How to Make Your Corporate Learning Relevant? And Why It Matters

How to make your corporate learning relevant?

How to Make Your Corporate Learning Relevant? And Why It Matters

One of the bigger problems hindering the impactfulness of corporate learning is not lack quality content or great delivery methods but relevance. Employees often see the corporate just assigning them new training, with little consideration to whether it actually helps them or not. Furthermore, many organisations still do employ a one-size-fits-all type of approach to learning, which is setting up for failure. However, many are realising that providing employees with relevant learning opportunities is crucial. Thus, let’s look at firstly why relevance matters in learning, and then how we can deliver something that truly resonates with the audience.

Why relevance matters in corporate learning?

Relevant learning is crucial for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s the way our brains work from learning standpoint. Relevant and meaningful activities that resonate emotionally and connect to existing knowledge help form new neural connections and pathways and build long-term memory storage.

Secondly, it’s a matter of engagement as well. Learners that don’t “connect” with the topic or material are much more likely to disengage, resulting in low retention. Furthermore, they might even lose the motivation to try (and it’s harder to win them back afterwards).

Thirdly, relevant learning is important because the fundamental goal of corporate learning is not just to acquire knowledge, but to transfer it into new work practices and behaviours. And change is hard. If we want to elicit behavioural change, we have to address the specific situations and challenges of the employees, rather than simply providing facts and information and leaving them to figure out the hardest part themselves.

How to deliver relevant learning?

So, how could we deliver learning experiences, whether online or face-to-face, that overcome the challenges above? Much of it deals with personalising learning. While that’s another article’s worth on its own, we thought we’d pick a few fundamental things that are easily forgotten.

  • Go learner-centric: designing and developing your learning experiences in a more learner-centric way helps to tackle a lot of the challenges. Spend time listening to your learners, their challenges, problems, contexts and situations. Involve them in the process as much as possible. Don’t deliver “content”, deliver relevant learning experiences that help them succeed.
  • Create scaffolding. Use the information and data you gain from your learner-centric design process to create scaffolding. Relate what is being learnt to the learners’ previous knowledge, learning history, professional experience, job functions, market areas etc.
  • Keep it fresh: remember to revise and update your activities regularly. The subject matter doesn’t necessarily change, but the context will constantly. Keep your examples, scenarios and cases current, which in turn helps in the scaffolding.

Does technology play a part in this?

One of the bigger promises of today’s and tomorrow’s learning technology is the ability to deliver more personalised learning everyone. While tools like AI are still relatively new in the learning and education space, there’s already quite a lot of good that can be done today.

At the very least, the new abilities to collect learning data and determine real learning needs help to fuel the learner-centric design process. Increasingly many learning environments also use algorithms to recommend relevant learning content and personalise the experience. Some more advanced ones venture into adaptive learning, where the individual learning path shifts based on a number of factors.

But even if you don’t have access to such tools or resources to buy into such technologies, don’t worry. Fundamentally, it’s all about doing the simple things right, and spending time to figure out the real needs. One thing that gets you pretty far: talk to your people!

Final words

Overall, relevance seems like a much undervalued factor in learning. However, the science and research is pretty clear: you need relevant learning to get results. In the corporate world, that’s even more evident, as studies have shown that people learn the new, but still easily revert back to the old ways of doing things. So, consider starting to help your employees and learners succeed by focusing on what helps them. And if you need help in going learner-centric, or leveraging technology to design more relevant experiences, we can help. Just drop us a note here.

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How to Help Learners Succeed with Personal Learning Analytics?

How to use personal learning analytics to help learners succeed?

Personal Learning Analytics – Helping Learners with Their Own Data

Generally, the use of data and analytics in workplace learning is reserved for a small group senior people. Naturally, learning analytics can provide a lot of value for that group. For instance, data-driven approaches to training needs analysis and measuring corporate learning are quickly gaining ground out of the need to prove the impact of workplace learning initiatives. However, there could be further use cases for those analytical powers. One of them is helping the learners themselves with personal learning analytics.

What is ‘personal learning analytics’?

Like the title may give away, personal learning analytics is just that: individualised information made available to the learner. The major difference with conventional “managerial” analytics is that most of the information is about the learner in question. Whenever that’s not the case, the information of others would always be anonymised. A few exceptions could include e.g. gamification elements which display user names and achievements. So, effectively, it’s all about giving the user access to his/her own data and anonymised “averages”.

How can we use personal analytics to help learners?

One of the challenges in conventional approaches to workplace learning is that the process is not very transparent. Often, the organisation controls the information, and the learners may not even gain access. However, a lot of this information could help the learners. Here are a few examples.

  • Comparing performance against others. While cutthroat competition is probably not a good idea, and learners don’t necessarily want others to know how they fared, they can still benefit from being able to compare their performance against the groups. Hence, they’ll know if they’re falling behind and know to adjust their effort/seek new approaches.
  • Understanding the individual learning process. All of us would benefit greatly from information about how we learn. For instance, how have we progressed, how are we developing as well as how and when do we engage with learning. Luckily, personal learning analytics could tell us about all of that. The former helps to keep us motivated, while the latter helps us to identify patterns and create habits of existing behaviour.
  • Access to one’s learning history. We are learning all the time and all kinds of things. However, we are not necessarily very good at keeping track ourselves. If we just could pull all that data into one place, we could have a real-time view into what we have learned in the past. Potentially, this could enable us to identify new skills and capabilities – something that the organisation would likely be interested in too.

Towards self-regulated learning

Across the globe, organisations are striving to become more agile in their learning. One key success factor for such transformation is the move towards more self-regulated learning. However, achieving that is going to be difficult without slightly more democratised information.

If the learners don’t know how they are doing, they cannot really self-regulate effectively. And no, test scores, completion statistics and annual performance reviews are not enough. Learning is happening on a daily basis and the flow of information and feedback should be continuous. Thankfully, the technology to provide this sort of individual learning analytics and personalised dashboards is already available. For instance, xAPI and Learning Record Stores (LRS) enable us to store and retrieve this type of “big learning data” and make it available to the learners. Some tools even provide handy out-of-the-box dashboards.

On a final note, we do acknowledge that the immediate applications of “managerial” learning analytics likely provide greater initial value to any given organisation. And if you’re not already employing learning analytics to support your L&D decision making, you should start. However, once we go beyond that stage, providing access to personal learning analytics may be a good next step that also helps to facilitate a more modern learning culture in the organisation.

If you’re eager about learning analytics, whether on an organisational or personal level, but think you need help in figuring out what to do, we can help. Just drop us a note here, and let’s solve problems together.

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How to Move Towards a Resource-based Learning Strategy?

Moving towards resource-based learning strategy in the workplace

How to Move Towards a Resource-based Learning Strategy?

In modern workplace learning, speed and flexibility are more important than ever. Meanwhile, employees expect learning to be more personalised and happen at their terms rather than the corporate’s. Conventional approaches to training, such as lengthy classroom sessions or elearning courses are often ill-suited for the real learning needs of the modern worker. Overall, the highly structured, one-size-fits-all formal training is coming to the end its road. So what does the future hold then? Well, many things, that’s for sure. But one major paradigm shift in the way we view corporate learning is the shift towards resource-based learning strategies. Let’s look at that shift in a bit more detail.

What’s a resource-based learning strategy all about?

So, let’s first tackle what’s changing and the factors driving the change. First of all, workplaces are increasingly performance-focused, and that’s affecting learning as well. The need to prove the benefits for performance has been partly fuelled by L&D’s inability to use data and prove the impact of different learning activities. Secondly, skills and knowledge are changing and expiring faster than ever. The employees naturally need to keep up, but don’t have the luxury of time on their side. Thirdly, we’ve realised that one size doesn’t fit all, we can’t force people to learn and a whole lot of learning is not being applied by the employees. A resource-based learning strategy can help to address all these issues.

Here are a few key shifts in thinking and considerations when moving towards resource-oriented learning.

Focusing on helping the employees to do their jobs better

The ironic thing about conventional corporate learning is that it sometimes actually hinders our employees’ ability to do their jobs. We take them away from their jobs. We have them spend their time on learning things that we think benefit the company. Furthermore, we often get carried away with competencies, curricula and courses. But actually, all that matters is that we help the employees do their jobs better. Hence, instead of inconveniencing them with learning, we should build and curate learning that helps them to carry out specific tasks. These kinds of resources have to naturally be quick to access and consume. Time is money. From a learning standpoint, conveying information that the learner can apply immediately is also of much higher learning value than going through abstract concepts that are quite remote from the job at hand.

Allowing people to direct their own learning

Traditionally, companies manage their training in quite a top-down manner. However, more learner-centric approaches to people development may garner better results. One of the key aspects of a successful resource-based learning strategy is the learners’ ability to influence their own development paths and activities they uptake. Allowing people to choose which learning resources to consume and when (often at the point of need) ensures that the material is always relevant and can often be applied into practice immediately. Moreover, learners have a much higher share of intrinsic motivation, compared to L&D team having to lure them over with “artificial” techniques like gamification.

Arguably, modern employees are quite well aware of the fact that they need to take a proactive stance in their own development. This is evident from the statistics on the free time spent on learning various things. A resource-based learning strategy empowers the employees to take (to an extent) charge of their own development. The responsibility of the organisation is to provide the resource base for it. Well-curated resources help cut through the clutter, and find the “right” content.

Final thoughts

Corporate learning has for a long time over-emphasised formal training. However, as traditional approaches start to fall short, we need to refine our strategies. The general need to shift from courses and curricula to resources seems evident. In fact, leading organisations are already implementing learning initiatives to empower their employees unlike ever before. All in all, the shift in philosophy is a fundamental one. Hopefully, this post provides a baseline of concepts to explore further from. And should you need help in future proofing your organisational learning strategy, we are happy to help. Just contact us here.

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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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