Towards a Modern Learning Culture – Enabling Digital Transformation

Modern corporate learning culture

Towards a Modern Learning Culture – Enabling Digital Transformation

With the current pace of change in the business environment, learning has become a major factor determining organisational success. While businesses – and learning and development in particular – are going through digital transformation, learning culture has emerged as an organisational success factor. Organisations that are learning at the speed of change are much more likely to survive in the hyper competitive environment. Therefore, we wanted to share some of the cornerstone elements of great learning cultures. While adoption of new technologies into the flow of learning remains important, there’s limited success to be had without a modern, agile learning culture.

A great organisational learning culture needs the whole organisation

Great learning cultures don’t emerge without buy-in and commitment from all levels of the organisation. It starts from the leadership. Signing off on projects and writing checks for the L&D team is not enough. Rather, the leadership must become actively involved in the learning processes and champion change initiatives. Furthermore, it’s important to integrate learning into the workflow and day-to-day operations. This requires commitment from the line managers. Finally, you need the employees to actually take advantage of the learning opportunities you provide to them.

But how would you go about accomplishing this? Firstly, a data-driven approach to learning should help you to link learning to performance, communicate its importance and secure commitment for learning from your leaders. Secondly, learning analytics will also help you to communicate the behavioural impact on people to line managers. If you demonstrate that you can make operations more efficient through learning, you won’t have a hard time securing commitment. Finally, you can work to ensure learning uptake by your employees through collaborative approaches. Switch traditional top-down learning design methods to more learner-centric ones. A great learning culture should attempt to provide personalised learning opportunities to each employee.

Great learning cultures embrace inclusivity and equal opportunity

If organisations want to truly engage their employees with learning, they should adopt an inclusive approach to it. By providing inclusive and equal opportunities of learning for all employees, regardless of their place in the organisational chart, you are making a big statement. Instead of treating learning as a pastime of a select few, you’re letting your people know that they’ll have all the opportunities they need to develop within the organisation.

Naturally, it’s not feasible for commercial enterprises to sit their employees in training on a free-for-all basis. However, digital learning delivery provides a great way of giving everyone equal access to learning – without jeopardising productivity. Thus, the employees who want to develop themselves can do so, at their own time and pace. A commitment to opportunities across the board goes a long way for developing a great learning culture.

Empowerment is key for all learning initiatives

If you don’t empower your employees, you’re not going to stay competitive. That applies to learning and development as well. There are two primary means for empowering your learners to succeed.

First, you need to start curating learning on your employees’ terms. All organisations engage probably engage in some sort of training needs analysis. Yet, only very few really make their employees a part of the learning process at the design stages. Failing to do that usually result in learning interventions that are of questionable relevance, and may even fail to address the real problems. Hence, we highly recommend adopting a co-creation approach to learning design. Make your employees an integral part of the process; use their expertise, subject matter and knowledge of the day-to-day jobs to design truly impactful learning experiences.

Second, the perhaps even more important factor to learning culture is making sure your employees can also apply the learning. When advising companies on learning transformation, we’ve found out this is a problem that not even many organisations are aware of. They may be producing very high quality learning experiences, but the employees may remain unsatisfied. When surveying the employees independently, we often find out they feel they don’t have reasonable means of applying the things learnt. This could be due to corporate culture, lack of line manager commitment, office politics or fear of going out of one’s comfort zone. That’s fundamentally an appalling situation, since no matter how the L&D team tries to twist it, there’s just no learning ROI.

Conclusion

Overall, the learning culture of an organisation is at the core of determining the success of learning- and digital transformation. To us, the importance of culture even exceeds that of the learning technology stacks. You may invest in all state-of-the-art tools, but if you don’t empower and engage across the organisation, you’re likely not to see much in terms of results.

Are you aware of the real barriers to learning in your organisation? Do you need advise on digital transformation of learning or nurturing a learning culture? If yes, feel free to contact us for consultation.

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Marketing Corporate Learning Internally – Best Practices

Marketing Corporate Learning Programs Internally

How to Excel in Marketing Corporate Learning Internally?

Nowadays, we in the corporate learning field are fighting for employees’ and stakeholders’ attention. Due to their busy schedules among various other factors, employees’ need a bit of a pull to embrace learning opportunities. This is especially true for voluntary programs. So, how do create that pull? How do we convince the learners that the programs we provide are worth participating in? This is an area in which L&D professionals should look into the field of marketing. To help you get started, we’ve compiled here some best practices on marketing your corporate learning internally.

Using key opinion leaders to spread your message

One of the current trends in marketing is the use of well-known influencers to deliver and reinforce your message. For marketing corporate learning internally, you should likewise look into your organisation. Firstly, identify the individuals who your employees perceive as key opinion leaders within their teams, units or the business as a whole. Then, engage them to help you deliver the message. It can happen with word-of-mouth, social media, or on other mediums. Once the employees see the internal influencers vouching for the learning, they are likely more inclined to partake.

Leveraging user testimonials in marketing your corporate learning

Another highly leveraged tactic is to employe user- and peer reviews of content. Recommendations from one’s own personal network constantly top the ranks for the most effective way of user (or consumer) behaviour. Therefore, it makes sense to leverage them in marketing corporate learning as well. Your learning tools or learning management systems (LMS) might already come with possibilities for user reviews and recommendations on content. If not, you could also leverage internal social media or workplace productivity tools to display ratings, testimonials and reviews. Additionally, enabling users to rate content can tremendously help the L&D team to identify the most sought-after training topics.

Engaging line managers for focused promotion efforts

Further, as more and more learning happens in the flow of work, it’s important to engage people in the daily context and environment of work as well. Engaging the line managers who oversee the people on a daily basis is a good idea. Hence, consider spending a bit of time with the line managers to make them aware of what kind of learning activities there are on offer, as well as their benefits and relevance to the team in question. Once you’ve got the line managers on your side, things happen a lot smoother, as people tend to listen to recommendations from them. However, remember that the learning activities have to be efficient. You’re effectively stealing people from the line managers and taking them away from productive work. And quite frankly, most managers don’t seem to like that. So make sure your learning is delivered as efficiently as feasible.

Communicating the learning benefits clearly

Finally, a key factor in getting all of this right is communication. If you wish to be successful in marketing corporate learning programs internally, you need to communicate well. This is especially true for communicating the benefits of the learning to your employees and stakeholders. At this point, we often advise to steer away from the learning objectives. Because no one really cares. As much time as you’ve spent honing the learning objectives, the fact is that they’re irrelevant to most of the audience. The employees are looking for “what’s in it for me”. That’s one of the questions you should be answering; how does this learning program or activity benefit them personally? How about professionally? What kind of opportunities can this learning unlock for them in the organisation?

Following these steps, you should expect an uptake in your learning participation. However, a detrimental factor to remember doing this – like any marketing – is that you must deliver on the promises. If learners don’t like the learning activities or find them meaningful, there’s little you can do. Hence, make sure that you’re doing the best you can in developing engaging learning. A learner-centric design process can help tremendously in achieving that.

If you feel like you could use help in marketing corporate learning internally, we are happy to help. We can also assist you in developing more learner-centric design processes. Just contact us to find out more. 

 

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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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5 Quick Tips on Giving Learning Feedback

Learning Feedback

5 Quick Tips on Giving Effective Learning Feedback

Feedback is an integral part of any learning process, whether instructor-led or self-paced. With effective learning feedback, you can increase engagement, motivation and growth in your learners. With the plethora of digital tools available today for seamlessly giving feedback, there’s no excuse in doing so. Furthermore, feedback is not difficult to incorporate into eLearning courses either. Most of the content authoring software come with easy tools for feedback. Also, modern digital learning environments increasingly support creative ways of feedback, such as gamification. However, even with all these tools, it’s important to remember what constitutes good learning feedback. Here are 5 quick tips on it.

1. Feedback needs to be continuous, but not interfering

Ideally, every learning activity, whether a video, storyboard or a classroom session, should have feedback. Continuity in giving learning feedback helps to guide the learning process. However, you should give feedback at natural milestones, such as the end of an activity. If you start giving out feedback midway, you have a risk of interfering with the learning flow of the employee.

2. Learning feedback must be about the activity and performance

Naturally, when giving feedback, you should focus on the activity and performance, not the learner as an individual. This is more of a problem in instructor-led sessions, where instructor may fall subject to attribution bias. Understand that everyone can improve through effort, and performance improvement is the thing that matters.

3. Use Effort Praise in your learning feedback

Effort praise vs. intelligence praise is a Growth Mindset concept. By verbally structuring your feedback for effort (e.g. “You worked hard, but it wasn’t quite enough yet. Could you find another way to do this?”) instead of intelligence (e.g. “Perfect. You’re are the best in the group”), you are developing a mindset that embraces challenges and risk and is creative and innovative.

4. Provide reasoning and guidance, not only scoring

When designing learning feedback loops, it’s important to explain the reasoning for a particular type of feedback. Instead of just telling the learner whether they got it right or not, explain why. Why was the answer wrong? Why was the solution to the problem not appropriate? In fact, it’s often good to explain even why the answer was right! From the reasoning, you can also move forward to guiding the learners to try again with a different approach.

5. Embrace making mistakes

Another concept from the realms of developing a growth mindset and learning feedback, embracing mistakes, is important. Mistakes are a natural phenomena and we learn through them. Hence, you shouldn’t punish your learners for making mistakes. Learning activities should be the de facto risk-free platform where they can make those mistakes. Furthermore, you may consider that others in the organisation may learn from someone else’s mistakes too – so share them!

Are you supporting your learners through adequate feedback in classroom sessions as well as eLearning? If you need help getting started, just drop us a note

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Learning User Experience – Don’t Forget These 3 Things!

Learning user experience

Learning User Experience – Don’t Forget These 3 Things!

Today, as digital platforms have taken a major role in our everyday lives, user experiences have become more important than ever. The ease-of-use, efficiency and utility of the digital tools we use are the most important factors influencing our behaviour. If the user experience is not great and up-to-date, it is very hard to engage any audiences. Consequently, this trend has its bearing on digital learning professionals as well. Instead of being sole compilers and distributors of knowledge, L&D professionals need to become learning user experience designers. While there’s a lot of literature out there on user experience (UX), we decided to remind you of the 3 important things that L&D professionals tend to forget.

1. Design for ease-of-use and accessibility

Ease-of-use and accessibility are very important in 2018. You need to provide the learners with seamless cross platform opportunities. We interact with many different personal and corporate devices on a daily basis – it’s an opportunity lost if learning can’t be consumer on all of them. Hence, it’s important to use responsive designs in all materials and platforms, to ensure you’re providing mobile learning.

Furthermore, you need to understand the connectedness of the modern workforce. Everything happens on and through the internet. Hence, the learning needs to come out from an isolated intranet system for easy access. Also, it is important to understand that sometimes the learners are not operating fibre optic speed connections. Hence, all media should should be compressed and packed accordingly. The average user waits for 3 seconds for a website to load before exiting. If your media is too large, you’ll see a lot of quick exits.

2. The Learning User Experience needs to be visual and interactive

2018 is not the time for text when it comes to digital content. It’s all about interactive and engaging content: videos, infographics, pictures, animations etc. It’s time to get rid of the text based pdf-files uploaded to an archaic portal. Rather, you should be using interactive learning content and visuals to replace text based elements. Not only will the learners have a better experience, but you’ll also be able to get your message across much more efficiently.

3. Remember Feedback Collection and Iteration

A fundamental concept of learning user experience design (and design thinking overall) is the concept of feedback and continuous iteration. Unfortunately, feedback collection and iteration is often the most overlooked part when it comes to digital learning. It’s easy to upload a course and not keep updating it, while thinking that the number of times the course has been opened corresponds in any way to the quality of the learning experience.

Rather, it’s vital to constantly collect feedback from the end users. How did they like the learning? Was it relevant to their jobs? Did it provide value-add? How was the learning user experience? Whenever the experience is off, properly designed feedback loops will inform about it quite quickly. The L&D professionals receive the information and can intervene and iterate as required. This ensures that your content stays always up-to-date, conforming to the user preferences. Consequently, it’s likely it will also show in your learning results.

Are you providing great learning user experiences to your employees? If you feel a sting, drop us a message and we’ll be happily to give you some tips on how to succeed with learning experience. 

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