Burning issues exist within the talent development and leadership education space. The bottom line is that leadership development today is confounded by troublesome disconnects.

Published in Top Stories

If you were to poll CEOs about the likeliest sources of advances in corporate management, digital learning would almost certainly rise to the very top of their list. Changes within the business environment demand innovative learning solutions.

Published in Top Stories

For the first time this year, time spent on non-voice mobile activities will surpass time spent online on desktop and laptop computers, eMarketer estimates. 

U.S. adults will spend 43.6% of their overall media time with digital this year, including 19.4% on mobile — compared to 19.2% on laptops and PCs. Time spent with mobile phones and tablets, excluding voice calls, has risen from 13.4% of all media time last year, and has nearly tripled since 2011.

The shift from desktop to mobile is happening across a variety of activities, including social networking and digital video viewing. As social networking and video reach plateaus in terms of share of total desktop time (around 29% and 18%, respectively), these activities are growing more quickly on smartphones and especially tablets. The share of all tablet time spent with video, for example, will nearly double this year, from 10% to 19%.

—Source: www.eMarketer.com

Published in Trends

for Dr. Karl Kapp, author and ‘knowledge broker,’ and Bryan Austin, founder of Game On! Learning


Austin: Corporate trainers are actively seeking solutions to a dilemma: It’s becoming harder to get workforces to willingly consume traditional e-learning. Employees complain that the courses are uninteresting and not effective enough to be worth the time. It’s a big problem. The engagement of learning games is compelling, but just adding badges, points and leaderboards to all training isn’t the answer.Robust and well-designed learning games can “hook” the learner and motivate them to bring their “A” game to the training through meaningful competition. Games use superior learning models to create more memorable training that increases knowledge retention and improves skill proficiency. Effective learning games can dependably deliver superior outcomes.


Kapp: A better question is, “What challenge does game-based learning not address?” It addresses (1) application of skills, instead of learning “about the skills,” placing the learning in context and (2) the biggest: lack of learner engagement. We personally experience lack of engagement when we spend time checking e-mail during webinars, play with our smartphone in training classes, and click the “next” button as fast as we can in self-paced e-learning modules. Well-designed games require full engagement while simultaneously providing
an opportunity to apply learned skills. We know from dozens of research studies that applying skills during training increases knowledge transfer, content retention and overall employee learning.


Kapp: Games have been around as long as humans have been on Earth. And learning games, I am convinced, have been around just as long. So it’s not a trend. Games are here to stay for learning. Kids naturally create learning games. Whenever they play “school,” they are learning how to socialize in the school environment. Humans have a natural affinity for learning through games. I think corporations and other organizations are actually behind in their use of games for learning. The military, which involves life and death, uses games all the time for training.I see the current focus on games for learning as part of a long-term trend
because, quite simply, they work.


Austin: We often have clients ask us if game-based learning is only effective for their younger employees. The Entertainment Software Association reports that the average age of “gamers” is now 37, and 25 percent of video game players are 50 years old or older. Surprised by that?In reviewing the feedback from nearly 30,000 learners who have played the soft skills learning games we provide,there is no discernible variance in receptivity by generation.I believe the reason why is this: If learners find training interesting, fun, compelling and applicable to their job, they place a high value on it. If it isn’t, they don’t.


Published in Insights

The Best Crisis Is The One That Never Happens. But If One Does Hit Home, Be Ready To Respond.

A working definition of crisis is “a significant threat to operations that can have negative consequences if not handled properly,” according to Dr. W. Timothy Coombs, writing for the Institute for Public Relations. “In crisis management, the threat is the potential damage a crisis can inflict on an organization, its stakeholders, and an industry.” That’s not even taking into consideration (and it’s a major consideration) what it can inflict on employees.

Granted, many crises have little to no direct effect on learning departments or divisions within a corporate bureaucracy. But, as Dr. Chris Hardy of the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) found out, some can have an absolutely numbing effect on day-to-day operations.

On Aug. 11 of last year, the DAU’s brand-new Teaching & Learning Lab (TALL) —with 30 projects running —burned to the ground (photo page 31).

“It was pretty traumatic out in the parking lot watching the building burn down,” remembers Dr. Hardy, director of the Global Learning and Technology Center at DAU. “We lost the lab as well as office space and hardware for the entire department. We lost the learning analytics office, all of our smartboards, and our knowledge-sharing and curricula development facilities.

“The biggest impact was that 60 people lost their laptops and recent work. People lost all of their wall furnishings like diplomas, autographed photos — even some car keys. But, thank goodness, no one was injured, and we didn’t lose our main servers that housed the LMS, which were located in another building.”

The crisis at the DAU was totally unexpected, as fires usually are. Thankfully, they are not a common occurrence in the learning professional’s world. But other types of crises that cause anything from a minor to a major disruption in service do arise. Among governmental organizations, cybersecurity is a major concern. Among companies in the public sector,
it’s not just having a system invaded by viruses and worms but also having the electronic equipment fail completely. And organizations in both the private and public sectors suffer from unexpected crises due to severe personnel management problems.

Accenture, a management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, believes that technological change (widespread use of the Internet and mobile communications), rapid globalization, and interconnection among economies makes it more difficult for traditional risk- and crisis-management practices to keep up. It further believes that companies often find themselves preparing for and responding to the most recent crisis, while pushing into new businesses without establishing the necessary safeguards against failure.

One of the things that definitely helps is to have a written procedure in place before a crisis arises. At DAU, written crisis-related programs and standard operating procedures existed that covered various crises such as fire prevention and evacuation procedures; continued operations plans for redundant LMS capabilities; disaster preparedness plans; and the
emergency notification process — all of which cover a wide variety of possible prevention and response activities.

How to Respond to a Crisis

Before even being faced with whatever might be termed a crisis, astute organizations should be prepared for all eventualities. Accenture, a management consulting company, recommends four basic business philosophies:

>> Be prepared for unexpected failures.

>> Ensure that crisis management operates across structures, functions and divisions, both vertical and horizontal.

>> Recognize the crisis early, and take quick, decisive action.

>> Communicate thoroughly, effectively and frequently with all audiences.

The first hours after a crisis occurs are the most important. Dr. W. Timothy Coombs, writing for the Institute for Public Relations, suggests a few initial best-practices:

1) Be quick and try to have initial response within the first hour.

2) Be accurate by carefully checking all facts.

3) Be consistent by keeping spokespeople informed of crisis events and key message points.

4) Make public safety the number one priority.

5) Use all available communication channels including the Internet, intranet  and mass notification systems.

6) Provide some expression of concern/sympathy for victims.

7) Remember to include employees in the initial response.

8) Be ready to provide stress and trauma counseling to victims of the crisis and  their families, including employees.

The Crisis Management and Disaster Recovery Unit goes even further defining additional phases to effective crisis management that are longerlarger in scope:

9) Set up a business continuity project.

10) Review the different types of emergencies that can arise and assess their  risks to various business processes within your organization.

11) Identify back-up and recovery strategies.

12) Develop procedures to be followed in the event of a crisis or disaster.

13) Develop detailed recovery procedures for the business.

14) Test the recovery procedures in semi-realistic emergency conditions.

15) Train all employees to assist the business recovery process.

16) Write a business continuity document, and keep it up to date, reflecting all changes in business process and employee structure.


A crisis can create three related threats: (1) public safety, (2) financial loss, and (3)reputation loss.

“Effective crisis management handles the threats sequentially,” notes Dr. Coombs. “The primary concern in a crisis has to be public safety. A failure to address public safety intensifies the damage from a crisis. Reputation and financial concerns are considered after public safety has been remedied. Ultimately, crisis management is designed to protect an organization and its stakeholders from threats and/or reduce the impact felt by threats.”

That’s from an organizational standpoint. But on a more personal level, a catastrophic crisis can have a crippling effect on employee morale and, ultimately, efficiency.

So managers must, with some dispatch, deal with employees who might get hurt physically and/or psychologically, notes the Asia Risk Management Institute: “Unfortunately, one of the critical errors in crisis management planning is the strong tendency to focus attention and efforts on systems, operations, infrastructure and public relations, with people coming
in last on the list of concerns and hence often ending up neglected. This is a serious problem; organizations need to pay greater attention to the impact of critical events on employees, their families and the community as a whole for one simple reason: business recovery cannot occur without motivated employees.”

If the crisis does indeed affect employees (and most do), managers should offer a compassionate understanding of what the employees must be feeling. Cold communications do not work in a crisis. By speaking honestly and communicating with employees, the crisis will be more likely to pass quickly, allowing the business to get back on track.

“Our employees reacted differently,” Dr. Hardy remembers. “Some took it in stride, some went through tough emotional times with the loss of their office, intellectual capital on their laptops, their precious memorabilia, pictures and family items. [So] supervisors and HR had to be sensitive to each of their needs. We also got them together discuss their losses, to
recognize with themselves and each other possible different emotions to expect.

“What became very important was to get people taken care of and recover as much as possible of personal effects, relocated, and back on the job. We also had several town-hall-type meetings to discuss as a team their needs and concerns. Later, we conducted a team picnic sponsored by the organization and attended by its president that let us know her appreciation and her support for the future. The rest of the university coalesced around us the provided emotional support.”


Not many learning professionals will face a crisis as devastating as the DAU did in September 2012. But having a set of logical, compassionate, step-by-step written procedures helps get any organization back to speed in the shortest possible time frame. (Photo courtesy DAU)


Once employees’ needs are taken care of, organizational needs must be addressed. That includes getting a business, department or agency back up to speed as quickly as possible.

Follow-up concerns specific to the DAU incident were ongoing communications with the fire department, notifying leadership, relocation, re-equipping and re-location at an alternative work site in order to continue its mission as early as the next day.

Depending on the nature of the crisis, leadership must determine the next steps toward ameliorating the damage. (See sidebar.) By taking the proper steps, organizations can recover effectively from any given crisis. But the key is to make it “go away” — in all respects, as quickly as possible.

“Within a period of weeks,” Dr. Hardy remembers, “our folks were operating again. We had to borrow classrooms when needed, but the lab projects kept going.”

The DAU’s new TALL facility was to be completed this summer. “We did learn some things,” he admits, “so it will be a lot more agile as far as configuration. But the projects — the work itself — never stopped.”

And that’s good crisis management taken to the nth degree.

Published in Top Stories

In Order To Attract Gen-Y/Millennials, Organizations Today Must eE-Examine Their Approach To Learning.

BY Jerry Roche

If Tom Kalinske had his way, companies already would be adapting their learning and training programs to the newest generation of workers: Generation Y, born between 1980 and 2000 (aka Millennials). It’s also the largest generation to come along since the Baby Boomers.

Generally speaking, members of the Gen-Y/Millennial group are:

>> ambitious, confident, hopeful and goal-oriented;

>> wired, accessing information 24/7 through the Internet, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and other social networks;

>> well educated;

>> technologically sophisticated;

>> social volunteers;

>> effective multi-taskers;

>> good communicators; and

>> globally aware.

“We are in the middle of an educational revolution,” says Kalinske, chairman of Global Education Learning and former CEO of LeapFrog, Knowledge Universe, Sega, Matchbox and Mattel. “Knowledge has become a currency, as valuable as money in the wallet. We are moving toward personalized knowledge portfolios and adaptive personalized content (APC) for all.”


Employers already are beginning to tap into resources from the Millennials to help replace the aging workforce. Not only will the next generation help to fill positions left behind by retiring Boomers, but their upbringing allows them to bring a fresh, new perspective to the workplace, adding to their value.

But Millennials are also very demanding. They don’t hesitate to ask employers to go beyond traditional compensation and benefits to create an environment that is creative, challenging, team-oriented, fun, and financially rewarding — which includes the on-the-job training and education they want to receive (Fig. 1).

figure 1

One of the benefits that corporations can offer the next-gen workforce is to provide leadership and feedback. Millennials look to their leaders as role models and have a strong desire to learn from them. Establishing a clear career track that’s supported by a performance review process also helps employees understand how they are doing in their job and encourages them to keep improving and moving forward in the organization.

Another benefit that Millennials seek from their employers is the opportunity to interact and work with others. To that end,
chief learning officers and their managers should strive to create an office space that allows co-workers to share ideas and promotes teamwork and collaboration. Allow them to participate in group projects to gain valuable hands-on experience. And make the learning process high-tech and interactive to achieve never-before-reached
levels of engagement.

A good learning program for Gen-Y workers should:

>> Socialize learning into everyday behavior, shifting your organization toward a more informal learning culture.

>> Let employees learn when, where, and how they want to, not restrict it to just the classroom or even the desktop.

>> Allow employees to gain experience that can’t be acquired through coursework.

>> Provide advanced capabilities that encourage instant engagement.

>> Offer guided decisions for managers.

>> Simplify instant two-way communications with mobile management.


APC helps create learning tailored to the particular educational needs and personal characteristics of each individual learner. In many cases today, mobile devices — because their use will surpass desktop use for Internet access next year — are the tools that allow employees to learn in real-world situations, whenever and wherever they so desire.

Adaptive personalized learning through APC is “the process of enabling the system to fit its behavior and functionalities to the educational needs (such as learning goals and interests), the personal characteristics (such as learning styles and prior knowledge), and the particular circumstances (such as location and movements) of the individual learner or a group of interconnected learners.”


“What does a good job look like?” Kalinske asks. To the next-gen workforce, “what’s most important is not how much you earn, but how much you grow.”

Kalinske contends that employees want to feel like they belong; that someone in the organization really cares about their professional development; that the work is challenging; and that individual contributions toward fulfilling the company’s mission are self-evident. Just as important is employee engagement. Gallup found that 29 percent of workers are engaged on the job, 53 percent are not engaged, and 19 percent are actively disengaged (Fig. 2).

figure 2

“Engaged workers are terrific,” Kalinske says. “They help with profitability, with morale, with customer relationships, and with productivity. But employees who are not engaged are not psychologically connected to the company. They’re more likely to miss work days. And the 19 percent who are actively disengaged are really unhappy and harmful, because they will try to share their unhappiness with fellow employees. The impact of lack of engagement is certainly greater absenteeism, greater turnover, safety incidents, quality defects, all of which affect your profitability. But the opposite is true with highly engaged workers.” (Fig. 3)

figure 3

“[So] we want to aim for career well-being and career happiness where your employees like what they’re doing and are doing what they do best. They want their leaders to know them, care about their development, and be their friends in the workplace.”

Kalinske says that managers should discover and build on the talents of their workers, give them more pathways to success, and encourage practical skills and experiences.

“The reason we’ve had so many issues until recently is because we haven’t had enough entrepreneurial attention to education and worker development. There’s something wrong there, but it’s changing.

“We’re starting to talk about personal knowledge portfolios, measuring return on education (ROE) spending, and we’re see-ing more partnerships — something we all have to push for. We need to partner with companies like Middlebury College, EdX, MyEdu, 2U and Coursera.

“Learning platforms are being accessed by more and more companies. Intel, Yahoo, Facebook, IBM, Dell are all starting to access courses as part of their corporate development programs. It cuts development and implementation costs.”


Our nation’s teachers and professors are laying the foundation for corporate learning. “If you’re a star teacher in Korea, you can make $3 to $5 million,” Kalinske notes, adding that the nation’s K-12 teachers are vastly underpaid by comparison. But in on-line education, things change. For example, Udemy’s online teachers are now making up to $500,000 per year, and much of their education is workplace education.

“We’re seeing a lot of next-generation content like Lumosity, lynda.com, EverFi, and schools like Charter Schools USA and the Florida Virtual School,” Kalinske notes. “Return on Education (ROE) accelerator technologies like edSurge and LT media.lab also are having very important impacts.”

He believes that K-12 and secondary educators must change the curriculum to adapt to 21st-century employer needs. “That means there has to be more math, science
and I.T.,” he says. “We need to move to a competency-based model. What you know is important; not just sitting in a classroom for a semester and graduating with a C.

Learn More: Hear Thomas Kalinske’s presentation on “The Quest for Talent: Developing the Next Gen Workforce” at www.2elearning.com under Video Gallery.

Published in Top Stories

Learning Impact Research: Can Serious Games Measure Up?

BY Kathy Heldman and John R. Mattox II

In today’s “big data,” metrics-driven business world, talent development professionals are challenged with demonstrating a tangible return on investment from their learning solutions. Traditional measures like participant feedback surveys and course completion rates are not enough anymore. Instead, C-Suite executives are keenly interested in how programs improve specific business outcomes like increasing sales, improving workforce performance, or maximizing employee engagement.


Jim Sokolowski is the chief learning officer and director of Global Learning and Leadership Development for Savvis, an outsourcing provider of managed computing and network infrastructure for I.T. applications. He joined Savvis in 2010 to build a learning organization from the ground up, and during the past three years has done just that with an approach to learning that is strategic and laser-focused on impacting results. In the three-year transformation process, the Savvis learning team has been awarded the Training Magazine Top 125 Award in 2012 and 2013 and also the B.E.S.T. award from the American Society for Training and Development in 2012 and 2013.

“We have come a long way in our rapid from-the-ground-up build and transformation,” says Sokolowski. “I am very proud of what the team has accomplished, and I am honored to be part of this award-winning team. The question we continue to ask ourselves, ‘Now what?’ To keep our seat at the table requires that we maintain relevance by staying connected to the most critical strategic imperatives. We must also continue to improve the services we provide and the solutions we deliver.

” Interdependence is a key element of the Savvis way. At the beginning of each year, Sokolowski and his team meet with business-unit leaders to better understand their strategies, goals and talent development needs, with the ultimate outcome of being able to link all learning solutions and efforts to the most critical organizational strategic imperatives. In addition to the annual connection point, Sokolowski’s team also uses a strategic consulting process along with monthly enterprise learning dashboards and quarterly program level dashboards to regularly review learning solution progress and share the results with business-unit leaders. These strategies reinforce a continuous connection with the business, while also providing a mechanism to continuously improve the learning solutions the team is providing.


In order to ensure profitable revenue growth, the Savvis sales organization is a key internal customer. Two key areas of focus for this internal customer are improving sales communication and negotiation skills with prospects and clients to accelerate bookings and improve customer satisfaction.

Savvis sales representatives engage in a complex selling cycle that often results in a highly customized solution, so it is imperative that contract terms and conditions are negotiated clearly and favorably early in the sales cycle.

Effective sales communication is essential throughout the process in order to accurately identify the needs and interests of clients and to gain their trust. These key competencies — part of the Savvis sales success profile — are linked to the sales employee lifecycle.

According to Sokolowski, “The importance of linking the organization’s talent development initiatives with its priority of growing revenue at or above market rates made it clear that a heightened focus on improving sales communication and negotiation skills is a critical success factor for Savvis.”


Finding a transformational learning program that provides measureable results was essential. Sokolowski has always been intrigued by gamification, in part because he has observed the positive impact that computer games have on their players in terms of learning, engagement and having fun.

Acknowledging that this was a bit of a hypothesis, Sokolowski adds. “I thought this methodology could translate to impact work performance, particularly with the sales organization which is often an early adopter of technology.” The L&D team was excited by gamification, because it was an avenue to learning that fit the sales team’s results driven, competitive culture.

Savvis ultimately selected Merchants, an online sales communication and negotiation game-based program designed and developed by Madrid-based Gamelearn S.L., and licensed by Savvis from Game On! Learning, the U.S. distributor of the program.

The decision to implement Merchants was based on the following factors:

>> Skills application - The skills application focus of the training would help ensure that sales representatives mastered the key competencies. In serious learning games like Merchants, learners spend more than 90 percent of their time practicing and applying new skills.

>> Engagement and innovation – Savvis wanted something that was highly interactive. In fact, the organization has conditioned its workforce to expect engaging learning.

>> Cost – Savvis wanted to deploy a solution that would be cost effective and not break the bank.

>> Scalability – If the solution demonstrated positive impact, Savvis would want to quickly scale the approach to other areas of skill development.

“We have been fortunate to be able to foster and operate in an environment where we can innovate with learning while taking risks in trying new things,” says Sokolowski. “This is an environment we have created, and we accomplished this through the ongoing showcase of the value and impact of learning, while maintaining laser focus on flawless execution to deliver on commitments to the business.”


Savvis began the implementation with an initial cohort to fine tune the approach before rolling it out to a broader audience. The cohort consisted of about 30 sales representatives in two U.S. cities. Each works on the phone to prospect and develop sales opportunities that will result in sales.

The cohort was constructed to create a diverse demographic of tenure and experience. The manager of the sales team also participated in the training, as did Sokolowski. The players are extremely competitive in their selling activities, and the learning game has brought that same competitiveness to the training.

Prizes were awarded to the players with the greatest accumulated wealth and highest trust scores in the game. Players who accumulate more than $1 million in wealth were admitted to a “Millionaires Club.”

Measurement of learning transference and performance improvement is essential. The Savvis team identified the following success drivers for the training:

>> Increased confidence in selling skills

>> Shortened sales cycles

>> Improved win/loss ratios

>> Increased revenue per transaction

>> More favorable agreement terms between buyer and seller

>> Improved sales behaviors in the specific skill areas of (a) Identifying prospect or client needs and interests; (b) Structuring the sales conversation to build trust; (c) Reaching mutually beneficial agreements in each conversation; and (d) Managing each conversation to develop a long-term relationship.


The initial implementation of Mer-chants began this past July, and so did the measurement research. Savvis and KnowledgeAdvisors designed an evaluation approach to determine whether knowledge and skills were acquired from the program and if they were being applied on the job to improve individual sales performance and improve revenue. In addition to the game-based learning cohort, Savvis launched a parallel cohort of salespeople completing negotiations training using traditional e-learning courses. A third cohort will complete a
classroom-based negotiation program during the fall of this year.

Explains John R. Mattox, director of Research for KnowledgeAdvisors: “It is impossible to implement a randomized experimental design to evaluate the impact of game-learning, but this comparison group design is the next-best approach.”

As this story went to press, the pre-assessments had been deployed, the train-ing completed, and post-training measurement had begun. The early returns are quite encouraging, with 80 percent of those starting the 8- to 10-hour program finishing it during the six weeks allotted. According to Sokolowski, “Getting 80 percent completion on a comprehensive
sales learning intervention is no small accomplishment, since training time takes away from their time selling. This high completion percentage indicates a high perceived value to the sales force, since this became a priority for the team.” The response to the training has also been quite enthusiastic, including comments from learners such as:

>>    “Once I got through the first level, I found myself wanting to play more and more. It is addictive and very fun talking smack with my peers.”

>>     “It is impossible to simply click through this game without stopping and making critical decisions based upon real negotiation techniques. Merchants presents the user with challenging scenarios and demands creative thinking for successful outcomes. But the best part is, it’s fun. This is learning gamification done right.”

Enthusiastic feedback, while important, is not enough. Sokolowski’s plan is to benchmark game-based learning against both traditional e-learning and classroom training that maps to the same competencies and learning outcomes.

The approach employs multiple assessments, evaluations and business data. Pre- and post-course knowledge and skill assessments are being used to quantify the knowledge and skills gained. All assessments and evaluations are deployed using Metrics That Matter, a proprietary learning analytics system from KnowledgeAdvisors. Savvis has used Metrics That Matter for the past two years to automate its standard training evaluation process.

Upon completion of the training, learners receive a web-based evaluation that asks if they have learned new skills and to what extent they expect to apply them. Learners
are asked to estimate their expected performance improvement and estimate how much of the improvement is due to training alone. KnowledgeAdvisors’ research has shown these predictive measures provide reliable “leading” indicators of the success of the program.

Follow-up evaluations will be sent to learners and their managers 60 days after completing the program. Questions in these evaluations will focus on how much performance has improved and how much of the improvement was due to training. These measures will be correlated with the predicted performance improvement measures and
will be compared to industry benchmarks maintained by KnowledgeAdvisors. Learners will also rate whether performance has improved for specific sales behaviors (e.g., number of client contacts, reaching mutually beneficial agreements, etc.).

Ninety days after the program, KnowledgeAdvisors and Savvis will conduct interviews with selected learners. Following the process outlined in Brinkerhoff ’s Success Case Method, half of the interviews will be with learners who provided the highest ratings on the evaluations and half will be with learners who provided the lowest ratings. The interviews will
focus on the strengths of each program and which aspects provide the most useful knowledge and skills. The interviews will also allow learners the opportunity to provide detailed examples of how they have used their knowledge and skills to improve their performance.

Figure 1 shows the evaluation approach with key performance measures across each group.

Untitled-3 copy

According to KnowledgeAdvisors’ Matox: “To demonstrate the impact of game-based learning programs on the business, it is essential to gather business data such as the number of sales, sales margins and other indicators of success.” The final data sources will therefore come from Savvis’ sales CRM system, which will provide results about sales cycles, win/loss ratios, revenue per transaction, and customer satisfaction. Information will be gathered for each learner for the 12 months prior to the program and six months after to control for seasonal fluctuations.


The road to success often requires innovation. The Savvis L&D group has embraced innovation — gamification of learning —with the intent of transferring knowledge and skills more efficiently and effectively to its sales force. This bold move was matched with an equally bold approach to evaluation. Only measurement can truly show how effective learning gamification is for Savvis compared to traditional forms of training delivery. Stay tuned. Savvis, Game On! Learning and KnowledgeAdvisors will report their evaluation results in 2014 with another case study.

—Kathy Heldman co-authored this article for Game On! Learning. John R. Mattox II co-authored it for KnowledgeAdvisors. To receive a copy of the completed research findings, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Published in Top Stories

Five hundred learning and development professionals will gather in January in London to consider the impact of technology on learning cultures. Sixty expert speakers, each with their own insights into how learning and technology have collided, have been invited to run conference sessions.

“Each year we find technology makes an increasingly profound impact on the way that we learn and this creates a considerable challenge for corporate L&D functions,” says conference chair Donald H Taylor. “This conference provides an environment for L&D professionals to consider how technology and learning is evolving and, along with many others facing the same challenge, consider how to adapt and how to lead change in their own organizations.”

The speaker line-up includes: Brian Solis, Jane Bozarth, Beau Lotto, Marc Prensky, Harold Jarche, Deborah Francis-White, Jim Kirkpatrick, Euan Semple, Matthew Syed, Julie Dirksen, Doug Belshaw, Guy Claxton, David Kelly, Itiel Dror, Hans de Zwart, Donald Clark, Ger Driesen, Nigel Paine, Terence Eden, Steve Wheeler, Clive Shepherd and Crispin Weston.

—More info: www.learningtechnologies.co.uk/programme/

Published in Latest News

Many companies avoid using the term “high potentials” for individuals selected for career development and advancement opportunities, according to a survey of more than 450 organizations by AMA Enterprise, a division of American Management Association.

“Just one-quarter of companies now employ the term, but as many as 42% won’t use ‘high potentials,’ and certainly not in communications with employees,” says Sandi Edwards, senior vice president of AMA Enterprise, which provides organizations with assessment, measurement and tailored learning solutions. “What’s more, another 18% say they’re sensitive to the overtones, but haven’t found a better term.”

“If only certain individuals are identified as ‘high potentials,’ where does that leave the rest of the employees?” asks Edwards. “Unfortunately, the term itself suggests most employees may not have much potential, and this isn’t a healthy message for either them or the organization in general.”

Another dimension to the issue, believes Edwards, is the appearance of exclusivity. “Of course, people who aren’t selected may feel excluded or passed over. There’s understandable resentment and the perception that the program itself is not fair.”

The survey asked respondents about employees’ attitude toward selection for their high potential program. Only 14% regard their program as fair and even-handed.

According to Edwards, the wide perception of unfairness has no easy or quick solution. “No matter how open or equitable a career development program may be, there will always be those who think it’s elitist. That goes with the territory. Nevertheless, it’s the job of those who administer these initiatives to do all they can to communicate widely and clearly about opportunities, for selection criteria to be clear and applied uniformly, and for there to be ample development alternatives. This balancing act may be one of the most daunting challenges faced by HR and development professionals today.”

The survey was conducted July 15 to August 3, and respondents consisted of 453 senior-level business, human resources, management professionals and employee contacts drawn from the AMA database of contacts.

Published in Latest News

Leadership is a hot topic of career conversations and organizational management that fuels a multi-billion-dollar self-help industry. From highly effective habits to leadership models and personal accounts of extraordinary life circumstances — the topic touches everyone in some facet of their career, ranging from receptionists to managers, and directors to C-suite executives.

From an enterprise learning standpoint, the topic is particularly important as you are faced with the responsibility of organizational development and learning strategies that are critical to employee performance and the success of the organization. In fact, data shows that investment in the development of employees can improve productivity by 81 percent, revenue generation by 48 percent, and marketing share by 30 percent. Nevertheless, whether you’re interested in developing your own leadership skill sets or those of your team and/or your organization, it doesn’t require extraordinary tales of war, winning sports championships, or miraculously landing a plane safely on the Hudson. We all have opportunities to lead and grow in our daily lives regardless of our title or role and regardless of what phase of the professional life cycle we are in.

Great leadership begins with a conscious choice and sustained efforts to improve over selves, our awareness and our capabilities to grow fulfillment and success at both the personal and professional levels. No matter what advice you’ve read or heard, it’s important to set standards that align with personal lifestyle, career goals, and organizational mission and culture.

To help, I offer three empowering concepts I’ve found to be successful across many organizational cultures.

1) Rise above and establish your key internal drivers.

Successful leaders are self-aware and able to rise above conflict, inefficiencies and other circumstances that may push internal buttons or misalign with internal drivers. So it’s important to exercise self-awareness, focus, compassion and patience. It’s also important to know your self-worth and believe in the value that you bring to the table.

If you don’t rise above it all, you’re creating unnecessary obstacles that limit your success and advancement. Remember that you’re in charge of creating your destiny. So learn to trust your inner compass.

2) Fine-tune external drivers and use them to inspire others.

How do you inspire others? Great leaders make a genuine effort to understand what is important to those with whom they interact every day. What motivates them, and how do others perceive them?

The best approach is to develop a can-do and collaborative environment by setting the leadership example, and by listening and providing opportunities for others to be creative and to shine. No matter how large or small your sphere of influence may be, promoting a culture of leadership development, enthusiasm, innovation, accountability and transparency are essential foundational elements to building a framework for team and organizational success.

As you go about your everyday projects and tasks, it’s important to create leadership development programs and opportunities for mentoring and coaching, as well as clearly identify leadership talent for all levels of the organization.

Ultimately, consider that many organizations have found success by aligning individual leadership strengths and skills with broader organizational needs and strategies.

Dave Karpen talks about simple, but key, principles that make successful leaders: the ability to listen and engage in collaboration as a team player; to demonstrate respect and offer recognition to others; and to act with humility and integrity. Karpen explains that although these concepts above are simple, people do tend to forget them.

3) Become your best by focusing on lifelong learning and inspiring others.

Another way of sparking your authentic leadership style is to help establish a culture and mindset poised for lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is essential for keeping pace with industry and leadership trends and to supporting organizational competitiveness and sustainability.

Effective and dynamic leaders are up-to-date on the most current information. They develop fresh ideas and harness best practices. As a leader, you’re not only responsible for self-development, but for engaging and inspiring others, helping them to develop and achieve their highest potential.

Dr. David G. Javitch accurately points out that you must be seen as the expert in your field, highly credentialed and capable of leading to success in order to be respected and followed. Ask yourself this question: What will it take for you to become this person?

Becoming a leader is a personal journey. It takes effort, persistence, dedication, practice and patience. There is a learning curve, but the experiential process helps you evolve over time and hone insights and skills that enable you to make a meaningful contribution to your organizational culture and its bottom line.

—Tatiana Sehring, who wrote this article, is director of Corporate & Strategic Relationships for American Public University.

Published in Ideas
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