Benefits of Instructor-led Facilitation in Online Learning

Instructor-led facilitation in digital learning

Benefits of Instructor-led Facilitation in Online Learning

When transitioning from offline to online learning methods, organisations tend to overlook the role and value-add of the instructor. While the underlying reasons for digitalisation of learning are often related to scalability and flexibility, efficacy should not be forgotten. Generally, self-paced learning forms a major part of the online learning delivery. However, in many cases, the engagement rates and learning results leave a lot to be desired. Hence, we are seeing more and more blended learning and other hybrid approaches take form. In the interest of improving learning results while retaining scalability and flexibility, instructor-led facilitation is a great approach. Here are a few key benefits and ways of making the most out of instructor-led facilitation.

Instructor-led facilitation of discussions among learners

Just like in the classroom, a lot of the power of instructor lies in their ability to facilitate discussions among learners. As learning is fundamentally a social experience, discussions are very important. Not only do they seem to increase learning retention by a wide margin, but they also help learners to expose themselves to new thoughts. This consequently helps them to reflect and improve their cognition of the problem or topic at hand. Ultimately, this should result in increased social presence and more comprehensive understanding of the learning.

Thus, organisations should enable their trainers to become champions of instructor-led facilitation. Having access to different features of social learning platforms can help a lot in this regard. You may even adjust the mix of learning towards less content and more discussion. While this helps to avoid learners’ cognitive overload, it also helps to increase efficiency. Often in corporate learning, the problem is not the width but the depth. An approach like this helps in just that.

Delivering the right amount of ‘Push’ to keep learners engaged

While ‘pushing’ learning content may not usually be the best approach, a ‘push’ from a learning management perspective can prove valuable. From time to time, learners may drift away from the intended schedules and goals. In a sheep herder like fashion, one goal of instructor-led facilitation should be to bring these learners back to the fold. However, the approach should not be forceful. Rather, the facilitators should engage the learners and figure out why they’re not partaking in the optimal manner. Once you understand the root causes of why learning engagement is decreasing, you can adapt your delivery to solve those problems.

Digital platforms provide a lot of opportunities in delivering the discreet ‘push’. At large organisational scales, you can automate a fair bit of it, and even deploy artificial intelligence tools to aid. However, there’s value in the personal approach too, which should not be blindly dismissed.

Instructor-led facilitation as a medium of learning support

Finally, the third major benefit of an instructor-led facilitation approach is support. Like in traditional instructor-led settings, learners clearly benefit from the ability to ask questions. This means providing a platform for learners to engage with the instructor when having problems; not understanding content, goals or responsibilities. All learners are not comfortable in posing questions publicly. Furthermore, many learners may rather just leave it be, rather than going out of their way to ask the trainer. Hence, it’s important to provide a seamless and fluid way of teacher-student interaction. This way, you’ll ensure that learners don’t give up too easily.

Here are a few examples of learning support tools and mediums that may help you.

Do you need help in enabling social interactivity in your digital learning delivery? We can advise you on technological tools as well as methods of incorporating instructor-led facilitation in your online learning. Just contact us here

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Learning in the Flow of Work – Steps Towards the Future of Learning

Workflow learning - learning in the workflow

Workflow Learning – Taking Steps towards the Future of Learning

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

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

Workflow learning will force us away from course-centered design

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

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

Performance support resources will be at the core of workflow learning

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

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

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

Microlearning is a good way of approaching performance support content

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

For more on building effective microlearning, read our tips here

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

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

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

 

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3 Digital Approaches to Facilitate Informal Learning

Informal Learning Digital Approach

3 Digital Approaches to Facilitate Informal Learning

Informal learning arguably makes up a large majority of all workplace learning. According to the 70:20:10 theory, informal learning accounts for up to 90% of all learning. Yet, the corporates often focus and drill down on the 10% – formal learning. As informal makes up such a large part of the learning mix, it’s important that we try to facilitate it in our organisations. It starts by doing more ‘pull’ instead of ‘push’ and creating channels for open communication, collaboration and internal influencing. Here are three easily implemented digital approaches to support informal learning in your organisation.

1. Creating communities for Social Learning Experiences

As with so many other things, communication is always the key. For informal learning to happen, you need to establish peer-to-peer communication channels within your company. These can be totally unstructured, like employees using their own social media tools to exchange information. However, it is generally advisable to adopt a semi-structured approach, whereas the company provides the platform for social collaboration and knowledge transfer. As such, the company also controls the knowledge being exchanged, and is able to intervene in problematic situations. With proper learning data tracking, you’ll also be able to pinpoint who are the internal influences and key opinion leaders within your own organisation.

In these communities, whether online or offline, employees can collaborate, exchange ideas and provide peer support. The approach is supported by the social learning theory, according to which students learn by mimicking and following others.

2. Curating accessible ‘Pull’ learning resources for on-demand needs

While corporates have generally adopted a ‘push’ model of learning, whereas content is authored by the company for to fulfil certain learning objectives, a ‘pull’ approach might is required as well. Instead of engaging in time consuming instructional design processes, companies should make the best use of free resources. The internet is full of free videos, documents and knowledge bites to use. Instead of designing content from scratch, corporate L&D professionals should focus some of their time on curating these types of content. A ‘course’ is less and less frequently the best solution to individuals’ learning needs.

Resources in various bite-sized formats, on the other hand, provide informal support at the time of need. Providing a library of curated supporting resources based on observed business needs provides a good basis for informal learning. Learners don’t have to waste time on searching the open internet for alternatives, as you’ve already curated the best resources for them. Furthermore, it’s much more easier and agile to produce curated resources than author formal courses! Hence the L&D team can save a lot of time as well.

3. Enable learning ownership and user-generated content

With a ‘pull’ approach to learning, you’re enabling individuals to take ownership of their own development. To take it further, you could also encourage them to take ownership of the organisation’s informal learning by allowing user-generated content. This type of sharing of best practices, tacit knowledge and tips and tricks is nothing new. Yet, in the age of social media, you can reap the benefits of it by providing a collaborative social learning platform. Therein, the employees can create their own content (e.g. videos) or share external resources (lectures, blogs, etc.). Even simple discussions and comment chains can provide valuable knowledge nuggets to others in the organisation.

Realistically speaking, the L&D team no longer has the best knowledge or the time to develop formal courses. Due to the speed of the economy, they might not even have time to curate all the necessary resources. By enabling users to be a part of the learning content development process, you’re able to scale up much faster. Meanwhile, you’re encouraging a more collaborative culture and letting employees to take ownership of the learning process, which should increase engagement by quite a bit. That’s the power of informal learning.

Do you need help facilitating the informal learning needs within your organisation? We’ll be happy to share you more in-depth insights, best practices and tools. Just contact us

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Experiential Learning 2.0 – Incorporating L&D into the Modern Workflow

experiential learning

Experiential Learning 2.0 – Incorporating L&D into the Modern Workflow

Experiential learning, or learning on-the-job is arguably the most effective way of learning in organisations. Whereas research supports that observation, experts have also developed many frameworks further capturing the importance of learning on the job. The 70:20:10 theory is a good example, and sets the stage by implying that 70% of learning happens on the job. While we agree that on-the-job learning might be the most important medium, we also recognise a challenge. As further research points out, experience doesn’t necessarily equal learning. Consequently, you can have a lot of experience with very little learning. Hence, it is more important than ever to ensure that we facilitate the experiential learning process in our organisations. Thus, we’ve compiled a few key tips on taking on-the-job learning to the 2.0.

On-demand and just-in-time learning work great on the job

Thanks to the adoption of mobile and other technologies, we have got access to more on-demand content than ever. Also, due to the modern nature of business and the constant change, upskilling people beforehand is becoming a mission impossible. Skills that are relevant today might not be relevant tomorrow. We are facing so many new problems and challenges in the day-to-day, that often we just have to make it up as we go along. This is where just-in time learning can help organisations thrive.

With on-demand and just-in-time done properly, people can access information and knowledge with only minor interruptions to their workflow. They are able to consume bite-sized knowledge, which reinforces their existing capabilities. Furthermore, they are able to apply the learning immediately. The application is the key part to all experiential learning. By enabling your people to learn and apply on the spot, instead of sitting them in a classroom, you can see them upskill faster than ever. Consequently, you are also ensuring that they are getting and applying the desired knowledge and not deviating too much from the SOPs or company guidelines.

You can use social learning and sharing to support the experiential learning

Naturally, amassing the library of on-demand content in the traditional way is potentially too time-consuming. Whereas learning and development professionals have traditionally curated all the learning content, that is not necessary anymore. In fact, by enabling your employees to create and share content you are able to achieve unprecedented scale. Furthermore, you ensure that the subject matter is of high quality and constantly updated. Whenever there’s a change in a particular workflow, one of the employees, a subject-matter expert, can update the key content to reflect that. Over time, the group can share best practices on any given topic as they accumulate experience.

This type of tacit knowledge gained through experience is highly valuable. It is not often that learners can get access to such a wealth of subject-matter expertise. But nowadays it is possible – thanks to technology. By giving your employees access to such knowledge base and enabling them to apply it on their jobs first hand, you are helping them to get from 0 to 100 faster than ever. That early acceleration in learning and becoming a productive individual is what helps businesses succeed in the current environment of constant change. Hence, it is important that we facilitate the experiential learning experience to reduce the time to proficiency.

All in all, experiential learning is still the most powerful way of learning. However, as everything moves so fast nowadays, we are not able to give our employees a long time to master their trade. Thus, it’s important that we take advantage of the opportunities and technologies available to transfer knowledge and develop competencies faster.

Are you facilitating on-the-job learning with the aid of technology? We happily share best practices and case studies in how to take experiential learning to the next generation. Just contact us here

 

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Empowering Employees with Collaborative Learning

collaborative learning

Empowering Employees with Collaborative Learning

In the corporate training world, we face major constraints, mainly in terms of finances and time. Naturally, this limits our ability to curate formal and structured learning activities for our employees. Hence, there are much more training needs that we can address. Yet, it is often that we have subject matter experts for virtually all these topics in our own organisation. Whereas formal training can be problematic due to the lack of agility, social and collaborative learning can help to bridge the gap in upskilling the workforce. Thus, lets take a look at how we can seamlessly empower our employees through collaborative learning.

Defining the role of collaborative learning in the learning architecture

Firstly, it’s important to start by defining where this type of social learning activities work best. In terms of employee effort required vs. value-add, it is likely that peer-to-peer learning is more suited for acquiring advanced knowledge in given topics. Loss of employee productivity is kept to a minimum, as only motivated and interested learners seek out the guidance of others. Furthermore, when there is an existing base level of knowledge, the peer-to-peer activities can focus on more experiential learning. For instance, subject matter experts could collaborate with the learners to create solutions for real business problems. Hence, you might consider providing the base knowledge through formal e-learning and then let your own experts become mentors for the interested few.

Creating platforms for peer-to-peer engagement

Consequently, for collaborative learning to work, there should be a platform for subject-matter experts and interested parties to meet. Whereas some situations may warrant a digital platform, a face-to-face approach might work well for others. The important thing is that learners are able to find “mentors” within the organisation who can guide them on their learning journey. Furthermore, learners should be able to connect with their peers to solve problems, share ideas and learn through discussion and interaction. Whatever the medium, it should be one that can be seamlessly incorporated into the flow of work. Naturally, the advantage of digital platforms is the access to e.g. discussion analytics. Proper analytics help you to capture the learning needs as well as identify key experts in your organisation.

Encouraging and motivating knowledge sharing

Naturally, it is vital to get the employees to share their expertise with others. Helping others is an area of intrinsic motivation for many. However, due to hectic jobs and everything that comes with them, you might want to consider extrinsic motivation tools as well. Gamification, for example, is an easy way to reward, recognise and motivate subject matter experts to share more. Naturally, it works also for motivating the learners to achieve more. Also, it is important to trust your employees to freely formulate their own training activities. This type of user-generated learning content approach is quite agile, as many personalised learning needs can be fulfilled rapidly. By giving the employees the freedom to dictate the collaborative learning experience, you’ll likely see much more motivated individuals as well.

Has your organisation taken up on collaborative learning or social learning? Would you like to find out about different ways to better knowledge transfer within your organisation? Just contact us and we’ll be happy to share our experiences. 

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User-Generated Learning Content – How to Approach It?

user-generated learning content

User-generated learning content – how should we approach it?

A major bottleneck with rolling out digital learning initiatives is the content production. As content is mostly done manually, L&D professionals may find themselves struggling to keep in the pace of the business change. Often, L&D professionals are managing too many roles by taking charge of the pedagogics, technical capabilities and the subject matter. In these cases, user-generated learning content can significantly reduce the workload and even improve the quality of learning materials.

Let the subject matter experts (SME) help with the Training Needs Analysis

L&D professionals like their training needs analysis. However, as we are not privy to all specific tasks and roles at different levels, the analysis often lacks relevance and actionable subject matter. Instead of L&D trying to define what training the business needs, the business should dictate what training the L&D gives. And instead of struggling with the subject matter yourself, you should let the real experts define what the tasks require. The seasoned employees know the skills and knowledge requirements of the job. You should let them play a major part in defining the training scope of the less experiences employees.

Next: source user-generated learning content from these SMEs

Once you have jointly defined the scope of training and content required, collaborate with the subject matter experts to produce it. All your employees have powerful content production capabilities with them at all times (hint: smart phones). The employees can easily produce subject matter input and the format can range from text to pictures and video.

By doing this, you are multiplying the amount of subject matter the L&D department receives and handles. With all this subject matter, the L&D professionals can focus on what they do best. Curating effective, engaging and pedagogically sound training materials. With different social platforms, you can also enable expert collaboration and peer review. This way, you can get your experts working on producing the most refined and relevant version of the content. Once the “raw” content is of very high, vetted quality, the L&D professional’s job becomes very easy.

Finally, build user-generated learning content into the everyday

To ensure continuous stream of subject matter and staying abreast of the changes on the business level, we need to change the culture. Make work or task related sharing and documentation the norm. Social sharing among the employees can be easily incentivised through different social platforms by e.g. gamification or financial rewards. Thanks to easy traceability, it’s very easy to incorporate these activities into e.g. performance assessments. Furthermore, tools for recording, screen capturing and sharing are so prevalent, that no major technological adoptions are needed.

By doing this, you ensure that the L&D professionals can keep in the pace of the business change. They’ll be able to predict future training needs better, thanks to increased visibility and transparency. Also, in challenging situations and business emergencies, they have the subject matter and network to roll out complementary training much faster.

Is your L&D department struggling to keep pace with business change? These types of social learning approaches may help. To find out more, just contact us here.

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Digital Knowledge Transfer – How to Get Started

Digital knowledge transfer

Facilitating the Digital Knowledge Transfer – Here’ how to get started

Knowledge transfer seems to have always been a major hurdle for organisations. Experienced employees leave the organization and new, fresh faces take their place. Departures happen for many reasons: retirement, switching jobs or extended leaves. Change can often be good too, to ensure the organization gets fresh new ideas and keeps innovating. Yet, the major problem of succession planning remains: new joiners take a long time to get to 100% performance. Luckily, digital knowledge transfer can solve many of the problems and help accelerate the performance development.

Thanks to new technologies, all organisations have the means to conduct efficient digital knowledge transfer, even for hidden knowledge. Imagine if you could equip your new joiners with the knowledge of the experienced industry veterans. Instead of throwing them to the deep end of the pool, you could enable them to start their duties and be instantly productive. Here are a few key steps you can take towards making that a reality.

Make your employees the core of the digital knowledge transfer process…

Naturally, the employees should be at the core of the knowledge transfer process. After all, it’s their experience, knowledge and expertise that carry the organisation and that needs to be transferred. Hence, you should make it your mission to extract the best possible information from your employees.

To get the best possible information, you should enable your employees to document their work processes. The most lacking aspect of induction for new joiners or promotes is that the programs often fail to address the actual work routines. Digital means enable us to capture the exact work processes in various formats, like in a digital apprenticeship. And the difference can be huge. Think of a new engineer studying manuals and guidebooks versus one having access to a library of recordings of seasoned engineers completing the same tasks. Luckily, the tools for enabling this sort of documentation are already there. Videos shot with mobile devices, screen recordings, augmented reality and online mentoring are just a few examples.

… Then pool the knowledge and extract the relevant best practices

Once you have your staff documenting their processes through e.g. video and screen recordings, you need to vet the content. A great way to do is to have employees upload their recordings to an internal portal or internal social media. Once uploaded, you can subject the content to a peer-to-peer vetting process. Let your own subject matter experts evaluate which video captures the specific part of the job the best. Furthermore, the experts can upvote or “like” the best uploads and even comment on them. From thereon, the HR’s job is rather straight forward: extract the best materials and build them into pedagogically sound training materials. If your organisation is a large one, resulting in a huge number of uploads, you might be better off using analytics to figure out the best content.

After doing this, you can have the “formal” training materials and performance support built on the organisations own hidden knowledge. Give the new employees access to this, and you’ll see them going from 0 to 100 much faster, directly affecting your bottom line.

Do you have problems with your organisational knowledge transfer? We’d be happy to guide you through a digital knowledge transfer knowledge to ensure your employees can always perform at their best. Just leave us a note here.

 

 

 

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