How to Deliver Personalised Learning Experiences?

How to deliver personalised learning experiences?

How to Deliver Personalised Learning Experiences?

We have moved on to an era of personalization. One size no longer fits all (well, it never did…) and we’ve realized that. In our daily lives, everything is getting more and more personalized. And that’s increasingly the direction in the sphere of professional and corporate learning as well. While people are struggling with corporate training due to the lack of relevance and meaningfulness, they have also got access to many consumer grade learning services that offer highly personalised experiences. Having seen the greener pastures, people are nowadays looking to receive similar personalised opportunities in the workplace as well.

This naturally has become a challenge for corporate L&D teams as well, as delivering personalised learning experiences requires more effort than the one size fits all – approach. However, it’s not just a burden, as investing the effort required generally results in higher learner engagement and better results.

So, how should we go about all this? Here are a few fundamental concepts to consider for delivering effective personalised learning.

Personalised learning experiences should give control to the learners

Traditionally, corporate training and learning follows a top-down approach. There’s often a single, highly linear way of progressing through a course. Furthermore, there’s a tendency to pack simply too much content into learning activities to ensure there’s something for everyone. But none of this really works.

Rather, the learner should have much higher control on the what, how, when and where of the learning experience. Content should be personalised based on data, while providing omnichannel access to it. Furthermore, learning experiences should be “unrestricted” and non-linear, enabling employees to fill their knowledge gaps as they need.

Now, let’s look at a few important things in more detail and how to implement them.  

Let everyone learn at their own speed

We all learn slightly differently. As our experiences and prior exposure to topics varies by a lot, different individuals require different times to master a particular topic. While providing some kind of a time framework for learning progress is probably required, you shouldn’t control it too much. Let learners progress at speeds they are comfortable with, and provide them with the support they may need. After all, all jobs are different too and everyone doesn’t have the same time to commit to learning.

Stop pushing, focus on pulling

Mandatory is a dreadful word. Psychologically, making learning mandatory is not necessarily a good option. Unless the learning is truly great, and matches the needs and context of the employees perfectly, it’s likely that the employees feel you’re wasting their time. Hence, the learners don’t really learn and the L&D doesn’t get results.

Instead of ‘pushing’ content, organisations should focus on ‘pulling’ the learners to it. By making relevant resources available and known through data analytics, machine learning and recommendations, you’re putting the initiative on the learner. Thus, the uptake is of higher quality, due to the existing intrinsic motivation for the topic. By enabling choice, learning tends to also become more self-regulated, autonomous and continuous. It’s no longer a nuisance, but rather a meaningful medium of support for both the short and long term goals of the employees.

Align learning with employees’ objectives

Like previously mentioned, most of corporate learning fails because of lack of relevance. Employees don’t see the value in the training or realistic ways of implementing it at the workplace. Thus, there can be value in letting employees set their own learning objectives. Setting personal learning goals fosters ownership and responsibility. Furthermore, it also enables multiple definitions of success, instead of just the one “defined by the corporate”. After all, we learn for different reasons as well. Some are learning to climb the career ladder, some to enable lateral moves and some just to stay competent and up-to-date.

As you let the employees set their own objectives, you can also offer them personalised learning paths. People with different goals probably need different types of content and resources to tap into.

How does technology help in delivering personalised learning experiences?

While you can do a lot of the above even without technology, it certainly helps. Different learning technologies help to streamline the whole personalised learning experience delivery process. Advanced data capabilities available today help to ensure that the approach remains scalable, and minimal manual intervention is needed.

The leading platforms out there provide capabilities for curating personalised learning paths. They also provide ways of collecting learning data on an individual level. Connecting this with performance data gives an unparalleled picture of the individual’s learning and resulting effects in performance.

Final words

Personalised learning is not just a gimmick, but rather a topic requiring careful explorations. It not only helps to satisfy the demands of employees, but ultimately has the power to bring corporate learning activities to a whole new level of relevance and context, and consequently, results. So, start looking at your workforce as individuals with varying needs, rather than as grey mass represented by numbers on an excel file. And if you need help in that, or just someone to kick you in the right direction, we can help. 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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Rapid Skills Acquisition – Can Employees Learn Faster?

Rapid skills acquisition - train your employees faster

Rapid Skills Acquisition – Can Employees Learn Faster?

No one becomes a master overnight in anything. But when considering the context of workplace learning, do we really have to become masters? In most cases, the answer is no. When we introduce new skills and competency frameworks in the workplace, the bar is not that high. As long as the employee builds adequate knowledge to do the job better, the learning departments is happy. So, let’s look at rapid skills acquisition – the art of becoming competent in the least amount of time. Here are some fundamental factors that are important in rapid skills development. Additionally, we’ll outline ideas on how you can use a multichannel learning strategy to support your employees in the learning process.

If you want to read about rapid skills acquisition in more detail, we highly recommend you to look up Josh Kaufman and his book ‘The First 20 Hours’, from which this article also borrows from.  Here’s his shorter TEDx talk.

1. Setting the scope and aligning expectations

Skills are often very complex. Rather than being a large unity that you learn at once, they are more often comprised of small sub-skills that you can pick up gradually. Thus, it’s important to narrow down on the very specific (often sub-) skills that you want to learn. If your scope is too broad or lacks focus, you’re spreading your time over too many topics. However, rapid skills acquisition and learning do remain a very personal effort. Thus, we should look into the ways of personalised learning rather than trying to define skill-sets and competencies as an organisation.

In addition, it’s also beneficial to have access to experts to help in benchmarking the skill development path. An expert can help the novice to set expectations: how much could and should they learn in a given time frame? What constitutes competency on the topic? What’s the required level for working proficiency? Thanks to the digitalisation, expert access is easy. If you have experts within your own organisation, you could connect them to learners e.g. via social learning tools. If they are outside, you could curate a pool of experts and provide access to their material.

2. Building a resource library and diving in deep

For rapid skills acquisition – like any kind of learning – you need a baseline of knowledge and theoretical frameworks. Hence, you should compile a small library of learning resources that support your individual scope and goals. Consuming expert and high level material from early on can help in identifying the right learning paths to follow. Also, it will likely help to reduce a lot of the mistakes related to “learning the wrong thing”.

In the context of organisations, you could provide your employees with learning platforms that use artificial intelligence to curate content. Based on his preferences, experience etc. the learner would get an automatically curated library of content. If your learning platform can’t do that, you could (besides contacting us of course!) build something similar manually. Vetting and curating content helps your learners to identify the proper resources, reducing their downtime and increasing efficiency.

3. Practice and spaced repetition is key in rapid skills acquisition

In terms of learning new skills, practice goes far beyond passive learning in efficacy. Think about languages for example. You are very unlikely to learn a language without speaking it. However, you can develop very fast through immersion, where you’re exposed to the language and practice on a daily basis – with little to no “passive” learning! Likewise, when developing skills in corporates, what we really should do is to practice. Ironically, that’s where a lot of the L&D fails on the impact side too. When there’s not enough practice, employees don’t apply the newly learnt on the job due to uncertainty of themselves. For practice, there are a lot of potential tools like learning simulations, immersions, virtual- and augmented reality etc. But the best practice of course happens on a real job.

When you’ve settled with the modes of practice, you’ll arrive at another important thing. Practicing spaced repetition is instrumental for rapid skills acquisition. So, instead of trying to get perfect all in one go, you and your employees should spread out the effort. This lets the brain process the new information and form new neural links – and the effect is incredible.

Indeed, employees can learn faster. They just need the right environment for it. And when it comes to practice, a solid 20 hours will get you quite far, just like Josh Kaufman demonstrates.

Would you like your employees to learn faster? If so, are you providing them the right kind of environment to succeed in doing so? We can help you, whether that’s in digital platforms, content curation or learning strategy. Just contact us.

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5 Ideas for Leveraging Intrinsic Learning Motivation

Intrinsic Learning Motivation

Intrinsic Learning Motivation & 5 Ideas for Leveraging It in Digital Learning

When it comes to corporate learning, motivation is a tricky subject. As we know, motivation comes in two kinds – extrinsic and intrinsic. Learning itself is arguably an area where intrinsic motivation is prevalent. People find meaning in developing themselves and acquiring new skills. However, statistics of corporate learning don’t always support this line of thought. Motivating learners seems to be difficult, and consequently many organisations have adopted maybe an unnecessarily large focus on factors of extrinsic motivation – rewarding and punishing for success or failure in learning activities. However, as learning in its natural state is one of the most psychologically rewarding feelings, it might be good to step back slightly and consider what you can do to leverage your employees’ intrinsic learning motivation.

1. Shift control to the learner to develop a sense of responsibility

As it is, corporate learning tends be a very top-down exercise. From the learners’ point of view, it may seem that their professional and career development is dictated by someone with limited exposure and oversight to their actual needs and responsibilities. Does it have to be that way? Not necessarily. Let the employees have more control over their own learning. Let them make choices on what, how and when to learn. When you give freedom of choice, you’ll evoke a natural sense of responsibility, which goes a long way to to secure intrinsic learning motivation. To take the idea one step further, you could also enable the sharing of user-generated learning content.

2.  Ensure learning content is relevant and applicable

A major hurdle in learning engagement is that employees don’t see the content as relevant. Often, the organisations may have themselves to blame for over-reliance on one-size-fits-all and off-the-shelf programs. If the content moves on an abstract level, learners are more likely to have a hard time identifying ways to implement it in their daily jobs. Thus, it’s vitally important to spare some thought on the real-life applications of the given learning. For practical skills, tools like learning simulations provide a great medium of linking the training with the daily jobs.

3. Give constant and constructive feedback

Giving learning feedback also goes a long way for intrinsic learning motivation. With proper feedback, learners can enjoy a sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, it helps them to understand when they’ve made mistakes and how to improve on them. Try to avoid negativity and bestowing a sense of failure upon the learners and remember to level the feedback with the complexity of content.

4. Encourage collaboration and sharing for intrinsic learning motivation

Learning doesn’t, and probably shouldn’t, be an individual effort. From a motivational standpoint, the feeling of contributing to a larger social context, i.e. social presence is powerful. Whereas the shift in control is likely to help learners develop a sense of personal responsibility, this helps them to develop a shared responsibility. You can use both collaborative and competitive elements to achieve the goal. Collaborative learning activities help to engage through social commitment, whereas different gamification techniques can help to foster friendly competition.

5. Personalise learning experiences

Finally, personalisation is yet another powerful tool in sustaining intrinsic learning motivation. The “difficulty” of content comes across as one of the most important factors. If the learning content difficulty completely matches the employees’ current skill level, they are not likely to engage deeply. Instead, you’ll want to give your learners a challenge which they can overcome to get the sense of accomplishment fuelling the intrinsic motivation. To provide a diverse group of learners with the content of the right difficulty, you may consider an adaptive learning design method.

Are you having trouble motivating your learners? We can help by auditing your learning content and delivery and provide tailored suggestions on improving both. Just contact us

 

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Future of Instructor-led Training in the Digital Era

Future of Instructor-led training

Future of Instructor-led Training in the Digital Era

Instructor-led training (ILT) has been a major medium of learning delivery in corporates for a long time. However, during its long history, instructor-led training and the methodologies used have not evolved all that much. As a result, ILT is struggling with problems of sustaining results, scalability and flexibility. Furthermore, ILT is having a hard time aligning with L&D trends such as personalisation and performance-centricity. Hence, we thought it might be useful to present some tips on leveraging technology to nurture a paradigm shift towards better ILT.

How can we produce better results with ILT?

The problem with ILT is that it tends to be rather transactional. Due to financial and time constraints, corporates cannot have trainers spend several sessions focusing on learners’ individual problems. Furthermore, the learning experience is not spaced over time. Hence, new knowledge is easily forgotten, and results remain poor. To produce better results, training needs to adopt a more blended approach, which also helps with the scalability and flexibility.

A good blended learning approach can be a mix of digital learning activities and instructor-led training. Digital elements such as refreshers, discussions, microlearning and evaluations can be used to support the learning over time. With a careful structuring of learning journeys, employees come to ILT sessions already tuned in to the topic. Hence, it’s much easier for the trainer to pick up the pace and create impact. Furthermore, trainer-led facilitation can continue even after the session.

Instructor-led training 2.0 – facilitating across platforms

To sustain a behavioural change in the learners – to produce real results – requires continuity. Behavioural change doesn’t happen overnight or with a single training activity. Therefore, it’s important that we keep the engagement going. Instructor-led facilitation is a natural way of doing this. Instead of losing more productivity to the classroom, trainers should equip themselves to meet the learners across platforms.

For instance, once the ILT session has gone by, trainers can move to social media tools. Ideally, your digital learning platform comes with a social learning feature of managing discussions. If not, don’t you worry! You don’t need expensive tools to facilitate. It’s highly likely that a vast majority of your learners are already using social media and communication tools (e.g. WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook). You should tap into that by having trainers facilitate further learning across those platforms – the employees are already there! Sure, it’s not quite as sophisticated as integrated social learning tools with powerful analytics capabilities. Yet, even small things can have big impact. The important thing is that trainers are making themselves available for performance support, the ‘Pull’ type of learning.

Personalising Instructor-led training

Finally, the personalisation problem of ILT is an area in which you can go a long way with proper technological support. In learning, one size doesn’t fit all, it never has. Yet, highly structured ILT activities are aiming to do just that.  Personalised learning is all about understanding the learners’ context: what is relevant? What helps them succeed in their daily jobs? What kind of experiences and backgrounds are the learners building on?

Advanced learning data capabilities and analytics help tremendously in this regard. Trainers can zoom in on each individuals’ skills development in real-time, not forgetting non-learning experiences. This way, trainers are able to deliver learning catering to each individual’s unique needs. This helps in sustaining the paradigm shift from knowledge to performance focused learning and ultimately, better results.

Are you using technology to support your organisation on its way to the future of instructor-led training? If you think you need help, you can always schedule a free consultation with us. 

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User-Centred Learning Design – Using the 5Di Model

User-centred learning design 5Di

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

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

The 5Di User-centred learning design model

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

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

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

1. Define

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

2. Discover

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

3. Design

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

4. Develop

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

5. Deploy

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

6. Improve

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

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

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

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3 Digital Approaches to Facilitate Informal Learning

Informal Learning Digital Approach

3 Digital Approaches to Facilitate Informal Learning

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

1. Creating communities for Social Learning Experiences

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

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

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

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

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

3. Enable learning ownership and user-generated content

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

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

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

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Learner-Centric Design – Deliver Engaging Learning Experiences

Learner-centric design

Learner-Centric Design – Deliver Engaging Learning Experiences

Traditionally, corporate learning has been a rather top-down function: the company defines the right knowledge, benchmarks and learning goal posts. However, in today’s environment, a top-down approach doesn’t meet the requirements of the modern learner. Corporate learners today expect companies to provide personalised and tailored opportunities catering to their specific professional needs. Furthermore, with the current pace of change, a top-down approach is too slow to respond to the constantly evolving needs of the daily business. Moving to a more learner-centric design approach comes with multiple benefits: increased engagement, more self-directedness and cognitive presence. But most importantly, companies can cater to the unique learning needs of their employees and help them to succeed in their jobs. Here are a few cornerstone steps you can take to understand your learners better and provide activities with learner-centric design.

1. Know your learner

The first initial point of failure for learning initiatives is relevance. It’s easy to take a one-size-fits-all approach and roll out of-the-shelf learning activities across the organisation. This leads to overlaps, inefficiency and motivation slump when learners need to complete topics they already know or that are not relevant to their jobs. Thus it’s important to understand who your learners are. Where do they work and what’s their role and seniority? What’s their previous learning history in different subject matter areas? How do they prefer to learn and what are the most effective delivery methods for them?

This type of information is not hard to collect. There’s a lot of easy tools for collecting information, feedback and employee input. Hopefully, you have most of this kind of information recorded in your information systems. Ideally, you are also leveraging learning data to understand your employees better (with e.g. xAPI).

2. Personalise learning activities

Once you have got to know your learner, you should start personalising the learning activities. To excel with learner-centric design, you should also explore different modalities. Some learners may prefer video based content, whereas others require a more collaborative learning activities. Naturally, the most effective method of instruction may vary by the topic. Once you’ve grasped the modalities, you should start personalising for different skill levels and existing competencies. By branching your learning content, you enable competent individuals to skip through certain segments and provide more rudimentary materials to the beginners. You can use historical learning data or pre-activity assessments to map out the existing skill level and competence of the employee and guide them to a “bespoke” batch of learning activities accordingly. This enables them to get learning material of the right difficulty, in the right format, at the right time.

3. Enable self-direction and develop shared commitments to learning

Even with highly personalised learning and great programs, it would be foolish to believe that we can cater to all the learning needs of our employees. There will always be a lot of topics which they would like to learn more about – and you shouldn’t restrict them. Instead of confining the learning to corporate uploaded content in an LMS, let the learners take control and ownership of their own learning. Encourage them to venture out of the traditional space (e.g. the LMS), to look for resources online or subject-matter experts within the organisation. And recognise them for it.

Furthermore, encourage them to share their findings or subject matter with others in the organisation. Social learning helps the employees to update their skills at the speed of the business, something that a top-down approach simply cannot answer to. By shifting to a learner-centric process, where the employees can learn from each other instead of just the trainers, you are developing a shared commitment in learning. The employees grow to understand that their participation and activity matters in making the learning successful. In fact, the employees form a core part of the learning process. They help in sourcing and curating content and engaging and guiding other learners.

4. Use constant feedback for learner-centric design

The final thing we need to acknowledge to be successful in learner-centric design is that no product is perfect at launch. No matter how much analytics we run or how well we know our learners, content always needs iteration. Hence, it’s important to establish a strong culture of feedback across the learning activities – in both ways. Naturally, you’re guiding the learners and their progress with personalised feedback. However, it’s equally important that you’re also collecting feedback from them. This helps you point out and define areas of improvement at both activity and content level. When learning content becomes redundant, the people who apply it in their daily jobs are the first to notice. When the delivery method of a program is not optimal, the learner is the one who suffers first.

To take it further, you can also use feedback to move to a more pragmatic needs-based approach to training needs analysis. Let the learners have a say on defining the needs and learning activities to be provided. This helps to get them the content they truly need, resulting in a natural increase in engagement.

If you’d like to get started with more learner-centric design approaches in your organisations, we can help you in providing personalised content. We can also help you onboard tools for social learning to develop that shared commitment in your workforce. Just contact us

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Flipped Learning for Corporates – Gaining Value, Efficiency & Effectiveness

Flipped learning corporate

Flipped Learning for Corporates – Gaining Value, Efficiency & Effectiveness

For the past ten years, the education world has undergone a shift away from traditional top-down approaches. One of the emerging methods of education delivery is flipped learning, also known as the flipped classroom. In the flipped learning approach, instructional content is delivered outside of the classroom, whereas activities shift to inside the classroom. Hence, whereas learners used to study theory at school and practice at home, they now do the opposite. They now consume digital resources, such as lectures, video and readings and participate in discussions on their own time. Thereafter, they come to the classroom session to collaborate, practice and apply the knowledge in a group setting.

How corporates can benefit from a flipped learning approach?

The flipped classroom approach has made its way to the corporate world as well. There’s a lot to gain for organisations who can effectively incorporate a flipped approach to their L&D:

1. Improved Learning Effectiveness

With a flipped learning approach, you’re exposing your employees to the instructional content and activities over a longer period of time, similar to blended learning. Furthermore, by injecting them with the theoretical knowledge beforehand, they come into face-to-face sessions more prepared. This enables your trainers to shift from lectures to workshops. The employees can focus on collaborating, practising and applying the knowledge in a risk-free environment. The more application opportunities you give them, the more likely it is that you’ll see behavioural change (Kirkpatrick level 3, anyone?). Furthermore, flipped learning automatically becomes more personalised, as trainers have more time to dedicate to individual employees.

2. Higher learning efficiency

Another great thing is that you’re also getting more bang for your buck. You’re saving real money by delivering the instructional content in digital formats. With flipped learning, you’re also saving the time of both the trainers and employees. Trainers no longer need to waste their time on curating and delivering the low-value add instructional content. The employees can spend more time being productive at their jobs, instead of sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture which they could do more efficiently online. Furthermore, as you enable opportunities and activities to practice, make mistakes, fail and familiarise, you help to ensure that the learning carries forward to your employees’ daily jobs. A greater impact with less resources – that’s efficiency!

3. Increased value-add to your learners

Perhaps the best thing about flipped learning is that it doesn’t only work to boost corporate efficiency and effectiveness. In fact, the method also delivers value-add to your learners. Many employees value the face-to-face aspect of training, but not for the sake of training itself. Rather, they probably value the networking, discussion, experience sharing and collaboration opportunities that happen face-to-face. Nothing to do with the instructional content delivery! By enabling a flipped learning approach and consequently more workshop-like facilitative classroom activities, you’re giving them just that. They can share best practices, learn from their peers and put things to practice. Your employees will also value the personalised attention that the trainer finally has time for. The trainer can provide performance support, coach and mentor them, instead of just instructing.

So, how should I get started with flipped learning?

To get started with flipped learning, a simple 3-step approach is a good first stepping stone.

  1. Identify the most critical activities, where your learners need simulative practice opportunities to support behavioural change – do these face-to-face, let your trainers become facilitators
  2. Identify the instructional content that you can deliver more efficiently through online, mobile or other self-paced formats – digitalise that.
  3. Develop learning into personalised journeys, supporting the digital instructional content with application-focused classroom activities – take advantage of social learning and continuous reinforcement of knowledge

Still not quite sure? We can help you to design effective flipped learning journeys, leveraging technology to get the most value out of face-to-face. Start by contacting us!

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Fostering Growth Mindset with Your (Digital) Learning Strategy

Growth Mindset

Fostering Growth Mindset with Your (Digital) Learning Strategy

In today’s business, agility, resilience and the willingness to take risks defines the best and most innovative organisations. To achieve a culture embracing challenges, change and risks, organisations need to nurture a Growth Mindset in their employees. Professor Carol Dweck has done extensive research on individuals and companies, examining the performance differences between a fixed mindset and growth mindset. In short, a fixed mindset seems to be holding back change and innovation, whereas organisations with a growth mindset are able to truly embrace the rapidly changing environment.

You can read more about Carol Dweck and Fixed vs. Growth Mindset here. 

To drive the mindset change from fixed to growth, learning and development plays an important part. Everything starts from the mindset and strategy in this regard as well. Hence, here are 4 important things you should incorporate into your learning strategy to enable growth mindset.

Effort praise vs. intelligence praise

In her research, Prof. Dweck found out that people who are praised for their intelligence (“you’re so smart”) become much less prone to taking on risks and new challenges. They fear losing their status of intelligence or recognition if they don’t excel in the next challenge. On the other hand, people who have been praised for their effort (“you worked hard and did well, but could you improve further?”) are more likely to develop a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset tend to embrace all the challenges and difficulties that come their way.

Naturally, as a business, you are likely better off with people with a growth mindset. Hence, it’s important to start recognising effort instead of intelligence. This starts from the feedback culture. You should always keep the learners on their toes – remind them that there’s always room for improvement and more to learn. Encourage the top performers in any learning activity to seek out more advanced knowledge. Meanwhile, encourage the bottom performers to try again, possibly with different approaches.

Therefore, you should implement constant and continuous feedback streams across your learning – focusing on effort. Digital platforms provide great ways of providing such feedback. Furthermore, enabling constant, effort-centered feedback is very easy to implement across all digital learning content. However, no matter how you go about it, remember not to encourage effort the wrong way. You don’t want your employees to keep trying repeatedly and blindly without seeing any results. Instead, you should encourage them to seek new ways of doing things and achieving their learning goals.

Reward the learning journey instead of the end result

On a related note, organisations should also consider rewarding the effort put into learning. Often, it is easy to reward top performers who e.g. have scored the highest in a formal test. However, if the existing skill level of these people has already been high, it’s likely that very little development has happened. Hence, you may easily fall back to intelligence praise. Instead of rewarding just top performers, you should perhaps look at development on a wider level. You should ask yourself which of your employees have developed the most. They may not be the best yet, but they have likely exercised the most effort. Thus, you should recognise the effort reminding them that everything is within their reach as long as they work hard for it. This is key in developing the growth mindset.

Personalise learning opportunities

We all know that learning is a highly individual thing – people learn in different styles and have different preferences. Therefore, your L&D activities should be more learner-centric rather than company-centric. Instead of having a single, corporate-defined pathway to learning success, you should enable people to work on their strengths. Kinetic learners will likely struggle with traditional approaches, whereas highly motivated individuals may lose interest in learning formats without social elements or discovery.

Therefore, it’s important to personalise both the learning journeys as well as learning content delivery. Digital provides great opportunities for personalising learning journey’s according to individual’s skill levels, learning styles etc. Whenever someone’s struggling, encourage them to try alternative approaches, and provide supporting resources. If someone is not learning in a classroom, try experiential or digital delivery – and vice versa. This also communicates trust to your staff – they’ll know that they have an opportunity to try again if they fail initially. And that’s what growth mindset is all about.

Embrace mistakes and enable a risk-free learning environment

Finally, failure and mistakes are things that should be embraced rather than avoided in the corporate learning space. Overall, making mistakes is one of the strongest drivers of learning. Surely no employee is wilfully making mistakes and adversely affecting the business.

Enabling a risk-free learning culture is important. You should never punish employees for mistakes or imperfections. Hence, you should build all learning activities in a way that they can be re-done. If an employee scores low in assessment or doesn’t get a good review, let them try again. Especially in the realm of digital learning, repetition costs no extra. If you have areas of training which are hard to do train live in the fear of making mistakes (e.g. frontline jobs), you could consider digital learning simulations or immersions.

All in all, the best thing L&D professionals can do to foster growth mindset development is to avoid putting people in boxes. Every one of your employees has the potential to be a high performer (if not, you might revisit your hiring decisions), they just need to find their own way. And you as an employee should provide them to tools to do that.

Are you focusing your recognition on intelligence rather than effort? Would you like to find out how you can leverage digital on providing personalised learning with effort-centric recognition? Contact us to find out more.  

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