Supporting Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Objectives with Digital Methods

Bloom's taxonomy digital learning methods cover

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 Types

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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Rapid Learning Interventions – Removing Process Bottlenecks

rapid learning interventions - removing bottlenecks

Rapid Learning Interventions – Removing & Redesigning Process Bottlenecks

As the business and corporate landscape is changing faster than ever, learning and development faces a difficult time. Skills evolve at such a fast pace that predictions into future are no longer meaningful. Business models are also becoming more complex, and employees seem to have much more responsibilities than before. Delivering effective corporate learning to stay on top of the change is not easy. However, organisations could help themselves by trying to eliminate some of the traditional barriers in the learning delivery process. Here are a two common and often major bottlenecks that hinder rapid learning interventions and how to get rid of them.

Rethinking training needs analysis

One of the major bottlenecks in the corporate learning design process is the training needs analysis. The process itself is often too infrequent to respond to rapidly evolving needs. It’s also often reactive, rather than proactive. Finally, the common top-down approach where the L&D department assumes they could even have a chance at grasping the complexity of the roles in their organisation is outright infeasible.

The predicament that learning professionals know best when it comes to training needs analysis is causing more harm than good. In fact, people actually doing the day-to-day jobs often have much better visibility. Thus, learning professionals should leverage that visibility by polling for needs and crowdsourcing ideas. Further, to respond faster and enable rapid learning interventions, organisations need to go real-time. Learning data analytics can provide real-time insights into the skill gaps, competencies and training needs in the organisation. No more guess work and fabricated evaluation intervals, the company can see the learning as it is happening.

Redesigning the learning design process

At it’s current state, the learning design process seems to be a bit broken as well. In our experience, the lead times for developing learning materials can extend to 6 months or even a year for some organisations. A lot of this is attributable to the traditional and tedious development processes of learning. Initially, rapid eLearning tools emerged to combat this problem. However, even they still require quite long lead times. While everyone would like to develop a perfect product, most likely it’s not going to happen. Hence, it probably makes sense enable rapid learning interventions by more agile learning design.

Rather than perfecting and fine tuning the learning product for ages, you should start audience exposure already at the “minimum viable product (MVP)” phase. By involving employees and subject matter experts through a more user-centric design process, you can collect timely feedback and improve gradually. A more collaborative approach has the added benefit of potentially greater impact, as the involvement of the different stakeholders results in more personalised learning.

Actually, does the L&D even need to be the one designing content?

There are two things we’ve noticed with the emergence of the online economy. One, anyone can create content for global audiences. Two, there are endless amounts of content publicly available on the internet. Wouldn’t it make sense to leverage these?

How about enabling rapid learning interventions by flipping the paradigm altogether? Since your employees are the best subject matter experts anyway, why not have them create learning content for each other? Or how about leveraging what’s already out there and replacing time-consuming design with learning content curation? There are a lot of tools out there to power up these types of approaches and further customise learning. Here’s an example for curating interactive microlearning videos.

Does your organisation face challenges in deploying rapid learning interventions and responding to business needs? We may be able to help. Just drop us a note here.

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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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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 Content Curation vs. Design – Find What Suits You

Learning Content Curation vs Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning Content Curation – PROS: 

Learning Content Curation – CONS:

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

Learning Content Design – PROS

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

Learning Content Design – CONS

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

Finding a strategy that fits your learning needs

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

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

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Flipping Corporate Learning – Reinforcing Behaviours & Performance

Flipped learning approach for corporates

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

 

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

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

What Is Flipped Learning In A Nutshell?

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

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

How to design flipped learning experiences in a corporate context?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Get Started with Just-In-Time Learning?

just-in-time learning

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

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

Just-in-time learning combines well with mobile

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few tips on building effective microlearning content. 

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

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

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

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

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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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User-Centred Learning Design – Using the 5Di Model

User-centred learning design 5Di

User-Centred Learning Design – Using the 5Di Model for Learning Activity Development

A few weeks back, we touched on the topic of delivering engaging experiences with learner-centric design. While that article covered some general principles of user-centred learning design, we wanted to further introduce you to an actual design framework. Naturally, we picked a framework that we’ve adopted and keep adapting at Learning Crafters, called 5Di. The 5Di is not something we’ve developed ourselves, rather it was actually spearheaded by Nick Shackleton-Jones. We recognised the value-add in the approach and have since adapted it to our learning design process. So what’s the 5Di all about?

The 5Di User-centred learning design model

The model outlines a 6-step learning design process, the five Ds and the I.

  1. Define
  2. Discover
  3. Design
  4. Develop
  5. Deploy
  6. Improve

And here’s a rundown of the activities within each part of the process.

1. Define

As with any project, user-centred learning design should also start with identifying the problem. It’s important to partner with the business to define the desired outcomes. The desired outcomes should be based on results, not learning objectives per say. After all, you’re developing learning to achieve business impact. However, don’t be too confined to a familiar set of solutions when in the definition – a course or even training is not always the right answer.

2. Discover

Then, partner with the assumed audience of the learning to gain deeper understanding of the business problem. Involve subject-matter experts to identify the behaviour required and barriers for improved performance. It’s very difficult to translate learning into behaviour later on if you don’t take the time to understand the line of business initially.

3. Design

Next, develop a formulated approach into solving the learning problem and document it for presentation to the decision-maker. Develop scripts, wireframes or storyboards outlining the approach. A good wireframe helps to divide up tasks later on to enable a quicker and more agile development.

4. Develop

Next, develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to get user and stakeholder feedback on. Reiterate and refine the learning design accordingly. Test the “product” for usability, interoperability with existing systems etc. And remember, collecting feedback is adamant. If you don’t focus on gathering user feedback, the whole concept of MVP renders itself obsolete. Furthermore, it’s important that designers continue to partner with subject-matter experts to guarantee a truly user-centred learning design.

5. Deploy

Roll out the learning activity to the users while drumming it up with communications and marketing using common channels available to you. Good communication is needed for a successful learning activity. Therefore, you should treat it as a marketing campaign. Thus, a single informative email is not enough. Rather, you should drum it up over time and involve user feedback, referrals and success stories where possible. In business units, it also often pays to get line managers to recommend the learning activities to their teams.

6. Improve

Finally, we arrive at the most important step! The learning development process doesn’t stop even after learners have completed the course. Rather, you should keep monitoring the content performance and user engagement levels and make improvements accordingly. A learning data driven approach is well suited for this, and xAPI capabilities help tremendously in analysing engagement. Remember, it’s not only the subject-matter refinement you should focus on! Rather, it’s the delivery and user experience that are often more important.

That’s 5Di, a user-centred learning design approach, in a nutshell. With this agile method, we’ve been able to actually reduce our learning development times. Also, the results have been a lot better in terms of measurability, user experience and learning results.

Are you using 5Di or a similar learning design approach? If you’d like to implement a more agile learning development approach with your learning designers, we can help you. Just drop us a note

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