How to Set Better Corporate Learning Objectives?

When designing learning activities, one of the first things to consider is what you want to accomplish with the training. Without proper goals, you can’t really know what to measure, let alone demonstrating the effects of the learning. While all L&D departments probably do set goals, not all of the goals are very meaningful. Specifically, learning professionals tend to set knowledge-based goals (e.g. “after this training, the participant will know good practices of leadership in the workplace”). However, the accumulation of knowledge, while a noble goal, doesn’t really provide any value to the business. It’s the enactment of new, desired behaviours and change, i.e. implementing the learning on the job, that determines the value-add. Thus, to effectively demonstrate the value of learning in our organisations, we need to set our corporate learning objectives in another way. And here’s a 4-step process to do that.

1. Define the workplace behaviours that you want to affect with training

First, you need to determine the specific behaviours you’d like to affect through training. And really, it means getting specific (you’ll run into trouble in #2 if you don’t). To continue with the leadership example: “we want our managers to become better leaders”. Bad. “We want our managers to have more frequent conversations with their direct reports”. Better.

The behaviours will naturally vary by topic, and some are easier to drill down to than others. However, “loose” learning objectives like masked as “performance objectives”, like in example #1 will turn out to be near impossible to measure.

2. Figure out what to measure and how. Don’t rely on self-reported data

If the first step is already a critical, the what and how of measurement is often the detrimental one in the context of corporate learning objectives. When trying to assess behavioural change (i.e. the impact of said learning) in organisations, there are two major mistakes that happen across the board.

First, not understanding what to measure. In similar fashion to setting the learning objectives, the ‘what’ is often too vague. If you’re doing sales training, measuring sales growth directly is too broad: you’re cutting a lot of corners and making dangerous assumptions. Sales may increase, but it may have no correlation with the training. Rather, the effect could be due to external environment, team relationships, incentives, seasonality, etc. Therefore, you need to drill down deeper. A proper level for example in sales training would be individual metrics, such as conversion ratios, time on calls, etc. These may or may not result in performance improvement, but that’s for you to find out without making ill-founded assumptions.

Second, the ‘how’ part of measurement is often lacking as well. If you really want to make an impact through better corporate learning objectives, it’s important to get this right. First, never rely on self-reported results. People lie, exaggerate, underestimate and aim to please, and even anonymity doesn’t remove the barrier to give honest answers. Rather, you should always use hard data. If the data is not readily available through non-learning channels (e.g. HR systems, performance management systems, ERPs, CRMs etc.), find a way to capture the needed information.

3. Quantify your corporate learning objectives

The relieving thing is that once you really drill down on the specific behaviours and get objective data sources, quantifying your learning objectives becomes much easier. In e.g. sales, finance, marketing or operations that is already a lot easier naturally. But even in the previous leadership example, there’s quite a large difference between “we want our managers to be 50% better leaders” vs. “we want our managers to have 50% more conversations with their direct reports”. The first is impossible to measure accurately, hence the quantification is moot and void. The second can be measured e.g through internal network analysis, communication meta-data and even calendar appointments.

Furthermore, once you quantify the learning objectives, you’re setting a transparent set of expectations. Consequently, you’ll have a much more easier job to sell the idea to your management and subsequently report the results. Once we analyse things a bit more deeply, we can assign “dollar values” to the changes in workplace behaviour. The value of sales staff converting 10% more of their calls is real and tangible, and it’s easy to track whether the learning investment is paying off. When the behaviours become less tangible (e.g. that leadership practice), you should agree with the business heads on what the value of those behaviours is to the business. For e.g. learning company values etc. it might seem silly, but you should consider doing it nonetheless to enable transparency in assessment and reporting. Of course, as you probably haven’t measured learning this way before, it’s important to acknowledge that in the beginning. So don’t punish yourself if you don’t “hit the target” right away.

Final words

By using this simple 3-step approach to setting corporate learning objectives, understanding the link between learning, impact and performance becomes a lot less burdensome. On an important note, once you’ve put this in place, you really need to actually measure things and commit to using the data. Collecting the data and insights, even if done properly, is itself a bad investment if you or your management still resort to making assumptions rather than trusting hard facts.

If you need help in understanding your organisation’s learning on a deeper level or to develop a data-driven learning strategy, contact us. We’ll walk you through what it takes.

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How to Enable Peer-to-peer Learning in Corporate Environment?

Regardless of context, learning is much more of a social effort than we tend to think. People learn from each other, whether through mistakes, experiences, stories, testimonials or even straight-up coaching. While corporate learning remains largely a top down effort, you could save your L&D team a lot of trouble by enabling your employees to mentor and teach each other. As organisations are increasingly dispersed and filled with busy people, the issue might seem too big to tackle effectively. But that’s not the reality in most cases. And to demonstrate that, here are four different ways of facilitating peer-to-peer learning in your organisation.

1. Social learning platforms enable peer learning

In the past couple of years, social learning platforms have really risen up in the workplace ecosystem. While functionalities differ slightly, the logic and value proposition is real and clear. For a long time, the field of eLearning has completely neglected one of the most valuable aspects to the learning experience: interacting with other people. While this happens naturally in a classroom, often there hasn’t been even an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning while engaging with activities in a digital environment. Luckily, that has changed.

Social learning platforms enable discussions and sharing – the things peer-to-peer learning is all about – across geographies and organisational barriers. In the context of workplace learning, ultimately it’s not about the content. It’s about finding ways to implement the learning on the job. That’s where a community of peers can help a lot. Consider topics like leadership or managing a team. The topics tend to be quite abstract, but when you have someone sharing with you their experience of implementing such practices, you remove a lot of the barriers to implementation.

2. Skills Market Places for peer-to-peer coaching

In organisations, there are a lot of “hidden” skills that companies are not necessarily aware of. Nowadays as people change jobs and careers more frequently than ever, it’s more important than ever to tap into the increasingly diverse experience that our employees have. Establishing Skills Market Places can be a good way to support peer-to-peer learning and skills transfer organically within an organisation.

The idea of the skills market place is a rather simple: connecting people with specific skills to those who want to learn such skills. The people who have in-demand skills and are willing to teach others can indicate the subject matter that they’re good at. Similarly, people wanting to learn new skills indicate the type of skills they are looking to learn. Just drop in a bit of magic (and maybe a bit of tech to make things smoother!) and enable these groups of people to find each other. Let the employees manage the process, take control and engage in ways they see fit. Have them report back and analyse your data. As a side product, you’re much more likely to get an accurate view of your organisation’s skills map.

3. User-generated content is an untapped opportunity for peer learning in the workplace

As with the example of skills market places above, there’s a lot of valuable, tacit knowledge just sitting out there. Instead of sticking to the age-old and largely ineffective top-down training mantra, why not rethink the learning process? After all, it’s the employees who are the best experts at their jobs. They also know the organisational, functional, cultural and interpersonal barriers to implementing change and new behaviours in the organisation – something that even the management often has hard time grasping. Thus, they can generate content with unparalleled level of context and relevance.

As learning goes more into the workflow and shifts to on-demand resources, this type of user-generated content becomes increasingly valuable. It doesn’t necessarily need all the fancy bells and whistles. Often, the high context and relevance more than makes up for the extensive design work that we tend to opt for. Of course, it doesn’t have to be anarchy either, the L&D professionals should still keep control, facilitate the process and curate the content. But overall, the opportunity itself is too great to miss.

4. Collaboration tools enable peer-to-peer learning in the workflow

The fact remains that learning doesn’t only happens in classrooms or within learning platforms. Collaboration tools and platforms (e.g. Slack) are a true example of that. While not designed for learning, they provide a shared platform for employees to engage with each other. Discussion rooms, virtual workspaces, private chats along with the performance support are a great example of facilitating peer-to-peer learning. Whenever an employee encounters a problem with a project they’re working on, collaboration tools provide seamless and easy things to engage in the oldest modalities of learning – asking.

Sure, there are many ways to collaborate within the workplace. But when the workforce is increasingly flexible, short-tenured or even project-based, these kind of platforms increase in importance. We need to learn more than ever, but at the same time, it’s imperative to stay productive and not waste time in just-in-case type of learning activities. These tools not only help your people to work more efficiently, but also provide a great platform for learning from each other on the job, at the point of need.

Are you enabling peer-to-peer learning in your organisation? Are your digital learning resources and experiences still “unsocial”? We can help you with that. Just leave us a message here and we’ll get back to you.

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Online Learning Accessibility – Practical Tips for Inclusivity

If there’s a single universal fact about learning, it’s that there’s not a one-size fits all approach to it. Learners come in various shapes and sizes, each with different profiles and personal traits. Yet, as learning professionals, we should strive to provide each of them an equal opportunity to learning experiences. We should recognise that people learn differently – to some it may seem more difficult than others – and design learning accordingly. To facilitate that in the digital space, here are a few quick tips on improving your online learning accessibility.

Online Learning Accessibility Guidelines

For starters, for learning professionals who wish to remain inclusive, there are two general frameworks that you should be aware of. The first is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which should provide useful even for technology developers. The second important framework is the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). At times, these might feel dated, but there are a lot of good information there. As is common with learning difficulties in general, it’s hard to understand them without practical examples. These frameworks help in that.

For now, let’s focus a bit more on the 3-fold division of the UDL and what it should mean in practice.

Online learning accessibility tip #1: Provide multiple means of representation

Providing multiple means of representation means to give learner different ways of acquiring knowledge and engaging with the learning materials. While nowadays video is one of the more prevalent formats in corporate learning, it may not be suited for everyone. Moreover, whole lot of traditional learning materials come in text format (handbooks, manuals etc.) – again not suitable for everyone. To really provide all your learners with an equal opportunity to succeed, you should strive to provide the resources in as diverse set of formats as possible, e.g. audio, visual, text.

To put online learning accessibility into practice, you might consider the following easy implementations:

  • Providing text transcripts of videos or multimedia
  • Embedding subtitles on videos
  • For long text content, enabling the possibility of listening to an audio version (easy, free and quick to do with text-to-speech tools)

Online learning accessibility tip #2: Provide multiple means of expression

While it’s important to provide equal access to information, it’s equally important to facilitate equal assessment! Wherever there’s learning, there’s usually some type of assessment involved. While in general you should consider more formative assessment methods, these principles apply across the board. Firstly, it’s important to provide varied means of assessment: simple text-based multiple choice questions might be limiting for many. Secondly, it’s important to enable activities different from “final exams” where the learners can use their strengths to demonstrate their learning.

To facilitate online learning accessibility for assessment, here’s a few easy things you can do:

  • Instead of text-based quizzes, incorporate more visual methods like drag-and-drops, flashcards and simulations.
  • Enable users to demonstrate their knowledge in various forms: writing, audio/video recordings or through their daily tasks.
  • Try to provide alternatives to “exam-based” assessment, such as journals, reflections and portfolios.

Online learning accessibility tip #3: Provide multiple means of engagement

While there are countless formats for learning content, engagement isn’t only limited to that. Rather, in terms of accessibility, engagement refers more to the ways of finding, accessing and consuming learning resources. You should promote autonomy and individual choice by letting your audience engage with learning when it best suits them. Group activities can also help to increase engagement. Whichever deliver formats you choose, always strive for high-context and relevant experiences.

Here are a few easy to implement tips on providing multiple means of engagement:

  • Use omnichannel learning to provide a unified experience and increased ease of access across different platforms
  • Use social learning and group activities to build social presence and consequently increase engagement
  • Create a safe learning environment and a modern learning culture where learners don’t fear making mistakes
  • Provide access to instructor even in case of online learning experiences for personalised guidance and assistance

Overall, we should pay much more attention to inclusivity and accessibility in both offline and online learning. Ultimately, it’s really all about finding ways to help our talent reach their full potential the fastest and providing various of ways of getting there.

If you wish to provide better corporate digital learning experiences or need a helping hand in developing or auditing your online learning accessibility, we are happy to give you a hand. Just drop us a note here.

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From Transactions to Learning Journeys – Tips for Great Learning Experiences

While learning happens in many ways, places and times, something we can all agree on that it’s not a singular event. Rather, learning happens over time. However, in the realm of corporate learning, we often resort to one-time events (training session, eLearning course). Employees go through these “transactions” and soon forget most of the learning. In business, time is naturally of the essence and that creates a pressure to get the learning over with fast. After all, when people are learning, they are generally not producing immediate revenue. However, the lack of time should be no excuse to resort to this type of one-off thinking. When putting in a little bit of effort, you can actually provide your employees with much better learning experiences by changing the way you deliver learning and here’s how to do it. Here are tips on going from “learning events” to learning journeys.

Understand your learners’ needs

When designing learning experiences, it’s imperative that you spend time on understanding your audience. Mapping out the learning journey is a good way to get things started. By listing all the various touch points and changing needs, thoughts and feelings of your people, you can get a better understanding on what the optimal set of activities might look like. You can also employ methods such as learner-centric design to ensure personalisation.

Also, you should note that when you run out of content, the learning doesn’t end. A very natural way of reinforcing learning is through performance support: employees consuming job aids and quick knowledge snacks to support their tasks. Thus, you should design the learning journeys with performance support components.

High frequency and high context win

Naturally, the aim of moving to learning journeys is to introduce more frequent touch points. This follows the principles of spaced learning, where increased retention is derived through recurring exposure. As the frequency increases, the bite size must naturally decrease. While learning resources should be concise and to-the-point – just like in microlearning – they should also be of high contextual value. Don’t deliver resources that the learners don’t need, and be careful about it. Use feedback and analytics to help in determining whether you’re delivering the optimal type of resources.

When it comes to technology, mobile learning tends to lend itself quite well for this sort of high frequency, high context delivery. Rather than trying to activate new behaviours, you’re utilising the existing ways of quickly consuming content.

Use data to constantly refine your learning journeys

Finally, a journey-based learning approach really calls for an increased use of data. Since you have vastly more touch points than before, you’ll also be able to collect a lot more learning data. You should use this data to constantly improve the learning experiences. You can analyse what kind of resources or content are working and what are not. Current and future skill gaps become a lot easier to identify as well. Overall, good analytics help you in going back to the first phase – understanding your learners. The better the understanding, the better the learning experiences.

Ultimately, moving from one-off events (transactions) into more comprehensive learning journeys can even help you to save time. With constant, quality exposure you can achieve remarkable improvements in retention and results.

Are you looking to deliver great digital learning experiences but don’t quite know where to start? We can help you in developing a future proof learning strategy. Just start the discussion here.

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Digital Coaching – Finding Value-add in a Traditional Space

The traditional industry of business- and executive coaching is slowly embarking on a journey of change. Digitalisation is taking on another line of profession and causing a stir. While a lot of coaches believe strongly in the power of face-to-face (and don’t get us wrong, we do too!), unfortunately many seem to have totally neglected the changes in the environment around them. While corporations are increasingly careful in evaluating the value-add their vendors provide, they’re also looking to coach more and more people. Taking these two factors – namely the need to demonstrate results and scale up while keeping the offering affordable – into consideration, there could be opportunities for digital approaches. Here are some value-add cases we see for digital coaching.

Digital helps coaches to focus on what matters

Let’s get the easy ones out of the way, shall we? Like a lot of other digital technology, digital tools can also help coaches to reduce non-productive activities. Even in coaching, there’s a fair bit of administrative work involved. Maintaining records, scheduling sessions and producing reports don’t seem exactly high-value to a coach. However, that work needs to be done also.

Digital coaching tools can help coaches keep records accurate, accessible and transparent. A lot of the administrative workflows can be automated, enabling the coach to spend more time with the clients. Furthermore, the ability to produce meaningful reports on all things with a single click is something that you cannot achieve with traditional means. Good, clear and reliable reporting on progress and development will help the coach to demonstrate value to the client.

Delivering better interactions through digital coaching

Interactivity is a key part to the coaching equation. Not only do the clients expect you to be there for them at all times, but it’s likely very difficult to drive behavioural change “from a distance”. Overall, there seems to be value in more frequent and less formal coaching interactions. Digital tools can help to lower the barriers and enable constant access. Constant interactions between the coach and the client also enable a shift of focus from scenarios to real-world problem solving. As a learning experience, the latter tends to be a lot more powerful. Furthermore, this type of digital coaching also provides a new learning on-demand medium. The clients can reach out for information at their point of need and that’s when they’re at their most receptive.

On the other hand, why even limit the power of interactions to the coach-client relationship? While individual coaching is perhaps the most effective form of it, that’s not to say there’s no power in a group. As adults we learn through experiences and reflection – both our own and those of others. Therefore, interacting with one’s peers within a coaching group can provide a great learning opportunity on its own. And to facilitate these kinds of digital information exchanges and interactions today, there are simply no better tools than digital platforms.

Digital coaching provides an improved experience

In the end, it all really comes down to the coaching experience. Digital technologies have the power to facilitate that experience in a way that traditional approaches cannot. Also, the focus should be on the experience, rather than on producing a cheap version of something. Ultimately, there should be value-add to find for everyone, whether one’s coaching e.g. senior executives or sales agents. A simultaneous improvement in scalability, accessibility and user experience sounds like something the corporate clients might appreciate.

Of course, the opportunities don’t end there. While you’re at it, why not consider combining learning activities with group- and personalised coaching. Providing the clients with resources to support behavioural change after formal learning activities (think of performance support) is a potential high value-add area in terms of learning results. So, take a good look at your own offering and start considering whether you could deliver more value by adding some digital means to the mix.

If you’re looking to explore digital opportunities in coaching, ILT or learning overall, we can help you develop a great offering. Just contact us to get started.

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How to Use Learning as a Performance Support Tool?

Corporate learning today should pay much more attention to how it enables performance. While there’s a time and place for long-form learning activities, often we’re better off just learning by doing. Adults learn through experiences in contextual environments. Thus it seems that nothing beats learning experienced on one’s own job – or workflow learning. Meanwhile, formal experiences like classroom training and eLearning courses are giving way to more nimble approaches to delivering content. This is partially driven by learners who don’t see the value in sitting through hours of training just to forget things soon after. So, let’s take a look at performance support and how we can use it to learn on-the-go and help people perform better.

The shift from learning beforehand to learning on-demand

Many organisations tend to approach training the same way as schools and universities do, by trying to prepare the employees for everything. Unfortunately, the laws of retention and the forgetting curve are not on their side. The learning offering ends up being a lot of “just-in-case” rather than things employees really need and can apply immediately. In the end, the organisations waste a lot of time, money and resources to deliver learning that doesn’t translate into actions or gets forgotten soon after the fact. Wouldn’t it make sense to focus on what matters – performance – and gear learning towards that?

How to design performance support learning?

To understand how to design learning for performance support, let’s look first at how it differs from traditional learning. First, employees engage with performance support while working and don’t want to interrupt their flow. Secondly, the circumstances are less about learning new, but more about finding ways to apply the already known. Furthermore, whereas the goals of corporate learning may sometimes be bit ambiguous, the goal for performance support is clear: help to finish the task at hand.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a quick checklist on key characteristics of good performance support resources.

  • User-friendly – no one wants to spend effort in navigating complex systems when they need the information quickly.
  • Accessibility – employees must have access to the resources anytime, anywhere, regardless of the devices they have on them.
  • Short-form content – performance support resources should be quick to consume and concise (microlearning, anyone?).
  • Searchability – all content should be tagged, indexed and easily searchable, enabling the employees to get to it quickly.
  • Relevance – all content must be up-to-date, and relevant to the employees and their roles and functions. Don’t deploy “off-the-shelf” resources, but give solutions to problems specific to your business.

The bottom line

By giving your employees access to these kinds of tools, you’re assisting them in the most problematic part of learning – putting new skills into practice. Employees will surely value that, as you’re helping them to do their jobs better. Also, you’ll likely save up time on non-productive formal learning and keep the people at their jobs. That should have a direct bottom line impact.

Overall, a performance support approach to some learning activities helps to support the changes in the workplace. As skills, businesses and the environment change rapidly and constantly, it’s important for the corporates and employees alike to learn on-the-go. While this is not meant to replace all of traditional learning activities, it does provide a much better alternative for some of it.

Would you like to explore modern and more meaningful ways of workplace learning? We’re happy to share some ideas and hear about your challenges. Just contact us.

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Visual Learning Elements and How to Use Them

Good digital learning materials and activities should be engaging and interesting. While situations and purposes vary, visuals tend to play a key role regardless of the situation. On one hand, they can illustrate in a way that words cannot. On the other hand, you can use them to pace the material and progression of activities. Whereas 10 years ago we were still mostly thinking of pictures, we nowadays have a whole plethora of visual tools to choose from. Therefore, we’ll take a look at some of the different visual learning elements and how to use them well.

1. Images and Pictures – often undervalued

Nowadays, pictures seem like too static objects, and thus get overlooked quite often. However, they still have their uses. First, you can use pictures to make online learning materials more visually pleasing. Secondly, you can use them like publishers do – to break and pace texts and give a visual connection to key information.

When using pictures, you should never align them left with text. Unique pictures tend to do better than stock photos. Also, pay attention to file sizes – too many big images may kill your loading times!

2. Infographics are a good way to showcase data

Infographics, charts and similar elements tend to be a good way to showcase data and relationships between things. While these have to be custom made for purpose, the workload is not too extensive which makes the costs bearable. However, there are a few things to note from a user experience point-of-view.

First, you need to be careful with text in your infographics. They’ll naturally contain some, but you don’t want to be writing essays in pictures. Second, you should maintain readability across all devices and platforms. When an infographic is displayed as an image file, it should be readable without clicking and zooming even on a mobile device. Too much of pinching and zooming again kills the user experience.

3. Videos are the most prevalent of visual learning elements

It’s quite clear that videos have become the go-to medium for digital learning. However, you shouldn’t overuse them either but rather always consider what format might provide the most value-add. Videos come in many forms and types. Traditional training videos often incorporate talking leadership figures and a bit of marketing flair to them. Animations, on the other hand, can be good, cheap alternatives. Character animations provide a good way of communicating messages. When dealing with complex issues or displays of data, you might consider explainer animations.

As videos come in many shapes and sized, it’s slightly more difficult to give general advise. However, a few rules of thumb tend to provide useful in most circumstances. First, keep your videos concise. If the content is great, length is less of an issue. But often you’re better of trying to deploy short microlearning videos instead of full-length corporate documentaries. Again, pay attention to file sizes and formats. You want the videos to play on all devices and platforms. And if your users are engaging in mobile learning, huge file sizes can easily obliterate their monthly data caps.

4. VR will have a big impact on visual learning

If you’ve been awake for the past couple of years, you cannot have missed the talk about virtual reality (VR) and its learning applications. While VR technology does provide unparalleled experiences when it comes to visual engagement, it still remains a niche tool. At it’s current stage, it’s not scalable or cost efficient to deploy on a larger scale. However, some organisations use it for high-value or high-risk training needs (and some have naturally bought into it because of the gimmick factor).

However, there’s an increasing number of VR tools getting to the market and we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to developing VR content. Expect the scalability to increase very rapidly after we get rid of game engines and the current level of programming required in VR content production.

5. AR will have an even bigger impact than VR

While VR seems to be all the rage in the L&D community, it’s actually augmented reality (AR) currently flying under the radar that will likely end up having the bigger impact when it comes to visual learning elements. Whereas VR perhaps enables us to engage visually in an unfamiliar environment, AR lets us bring objects into our own. Not being restrained by hardware requirements (you don’t necessarily need a headset!), AR’s scalability is a lot higher. Furthermore, at its current stage, content production is a fair bit cheaper. Whereas VR models reality, augmented reality is just another layer of it on top of one’s own. In terms of engagement, AR thus likely goes higher, as association with real things is probably higher than with modelings or representations of those real things.

Organisations are currently using AR for several needs, technical training perhaps representing the biggest opportunity as of current. Once the technology becomes more commoditised, we are likely to see a lot more AR supporting learning in the workflow.

Are you hoping to be able to design more engaging learning experiences through the use of visual learning elements? We can help you succeed, just drop us a note detailing your problem.

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Supporting Employee Onboarding with Digital Feedback Tools

As far as learning experiences go, employee onboarding is a crucial one. At it’s best, a great onboarding process helps to form a strong relationship with the employee. At its worst however, it can just about drive them out. Naturally, organisations across the board are looking to streamline their onboarding processes – without sacrificing quality. In this regard, digital onboarding tools and methods can help a lot. However, unfortunately many organisations resort to just dumping information using the digital tools, rather than figuring out how to actually help the new hires. To really help the new hires up to speed faster, flow of information and feedback is critical. Thus, here are a few tips on using digital feedback tools to support employee onboarding.

The common problems in employee onboarding

Generally, we could classify the mistakes in onboarding to two categories: learning and non-learning. Learning mistakes, for instance, include spending too much time on formal training, forcing cognitive overload and a lack learning support or personalised learning. Often, onboarding is a highly standardised set of activities Non-learning mistakes, on the other hand, can include things like company phones or computers not delivered on first day of work, not receiving employee credentials and wasting time on non-working activities due to all the above. It’s not uncommon to hear horror stories where new employees spend days without the necessary equipment to do their jobs!

So, let’s look at supporting the two kinds of problems with some digital feedback tools.

Using digital feedback to support learning activities

Whenever you join a new company, there’s a lot to learn. As all individuals are different, organisations face a challenge of being aware and responding to all the individual learning needs arising throughout the the first few months. What could be the best way to perform a better training needs analysis on the new hires? Why don’t you ask them directly?

Digital feedback tools provide a great way of supporting employee onboarding and the learning activities involved. For every learning activity, you should collect feedback. In addition to impressions and suggestions for improvement, you can inquire whether the new joiners think they have received an adequate amount of training to do their jobs properly. If someone hasn’t, maybe you should have a personal discussion to solve the issue. If multiple people indicate they feel the need for more training, maybe you have to look in the mirror and figure out what’s wrong with your learning activities! And this is no rocket science. Simple likert scales work very well, as long as the data is real-time and there’s someone on the other end keeping an eye on the responses. As everything is digital, it’s also highly scalable and seamless to use.

Using digital feedback tools to support non-learning activities

While learning plays an important part in supporting employee onboarding, it’s the practical things that you should get right first. It’s rather easy to implement a similar logic as before to non-learning activities. For instance, you could construct a digital check-list for all the administrative activity (receive computer, phone, IT system credentials, lunch coupons, coffee mug etc.). At the end of day one, every employee would fill out a feedback form confirming that all of the above have been taken care of. If not, you’ll know right away and are able fix it. Once all the administrative hurdle is streamlined, you’ll find that your employee become productive much faster.

Furthermore, you can use digital feedback to collect some additional insights as well. In addition to simple receipt notices of equipment, you could poll the employees on their skills on them. “Now that you’ve received the computer, do you need help using it?” This will further help you to provide the new joiners the means to succeed and perhaps even adjust your training or the onboarding process itself. If you never ask, you’ll never improve!

Would you like to support employee onboarding with digital means? Drop us a note, and let’s see if we can help you help your employees.

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Using Digital Tools to Support Classroom Training

While digital learning has been growing and improving in quality steadily over the last several decades, classroom training still constitutes the majority of activities for many organisations. While digital learning will capture more and more market share due to the low efficacy and efficiency of classroom training, it’s certainly not going to replace all of it. For some topics, face-to-face is likely to remain the primary mode of instruction for a long time. However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t support those activities with digital tools. Here are some examples of digital tools to support classroom training.

To make it easier, let’s divide training activities into three based on their sequence: pre-session, in-session and post-session.

Using digital tools for pre-work and activities before classroom training

One of the problem with traditional classroom training is that participants come in unprepared. Furthermore, the trainer often doesn’t know them, their learning history or performance beforehand. This results in lower engagement, lack of personalization and decreased relevance. But proper use of digital tools before the training session can help trainers to make the sessions as effective as possible.

For instance, a good practice is to do some pre-work activities online before the actual session. While not necessarily significant, they help the learners to prepare for the upcoming and adjust mentally. They’ll also be able to think about the topic beforehand and come in with questions and ideas. To collect ideas, expectations and perform more in-depth needs analysis, you can also use digital tools. For instance, online surveys, digital feedback tools and social platforms are a great way of engaging the learners before the session.

What should be the goal of pre-work activities?

Overall, the goal of pre-session activities should be to understand as much about the learner as possible and engage them beforehand. This enables the trainer to provide a much more tailored training experience. Organisations who already utilise learning data to support their decision making should also make the insights available to trainers.

How to use digital tools inside the classroom?

Once inside the classroom, it’s important to use the time for active learning instead of just delivering information. Luckily, there are a multitude of different digital tools to support classroom training activities and to activate the learners. For the purpose of this piece, we are gonna leave powerpoint and other similar presentation software out.

To start out, live polling is a good way to engage people. By asking questions from the audience through their digital devices, there’s less pressure to speak up. Rather, learners can send in their thoughts through their phones – even anonymously if required. The results and input can then be displayed to the group in the form of e.g. automatically generated graphs or word clouds. This provides the learners the ability to understand others’ perceptions of the topic, without the need for extensive classroom discussion, which may be difficult in some cultures.

In addition, you can use digital tools and methods for on-the-spot assessment as well. They are also effective in collecting live feedback and potentially even in doing peer evaluation. While these are some of the more concrete tools, you can also use a variety of digital media. Short training videos, puzzles and small games can be equally good in activating the audience.

How to use digital tools after classroom training?

The challenge with corporate learning is that it’s often too transactional, due to lack of resources and commitment. You can have a great trainer deliver a truly engaging session, but still the forgetting curve is not on your side. Usually, there’s very little follow-up and statistically, you’ll still forget most of the things discussed. To support learning retention and help those experiences carry over to long-term memory, digital tools come in handy.

In addition to the traditional assessment, which is most efficient to do online, you should also provide learning reinforcements. A spaced learning approach, in which the learners are exposed to small bits of content over a period of time to activate their memory tends to work quite well. Different microlearning activities also tend to lend themselves quite well for this type of use. And finally, like in any learning activity, it’s important to keep collecting the feedback for continuous improvement.

Overall, it’s highly beneficial to support classroom training with digital tools. You’ll not only understand your learners better, but you can also improve learning results thanks to the increased engagement. So give it a try!

Do you need help in building the right kind of digital support resources for your classroom training? Our articles on flipped learning and blended learning can provide additional ideas. If you’d like more hands-on assistance, feel free to contact us and we can develop an approach with you.

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Practical Tips for Writing Online Learning Content

Studies have found that the ways we consume and read content on our devices is different to our way of reading traditional documents. While we are using more and more interactive formats of learning such as videos, animations and simulations, sometimes text based elements are the best option. While this post focuses on learning content, the same principles apply to all web writing. First, let’s take a quick look at how people engage with online texts and then move to practical tips for writing online learning content.

How do our learners read online text content?

In their study on internet reading habits, Nielsen Norman Group found that people don’t actually read online texts. Rather, they glance and skim through them. When opening online content, such as a website or a learning module, learners first skim through the text quickly and then return to whichever part seems interesting. Thus, it’s highly important that you make your content skimmable and easy to read. Now, here are some tips on how to put that into practice and write good online learning content.

Write better online learning content with these practical tips

Here’s a list of the most important aspects of writing web-based content.

  • Don’t use uppercase in the body of the text, headings or titles. Only very short individual words can be written in all capital letters.
  • Don’t bold, italicise or underline full sentences. You should only use highlighting for individual words and names, as using too much will decrease efficacy.
  • You should always format sub-headings as heading, rather than simply bold them.
  • Always use list elements to write lists, no dashes.
  • Don’t use consecutive 1-3 row paragraphs, but try to combine them into 5-12 row ones.
  • Always align all text and headings to the left. Never justify online texts.
  • Don’t display long URLs, but rather use descriptive links or graphic buttons to direct attention.

If you follow these guidelines for writing online learning content, your content will likely look good on all devices from smartphones to desktop computers. By catering to your learners’ online reading habits, you can help them to digest information better. Furthermore, if you’re writing content and want it to be found easier (for instance, if you’re marketing online learning), these tips will also help you with search engine optimisation (SEO).

If you’re looking to develop online learning materials or find ways to improve both user experience and retention, we are happy to share ideas. Just contact us.

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