3 Tips on Managing a Learning Library

How to manage a learning library

3 Tips on Managing a Learning Library

Many organisations nowadays sit on considerable amounts of online courses and other resources for employee learning. However, for many, a lot of the potentially expensive resources might go unused – or even unnoticed! That’s often not because the content is bad. In fact, the content may be perfectly fine from an objective standpoint. It’s just that employees don’t find it contemporary and useful, or that they don’t find it at all. You can solve these kinds of problems and many others by managing your learning library more effectively. Here are 3 tips on how to do that.

Make friends with your search function

Just like Google to a layman, the search function of a learning portal, LMS or LXP can be the best friend to a learning manager. As a librarian, one of your main tasks is to make sure that the content in your library is relevant and contemporary. You’ll also be in charge of getting new pieces of content and information into the library. Now, you could be a visionary curator, who magically predicts what’s going to be the next big thing people want to learn. But that’s unlikely. Instead, you likely need a more “customer-centric” way of managing your learning library.

That’s where you should make friends with the search function of your learning resource portal or even the likes of your company intranet. Those kind of systems should be able to record the search terms people are using. Visualising that into a word cloud can be a helpful exercise in understanding what’s really being searched for, i.e. what the learners really want. You can then determine whether you’re actually catering to that audience and how you could improve.

Make it easier to find your content

If you’ve ever been to a library, you’ll likely have noticed one common thing across all of them. They all employ a system that enables a layman to find his reading with relatively minimum effort. Books are placed based on topics, which are number-coded. Just by knowing the number of your book, you’ll be able to walk right to it. The way we see it, we should strive to have the same kind of efficiency when it comes to our learning resources.

On that front, we should learn from the librarians and spend the time and effort in good category design. In the context of the workplace, these categories could and should likely be aligned with different competency frameworks and career learning paths you may have. Resources could also have a lot of ancillary attributes, like approximate length, complexity level, job level etc. Based on these attributes, we could design a tagging system that helps to ensure the accuracy of content suggestions and offerings.

But don’t forget less is still more

Now search analytics and tagging sounds all fine and dandy, but as librarians, we shouldn’t forget one of the basic rules of learning: less is more. Another main duty of a librarian is to manage the exit funnel. It’s natural that the audience loses interest in some books. It’s likely that some books anticipated to become bestsellers ended up collecting dust on the shelves. Some books should not have been there in the first place.

As a learning leader, it’s important to manage your learning library with the same amount of vigour. Use the analytics, find out what’s collecting dust on your virtual shelf and remove it. Content that is demonstrably not being used is just clogging up your system. Once you have enough of redundant content in your system, you’re back to square one again, where it’s extremely difficult to find the right learning resources. Therefore, when managing your learning library, make sure that you’re pulling stuff off the shelves too, and not just putting more in. And if you think you need help in designing, setting up or managing a learning library, resource portal or a system, don’t hesitate to reach out.

How to Use Surveys in Digital Learning? 5 Examples

How to use surveys in digital learning

How to Use Surveys in Digital Learning? 5 Examples

Surveys are a common element in the toolbox of many L&D professionals. While we have administered surveys for a long time, technology has certainly made it easier. Nowadays, you can collect insights as you go, deploying questionnaires in an agile fashion. And what’s even better, the data collection and structuring is automatic! There’s no need to spend time coding interviews and manually transferring data. While there are certainly lots of possibilities, unfortunately often the use of surveys in L&D has been limited to post-training evaluations. However, there’s much more that we the tool can be good for. Therefore, we put together 5 examples on using surveys in digital learning. Let’s take a look!

Development & design feedback

One of the most immediate uses for surveys in digital learning exists in design and development. Once you have rolled out a new learning experience, you’ll naturally want to know what’s going on. While you’ll likely do user testing prior to launching, it’s important that you maintain the feedback loop even after the fact. Learners can thus suggest improvements to the design, flow of the experience as well as the content. This enables you to continuously improve the content. While you should always back up anecdotal feedback with quantitative data, quick and easy feedback can nevertheless bring out valuable user insights. Therefore, make sure to include a quick survey to capture development needs in the all the learning experiences you design!

Surveys in digital training needs analysis

Another great place to ask learners for input is in training needs analysis. Conventionally, organisations conduct a training needs analysis to determine what kind of training they should offer. This may often take into account strategic goals of the organisation and involve executives and line managers. However, it doesn’t always reach the end users – the learners – themselves. But thanks to the various digital learning survey tools, lack of time and resources shouldn’t be a hindering factor.

Involving the end user in the training needs analysis can bring a variety of benefits. First of all, the suggestions that come from the “front line” tend to be much more relevant to the jobs at hand. Often, the end users can suggest ways of delivering immediate value – they’ve been doing the jobs themselves! Secondly, the “front line” is often among the first groups to witness changes in the business, and thus better positioned to evaluate how they could improve their performance through training. Finally, involving the users in the process this way is likely to produce higher engagement – it’s a form of co-creation of sorts. Therefore, you should always ask the end users what they’d like to learn and why.

Personal learning plans and goal setting

A third area of potential use for surveys in digital learning is in personalisation. In this case, we’re talking about individual learning paths and goal setting. While the economies of scale still dictate our decisions, the trend is towards more and more personalised development plans in organisations. A digital survey is an easy way to ask employees about their career plans, current skills, things they’d like to learn and areas of interest. As intrinsic motivation is crucial in learning, it’s important to help the employees set their own goals, and not just inform of them of the L&D function’s goals. Individual goal setting at mass scale can help you also to reorganise the normal flow of L&D, by organising learners into groups based on their interests rather than e.g business units. For such personal goals, you can also consider personal learning analytics to support the process.

Performance reviews

On another front, performance reviews are an opportune place for digital learning surveys too. Over the past years, learning has become an important component in performance reviews for many organisations. While performance reviews are an art of their own, there’s one key thing that makes digital questionnaires lucrative. As such, performance reviews should be a two-way process. Not only do you as a manager review the employees’ performance, but you should give them a chance to do it too. This is easily done with a digital survey. While you may collect novel insights into the workings of your organisation, you’ll also get to view the employees’ side, and empathise with their viewpoint. Furthermore, a survey provides structure and a handy template to manage the performance review process itself.

Qualitative feedback on behavioural change

Finally, the fifth use case related to following up on learning in organisations. Too often, learning is very events-driven and employees either forget or do not apply the learning. And if learners don’t apply the new knowledge – if there’s isn’t some kind of behavioural change – learning itself becomes rather pointless. However, evaluating behavioural change isn’t the easiest thing to do. While you’ll definitely need more comprehensive analytics and a process for evaluation, like the Kirkpatrick framework, and you won’t want to over-rely on self-reported data, qualitative surveys can help in the mix.

For instance, you can ask employees to evaluate their own application of knowledge, as well as others. While calling yourself or your colleagues out for not applying doesn’t get you far, it opens an interesting discussion. Therefore, it’s important to frame the surveys in a way to capture ‘why’ people are not changing. There might be many barriers to application that you might not know about! And until you do, your learning interventions won’t have the desired effect.

Final words

While digital learning surveys have been around for a long time, they may still be under-utilised. There’s quite a lot you can do with the tool and the ability to quickly deploy channels for user feedback and input shouldn’t be overlooked in any setting. If you’d like to review and improve your learning processes, and see how you might support your L&D strategy with surveys, feel free to reach out. You can contact us here.

How to Digitalise Corporate Learning Quickly

How to digitalise corporate learning quickly

How to Digitalise Corporate Learning Quickly

The novel coronavirus epidemic that has taken much of our attention lately has had an impact on corporate training scene in 2020. Whereas many organisations used to rely heavily on face-to-face training, that has now become impossible. While many organisations have deemed it not safe to organise large gatherings, travel bans have also grounded trainers, especially in Asia-Pacific. Consequently, companies are scrambling to put together digital learning offerings to ensure business continuity, in case of a lengthy outbreak. Therefore, we decided to put together a quick guide on how to digitalise corporate learning quickly.

In a crisis mode, decisions we make may be different than those during status quo. Therefore, it’s important to point out that we construct this guide under the following assumptions.

  • Time is of the essence – discontinuation of training puts business continuation at jeopardy
  • The new types of training need to be rapidly scalable
  • New strategies need to be sustainable in case of a prolonged outbreak

How to set up digital learning infrastructure quickly

Now, the first problem that many organisations face is that there’s no digital learning infrastructure in place. While the selection and vetting process under a crisis may look different than usual, the focal points are the ones stated above. If we want to digitalise corporate learning quickly, we need to have a system that enables that. Therefore, a couple of key things to consider from a learning platform include:

  • Out-of-the-box functionality – you don’t want to spend unnecessary time doing custom development
  • Rapid cloud implementation – you’ll want it in the cloud, so people working from home can access. Fast implementation is again needed
  • Rapid learning content creation tools – this is by far the biggest bottleneck in digital learning, you’ll want to minimise it
  • Virtual classroom tools – while not necessarily optimal in the long-term, virtual classrooms enable the fastest training digitalisation

While you shouldn’t consider that list exhaustive, we believe it provides a starting baseline of capabilities to enable rapid digitalisation of learning in organisations. If you need help identifying or implementing such tools, don’t wait to reach out to us here.

How to digitalise corporate learning content quickly?

If you already have a system, or you’re about to have one, the next challenge you’ll encounter is content digitalisation. Normally, this is by far the most labour-intensive part of process. Therefore, you should look for ways to streamline it, and leverage your existing resource base as much as possible. Depending on your organisation and resources, it may be a good idea to engage a vendor to alleviate some of the time pressure. In any case, here are a few directions to consider:

Virtual classrooms

As mentioned, virtual classroom are by far the quickest way to quickly digitalise corporate learning. If your organisation already employs trainers, it’s smart to give them the tools to take their work online. And don’t worry about going into boring webinars, the modern virtual classroom tools can provide much needed interactivity. For instance, a good virtual classroom should enable questions, quizzes, collaboration, polling, smaller group sessions and individual coaching. Remember, it’s also important that mobile functionality and accessibility is good!

Interactive content curation

There’s a lot of great content out there. Likely, you already have a lot of it, too. While documents and slide decks might not be the solution of choice for online learning, you can make them more appealing with relatively small amount of work. For instance, some tools enable you to add interactivity into existing documents and files. You’ll cut the bulk of the work by using existing content, but you’ll also make it more engaging. In case you don’t have a lot of content in-house, you can also consider leveraging publicly available content, e.g. for curating interactive microlearning videos.

User-generated content & social learning

Another option to quickly collect and synthesise training content is to leverage your own organisation in doing so. As practically everyone carries a recording device nowadays, it shouldn’t be too cumbersome to solicit video input from your internal experts. Furthermore, you may also consider exploiting different social tools available to you to create communication channels, whereby people can share learning resources and important updates. During an epidemic like this, it’s good to have more informal communications channels between employees too.

Concluding thoughts

The current coronavirus outbreak situation presents a problem for many organisations. As most employees have suddenly become a part of the deskless workforce, it’s important to view training from a new angle. On one hand, it’s important to digitalise corporate learning quickly. On the other hand, it’s a process that conventionally does take a fair bit of time. However, by considering some of the thoughts above, you can streamline the process a lot. If you need quick help in tackling some of these problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here. We can help you get your digital learning delivery get up-and-running in no time.

Learning Nudges as Training Reinforcement Tools

Nudges in Corporate Learning

Learning Nudges as Training Reinforcement Tools

Corporate learning often requires a bit more than just delivering information. It may be hard to get learners to engage, but also to retain knowledge once they’ve “consumed” the learning. However, one of the biggest challenges is in learning transfer: getting the learners to actually change their behaviours. A possible solution to these challenges is learning nudges. Here’s how to start nudging your learners towards better results.

Learning nudges as engagement tools

The first challenge in corporate learning is to get the learners actually engaging in the process. As organisations digitalise their learning programs, we are seeing an increase in self-paced learning. However, that’s often a challenge for engagement, as the responsibility falls on the individual. People forget learning tasks, or might postpone them due to other work. However, nudges are a good way of getting them back to the process. A simple reminder often goes a long way, and it can be in the form of an email, text message or a notification.

However, you shouldn’t spam either. Rather, it’s important to find the right times to nudge people. For instance, the slow period after the lunch break might be an opportunity to get people to activate themselves on some learning. Or slower periods of business activity might provide an opportunity to invest more time into development.

Nudges as learning retention tools

Learning nudges can also serve as retention tools. Just as demonstrated by the forgetting curve, people forget a lot of the learning unless it’s reinforced. Small nudges, whether it’s quick quizzes, bite-sized resources or self-evaluation questionnaires help to reactivate the previously learnt subject matter. By doing that over time, the knowledge transfers from short-term memory to long-term memory. The spaced learning theory can help to determine the optimal intervals for this type of learning reinforcement.

Driving behavioural change with nudges

Finally, one of the biggest challenges in learning is getting people to actually implement new ways of doing. Even if the learning is highly inspirational, and the learners sees the benefit of doing things in a new way, it’s just too easy and comfortable to go back to the “way this has been done”. Thus, behavioural change requires lots of support. We need to remind people, we need to encourage people and we need to collect and deliver feedback. Positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions can have a considerable impact on people’s behaviour. Learning nudges, on the other hand, are the channel for delivering those. Furthermore, you can also deliver performance oriented nudges without too much prior learning. Helpful resources are always welcome. For instance, you could remind people of the behaviours of top performers in the organisation, with the intention that they’d follow suit.

Final words

Learning nudges are a great tool for re-engaging, reinforcing and driving behavioural change. With the mass of communications tools and channels available today, running good nudging campaigns doesn’t require a lot of resources. If you’re using productivity tools or learning systems, it’s also likely that these have features suitable for nudging. The tools are there, it’s just a matter of smart, unobtrusive design. If you need help in designing learning engagement, reinforcement or behavioural change campaigns, feel free to drop us a note, we might be able to help.

5 Tips for Designing Great Job Aids

Designing Great Job Aids

5 Tips for Designing Great Job Aids

As the 70:20:10 theory implies, a lot of learning in organisations happens outside the boundaries of formal training. While we often cater to the formal side, there’s a lot of other important use cases for learning. With the current speed of change in business, being able to up-skill people ahead of time becomes more unrealistic. Often, we just have to start doing faster, and hope that it goes well. But the inability to train people beforehand doesn’t mean we have to forgo training altogether. Job aids, for instance, are a great way of providing learning resources on the job. Here’s what you should take into account when designing them.

1. Simplify radically

One of the key characteristics of job aids is that employees engage with them within the workflow. To minimise disruptions to that workflow, we need to minimise the time spent querying information. Therefore, similar to the logic of good storytelling, job aids should be as simple as possible. Don’t circle around the topic, but dive right in. This is not a medium to display every single bit of knowledge either, but rather to provide concise information to help the employee with a highly specific task. Everything that goes beyond that or doesn’t support that goal is excess clutter, and should be removed.

While simplifying radically enables employees to find the information faster, it also eliminates the need to spend time on making judgement calls on what information is relevant. Therefore, they’re able to get back to peak performance faster.

2. Avoid excessive use of interactivity

In the general realm of digital learning, we often talk about the importance of interactivity. While interactivity is vital in creating engagement around the learning content, with job aids, it rarely serves a purpose. As the goal is to consume nuggets of information as rapidly as possible, any interactive elements, such as questions sets, exercises and the like just get in the way.

Instead, simplify the content also in this regard. Often the simpler the better. We should always choose content types based on their fit for purpose and ability to convey the information. Videos might be the best options for some material, whereas simple text and images might work for some.

3. Make it searchable

In most cases, these type of performance support resources are accessed via some kind of system. Accessibility is a big consideration in designing effective job aids. You can design great resources, but if we bury them inside a complex, layered LMS system, finding them might become too much of a burden. If we don’t provide employees with a seamless way of making queries and finding the right material from the library, they’ll quickly default back to Google and Youtube.

Therefore, it’s important to first of all make the content searchable. The nature of job aids entails that there’s going to be quite a lot of them. To enable employees to find the relevant stuff fast, you do need a search function. While identifying the right content is important, it might also be beneficial to be able to search for e.g. keywords within a piece of content, to locate the relevant information faster. If you’re doing videos, providing navigation buttons inside the video might make sense.

4. Make the user experience simple

As mentioned, employees often access job aids via a platform, tool or a system of some sorts. Whatever the system is, it’s important that the user experience is fluid, natural and easy to use. The experience must be intuitive, meaning that employees don’t have to spend time on learning how to use the system. The less clutter there is, the better.

Generally, performance support tools or job aid portals contain a much more limited set of features compared to conventional learning tools. If you’re implementing one, it’s a good idea to review out-of-the-box or “popular” features, and consider whether they’re actually necessary for this particular use case.

5. Understand the users’ context

Finally, it’s incredibly important to understand how the employees actually engage with tools like these. Often, but not always, these types of job aids tend to be consumed on the mobile. If that’s the case, you’ll want to focus on that as your primary medium, and employe best practices for mobile learning design. If the use case is more corporate office, you might see more desktop use, and thus have more “real estate” to play with.

Going beyond devices, it’s also important to understand the use situations, i.e. the learning opportunities in the workflow, in more detail. E.g. if employees are using job aid videos on a noisy factory floor, they might not be able to hear the sounds of videos. Thus, it may be necessary to provide subtitles and ensure that the information is conveyed even without narration.

Final words

Across industries, we are seeing a trend of looking beyond the conventional formal training when considering the corporate “learning mix”. Well-designed job aids are a great way of providing performance support and rapid learning within the workflow and on-the-job. Not only does this enable people to maintain better productivity, it may also make sense for learning too, as all learning gets put into practice right away, which tends to increase retention. If you’re looking into job aids, and think you may need help in designing them or implementing proper tools for them, we might be able to help. Just drop us a note here.

Onboarding On-demand – Can We Train New Hires in a Smarter Way?

Onboarding on demand

Onboarding On-demand – Can We Train New Hires in a Smarter Way?

Onboarding is something that all organisations do, yet we’ve seen fairly little innovation in the general handling of it. While many organisations have started incorporating team-building and social experiences to their onboarding processes, the actual training part of it remains relatively untouched. Often, companies still sit their new employees through a large number of training sessions or eLearning modules in a very short amount of time. Naturally, learning retention is low, and most of the training is probably just wasting time. Could we do it a bit smarter though? Let’s play around with an idea of onboarding on demand.

The problems with most onboarding programs

In general, there are different problems that reappear regardless of the organisation. Here are a few of them:

  • Too much training in too little time
  • One-size-fits-all approach
  • Content is irrelevant
  • Content has relevance, but is rarely used on the day-to-day

First of all, trying to train people on a lot of things in a short amount of time simply doesn’t work. You’ll just give your new hires a cognitive overload which will cause them to retain even less. Secondly, onboarding programs may be quite uniform, but the jobs are widely different. That’s an interesting disparity there. Thirdly, a lot of the content on onboarding programs is actually not even relevant, and thus people forget it very quickly. Finally, there’s content that has relevance, but that is rarely applicable on the day-to-day jobs. If you can’t apply what you’ve learnt, chances are you’ll forget it.

How could onboarding on demand solve these problems?

So, what if we took a wholly different approach to onboarding. An approach where the focus is on helping to new hires succeed at their jobs and get quick wins, rather than trying desperately to make sure that they’re “ready” before they start working. Here’s what that could look like in practice:

  1. Instead of front-loading training, shift the focus to performance support resources on demand. This way, new hires can learn on the job and as they encounter problems, they have a resource base to tap into to gain confidence and identify solutions. By doing it this way, they have a chance to immediately apply the things they learn. This increases learning retention for the long term.
  2. Deliver personalised resources. The first 90 days of a newly hired engineer are likely very different from that of a new salesman. People should have access to learning resources that are designed or curated with their context in mind. This helps them to learn the right way of doing things, instead of being responsible for figuring out how to apply abstract concepts to a particular problem.
  3. Learn what’s really relevant through analytics, switch to formal delivery if needed. If you ask subject matter experts, everything is always “must know”. But in reality, most of it isn’t. Learning analytics can help you in identifying the most accessed on-demand resources. If there’s high use for a particular resource, maybe it could be meaningful to design a formal learning experience around that topic.
  4. Don’t bother learners with things they don’t use frequently. Forget trying to hammer some internal procedures (e.g. how to apply for leave, how to call in sick etc.) into employees heads on day 1. Instead, deliver a pool of easily searchable information where employees can find how to do those things. You’ll save a lot of time.

Final words

Naturally, some of the initial training given to employees can be mandated by law, e.g. compliance training. In those areas, it might be difficult to make radical changes in the training approaches. However, a large part of the training that isn’t mandated by law isn’t always really necessary, and that’s where on demand onboarding could save you significant amounts of time and productivity all the while helping people learn better.

This could also provide a way of replacing traditional training with more meaningful experiences, like team building and getting to know new colleagues, without increasing the overall time spent on onboarding. If you’d like to design onboarding programs that really add value, we’d be happy to share some experiences. Just drop us a note.

How to Use Chatbots in Corporate Learning? 3 Value-add Cases

Chatbots in corporate learning

How to Use Chatbots in Corporate Learning?

In today’s efficiency-driven business environment, organisations are looking to automate whatever functions they can. Consequently, corporate learning and development teams also face similar pressure to do more with less. Hence, we’ve seen a surge in both AI technologies and robotic process automation (RPA). One particular technology that has become highly popular is the chatbot. While chatbots don’t have to be artificially intelligent, most of them are. Powered by machine learning functions, these bots have the capability to learn from all interactions and refine their output accordingly.

But what are chatbots in corporate learning good for? Here are 3 ideas for delivering better learning experiences with the help of our virtual friends.

Using chatbots to reduce administrative workload

To enable effective learning, it’s important that an organization has a good learning support infrastructure in place. From answering learners’ queries about topics to technical assistance with digital learning platforms, there’s a lot to take care of. Often, these functions are neglected or are not capable of handling queries rapidly enough.

Bring in the bots. A corporate learning chatbot is a great way to handle most of this workload. A trained chatbot can easily answer most of the queries your learners come up with. Furthermore, it can also help on things like finding and locating learning content from within company systems and learning portals. It can also help to learners to enrol in relevant activities to them by presenting data-driven recommendations.

Using chatbots for onboarding and HR-related queries

Similar to the previously mentioned functions, organisations can also use corporate learning chatbots for onboarding and HR related purposes. Traditionally, onboarding is a process where organisations dump all the information they can assemble on their new employees. A lot of it might be totally irrelevant, and most of it will definitely be forgotten by the time the onboarding is over. So, how about delivering slightly smarter onboarding with a bot?

Instead of the usual information dumping, which results in a cognitive overload, a chatbot could deliver this information much more seamlessly – and at the point of need. Whenever a new employee encounters a problem, they could simply consult the chatbot. Whether it’s HR policies, compensation and benefits or even simpler questions like where the office water cooler is located, the bot can answer it all. Quite frankly, this type of virtual personal assistant could be of use to everyone, not just the new joiners!

Using chatbots in workflow learning

While the other two use cases concern primarily administrative functions, bots do have applications in the actual learning as well. Currently, a lot of the traditional type of corporate learning is becoming obsolete. Without the capability to demonstrate performance improvements, employers are less and less willing to lend their employees to sit through hours or even days of learning activities. Thus, learning is increasingly going into the workflow and that’s where chatbots are at their natural habitat.

Generally speaking, the most effective learning experiences are those where you can apply the newly learnt immediately. With just-in-time learning happening in the flow of work, that’s a natural occurrence. We query information rapidly, get information and execute. Hence, the memory effect generated is a much more significant one. Furthermore, this is a naturally occurring behaviour already. Without dedicated learning chatbots, we would do the same with our mobile phones on platforms like Google, Youtube or Quora.

However, the competitive advantage of the learning chatbot in workflow learning is the ability to deliver curated and highly contextual answers. When you do a google search, you’ll get millions of hits. But a company chatbot is able to tell you a specific way that the particular task should be executed. The answers may of course be included in your formal learning materials, but the problem is that employees can’t generally access them seamlessly enough. This type of chatbot-powered performance support resource is unmatched in accuracy, speed, scalability and user experience.

Final words

Overall, chatbots are a great tool to support many different functions in corporate learning. Firstly, the performance improvement possibilities and improved efficiency alone are compelling, but the bots are also a powerful source of data. For instance, analysing the interactions between your bot and employees could provide valuable input for a truly data-driven training needs analysis.

However, the best thing about chatbots is that they are flexible. Generally, chatbots can be implemented on any platform, as you’ll just need to feed them data. This makes them a low-entry-barrier addition even if you’re running expensive legacy learning systems. If you’d like to explore the possibilities chatbots or other digital learning solutions offer, we are happy to arrange a discussion. Just contact us here.

Digital Coaching – Finding Value-add in a Traditional Space

Digital coaching

Digital Coaching – Finding Value-add in a Traditional Space

The traditional industry of business- and executive coaching is slowly embarking on a journey of change. Digitalisation is taking on another line of profession and causing a stir. While a lot of coaches believe strongly in the power of face-to-face (and don’t get us wrong, we do too!), unfortunately many seem to have totally neglected the changes in the environment around them. While corporations are increasingly careful in evaluating the value-add their vendors provide, they’re also looking to coach more and more people. Taking these two factors – namely the need to demonstrate results and scale up while keeping the offering affordable – into consideration, there could be opportunities for digital approaches. Here are some value-add cases we see for digital coaching.

Digital helps coaches to focus on what matters

Let’s get the easy ones out of the way, shall we? Like a lot of other digital technology, digital tools can also help coaches to reduce non-productive activities. Even in coaching, there’s a fair bit of administrative work involved. Maintaining records, scheduling sessions and producing reports don’t seem exactly high-value to a coach. However, that work needs to be done also.

Digital coaching tools can help coaches keep records accurate, accessible and transparent. A lot of the administrative workflows can be automated, enabling the coach to spend more time with the clients. Furthermore, the ability to produce meaningful reports on all things with a single click is something that you cannot achieve with traditional means. Good, clear and reliable reporting on progress and development will help the coach to demonstrate value to the client.

Delivering better interactions through digital coaching

Interactivity is a key part to the coaching equation. Not only do the clients expect you to be there for them at all times, but it’s likely very difficult to drive behavioural change “from a distance”. Overall, there seems to be value in more frequent and less formal coaching interactions. Digital tools can help to lower the barriers and enable constant access. Constant interactions between the coach and the client also enable a shift of focus from scenarios to real-world problem solving. As a learning experience, the latter tends to be a lot more powerful. Furthermore, this type of digital coaching also provides a new learning on-demand medium. The clients can reach out for information at their point of need and that’s when they’re at their most receptive.

On the other hand, why even limit the power of interactions to the coach-client relationship? While individual coaching is perhaps the most effective form of it, that’s not to say there’s no power in a group. As adults we learn through experiences and reflection – both our own and those of others. Therefore, interacting with one’s peers within a coaching group can provide a great learning opportunity on its own. And to facilitate these kinds of digital information exchanges and interactions today, there are simply no better tools than digital platforms.

Digital coaching provides an improved experience

In the end, it all really comes down to the coaching experience. Digital technologies have the power to facilitate that experience in a way that traditional approaches cannot. Also, the focus should be on the experience, rather than on producing a cheap version of something. Ultimately, there should be value-add to find for everyone, whether one’s coaching e.g. senior executives or sales agents. A simultaneous improvement in scalability, accessibility and user experience sounds like something the corporate clients might appreciate.

Of course, the opportunities don’t end there. While you’re at it, why not consider combining learning activities with group- and personalised coaching. Providing the clients with resources to support behavioural change after formal learning activities (think of performance support) is a potential high value-add area in terms of learning results. So, take a good look at your own offering and start considering whether you could deliver more value by adding some digital means to the mix.

If you’re looking to explore digital opportunities in coaching, ILT or learning overall, we can help you develop a great offering. Just contact us to get started.

How to Use Learning as Performance Support?

Performance support learning and training

How to Use Learning as a Performance Support Tool?

Corporate learning today should pay much more attention to how it enables performance. While there’s a time and place for long-form learning activities, often we’re better off just learning by doing. Adults learn through experiences in contextual environments. Thus it seems that nothing beats learning experienced on one’s own job – or workflow learning. Meanwhile, formal experiences like classroom training and eLearning courses are giving way to more nimble approaches to delivering content. This is partially driven by learners who don’t see the value in sitting through hours of training just to forget things soon after. So, let’s take a look at performance support and how we can use it to learn on-the-go and help people perform better.

The shift from learning beforehand to learning on-demand

Many organisations tend to approach training the same way as schools and universities do, by trying to prepare the employees for everything. Unfortunately, the laws of retention and the forgetting curve are not on their side. The learning offering ends up being a lot of “just-in-case” rather than things employees really need and can apply immediately. In the end, the organisations waste a lot of time, money and resources to deliver learning that doesn’t translate into actions or gets forgotten soon after the fact. Wouldn’t it make sense to focus on what matters – performance – and gear learning towards that?

How to design performance support learning?

To understand how to design learning for performance support, let’s look first at how it differs from traditional learning. First, employees engage with performance support while working and don’t want to interrupt their flow. Secondly, the circumstances are less about learning new, but more about finding ways to apply the already known. Furthermore, whereas the goals of corporate learning may sometimes be bit ambiguous, the goal for performance support is clear: help to finish the task at hand.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a quick checklist on key characteristics of good performance support resources.

  • User-friendly – no one wants to spend effort in navigating complex systems when they need the information quickly.
  • Accessibility – employees must have access to the resources anytime, anywhere, regardless of the devices they have on them.
  • Short-form content – performance support resources should be quick to consume and concise (microlearning, anyone?).
  • Searchability – all content should be tagged, indexed and easily searchable, enabling the employees to get to it quickly.
  • Relevance – all content must be up-to-date, and relevant to the employees and their roles and functions. Don’t deploy “off-the-shelf” resources, but give solutions to problems specific to your business.

The bottom line

By giving your employees access to these kinds of tools, you’re assisting them in the most problematic part of learning – putting new skills into practice. Employees will surely value that, as you’re helping them to do their jobs better. Also, you’ll likely save up time on non-productive formal learning and keep the people at their jobs. That should have a direct bottom line impact.

Overall, a performance support approach to some learning activities helps to support the changes in the workplace. As skills, businesses and the environment change rapidly and constantly, it’s important for the corporates and employees alike to learn on-the-go. While this is not meant to replace all of traditional learning activities, it does provide a much better alternative for some of it.

Would you like to explore modern and more meaningful ways of workplace learning? We’re happy to share some ideas and hear about your challenges. Just contact us.

How to Support Employee Onboarding with Digital Feedback Tools?

How to Support Employee Onboarding with Digital Feedback Tools

Supporting Employee Onboarding with Digital Feedback Tools

As far as learning experiences go, employee onboarding is a crucial one. At it’s best, a great onboarding process helps to form a strong relationship with the employee. At its worst however, it can just about drive them out. Naturally, organisations across the board are looking to streamline their onboarding processes – without sacrificing quality. In this regard, digital onboarding tools and methods can help a lot. However, unfortunately many organisations resort to just dumping information using the digital tools, rather than figuring out how to actually help the new hires. To really help the new hires up to speed faster, flow of information and feedback is critical. Thus, here are a few tips on using digital feedback tools to support employee onboarding.

The common problems in employee onboarding

Generally, we could classify the mistakes in onboarding to two categories: learning and non-learning. Learning mistakes, for instance, include spending too much time on formal training, forcing cognitive overload and a lack learning support or personalised learning. Often, onboarding is a highly standardised set of activities Non-learning mistakes, on the other hand, can include things like company phones or computers not delivered on first day of work, not receiving employee credentials and wasting time on non-working activities due to all the above. It’s not uncommon to hear horror stories where new employees spend days without the necessary equipment to do their jobs!

So, let’s look at supporting the two kinds of problems with some digital feedback tools.

Using digital feedback to support learning activities

Whenever you join a new company, there’s a lot to learn. As all individuals are different, organisations face a challenge of being aware and responding to all the individual learning needs arising throughout the the first few months. What could be the best way to perform a better training needs analysis on the new hires? Why don’t you ask them directly?

Digital feedback tools provide a great way of supporting employee onboarding and the learning activities involved. For every learning activity, you should collect feedback. In addition to impressions and suggestions for improvement, you can inquire whether the new joiners think they have received an adequate amount of training to do their jobs properly. If someone hasn’t, maybe you should have a personal discussion to solve the issue. If multiple people indicate they feel the need for more training, maybe you have to look in the mirror and figure out what’s wrong with your learning activities! And this is no rocket science. Simple likert scales work very well, as long as the data is real-time and there’s someone on the other end keeping an eye on the responses. As everything is digital, it’s also highly scalable and seamless to use.

Using digital feedback tools to support non-learning activities

While learning plays an important part in supporting employee onboarding, it’s the practical things that you should get right first. It’s rather easy to implement a similar logic as before to non-learning activities. For instance, you could construct a digital check-list for all the administrative activity (receive computer, phone, IT system credentials, lunch coupons, coffee mug etc.). At the end of day one, every employee would fill out a feedback form confirming that all of the above have been taken care of. If not, you’ll know right away and are able fix it. Once all the administrative hurdle is streamlined, you’ll find that your employee become productive much faster.

Furthermore, you can use digital feedback to collect some additional insights as well. In addition to simple receipt notices of equipment, you could poll the employees on their skills on them. “Now that you’ve received the computer, do you need help using it?” This will further help you to provide the new joiners the means to succeed and perhaps even adjust your training or the onboarding process itself. If you never ask, you’ll never improve!

Would you like to support employee onboarding with digital means? Drop us a note, and let’s see if we can help you help your employees.