in workplace learning.

Aligning learning with business goals

First, let’s start with the business goals, as they arguably tend to most often come first. Whether that’s the best way, we’ll let you decide! There’s a lot of talk about aligning learning with business goals, and that seems to be a priority for many L&D professionals. In most cases, the L&D tends to try act as an executor of some bigger vision from the organisation’s senior leadership (e.g. we want to become an innovative organisation). While certainly strategic, you’ll want to pay attention to the problem space in particular in these kind of cases, i.e. is learning even the right tool to solve this kind of strategic issues? In some cases, it might not be, and hence producing learning or training programs to try to address the problem is not gonna yield very much results.

However, aligning corporate learning with business goals can also happen on a more granular level. Everything doesn’t have to be big and strategic. Ultimately, the goal of L&D is to help people perform better at their jobs. Therefore, putting yourself out there, and asking exactly that can be a powerful tool. By focusing on real issues faced by real employees, you provide tangible value. The learning component represents much less of formal learning than it used to, but it’s not a bad thing! Also, as you’re working on practical business problems, you also have tangible metrics to measure your learning success against.

Aligning corporate learning with individual goals

While the alignment with business goals is important, it’s not everything you should do. Many organisations face challenges due to engagement in training programs, and the lack of it. The lack of engagement, on the other hand, might be result of low to no alignment.

First of all, getting people to learn is already a challenge on its own. In reality, people don’t really respond to e.g. strategic objectives as a way of justifying why they should go through training. To nourish engagement in learning programs, you need to convince people that it benefits them, not just the company. Secondly, the benefits themselves might come in various forms, and it’s necessary to communicate them in order to facilitate change. Perhaps the training unlocks career opportunities or prepares people for specific tasks. It might also be just a new way of doing the existing work that is easier, more convenient or less cumbersome. Or finally, the benefit might even be personal (e.g. a lot of soft skills training might carry benefits beyond the immediate scope of work).

Once you identify those individual value points, delivering meaningful and engaging learning becomes much easier. Then it’s just a matter of communicating the benefits! That’s where L&D can borrow a few tricks from marketing, or where storytelling might become a good tool to use. Also, thinking of learning from an individual or employee perspective provides a good opportunity to critically review some of the activities an organisation might be doing. If there’s no individual value-add to be found, it’s likely that the “bigger” business value is not out there either.

Final words

Overall, the best corporate learning programs manage to combine these two. They might start out with an individual value proposition (i.e. what does an employee get out of it personally) but tie that in to the bigger business goals and ways of achieving them. As the learners see immediate value to their own selves and jobs, they are much more likely to implement the learning in practice, and by doing so, make progress towards the business goals. Furthermore, starting to think about the employees first is a good stepping stone into a more learner-centric culture. If you’re facing challenges in learning engagement, and think you could use some help, don’t hesitate to drop us a note. We’d be happy to discover problems together.