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How to Teach the Missing Basics to Today’s Young Talent


There is an ever-widening “soft skills gap” in the workforce, especially among the newest young workforce, the second-wave Millennials otherwise known as “Generation Z” (born 1990-2000).

I say this based on more than two decades studying young people in the workplace: The incidence and insistence of managers complaining about the soft skills of their new young workers has risen steadily year after year since we began tracking it in 1993. It affects workers of all ages, but is most prevalent among the newest youngest people in the workforce.

Today’s newest young people in the workplace have so much to offer, yet too many of them are held back because of their weakness in a whole bunch of old-fashioned basics: non-technical skills ranging from “self-awareness” to “people skills,” especially communication, as well as “critical thinking” and “problem solving.”

Here’s the question everybody asks: Are the relatively weaker soft skills of today’s young workers the result of having grown up thinking, learning and communicating while permanently attached to a hand-held supercomputer?

Surely, that is part of the story.

Gen-Zers are the first true “digital natives,” born in a never-ending ocean of information — an information environment defined by wireless Internet ubiquity, wholesale technology integration, infinite content and immediacy. Gen-Zers are always totally plugged in to an endless stream of content and in continuous dialog — forever mixing and matching and manipulating from an infinite array of sources to create and then project back out into the world their own ever-changing personal montage of information, knowledge, meaning and selfhood. They try on personas, virtually. Social media makes it easy to experiment with extreme versions of one persona or another; more or less (or much more) crass means of expression.

Gen-Zers are perfectly accustomed to feeling worldly and ambitious and successful by engaging virtually in an incredibly malleable reality — where the stakes can seem all-important one moment, until the game is lost and reset with the push of a button in a never-ending digital dance, by projecting their uniquely diverse persona(s) in their own highly customized virtual peer ecosystem.

But remember, it’s not just technology that has shaped this generation.

Every bit as much to blame is the helicopter-parenting on steroids that’s been the norm for Gen-Zers. They have spent much of their formative time ensconced in their own highly customized safety zones — the private comfort of protection and resources provided by responsible adults who are always supposed to be looking out for them. As a result, Gen-Zers are neither accustomed nor inclined to conform their attitudes and behavior for an institution or an authority figure (especially a non-parental authority figure).

As a result, a shocking number of young people today simply do not realize just how much “just doing their own thing” makes their attitudes and behavior maladaptive in the real world of the workplace. Most of them simply cannot fathom how much mastering some of the critical soft skills could increase their value as employees — not only right now, but for the remainder of their careers.

—Bruce Tulgan founded Rainmaker Thinking, a management training firm, in 1993. This article is adapted exclusively for Elearning! Magazine from his book of the same title.

Published in Ideas

Neurolearning Is ‘the Harmonious Blend Of Cognitive Psychology and Adult Learning Theory, Built Upon the Foundations of Modern User Experience.’


It was author and education expert John Dewey who said, “We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” It’s surprising to think that such a radical idea came from someone who was born in 1859. Dewey probably didn’t know it at the time, but his ideas were firmly rooted not only in human nature, but also in neurology. Today, we know much more about the brain and the way it adapts and learns, proving correct what may seem like an old-fashioned theory. Taking what we now know about the brain’s response to information, the 2015 approach to neurolearning hinges not on amazing graphics, high-tech modules or excellent delivery methods, but on the power to draw insight from your learners. Dewey was right: It’s insight — not experience — that propels education.


When learners grasp a concept with a deeper level of understanding, that insight actually has a biological effect on the brain. Insight activates the largest part of the brain: the cortex, which is responsible for both thought and action, so activation is a necessity for truly impactful learning. Most people think of the brain as a hard drive, where pieces of information can be stored individually and accessed when necessary. But the brain isn’t a hard drive, it’s a spider web. Each layer of learning connects to previous experiences, memories and past insight, creating an entire web of knowledge that is supported and connected to other parts of the brain. When you cause learners to go deeper than a shallow understanding, you physically thicken those connections between topics and memories for better recall. The stronger the connections, the better recall the learner has and the more effective the e-learning.


As Dewey said, there’s no learning without refection. But what does that really mean? In short, many e-learning initiatives are simply wasted because administrators and facilitators fail to give learners sufficient time to think about what they’ve learned, gain insight on the topic, and strengthen those neural pathways for later recall. When an e-learning module is over, learning managers simply move on, setting their learners up for “learning amnesia.”

Time for reflection doesn’t necessarily mean a quiet period for thought. Reflection refers to any activity or task that causes learners to reframe what they’ve learned in order to create a personal connection to the subject matter. Here are some modern ideas to apply to Dewey’s vintage advice:

>> Ask different questions. You know what you want your learners to get from a training session, so ask the right questions. What are the three objectives of a lesson, for example, or how could this be applied outside of the classroom?

>> Make engagement a choice. Forcing learners into the same learning path as everyone else can result in a tenuous connection at best. Instead, make engagement a choice: Offer different avenues for learning, so each type of individual has the chance to learn at his or her own pace and choose the topics and information that most interests him or her.

>> Find learning moments. The classroom shouldn’t be the only place for learning. By finding learning moments and encouraging learners to recall what they know, you cause them to reflect on their experiences and continue strengthening those neural connections.

A piece of advice that was uttered so long ago by Dewey may seem outdated, but when applied to modern neurolearning, it results in new insight and understanding. By pushing learners to autonomously do more than simply go through the motions of training, the post-class reflection, discussion and practice become the most important factor in turning learning into understanding and action.

—The author is CEO and managing partner of eLearning Mind.

Published in Insights


Workforce Futurist Karie Willyerd Keynotes and Reveals 5 Secrets to Stretching Your Skills

Karie Willyerd, author and workplace futurist will keynote the Enterprise Learning! Conference 2016 (ELC16) produced by Elearning! Media Group. The keynote titled “Stretch: How to Future-Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace,” will explore how to extend your professional sell-by date.

Computerization and automation is a great productivity driver. However, it’s also changing the face of workplace. Up to 66 percent of American jobs are at risk of being replaced by computerization according to an Oxford University study. “It is imperative for employees to learn how to future-proof their careers and Ms. Willyerd will reveal five practices that every employee should implement,” said Catherine Upton, ELC16 Conference Chair and Group Publisher.

ELC16 keynote attendees will discover how to take stock of their professional development and plan their next move. Attendees should expect to leave their comfort zone. The professional landscape is shifting dramatically and almost every role in every industry will be affected. Extend your skills beyond your sell-by date by working through five critical steps to continued professional relevancy.

Willyerd walks the talk. She has served as Chief Learning Officer at five Fortune 500 corporations, and co-founder and CEO of Jambok, the industry’s first video-based informal social learning software platform, which was acquired by SuccessFactors in 2011. She is also the co-author of the award-winning bestseller, “The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today.”  Willyerd’s newest book is “Stretch: How to Future Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace,” was selected as an Amazon Editor’s Pick in Business and Leadership in January, 2016.

ELC16 Helps Executive Build Smarter Organizations
ELC16 conference features four distinct tracks to support the theme of Building Smarter Organizations. They are:  Engaging the Smarter Workforce, Empowering the Smarter Learner, Best Practices of the Smarter Leader, and Building the Smarter Enterprise. At ELC16, attendees can network, learn and share with learning leaders from across the globe.

Who Should Attend

Executives charged with driving enterprise performance via learning and workplace technologies, including HR, Talent, Development, Training, E-learning, Project Management, Education, Sales & Service should attend ELC16.  Government, nonprofit agencies and educational institution leaders are also in attendance to collaborate on the now and the next in learning. Attending this conference is an amazing opportunity to meet colleagues from across the globe. Registration is now open at www.ELCEShow.com. Register by April 30 and save $300 on the two-day conference pass.

Register Now Open

The Enterprise Learning! Conference 2016 (ELC16) hosts the exclusive Learning & Workplace Technology Conference for corporate, government and higher education executives. ELC16 provides executives an engaged environment to network, share and learn from leaders across the globe. Coupled with cutting edge research, expert learning technologists and three prestigious industry award programs; Learning! 100, Best of Elearning!, and Learning! Champions, this is the must-attend forum for learning and performance executives.  Registration is now open at www.ELCEShow.com. Register by April 30 and save $300 on the two-day conference pass.


Published in Latest News


TalentShip 2.0 is an advanced version of Spire Technologies’ enterprise talent product.

TalentShip 2.0 is a complete modular suite of five talent transformation products, which complement all existing HR automation systems. It is Cloud-hosted, infinitely scalable, and easily accessible as an app on tablets, mobile phones, laptops and any new-generation devices.

Based on proprietary Spire Context Intelligence Platform (SCIP), TalentShip 2.0 is a platform wherein talent data from three different sources — World Wide Web, internal and external talent data — can be viewed, compared and used to make decisions in a single window.

Spire boasts that TalentShip can save HR departments 60% in costs, and that it can yield a 70% efficiency in the selection of candidates for jobs.

—More info: www.spiretechnologies.com/talentship-suit/


Published in New Products


Ten companies were named Leaders in G2 Crowd’s Winter 2016 HR Management Suite Software Grid report, receiving strong customer satisfaction scores with a large market presence. UltiPro earned the highest overall satisfaction score, while PeopleSoft earned the highest overall market presence score.

The Grid leverages customer satisfaction data reported by authenticated users along with vendor market presence determined from social and public data. Based on a combination of these scores, each software solution is categorized as a Leader, High Performer, Contender, or Niche.

Key Findings:

>> Suite Satisfaction - With few exceptions, products that appear on the HR Management Suites Grid are more highly rated for their integrated software suite than for their individual modules.

>> Happier Customers - Since the last Grid Report, the average NPS score for products has improved from -8 to +6, indicating an increase in overall customer satisfaction.

>> Non-Core Feature Strength - Seven of the seventeen products on the Grid offer features beyond those typically found in HR management suites, such as time tracking or payroll capabilities.

The report is based on more than 900 reviews written by business professionals.

—More info: G2Crowd.com


Published in Latest News

Disruptive changes brought about by digital technology, changing workforce demographics and a new employer-employee contract are driving organizations to design a new world of work that is more flexible, less hierarchical and more focused on employee needs.

“Our research shows powerful technology and business disruptions around the world are driving dramatic change both for HR functions and the organizations they serve,” says Josh Bersin, principal, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Built around highly empowered teams, driven by a new model of management and led by a breed of younger, more globally-diverse leaders, the emerging new organization reflects the critical importance placed on organizational structure. In fact, 92 percent of the executives surveyed for the ‘Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016’ study identified organizational redesign as a critical priority in the year ahead.”

David Mallon adds: “To survive and thrive in today’s always-on environment, companies likely need to redesign the way they build leaders, develop people, and measure and drive culture.” Mallon is Bersin by Deloitte’s head of research.

Those are among the sweeping shifts that executives and research analysts will explore in presentations and working sessions at Bersin by Deloitte’s “Impact 2016 Different by Design: The New Organization,” which takes place April 25-28 at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Fla.

Executives and senior leaders from AbbVie, Cisco, Halliburton, Intel Corporation, Lyft, and PayPal, will be among the more than 30 senior-level presenters at the conference. They will describe leading talent and HR solutions to address the sweeping global forces that are reshaping the workplace, the workforce and work itself. Josh Bersin, principal, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, will focus his keynote on the need to fundamentally change the way organizations are structured.

Bersin by Deloitte also will recognize the five finalists in its WhatWorks award program, which recognizes outstanding talent-related innovations that drive business impact.

—More info: http://impact.bersin.com/Agenda.aspx
Published in Top Stories

The Learning Platforms market is predicted to triple by 2020. Discover how learning leaders are leveraging learning and talent systems to drive enterprise performance. What are the key business drivers for sourcing new systems? Which features are hot and which are not? Who are the brand leaders and laggers? 

Join Joe DiDonato when he reveals the findings of the 2016 Learning Platforms Buyer Study. 



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Published in On-Demand

Extended enterprise learning is defined as training all “non-employees” associated with an organization - essentially all the individuals who play a key role in the success of a company but aren’t on the direct payroll.  A few examples of these groups include distributors, dealers, resellers, partners or agents. These groups are critical to the success of an organization helping the company drive revenue and accelerate growth. Companies often struggle to effectively deliver timely, engaging learning to these groups.

Challenges with extended enterprise learning include the production of the online training courses, the ability to distribute them to relevant audiences efficiently, and access to immediate tracking and performance so you can gauge the expertise of the channel. Sales leaders, product managers, educators and trainers need to create interactive learning experiences and courses easily, and in one platform or technology. Third-party authoring tools, decentralized technologies and development overhead lead to slow delivery of information prior to and during product launches, and ultimately miss profit opportunities.

Providing your extended enterprise learners with a centralized location to engage with your brand and learn the latest product information is a clear benefit. Increased profits, reduced time to market and decreased costs can be measured as a result of the delivery of timely learning programs. Since the distribution of information can be accomplished quickly your organization can continue to reap the benefits of the training content far after it’s been authored.

The Thought Industries platform focuses on four key areas proven to elevate the power of your extended enterprise efforts:

  • Powerful Native Authoring – Built-in authoring tools mean you can create mobile-responsive interactions without the need for third-party authoring software.  You can make updates in minutes and leverage assets such as text, video, slides, images and audio to build training programs your audience will love.  Not only that, but you can put the authoring directly in the hands of your SMEs no matter where they are located.
  • Mobile Optimized Learning and Training Experiences – Lets face it, extended enterprise learners are busy with their full time jobs. They need to learn on-the-go from their tablets, mobile phones and laptops.  Anything you create in the Thought Industries platform is immediately mobile optimized.
  • Cloud Hosted – Yearly release cycles, software installs and licenses are a thing of the past. With modern cloud-based platforms the technology is immediate and product enhancements continuous so you never have to wait to take advantage of new feature releases. 
  • Seamless Data Integrations – Every business large or small have CRMs, HCMs and TMS systems.  These systems need to be immediately aware and updated from your training platform. Track learner milestones, events and progress seamlessly without ever having to download a report.  Webhooks, APIs and SFTP features will securely communicate with your enterprise technologies.


At Thought Industries, our Learning Business Platform(TM) helps our clients solve these exact challenges. Everything from authoring online learning experiences to managing users is consolidated under one roof.  Without coding or development, organizations can get to market quickly and distribute timely information from one location to their audiences.

Extended enterprise learning can be an engaging and educational experience for the end user, but it’s only as good as the technology it’s built on. For companies looking to increase profit margins, get to market quicker and fully engage their external networks, be sure you are leveraging the latest tools and technologies in order to maximize the value of your channel.

For more information about Thought Industries and our Learning Business Platform(TM), feel free to reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or request your personalized demo here.

Stephen Newman is the Director of Marketing at Thought Industries, a cloud-based provider of online learning technology for enterprise organizations. Learn more at www.thoughtindustries.com.



Published in Ideas

Companies are spending tens of billions of dollars globally on leadership-training programs each year, but that money often is wasted because “the training is not geared to drive business results,” according to a recent survey by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The BCG survey finds business leadership training and talent development often overlook frontline leaders who create value for customers, and the training employees receive often does not have a meaningful impact on business results. Amy Fox, president, founder and CEO of Accelerated Business Results, offers three tips to make training more meaningful, engaging, and easy to access for managers and employees:

1) Make Training an Ongoing Part of Company Culture – Focusing on a one-off event without thorough follow-up, coaching and reinforcement is a recipe for failure. Successful training programs inform managers what they need to do over time to make it successful.

2) Measure Success Based on Business Results – It’s not enough to measure success based on inputs such as days in training or satisfaction with the program. Effective training includes ongoing assessment and evaluation so managers can measure the capabilities employees develop and the results they achieve.

3) Offer Opportunities for Self-Directed, Bite-Sized Learning – Rather than offering event-based training with follow-up as an afterthought, more companies are offering employees opportunities to learn skills on the job through self-directed learning. Micro-learning through mobile apps and other online tools can help.

“With Millennial employees making up an ever-increasing percent of the workforce, more and more companies are finding the old death by PowerPoint training just doesn’t cut it anymore,” says Fox. “More companies are opting for new, on-demand, interactive approaches to training in the form of micro-learning — delivering content in small, specific bursts of information that put employees in control of what they’re learning.”

—More info: www.AcceleratedBR.com.
Published in Top Stories



Innovation and growth are who we are. Our industry continues to expand, creating new markets. We’ve embraced America’s burgeoning start-up economy. We’re touching almost every part of consumer’s lives.

Innovative technology holds the promise to empower each of us. Our industry is literally changing the world, solving some of our most complex challenges and improving lives across the globe.

Billions of intelligent products and services are now woven into the fabric of our daily lives. They connect each other. And these products and services also, more importantly, connect us to each other. Connected devices that are constantly learning and discovering new ways of doing everything, and they are improving how we live. They’re creating a new era where intelligence and data are the new currencies.

It’s a new world of choice. New delivery models actually save resources in many different ways.


In 2016, more than 25 companies will be in our drone marketplace, up 208 percent over last year. And we estimate that over 400,000 drones were sold in the U.S. this past holiday season. Think about lives in remote villages that are difficult to reach with medicine; they’re not getting it through drones. We’re also talking about getting products to homes, first to rural areas but eventually even to cities where rooftop-to-rooftop deliveries will become a reality, relieving traffic congestion below. And think about if your child gets lost in a forest: Don’t you want a search-and-rescue drone looking for your child? It’s so much efficient and effective than thousands of volunteers combing the forest. Or in disaster relief: Needed supplies can be brought to remote areas with drones.

But there’s also economic issues: changing jobs and how we do things. Think about wedding photographers, think about farmers analyzing their crops, think about inspecting bridges, or even real-estate agents trying to show a different vision of where a home is by capturing an aerial shot.


[It] will totally change how we get things. When the space station astronauts broke a tool recently, it would have taken three months to have a new tool shipped to them. Instead, they used a 3-D printer and got it replaced in hours. 3-D printers can also make prosthetic limbs. And doctors are increasingly printing 3-D surgical models like kidneys, which allow them to practice before they do actual surgery. And in disaster areas, we’re also starting engineers putting together 3-D emergency shelters. Of course, in business, 3-D printing allows us to go to market so much quicker with rapid prototyping.


Another new delivery model, which will be huge, are self-driving or autonomous cars. The potential applications include door-to-door food delivery, carpool support. About 30,000 Americans lose their lives each year because of car accidents. Most of that will go away. It will not only save lives, but driverless cars will improve lives for seniors, people with disabilities, and even children. It will reduce accidents and congestion; it will increase safety, make us more efficient and give us time we didn’t have before. Indeed, autonomous, electric and connected cars are a driving force of innovation. They will change our entire concept of mobility.


All of this is part of a bigger transition affecting our economy, a rapid growth of the sharing economy. The sharing economy creates jobs and influences the overall economy. The Wall Street Journal calls the sharing economy “a green shoot in a postindustrial age.” Sharing is green, but it also enhances consumer choice, lowers barriers to entrepreneurship, and increases the uses of capital. In 2014, access to affordable transportation brought in $156 million to local establishments in just two cities, San Francisco and L.A. Now, anyone can be an entrepreneur by offering under-used resources, from parked cars and spare bedrooms to specific skills and everyday chores. People can supplement their fulltime jobs with extra work with companies like Air B&B and Uber. [These companies] also bring services that are critical to areas not served by public transportation of people that can’t drive. With these services, people can visit, live and commute to areas outside of those served by existing hotels, taxis and public transportation — and they also save lives. Study after study has proven that ride-sharing services reduce the risk of drunk driving. MADD recently reported that alcohol-related crashes fell by 60 incidents per month for drivers under 30 in California since its ridesharing service began.


What we’re up against is old rules that impede innovation and block a safer world — a world of competition and choice. New entrants are important to our economy. They create jobs; they improve lives. And innovation, of course, changes everything. [New] products can solve realworld problems. They make us healthier, they improve our well-being, and wearable devices and smartphone apps actually change our behavior. Already, one out of 10 Americans is wearing a fitness tracker. By harnessing and sorting individual data, health care can be more personalized, democratized, and much more effective. Plus, technology can identify early-onset diseases, offer preventive health benefits, assist and manage chronic conditions, and provide more effective remote care of loved ones. We need technology to help take care of our aging society. Tech makes the world a healthier place for everyone, even those who can’t access or afford basic medical care. Sensors and smart apps combined together help combat cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Facial recognition, voice analysis, facial micro-cue technology and stress detectors are all coming together to make the world safer. Of course, we have to balance them against privacy concerns.

What are the billions of interconnected devices through the Internet doing? We’re saving energy: Real-time data from thermostats are already helping to avoid brown-outs and black-outs. In health care, there’s analysis and correlation of massive data that will affect how we treat people generally and individually. It’ll make us healthier.

Weather. Cars are going to be able to collect information on their temperature, whether their windshield wipers are moving, whether they just hit a pothole, even when they pass a car accident — and they’ll be immediately able to send that information to the cars behind them, thereby avoiding accidents, skidding, all sorts of things. First responders can come to the scene and immediately know the occupants, whether they are alive and what their condition is. Does this violate privacy? No, this helps save lives.

Even in aircraft safety, engine turbine blades send data to a server that analyzes their integrity, and of course in natural disasters, we learn so much immediately. This is the power of technology. This is the power of innovation. Of course there are going to be roadblocks and naysayers. There are those will see how bad guys use technology to threaten our security and privacy. We can never fully guarantee that the products and services our industries produce won’t be used for evil.

But I believe that technology can help us fight back and help protect us. Technology can connect us across borders, leading to a better understanding of what we have in common, not what divides us. So we can continue to pursue public policies that protect our safety and fundamental rights while allowing all these green shoots of innovation to thrive.

We need government to let the marketplace work, instead of trying to force its own rules that hamper entrepreneurs and innovation, whether it’s in health care, digital health, agriculture, communication, or even the ability to educate more broadly. The age of intelligence and data is going to allow us to improve lives on a scale that we have not seen before. [New] products not only hold the promise of making our lives better, they hold the promise of making our whole world better for us, our children and our children’s children. We have a bright future in front of us.

— Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Data in this article can be found at cta.tech/salesandforecasts. The Consumer Technology Association produces annual consumer electronics studies that are available on its website. Watch Shapiro’s speech: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=X9BmTsLWaEs

Published in Top Stories
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