Explainer Animations for Learning – Engaging with Visuals

The preferred ways of presenting information have become increasingly multi-faceted over the last few years. In the digital and mobile era, conventional information format like documents, slide decks and presentations have lost their way. Information today has to be quick and convenient to access, as well as increasingly visual. Visualised information – especially in the format of videos – provides learners a convenient medium getting to the right facts and figures at the point of need. It’s also helpful for opening up different concepts and frameworks. Hence, we’ll look at a few examples and use cases for explainer animations in learning.

What can you use explainer animations for in learning?

In general, we consider explainer animations to work well conveying the following kinds of information:

  1. Numerical information
  2. Statistics
  3. Business Cases
  4. Persuasive Messages

To better illustrate things, take a look at this sample of an explainer animation explaining the concept of flipped learning.

Why do explainer animations make a difference?

As we are constantly fighting for our learners’ attention, video-based content generally provides a good alternative for increased engagement. Furthermore, using explainer animations or videos helps you to focus on the key messages, stripping away unnecessary information and all the “nice-to-know”. This helps to avoid cognitive overload on the learners’ part, which in turn increases learning retention. Furthermore, you are also engaging two new groups of people with spatial/visual and aural/musical learning styles. Overall, the time required to build animations such as this one is not that huge, hence justifying the investment. In terms of software needed, Vyond provides a great tool for creating all types of animations.

If you need help in delivering better learning with explainer animations and videos, we can help. Just contact us. Furthermore, if you’d like to create your own, take a look at Vyond

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Gamified Learning Design – 3 Emerging Concepts

Gamification is becoming increasingly popular in the corporate learning space – and for a valid reason. Gaming has been a popular pastime for quite a long time, especially among young people. Hence, they are also responding positively to gamified learning activities. However, it’s always important to make the right distinction between games and gamification. Gamification means the application of game-like elements in a non-game setting. For instance, sales organisation have used leaderboards or sales trophies for a long time – effectively gamifying the process.

Previously, we’ve looked at simple tools of gamification like badges and leaderboards as well as learning simulations. Thus, we decided to delve a bit deeper and introduce a few slightly more advanced techniques for designing gamified learning and tips on putting them into practice.

1. Applying progression and levels in learning content

The best games usually come with some kind of built-in or scripted progression. Players are able to progress through levels with increasing difficulty or complexity. This is quite easily applied in corporates as well with gamified learning. Instead of giving the learner all the content at once, you can create a sense of exclusivity and achievement by having the learners “unlock” new content as they progress. By doing this, you’re also effectively chunking the content into smaller pieces, which decreases the risk of overwhelming the learner. Furthermore, learners are able to recognise their own progress more clearly, which helps to boost their motivation.

2. Enabling points and unlocking of rewards

What would games be without points? In gaming, competition and achievements are two of the main ways of keeping the players playing. In a corporate environment, competition is not always the best approach, while it works well for some areas. But you can apply the concept of points and scoring on an individual basis too. Reward the learners with points for all learning activities, whether that’s comments on social platforms, participation in instructor-led training or completion of eLearning modules. You can choose the behaviours you want to reward and design the points collection accordingly.

Naturally, points work much better as a motivator if they mean something. An increasingly popular approach this kind of gamified learning is to link the learning progress into real-life rewards. Instead of just accumulating points, you could let your learners exchange them for something tangible. Potential rewards could include e.g. days off, gift cards, invitations to special events and the like. To each company its own. Concrete rewards like these are not difficult to implement and provide a very tangible method of engaging employees.

3. Applying task-based gamified learning journeys

Many successful games also have the players completing tasks or missions. Building on the two previous methods, you could also design a task-based approach to learning delivery. For example, you could push particular content at defined intervals, e.g. on a weekly basis. The “learning of the week” would be highlighted to the learner and you could also give them additional rewards for completing it – double points for instance.

This way, you have tools of guiding the learning consumption in a seamless way instead of a heavy “push” approach. Organisations could also rotate content based on real-time needs and interventions. This helps the learners to prioritise as well – they are more likely to take up on the featured content as in the hopes of an extra reward. Furthermore, this method of gamified learning helps out in the employees’ time management and allocation. Once employees have completed all the “content of the week” they can confident in their effort. All additional learning is then good extra.

Overall, gamification is a wonderful approach to increase engagement and motivation in the workplace – and not just for learning. Digital capabilities naturally help in the application, but a lot can be done with a shoestring budget or even totally offline methods. Just get creative!

Are you looking to implement gamified elements into your learning? We are happy to help you get started and support you along the way. Just drop us a note

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Learning Content Curation Vs. Design – Benefits and Pitfalls of Each Approach

The role of knowledge and information in learning and development has shifted quite dramatically in the last 10 years. Whereas knowledge once was a luxury available to the few, it has now become a free commodity available everywhere. Furthermore, with the impeccable speed of change it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep knowledge relevant and up-to-date. Hence, the old big investments into packaging of knowledge (learning content) have somewhat dried up – and for a valid reason. Organisations are sometimes struggling to justify the costs of designing learning activities from the ground up. As a result, a field of learning content curation has picked up. To clear up the ambiguities around content curation and learning design, let’s take a closer look into both.

What is learning content design? What is learning content curation?

Traditionally, the corporate approach to learning – and eLearning in particular – has been a design-led approach. The basic units, courses, are built from scratch. Learning content design generally starts with collection of subject matter, followed by scripting, storyboarding, building interactivity, visual design and technical execution, just to name a few. Overall, it’s a very tedious and resource-consuming process, but the results can be excellent if the designers are at the top of their game.

Learning content curation, on the other hand, relies on existing and readily available content. The fundamental principle is that of packaging, re-engineering and linking content to form coherent and relevant learning experience. Whereas a learning designer would build from scratch, a learning curator would compile material from sources available, with very little time spent on technical execution.

What’s the better approach then? Learning content curation or design?

As any complex problem, there’s no straight right or wrong answer to this one either. However, here’s a list of pros and cons with each approach that may help you to form an educated decision for your next project.

Learning Content Curation – PROS: 

Learning Content Curation – CONS:

  • There may not always be learning content available for your specific needs
  • Content cannot reach the same level of tailoring and customisation as with traditional design

Learning Content Design – PROS

  • Possible to deliver beautiful, tailored learning experiences
  • Better ability to address company specific issues – you control the type of content you have

Learning Content Design – CONS

  • Very time – and resource-consuming. Building learning content from scratch takes a very long time
  • Inflexibility in responding to rapid changes in the business and learning needs
  • Traditional top-down learning content design approaches have not produced good results (you may try more learner-centric design instead)

Finding a strategy that fits your learning needs

Overall, we expect a large shift towards a more curative approach to learning content in the future. The benefits of significant increase in flexibility and lower costs are too much to overrule. However, the design approach is not going to die either. If we were to build a corporate learning strategy on a clean table, we would advise our clients the following way. “Build capabilities for using a learning content curation approach for most of your learning content needs. Yet, consider using more comprehensive design processes to deliver training in high-impact areas”.

Are you curating or designing? Do you need help in shifting from a design focused strategy to a more agile curative approach? We can help you on the journey, just contact us.

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Reinforcing Behavioural Change And Performance Using Flipped Learning In A Corporate Context

 

This article was first published on eLearning Industry, and we have modified it slightly since. You can access the original article here

One of the main challenges in corporate L&D today is sustaining behavioural change and performance. Ultimately, most learning activities are done to facilitate some sort of change. Yet, when it comes to applying the knowledge and skills learned from a blend of learning activities, the learners often feel left alone. Thus, they haven’t got enough practice, exposure or opportunities to actually start behaving in a new way. A lot of these are attributable to the tendency in the corporate L&D space to focus too heavily on knowledge delivery. When undergoing the paradigm shift from knowledge-focus to a performance-focus, adopting flipped learning in a corporate context is a good approach.

What Is Flipped Learning In A Nutshell?

Flipped learning is an approach that the education world has been adopting for the past 10+ years with great success. Initially, the approach was developed on the notion that direct instruction does not work terribly well in a group setting, while activities and ‘homework’ seemed to produce more results with the social group context. Therefore, educators started experimenting with bringing direct instruction (‘lectures’) into the individual learning space, whereas they brought practice, discussion and reflection (‘homework’) back to the classroom.

Fast forward to the corporate world in 2018, where learning has largely taken a blended and increasingly digital approach. Many organisations have all the latest tools when it comes to Learning and Development. Yet, almost equally many are struggling in translating the learning to actual changes in behaviour and improved performance. In most cases, the fundamental problem is the way companies structure learning experiences. Generally, companies choose an overly knowledge and content–focused approach over more learner-centered design. What could be a potential solution? Try flipping the learning paradigm.

How to design flipped learning experiences in a corporate context?

The overarching goal of flipped learning in a corporate context would be to deliver knowledge in a scalable way at the point of need while maximising the behavioural and performance impact through the efficient use of the “expensive resources” (face-to-face). And here’s how you could get started with a flipped learning approach.

1. It’s important to take a two-fold approach to learning “content”

 You should start by identifying what types of instructional, knowledge-focused content you have. These may include videos, presentations, storyboards, webinar recordings, manuals, documents, and handbooks. You should curate these types of content into a self-paced digital learning experience where learners can consume the knowledge at their own pace. Ultimately, you may consider using digital means for delivering all knowledge-based content and baseline subject matter.

2. You need to re-define the role of the traditional classroom

Instead of delivering knowledge, face-to-face training activities should consist of deeper discussions, simulations, group activities and practice. Naturally, you should design the activities according to the behavioural goals you want to achieve with learning. If you’re doing sales training, the behavioural objective might be to adopt a new selling approach in hopes of increasing sales by X%. In such an example, the activities might consist of sales meeting simulations, group practice pitching, workshops, and personalised coaching. Similarly, for technical training, you should use the face-to-face time to get the learners’ hands dirty and let them experience tools and methods in practice.

3. You should always continue to facilitate learning after the “classroom” sessions

Due to resource constraints and requirements for scalability and efficiency, this is where it often pays for corporates to move back to digital platforms. You can use different digital learning tools for feedback, as well as engaging in instructor-led facilitation, collaboration, and social learning. Ultimately, it’s important to engage the learners over time to keep the learning on their minds, establishing that cognitive presence. Furthermore, you should also give the learners access to performance support; resources designed to help them succeed on their jobs.

Naturally, you can expand upon this cycle, depending on the training topics and success of the learning initiatives. The important thing is to create a risk-free environment for the learners to practice, engage and experience – especially during the face-to-face sessions.

What Are The Potential Benefits Of A Flipped Learning Approach In Corporate Context?

Ok, you’ve got this far. Now let’s look at why this would actually work in the corporate context. Here are a few benefits we are seeing with a flipped learning approach:

  1. The focus is on performance
    The face-to-face activities and post-session facilitation should be all about reinforcing behavioural change and providing tools for increasing performance, which is what ultimately matters. Thus, you’re wasting less time on nice-to-know things and knowledge-not-being-applied.
  2. Increasing the scalability and efficiency of “knowledge delivery”
    By transitioning the knowledge delivery component into digital formats, you can do more with less. Learners can take the first steps of the learning journey at their convenience.
  3. Increasing efficacy and efficiency of face-to-face learning
    You’re using the expensive face-to-face training hours to support real change through practical activities, not just delivering knowledge passively. You’ll be able to deliver greater impact with potentially fewer resources.
  4. Increased learner-centricity
    In a flipped learning approach, learners are able to consume and digest knowledge at their own pace. Furthermore, the new activity-based, face-to-face sessions provide better opportunities for more personalised learning support, as trainers are not wasting their time lecturing.
  5. Encouraging active learning
    A flipped learning approach generally encourages and facilitates a more active involvement and engagement of learners, which translates to improved learning results.

All in all, flipped learning is an approach that makes a lot of sense in today’s corporate L&D. Increase in knowledge alone has little ROI if it doesn’t translate into behaviour and performance. However, flipped learning provides a way of delivering activities to support the behavioural change while retaining efficiency thanks to the blended delivery.

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Implementing Just-in-time Learning – Here’s How to Get Started

Learning in the corporate context has become very time-agnostic in recent years. Due to the drastic speed of change in the technological and business environments, knowledge and skill sets are evolving faster than ever. This requires employees to constantly update their knowledge just to stay on top of the tasks at hand. With the amount of knowledge and the complexity of tasks people undertake each day, we can no longer expect to be able train them everything prior to the work. On one hand, the amount of knowledge required is cumbersome for any L&D department to administer. On the other hand, getting employees to digest it all is impossible due to the problem of cognitive overload. However, a just-in-time learning strategy provides a good alternative to support the employees. Here are some tips on putting it to practice and starting to learn on demand.

Just-in-time learning combines well with mobile

If you had to choose one medium for accessing training content to rely on continuously, that would most likely be mobile. Our mobile (smart) phones are always with us, regardless of where we are. Therefore, mobile learning provides a great medium for just-in-time learning. In fact, a lot of the behaviour has been baked into our routines already. When we need to solve problems, we turn to our mobile search engines. If that doesn’t help, we might instant message our network for help. All this is essentially learning on demand, we just don’t recognise it as such. Hence, mobile is the best platform to power us up to learn just-in-time.

Here are a few things to remember about mobile learning design.

Learning content should be quick-to-consume – insert microlearning

When delivering just-in-time learning, two factors are of great importance: the speed of accessing content and the speed of consuming it. Mobile learning helps a lot with the ease of access. But to add to that, you should make your content easily searchable as well. Providing a mobile gateway to the content is not enough if the learner cannot find the information they need quickly.

Microlearning, on the other hand, can help a lot in the speed of consuming the content. When learning at the point of need, your employees don’t have time to go through traditional long-format courses. But they do have a few minutes to watch e.g. a microlearning video on the topic. There, you should chunk your content into easily digestible, concise pieces with a single learning objective.

Here are a few tips on building effective microlearning content. 

Using social learning to address the needs the L&D department cannot

As mentioned, the amount of knowledge needed for the purposes of just-in-time learning is potentially enormous. And let’s face it, it’s highly likely that your L&D department doesn’t have the resources to respond to every need. However, embracing the natural behaviour of “phone a friend”, you could leverage social learning tools. Whenever an employee encounters a problem that there’s no documented answer to, they could ask the experts in the organisation. In an internal, public forum-like setting, all these problems and answers could be recorded. Therefore, employees facing similar problems in the future would already be able to find solutions and best practices.

Overall, just-in-time learning is a very natural way of learning things. In the VUCA world of today, it’s also required to keep in pace with the change. If there’s no structured approach in place for it, it will happen on employees’ own terms. That effectively gives away the organisation’s control and understanding of what kind of learning is happening and further needed in the workplace. Therefore, organisations should consider formulating a strategy for learning on demand. These tips  provide a good baseline for starting the process.

Are you looking to implement just-in-time learning in your organisation? We can help you formulate a structured approach and strategy for it, as well as provide tools and methods for the implementation and execution. Just drop us a note and we’ll get back to you. 

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How to Excel in Marketing Corporate Learning Internally?

Nowadays, we in the corporate learning field are fighting for employees’ and stakeholders’ attention. Due to their busy schedules among various other factors, employees’ need a bit of a pull to embrace learning opportunities. This is especially true for voluntary programs. So, how do create that pull? How do we convince the learners that the programs we provide are worth participating in? This is an area in which L&D professionals should look into the field of marketing. To help you get started, we’ve compiled here some best practices on marketing your corporate learning internally.

Using key opinion leaders to spread your message

One of the current trends in marketing is the use of well-known influencers to deliver and reinforce your message. For marketing corporate learning internally, you should likewise look into your organisation. Firstly, identify the individuals who your employees perceive as key opinion leaders within their teams, units or the business as a whole. Then, engage them to help you deliver the message. It can happen with word-of-mouth, social media, or on other mediums. Once the employees see the internal influencers vouching for the learning, they are likely more inclined to partake.

Leveraging user testimonials in marketing your corporate learning

Another highly leveraged tactic is to employe user- and peer reviews of content. Recommendations from one’s own personal network constantly top the ranks for the most effective way of user (or consumer) behaviour. Therefore, it makes sense to leverage them in marketing corporate learning as well. Your learning tools or learning management systems (LMS) might already come with possibilities for user reviews and recommendations on content. If not, you could also leverage internal social media or workplace productivity tools to display ratings, testimonials and reviews. Additionally, enabling users to rate content can tremendously help the L&D team to identify the most sought-after training topics.

Engaging line managers for focused promotion efforts

Further, as more and more learning happens in the flow of work, it’s important to engage people in the daily context and environment of work as well. Engaging the line managers who oversee the people on a daily basis is a good idea. Hence, consider spending a bit of time with the line managers to make them aware of what kind of learning activities there are on offer, as well as their benefits and relevance to the team in question. Once you’ve got the line managers on your side, things happen a lot smoother, as people tend to listen to recommendations from them. However, remember that the learning activities have to be efficient. You’re effectively stealing people from the line managers and taking them away from productive work. And quite frankly, most managers don’t seem to like that. So make sure your learning is delivered as efficiently as feasible.

Communicating the learning benefits clearly

Finally, a key factor in getting all of this right is communication. If you wish to be successful in marketing corporate learning programs internally, you need to communicate well. This is especially true for communicating the benefits of the learning to your employees and stakeholders. At this point, we often advise to steer away from the learning objectives. Because no one really cares. As much time as you’ve spent honing the learning objectives, the fact is that they’re irrelevant to most of the audience. The employees are looking for “what’s in it for me”. That’s one of the questions you should be answering; how does this learning program or activity benefit them personally? How about professionally? What kind of opportunities can this learning unlock for them in the organisation?

Following these steps, you should expect an uptake in your learning participation. However, a detrimental factor to remember doing this – like any marketing – is that you must deliver on the promises. If learners don’t like the learning activities or find them meaningful, there’s little you can do. Hence, make sure that you’re doing the best you can in developing engaging learning. A learner-centric design process can help tremendously in achieving that.

If you feel like you could use help in marketing corporate learning internally, we are happy to help. We can also assist you in developing more learner-centric design processes. Just contact us to find out more. 

 

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Digital Onboarding Programs – 3 Ideas for Better Experiences

Onboarding programs and new employee orientation are generally areas that follow a common pattern. Companies hope to give learners all the information they need to get from 0 to 100 in the least time possible and to become a part of the community. However, the effectiveness of orientation programs in their traditional format suffers a lot because of one simple thing – cognitive overload. New employees joining a company are already anxious, just because they are coming to a new environment. In this situation, many companies take the silly path of trying to drop as much information to the new guys as possible – and expecting them to retain some! As you may guess, the retention with this approach is not great. Could digitalisation help to solve some of the problems with onboarding programs? Here are 3 ideas for digital onboarding programs.

How about Blended Onboarding Programs?

Naturally, the fundamental nature of onboarding – welcoming an employee to the workplace – cannot warrant a fully digital approach. People still need to be present. However, a blended learning approach to onboarding could help to provide a better experience. The usual company “starter kit”, comprising of company information, benefits, policies etc. can be easily digitalised. There’s no valid grounds for wasting time in the traditional classroom setting for these types of things. Rather, developing these starter kits into a digital onboarding programs helps to free up time. You could then use this free’d up time for e.g. networking sessions and inspirational speeches that build and demonstrate the company culture.

You can also use Augmented Reality (AR) for onboarding programs. Click here to find out more. 

Delivering the necessary knowledge as “performance support”

Let’s face it. Most of the contents of non-digital or digital onboarding programs are things of little interest to the employees. Until they need the information that is. Things like policies and company guidelines seem totally irrelevant and unnecessary on the first day. Yet, later on, employees could benefit to convenient access to this type of information. Hence, it could make sense to deliver the content in a format optimal for performance support and learning in the workflow. Think of the information as microlearning nuggets to be consumed at point of need. You’re ultimately saving up a lot of time for your employees both old and new, while increasing flexibility and convenience.

Enabling Social Presence through digital communities

Social presence, the feeling of being a part of something, is terribly important both from an organisational and learning standpoint. Digital communities and social learning tools provide a great way of engaging your new employees already before they come in on their first day. By enabling new joiners to start creating their own profiles, introducing themselves and learning about their new colleagues, you can alleviate a lot of the pressure and social anxiety that happens on the first day. When there is less anxiety, the onboarding process will be a lot smoother. Great digital onboarding programs should always include a social element since one of the most important parts of the process in the networking.

Also, you can leverage the opportunity to let the new joiners voice their opinions and expectations, as well as collect feedback from them. This way, you’ll be able to identify potential challenges ahead of time and intervene accordingly.

Would you like to take your onboarding and orientation activities to the digital era? We can help you accomplish that. Just contact us here and we’ll get back to you. 

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Leveraging Learning Content Analytics for Better Learning Experiences

 

We published this article first on eLearning Industry, the largest online community of eLearning professionals. You may find the original article here

An area where Learning and Development professionals could learn a lot from, e.g. marketing experts, is content analytics. Whereas marketing has embraced the need to constantly iterate and redevelop content based on real-time campaign analytics, learning professionals tend to take the easier route. Once an eLearning activity is produced and published, it’s easy to just leave it there and be done with it. But the work is really only at its midway. How do you find out if the content resonated with the audience or not? If it didn’t, how do you figure out what are the problem areas with the content? This is where learning content analytics come in handy.

Example Of Learning Content Analytics On A Training Video

When analysing the effectiveness of eLearning content, you should pay attention to what kind of metrics you are tracking. For instance, in the case of a training video, traditional metrics like how many times the video was opened don’t necessarily carry a lot of value. Instead, we should be looking at the content consumption behaviour on a wider scale, throughout the content and the learning journey. Let’s take a look at an analytical view of a training video.

Learning content analytics on training video
With learning content analytics, you can easily capture where your learners lose interest and drop off.

In this example, you can see the users’ behaviour at various stages of the training video. As usual, you see a slump immediately in the beginning, followed by another bigger slump later on. We’ve coloured the 2 main points of interest to break them down.

1. Initial Attrition

You are always bound to lose some learners in the beginning due to a plethora of reasons. However, if you constantly see big drops starting from 0 seconds, you might want to double-check, e.g. the loading times of the content, to make sure your learners are not quitting because of inability to access the material in a timely manner.

2. Learning Content Engagement Failure

Going further in the video, we see another big slump where we lose around 40% of the remaining learners in just 30 seconds. Clearly, this represents a learning engagement failure. Something is not right there. Learners are likely dropping off because the content is not engaging, relevant or presented in an appealing way.

How Should I Incorporate Content Analytics In The eLearning Development Process?

The above-mentioned video analytics is just a single example of how you can use content analytics to support your learning. Ideally, you should be running these kind of analytics across all your learning content. xAPI tracking capabilities give a lot of possibilities in this regard. Once you’re collecting the data and running the analytics, this is how you could build the use of analytics into your eLearning development process:

  1. Develop an initial version of eLearning materials
  2. Roll it out to a test group of learners, monitor the analytics
  3. Identify potential learning engagement failures and re-iterate content accordingly
  4. Mass roll-out to a wider audience
  5. Revisit the content analytics at regular milestones (e.g. when a new group of learners is assigned the content) to ensure continued relevance and engagement

This type of approach helps to ensure that the learning activities you provide and invest money in, perform at their best at all times.

How Can I Use Learning Content Analytics To Provide Better Learning Experiences?

By now, you’ve surely developed many use cases for content analytics. To summarise, here’s how you could provide a better learning experience through data-driven insights:

1. Identify The Types Of Content Your Learners Like

In the case of videos, you could benchmark the performance of different types of videos (e.g. talking heads, animations, storytelling videos) against each other and see what type of content keeps your learners engaged the best.

2. Develop Engaging Content

With the power of analytics, you’ll be able to develop better learning. You are able to find out immediately what works and what doesn’t. No need to run extensive surveys. The behavior of the learners is the best feedback.

3. Personalise Learning Experiences

You can naturally run analytics for individuals and defined groups, in addition to the whole mass of learners. This helps you personalise the learning experiences according to e.g. skill levels, seniority, experience, previous learning history, etc.

All in all, learning content analytics provide a powerful tool for increased transparency and visibility into the performance of your eLearning. As learning moves to more in-demand and just-in-time, they help to ensure that you’re delivering the right content to the right audience.

Are you interested in developing more analytical, data-driven approaches to your L&D? Or want to know more about different content analytics possibilities? Just drop us a note, and we’ll get back to you. 

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Social Presence – Key to Impactful Learning Experiences

Fundamentally, learning is a social process. There’s no dispute that our social context; interactions, engagements and relationships all play a role in shaping our knowledge, skills and capability. Thus,  it’s vital for learning professionals to understand the value of social presence. Social presence, simply defined, is the feeling of being part of something. It seems that this social presence is why face-to-face training is still relevant. People come to the classrooms not only to gain knowledge, but to interact, form connections and engage in social activity.

The failure to replicate this type of environment may have been the reason why traditional eLearning never became the success it was set out to be. However, technology has evolved tremendously from the days of that type of eLearning. Hence, we nowadays have the capabilities of nurturing that social presence even with digital tools. And here are some considerations to help you along the way.

Building Connections and Facilitating Interactions

To attract learners to your digital learning experiences, you need to make sure they have the same possibilities of connecting with people than in face-to-face. Facilitating learning through a social platform helps tremendously in this regard. People can build their connections, engage in discussions and share experiences. People don’t only learn through the materials or the instructor, but from each other also, which the peer-to-peer connecting opportunities facilitate.

Interactions also play an important part in learning engagement. When you are physically disconnected from other learners, it’s vital to have opportunities for interacting in different ways. Enabling people to build profiles, like, comment, share and follow – all fundamental concepts of social media – helps to nurture the social presence and keep learners engaged.

Build on experiences encouraging reflection

Naturally, all learners are individuals and thus have their own individual context – prior experience, background, exposure etc. It’s important to build on these individual experiences, which is one of the primary ways of adult learning. Reflection is of equal importance, enabling the learner to link new knowledge in to previous experiences and form the understanding required for application. Finally, even individual experiences and reflections are powerful when shared with others, as we also learn by mimicking and mirroring. Thus, enabling social presence is important and you should make it possible even across activities that may feel “individual”.

Leverage on groups for learning ownership and support

Social presence can also be an important tool for motivation. When people are actively engaged in a learning group, they are more likely to take ownership of their learning. This means that they are more likely to seek out learning opportunities based on their personal needs e.g. to better participate in discussions. Due to the collaborative nature of learning, individuals are also less likely to drop out of the activities. There’s a sense of commitment to the group and no-one wants to let their peers down!

These type of engaged communities also go a long way in internal support. Whenever someone is struggling, it’s easy to approach people for help. Furthermore, in an engaged community, people often proactively identify opportunities in helping other people. This creates a great platform for both emotional and performance support, which can reduce the L&D department’s work quite drastically.

These are a few ways of leveraging on the power of social presence in your digital learning. If you’d like to learn more or need tools for facilitating social presence in the digital era, just contact us

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Workflow Learning – Taking Steps towards the Future of Learning

The corporate learning and development community is quite unanimous on one issue: most of our professional learning happens in the context of our daily jobs. Just like the adult learning theory captures it, humans learn by building on their experiences in a high-context environment. However, acknowledging the existence of workflow learning is soon no longer enough. In the hyper-connected and real-time corporate environment of the future, organisations need to start nurturing learning in the flow of work. Traditional corporate training approaches are not fast nor effective enough to respond to the constantly changing environment and evolving skills requirements. Instead, we have to embed learning as a process to our daily workflow as well as corporate culture.

Luckily, what has changed within the past few years is that nowadays we have the technology available to support this new type of learning. To lay out the concept and required change of mindset further, here’s how we at Learning Crafters see the evolution of workflow learning.

Workflow learning will force us away from course-centered design

An aspect where corporate L&D shown a great lack of imagination over the past decades is the innovation of new learning modalities. It is, it has been and unfortunately will likely continue to be all about courses for many. Do you have a skill gap in your organisation? Develop a course! Do you need to overcome a performance slump? Develop a course! Developing a course – or a formal training activity of other kind – seems to be the first and often only solution learning professional can think of. Yet, this solution will quickly render itself obsolete when we need to embed learning in the flow of work. Courses and formal activities are dramatically too slow, cumbersome and inefficient to respond to the workflow learning needs of the future. Organisations can no longer afford the productivity lost by subjecting their employees to lengthy training interventions.

Now you’re probably thinking: “if not courses, what’s the new ‘unit’ of learning?”. A potential answer to that is performance support resources.

Performance support resources will be at the core of workflow learning

The new era of learning is all about performance – finding ways to keep the organisation performing at its maximum efficiency. In a fast-paced environment, learning in the flow of work is about incremental, yet constant updates and refreshed to skills and capabilities. To enable this kind of incremental development, we need to shift our mindset from courses to resources. Instead of large courses abundant with content, we need to curate a library of performance support resources to support experiential learning in the flow of work.

Performance support resources are concise and specific curations of knowledge that learners can access and query quickly. After a quick query at point-of-need, the learner can then go on to applying the new knowledge immediately, hence translating the newly learnt concept into a positive use experience. Furthermore, there are number of different easy-to-use technologies to support the process. This is a natural and powerful helper for behavioural change, as the application and impact is immediate and visible.

This type of learning might sound familiar. And you’re not alone. In fact, we’d argue that this is how most of our personal learning takes place today. Whenever a problem, need for new knowledge or learning arises, we do a quick query (e.g. Google) to a library of resources (Internet) and solve the problem on the spot using the new knowledge. Unfortunately, organisations tend to limit this type of learning due to a variety of reasons (security, compliance etc.). However, in terms of existing resources, many companies have already taken a perhaps unacknowledged step towards this.

Microlearning is a good way of approaching performance support content

Many organisations have implemented microlearning initiatives in the past few years. By doing so, they’ve also created a good baseline of content for performance support resources. After all, performance support in workflow learning is all about accessing knowledge in a compact format fast and conveniently. However, microlearning doesn’t just mean cutting the longer course into smaller fractions. Rather, you should design each activity with a very specific objective in mind.

For more on building effective microlearning, read our tips here

Another reason why microlearning works so wonderfully for performance support is the ease of content curation. Rather than delivering long-format courses, you’re addressing specific problems. You can even leverage on a lot of free resources available. The key is to keep it concise and accessible, however the greatest emphasis being on searchability. If your learners cannot find the resources they need in a very short amount of time, that’s not much of “support”, is it?

In conclusion, while we see the movement towards more workflow learning -oriented practice, it’s important to remember there is no one-size fits all. There will still be need for “formal” learning activities. However, the possibilities of integrating learning into the business processes at a more fundamental level brings about interesting performance considerations.

Are you experimenting with learning in the flow of work? We would love to hear your success stories! You can always get in touch with us through here

 

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