Extended Enterprise Learning – Expanding Training Beyond Own Employees

Another trend that we’re seeing in the training business is that all organisations are rapidly getting involved in the training business. The world where we were only responsible for our own employees is no longer there. Rather, organisations are nowadays also training their customers, partners, freelancers, resellers and sometimes even potential competitors! The term coined for these training activities going beyond the scope of employment is called extended enterprise learning.

So, let’s look at what organisations are doing in this space and also how extended enterprise learning may differ from the traditional in-house L&D.

Should you train your partners?

Absolutely, say many organisations. For instance, most technology companies have training programs for their distributors and resellers. Furthermore, all companies are usually a part of some kind of a supply chain. A lot of companies are also working on extending the enterprise learning to the upstream of their supply chain (suppliers, vendors, etc.). Often this is compliance, but it can also be sustainability, operations or other things depending on the level of cooperation. These training activities generally build towards much better collaboration, as the parties will grow mutual understanding and shared goals.

How about training your customers?

So, providing extended enterprise learning to partners definitely makes sense, but how about customers? Moving from the upstream supply chain to the downstream, is there added value in providing learning for your clients?

Well, many organisations seem to think so. Again, technology companies have been spearheading the change and have built extensive and sometimes impressive customer support programs. They’ve understood that their success comes from the success of their customers. And it’s not just customer support. These organisations often offer certificates that the customers pay for to either support their own business or showcase their expertise. There’s a whole new revenue stream for you!

Recently, we’ve seen many traditional companies entering this space. E.g. utilities companies providing learning resources on leading a sustainable life. Or clothing retailers teaching customers about their products in the context of sustainability, social responsibility and social impact.

Can extended enterprise learning help freelancers, contract workers and temporary staff?

The nature of work is shifting dramatically. Contract work and freelancing is becoming more and more common. The gained flexibility seems to be working for both corporates and the individuals. However, due to their temporary nature, these workers don’t often get access to the same learning as the directly employed folks. The reasons could be compliance, security, physical distance or lack of infrastructure. Yet, these workers would need the training like any others.

In many cases, it’s the underlying learning technology that is at fault. “We can’t let outsiders access our corporate LMS” is a phrase we hear all too often. Many companies with that kind of real limitations or in most cases, emotional barriers have found a way to circumvent the problem. They’ve built or taken on a separate platform to deliver training to their extended enterprise learning audience.

How does extended enterprise learning differ from employee training?

Naturally, training new audiences differs in many ways from that of your own employees. The topics, content and approaches may be different. But one of the most important differentiators is motivation. Whereas employees have to tolerate a lacklustre learning experience, or otherwise they might be out of a job, external stakeholders don’t. Your partners or freelancers, let alone customers, are not going to engage in your learning if it’s not perceived as high quality. They have far better ways to spend their time and more important things to do. As such, relying on the biggest false myth of the learning industry – “build it and they will come” – quickly proves to be a futile strategy. Thus, if you really want to practice extended enterprise learning, you need to do it properly.

And that is not to say you can get away with providing poor quality learning experiences to your own employees. That’s going to have its long-term problems too!

Have you tried extended enterprise learning?Would you like to develop new revenue streams by using your organisation’s know-how and expertise? We can help you develop a great learning offering, just contact us.

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Rapid Skills Acquisition – Can Employees Learn Faster?

No one becomes a master overnight in anything. But when considering the context of workplace learning, do we really have to become masters? In most cases, the answer is no. When we introduce new skills and competency frameworks in the workplace, the bar is not that high. As long as the employee builds adequate knowledge to do the job better, the learning departments is happy. So, let’s look at rapid skills acquisition – the art of becoming competent in the least amount of time. Here are some fundamental factors that are important in rapid skills development. Additionally, we’ll outline ideas on how you can use a multichannel learning strategy to support your employees in the learning process.

If you want to read about rapid skills acquisition in more detail, we highly recommend you to look up Josh Kaufman and his book ‘The First 20 Hours’, from which this article also borrows from.  Here’s his shorter TEDx talk.

1. Setting the scope and aligning expectations

Skills are often very complex. Rather than being a large unity that you learn at once, they are more often comprised of small sub-skills that you can pick up gradually. Thus, it’s important to narrow down on the very specific (often sub-) skills that you want to learn. If your scope is too broad or lacks focus, you’re spreading your time over too many topics. However, rapid skills acquisition and learning do remain a very personal effort. Thus, we should look into the ways of personalised learning rather than trying to define skill-sets and competencies as an organisation.

In addition, it’s also beneficial to have access to experts to help in benchmarking the skill development path. An expert can help the novice to set expectations: how much could and should they learn in a given time frame? What constitutes competency on the topic? What’s the required level for working proficiency? Thanks to the digitalisation, expert access is easy. If you have experts within your own organisation, you could connect them to learners e.g. via social learning tools. If they are outside, you could curate a pool of experts and provide access to their material.

2. Building a resource library and diving in deep

For rapid skills acquisition – like any kind of learning – you need a baseline of knowledge and theoretical frameworks. Hence, you should compile a small library of learning resources that support your individual scope and goals. Consuming expert and high level material from early on can help in identifying the right learning paths to follow. Also, it will likely help to reduce a lot of the mistakes related to “learning the wrong thing”.

In the context of organisations, you could provide your employees with learning platforms that use artificial intelligence to curate content. Based on his preferences, experience etc. the learner would get an automatically curated library of content. If your learning platform can’t do that, you could (besides contacting us of course!) build something similar manually. Vetting and curating content helps your learners to identify the proper resources, reducing their downtime and increasing efficiency.

3. Practice and spaced repetition is key in rapid skills acquisition

In terms of learning new skills, practice goes far beyond passive learning in efficacy. Think about languages for example. You are very unlikely to learn a language without speaking it. However, you can develop very fast through immersion, where you’re exposed to the language and practice on a daily basis – with little to no “passive” learning! Likewise, when developing skills in corporates, what we really should do is to practice. Ironically, that’s where a lot of the L&D fails on the impact side too. When there’s not enough practice, employees don’t apply the newly learnt on the job due to uncertainty of themselves. For practice, there are a lot of potential tools like learning simulations, immersions, virtual- and augmented reality etc. But the best practice of course happens on a real job.

When you’ve settled with the modes of practice, you’ll arrive at another important thing. Practicing spaced repetition is instrumental for rapid skills acquisition. So, instead of trying to get perfect all in one go, you and your employees should spread out the effort. This lets the brain process the new information and form new neural links – and the effect is incredible.

Indeed, employees can learn faster. They just need the right environment for it. And when it comes to practice, a solid 20 hours will get you quite far, just like Josh Kaufman demonstrates.

Would you like your employees to learn faster? If so, are you providing them the right kind of environment to succeed in doing so? We can help you, whether that’s in digital platforms, content curation or learning strategy. Just contact us.

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How Should We Use Non-Linear vs. Linear Learning?

As corporate learning and education professionals, we tend to classify learning activities in many ways. A common classification that most of you have probably encountered somewhere is the distinction between linear and non-linear learning. However, the knowledge on the topic – especially on non-linear learning – doesn’t often go deeper. Hence, organisations – both corporates and educational – often rely heavily on linear learning. So let’s take a look what that means.

What is non-linear and linear learning?

In short, we could explain the two types in the following way:

Linear Learning is often a highly directed, controlled and program-centred approach. In a linear model, we require learners to complete and master a certain level of content before moving to the next one. Learners complete learning activities following often strict, predetermined paths with little flexibility.

Non-linear learning, on the other hand, is much more flexible in nature. Learners learn by exposure to different topics over time with a high degree of freedom. The emphasis is on self-directedness, the learner’s own interest and resources on demand.

In the context of corporates, you could draw a rough illustration: formal learning represents a linear model, where non-linear learning represents learning on the job (by doing, not through instruction).

The problem with linear learning

As most organisations and even schools still fall for linear learning, you may ask what the problem is. Well, firstly and fundamentally, the way we learn in a natural environment is very much non-linear. In the realm of languages for instance, the sequence in which we tend to learn a new language is quite different from the curriculums imposed in schools. By setting strict boundaries on what can be learnt at a given time, like we often do with a linear approach, we may be significantly limiting developmental opportunities.

Secondly, linear learning can also have a passivating effect. As learners cannot make much choices or take control of their own outcomes, you’re likely to see lower engagement. As we know from educational research, active beats passive more often than not.

How could we use non-linear learning instead?

Transitioning away from the commonly used approach may be difficult. Not because of it’s harder to execute, but just for the sheer reason of having to overcome existing mental hurdles. Here are a few things you could try.

  1. Stop building courses. Instead, design inter-linkable yet independent resources
  2. Allow access to all levels of content regardless of current progress
  3. Allow learners to take control and influence what, how and when they learn
  4. Don’t assume a requirement to study a subject before starting to solve a problem
  5. Adopt a learner-centric approach to both delivery and design

Naturally, there is no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to learning. Linear learning may well have its place in certain areas. For instance, some research seems to indicate that a linear approach would be better in training relatively unmotivated or less interested learners when dealing with complex subjects. However, we do believe that it pays to diversify and not stick to forced linearity just for the sake of comfortability. Rather, you’re much better off identifying the best approach based on the topic and resources at hand.

Could your organisation benefit from unconventional, modern and creative approaches to learning? If you answered yes, but feel like there are a lot of things you don’t fully understand, we’d be happy to help you. Just contact us.

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5 Tips for Better Learning Interactions

To guarantee best results in learning, often an approach prompting learners to become active participants is the most successful one. For digital learning purposes, this means that we need to design interactive learning experiences. However, many organisations seemingly struggle with the concept of interactivity and its actual utility in a learning setting. Thus, here are five tips for designing better learning interactions.

1. Understand the different levels of learning interactions

As we’ve explained before, learning interactions come in mainly three different types. Most of the traditional eLearning tends to focus on learner-content interactivity. However, interactions between learners themselves and between learners and instructors are equally important. Unfortunately, these are often disregarded by corporate learning professionals, who pay too much focus on the information itself.

2. Understand different types of learning interactions

Naturally, there are a more tools of learning interactions than you could count. While you might not need all of them, it’s good to know enough of them to ensure your learning materials don’t turn out monotonous. For learner-content interactions you might use micro-quizzes, knowledge checks, interactive videos, simulations and many others. For learner-learner interactions, you may consider discussions, social media features, peer evaluation and collaborative learning activities. Finally, for learner-instructor interactions you should look into the ways learners can benefit from support, feedback or virtual facilitation.

3. Always use a mix of different learning interactions

Like with many other things, doing the same thing over and over again quickly becomes tedious and boring. The same applies to learning interactions as well. So even though you might have just developed an awesome interaction with your rapid eLearning tools, don’t get too satisfied. Rather, look into several different types of interactions working on preferably all the three different levels. Adequate variation helps to retain learners’ interest.

4. Make sure your learning interactions serve their actual purpose

A common mishap with instructional designers is to forget why we are building interactive learning in the first place. Rather than building learning interactions just for the sake of interactivity, we should pay more attention in how they help the learners to achieve their goals and assimilate information better. If using a simulation requires so much instruction that it takes away from the time spent on the actual content itself, the interaction doesn’t really serve a purpose. Likewise, if your game-based learning elements become too much about the game with vague correlation with learning, you might not be doing the right way. Thus, you should always evaluate your designs by asking “how and why does this interaction help the learner to achieve his goals?”

5. Overkill is never a good idea

In addition to the purposefulness, it’s good to understand that quality doesn’t defeat quality. Filling your content with learning interactions to the brim is not a good idea. Rather, you should use them to pace the learning at proper intervals. Often, low interactivity things like reading, glancing and viewing should still constitute the major part of the learning activity. Interactions should then be used to highlight the core focus areas and ensure the retention of them. Once more, less can be more.

Are you using learning interactions in a smart way? If you feel like you or your learning team could use help building a playbook for learning interactivity, we’d be happy to assist you. Just contact us.

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Game-Based Learning for Corporates – Why and How?

Games have been a popular pastime as far as history goes. However, the reach of gaming amplified significantly with the introduction of computers, and later, mobile devices. Games provide a powerful medium to activate, engage and educate. However, game-based learning has only recently emerged in the context of corporate L&D. 

Before going further, it’s important to draw a clear distinction between gamification and game-based learning. Gamification refers to the implementation of game-like features in non-game settings, whereas game-based learning involves actual games. Whereas organisations have adopted gamification successfully across many areas, game learning has a narrower scope of implementation. However, that’s not to undermine it’s impact. Here’s why you should consider game-based learning in your organisation and how you can get started with it. 

Why does game-based learning work? 

  • Games encourage active learning – you cannot progress in games by doing nothing or being passive. 
  • Games motivate the learner – there’s a sense of progress supported by achievements, trophies, competition and social elements. 
  • Learning games provide both structure and freedom. Goals, stories and rules govern the game, but players have the freedom to play as they like. 
  • Games stimulate creativity as different types of tasks may require different solutions, problem solving and inventiveness. 
  • Games provide challenges – players can compete against themselves as well as other players, individually or in teams. 

How can I get started with game-based learning?  

Knowing the basics of games and why game-based learning works, here are a few tips on how to put it into practice. 

Firstly, evaluate the learning needs carefully. Learning games are by no means a solution to all situations. Acknowledging that, it’s highly important to focus on the learning goals and desired outcomes. It’s not difficult to engage employees with brilliant games. But if they fail to produce the desired learning and performance results, they end up being a waste of time. 

Secondly, you should utilise the whole potential games have to offer and not stick to a single “template”. Some games may be for individual completion, whereas others may require users to team up with their colleagues. You can also set games over defined periods of time, e.g. to support strategy implementation or business cycles. Playing the games can also happen both in physical and digital environments: some games may require moving about the office or the city, whereas some may be played exclusively in a virtual environment. 

There’s a lot of opportunity in learning games

Overall, game-based learning provides an endless amount of opportunities to engage and activate corporate learners. However, it’s important to keep the learning at the core of the game experience. Thanks to the long history of games, there’s also an endless amount of “features” you can implement in your learning games. So start exploring the mechanics of popular games and get creative on bringing those features into your corporate learning! 

Are you interested in trying game-based learning in your organisation? We can help you get started in activating and engaging your learners. Just contact us

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“Non-Tech” Corporate Learning Trends 2019

Last week we took a look at learning technology trends for 2019. While technological capabilities will be at the forefront of the developments corporate learning, there are important things happening outside of tech too. As we progress with technology, we are re-evaluating the effectiveness of our longstanding learning practices. As such, this results in improvements in learning methods, design and delivery even in offline settings. Thus, here are some of the “non-tech” corporate learning trends for 2019. 

Corporate learning trend #1: from learning management to learning experiences

Traditionally, corporate learning has been a very top-down approach. Unfortunately, too much of the focus has been on “learning management” instead of providing great learning experiences. In 2019, organisations will increasingly adopt learner-centric approaches to their strategy and design processes. This trend in corporate learning means that the ultimate focus is on the learner, their success and subsequent performance. Personalised learning experiences will supersede tick-box style eLearning courses. Organisations will finally start to focus on learning for the sake of learning and performance, rather than fulfilling arbitrary assessment or compliance criteria.

While the focus of this text is to focus on non-tech corporate learning trends, it should be said that this paradigm shift is further facilitated by developments in learning technology. 

Corporate learning trends #2: from corporate-controlled to user-generated content

In the era of the knowledge and information economy, corporate L&D is waking up to a realisation. There’s simply no way for any organisation to simultaneously produce all learning content themselves and keep abreast the speed of change. As learning needs are more diverse than ever before, there’s simply no resources. Hence, organisations will start looking inwards for untapped resources. Employees nowadays possess diverse sets of skills and tacit knowledge. Organisations will increasingly look for ways to tap into that hidden knowledge by letting employees engage in peer-to-peer, collaborative and social learning. These particular corporate learning trends provide a way of bypassing traditional lengthy learning design processes and help to keep the content up-to-date. 

Corporate learning trend #3: from formal learning towards performance support

Another realisation that corporate L&D professionals are increasingly making is that formal learning approaches fail to address the real business problems. Traditional methods of delivery, be it classroom or “eLearning” are too distant from the daily work. Learners don’t benefit from heaps of theoretical knowledge and new frameworks. Rather, they yearn for tips and practical applications to support their own work and performance. If the employee cannot apply the learning immediately, it’s very likely to forgotten. 

Thus, organisations will increasingly start looking into ways to integrate learning into the workflow. Instead of delivering everything just-in-case, learning will become much more just-in-time. Furthermore, performance support resources, e.g. coaching and microlearning will take over from lengthy activities. 

Corporate learning trend #4: towards fluid blended learning experiences

Finally, organisations will start paying increased attention to their learning delivery. For a while now, organisations have been jumping at digital without really thinking through it. Similarly, many have shrugged off the need for digital transformation thinking “…this can never be taught digitally…”. With 2019 around the corner, many organisations have realised that blended learning is probably the way to go. 

Hence, the focus will be on creating fluid blended learning experiences connecting the physical and the digital world. No activity can happen in isolation. Rather, organisations need to develop and maintain a solid and holistic understanding of every learning component and the role they play in the final outcomes. Meanwhile, trainers need to re-orient themselves for the digital era. Overall, all the pieces of the learning mix need to work in harmony with each other as well as the business operations and that will be a main focus area of many L&D departments. 

Is your L&D ready for 2019? If you’re not sure, feel free to contact us for a free consultation session. We’d be happy to help you future-proof your corporate learning. 

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Learning Technology Trends for 2019 – What’s Ahead? 

During the past few years, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented speed of development in the learning technology space. Likewise, the year 2019 looks to be no different. At Learning Crafters we are lucky to have an inside view to much of the development happening in the learning technology space thanks to our work with some of the leading technology vendors. Therefore, we thought it would be worthwhile to share some of our thoughts, views and first-hand experiences on what’s ahead for the industry next year. Hence, here are four key learning technology trends for 2019. 

Learning Technology Trend #1: Big Data will deliver exponential impact in 2019

For the past few years, organisations have been adopting tools and technologies to capture, analyse and execute on business data. While the human resources function in general seems to be lagging slightly behind in that adoption, 2019 looks to a be a big year for big data. For learning and development, the holy grail of learning data – the Experience API (xAPI) – has already been available for several years. While adoption of the xAPI standard has been slower than expected, any organisation claiming to do “learning analytics” today cannot remain credible without involving with xAPI. The old, commonplace ways of capturing learning data (e.g. SCORM) are simply not powerful enough. As we move into data-driven decision making in the L&D space, big data capabilities are an absolute requirement – and that will be delivered with xAPI. 

Learning Technology Trend #2: Artificial Intelligence (AI) will undergo rapid developments

Naturally, in the era of machines, the xAPI learning data will not only be used for analytics. Rather, this type of behavioural data (comparable e.g. to Google Analytics) will be used to develop more advanced AI. Now, what is AI good for in the learning space? 

Currently, AI in learning is being used to build adaptive, as well as personalised learning. Furthermore, the currently available more advanced AI applications are able to curate learning content based on the individual roles, needs and preferences of the learner. In 2019, we’ll definitely see major developments in both fronts. Additionally, we predict another AI application in learning analysis. In other words, the use of artificial intelligence to form insights on the link of learning and performance. 

Learning Technology Trend #3: Virtual Reality (VR) will become more “commercial” 

If you’re a learning professional and didn’t hear about VR in 2018, it’s time to go out! While a lot of the hype surrounding VR is arguably just that, hype, 2019 looks interesting. In addition to developing an industry understanding of what VR is good for, we are likely to see some major enablers.

The first major problem with VR currently is the price tag. Arguably, building VR the way companies currently build it does not enable long term adoption. Since VR is currently mostly developed with game engines, there are few possibilities for the non-tech-savvy to build content. If you look at e.g. how videos have grown the their current dominance, that’s because every single individual can produce them. 

The second major problem with VR this year has been the lack of data capabilities. Without the ability to record big data from the VR experiences, organisations cannot possibly prove the investment worthwhile. While VR experiences are definitely a great gimmick, many organisations have vastly over-invested in it. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel already in 2019. In fact, we are already seeing some of the first VR content editors emerge. These tools require no technical knowledge, game-engines or programming and come with big data capabilities. Hence, they overcome some of the two current major problems and are set for wider adoption. 

Learning Technology Trend #4: Augmented Reality (AR) will redefine workflow learning 

While VR has been on everyone’s news feed, augmented reality has gone largely unnoticed in 2018. However, several companies both in- and outside of the learning field are developing their AR tools. With the current pipeline of technological development, AR is likely to have a major impact on bringing learning into the workflow. A lot of the initial impact will focus on the technical fields, such as engineering. 

For the first time in history, people will actually be able to learn without interruption to work. This will happen with specialised AR headsets, which you can use to open learning content into your additional layer of reality. Best of the tools will have voice control and come with remote capabilities. This enables, e.g. trainers and experts to follow the learners and guide them through activities. Through a live connection, the trainers may influence the “reality” visible to the learner. Furthermore, the advanced headsets will likely incorporate cameras and tracking capabilities to capture great amounts of data. This data will be incredibly useful both for learning and the business as a whole, as it enables a totally new level of recording work, understanding workflows and the learning happening during them.

Now, the four technologies here represent only a part of the future of learning, but arguably they’re the most hyped. Later, we’ll look at some other technologies as well as emerging methodological trends in L&D. 

Is your organisation ready to take advantage of the upcoming technological developments in the learning space? If not, we’re happy to work with you in building that capability. Just contact us. 

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Supporting Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Objectives with Digital Methods

For several decades, Bloom’s taxonomy has belonged to many L&D professionals toolbox. While the frameworks itself are somewhat dated, they still provide good tools for structuring learning objectives. In fact, along with Kirkpatrick’s model for training evaluation, the taxonomy is perhaps the second most prevalent industry staple. While in the future we are likely to move more into performance-based learning objectives, we still continue to educate people in knowledge heavy areas where immediate performance impact is not self-evident. Hence, it pays to evaluate how we can use Bloom’s framework today in the learning space where a digital forms a large part of the delivery. Therefore, we’ll look at Bloom’s taxonomy in more detail and how to support it with digital learning methods. 

The six levels of Bloom’s taxonomy progress as follows: 

  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation

Delivering “Knowledge” with Digital 

For a long time, digital (or eLearning for that matter) has been a common way of delivering knowledge. However, to fulfil the knowledge part of the learning objectives according to Bloom’s taxonomy, we have to pay attention to the delivery. Firstly, it’s highly important to understand what helps learners to remember and recall knowledge. Tools and methods like spaced learning and microlearning are modern ways of structuring digital content to aid in just that. 

Ensuring “Comprehension” with knowledge checks

When developing learning, we’d naturally like the learners to grasp the concepts beyond just the factual level. Hence, it’s important to build adequate comprehension elements into digital learning experiences. While an increasing part of the comprehension analytics can be accomplished with seamless learning tracking, on many occasions it’s good to build proper assessment. Generally, you should build assessment and knowledge checks that go beyond factual recollection. Furthermore, it’s beneficial to distribute the knowledge checks within the materials and space them over time. 

Supporting “Application” with digital 

Generally, the application part of the Bloom’s taxonomy and learning equation occurs in the workplace. However, that’s not to say we shouldn’t utilise the power of digital to facilitate that application to the best of our ability. Ideally, the scope of your learning analytics would cover the relevant behavioural and performance metrics to find out whether application is actually happening. In case your data capabilities are not yet at that level, you can (besides contacting us for help!) use different techniques to try to gauge the rate of application. For instance, digital surveys and 360 evaluations provide tools to assess behaviours on both individual and organisational level. However, keep in mind that self-reported data is often full of bias! 

Facilitating the “Analysis” of knowledge

A good part of learning deals with understanding what we already know and how that related to the grand scheme of things. Naturally, you can facilitate the analysis part with various types of self-paced assignments requiring critical thinking. In the age of digital, however, you could use the power of social media tools to facilitate social learning. Modern social learning tools provide a good way for learners to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts at hand and their relationship with current workplace practices and strategy. This enables learners not only to rely on their own conceptual understanding but to learn from others’ as well. 

Providing a platform to “Synthesise” information

Building on the analysis stage, the synthesis of knowledge is highly important to bring the learning back to the workplace. With highly abstract topics (e.g. leadership, soft skills etc.), collaborative learning activities can deliver high impact. As synthesis is a lot about creating new ways of working based on the newly learnt and existing knowledge, you’ll want to focus on that. At this stage, the confines of the learning system (e.g. LMS) become too narrow, and we need to find other pathways to success. Collaboration tools (e.g. Slack) provide a good platform to not only support learning, but also to produce and share work and practical applications of the newly learnt. If you’re not yet employing collaborative platforms, user-generated content can be a meaningful way to execute some of this as well. Learners can e.g. share their experiences of different applications and learn from others. 

Enabling reflective “Evaluation” via digital platforms

The highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy is evaluation. Evaluation generally involves presenting and defending opinions based on the developed conceptual knowledge and synthesis. Similar to “Synthesis”, collaborative and social learning tools provide great mediums for facilitating the evaluation level. Learners can share their own opinions, engage with others’ and hence refine their thinking. While there’s a lot of tools for this type of delivery, a proper mindset is equally important. As an organisation, you should encourage the sharing of opinions. To do this successfully, you naturally need to acknowledge that those opinions may be critical or not aligned with the current practice. However, you should not aim to silence all the critics as it is these types of discussions that spark internal innovation in organisations. 

Are you using Bloom’s taxonomy to structure your learning objectives? Would you like to find out more about different digital methods to support the learning process? If so, just contact us here – we’re happy to share! 

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How to Best Utilise the 3 Types of Learning Interactivity?

Learning interactivity is a major factor influencing retention of information and knowledge development. Research unilaterally shows that active formats of learning generally result in the highest retention rates. However, developing active and engaging learning experiences is a major challenge for organisations looking to shift from classroom training to digitally enabled learning. In many cases, digital learning professionals and eLearning companies have unfortunately cut the corners. Instead of delivering interactivity across the whole spectrum, they have primarily focused on only one aspect of it. Hence, we decided to compile a short guide on effectively leveraging interactivity in learning.

For reference, here are the three types of learning interactivity.

  1. Learner-Content interactivity
  2. Learner-Instructor interactivity
  3. Learner-Learner Interactivity

And here’s what they mean and how to put them into practice.

1. Learner-Content Interactivity

First, the primary type of learning interactivity is between the learner and the content. This is the type of interactivity that much of the eLearning scene has focused on. Research shows that meaningful two-way interactions (e.g. knowledge checks, information overlays, quizzes) generally help to pace the learning and lift up retention levels. However, not all interactions are for the best. An artificial focus on collecting “clicks” may actually result in an adverse effect.

To capitalise on learning interactivity on the content level, organisations could consider tools like interactive video curators, rapid eLearning authoring tools and learning platforms with integrated content tools. However, you should refrain from designing interactions for the sake of interactions. Rather, they should form an integrated, relevant and meaningful part of the learning experience.

2. Learner-Instructor interactivity

One of the forgotten aspects of learning interactivity has been that between the learner and the instructor. When transforming classroom content into the digital space, the future role and importance of the instructor has been often forgotten. Often, that has been an attractive approach to organisations due to the immediate cost savings. However, we have learned that completely self-paced and independent learning does not necessarily produce the desired results.

Instead, organisations should aim to retain the role of the instructor. Often, that could be in the form of blended or flipped learning. And even if you’re looking to deliver learning 100% digitally, there’s still a place for the instructor. Why not have them facilitate the learning on your learning platforms and online portals? This gives your learners access to better support for their development. Furthermore, the instructor is able to assess the learning and intervene accordingly with additional sessions, discussions and knowledge checks.

3. Learner-Learner Interactivity

Finally, we arrive at the perhaps most neglected aspect of learning interactivity of the three: learner-learner interactions. According to social learning theories and scientific research, a major part of our learning experience as individuals happens with the helps of others. We learn through discussions, listening, observing, mimicking and reflecting on knowledge and behaviours as a group. In a classroom setting, this happens quite naturally. Learners engage with each others in discussions, do activities together and help each other succeed. However, these types of interactions have not been easily replicated in an online environment – until the recent years!

In recent years, we’ve seen the emergence of social learning platforms. Leveraging on the power and success of social media, these platforms put the focus back on the learners, enabling them to engage with each other regardless of instructor presence or schedules. Arguably, these platforms are one the most powerful developments in the digital learning industry for a while. Hence, we generally advice organisations looking into implementing new learning systems (LMS, LXP etc.) to really look into the social capabilities of the options available. However, even if you don’t have the resources to commit to these modern learning tools, that doesn’t mean you need to forget learner-learner interactivity altogether. You can always look into leveraging the social media tools your employees are already on and taking the discussions there.

Are you using all three levels of learning activity in a meaningful way? If you need to help in fitting these engagement enhancers to your learning mix, let us know. We are also happy to recommend you some of the best social learning tools on the market. 

 

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Hyperbolic Discounting – Why Time and Size Matter in Learning

If you’re involved in the learning and development space, you cannot have missed the trends of gamification and microlearning. As organisations consider implementing these approaches, they are often vary of buying into fading fads – and rightfully so! However, a lot of the new methods and approaches that may come across as gimmicks actually have valid foundations in the science of teaching, pedagogy, as well as educational psychology. To help organisations understand why things like gamification and microlearning work, we decided to open up some of the learning psychology behind each approach. Hence, let’s look at a phenomenon called hyperbolic discounting and it’s effect on learning.

What is hyperbolic discounting in short?

Hyperbolic discounting is a phenomenon initially discovered in behavioural economics and is in fact one of the cornerstones of the field. The prevalent finding and consequence of hyperbolic discounting is people’s preference towards smaller rewards in the near future rather than large rewards in the distant future. Generally, research sees people as present-biased, meaning they are more likely to sacrifice long-term gains in terms of short-term interest.

Now, why does this matter in learning? The two major modern learning approaches basing on this behavioural trait are instant rewarding and microlearning:

1. Hyperbolic discounting explains the success of gamification

The underlying principle of gamification is to provide continuous and relatively high frequency rewards to motivate the learner. Whereas large contexts of learning may seem overwhelming, gamification helps learners to track their own progress in more manageable pieces. With instant rewards, learners always get some kind of “credit” for their participation.

This happens to play perfectly on the psychology of hyperbolic discounting. Rewards are no longer vaguely defined (e.g. this learning helps you in your career path) and difficult to assign a mental value to. Rather, learners know that when they commit to something, they will be instantly rewarded. Naturally, the rewards come in many kinds: badges, points, credits, financial rewards and social recognition just to name a few. The common denominator is that learners can “collect” them instantly.

2. Chunking learning content to cater for the present-biased

Now, it’s likely that gamification is not suitable for everything. Yet, the psychology of hyperbolic discounting and its effect on learning remains. The structure of learning content is a major factor in catering to the phenomenon. Whereas gamification tends to cater to extrinsic factors, you can use a bite-sized learning content structure to cater to the intrinsic aspects of learning motivation.

For instance, you may have a course you require your employees to take. However, as a whole, the course might seem overwhelming with its length. Learners procrastinate and delay uptake due to the high time investment required and rewards being outside of their immediate horizon. To overcome the problem, you should try chunking the content into manageable pieces. The approach of chunking content overlaps a lot with the concept of microlearning. Overall, the approach helps your learners to manage their own targets better. Doing a small task for a few minutes feels a lot easier. Consequently, this could increase your learning uptake and time-to-competency, as learners are engaging more consistently and frequently.

If you have challenges in your digital learning engagement and participation, we may be able to help. The help can be in the form of consulting on learning design or hands-on content development. Just contact us here to discuss your challenges. 

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