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Enterprise Learning! Conference Announces Call for Papers

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Enterprise Learning! Conference…

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Automation to Displace 375 Million…

According to McKinsey Global, 32% of U.S. jobs will be replaced by automation by 2030. This is a small percentage across the global front. McKinsey estimates that 400 million to 800 million people… Read more...

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Intelligence Systems. These applications are transforming business, and the enterprise technology an platforms to support them. By Catherine Upton

The digital evolution is changing how business is done. This is the era of impassioned CEOs and technology leaders with creative ideas who can inspire their organizations and lead them in transforming into digital businesses.

"The learning ecosystem is going through a technical disruption to automation and autonomous learning programs in the corporate space. Reminiscent of the shift from contact management software to sales force automation software or email marketing to marketing automation, the learning stack is the laggard to be re-invented and adopted, says Rory Cameron, General Manager, Litmos by Callidus Cloud.

In a Gartner report titled, “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends” authored by David W. Cearley, Brian Burke and Mike J. Walker, there are three macro trends leaders must embrace to enable a shift to the digital enterprise.

MACRO TREND 1:ALGORITHMIC BUSINESS  DRIVES TRANSFORMATION

Algorithmic business is an accelerator and extension of digital business, according to Gartner. It focuses on how increasingly intelligent algorithms enable smart machines and systems to become autonomous actors in the digital business as agents for human beings. Algorithms drive the connectedness among people, things, businesses and information that drive business value. Algorithms provide the “intelligence” to get the most out of the connections and interplay between people, things, processes and information. Algorithms also are critical to delivering a differentiated customer experience. Although big data remains a major concern for CEOs, big data generated as part of the digital business process is of no value in itself. It is only when the organization shifts from a focus on big data to “big answers” that value begins to emerge.

"Forward-thinking learning profes- sionals and learning technology providers have long recognized that we are amassing a significant amount of data on learners, reports Chip Ramsey, CEO, Intellum. “From the corporate perspective, the enterprise should already be drilling down to the individual employee to determine which learning asset positively altered which specific outcome. On the learning technology side, we should be leveraging the tremendous amount of anonymous user data within our reach to identify learning trends that impact performance. But these are still ‘fixed’ approaches by which learning technology providers, and our clients, are making decisions."

Analyzing big data to identify patterns and insights that drive business actions is the start of this shift, according to Gartner. Algorithmic business transformation occurs when organizations encapsulate these insights into algorithms tied tightly to real-time business processes and decision-makers, and when they use machine learning to allow increasingly autonomous algorithmic action. Algorithms are more essential to the business than data alone. Algorithms define action.

Algorithmic business extends beyond data and analytics to influence the evolution of applications, business models and future digital business solutions. This is ushering in a post-app era in which system and application vendors such as Microsoft, Google and Apple are likely to deliver platforms and applications with ever-more powerful agent- based interfaces.

Intellum’s Ramsey continues: “As business sectors across the board, including learning, continue to apply machine learning techniques, these traditionally fixed algorithmic approaches are themselves learning. At Intellum, we are already testing a solution that presents the exact information the user needs to consume at the moment in which that presentation has the highest likelihood of improving that employee’s performance. The algorithms that control this approach are not static equations but processes that learn from large numbers of prior successful outcomes to better determine who needs what, when.”

Algorithmic business builds on digital business, shifting the emphasis to the intelligence encoded in software, according to Gartner. Enterprise architects must add algorithmic business and related enabling technologies to their planning and future enterprise, data, security and application architectures.

IBM’s acquisition of The Weather Company is an example of algorithmic business. The Weather Company has a massive Internet of Things (IoT) implementation, with hundreds of thousands of weather sensors sending 28 billion transactions to its Cloud every day. Before the acquisition, IBM had an agreement to feed data to IBM Watson for weather prediction. With the acquisition, IBM brings together The Weather Company’s digital environment and associated data with IBM’s analytical and cognitive computing capabilities. This has created an algorithmic business that provides analytical services and results to a business ecosystem with more than 5,000 customers. These customers — in, for example, airlines, insurance companies and retailers — can use the algorithmic input to drive their own business operations.

Organizations must examine the potential impact of these macro trends, factor them into their strategic planning for 2017 and 2018, and adjust business models and operations appropriately. If they fail to do so, they will risk losing competitive advantage to organizations that do. {See Figure 1}

ELM March Disruptions 1

Ramsey concludes: “The algorithm that learns how to present the right information to the right person at the right time is beyond valuable. It will fundamentally transform the company that learns to harness it. Imagine the competitive advantage gained when the learning solution recognizes in real time an opportunity to intercede and present the user with information (a new sales technique) that turns an otherwise negative outcome (lost sale) into a positive one (closed sale). This is not an imagined future state. Companies like Intellum will be providing this competitive advantage to clients within the year.”

MACRO TREND 2:THE EMERGENCE OF THE DIGITAL MESH

Gartner defines the “economics of connections” as the creation of value through increased density of interactions among business, people and things. As an organization increases the density of its connections (among people, business and things), it increases the potential value it can realize from those connections.

Connections are at the core of digital and algorithmic business models. The digital mesh builds on the economics of connections, focusing on devices, services, applications and information. The digital mesh is a people-centered theme that refers to the collection of devices (including things), information, apps, services, businesses and other people that exist around the individual. As the mesh evolves, all devices, computers, information resources, businesses and individuals will be interconnected. The interconnections are dynamic and flexible, changing over time. Building business solutions and user experiences (UXs) for the digital mesh — while addressing the challenges they create — must be a priority for enterprise architects.

“This concept of a digital mesh that is made up of all the devices and digital applications that are tracking every aspect of our lives is very applicable to enterprise learning," claims Ramsey. “In a corporate environment, we use applications to manage projects and relationships, receive customer feedback, and control versions of critical documents and code. We interact with these applications across a number of devices from a number of locations. The things we rely on to get our jobs done are actually gathering data about how well we do our jobs.”

The digital mesh has emerged as a re- sult of the collision of the physical and virtual worlds, as computing capability becomes embedded in virtually everything around us. Additional advances allow the virtual world to enter the real world through advanced UI and virtual reality models, as well as physical items created with 3-D printers. This blending of both worlds delivers new insights into the physical world, allowing us to understand it in greater detail, and interact with it in new and intelligent ways. This will change how people experience the world in their daily lives. Opportunities for new business and operating models will abound.

Ramsey adds: “At Intellum, we can already mine this data from a range of devices (think Fitbit) and applications (think Salesforce) to determine employee performance levels. We can now experiment with how well specific inputs, like a mid-day walk or a two-minute video on how to become more persuasive, can alter an outcome or improve an employee’s performance. Once these feedback loops are in place, particularly at scale, we can apply the algorithms that will determine the exact learning asset an employee should encounter in a specific scenario. This will, of course, require even more data from even more sources, and the digital mesh will continue to grow.”

MACRO TREND 3:SMART MACHINES SET THE STAGE FOR ALGORITHMIC BUSINESS AND THE ALGORITHMIC ECONOMY

The smart machines theme describes how information of everything is developing to extract greater meaning from a rapidly expanding set of sources, reports Gartner. Advanced data analysis technologies and approaches are evolving to create physical and software-based machines that are programmed to learn and adapt, rather than programmed only for a finite set of prescribed actions.

The amount of big data collected by the many devices currently in place is staggering. However, the accelerating merger of the physical and virtual worlds will make the present volumes seem paltry. New kinds of data will continuously stream from new types of devices at record rates. This oversupply will overwhelm those who are ill-prepared. But for those who are prepared, the potential to gain new kinds of critical intelligence will be unprecedented. Leading senior executives will build a strong competency in turning this data into critical intelligence that will drive their organizations’ future direction. Additionally, leading organizations will significantly advance operational agility with near-real-time information, feeding business processes that can absorb it and react accordingly. Data coming from almost all directions provides the possibility for intelligence everywhere when combined with advanced artificial intelligence algorithms and other machine-learning techniques.

Three distinct trends are intimately linked in the smart machines theme. They represent an evolution in how systems deal with data, and the machines and people that create and consume this data, culminating in intelligence everywhere. {See Figure 2}

ELM March Disruptions 2

“These three macro trends are substantiated by what we have seen in the financial trading arena," says Apratim Purakayastha, CTO, Skillsoft. “For some years, sophisticated algorithms have taken over trading decisions. Those algorithms are connected in a mesh, taking decisions and automatically trading across firms — and those ‘smart machines’ — have set the stage for a mostly automated algorithmic business. There are other areas, such as supply chain management, where this trend is currently growing. In the area of digi-tal advertisement, we can also see this trend dominating. Overall, it is already a broad, cross-industry phenomenon.

Even everyday objects such as a stethoscope and enterprise software such as CRM systems or security tools increasingly have a smart and autonomous aspect. In “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends: Autonomous Agents and Things,” Gartner looked at how information of everything and advanced machine-learning algorithms, supported by advanced system architectures, are leading to more intelligent software and hardware-based solutions. These are creating new market segments and enhancing existing ones.

“The pervasive nature of these trends demands that everyone understand what comprises a 100 percent digital workforce — a workforce that is fully trained and conversant with fundamental digital skills, along with its benefits and risks,” adds Purakayastha.

The key digital skills sets required include but are not limited to:

>> Broad digital skills such as productivity and collaborative tools.

>> Modern technological trends such as Big Data, Blockchain, etc.

>> A thorough understanding of fundamental cybersecurity issues such as phishing, ransomware and other risks

>> Best practices and laws relative to digital compliance and data privacy

>> Digital “presence, leadership and image in a virtually interconnected workforce.

—This article contains excerpts from the Gartner Research Report titled “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends” by David W. Cearley, Brian Burke, Mike J. Walker. To access the complimentary Gartner report, download it at: http://gartnerevents.com/ Top_10_Strategic_EMEA?ls=ppcggle&gclid =CJiMlrSN184CFVAo0wodWdQNkQ

Published in Top Stories

Empowering Employees to Take Charge of their Development - By Ritu Hudson

At Navy Federal Credit Union, we frequently receive these questions in learning and development. You probably do too. People look to us, the training department, to support their development. But most team members aren't aware of all the training department offers, or even where they should start. Enter Pathfinder at the Navy Federal Credit Union.

Pathfinder is a tool that provides employees awareness of the variety of resources that Learning & Development offers. It makes development planning easier by providing resources based on a career path or competency. It facilitates developmental conversations between leaders and staff by providing a common language. Overall, the tool provides the resources for our employees to own their development and their future.

To assure success, we created a process to effectively develop and launch the solution. We relied on a process that is familiar to learning and development professionals: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation (ADDIE). Our approach included:

>> Obtaining upper leadership buyin;

>> Spending time up front to complete a needs analysis, organizing the content, and planning the project;

>> Determining whether to develop inhouse or find a vendor;

>> Utilizing a phased design-and-development approach to minimize the need for rushing to completion;

>> Launching the Pathfinder tool and creating awareness around it through branding and marketing; and

>> Continuously gathering feedback, revising, and reinventing the tool.

CHALLENGES AND NEEDS

Before creating the solution, we went  through a thorough discovery process that included talking to employees and identifying needs. We discovered three main challenges:

  1. Employees had difficulty identifying what skills they needed for specific positions. They wanted to know, "What do I need to do to become a ____?' They also wanted a "path" created for them to achieve the necessary skills and experiences to prepare for that role.
  2. Despite developing a process, a work- sheet template, and even a workshop to help employees create their competency-based individual development plans (IDPs), they were not being used as widely across the organization. Our IDP pro-cess stressed that development is driven by the employee and that the employee should take the initiative to meet with his or her leader on a regular basis to discuss progress. While employees and leaders were open to having these conversations, there was confusion regarding what developmental activities could go in the IDP, especially around the organization-wide competency framework.
  3. Many employees were not taking charge of their own development and waited until their leaders initiated a developmental conversation.

 

To overcome these challenges, we needed to:

>> Support employees by guiding their learning along career paths. We were consistently hearing, "How do I become a business analyst?" or "How do I become a project manager?" We needed to guide, not prescribe, learning resources based on career paths.

>> Encourage the use of IDPs across the organization. Leaders and employees had the resources needed to create their plans, and the suggested developmental activities associated to competencies.

>> Encourage employees to self-initiate their development by giving them the resources to do so.

Based on the identified challenges and associated needs, we determined that the overall goal was to improve employee performance and engagement by empowering our employees to take charge of their development. This goal directly aligned with the organization's strategic plan, which included an initiative to "…have highly skilled, engaged team members empowered to execute our strategy." With this alignment, we were able to gain visibility for this project, obtain an executive level champion, and also make it a priority for our team.

 DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT

Armed with the organization's needs and strategic plan, we were ready to begin development. We decided to develop the tool in- house instead of using a vendor. This allowed us to keep the tool current as we developed new learning resources. As with any design project, we went through multiple iterations to get it to where it is today.

Before beginning development, we reorganized our learning resources to help our employees understand the developmental categories involved. We created eight developmental tracks:

>> Career Development

>> Communication

>> Financial Management

>> Functional/Technical

>> Leadership

>> Management

>> Member Experience

>> Self Enrichment

Our employees would be able to more easily identify developmental resources, such as workshops and e-learning courses. In an effort to identify guided paths for employees developing for a specific role, we organized our learning resources into career paths. Despite having hundreds of positions across the organization, we utilized 10 areas of subject-matter expertise:

>> Administrative Assistants

>> Business Analysts

>> Executives

>> HR Professionals

>> IT Specialists

>> Loan Officers

>> Managers

>> Project Managers

>> Supervisors

>> Training Specialists

Last, we created an "All Employees" path for general employee development. Now, we were ready to build the tool.

Iteration 1

The first iteration of the tool was an interactive Adobe Acrobat PDF document. It allowed users to click on a Career Path at the top of the document, which highlighted the courses applicable to development for that path. This version of the tool was easy to send over email, but it was limited by scope and physical space. It only included selected learning resources, and no information beyond the resource's title was available.

ELM March Empowering Employees 1

Iterations 2 & 3

After deploying the first version of the tool, we saw what worked and didn't work for our audience. The second iteration produced a standalone, wizard-style tool. This tool was hosted on the organization's intranet, making it easily accessible to employees. The focus of this version was to enable our learners to pick the type of development that they needed.

The second version allowed us to take a more holistic approach. We added additional career paths and learning resources- e-learning courses, workshops (physical and virtual classroom), career development advice, and competencies. Furthermore, the tool allowed the resources to be organized in a manner that effectively provided learners with the ability to obtain learning to develop specific competency and to develop in a current or future position.

With Iteration 2's focus on functionality, we were able to fine-tune the tool in Iteration 3. We added additional paths and fully integrated the tool into our intranet. Instead of a link, it was now embedded within the site, allowing users to leverage the intranet's search functionality.

ELM March Empowering Employees 2

ELM March Empowering Employees 3

IMPLEMENTATION

Throughout the development periods, we worked diligently to market the tool across the organization. We created a logo and tagline for the tool, and used it everywhere. We aligned the tool with our annual Catalog of Services (outlining our offerings, categorized into the same development tracks) and integrated the tool into our workshops, including our New Employee Orientation. We went on road shows and demonstrated the tools at various business unit meetings. We sent targeted emails and advertised it on the intranet. We even created 3-D posters advertising Pathfinder and posted them everywhere. We communicated to employees that we listened, developed a tool to support them, and simplified the "how to" of development.

EVALUATION & IMPACT

Between our marketing and word-of- mouth, the tool became an integral part of employee development within our organization. We received positive feedback that the tool was user-friendly, accessible and interactive. Employees and leaders began using the tool in the development of IDPs. Pathfinder reinforced the competency language/framework that we utilize throughout our organization in behavioral interviews and annual performance reviews, and it further provided a common language for our employees and leaders to have developmental and performance conversations.

We continue to review and modify Pathfinder on an annual basis. Based on learner input, we have continued to add career paths. We also review the tool for functionality and to improve the user experience. We have linked Pathfinder to the learning management system (LMS), providing employees with the ability to review course descriptions in Pathfinder and quickly link directly to our LMS to open the e-learning course or register for the workshop.

Not only did Pathfinder support a more developmentally-focused culture and provide awareness of our department's offerings, it was a steppingstone to new and different employee-initiated development programs. We recently linked Pathfinder's Career Development section to an extensive job shadowing program in which employees make requests to shadow positions in other business units. We have also implemented self-paced certificate programs that put the learning in the hands of our employees. They register for and work through a curriculum of workshops and e-learning courses to obtain the certificate, some of which are based on development tracks. Further, when we get a development inquiry, we introduce them to a tool and other self- initiated programs that puts their devel- opment in their hands.

The Navy Federal Credit Union is a five-time Learning! 100 Award winner, recognized for innovation and high performance.

Published in Top Stories

For too long, employee training systems have been cumbersome and complex to work with. But the need to onboard employees, introduce programs, educate staff on updated policies, and offer training to external audiences has been accelerating. Organizations today do not have the time or the patience to spend months implementing clunky learning management systems. Litmos by CallidusCloud is changing that.

Litmos is the world’s fastest growing enterprise learning platform, supporting more than 4 million users in over 130 countries and 22 languages. The Litmos cloud-based solution unifies a learning management system (LMS), the extended enterprise, and prepackaged content in an engaging platform to meet any organization’s training needs. Built to scale from 100 users to 1 million users and beyond, Litmos is highly secure, focuses on the end user, and provides time to value three times faster than conventional learning solutions. With Litmos, organizations can engage learners anytime through native apps for Android and iOS, and they can extend their ecosystem by using prepackaged connectors and REST APIs. Litmos also provides local US support during business hours to help organizations be successful. Headquartered in Silicon Valley and backed by public company CallidusCloud (NASDAQ: CALD), Litmos is still run with the nimbleness of a start-up. It continues to experience double-digit growth and has a customer satisfaction rate of over 95 percent.

A POWERFUL PLATFORM: LITMOS LMS, LITMOS CONTENT, AND LITMOS TRAINING OPS

Litmos LMS is a simple yet powerful platform. Most legacy systems are over-engineered solutions with a huge percentage of features utilized by less than 5 percent of users. Litmos LMS is built with learner’s experience in mind that makes it easy to implement, administer, and manage. The platform’s open API architecture and prepackaged connectors make it simple for organizations to connect Litmos LMS to their ecosystem. And the user interface is consistent across devices, which helps organizations to engage their mobile workforce.

Litmos offers more than 700 packages of content. In addition, Litmos Content uses an in-house course production studio— composed of specialists in instructional design, production, research, technical operations, and program support—to develop more high-quality, mobile-friendly courses that focus on healthcare, HR, OSHA, sales and marketing, leadership, and more. The design aesthetics for these courses ensure better retention through engaged learning, and all content is available through the course marketplace.

Litmos Training Ops is an end-to-end training-as-a-business solution, enabling organizations to grow revenue, build loyalty, and reduce costs by automating the business side of training. A self-service, cloud-based platform, Litmos Training Ops delivers a sophisticated, integrated set of tools that help organizations automate and manage revenue, expense, global taxation, training credits, and other business processes so they can improve the ROI of their external training programs.

ADVANCING CORPORATE LEARNING

Litmos’ mission and core value proposition is to advance corporate learning by providing a learning experience that doesn’t necessarily reside in one segmented location, but in the departments where administrators work and in the applications where users spend their time. With Litmos: >> Customers will get the perfect combination of powerful search and ease of use that learners love.

>> Customers can go live in 6 weeks— many in days or even minutes—rather than in 6 to 12 months.

>> Customers will achieve time to value in less than 6 months as opposed to 24 months.

CUSTOMERS

 litmoscustomersezineimage

WHAT CUSTOMERS SAY:

>> “The Litmos platform has enabled USIC to deliver targeted, timely and efficient learning and compliance tasks to our 8,000+ employees across the US and Canada.” Tim Gale, USIC

>> “We chose Litmos because it’s extremely user friendly, you don’t need a lot of training and we love the user interface.” Miriam Calvo-Gil, Kapco Global

>> “We liked that Litmos has the ability to easily upload content, build your own content, and create courses.” Rick Galliher, 1-800-Got-Junk?

>> “What I like most about Litmos is the easy and fast implementation without needing a team of people or specialized resources.” Cheryl Powers, Coca Cola

CONTACT INFO:

4140 Dublin Boulevard #400

Dublin, CA 94568

+1 (925) 251-2220

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.litmos.com

Published in Insights

For too long, employee training systems have been cumbersome and complex to work with. But the need to onboard employees, introduce programs, educate staff on updated policies, and offer training to external audiences has been accelerating. Organizations today do not have the time or the patience to spend months implementing clunky learning management systems. Litmos by CallidusCloud is changing that.

Litmos is the world’s fastest growing enterprise learning platform, supporting more than 4 million users in over 130 countries and 22 languages. The Litmos cloud-based solution unifies a learning management system (LMS), the extended enterprise, and prepackaged content in an engaging platform to meet any organization’s training needs. Built to scale from 100 users to 1 million users and beyond, Litmos is highly secure, focuses on the end user, and provides time to value three times faster than conventional learning solutions. With Litmos, organizations can engage learners anytime through native apps for Android and iOS, and they can extend their ecosystem by using prepackaged connectors and REST APIs. Litmos also provides local US support during business hours to help organizations be successful. Headquartered in Silicon Valley and backed by public company CallidusCloud (NASDAQ: CALD), Litmos is still run with the nimbleness of a start-up. It continues to experience double-digit growth and has a customer satisfaction rate of over 95 percent.

A POWERFUL PLATFORM: LITMOS LMS, LITMOS CONTENT, AND LITMOS TRAINING OPS

Litmos LMS is a simple yet powerful platform. Most legacy systems are over-engineered solutions with a huge percentage of features utilized by less than 5 percent of users. Litmos LMS is built with learner’s experience in mind that makes it easy to implement, administer, and manage. The platform’s open API architecture and prepackaged connectors make it simple for organizations to connect Litmos LMS to their ecosystem. And the user interface is consistent across devices, which helps organizations to engage their mobile workforce.

Litmos offers more than 700 packages of content. In addition, Litmos Content uses an in-house course production studio— composed of specialists in instructional design, production, research, technical operations, and program support—to develop more high-quality, mobile-friendly courses that focus on healthcare, HR, OSHA, sales and marketing, leadership, and more. The design aesthetics for these courses ensure better retention through engaged learning, and all content is available through the course marketplace.

Litmos Training Ops is an end-to-end training-as-a-business solution, enabling organizations to grow revenue, build loyalty, and reduce costs by automating the business side of training. A self-service, cloud-based platform, Litmos Training Ops delivers a sophisticated, integrated set of tools that help organizations automate and manage revenue, expense, global taxation, training credits, and other business processes so they can improve the ROI of their external training programs.

ADVANCING CORPORATE LEARNING

Litmos’ mission and core value proposition is to advance corporate learning by providing a learning experience that doesn’t necessarily reside in one segmented location, but in the departments where administrators work and in the applications where users spend their time. With Litmos: >> Customers will get the perfect combination of powerful search and ease of use that learners love.

>> Customers can go live in 6 weeks— many in days or even minutes—rather than in 6 to 12 months.

>> Customers will achieve time to value in less than 6 months as opposed to 24 months.

CUSTOMERS

 litmoscustomersezineimage

WHAT CUSTOMERS SAY:

>> “The Litmos platform has enabled USIC to deliver targeted, timely and efficient learning and compliance tasks to our 8,000+ employees across the US and Canada.” Tim Gale, USIC

>> “We chose Litmos because it’s extremely user friendly, you don’t need a lot of training and we love the user interface.” Miriam Calvo-Gil, Kapco Global

>> “We liked that Litmos has the ability to easily upload content, build your own content, and create courses.” Rick Galliher, 1-800-Got-Junk?

>> “What I like most about Litmos is the easy and fast implementation without needing a team of people or specialized resources.” Cheryl Powers, Coca Cola

CONTACT INFO:

4140 Dublin Boulevard #400

Dublin, CA 94568

+1 (925) 251-2220

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.litmos.com

Published in New Products

This is the season of gift giving. The top ten consumer gifts are mostly technology-enabled and give us insights into the technologies enterprise learning needs to embrace.  From Apple Watch, PlayStation VR, Amazon’s Echo Dot to Fire TV Stick, we see trends in mobile, Virtual Reality, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and video streaming. The rate of technology adoption is pressuring learning organizations to adopt and adapt quickly.

How are talent leaders adopting these technologies?

-Virtual Reality is expected to reach $50 billion by 2025 according to Goldman Sachs. We asked four leaders from education, government and corporate enterprises to share how they are using Virtual Reality for learning. Discover their implementations here.

-The User Experience is paramount to employees. With the increase of millennials in the workplace, learning leaders are embracing social, video and mobile to enhanced user experience and engagement. See how Express, Inc. is fashioned for millennials here.

-The 12th Annual Best of Elearning! Awards honors 99 solution providers named by 4000+ learning professionals. See what enterprises are investing in and deploying successfully view the complete list of solutions and what users say about them here.

While technology may be a portion of the story, there are also key behavioral shifts. We are seeing the emergence of the Fractal Organization according to David Coleman, Principal of Collaborative Strategies.  A flat collaborative work structure that may be in your future. Learn more here.

Jeanne Meister, founder of Future Workplace, declares we are in the ‘Era of Serial Learner.’ Discover what it means to leaders everywhere here. Finally, Dean Pichee says “Organizations who deliver the best, most engaging, effective employee training today are going to be tomorrow’s winners in the marketplace.”   Learn more in his ‘Science of Learning’ column here.

It’s time to make that next transition. Take the first step by viewing these articles from learning leaders who have been in your shoes. Create your corporate learning wish list with an eye on your future workforce, their behaviors and toolsets. 

Published in Top Stories

The virtual reality (VR) market is a $15 billion hardware market. It is projected to reach $50 billion by 2020, according to Goldman Sachs.

VR technology today divides into two types: rotational and positional. In rotational VR, you are seated or standing and look around a 360 environment, but cannot move within it. There is one point of view: looking at things around you. Samsung Gear, Google Daydream and Google Cardboard are rotational VR. The typical VR experience with Google Cardboard ranges from 5 to 20 minutes.

The second type is positional VR. This environment lets you move around within the VR space. It can be composed of mixed reality, using a video layer over a VR environment. A mixed reality environment lets people approximate what a user is seeing within a VR application in a 2D view. Positional VR can scale to many users in a single shared space.

THE VIVE EXPERIENCE

Vive is a positional VR solution. You can be seated, standing or moving within a room. You can literally stand in the center of the content (think “Star Trek” holodeck experience.) Kids to grandparents use Vive with ease because it’s natural to interact within the environment. Given the immersion, Vive experiences tend to last longer — an hour plus for users without fatigue.

To use Vive, you need a PC and headgear. There are 100,000s of Vive users globally and we are shipping about 1,000 units per day, to customers.

PC prices to run VR have dropped considerably in the past year. Nine months ago, there were no PCs on the market to support Vive. Now there are nine models at a much lower price point.

VR applications run the gamut from games and entertainment to enterprise uses, especially medical. We see examples of automotive VR for design of cars. Designers can work in VR collaboratively in the same space. This type of application can reduce the time and cost of product design.

VR applications like test-driving a car, viewing real estate, or visiting a travel destination are all in development or deployed today. The medical field has recently created a surgical theater where an MRI of a brain can be displayed in space, and doctors can walk around the brain in VR. The National Park services also launched a series on 360-degree VR experiences and 2-D video on Facebook.

GETTING STARTED IN VR

You are probably sitting on digital content you can use for VR. It is a matter of reorganizing it into a 360 experience to allow you to move around. IKEA created a VR kitchen and let users select colors and layouts before buying. This brought buyer’s remorse to zero.

When developing VR, we recommend building cross platform as much as possible. Instead of scaling up from Cardboard, you should develop for full functionality, then scale down to the user’s platform.

LEARNING GAME CHANGER The HTC

Vive has VR learning experiences, like the Apollo 11 VR Experience. The developers, Immersive VR Education LTD, created an environment of 1960s-style living room with a TV showing JFK’s speech about going into space. The user is then transported into a space capsule sitting next to Buzz Aldrin and landing on the moon. My young son used it and shared with me what he learned; historical quotes and his successful moon landing. Four weeks later, I asked my son about the moon landing, and he could still recall with great details his experience.

We have A/B tests that measured VR versus reading of material. It found VR tested higher in retention one day and 90 days later versus readers alone. VR is a game changer in retentions.

It’s these experiences that are changing how we interact with digital content and engaging people. Vive users typically spend 45 minutes to an hour in the VR experience versus 10 minutes for Cardboard. Now, that’s an engaging experience.

– By Daniel O’Brien, Vice President, VR at HTC.

Published in Insights

As the year comes to a close we’re already looking forward to what’s coming in 2017 for the e-learning industry. However, 2016 was an interesting time for learning and development and we’re excited to recount some of the most notable trends of the year. Industry professionals predicted that 2016 would deliver interesting advancements in the e-learning space, including:

MICRO-LEARNING

This year, micro-learning catapulted to the top of industry blogs as bite-sized learning became more popular with companies such as Uber Technologies and Gap Inc. reportedly making the shift to harnessing micro-learning training options. In addition, with the last of millennials entering the workforce, we saw more content providers offering a series of courses in shorter segments to cater to the new demands of the learning market.

GAMIFICATION

Although gamification’s interactive format has already shaped e-learning, in 2016 we saw gamification manifest in customer-facing products such as Nike’s Nike+ and Starbucks’ rewards program. Over the past year these programs grew in popularity and became a creative way to boost customer loyalty. In the corporate learning space, we saw companies like Deloitte continuing to utilize gamified learning methods in addition to companies seeing rising engagement rates with gamified courses.

AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY (AR/VR)

2016 was the year of Oculus Rift’s consumer products and OpenSesame has been experimenting with AR/VR to explore ways to make enterprise training even more valuable for learners. While gamification allows learners to interact and “level up” in courses, AR/VR provides an immersive environment where learners directly interact with content. This year we saw several industries using virtual reality with companies such as General Motors (GM) using VR to train employees. As e-learning courses are created in AR/VR environments, we expect to see notable changes in the industry.

THE “OPEN LEARNING EXPERIENCE”

Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Deloitte, noted that 2016 was a year where the notion of an “open learning experience” began to thrive. In an article with SHRM he describes how open learning experience companies “help employees discover and publish any content they want (including materials they author)...” In 2016 we saw the growing popularity of custom learning paths and “recommended” courses available to learners. In addition we saw training extend into social learning spaces offered through an LMS, making the learning experience catered to the learner.

BIG DATA

Throughout the year speculators predicted that the prominence of big data in e-learning would change the way companies think about learning and development. In 2016 we saw LMS and e-learning companies amp up e-learning analytics, collecting data ranging from time learners spent on courses to testing reality-based scenarios against text-based problem solving. This has been an exciting year as new trends technologies are providing better user experiences. Courses are gradually becoming shorter, more immersive, and more interactive with data for companies to track. Although data surrounding 2016 e-learning trends are still being collected, with the emergence and growing adoption of AR/ VR and other technologies, we’re anticipating an exciting 2017.

TRANSFORMING THE E-LEARNING INDUSTRY

OpenSesame allows you to support your learners, the way they want to learn. Whether you need mobile friendly, short format, long format, ebooks, or a mix, OpenSesame’s catalog has the right content. As the trusted provider of on-demand e-learning courses for midmarket and Global 2000 companies, OpenSesame delivers:

>> The most flexible buying options to maximize your budget

>> The broadest catalog with 20,000+ courses from the world’s leading publishers, updated constantly

>> Compatibility with every LMS

Leading organizations depend on OpenSesame to train millions of employees. An entirely new and better way—easier, more economical, with less risk—to access the best on-demand training. With thousands of business, safety, technology, and compliance courses, OpenSesame helps train organizations of any size.

—BY SIMONE SMITH

Sources: https://elearningindustry.com/5-amazing-elearning-trends-2016

https://www.docebo.com/landing/contactform/elearning-market-trends-and-forecast-2014-2016-docebo-report.pdf

http://www.ambientinsight.com/Resources/Documents/AmbientInsight_2015-2020_US_Self-paced-eLearning_Market_Abstract.pdf

https://elearningindustry.com/brandon-hall-group-elearning-market-trends-2016-learning-management-system

https://trainingmag.com/7-e-learning-trends-keep-eye-2016

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2016/01/05/three-trends-in-e-learning-that-can-help-businesses-craft-better-training-programs/

Published in Trends

Is your workforce prepared for tomorrow’s challenges? Maybe you’re thinking -”my workforce isn’t even prepared for today’s challenges, let alone future challenges.” Regardless, providing employees with the knowledge and skills they need has never been more important – or challenging. And the stakes couldn’t be higher… organizations who deliver the best, most engaging, effective employee training today are going to be tomorrow’s winners in the marketplace.

TODAY’S TRAINING CHALLENGES

The modern worker has changed. The average worker is checking their smartphone nine times an hour and are typically interrupted every 5 minutes on the job. Since the year 2000, the average attention span of a person has dropped from 12 to 8 seconds – 1/3 of the attention span of workers has completely disappeared (Time).

The modern workplace is also changing rapidly. We are running our organizations lean and mean… so managers often feel that they can’t afford to have their people “off-the-job” and training for long periods of time. Fitting in training is often viewed as a secondary objective.

Finally, the shelf life of knowledge and skills has shortened dramatically. Today the shelf life of knowledge is much, much shorter with technological changes and other factors. Experts believe our knowledge and skills must be updated roughly every 18 months or we risk extinction. It’s never been more important for workplaces to use technology to blend learning new skills into their employee’s jobs and create a culture of learning.

ENTER MICROLEARNING AND LEARNING TECHNOLOGY

Thanks to YouTube and other streaming video platforms we now understand that not only do employees desire to learn, but their preferred format for learning is video. We also know they prefer shorter videos to longer ones. Research shows the ideal length of an online training video is 6-7 minutes. This type of microlearning creates 50% more engagement than other training methods.

Microlearning also works well because the programs offered by many online training providers today are designed for any device and any size screen. This is important as many organizations and industries need training available in remote locations where a traditional computer setup is not available or feasible. Fortunately, most of us carry our little video players (aka smartphones) at all times. And since we’re checking them nine times an hour on average, training has never been more convenient!

LEARNING RETENTION AND SCIENCE

So you’ve found an online training partner with a large library of microlearning content and you’re working on a marketing initiative to roll it out to your employees. Great! Isn’t that all you need to create the behavior changes and performance improvements your organization expects to see? Unfortunately no, research by neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists tells us that no matter how great our training programs are, employees will forget about 70% of what they’ve learned within 24 hours of learning it.

Don’t throw your training plan out the window just yet, however. Let’s talk solutions – solutions based on what science tells us about learning and retention.

It turns out that testing knowledge isn’t just a way to measure how much your employees know, it’s also a great way to increase their learning, and their long-term learning retention. When the brain is asked to retrieve information, it tags it as important and is less likely to forget. In practice, asking employees a series of quiz questions and other memory “boosters” related to the training they have taken, spaced out over strategic intervals, can increase learning retention by as much as 300%!

THE RIGHT MIX

We certainly have challenges as HR and workplace learning professionals today. Combining a library of microlearning content that is curated and updated, and a post-training reinforcement plan is the perfect foundation for your training program. Get the mix right and your on your way to preparing your workforce for tomorrow.

--Dean Pichee, Founder and President of BizLibrary

Published in Insights

Many of you have never heard of fractal organizations. I hadn’t until I talked to a colleague working on the Hyperloop project, which was described as a “fractal organization.” The fractal organization may be your future collaboration ecosystem. Most organizations today are top-down command-and-control hierarchies that have to grow through acquisition rather than expanding from within. Oracle is a great example of this (having just recently acquired NetSuite). In nature, mathematical constants are both random and scalable. Look at the leaves of a fern, or the organizational patterns on some seashells. Even vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli. Fractals are often thought to be infinitely complex, because, at all levels of magnification, the pattern is the same.

With about 100 years under our belts around command-and-control hierarchies, we know that they might work well for the Army but are not agile or stable enough to work well in today’s chaotic business environment. On top of that, they tend to create “silos” and foster miscommunication, and in essence are not great for collaboration no matter how good the technology.

Hierarchical organizations create harmful stress and internal competition, because there are only so many spots at the top of the organization. This causes the members to hoard information. I witnessed this directly in the big five consulting firms when I did research on them around collaboration in their organizations. The stress can cause absenteeism and employee turnover, and creative individuals got tired of corporate politics and found more creative environments.

FRACTAL SYSTEM CHARACTERISTICS

Author Janna Raye identifies the properties of the fractal system:

1 Emergence: Agents in the system interact in random ways. Interaction patterns emerge from these behaviors that affect the agents in the system as well as the system itself. A good example of this is a termite hill.

2 Co-evolution: Systems are in their own environment, as well as being a part of another, larger environment. As the larger environment changes, the system does also, but because it is part of the larger environment, it also changes the larger environment. For example, think of a person as a system in a larger system (environment) called a business. As a person changes his or her behavior, it also changes the behavior of the business, showing a co-evolution of these systems.

3 Sub-optimal: Fractal systems do not have to be perfect to thrive in their environment, and only have to be slightly better than their competitors. Putting additional energy into making the system better tends to be wasted energy, as these systems tend to trade off increased efficiency for greater effectiveness.

4 Requisite Variety: The greater the variety in the system, the stronger it is. That is why diversity in our organizations is so important — not just of races, but of thought, approaches to problems, attitudes, etc. Fractal systems have lots of ambiguity and contradictions, but rather than seeing these as “bad,” they are seen as a way to create new possibilities to adapt to a changing environment. Democracy is a good example of this.

5 Shared Purpose: Like ants, honeybees, geese or schools of fish, all of these organizations have shared purpose and shared values among all their members. These create pattern integrity, and often high levels of participation in ideas and solutions for continuous improvement, which helps with decision-making at functional levels. Leadership is universal, which enables the competition energy to be directed outward instead of inward.

6 Information Sharing: Hierarchical organizational structures cause information silos. In a fractal organization, all members share information iteratively and make decisions collectively in response to constantly changing conditions.

FRACTALS AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES

One major feature of fractals is their “self-similarity,” meaning different sizes of similar attributes within the larger whole, ad infinitum. In nature, you can have individual actors (like a school of fish, or a flock of geese) all working together for the common outcome. Both fish and geese display interdependency, relying on each other. Systems in nature also have scalable structures at every level, and at each level, there is a different organizational pattern. Some examples of this type of system are living organisms, a nervous or immune system. a corporation, and economy or even a society.

So if this is true for mountains, coastlines, tree bark and even wiggles, why not organizations?

What this implies in organizations is the application of complex systems theory, with tight feedback loops, autonomous cooperating actors, and a simple and limited set of rules governing the system. This is the basis for the agile movement in programming today. It also seems to be one of the best approaches to how large organizations can stay creative and innovative. Fractal organizations can do so by climbing “the fractal ladder,” enabling the sustainability of innovation.

According to Raye, a “fractal” is a way of thinking about the collective behavior of many basic but interacting units, and in a macro sense have the ability to evolve over time. A fractal organization is the embodiment of “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

A fractal is a pattern, a form of sustainable ordered chaos, while an organization is “an ordered arrangement of things (people).” Fractals have self-organizing principles, and fractal organizations are seen as “an emergent human operating system that mimics nature in its capacity for creativity, adaptation, vitality and innovation.”

Switching from a hierarchical to a fractal organization supports more cooperative work, provides better information flows, more room for advancement, lower turnover, and eliminates the view that there is a scarcity of resources.

People in these organizations are seen as “complex adaptive systems” and emergent behaviors arise out of organizations like this.

Self-organization is the key to self-adapting systems evolve and adapt to new challenges. In living systems, we see cooperation and symbiotic interactions (like in an ecosystem). We also see that reflected in many organizations today; for example, both Salesforce and Slack have created large ecosystems of developers that add value to the original product.

Some fractal companies are like Pixar — core leaders in the center — and all firms are arranged as arms around the leader. Then in the arms, each team has a leader, and info is funneled to the center of the organization to the leaders, needs for resources, and then allocated flow back out.

Although we are just starting to see these fractal organizations as we move from the industrial age to the information age, we are starting to see the demise of hierarchy and the flattening of organizations. One type of these flatter organizations are fractal organizations, which are inherently collaborative. This bodes well for more modern organizations that are adopting the fractal nature.

—Sources: “Fractal Organization Theory” by Janna Raye, The Journal of Organization Transformation and Societal Change. http://www.fractal.org/fractal-systems.htm

—David Coleman is the Managing Director of Collaborative Strategies Inc. (CSI), a San Francisco-based industry analyst and advisory services firm. He is the author of “the collaboration blog” and author of four books on collaboration, the latest two being: “Collaboration 2.0” and “42 Rules for Successful Collaboration.” Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Published in Insights

Insights into the Future of Work

Much like serial entrepreneurs, serial learners are intellectually curious, always reaching beyond their current role to learn something new, make connections out of seemingly unrelated topics, and seek out new networks and experiences. Companies are providing access to MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) and other free learning assets as a way to encourage employees to take ownership of their learning and development. As Randall Stephenson, CEO and Chairman of AT&T has publicly said, “If you don’t develop new skills, you won’t be fired, but you won’t have much of a career.” This notion of serial learning is becoming crucial to career growth, and companies committed to understanding the future workplace are getting out in front of this!

Three macro trends are leading to an increase of serial learners and they include:

I. LIFE-LONG LEARNING SECTOR OF EDUCATION MARKET PROJECTED TO GROW 30%

The higher education marketplace is going through a seismic shift. The size of the education market in the USA as estimated by GSV (Global Silicon Valley) is estimated at $1.6 trillion. This is projected to grow to $2.0 trillion by 2020. We also see that the life-long sector is projected to grow 30% over five years. This sector ranges from 38 MOOC providers like Coursera, EdX and FutureLearn, plus a host of organizations offering personalized learning experiences such as Degreed, PathGather, EdCast and CAEL. Today, what you learn directly impacts what you earn, and as the shelf life of knowledge for all roles grow shorter, the need to be a serial learner has never been more important. This trend is driving organizations to supplement their corporate learning with a host of free learning assets, from MOOCs to Ted Talks and podcasts.

II. MILLENNIALS AND GEN Z DRIVE PERSONALIZATION IN THE WORKPLACE

Millennials (born between 1982 and 1993) and Gen Z (born between 1994 and 2009) are estimated to be more than 60% of American workplace by 2025. Members of these generations expect the workplace to resemble how they live their lives: on-demand and personalized to their needs. This means companies are differentiating their employer brands by offering Millennials and Gen Zer’s not just a job but a workplace experience. This experience includes access to smart technologies at work, on-demand learning personalized to their individual needs, a culture which inspires growth and development, and a workspace which nurtures community, enables choice and promotes health and well being.

III. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ENTERS THE WORKPLACE

Artificial intelligence is poised to transform the workplace. Today it is a $15 billon dollar industry and it is expected to be more than $70 billion by 2020. We are half way through a century long transformation moving us from automating physical work to automating knowledge work. This will mean some jobs will be lost. The World Economic Forum anticipates a loss of over 7 million jobs by 2020. But, new jobs will also be created like Data Scientist, YouTube Content Creator and Learning Experience Designer. In addition to impacting jobs, AI will leverage machine learning and natural language processing to improve such HR processes as recruiting new employees, on-boarding and developing employees. A host of AI empowered bots are entering the workplace; such as Talla, for handling recruiting, x.ai for scheduling and calendar coordination and Gridspace for meeting follow ups.

Over the next five years, the combination of these trends will change the workplace in a way we have never witnessed before. These trends will propel employees to take charge of their learning and become serial learners, to grow their skills and avoid job obsolescence.

—Jeanne C Meister is partner in Future Workplace and co-author of “The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees."

Published in Insights
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