Hyperbolic Discounting – Why Time and Size Matter in Learning

Hyperbolic Discounting in Learning

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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5 Ideas for Leveraging Intrinsic Learning Motivation

Intrinsic Learning Motivation

Intrinsic Learning Motivation & 5 Ideas for Leveraging It in Digital Learning

When it comes to corporate learning, motivation is a tricky subject. As we know, motivation comes in two kinds – extrinsic and intrinsic. Learning itself is arguably an area where intrinsic motivation is prevalent. People find meaning in developing themselves and acquiring new skills. However, statistics of corporate learning don’t always support this line of thought. Motivating learners seems to be difficult, and consequently many organisations have adopted maybe an unnecessarily large focus on factors of extrinsic motivation – rewarding and punishing for success or failure in learning activities. However, as learning in its natural state is one of the most psychologically rewarding feelings, it might be good to step back slightly and consider what you can do to leverage your employees’ intrinsic learning motivation.

1. Shift control to the learner to develop a sense of responsibility

As it is, corporate learning tends be a very top-down exercise. From the learners’ point of view, it may seem that their professional and career development is dictated by someone with limited exposure and oversight to their actual needs and responsibilities. Does it have to be that way? Not necessarily. Let the employees have more control over their own learning. Let them make choices on what, how and when to learn. When you give freedom of choice, you’ll evoke a natural sense of responsibility, which goes a long way to to secure intrinsic learning motivation. To take the idea one step further, you could also enable the sharing of user-generated learning content.

2.  Ensure learning content is relevant and applicable

A major hurdle in learning engagement is that employees don’t see the content as relevant. Often, the organisations may have themselves to blame for over-reliance on one-size-fits-all and off-the-shelf programs. If the content moves on an abstract level, learners are more likely to have a hard time identifying ways to implement it in their daily jobs. Thus, it’s vitally important to spare some thought on the real-life applications of the given learning. For practical skills, tools like learning simulations provide a great medium of linking the training with the daily jobs.

3. Give constant and constructive feedback

Giving learning feedback also goes a long way for intrinsic learning motivation. With proper feedback, learners can enjoy a sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, it helps them to understand when they’ve made mistakes and how to improve on them. Try to avoid negativity and bestowing a sense of failure upon the learners and remember to level the feedback with the complexity of content.

4. Encourage collaboration and sharing for intrinsic learning motivation

Learning doesn’t, and probably shouldn’t, be an individual effort. From a motivational standpoint, the feeling of contributing to a larger social context, i.e. social presence is powerful. Whereas the shift in control is likely to help learners develop a sense of personal responsibility, this helps them to develop a shared responsibility. You can use both collaborative and competitive elements to achieve the goal. Collaborative learning activities help to engage through social commitment, whereas different gamification techniques can help to foster friendly competition.

5. Personalise learning experiences

Finally, personalisation is yet another powerful tool in sustaining intrinsic learning motivation. The “difficulty” of content comes across as one of the most important factors. If the learning content difficulty completely matches the employees’ current skill level, they are not likely to engage deeply. Instead, you’ll want to give your learners a challenge which they can overcome to get the sense of accomplishment fuelling the intrinsic motivation. To provide a diverse group of learners with the content of the right difficulty, you may consider an adaptive learning design method.

Are you having trouble motivating your learners? We can help by auditing your learning content and delivery and provide tailored suggestions on improving both. Just contact us

 

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Marketing Corporate Learning Internally – Best Practices

Marketing Corporate Learning Programs Internally

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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Leveraging Learning Content Analytics for Better Learning Experiences

Learning content analytics cover

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

Social Presence in Learning Experiences

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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3 Tips for Improving eLearning Engagement

eLearning Engagement

3 Tips for Improving eLearning Engagement

One of the most important aspects of successful digital learning delivery is eLearning engagement. Without engagement, our learners are not staying focused and often resort to just skimming content rather than “deep-reading”. This naturally results in low learning retention figures, which means you’re wasting your resources. To avoid that, you need to increase your elearning engagement. Here are 3 tips for creating engaging learning experiences.

1. Use interactive content

Interactivity is important in retaining your learners’ attention and focus. Interactivity requires pop up questions, info nuggets, links, multimedia – all sorts of objects to click on – embedded onto your learning material. Powerpoint presentations, pdf-files and documents have absolutely no interactivity. Even traditional video is starting to be challenging in certain situations. Instead, you should be using interactive videos, animations, interactive assignments, social media tools and gamified content, just to name a few.

2. Implement instant gratification for learning – that is what your learners want

In the era of social media and constant connectivity, we’ve become addicted to instant gratification. Notifications when someone reads your message; instant, real time scoreboards when playing games and likes on Facebook are just a few examples of this. People grow easily frustrated when they don’t receive immediate feedback. By giving immediate feedback, you are actually guiding them to learn more, as gratification helps with motivation.

To implement instant gratification in your learning, make sure you’re doing at least the following:

  • Always provide learners with scores and verbal feedback immediately upon completion of e.g. quizzes or assessments. This is easily done with technology. Your learning system should enable you to very carefully tailor pre-configured feedback for every possible outcome. If it doesn’t, it’s time to upgrade your system.
  • Enable “liking” in your internal social mediaIt is likely that you’re not using Facebook for learning, but the idea of liking/up-voting/giving kudos can be easily replicated in other platforms as well. Your learners can actually get recognition for their contributions from their colleagues and peers, which motivates them to keep it going.

3. Provide personalised learning opportunities

If you’re pushing one-size-fits-all, globally uniform learning to all your employees, you are likely losing a lot on engagement. For people to really engage with your content, it needs to be relevant to their roles, positions, job functions, career development, personal lives, or any mix thereof. The content also needs to suit their learning styles and be of appropriate difficulty. Both too difficult and too easy content disengages your learners.

Technology can help a lot. Advanced systems are able to assign users to different learning paths based on their perceived skill level, experience, job function, location etc. In the future, artificial intelligence (AI) will be a major factor in providing personalised experienced, and leading vendors are already implementing it. E-learning and digital platforms also enable you to cater to multiple learning styles all at once – it is just a matter of content development.

Interested what kind of engagement tactics might fit your learning strategy the best? Drop us a note, and we’ll be happy to provide you with ideas tailored to your organisation.

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