5 Immersive Learning Tools for Corporate Learning

Immersive learning tools

5 Immersive Learning Tools for Corporate Learning

Immersive learning is becoming more popular with organisations of many kinds. On one hand, corporate L&D professionals feel the need to provide more engaging experiences to enhance retention. While there’s a lot of inaccurate information out there, one thing holds true. The more multi-sensory the learning experience, the higher the likelihood of retention. On the other hand, we have realised that there are rarely adequate opportunities to practice new skills in the conventional flow of corporate training. Whereas immersive learning can act solely as a retention catalyst, it can also provide a safe environment to practice. Here are 5 tools for achieving these goals.

1. Game-based learning

In game-based learning, the employee is often put in the middle of it. They might assume the role of a protagonist, and the goal is to proceed on the storyline while completing learning-related tasks. The tasks may be explicit, or learning goals might be designed in without very detailed explanation. Game-based immersive learning elements work the same reasons games work. They provide an immersing experience – usually a storyline – as well as challenges and reward the player as they go through the journey. Corporate learning games can be both long and short, and played individually or in a group, which may add to the experience.

2. 360° Learning Immersions

Similar to games, 360 degree learning immersions put the learner at the centre – quite literally! These 360 experiences are often used when there’s a need for a visual resources and reference. For instance, property security staff may use such simulations as a job aid, or engineer may use them when mapping out the layout of a building. As such, this kind of immersive learning experience provides not only a visual reference, but also spatial. Learners can move through spaces in the simulations, and complete tasks and query extra information as needed.

3. Virtual reality

Arguably, out of all the mediums for immersive learning, virtual reality (VR) has got the most attention in recent years. The level of immersion is on its own level, and as such, there are a lot of applications. There’s potentially great value in training areas that are technical, risky or hazardous. Instead of practising on live equipment, or in live scenarios, learners can master the skills needed in a virtual environment, which greatly reduces risk and operational efficiency for all parties involved. As virtual reality develops, we are getting access to more critical features. For instance, data tracking capabilities are currently being developed, which enables us to analyse the consumptions of these experiences. Furthermore, VR content authoring is also becoming less cost-intensive as stock libraries expand and tools develop.

4. Augmented reality

While VR has been getting the lion’s share of the attention, augmented reality (AR) has flown under the radar. Many initial applications have been using phones as an interface. By engaging with content through your phone camera, you’ve been able to launch AR content. This has been used e.g. in team-building, onboarding and leadership training. However, more is coming. With the advent of commercially feasible AR wearables (e.g. glasses), companies are able to bring performance support to life. Instead of going through static resources, employees can now consume learning materials without disruptions to the workflow. Wearables with voice control enable hands-free operation, and connectivity can even bring experts to analyse a live situation from a remote location. While the learning with these tools is perhaps more on-demand than others, it’s certainly immersive learning.

5. Simulations

Finally, simulations are an immersive learning medium that the industry has used for a long time. Simulations generally follow the structure of a decision tree, or a branching scenario, where each decision determines to direction one will go to next. These experiences put the learner in the driver’s seat, and enable them to practice in a scenario that resembles a real-life encounter. While organisations tend to employ these for customer service, sales and soft skills, they are generally an easy way to provide a safe environment for practice for most non-technical skills.

Final words

Overall, immersive learning tools are a necessary component of a good L&D toolbox. While they likely help to increase retention, they also provide a safe environment for practice. And practice is critical, if you want learning transfer to really happen. The technology in this space is developing rapidly, so expect great things ahead. And if you’d like to bring some immersive learning technologies to your organisation, don’t hesitate to drop us a note. We can help you select the right tools for your problem.

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Gamified Instructor-led Training – 4 Simple Ideas

Gamified Instructor-led Training Ideas

Gamified Instructor-led Training – 4 Simple ideas

We often see gamification as a tool to enhance online learning, but the potential doesn’t end there. In fact, we can use a lot of the same techniques and methods to engage learners in the classroom too. Whereas very basic gamification elements may be a bit dull, deeper and more advanced things can really take the face-to-face experience to the next level. To enable that, here are 4 simple ideas for gamified instructor-led training. Take a look!

Challenge your learners

Challenges are a great way of gamifying the learning experience. Instead of keeping the session one-sided, have the learners participate actively by prompting them with different tasks. This gets them to apply the things they’ve just learned, increasing learning retention. Challenges can also utilise elements of friendly competition, whether completed in teams or individually. This provides an added level of engagement and excitement.

The advantage of using this type of gamification in instructor-led training comes from the ease of use. Challenges can be set beforehand, reducing the time spent on administering them in the classroom. Similarly, the trainer will receive real time information of the participants’ performance.

Get out of the classroom for more activity

But gamified instructor-led training doesn’t have to stick to the boundaries of the classroom. Getting out of the classroom probably makes things even more active. One good example of that is activities in the form of scavenger hunts. The trainer can create a gameboard for the players to play on, which can be e.g. a live map or a static image of the office premises. Players can hunt down on clues on this map, while completing tasks and challenges as a team or individually. Furthermore, the trainer in charge can monitor each participant’s progress and provide real-time direction and feedback if necessary.

While methods like this tend to be more effective in getting subject matter across, thanks to their active nature, there are other benefits too. For instance, these activities tend to also be great team-building moments, if played as a team.

Real-time exercises

While we discussed different types of challenges, more simpler exercises are also a meaningful way of gamified instructor-led training. And doing that in real-time can be a lot of fun. For instance, trainers can use different tools to ask questions and push exercises, and display people’s answers in real time. This again helps to spark some friendly competition, especially if you’re keeping score.

However, real-time exercises are also helpful to the learners. Learners get instant feedback, and a sense of achievement and progress as they complete exercises correctly. Furthermore, they can monitor their own learning, also in comparison to other people. Thus, they’ll be able to notice early on if they are not keeping up.

Accelerated feedback cycles and instant rewards

Finally, while not a specific technique, it’s important to talk about the importance of rapid feedback. Like mentioned above, the accelerated feedback cycles that gamified instructor-led training tends to bring along benefit all parties involved. This can also improve the quality of feedback. As trainers push exercises through the participants’ mobile devices, they get all the information in real-time. Thus, the trainers are able to provide more to-the-point and personalised feedback.

While not monetary, this acts as instant rewards to the learners. Often the fact that one notices progress and keeps is able to overcome challenges is a good source of learning motivation on its own.

Final words

Overall, there’s a lot that you can do when it comes to gamifying the classroom experience. Gamified instructor-led training can ease the cognitive overload, activate the learners, increase engagement and motivate people to continue. While these are just a few methods that one can accomplish with several tools, they do provide a much needed toolbox update for trainers and learning designers. If you’re looking to gamify offline or online learning experiences, drop us a note. We are happy to share some experiences and insights in that space.

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How to Incentivise Corporate Learning? 5 Quick Ideas

How to incentivise corporate learning?

How to Incentivise Corporate Learning? 5 Quick Ideas

While designing engaging learning experiences goes a long way, it’s likely that you may need a bit more to get engagement from your audience. You need to create the “pull” – whatever it is that keeps your learners coming back. Trying to push learning to unmotivated learners is a project doomed to fail. Even if you manage to activate them, the retention will be abysmal compared to their motivated peers. Thus, it’s important to create incentives that motivate all kinds of learners across the board. Here are 5 quick ideas on how to incentivise corporate learning.

1. Reward learning “streaks”

Learning in short bursts, over a period of time and multiple touch points generally gives out better results in the context of corporate learning. Thus, that’s the kind of behaviour you should try to encourage with your corporate learning incentives. Instead of rewarding the ‘fastest’ or the one who does the ‘most’ during a day, reward coming back. By rewarding learning streaks, e.g. consecutive active days, you’re encouraging recurring positive behaviour. By keeping the streak qualification thresholds low and the rewards real, you’ll avoid overwhelming your learners.

2. Give meaningful public recognition

Another way to incentivise corporate learning beyond the minimum required could be public recognition. After all, who doesn’t cherish to opportunity to showcase one’s achievements? However, the prevalent ways of social recognition, like badges and certificates are a bit dull. Yes, they do work to an extent, but they easily become such a commodity that they lose meaning. Thus, instead of quantity, you should rather focus on the quantity of the public recognition. This could take the form of e.g. a “learner of the month” type of recognition. The learner who has developed/worked/created/improved/contributed the most, could be showcased on intra-company newsletters, social media etc. The professional branding value of something like this would definitely interest a good number of your employees.

3. Use content easter eggs

Easter eggs are a concept used in the gaming world, and “an easter egg” is something hidden within the actual experience. To incentivise corporate learning, you could use content easter eggs to keep your learners coming back and keep a sense of mystery and buzz around it. You could hide e.g. funny videos, company specific memes, internal jokes or cultural artefacts within the content. Or if you want to stay serious, it could be even another layer of the actual learning content. By letting learners explore, stumble upon these kinds of things, share them and talk about them could help to create a lot of buzz around your corporate learning activities. Psychologically, knowing that there is something to be found will evoke us to search for it, even if we don’t know what exactly it is.

4. Use other hidden rewards

In similar fashion to the content easter eggs above, you can also incentivise learning through other hidden rewards. Instead of content, you could hide in artefacts that could with real-life benefits. For instance, you could stumble upon lunch coupons, half-days off, small gift cards, items to personalise one’s workspace etc. All of these are small things that don’t cost much but can go a long-way in keeping your learners coming back. Furthermore, as you’re the one controlling it, you can introduce things on the fly, e.g. to support company initiatives.

5. The house always wins – so how about a raffle?

If you find that small value incentives don’t work as well as you thought, you could revert the method. Study of human psychology has taught us that we prefer very low chances to earning high rewards than higher chances to earning lower rewards. You could use this psychological finding to your advantage and incentivise corporate learning through a ‘raffle’ or a ‘lottery’. For all the learning activities you choose, you could let your learners earn entries to a raffle or a lottery ballot. The more you learn, the more you earn. At the end of each month, or a year, or whatever time suits you, you could then raffle a major reward. Again, making it easy to participate (quick learning activities) and giving the chance of a good reward (e.g. a holiday trip paid by the company), you can create a lot of recurring engagement.

Overall, there a lot of cheap ways to incentivise learning in an organisation. While rewards are a necessity, they don’t have to be financial. By giving it a bit of thought and taking a few lessons from social learning and gamification, you can go a long way. If you need further help in designing corporate learning incentives, we are happy to help. Just drop us a note here.

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Game-Based Learning for Corporates – Why and How?

game-based learning

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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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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Gamified Learning Design – 3 Emerging Concepts

Gamified Learning Design

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 Simulations – Driving Behavioural Change

Learning simulations featured

Using Learning Simulations in Driving Behavioural Change

In today’s hectic corporate environment, the L&D professionals need to capture and engage the learners more than ever before. There are many different ways to increase learning engagement, but learning simulations have proven to be particularly appealing. As with all learning, the goal should always be to drive behavioural change. It doesn’t matter whether you’re training people on customer service, compliance or soft skills. If there’s no behavioural effect, learning has not translated to action, hence it has become as good as nothing.

Learning simulations have proven to be effective in driving these kind of behavioural changes, i.e. making learning stick. Naturally, all simulations are not created equal. Hence, it’s important to visit the fundamentals that make your training simulations effective and engaging.

Learning Simulations Mimic Decision Making Scenarios

Over the course of our daily lives, we learn through the mistakes we make. Whenever we make decisions that backfire, we (hopefully) take a mental note and refrain from committing the same mistake twice. Simulations provide a great way to explore the different courses of actions and their effects. And it’s really all about communicating the effects of different models of behaviour. None of us work inefficiently, mistreat people or provide bad customer service intentionally. Rather, it’s often that we don’t realise the effects of our behaviour. Through well-made simulations, we can better understand the effects our own behaviour has on our stakeholders, customers and colleagues.

Learning Simulations
Simulations provide a good way to train decision making scenarios, which can be linked back to company SOPs, guidelines and the “formal” part of learning. The learner will be directed onto different paths based on their decision in the simulation. 

Taking engagement levels up with comprehensive gamification

Naturally, a simulation is generally a type of gamified learning content in itself. However, by enabling more gamification across the board, we can keep our learners more motivated and engaged. You can build simulations that don’t necessarily a single set of right answers. Rather, there could be multiple possible paths to achieve the desired outcome, but with slightly varying scores. Sticking to the most preferred methods could yield more points, whereas other viable solutions could be awarded for the effort. By enabling a competitive environment between the learners through leaderboards and alike, we keep the learners on coming back in attempts to try to increase their scores. This creates repetition which in turn affects learning retention very positively.

Positive and Negative Reinforcement of behaviour through continuous feedback

As mentioned, behavioural change should be the primary goal of the learning content. To get the best effect, we should reinforce the desired behaviour and attempt to weed out the undesired. We can do this by enabling continuous and instant feedback. Whenever our learners make the desired choices in their simulation, we should acknowledge it. Similarly, when our learners choose undesirable ways of solving the situation, we should clearly communicate them their mistake and provide explanation on why the behaviour is undesirable. Furthermore, we shouldn’t limit our feedback to just words – visualisation never hurts!

Learning simulations feedback
Our learner has chosen an undesirable type of action. We inform the learner of his mistake and explain the effect of the behaviour. Now, the learner can go back and explore alternative courses of action. Feedback is both verbal and visual. 

Overall, simulations provide powerful tools for training for many areas. However, we need to keep in mind that constant and instant feedback is absolutely critical. Without it, the simulations can easily become ineffective and irrelevant.

Are you looking to explore learning through simulations in your organisation? Feel free to contact us with your problems, we’ll be happy to help you. You can also check out our partners who provide great tools for creating different types of simulations. 

 

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