Agile L&D – How to Stay Ahead in the Modern World?

Agile L&D - how to keep your learning and development agile

Agile L&D – How to Stay Ahead in the Modern World?

The business environment and skills required in the workplace are changing faster than ever. Often, it’s the learning and development teams in organisations that are tasked to keep the organisation’s capability up to date. Unfortunately, we often see such inertia in the learning and development function that responding to changes in the business – let alone doing it rapidly – seems a mission impossible. To constantly deliver value to the business, L&D needs to become agile. To help you start your agile journey, here are three building blocks for agile L&D.

Be smart in building your learning technology stack

Nowadays, technology is something that you cannot escape if you want to run an effective L&D function. However, you shouldn’t just blindly buy up technology to keep up with the latest fads. Naturally, you should always work out your own specific goals, and then find suitable technology, rather than buying tech first and then figuring out what you can and cannot do with it. However, to remain an agile L&D function, you should also look to make sure that the technology you get today can still be useful tomorrow. Here are a few things to look out for.

  • Interoperability. Can the technology be integrated with other systems, that perhaps don’t even exist yet, to pass crucial data and information? Some vendors may integrate only with their own products or their partners’ – or not at all. Don’t paint yourself into a corner by locking yourself to a particular vendor.
  • User experience. Don’t buy into technology that doesn’t have a great user experience. If it doesn’t exist yet, it’s unlikely to magically arrive later on. Professional teams and providers understand that not having a great UX is not an option.
  • Evidence-based learning methods. Business and the world around is changing. However, learning is not. We still learn the same way as before, and the mission of technology is to find the ways to amplify that experience. Thus, you should carefully evaluate the pedagogical expertise of your vendors and the research they’ve put into their products. There’s a lot of false information out there being sold as a good way to learn (learning styles are a good example).

Agile L&D is data-driven and proactive

If you’re still doing training needs analysis or assessment once a year or bi-annually, you’re already lagging behind. Responding to real-time business problems through learning interventions requires real-time data. At any point in time, you should be able to grasp the organisational competency and skills level without conducting additional assessment. This naturally requires capabilities for collecting data, and conducting data-driven training needs analysis. But it’s also about the mindset.

On the mindset level, you need to face the fact that you can no longer plan a year ahead. Of course, long-term strategy remains important, but it’s unlikely that the learning interventions you plan today would be as effective a year from now. So it’s about getting into the heat of the moment, operating within the business rather than from the outside. Proactively assessing and spotting skills gaps through learning analytics as well as rapidly evaluating the impact of your interventions should be standard practice.

Designing learning at the speed of business

Another area where agile L&D can really shine is learning design. Traditionally, you would identify a learning need, develop activities, programs or materials, fine-tune them, then roll them out and hope that people take up on them. The process can easily take several months, but the learning is always needed yesterday. Additionally, there’s always uncertainty whether the end product will be “liked” or taken up on by the employees. The level of uncertainty combined with long development times is a combination simply too slow and inflexible to support a modern business.

Agile L&D practitioners, on the other hand, are comfortable with “beta-versions”. They roll out activities and learning experiences rapidly, constantly collecting data, assessing, iterating and refining. They also switch old instructional design methods to design thinking and service design. Thus, they are able to design and deliver much more impactful learning experiences more rapidly. By setting their focus on the people and how to help them perform better, agile L&D practitioners enable themselves to work at the speed of the business and provide value with their learning interventions.

Final words

Overall, learning and development as a function is facing a challenge. Business leaders are often not confident in the function’s ability to deliver. We have to adopt new technologies, use them smartly, make decisions based on data instead of guesses and learn to operate at the speed of the business, serving business goals rather than “learning objectives”. To actually manage this, more agile L&D approaches are definitely needed and have proven to be valuable. Naturally, change is always difficult and painful. But it may help to stay agile even when adopting agile: take small steps and learn and improve as you go. While the three building blocks presented only scratch the surface, they do provide a good starting point for building the L&D function of the future on. And if you need help, you can always contact us and we can coach your L&D towards more agility.

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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.

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Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) vs LMSs – What’s the Difference?

Learning Experience Platforms and LMS differences

Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) vs LMSs – What’s the Difference?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a new product category emerge in the HR technology market. With the predicament that learning management systems (LMS) have not been very successful in delivering learning impact, the Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) have emerged to fill a need. However, from corporate L&D’s point of view, these two categories might seem very similar (an interesting observation on that later!). To clear some of the ambiguity, we decided to write up our own view on the differences between the two. We’ll also tie those differences back to potential use cases, depending on the state of your L&D ecosystem.

What is a learning experience platform?

First, however, let’s quickly define what the term means. In our book, LXPs constitute personalised open online environments with the capability to aggregate resources across a variety of sources to facilitate both formal and informal learning. They are also social platforms, leveraging on the employees’ intrinsic motivation and autonomous learning rather than a top-down “push” approach.

How are LXPs different from LMSs?

Although all the definitions of the product categories are slightly ambiguous, there are a few distinguishable key characteristics with the two.

LXP

  • Employee-driven
  • Open system, can accommodate outside resources
  • Personalised, adaptive learning paths powered by recommendation algorithms and AI
  • Enable participation and contribution by employees
  • Often enables curation-focused content strategy

LMS

  • Administration-driven
  • Closed system, difficulties in accommodating outside content
  • Defined, often linear and limited learning paths
  • Managed by the L&D, with little freedom for users to share their own knowledge and expertise
  • Often requires design-heave content strategy

Whereas the real appealing use cases of LMS may be limited to compliance training, LXPs enable a more holistic approach. These platform providers often invest heavily into user experience, which nowadays can be a detrimental factor in adoption. Furthermore, the platforms are much more learner-centric, focusing on the employee’s individual needs and learning requirements. This type of personalisation often helps to engage the users beyond the scope of mandatory training. Finally, LXPs also enable more curation (rather than design) focused approach to content, which enables L&D teams to do more with less.

Are LXPs going to replace LMSs?

Yes and no. While the problems of traditional (low engagement, difficult to manage) LMS systems are clear, they are still going to be around for a while. However, the advent of the LX platforms should be a wake-up call for many professionals. User experience, personalisation and learner-centricity are things that you can’t just brush off. These are, in fact, things that you should require even from your LMS providers.

However, LXPs don’t always allow for crucial things such instructors/trainers/coaches tracking, managing and assessing employees. At the moment, the offering for situations requiring complex set of business rules (certifications, expirations) is not quite there yet (although some companies are coming up with good solutions). Furthermore, as learning is going more into the workflow, it’s questionable whether these types of systems are the best to be deployed at such level.

Thus, the LXP often doesn’t yet replace the LMS but rather works in conjunction with it, e.g. by pulling internal content to the platform and passing on data. Some vendors are adding more LMS like features to their products (which is sometimes ironic, as the data capabilities of these platforms have often been far better than those of LMSs) to overcome the need to run multiple systems. For organisations who are making their first learning technology investments, it might actually make sense to look at some of the LXP providers who also deliver the required features for administering e.g. traditional classroom training activities.

Final thoughts

Overall, the direction of the market is clear. All the vendors have recognised the needs for more open systems and better user experiences. The inertia and the need to integrate with legacy systems will slow down some of the bigger players, whereas totally new entrants are able to develop truly innovative solutions from scratch. Besides the technology aspect, the marketing and sales departments of pretty much every vendor out there have taken up on the language. Unfortunately, we also see many companies who over-promise a fair bit (e.g. by introducing a barebone LMS with modernised UX as an “LXP”). Thus, a potential buyer needs to be careful when evaluating the different offering. So, vet the technologies carefully, and don’t buy all the promises of better tomorrow at face value.

If you think you need help vetting or selecting learning technologies, we are happy to help. Our experience with technology vendors enables us to cut through the clutter and find what works for your organisation. Just contact us here.

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How to Use MOOCs in Workplace Learning?

How to use MOOCs in Workplace Learning

How to Use MOOCs in Workplace Learning?

Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, have been a major driving force in the online education market development. These offerings have enables unparalleled access to education for many. More and more providers of this type of online education are emerging every day. Overall, the market is so huge. There doesn’t seem to be a learning topic that you wouldn’t find a MOOC for. While these learning offerings come with their own challenges, it seems reasonable for professional organisations to at least explore possible use cases. So, this article will detail how to make the most out of using MOOCs in workplace learning. But first, let’s look at some of the challenges.

Challenges with MOOCs

In the context of corporate learning, MOOCs present a few challenges that hinder their implementation and impact.

  • MOOCs are one-size-fits-all rather than personalised experiences
  • They alone don’t address specific, contextual business problems
  • The style of learning is mostly formal and long-form

Now, these challenges are real and they may seem dreadful. However, we can solve, at least to an extent, all of them. Let’s take a closer look.

How to personalise MOOC learning experiences?

MOOCs initially started out as a medium for universities to transfer their offering online. Universities, by default, teach us abstract thinking, concepts and wider skill sets through standardised curriculums. The learning is a lengthy process (many years), and there’s fairly little personalisation within the chosen study topics and course offerings. In organisations, however, people (and the business!) demand faster and more relevant learning. For both, personalisation of learning is very important. While it might be unlikely that the MOOC provider lets you re-engineer their content, there are still a few things that you can do.

For instance, you could address the relevance problem by using your internal learning platform to collect data and recommend relevant MOOCs based on that. E.g. by completing some internal training on UX design, you can give your learners the option to take up a MOOC on the subject, in case they develop an interest for the topic and wish to know more. Another way to personalise could be based on perceived difficulty. For instance, you could require employees to complete specific learning paths or jump on the career ladder before offering them particular MOOCs. This will also help you on the cost side, since providing everything for everyone is just unfeasible for the business.

How to make MOOCs relevant to the business?

Another problem, also related to personalisation, is that MOOCs don’t address specific business problems – the very thing modern L&D should do. In organisations, we are not learning for the sake of learning per se. Rather, we are trying to solve business problems by evoking behavioural change initiated by learning. On this mission, another level of personalisation of learning is required. Just delivering information and knowledge (what MOOCs do quite well) really falls short in providing the context and practical applications by which to apply the newly learnt in the workplace. Your people can learn all they want, but if they don’t bring that back to the workplace and change their behaviours, your corporate learning is a waste of money.

So, how do we solve this? This does require a bit of design efforts. However, a good goal would be to view MOOCs as resources to tap into, and then design an organisational learning approach for making sure the learnt gets transferred to the workplace. It’s important to bridge the gap between the “abstract” level of learning and what the organisation needs. Often, this is just communication. Hence, you should make clear why a particular MOOC is offered and how the learning outcomes from that are intended to support the business. Further, you should always be specific in outlining the expectations after the fact. Finally, the real results can be evaluated with learning analytics, comparing learning results to performance data.

Refrain from using MOOCs where they don’t work

As mentioned, MOOCs mostly represent a long-form, formal approach to learning. And in that capacity, they work quite well. However, you shouldn’t rely on them for most of the other needs. According to the 70:20:10 framework, only a small part of workplace learning takes place formally. Even though some MOOCs do incorporate social elements, that ‘social’ is not contextual to your organisation. While that ‘social’ certainly helps to facilitate the learning process, you’re not transferring knowledge within your own organisation by offering MOOCs. Hence, for internal knowledge transfer, mentoring and coaching, you should look for other alternatives.

Moreover, MOOCs are not experiential either. Rather, they are quite the opposite – learning often abstract concepts at a distance, without exposure to a practical environment. As learning is increasingly moving into the flow of work, this “70” becomes perhaps the most crucial thing to get right. That type of workflow learning is much more about just-in-time, on-demand performance support rather than traditional long-form education.

Final words

Overall, MOOCs are a great addition to the workplace learning mix. They enable us to offer high quality content on topics that we cannot justify designing learning experiences for ourselves. As MOOCs are often certified by accredited institutions, offering them can also provide an incentive for your staff to stay with you, as they’re also adding to their own personal learning portfolio. Nowadays, some more sophisticated internal learning platforms also enable you to curate, offer and recommend MOOCs within your own system, which helps you to provide the learning where it is needed.

Fundamentally, the use of MOOCs is similar to designing any other kind of learning. It’s about finding the ways and developing a strategy for using the available resources where they best fit. And remember, if you need help with that, or with your learning strategy overall, we are here to help. Just contact us.

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How to Support 70:20:10 with Learning Technology?

How to use technology with 70:20:10?

How to Support 70:20:10 with Learning Technology?

If you have a job in professional- or corporate learning, chances are you’ve come across the 70:20:10 framework. Hopefully, you have even explored the framework’s meaning and perhaps even implemented in your own learning strategy. The companies who do tend to be successful! Whatever your experience, the framework is today more relevant than ever. The advent of technology, on one hand, enables us to facilitate a 70:20:10 strategy much better. On the other hand, it also forces us in that direction. Thus, we thought it would be good to look at how technologies can help you to get there.

Quick recap of the 70:20:10

The framework is prevalent and big. So big that there’s even an institute for it. The framework indicates that workplace learning takes place in 3 different ways:

  • Formal learning such as training sessions and eLearning courses (the “10)
  • Social learning, such as discussions, coaching, mentoring and personal relationships (the “20”).
  • Experiential learning, such as on-the-job learning, challenging assignments and discovery within workflows (the “70”)

While you can argue about the validity of the specific numbers until the day’s end, there’s a good consensus that the 70:20:10 provides a good approximation. Fundamentally, the framework orients us toward more performance focused learning activities.

But how could we use technology to support these 3 different aspects? Let’s take a look.

1. Using technology to support formal learning

Now this is probably evident to everyone out there, but we’ll spell it out anyway. We’ve been using technology to support and deliver formal learning experiences for a long time. Just think all those eLearning courses you have gone through. There are countless ways of doing it and it doesn’t have to be all digital. You should probably consider blended learning and flipped learning as well.

However, the thing to learn from the 70:20:10 framework is that the formal training activities shouldn’t happen in isolation either. Rather, they should be integrated into the larger workflow and built to support performance in various aspects. To enable this, you should consider learner-centric design methodologies to learning.

2. How to support social learning with technology?

When we jump to the 20 of the 70:20:10, things get a little more interesting. Traditionally, eLearning has done a terrible job in augmenting any social behaviours that normally take place in a classroom. However, that has changed with the advent of social media and the subsequently developed digital learning capabilities. Nowadays, most learning technologies come with social features that enable your employees to interact with each other.

Fundamentally, it’s about getting your employees to share and communicate in a natural and seamless way. Different learning technologies provide a great way to facilitate informal discussions and collaborate. You can also look into things like peer-to-peer learning and digital coaching. The technologies to support all these things out there, just make sure you determine carefully how you align them with the business. It’s all about the performance in the end.

3. How to support learning on-the-job with technology?

Learning on-the-job, or learning in the workflow is not traditionally something that L&D has done an excellent job on. That’s partly because the rules of the game are totally different. It’s not about courses. It’s not about classroom sessions. Rather, workflow learning is all about helping people succeed and improve their performance in a non-obtrusive manner.

Instead of intensive, lengthy activities or learning sessions, this 70% of the 70:20:10 consists of performance support resources, just-in-time learning and actual work projects (incl. stretch projects). All of this is focused on performance, hence results are easier to monitor. Data analytics also play a big part in capturing all this information, from point of need activity to behaviours and finally performance. Therefore, there is no role for traditional corporate learning objectives. Rather, the learning and the objectives needs to be designed with the business with clear performance impact goals.

Final words

Overall, the 70:20:10 is a valuable and relevant framework. If nothing else, implementing it should take you towards more performance-focused learning. Because if you cannot show the impact your learning has on the business, you cannot really demonstrate the value of the L&D function either. Then, you get cut out very quickly.

Today, technology is a great enabler for these new ways of learning at the workplace. While much of the informal learning (the 70 and 20 in 70:20:10) takes place naturally, you can really supercharge the effects with a bit of smart facilitation!

If you’d like to explore the idea of moving to performance-focused learning in the workflow, we can help you. Just contact us here.

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How to Use Learning Analytics? 3 Value-add Cases

How to use learning analytics?

How to Use Learning Analytics? 3 Value-add Cases

As corporations become more data-driven in their decision making, learning & development has to follow suit. To make better decisions, you naturally need to collect a lot more learning data. But that alone isn’t enough. You also need capabilities to analyse the data to understand what it means. While there’s a lot of ambiguity about corporate training analytics and some organisations intentionally try to make it sound extremely difficult, it’s not entirely true. To clear out some of that ambiguity, here are 3 different use cases for learning analytics that are applicable for organisations of all sizes.

1. How to use learning analytics to increase engagement?

One of the bottleneck issues in corporate learning today is engagement. It’s not always an easy task to put out learning experiences that resonate with the learners and keep them engaged. Naturally, your content has to be of good quality, and you should likely use a fair bit of interactivity. But once all that is said and done, you should unleash the analytics.

Through learning content analytics, we can get a much better understanding of our users. We can see what are the pieces of content that are used the most or the least. We can also get an understanding of ‘when’ and ‘where’ learners tend to drop off, which then enables to start figuring out ‘why’. Furthermore, we can drill down to each interaction between the learner and content/instructors/other learners to really understand what is working and what is not. All of this (and a fair bit more!) enables us to constantly develop our learning experiences based on real information instead of gut-feels and opinions. And when we can make our content to be more relevant and to-the-point, a lot of the engagement tends to come naturally.

2. How to use learning analytics to personalise learning experiences?

Our professional learners – the employees – come with various skills, degrees of experience, education and backgrounds. As they certainly don’t represent a one-size sample, we shouldn’t be putting them through one-size-fits-all learning experience either. As organisations have understood this, the hype around personalised learning has grown significantly over the past few years. But it’s not just hype, there’s real value to personalisation that learning analytics can help us to unlock.

First of all, learning analytics help us to understand the different individuals and groups of learners in our organisation. By being able to drill down all the way to the level of individual’s interactions, we can understand our learners’ needs and challenges much better. This enables us to cater to their various strengths, diverse learning history and varying interests. Instead of providing a simple one-size-fits-all learning experience, we can use this information to design personalised learning paths for different groups or even up to an individual level. These learning paths can branch out and reconnect based on difficulty of content, experience, current job and various other factors. The learning experience thus becomes a spider’s web instead of a straight line, and you’ll be able to catch much more of your learners.

3. How to use learning analytics to prove the impact of learning?

Proving the impact or the ROI of learning is something that L&D professionals often struggle with. One of the reasons for struggle is not using learning analytics. For learning results in terms of knowledge acquisition, a data-driven approach beats out the traditional multiple choice testing or feedback forms by a long shot. Furthermore, it enables a much more formative way of assessment, thanks all the data points collected and available.

But simple knowledge acquisition isn’t simply enough to demonstrate corporate learning impact. After all, what’s the learning good for if no one applies it? Thus, it’s imperative that we combine learning analytics with performance metrics and indicators. By doing this, we’ll get a lot closer to real learning results. E.g. how did the sales training affect the sales staff routines, behaviours and performance? How much of the risky behaviour did the compliance training help to eliminate? Is our training on team management actually resulting in teams being managed better? By enabling this level of analytics, you can answer a lot more questions. Furthermore, you can also start asking questions that you were not even aware of.

In our work, learning analytics and data-driven approaches play a big part. While technology plays a big part, there’s obviously more to it. For instance, you want to be sure that you’re setting your corporate learning objectives to enable this. If you’re looking to move into more data-driven learning strategies or understand your training impact better, we can probably help you. Just reach out to us here.

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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.

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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.

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How to Support Classroom Training with Digital Tools?

How to support classroom training with digital tools

Using Digital Tools to Support Classroom Training

While digital learning has been growing and improving in quality steadily over the last several decades, classroom training still constitutes the majority of activities for many organisations. While digital learning will capture more and more market share due to the low efficacy and efficiency of classroom training, it’s certainly not going to replace all of it. For some topics, face-to-face is likely to remain the primary mode of instruction for a long time. However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t support those activities with digital tools. Here are some examples of digital tools to support classroom training.

To make it easier, let’s divide training activities into three based on their sequence: pre-session, in-session and post-session.

Using digital tools for pre-work and activities before classroom training

One of the problem with traditional classroom training is that participants come in unprepared. Furthermore, the trainer often doesn’t know them, their learning history or performance beforehand. This results in lower engagement, lack of personalization and decreased relevance. But proper use of digital tools before the training session can help trainers to make the sessions as effective as possible.

For instance, a good practice is to do some pre-work activities online before the actual session. While not necessarily significant, they help the learners to prepare for the upcoming and adjust mentally. They’ll also be able to think about the topic beforehand and come in with questions and ideas. To collect ideas, expectations and perform more in-depth needs analysis, you can also use digital tools. For instance, online surveys, digital feedback tools and social platforms are a great way of engaging the learners before the session.

What should be the goal of pre-work activities?

Overall, the goal of pre-session activities should be to understand as much about the learner as possible and engage them beforehand. This enables the trainer to provide a much more tailored training experience. Organisations who already utilise learning data to support their decision making should also make the insights available to trainers.

How to use digital tools inside the classroom?

Once inside the classroom, it’s important to use the time for active learning instead of just delivering information. Luckily, there are a multitude of different digital tools to support classroom training activities and to activate the learners. For the purpose of this piece, we are gonna leave powerpoint and other similar presentation software out.

To start out, live polling is a good way to engage people. By asking questions from the audience through their digital devices, there’s less pressure to speak up. Rather, learners can send in their thoughts through their phones – even anonymously if required. The results and input can then be displayed to the group in the form of e.g. automatically generated graphs or word clouds. This provides the learners the ability to understand others’ perceptions of the topic, without the need for extensive classroom discussion, which may be difficult in some cultures.

In addition, you can use digital tools and methods for on-the-spot assessment as well. They are also effective in collecting live feedback and potentially even in doing peer evaluation. While these are some of the more concrete tools, you can also use a variety of digital media. Short training videos, puzzles and small games can be equally good in activating the audience.

How to use digital tools after classroom training?

The challenge with corporate learning is that it’s often too transactional, due to lack of resources and commitment. You can have a great trainer deliver a truly engaging session, but still the forgetting curve is not on your side. Usually, there’s very little follow-up and statistically, you’ll still forget most of the things discussed. To support learning retention and help those experiences carry over to long-term memory, digital tools come in handy.

In addition to the traditional assessment, which is most efficient to do online, you should also provide learning reinforcements. A spaced learning approach, in which the learners are exposed to small bits of content over a period of time to activate their memory tends to work quite well. Different microlearning activities also tend to lend themselves quite well for this type of use. And finally, like in any learning activity, it’s important to keep collecting the feedback for continuous improvement.

Overall, it’s highly beneficial to support classroom training with digital tools. You’ll not only understand your learners better, but you can also improve learning results thanks to the increased engagement. So give it a try!

Do you need help in building the right kind of digital support resources for your classroom training? Our articles on flipped learning and blended learning can provide additional ideas. If you’d like more hands-on assistance, feel free to contact us and we can develop an approach with you.

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Understanding Corporate Learning Technology Needs

Corporate learning technology needs

Understanding Corporate Learning Technology Needs

Whenever organisations start looking into implementing learning technologies, they should carefully examine what is needed. Unfortunately, we often encounter organisations who choose technology based on “best practices” and seemingly for “keeping up with the Joneses”, rather than carefully analysing and understanding their own organisation, employees and stakeholders. To help to clear the clutter, here’s a rundown of the different types of learning technology implementations and what fuels them.

The different types of learning technology implementations

This type classification is based on the concept by Donald H Taylor.

Learning technology implementations can be divided into 4 different types based on the needs, goals and motivations.

  1. Updating organisational infrastructure
  2. Increasing L&D efficiency
  3. Increasing learning effectiveness
  4. Facilitating organisational change

Now, let’s look at all of these in more detail and try to understand some of the underlying corporate learning technology needs.

1. Updating organisational infrastructure

The first type of learning technology implementations focuses on supporting the business as usual. Needs related to e.g. risk management, compliance and formal assessments often result in this type of implementation. While all important goals, the focus is often not learning itself.

2. Increasing L&D efficiency

The second type of implementations focuses on making learning more efficient. In practice, this generally means cost savings, increased scalability, reduced administrative burden and shorter time requirements to roll out learning activities. While most implementations seem to fall into this category, they may not necessarily address the real corporate learning needs or the efficacy of learning processes themselves.

3. Increasing learning effectiveness

The third type of implementations are probably the hardest ones to manage. The real effect of learning on performance is not easily measured by conventional means, making the returns harder to prove. However, a data-driven approach to corporate learning and proper learning analytics help tremendously. The return doesn’t have to be strictly financial either, although understanding the business impact does help a lot. Also, if you can demonstrate impacts on retention or time to competence, you’re more likely to get buy-in.

4. Facilitating organisational change

Finally, the fourth type of implementations is evidently the most impactful one to the organisation. Often, these are cases where organisations use learning to support a cultural change. If you’re struggling to measure learning effectiveness on its own, good luck measuring that in connection to organisational change. As a results, thanks to the sheer difficulty of tangible metrics, these implementations are initiated from the top. However, as the buy-in from the senior management is in place from the beginning, L&D might have a much smoother sailing!

Overall, every organisation has different corporate learning technology needs. Consequently, the implementations and their goals are going to be different as well. With this classification, you’re hopefully able to recognise where you and your project stand and act accordingly.

Are you implementing learning technologies but not achieving success? Or are you planning to but don’t know where to start? We at Learning Crafters can help, just contact us. We primarily manage and facilitate type 3 and 4 implementations, but are open to providing advise on other kinds of projects as well.

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