The new technologies of what is being called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” have the potential to transform the global geography of production and will need to be deployed in ways that address and adapt to the impact of climate change, reports the World Economic Forum in a paper titled, “Technology and Innovation for the Future of Production: Accelerating Value Creation.” The WEF paper, prepared in collaboration with AT Kearney, explores the new technology landscape, focusing on five technologies that will have the most immediate impact on production-related sectors. It raises questions for CEOs, government leaders, civil society leaders and academics about the implications for individuals, companies, industries, economies and society as a whole, and as is intended to bring new perspectives and generate responsive and responsible choices.

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The paper maps the full production value chain of activities of “source-make-deliver-consume-re-integrate” products and services from origination, design manufacturing and distribution to customers and consumers incorporating principles of circular economy and reuse. Production fundamentally impacts economic structure at a global to local level, affecting the level and nature of employment, and the environment.

The transformative potential of technology in production systems is widely recognized.Trends toward higher levels of automation promise greater speed and precision of production as well as reduced exposure to dangerous tasks. They also can help overcome stagnant productivity and make way for more value-added activity. The extent of automation, however, causing significant anxiety about issues of employment and inequality.

—Download full report at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/ WEF_White_Paper_Technology_Innovation_Future_of_Produc- tion_2017.pdf

Published in Trends

BY DEAN PICHEE, CEO, BIZLIBRARY, INC.

Unengaged employees cost the U.S. economy $550 billion every year! According to a report by Gallup, 70 percent of workers aren’t engaged at work. The modern worker is changing, and the workplace is not modernizing quickly enough to meet employees where they’re at and engage them. So, in this new environment we’re all navigating, what do employees really want? Security?Stability? More money? In nearly every instance, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “NO.”

In 2016, research conducted by ClearCompany discovered that 68 percent of workers say training and development is the most important workplace policy. In fact, many employees value employee training and development more than salary or even benefits. So, if engagement could be increased and turnover mitigated, why is this employee training and development often an afterthought?

There are multiple answers:

>>  It’s Too Long - Along with a changing workforce comes a changing attention span. YouTube has ushered in the era of the short video, and that’s what today’s employees expect. The average attention span of a learner is now said to be in the 5-to 15-minute range. This is due to our inherent limited ability to concentrate, as well as the steady stream of interruptions throughout a normal work day. It’s a fantasy to think that learners can maintain full attention throughout an 8-hour class or a 90-minute e-learning course. They physically can’t do it, and the workplace environment wouldn’t let them even if they could.

>>  It’s Too Boring - In addition to the fact that most training is too long to be effective, it’s often too boring. Let’s face it: we’re all professional TV watchers. We’ve been conditioned to expect visually stimulating content. We’ll gladly play along at home with long-time classics such as Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune. But we have no tolerance for “death by PowerPoint” presentations or click-and- read e-learning where stilted text is read to us word-for-word while we look at static graphics.

>>  It’s Too Expensive - Traditional training — a costly proposition — is much more expensive than many organizations realize. It requires a lot of money to bring people together, whether it is in a room or online. In addition to the direct costs of the training itself, there are often hidden and indirect expenses, such as travel costs or opportunity costs. It’ s no wonder managers are always looking for ways to cut the training budget.

It’s time to give your employees effective, modern, microlearning development opportunities and really support those initiatives. Microlearning is the ideal solution to the employee engagement problem because it addresses the vast majority of issues organizations are facing when it comes to employee engagement. Videos average in length from five to seven minutes so learners can actually focus long enough to absorb the information they need.

Microlearning is done in a way that’s familiar to learners. When you need to learn how to do something quickly, you usually turn to short online videos to demonstrate those things to you. By providing employee training using this method, we can ensure that the learning experience is consistent with what they already do.

IS MICROLEARNING REALLY A SOLUTION?

If done correctly, absolutely! You’ll need to use your program to develop your employees in their current positions, but also develop them in a way that will benefit their overall career. In fact, employee development is the second-most impactful way to improve employee engagement (after recognition).

Gallup studies have shown that 87 percent of Millennials think development is important in a job – making training and development a top priority among the generation that is soon to make up nearly half of the nation’s workforce. Employees who are provided with these modern development opportunities are more engaged at work and more satisfied with the workplace overall, so it’s no wonder that readily available training opportunities often lead to reduced employee turnover. Instead of searching YouTube on breaks, learners can watch an online training video that’s relevant to their job and improves their overall skillset.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Employee engagement, employee turnover, productivity, agility and many more business challenges are all different parts of the same problem — a problem that can be solved with strategic employee development and made more effective with microlearning at its core.

Published in Insights

BY IAIN MARTIN

There is a vibrant future for globally linked higher education, even though the future of dedicated standalone overseas bricks and mortar campuses is very limited. The high levels of capital investment required and the inability to rapidly respond to market changes make these investments very high stakes indeed. There may be situations where a very specific need for high levels of infrastructure (e.g. medicine and engineering) where this may work as a model, but I suspect that this will be the exception in coming years.

We at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) are seeing considerable innovation in the delivery of education to students who spend most of their study time in their home country. ARU serves 24,000 students studying in the U.K. alongside 12,000 international students studying for one of our degrees with an overseas partner. But I struggle to see how proposal for an overseas campus that would be worth developing in the face of more flexible alternatives.

It is time for innovation: ideas that are desirable, deliverable with current technology, and economically viable; and ARU is always looking for transnational education (TNE) ideas that measure well against these three parameters.

MODELS OF  GLOBAL DELIVERY

There is no shortage of models for the delivery of TNE. The challenge is implementing an approach that is sustainable both academically and financially. The next few years will continue to see new approaches tried with perhaps a few surviving the initial burst of enthusiasm. The three current models:

1. Partner-based models sit at heart of our current TNE initiatives. It is likely that this is the space in which new or finessed models will evolve in the short to medium term. There is real opportunity to grow the depth and size of these relationships and certainly, we are looking to this with several partners.

There are many possible variations on the partner model. For example, the University of Arizona has talked about a network of micro-campuses developed in partnership with a range of universities and colleges is one manifestation of this concept. We have many Chinese partners where the students are studying for one of our degrees, spending three years in China and one year in the U.K. The students work with our staff both face-to-face and online and use learning resources developed in partnership. Although they are based at a Chinese University for their first three years, they see themselves as students of two institutions from day one. Our view is that these models offer great opportunities for the future, providing benefit for both students and the in stitutions.

There are many benefits for university and partner in evolving models of TNE and, perhaps more importantly, great potential gains for students. Done well, we can see quality outcomes with a reduced cost of delivery; an opportunity to greatly widen the reach of the university; flexible matching of delivery to users’ must-have requirements; and a real ability to support the wider mission of the university.

2. There are real opportunities for partnership based global delivery of synchronous and asynchronous blended and face-to-face education. With evolving multipoint video conferencing technology and better global broadband provision, the options for real-time online interactions with other students and teachers improves to provide synchronous blending. The concept of asynchronous blending is the idea of periods of online only delivery structurally linked to a period(s) of campus delivery. This is a very flexible approach that, when designed appropriately, could deliver many of the benefits of spending a full three to four years overseas at a dramatically reduced cost for students.

3 I will not spend much time talking about the pure online model. It is self-explanatory and with continued evolution in both the educational technology and perhaps more importantly cultural acceptance of online delivery the opportunities will continue to grow.

THE NEW MODEL  FOR EDUCATION

The emerging commercial global identities of the past five years have been dominated by two characteristics. The first are models that act as a bridge between consumer and provider, Uber and Airbnb being two high-profile examples. The second would be personalization of cost vs.level of service; the budget airline model being a prime example where the basic fare simply gets you from A to B, and everything else is an extra.

Whatever you may think about the ethics of business model that underpins Uber and Airbnb, what they have done very successfully is link a service provider and a consumer in a way that just a few years ago was neither realized or desired. If Uber is a taxi company and Airbnb a new hotel company, what in this model is a university? It depends on what we think the role of higher education provider is, and this again will be nuanced depending on the segment of activity we are talking about: a first undergraduate degree versus a specialist vocationally related PG qualification,for example.

Taking the budget airline analogy, the base price might simply be delivery of the core educational outcomes at the minimum process point possible, and any more is additional. For example, face-to-face tutorials, time on campus, work experience, and/or careers advice would be additional. I recognize that this profoundly challenges many of the notions surrounding a traditional degree.

If we look at a standard degree as an educational journey where we know the starting point, the ending point and the mandatory way-points, could we envisage the role of a global aggregator and integrator of higher education provision? The answer is conceptually yes, but with profound structural and practical barriers.

A global university aggregator would have a range of linked education providers who make available online and blended modules with registration, authentication, education mapping, and records of achievement and revenue collection. But what about issues of quality control, national standards, funding, financial aid and equivalencies? Further, what would this structure do to the incumbent brick and mortar campuses?

Despite these challenges, it does seem possible that a well-run aggregator model will emerge. Whether this focuses on both under and post-graduate delivery or just on the latter is unclear. This is not simply about online provision, if the truly personalized global degree is a desirable outcome then blending, either synchronous or asynchronous could and probably should feature in the educational map we provide our students.

The future of global TNE is exciting and challenging. Existing providers are going to have to work increasingly hard to find new sustainable models. We are optimistic but in no way underestimate the challenges.

—Prof. Iain Martin is the Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, U.K. He has also been Vice President and Deputy Vice Chancellor University of New South Wales in Australia and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Published in Ideas

GLOBALIZATION, VIRTUALIZATION AND DIGITIZATION TAKE EFFECT

BY PRADEEP KHANNA

Three forces have reshaped the way we live, learn and work: globalization, virtualization and digitization. Until recently, there was a fine balance among these forces with each positively reinforcing the others. Now, the fine balance between these forces appears to be changing, resulting in a new world order.

LOOKING BACK

To better understand this, we need to trace how these forces have evolved over the last 25 to 30 years.In the first phase (the 1990s), globalization was the dominant theme. Learning was all face to face. E-learning was emerging. Countries were moving from a local and nationalistic outlook to global thinking. Trade was being globalized.

In the second phase (2000-2010), virtualization became the dominant theme. Globalization continued growing, and these two forces were reinforcing each other. Technology had its ups and downs with the tech crash and subsequent slow growth. These were the times of rapid growth in virtual learning, e-learning, virtual work, virtual teams, offshoring, and global delivery. This phase ended with a severe economic downturn as a result of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008-09.

In the third phase (2010-2016), digitization was the dominant theme, and it continued to drive virtualization and globalization. This was the perfect storm with all three forces reinforcing each other. Digital disruption and digital transformation became buzzwords.

THE DIGITIZATION ERA

The digitization phase has unexpected results.

>>  The cost of education (especially higher education) in the third phase continued to rise as demand increased and costs increased without any efficiency dividends.

>>  Entrepreneurship boomed with strong focus on emerging technologies. Mindshare and media share started getting dominated by artificial intelligence (A.I.), drones, robotics, driverless cars, virtual reality (V.R.), augmented reality (A.R.), mixed reality (M.R.), wearable technologies (W.T.) and Internet of Things (IoT).

>>  The mismatch between jobs and skills started to increase. The value proposition of a university degree came into question. Different pathways to employment/self-employment emerged from start- ups to technology-oriented skills training.

>>  MOOCs (massive open online courses) were supposed to disrupt higher education and skills training. They started with fanfare, and the year 2013 was called the year of the MOOCs. E-learning became online learning. But dropout rates in the online environment were very high, giving rise to blended learning.

>>  The labor market became more tactical with employers saying we have X amount of dollars to pay for Y set of skills for project Z. And once the project Z was over, it was “Thank you very much; nice meeting you; bye-bye.”

>>  Technology-enhanced medical care resulted in increased human longevity. It was no longer about lifelong learning that required dipping in and out of a learning continuum. It also became life-long working.

THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

The three forces of globalization, virtualization and digitization resulted in jobs moving up the skill curve. These forces, working in tandem, drove global economic expansion, albeit from a lowered post-GFC base.

While there was broad economic expansion, the economic benefits were being distributed unevenly both globally as well within country boundaries. Routine jobs were initially moved to emerging economies and, later-on, automated.

Technology became more and more pervasive, and a clear digital divide started emerging. On one hand, we were seeing a demographic digital divide with Gens X, Y, Z and the youngest generation being digitally savvy. On the other hand, we had the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation not so digitally aligned.

The digital divide was also manifesting itself in other ways. On one hand were the educated class working in technology and service sectors with rising incomes from higher skillsets, although needing to continually re-train and/or re-invent themselves. On the other hand were people working in traditional industries (aka the Rust Belt) who were at the forefront of constant restructuring and ongoing job losses, and the consequent hollowing of the middle class.

Something had to give way. The traditional working middle class asserted itself through the likes of Brexit and U.S. elections. Nationalist forces started asserting themselves. And physical and virtual walls started coming up.

NEW WORLD ORDER DEFINED

This is where we are in 2017. The fine balance among the three forces of globalization, virtualization and digitization is being altered. Digitization is now the dominant theme and is driving virtualization. Globalization is being negatively impacted at least temporarily. The new world order is being defined.

One thing is for sure: Being a futurist is a difficult role in the new world order. We can hardly see a year ahead, let alone 10, 20 or 30 years. The future is emerging, and we have to be nimble and innovative all the time. It’s one thing to say change is the new norm, but it is difficult to be constantly adapting all the time. It is akin to asking the question “Can we have an economy where everyone is innovating?”

Our attention span is now down to eight seconds, whereas the information overload is rising exponentially. Neuroscience tells us our brain strongly prefers single tasking, whereas our job overloads constantly require multi-tasking.

Most future-of-work forecasts are indicating at least 40 percent of us will be working for ourselves, giving a big boost to what is being called the “gig economy.” The sharing economy is also set to grow. But when do Uber-type models emerge in education and training?

Considering the lifelong learning scenarios and digital literacy issues, it is difficult to say whether the time has come for digital universities. However, given the mismatch between jobs and skills, corporate universities are definitely getting a leg up. While we are making good strides in personalized market- places, the holy grail appears to be personalized learning at scale.

While there are a number of emerging technology trends like A.I., drones, robotics, driverless cars, V.R./A.R./M.R., W.T., and IoT, it is not an individual technology trend that will reshape the way we live, learn and work. Instead, the fusion of different emerging technologies will have the biggest impact.

—Pradeep Khanna is the founder & CEO of Global Mindset (globalmindset.com.au) with a strong focus on how globalization and digitalization are reshaping the way we live, learn and work. He is an Adjunct Pro- fessor at a number of institutions in Australia, Singapore and India, and Sydney Chapter President of VRAR Association. Khanna is a regular speaker at International Conferences. Formerly, he served as Global Delivery Leader for IBM GBS Australia and New Zealand. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Published in Ideas

THE EXPONENTIAL INNOVATION ERA IN LEARNING TECHNOLOGY

BY SAM ADKINS

The phrase “Crossing the Rubicon” means passing the point of no return. We are at that inflection point in the global learning technology market. Extraordinary innovations in learning technology products are now available, and new products continue to come on the market at a steady rate.

These new products integrate a range of cutting-edge technologies, including cognitive computing, emotion analytics, affective computing, biometrics, artificial intelligence, robotics, game mechanics, advanced psychometrics, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR).

These product innovations are exponential in the sense that they are not incremental linear innovations but rather fundamentally new types of learning products. The common characteristic of these new learning technologies is that they enable real-time behavior modification.

There are two phases of the learning process: knowledge transfer and learning transfer. Knowledge transfer is the transmission of information and skills to the learner. Learning transfer is the ability of the learner to demonstrate mastery. Next-generation learning technology products effectively achieve both phases simultaneously.

A good example is the Smart Helmet from DAQRI (figure 1). It is a hardhat that has a visor that displays guided procedural instructional content over machines and physical locations in real time. The company markets the product to the industrial verticals. It has a compelling value proposition: “Reduce the talent and experience gap with repeatable, fully modularized and contextualized training that captures subject expert knowledge and experience.

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AUGMENTED INTELLIGENCE: THE HOLY GRAIL OF LEARNING

The integration of artificial intelligence into digital learning content essentially accomplishes the “holy grail” of providing true personalized learning that adapts in real time to an individual user’s cognitive abilities. Personalized learning has long eluded learning technology suppliers despite the claims to the contrary. Artificial intelligence finally provides the technology to achieve true personalized learning.

One of the best-known cognitive computing platforms is IBM’s Watson, and developers are building out advanced learning technology products on top of the Cloud-based platform. Pearson, Apple, Blackboard, Sesame Street and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are building new products on Watson as shown in below figure.

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IBM prefers the term “augmented intelligence” over artificial intelligence. “At IBM, we are guided by the term ‘augmented intelligence’ rather than ‘artificial intelligence’ It is the critical difference between systems that enhance and scale human expertise rather than those that attempt to replicate all of human intelligence.”

In April 2016, Sesame Street announced a three-year partnership with IBM to develop educational apps for young children. Sesame Street stated in the press that the apps “will be designed to adapt to the learning preferences and aptitude levels of individual preschoolers. Using Watson’s cognitive capabilities, the app will analyze a child’s response in real time and then intervene with content just for that child.”

The first commercial product built on Watson is IBM Watson Element for Educators. It is an iPad app launched by Apple and IBM in October 2016. In a press release, IBM reported that the product “enables a new level of engagement for teachers by providing a holistic view of each student at their fingertips, including data on interests, accomplishments, academic performance, attendance, behaviors and learning activities.”

A U.S. company called Stottler Henke develops sophisticated AI-based cognitive tutoring systems. It is well known in the global defense industry. The company’s website states that, “These systems encode the subject matter and teaching expertise of experienced instructors, using artificial intelligence (AI). We have developed numerous systems that provide practice-based learning for K-12 education, corporate training, professional development and military training.

NEXT-GENERATION COGNITIVE LEARNING PRODUCTS ALTER THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

A flood of next-generation cognitive learning products is hitting the market. A company called Affectiva has offices in Boston and Cairo and sells an emotion recognition platform that generates what it calls "emotional intelligence". The startup recently entered the gaming industry to enable “emotion-aware” games. It released a plug-in for the Unity game engine in October 2016 as shown in below figure.

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A Hong Kong company called Artha sells an edugame for young children called Little Dragon that uses the Affectiva platform. Little Dragon is the first mobile app responsive to the emotional state of each learner, for a happy, personalized and effective learning experience.”

C8 Sciences has a product bundle of mobile edugames called Activate that it says “strengthen a child’s cognitive skills by offering a wide range of cognitive tasks, like memorizing sequences, completing patterns, task-switching, and sorting objects into categories.” The product was developed by Yale neuroscientists.

Israel-based Applied Cognitive Engineer- ing (ACE) develops software-based “brain gyms” under the brand IntelliGym as shown in below figure. “We develop cognitive training programs for competitive athletes using a technology originally developed to train fighter pilots. Our products are used by USA Hockey and the German Football Federation. ACE’s patented technology, Cognitive Simulation, is applicable to a remarkable variety of potential users including competitive sport players, security personnel, fighter pilots, medical staff, traders and test prep students.”

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VIRTUAL REALITY TERRAFORMS  THE LEARNING LANDSCAPE

Until recently, building educational content for the AR and VR technologies was expensive and time-consuming, and development was quite complex. The barriers to entry are fading fast with a host of new AR and VR platforms integrated into devices and operating systems.

Google made available to a limited amount of developers its new Daydream VR platform in May 2016. It is integrated with a new version of Android called Nougat, which allows any smartphones that use the OS to have embedded native VR capabilities.

Google‘s Tango AR platform uses a device’s sensors to map AR content over physical locations. The platform uses motion tracking, “area learning” and spatial awareness technology from Intel called RealSense (a 3-D camera array). The key aspect of Tango is that it creates AR content in real time.

The ArtScience Museum in Singapore has a Tango-enabled exhibit called Into the Wild: An Immersive Virtual Adventure, which tranforms more than 1,000 square meters into a virtual rainforest, which you can explore using a smartphone.

Creator Update for [Microsoft] Windows 10 rolled out in April 2017. It includes native 3-D mixed reality (MR) content- creation tools, including new 3-D versions of PowerPoint and Paint. The new Paint 3-D can generate 3-D objects from 2-D images in real time. And of course, the 3-D content can easily be ported to Microsoft’s HoloLens headset.

NASA has been using the HoloLens head-set for training since early 2016. In March 2017, NASA announced that it had created a mixed reality replica of the International Space Station (ISS). The replica is used to train new astronauts and was built on the Unreal Engine gaming platform. NASA stated in the press that, “We immerse the trainee in a fabricated, three-dimensional environment and have them complete objectives under various constraints. In basic terms, that means we can put our crew in space while they’re still on earth.”

VR-based training is having a profound impact on medical training. In April 2016, a U.K. surgeon performed an operation that was live-streamed in VR using technology from the London-based startup Medical Realities. Nearly 55,000 medical personnel across 142 countries experienced the surgery as if they were operating on the patient. Medical Realities’ product is called Virtual Surgeon. The company says that it “puts you inside the operating theatre over-seeing an operation through the eyes of the consultant surgeon.” The company is building out an extensive collection of VR-based operating room experiences as shown in below figure.

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In January 2017, Canada’s CAE Healthcare launched the world’s first commercial HoloLens medical simulation product. “VimedixAR delivers an unprecedented simulation-based training experience, allowing learners to interact and move freely within a clinical training environment. As learners practice scanning an animated heart, lungs or abdomen, they will observe in real-time how the ultrasound beam cuts through anatomy to generate an ultra- sound image.”

RE-GAMING THE SYSTEM: THE NEW BREED OF EDUCATIONAL GAMES

Dozens of new educational game companies have launched since 2015 and 2016. They are bringing unique VR-based educational games to the market. Most commercial educational games are built on either the Unity or Unreal Engine gaming platforms. Both engines have native support for the major VR systems.

In January 2015, the Russia-based game developer Nival launched its educational VR division called NivalVR. Its first edu-game was InMind, designed to teach brain science. The website reports that, “It essentially allows you to journey into a patient’s brain to search for the neurons that cause the mental disorder.” In September 2016, NivalVR rebranded as Luden.io. In late 2016, it launched InMind2 VR, an advanced version of the game ported to Google ‘s Daydream platform. The new version “focuses on the neural processes underlying emotions” as shown in below figure.

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A unique (and visually stunning) VR educational game is Time Machine VR developed by Canada’s Minority Media. “You are a time-travelling cadet tasked with exploring the Jurassic era and the ancient creatures that once ruled the prehistoric oceans. Use an array of advanced tech tools to track, examine, and discover scientifically accurate creatures like mosasaurs, livyatans, and megalodons.”

Cerevrum launched in early 2016 and has offices in New York City and Saint Petersburg. It claims that, “Cerevrum is rethinking learning itself and designing fun VR neuro-gaming experiences. We targetthe entire spectrum of cognitive ability: memory, perceptual speed, multitasking, executive function and attention.”

INDUSTRIAL INTELLIGENCE:  REAL-TIME AUGMENTED PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT

A major innovation in learning technology is the real-time augmented performance improvement products designed for field and industrial workers. These products integrate physical reality with augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). They also produce impressive empirical performance improvement.

In July 2015, Boeing conducted a study on the assembly of a wing unit using three groups: one with paper PDF instructions, one with the PDF instructions on a tablet, and one with AR objects and guided instructions overlaid on the assembly on a tablet screen. “The AR-tablet group was 30 percent faster and 90 percent more accurate on their first tries than the other groups.

” Japan Airlines uses Microsoft’s Holo-Lens to train flight crews and mechanics. Japan Airlines stated in the press that, “With HoloLens, trainees can interact with a detailed hologram displaying cockpit devices and switches to get more hands-on experience while learning about operational procedures.”

GE licenses the Skylight AR platform from Upskill. According to Upskill, “GE saw a 46-percent increase in warehouse worker productivity during a first-time use of Skylight at a GE Healthcare MRI manufacturing facility. In another study conducted at GE Renewable Energy, a tenured technician yielded 34 percent productivity improvement while installing wiring into wind turbine top boxes.”

Other benefits it expects include increased production quality, better utilization of employees, and faster training for new seasonal workers. To date, seven different business units within GE are working with Upskill to deploy Skylight as shown in below figure.

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A Canadian company called Scope AR launched a product called WorkLink in June 2016. It is designed to deliver what is called real-time “smart instructions” to workers in the field. Clients include Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, Florida Power and Light, ATCO, and AstraZeneca. The product provides workers with “intuitive, step-by-step instructions in an animated layer that’s locked on their equipment from almost any angle.

THE POINT OF NO RETURN: NEW TECHNOLOGY REQUIRES NEW EXPERTISE

The advent of these new products is rapidly altering the global training and education ecosystem. One of the major impacts is the need for professionals in the training industry to acquire expertise in new technologies that are evolving exponentially, essentially a moving target. One of the soft skills needed now is the ability to adapt to rapid change.

According to Plutarch, when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his legion in 49 B.C.E., he quoted the familiar Greek phrase Anerriphtho kubos, the equivalent of “There’s no turning back now.”

Sam S. Adkins has been providing market research on the learning technology industries for more than 20 years and has been involved with digital training technology for more than 35 years. Adkins is the co-founder and chief research officer for Metaari, formerly Ambient Insight, since 2004. Previously, his team built The Microsoft Online Learning Institute. He also led the Instructional Animation Lab at AT&T’s central computer-based training (CBT) facility. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Published in Top Stories

BUILDING THE ULTIMATE GLOBAL LEARNING COMMUNITY WITH DESIGN THINKING AND GAMIFICATION

BY KAREN HUFFMAN

The inability to adapt has long affected society at both individual and organizational levels. In today’s world, the exponential rate at which technology is advancing further complicates the ability of organizations to adapt to change. Additionally, organizational success is often dependent on the ability to recognize and take advantage of technological advancements through innovation.

SAP discovered it had to transform from a traditional on-premise software company into a simple Cloud-based software company. The transition was enabled with design thinking and gamification during periods of innovation.

Within the software industry in particular, innovation is crucial; organizations that fail to innovate and struggle to keep pace with technological advancements and consumer expectations become irrelevant sooner rather than later. As software technology evolves, organizations are finding their customers demanding user experiences that are commensurable with smartdevice applications. Their customers want lower costs of ownership over their enterprise applications. Because of these consumer demands, smaller and more agile organizations are able to disrupt the market share from traditional larger organizations. Simply put, if organizations are unable to reinvent themselves to meet consumer needs or become complacent, they will become obsolete as technology inevitably evolves.

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STAGE 1: CHAOS

When an organization chooses to transform in order to meet consumer needs, the journey is often filled with seen and unforeseen challenges. During these periods of innovation, organizations can find themselves devolving into chaos, because employees are unable to keep up with all of the changes. Finding the time to educate themselves on new products and existing workloads often results in a bottleneck of employee learning.

SAP found this to be true after a period of extreme innovation that resulted in creating and rewriting more than 100 different line-of-business solutions and industry applications after creating an inmemory database, SAP HANA. Managers discovered that the area of consulting particularly experienced a bottleneck of learning because consultants were responsible for knowing a product inside and out. With more than 100 products to master, consultants struggled to find the time to learn on top of meeting their aggressive targets. At the time, while SAP had a vast amount of user-created content related to SAP HANA across community platforms, the information was difficult to navigate and lacked governance.

STAGE 2: SILOES

By recognizing that knowledge management governance was lost during this period of innovation, Darren Louie, an SAP program manager, proposed a harmonized community with organized and relevant content after learning of the consultants’ struggles via knowledge surveys. As one of the community platform owners, Louie led an initiative to consolidate the extensive knowledge base of existing community platforms into one singular HANA community with one point of access.

“My proposal to the other community owners was successful, and the big challenge for me was to deliver and build this one HANA community,” says Louie. “Over the years, I had attended training conferences and took workshops on design thinking and gamificationI wanted to put in place everything that I had learned to build this community.

” Design thinking is a solution based problem-solving method that allows organizations to resolve complex issues by incorporating consumer needs and wants through the exploration of possible solutions. The focus on needs and wants when seeking solutions then leads to desired outcomes that are often innovative and meet the expectations of consumers. Louie knew that having continuous input of the consultants throughout the process of building the community would result in a knowledge management system SAP consultants would want to use.

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By participating in the five distinct phases of design thinking (empathy, define, ideate, prototype, test), organizations can take advantage of creativity and rationality in order to meet user needs and deliver an innovative solution.

During the initial phase of design thinking — empathy — organizations construct a deep understanding of end-users. A variety of methods can be used to learn about consumers (e.g. observation, interviews, shadowing). This up-front investment in end-users results in the organization empathizing with consumer needs, motivations, likes, dislikes, etc. Empathy is arguably the most crucial element of design thinking, because the process cannot be successful without an organization willing to immerse itself in the consumer experience. The more an organization immerses itself into the role of the consumer, the better the solution.

Once an organization truly understands consumer needs, it can then identify the problem it is trying to solve during the define phase. Afterward, brainstorming occurs in the ideate phase. It is important to encourage idea generation and then go through the process of prioritizing the ideas generated in order to determine which ones are the most feasible. During the prototype phase, a prototype is presented to consumers. As Louie points out, “the prototype does not have to be high-tech; it can be something as simple as stickynotes on a whiteboard. ” The purpose of the prototype phase is to provide something for which end-users can provide feedback. And finally, during the test phase, organizations test the solution. Louie stresses the importance of end-user feedback, “going back to the end-user and making incremental improvements based on their feedback is what makes the design thinking process so powerful.”

By interviewing SAP consultants and asking what would help them do their jobs more effectively, Louie and his team came up with a top 10 list of information needs. They then needed to figure out how to combine these information needs with a large volume of content that covers a vast array of products and solutions into one HANA community. By using taxonomy, Louie and his team were able to logically structure the content by finding themes and creating categories and subcategories. He was able to map the categories and subcategories directly to a set of folders and subfolders. The folder structure then determined the community design.

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STAGE 3: SUPERHEROES

Throughout the process, Louie worked with people who saw the benefit of one HANA community and sought collaboration to make it happen. While not everyone wanted to participate, the major players were on board. Focus groups were important to the design thinking process, because they allowed Louie and his team to collect information from multiple end-users at the same time. By using design thinking, SAP identified information needs and then designed a community to meet those needs.

Once Louie and his team built the HANA community, they used gamification as a strategy to incentivize the consultants to actively participate in the new community and contribute to knowledge management.

Gamification is the application of game-playing elements in an effort to encourage engagement with a product. Louie implemented a simplified game design by identifying the players (consultants) as “HANA Heroes” within the community. As players, the consultants are trying to implement SAP software, which can be a perilous journey due to challenges such as tough requirements, tight deadlines and bug-infested software. Survival depends on teamwork and collaboration. Sharing knowledge reduces risk of failure — and within the HANA community, sharing knowledge is defined by participating in forums, sharing project documents, and delivering expert information sessions.

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Measurement and reward are imperative for gamification success. If the busy consultants do not have incentive to participate, the vast majority won’t engage in the forums. SAP decided to tie knowledge management contributions to consultant year end performance bonuses and gave prizes to top contributors, complete with a leaderboard recognizing top contributors. On the HANA community leaderboard, consultants initially start off as a Junior HANA Hero, and as they contribute more knowledge to the community, they become a HANA Hero and then eventually a Super HANA Hero. Louie and his team found the consultants receptive to this superhero theme, which is a metaphor for healing one another and for making a difference. SAP consulting projects are challenging; the only way to survive is through teamwork and collaboration.

The HANA community using design thinking and elements of gamification is the largest and most comprehensive community within SAP with more than 5,000 members. Content is extremely cohesive and available in a variety of styles, such as learning plans, case studies, best practices and lessons learned. The community continues to grow; 98 percent of members find the content either valuable or highly valuable.

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SAP community leaders recognized a learning problem during a period of intense innovation. By working together, they created a community to inspire thousands of consultants to be superheroes. As a result, they helped mitigate some of the chaos necessary to bridge some of the silos present during periods of significant technological innovation.

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—Source: Darren Louie presented this case study at the Enterprise Learning! Conference. Related sessions: www.2elearning.com/events/web- seminars-series

Published in Top Stories

The 2017 E-learning User Study was conducted by Elearning! Media Group via an online survey of learning professionals to reveal the current trends and practices in e-learning. These findings were tabulated from 363 responses across corporate, government, education, and non-profit organizations. The study was conducted industry wide, including Elearning! Magazine subscribers. E-learning encompasses enterprise-wide learning and workplace technologies.

LEARNING DEPLOYMENT BY LOCATION TYPE

Drivers for Learning Investments

Employee engagement and improved collaboration are the top business objectives for learning investments. Personalized  learning moves up to #3 in priority.

Training PrioritiesCompliance regains the lead in training priority for 2017.

ELM March First Look 1

LEARNING SOLUTIONS USED & PURCHASES

Learning teams use a variety of solutions and are actively sourcing new solutions. The fastest growing solutions based upon purchase intention are:

ELM March First Look 2

Published in Trends

LearnCore, a training and coaching software for sales and customer facing teams, doubled down on its mobile strategy by launching a native Android application. Teams can now improve their knowledge and skills on any mobile device. The app provides users with mobile access to training courses, certifications, video coaching, and downloadable content for offline access.

"The release of our Android app brings the power of LearnCore where it's convenient for our users," says Vishal Shah, LearnCore CEO. "Given the global presence of our clients and the popularity of Androids, it was a natural extension of our technology."

Similar to LearnCore's existing iPhone and Salesforce app, the Android app delivers video, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, screenshots and others forms of learning media. Plus, on-the-go employees can collaborate directly through the app by viewing practice videos and messaging approaches by other users, and provide feedback.

Published in New Products

Docebo provided its first look at the brand new Docebo Content Marketplace at Learn Tech '17. The Content Marketplace makes purchasing and delivering high-quality e-learning content easier, reduces time spent on administrative functions, and improves speed-to-deployment of training materials. Docebo partnered with OpenSesame on the release.

"With the Content Marketplace, Docebo clients can now easily access, browse and purchase learning materials from OpenSesame and other learning content providers right from within their Docebo LMS, explains Docebo's product marketing director Donato Mangialardo.

-Visit: www.docebo.com 

Published in New Products

The Blended Learning Hub is a perpetual learning makerspace designed specifically for training, learning and education professionals. A social collaborative community, the Blended Learning Hub, will provide a personal, curated approach to modern blended learning for learning professionals. The Blended Learning Hub will go live on March 6th.

"We, as learning professionals, are expected to be experts in everything, but until now, had no clear path how to get there"” says Jennifer Hofmann, founder and president of InSync Training. "In response to this clear need, we created the Blended Learning Hub. We couldn't be more excited and proud to share it with the training, learning, and education community."

The Blended Learning Hub will include monthly learning campaigns focused on a crucial blended learning topic, like microlearning and facilitation. Learn-ing campaigns include personal learning pathways, expert guidance and support from Phylise Banner, an engaging com- munity of peers, and exclusive resources and purposefully curated content from trusted industry sources.

-Learn more: www.insynctraining.com 

Published in New Products
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