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BY Jerry Roche

Just a few years ago, not many people knew what QR codes were or what to do with them. Today these scannable barcodes can be found on almost every physical and virtual product in today’s connected marketplace. Manufacturers use QR codes to give the purchaser more information about the product, provide instructions on use, or to simply advertise other products or services.

The learning and development community soon recognized that these powerful codes (which can contain most types of data stored online) could help connect learners to content in real-time at the time of need. DuPont Sustainable Solutions sees the use of QR codes as a powerful new avenue to disseminate learning information across an organization. “When it comes to learning strategy, QR codes are all about solving ‘just-in-time’, ‘just-in-place’ problems,” says Steve Zuckerman, Software Product Manager for DuPont Sustainable Solutions. “We have found that tying this technology to safety and compliance video content can save organizations a significant amount of time in the delivery of necessary information to both internal and contract employees.”

QR codes not only enable learners to engage with the content in a personalized way, but they offer a way to apply new knowledge instantly. In the traditional model, learners gain new knowledge or information but must wait until it’s applicable to use it. With QR codes, they can use it right away, on site.

This is especially useful as it pertains to compliance-based issues like safety training. For example, having a QR code at the entrance to a manufacturing site can allow an employee or contractor to view a video or manual explaining all hazards at that site and what needs to be worn and recognized for proper protection. That type of learning experience at the time of need can be much more impactful than taking a compliance course every 12 months.

“Think about the applicability for a company with a wide range of contractors who must access highly hazardous environments,” Zuckerman observes. “How does the company know that those contractors know about all the hazards? Having to scan a QR code at an entranceway to a plant, office or hazardous area can yield a video on their smartphone or digital device about existing safety regulations — like requirements for hardhats and eye protections.”

DISTILLED LEARNING

The future of learning is distilling content into smaller, bite-sized “chunks” to deliver shorter “just-in-time” training experiences. Imagine delivering two- to three-minute video clips via QR codes to communicate a safety contact, a meeting opener, or refresher training. Shorter learning experiences empower employees to seek the knowledge they need at the time they need to apply it.

OTHER BENEFITS

QR codes can potentially:

>> Increase engagement by allowing the learner to use modes that are common in their daily lives: mobile video, just in time and “just enough.”

>> Put the employee in control of his or her learning experiences by providing access to content in the moment.

This approach also can minimize the need to pull individuals “off the floor” for refresher training, making for a smarter and more productive workforce.

“QR codes can be applicable to organizations of all sizes and in all industries, depending on the type of knowledge that the organization is trying to share,” Zuckerman says. “As employers become more comfortable with employees using their own personal devices for work-related activities, the use of QR codes will increase. It’s really about the organization getting comfortable with it.”

 

Published in Ideas

BY Bill Anderson

Soft skills are what we commonly refer to as people skills — the non-technical skills and traits that affect a person’s ability to interact effectively with others. They include problem solving, communication and conflict resolution. These skills are critical to an organization’s productivity, success and performance.

According to the Stanford Research Institute and Carnegie Mellon Foundation, 75 percent of long-term job success is directly related to soft skills, while only 25 percent of success is attributed to technical knowledge. (Source: Stanford Research Institute and Carnegie Mellon Foundation) Another poll found that “continuous learning and skills training are crucial to sustaining workforce readiness among employees of all experience levels.” (Source: “Critical Skills Needs and Resources for the Changing Workforce, 2008,” Society for Human Resource Management in conjunction with WSJ. com/Careers)  It is imperative that employers play an active part in developing these six vital skills in all employees.

Skill #1) Communication

 Employers and potential employees alike believe the ability to communicate effectively, accurately and concisely is the most important soft skill an employee can possess. (Source Comparative Analysis of Soft Skills, Michigan State University) Good communication leads to efficient and effective productivity, improves team performance, and bolsters workplace safety.

To communicate effectively in the workplace, follow these four guidelines:

>>  Identify the message and its purpose.

>>  Choose the appropriate means of communication.

>>  Deliver the message.

>>  Solicit feedback and respond accordingly.

Skill #2) Conflict Resolution

Given the right set of skills, employees can address conflict in ways that foster win-win outcomes.

Workers need to:

>>  Understand their role in managing and resolving conflict;

>>  Be aware of the potential sources of conflict in the workplace;

>>  Know how to react to conflict in ways that are positive and helpful to all; and

>>  Learn to resolve conflict in collaborative ways.

Skill #3) Coaching for Performance

 The two main pillars of effective coaching are:

>>  Creating a positive and productive environment; and

>>  Providing constructive feedback.

The first step is to create a workplace environment that empowers employees, sets realistic goals, gives timely and meaningful recognition, encourages self-development, and provides appropriate training. Feedback is a vehicle for teaching workers what is expected of them and how to make improvements in their performance. It’s for this reason that delivery is so crucial — it’s not just what you say, but how you say it.

Skill #4) Decision Making

Decision making refers to the ability to identify and analyze problems, and then take effective and appropriate action to alleviate those problems. Research also shows that organizations that fully develop analytic skills in all workers will continue to be the top performers in the coming years.

(Source: American Management Association, “Amp up Your Career by Improving Your Analytical Skills,” Nov. 2013)

Skill #5) Meeting Effectiveness

Meetings are an important tool for presenting instructions, assigning tasks, delegating responsibilities, and sharing information. To be successful, leaders must master skills such as identifying the meeting’s objective and planning accordingly, setting the meeting tone, and being able to keep the meeting on track.

Skill #6) Training Job Skills

 To conduct successful training, supervisors should understand the following:

>>  The steps needed to create effective training;

>>  The characteristics of an appropriate learning objective;

>>  How to plan relevant and useful training; and

>>  How to effectively present training.

Organizations that focus on developing their employees’ soft skills will not only reap benefits in terms of career development, but will also create continuous improvement and growth for the organization itself.

– Bill Anderson is a product manager for human resources and government training at DuPont Sustainable Solutions

 

Published in Ideas

By Dr. George Haber

Workplace constraints require curriculum designers to make instructional compromises from the idealized training situation. Poorly considered and designed compromises can lead to training that isn’t always practical, efficient or desired. Effective training, which can be designed despite these compromises through smart choices, relies on how an instructor chooses to address the constraints of a given training situation. The path chosen will either hinder effective training (poor instructional compromises) or help you successfully overcome constraints (good instructional compromises).

The best way to deal with the inevitable constraints is to use a blended approach to employee training. That’s because comprehensive solutions are usually blended solutions.

Blended learning does not simply mean “multi-media” or “multi-dimensional learning.” Rather, blended learning means making use of multiple learning strategies and delivery media to ensure the most efficient and effective transfer of knowledge. Its focus is on the design of the training curriculum relative to the desired training outcomes.

When you begin to think of blended learning as part of the design stage, it’s easier to see its benefits, such as flexibility and customization. Taking a blended approach to employee training allows the designer to decide, through careful analysis, which instructional compromises can be made without damaging the integrity of the content. From there, the designer is able to mix, or blend, different instructional methods (e.g., lecture, demo) and media (e.g., face-to-face, DVD) to fulfill specific training needs. He or she can even more easily incorporate new and emerging technologies and instructional strategies into training.

HOW IT MIGHT WORK

Here’s how a blended approach to a training curriculum might work. Consider a mining operation that wants to train all its workers in process safety management. As with any training, the curriculum designer begins by determining the level of competence required for different work populations and how that training will be assessed. Instructional methods are then applied to reach that level of competence.

When considering the most basic training level (onboarding), an e-learning solution may be chosen to quickly deliver general knowledge and awareness of hazards to all employees. Here, the choice of an online strategy could efficiently and quickly train large groups of employees about basic hazard awareness without compromising the integrity of training content.

A more targeted level of training focuses on workers and their need to know how to be safe in their specific work areas. This level of training is targeted to the hazards in their work environment. This requires more in-depth knowledge and robust assessments, requiring instructional elements that cannot be delivered in an online-only learning solution. A blended approach incorporates elements such as instructor-led classroom training, video demos, and hands on assessment.

At the top tier of training is job-specific or skill-specific learning. In our mining scenario, this might include training supervisors and managers on specific process safety management elements for which they are responsible. Again, an online-only approach would negatively compromise the training. However, the online course could be deployed to all employees for basic awareness, then followed by in-depth, small group workshops, or even one-on-one mentoring.

Through blending a variety of methods and delivery formats, organizations can deliver dynamic learning experiences that are aligned with the desired training outcomes.

—Dr. George Haber is the global leader for instructional systems design at DuPont Sustainable Solutions. He also develops training system plans and oversees training product-design processes and development. For more information, access the website www.training.dupont.com.

 

Published in Ideas

Concurrent With The Continuous Evolution Of Mobile Learning, There Will Likely Be A Similar Evolution In The Use Of Video. By Steve Zuckerman

Video is a powerful tool to communicate and exchange information with a high level of engagement.  And we all know that the better the transfer of knowledge, the better the user will take it in, minimizing the risks of negative outcomes.

Not only that, but it’s becoming more and more popular with the new wave of more tech-savvy employees, who are replacing the retiring Baby Boomer generation. According to research from Bersin by Deloitte, in one month alone — May 2012 — 163 million unique video viewers streamed more than 26 billion videos, watching for about 5.8 hours on average.

Research shows these younger generations live online in increasingly mobile and social ways. It’s where they get their news on current events and communicate with friends and family. Research conducted by International Data Corp. predicts the mobile Web will replace wired Internet as soon as 2015.

Maybe that’s why a recent survey by the Masie Center found that 30 percent of organizations worldwide are piloting the use of mobile and tablet devices for learning purposes. These companies might be responding to the evolving communications habits and learning-style preferences of their workers.

Thus, video is quickly becoming an essential value-add for both on-demand and mobile learning apps because it is flexible, self-governed and self-sustained. On-demand videos allow learners to consume knowledge that is personalized, highly accessible, and can rapidly be applied to their work efforts.

“People are just naturally more easily and instantly engaged by the human face and voice,” observes David Mallon of Bersin. “As a result, the use of video, as well as audio, voiceover-IP and collaboration tools can help bridge the gap between self-paced e-learning and face-to-face instructor-led training. For product training, instructors may use a video camera to demonstrate the use of the product. When used as part of a virtual classroom for management or other soft-skills training, video can help facilitate student interactions in breakout rooms.

” Nancy Kondas, of DuPont Sustainable Solutions Product Development for Learning & Development, agrees on the practically unlimited horizons for video learning. “It’s an interesting and exciting time. If you look at the way we consume information — the Internet, flat text, Facebook to Instagram — there are more apps for just pushing out video. There is an increase in activity in delivering broadband content.

“In the past, we weren’t able to do things at the quality level that was evident in the professional broadcasting industry. But today, that’s all changed. Tools have become more acceptable and easy to use, enabled by broadband. The whole paradigm is changing and giving us a lot more opportunity.”

The Masie Center is tracking a rise in the use of short video as a supplement to the learning process at major organizations. A key driver, says Elliot Masie, is the desire of learners to hear context and work examples from multiple voices. “The more the video segments focus on targeted bursts of context, including the ‘back story’ or ‘field truth,’ the more learner consumption and appreciation grows,” Masie says. Bottom line: you deliver more effective training.

Other reasons that video learning positively differentiates itself from traditional learning:

>> It can provide information in about half the time as words alone.

>> It offers employees the chance to gather, access and process information at their own pace, and they don’t have to do it in a traditional learning environment. They can watch a training video when it is convenient (during downtime) or when it is needed (like solving a workplace dilemma).

>> It supports corporate communications, global learning and change management.

Streaming Video

>> It’s more interesting and engaging than manuals, PowerPoints and classroom instruction alone.

>> It can be paired with assessments or used to reinforce learning objectives after classroom training or an online training event.

>> It’s a powerful way to show the audience the proper ways of performing tasks without subjecting them to hazardous conditions.

>> Its storytelling ability can transport learners into certain situations applicable to their jobs, allowing them to better understand the consequences of their actions and thus discouraging them from making poor decisions.

>> It can be both an effective and flexible tool for overcoming corporate challenges, solving internal problems and showing proper techniques globally in a consistent manner.

>> It is an effective means of providing corrective information or explanations delivered by top leaders to a wide range of constituencies, even if these extend to multiple company sites around the globe.

>> Its production costs have come down drastically in last few years. Using a camera phone, recording a video (of acceptable quality) is relatively easy and at almost no cost. This sort of video works well when a “how-to” video is needed efficiently to explain a new and important process.

MINIMAL BUT REAL DOWNSIDES

Like many ideas that are still in the development or acceptance stage, there are some downsides to learning via video.

For instance, the question of hosting video and bandwidth is always an issue. Corporate I.T. departments are always wary of anything that will increase the load on their networks.

Creating videos on your own can pose a raft of problems if not done properly. Among the clients we’ve talked to say that trainers need to be able to effectively convey their messages in a video format, which requires a whole different approach than face-to-face training.

So if you’re creating produced video, even “on the fly,” you’ll need additional tools and skill sets. And if it’s employee-generated video, then you need to address content stewardship (accuracy, business alignment, privacy, risk, etc.) issues and perhaps moderation.

Finally, there’s a small possibility that injecting video into a training lesson can be distracting if it’s used gratuitously.

GREAT FOR COMPLIANCE

Video is especially popular in the corporate community for continuous training (such as refresher courses, or the types of training that provide reinforcement for post-training activities or topics). It is commonly used for other technical training specifically related to the company’s operational environment.

Some of the greatest results can be seen in the area of compliance training. Common subjects include safety skills, legal issues (including sensitivity training and anti-discrimination), and maintenance and reliability skills to name only a few.

Streaming Video1

DuPont Sustainable Solutions clients come to us because they know video is something their employees are demanding of them. And they know that when they’re dealing with compliance topics, or when they can’t command the room with something that’s engaging, the transfer of information isn’t going to happen. From a safety standpoint, the efficient transfer of available knowledge is sometimes even a matter of life-and-death.

KEY TRENDS IN VIDEO LEARNING

Learning professionals agree that corporations should be doing more video training, if for no other reason than its popularity in their employees’ everyday lives is growing at an astounding rate.

But they’ve learned that they need total buy-in from corporate management before embarking on an expanded video training program. The most effective approach is to convince their leaders beforehand that shifting from the traditional instructor-led classroom event to a more user-driven, ondemand learning culture will pay off in both the long and short-term.

DuPont’s most successful learning and development clients are those who use video as part of a “blended” approach. This means incorporating video into all learning events: classroom/instructor-led and self-paced online learning.

Along with the mobile learning evolution, there will likely continue to be a fast evolution in the use of video, driven by two factors that separate Internet-enabled mobile video content from video content delivered on DVD: (1) portability; and (2) proximity to wireless Internet access. These two differentiators will likely continue to enable a more user-centered experience, providing learners with more control of the content they are consuming. While professional video projects are still great for corporate functions

Like onboarding and major product releases, there is a trend toward the “democratization” of video occurring — the smartphone camera effect.

“We know that people are going to places like YouTube for free training, so we have to make sure we can provide streaming video at the highest quality possible,” Explains DuPont’s Kondas. “We had to figure out how to play in that same space as commercial products.

—The author is software products manager at DuPont Sustainable Solutions, charged with developing the software platform that delivers the company’s proprietary video learning content.

 

Published in Top Stories

BY RICHARD ACELLO

Got MOOCs? It’s an increasingly relevant question since Massively Open Online Courses made their debut just five short years ago.

The first MOOCs started in Canada in 2008, with courses in Connectivism and Connective Knowledge at the University of Manitoba. Dubbed c-MOOCs, these courses attempt to recreate--to the extent possible--classroom experience, and are suited for humanities courses, or business courses where a group dynamic is important, including negotiation and interpersonal skills.

In 2011, Stanford University pioneered the so-called x-MOOC which is all about instructional learning; i.e., delivery of lecture materials suited to math, science, computer science, and engineering. In 2011, Stanford University created a seismic shift in MOOCs when about 160,000 students showed up for an artificial intelligence and robotics course.

“That’s a pretty big classroom,” cracked Keith Devlin, a professor of mathematics at Stanford University, and director of H- STAR Institute.

Now a player on the feld of higher learning, MOOCs are evolving and not surprisingly, experts are asking what limits there are to what MOOCs can do. The broader implications for higher education are fairly obvious; the “democratization of education,” because students around the globe can have access to courses to which they otherwise would not be exposed.

MOOCs are also said to be “disruptive” to otherwise static higher education models, and have been called “the Napster of education.” But, the sweet spot for MOOCs is in corporate training and education, especially for large, far-fung, and increasingly mobile workforces.

MOOCS AT WORK

The Canadian model is particularly apt for corporate training, with its emphasis on recreating a classroom experience, with added novel elements such as collaborative learning and peer review. Corporations are well suited to fund this sort of training, as it has the immediate potential to improve the bottom line. Of course, there’s less attrition than one would see in a general population MOOC, because the students are in “class” as part of their jobs.

Because of its built-in audience, the most fertile marketplace for MOOCs may be the corporate arena.

Intel and McAfee are among corporations using MOOCs. But these early adopters represent a “scratching of the surface” of the emerging market. According to Bersin by Deloitte, 70% of its members are interested in exploring the use of MOOCs for corporate training. While only seven percent of organizations surveyed by MOOCs@Work are using MOOCs for corporate training, more than four times that many, 31%, say they plan to.

Bersin identifes seven ways corporations are using MOOCs:

>> Building talent pipelines

On-boarding new employees

>> Self-directed development

>> Workforce training

>> Educating partners and customers

>> Brand marketing

>> Collaboration and innovation

Corporations with workforce training programs include Google, which has enrolled 80,000 employees in Udacity’s HTML5 course; Aquent, which has created an in-house “MOOC Gymnasium” for design, coding, and HTML skills; and steel pipe manufacturer Tenaris, which is teaming up with edX’s platform and learning materials for its employee learning program.

MOOCS BEST PRACTICES

Utilizing a characteristic of MOOCs called “fipping the classroom,” most learning is expected to develop not from a lecture, but by allowing employees to access the mate- rial and having them collaborate through discussion among themselves and the instructor. Afer all, they’re the ones with a vested interest in the material as it relates to something concrete, their jobs.

There is a precedent for this type of learning in academia, the “study group,” in which typically graduate students band together to study for a test. The flaws to study groups is that the group was only as good as the individual students‘ contributions, and at the end of the exercise, the participants were competing against each other, rather than cooperating, which may blunt their motivation to collaborate.

“MOOCs are expected to be in in- creasing demand, because they have the potential to improve upon corporate learning tech now in place and at less cost,” said Donald Clark, founder of Epic Group Ltd.

Rather than dip into higher-priced specifc courses for individual projects, MOOCs can lead the way to continuous professional development at a lower cost than more traditional learning. “It’s the content that corporations are interested in, and not so much the box,” reports Clark.

The cost issue is also helped by sponsored MOOCs, as part of a social responsibility push or as simple marketing, and AT&T and Google are already on board with this approach, he says.

Devlin identifes five major attributes of successful MOOCs.

1) Building Communities of Learning

While this might be an issue in academics, corporations have built in “communities of learning” in their every day activities. The reason MOOCs are popping up is that corporations can’t keep up with the amount of learning necessary for their employees to do their jobs.

2) Generating, Facilitating, Supporting and Encouraging Group Interaction

Most MOOC commentators agree this is the chief element of successful online learning. Which is a paradox, since the MOOC group may not be in the same room or continent when the MOOC is occurring.

“There’s a lot that goes on in a classroom, the human interactions--that’s probably not scalable,” says Devlin. “But, for those not physically located in the same space, technology can help fill in some of the gaps through email, skype, or text messaging.”

“The lecturer is the conductor of the orchestra,” Devlin says, “but basically the orchestra does the work. The lectures are a pacing mechanism for written materials, and can be streamed or downloaded.” If they are streamed, there’s obviously the opportunity for real time, immediate interactivity of some sort, but if downloaded, they might be available to those who can’t make the class at a particular time, which also has value.

But the content may wind up as something other than a lecture. “I don’t think you’re going to get away without very small group interaction with someone who knows what they’re talking about, period,” Devlin explains. “One thing that should go is the classic lecture; the lecture began as a way of disseminating information before the printing press because only one person in town had a book--that surely will go now.”

Perhaps a blending is in order; discussions guided by an expert of some sort that allows for group discussion activity in real time. There may also be a period for group reflection after whatever presentation is the springboard for the discussion. Since MOOCs are often large groups, the cohort may need to be seg- mented according to its role in the firm or in mixed function smaller groups so participants can have meaningful interaction. The group could broadcast its findings if that is an element of the learning to Twitter or other social media.

“Working with a cohort works well once you form the cohort,” Devlin says. “You can bond with people quite remarkably even though you’ve never met them.”

3) Peer Evaluation

Of increasing interest in MOOC learning is the notion of peer review. This, afer all, is the basis of much academic ladder climbing, so it seems natural that academics would be interested in its adaptation to what is typically called “grading.” In the corporate environment, where competition is a constant, integrating peer evaluation might require some imagination.

Devlin says neither pedagogues nor business managers have a monopoly on the kinds of skills needed to be an astute evaluator--a computer could do it.

“Those of us in this business think we’ve got the ability to look at a student and say ‘he’s worth a an A, or a B minus’ which sounds an awful like the coaches at the Oakland A’s before Billy Beane brought in the stats guy who says you don’t need scouts to pick a baseball team you just need a big enough data base and a computer,” Devlin says. “So I won’t be surprised to learn that peer grading can work very well with the caveat that the outliers are probably going to get screwed because that kind of thing works better in the middle of the bell curve.”

Of course, if you’re going to be evaluating others, you’re going to need to know the material. “A hard thing to do is to evaluate other peers’ work,” Devlin says. “I try to get my students to act as instructors to learn how to think about the material and therefore they’ll be able to evaluate each other. Or as one student said, ‘I really started to understand the material when I was grading others.’ Peer grading is unbelievably valuable.”

In the corporate world, the “evaluation” may wind up being part of some sort of collaborative doing, such as being part of a team launching a new product or service, rather than showing knowledge as a response on an exam. What we call “evaluation” almost automatically brings to mind a grade, but that might not be the goal in evaluating MOOC generated learning.

“Coursera-based MOOCs rely on ‘interactive exercises’ for student engagement,” reports Scott Cronenweth, from analytics firm Socrato!. “They also can provide post-testing feedback on concepts that a learner didn’t test well on (a process called ‘mastery learning’). Coursera also acknowledges that in many courses, the most meaningful assignments do not lend themselves easily to automated grading by a computer. Peer assessments in Coursera leverage a ‘grading rubric’ to help students to assess others reliably and provide useful feedback. Coursera also employs a form of crowd-sourcing, in which multiple ratings are combined to yield a meaningful score. The idea is that if multiple students grade each homework, grading ‘accuracy’ comparable to what a TA could provide ti is achievable. Plus, the peer evaluation process is a useful form of learning for students. In other words: it’s about the learning, not the grades...”

Peer evaluating might wind up being a valuable skill in its own right, for which corporate evaluators would be valued and ultimately compensated.

4) Accreditation

Clark downplays the signifcance of certifcates or accreditation. “Organizations want skills and competences, not bits of paper,” he says. “This is ofen a message lost on education providers. It is also a good reason for MOOCs being more relevant, unshackled by the obsession with paper certifcation.”

Or it may be that the collegiate multi-year credential will be replaced with a series of “badges” for proving valuable competencies.

Devlin says accreditation will move out of the university sphere altogether in as little as 10 years. Some people may have degrees but most people will probably have a portfolio issued by an independent accrediting agency. Coursera and Accredible are two examples of the latter. “The train has left the station on that one,” he says.

5) Develop Appropriate Metrics to Test Learning

This is another one of those concerns that may be more pertinent to academia than enterprise. In a traditional college learning environment, the professor is in many cases teaching students what they need to know to pass the exam, the exam being an artificial instrument to be mastered, on the way to an equally abstract “degree,” which may have little to do with what the student winds up pursuing once they leave the classroom. Indeed, this is one of the chief criticisms that workforce managers level against the traditional academic system.

However, if a group of workers is engaged in an enterprise, they will need to fgure out what they need to know to advance the enterprise, and being wrong has very real consequences. But the performance of the enterprise is an accurate way to measure if the enterprise employees asked the right questions and learned the right lessons.

Simulations and gamification might also come into play, as these offer the opportunity to test learning without using live bullets.

It’s increasingly apparent that MOOCs will play a major part in corporate learning in years to come. In fact, it is likely that the educational landscape may change from a degree based system where one studies for years in order to qualify for a job, to a guild or apprentice based system, where the work starts much earlier and workers learn on the job throughout their careers.

This story was derived in part from a lecture by Stanford University Prof. Keith Devlin of the H-STAR Institute. For the full lecture visit: https://vimeo.com/vc1/review/73422324/ a09300c410

Access the Bersin by Deloitte presentation at: http://www.slideshare.net/jbersin/bersin- moo-cs-forslideshare12-29054376

 
Published in Executive Suite

 

Workers want to use their personal devices for work and that has given rise to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, also known as freedom of platform. Organizations have increasingly accepted BYOD, which saves them the expense of having to buy employees’ devices, and might be expected to lead to increased pro- ductivity, since the worker chooses it and already uses it for other purposes.

But, BYOD has created ripples in the operations of enterprises ranging from small businesses to the White House as IT departments must expand their services to accept all comers.

One of the most compelling reasons for enterprises to embrace BYOD are the thousands of apps that cater to the mobile worker, from note taking apps, to sales and payment-in-the-feld apps, to data storage and retrieval. With 70% of sales talent in the feld, the mobile device has become the primary access platform.

Te BYOD movement also presents challenges and costs for enterprise IT directors, who now must make the frm’s infrastructure and policies work across multiple platforms, leading to increased support costs and security risks to sensitive data.

Just when the IT department puts poli- cies in place for one set of phones and tablets, the newer, more improved version comes along, and if the lines outside Apple stores are any indication, consumers want the latest model. “Te average smartphone technology has a 9 month life span,” reported Paul Jacobs, CEO, Qualcomm.

GO WITH THE FLOW

We offer some tips for organizations dealing with the BYOD conundrum.

*Don’t try to ban BYOD. “This horse has not only lef the barn, but will trample any IT department that intends to stand in its way,” said Lisa Phifer, network secu- rity consultant. “There may be use cases that are inappropriate for BYOD, such as specialized mobile health care devices or ultrabooks that carry classifed data.”

*Don’t skimp on policy. Surveys show that many employers don’t have a detailed BYOD policy in place. BYOD policies should clearly identify who can use personal devices, what are acceptable uses and the conditions under which devices can be used.

*Don’t base BYOD policy on one mobile OS. Apple iPhones might be the rage one year, and by the next, Android is in vogue. And, as consumers trade their laptops for tablets, a new set of devices will need to be considered. So, an agile BYOD strategy that accommodates market change is likely to have the greatest success in maintaining productivity.

 

*Don’t become too focused on devices. “While some mobile device management is the cornerstone of many successful BYOD initiatives, an employer’s goal is not really to manage the devices -- rather, it is to enable safe device use,” advises Phifer. “This ofen means controlling access to and storage of business data and applications, while giving workers the latitude to freely use personal data and applications. For ex- ample, some employers fnd it better to install self-authenticated, encrypted business applications, making it easier to confgure, monitor and remove the application and its data without affecting personal use.”

CORPORATE BYOD

BOYD programs are so prevalent that 38 percent of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner, Inc.’s Executive Programs. 

BYOD is seen by experts as an innovation driver by increasing the number of mobile application users in the workforce and new applications beyond traditional mobile email and communications, such as time sheets, punch lists, site check-in/ check-out, and employee self-service HR applications. 

Companies in the United States are twice as likely to allow BYOD as those in Europe, where BYOD has the lowest adoption of all the regions. In contrast, employees in India, China and Brazil are most likely to be using a personal device, typically a standard mobile phone, at work.

Despite BYOD’s popularity, a recent survey from researchers at the Ponemon Institute of more than 4,000 IT professionals fnds almost 60 percent have no personal device policy in place, and, among those with policies, 24 percent make exceptions for executives, who may handle more sensitive data. Ponemon says a number of organizations are still in denial when it comes to BYOD trends, as more than 30 percent of those surveyed forbid personal devices from accessing their networks.

SECURITY IS “KEY”

One of the major obstacles to worry-free BYOD involves security. Te risks are numerous, starting with the migration of the device itself and moving on to the data stored on the device. What if the device becomes infected with malware or a virus of some sort that takes over the device? Will the user even be aware that this has happened? Remember, employees most likely know only enough about the device to use it when it’s fully operational and then most likely only enough to operate the apps that help them do their jobs.

Therefore, the enterprise is going to need to know about the security risks of every device its employees are using, and those risks vary with the day’s headlines. The importance of the security issue will depend upon the severity of the risks involved. For example, in the legal profession, lapses in the security of smartphone data could lead to a breach of the attorney’s duties to clients

(“duty of confdentiality”), the frm and the Bar, which could lead to sanctions or even disbarment.

In other felds, the risk could be more of a competitiveness issue. For example, if a competitor real estate frm gets hold of the employee’s smartphone, or the data within, obviously the data breach could lead to a competitive disadvantage for the affected frm.

New products are entering the market to help on the security front. One from PK-Ware called Viivo promises to make data security less worrisome. Viivo is availaible for Mac, Windows, Apple iOS and An- droid, but does not support Blackberry or Windows Mobile. It does support mobile Apple iOS, and Android.

“Basically, Viivo is an encryption solution and data protection platform, ofering client side encryption for public cloud storage,” said Matt Little, VP of Viivo product development. “The challenge with any solution is in the key management for your data and the ability to securely exchange data with others. Our proprietary key man- agement system enables users to store in- formation or transfer it safely. Viivo doesn’t store any of your fles, we manage your encryption keys, and that’s diferent than other solutions on the market.”

“We call it the ‘trust no one approach, because you shouldn’t necessarily trust your encryption keys with your cloud provider, and you don’t trust Viivo with your fles because Viivo doesn’t store your fles.” Little rates the encryption key protection ofered by cloud providers as “Zero Value” encryption.

“The reason this is important is because the day is long past when your files were stored only on your computer and your exposure was fairly limited,” Little said. “But now with the rise of storage services like dropbox, you have people putting unprecedented amounts of data in the public cloud. The provider can give access to that data to whomever they want and you wouldn’t even necessarily know that it’s happening. This is all the more newsworthy in light of the recent revelations about the National Security Administration (NSA).”

Little said Viivo is the “safety deposit box” for your data, and works in concert with existing services. “We think the cloud providers are doing an amazing job, we love the technology the cloud providers are developing, because users can fnally bring their devices to work. These apps are amaz- ing, but at the same time you lose control over who can see that data.”

Enterprises will need to keep up with the latest mobile devices and their impli- cations for the modern workforce. Google Glass still seems like a novelty when one sees it on TV, but there are already legal cases on the docket involving it, and it’s really just the tip of the iceberg in what is expected to be a new wave of “wearable technology.” Enterprises will need to evaluate each of these as products move from so-called “early adaptors” to more mainstream acceptance.

Nevertheless, the enterprise that takes into consideration a comprehensive policy on BYOD use; a clear understanding of the risks inherent to its particular industry and the consequences of a breach; provides a forward-thinking security policy minimizing the “what could go wrong” factor; and is informed on technologies entering the mainstream should have an advantage in dealing with BYOD.

 –by Richard Acello

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Top Stories

 

Education researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra and his colleagues poked a hole in a wall that formed a border between where he was teaching technology, and an urban slum in New Delhi. After they poked the hole, they then installed an internet-connected PC, and left it there, with a hidden camera flming the area.

The experiment was designed to see what would happen if an internet- connected computer was suddenly available to children who would never have had the opportunity to own one, and who also didn’t know any English or what the internet was about. As the children watched the installation, they asked, “What is that?”

“I don’t know,” he said. Then the children asked, “Can we touch it?” To which he replied, “If you wish to.” And then he walked away.

About eight hours later, he came back and found the children browsing the internet. They were also teaching each other how to browse. Mitra said to his colleagues, “How is this possible? They don’t know anything about it!” As Mitra was also teaching a technology class in New Delhi, one of his colleagues suggested that it was probably one of the software engineering students who must have walked by and taught them how to do it. Mitra reluctantly acknowledged that this might have been the way it happened.

However, it bothered him enough that he thought he’d repeat the experiment. This time he moved the experiment 300 miles out of town, into a really remote village. Surely, it wasn’t very likely that a software de- velopment student would happen to be walking past the children way out there. And so he installed and left the computer behind.

In a couple of months, he came back and he saw the kids playing games and asked, “What is going on?” The children responded, “We want a faster processor and a better mouse!” Mitra smiled and asked, “How do you know all this?” And then he was told something interesting by the children; “You’ve given us a machine that only works in English, so we had to teach ourselves English in order to use it!”

That sparked many more of his now famous “Hole-in-the-Wall” experiments, including one that he thought would fail, but didn’t. He created an absurd hypothesis that asked, “Can non Eng- lish-speaking children in a South Indian village learn the biotechnology of DNA replication, in English, by themselves from a street-side computer?”

So he put lots of information about DNA replication on the computer and left it with the children. Again the children asked, “What is that?” Mitra only said that it was something topical, and that he had to leave.

MINIMALLY INVASIVE EDUCATION 

When he had tested them initially, they failed. However, when he returned to test them after nine months, they scored 30 percent. Not passing, but also not zero. He thought this proved that the children needed teachers, and he asked a young girl what she had learned. She said, “Well, apart from the fact that improper replication of the DNA molecule causes disease, we haven’t done this with anything else.” He smiled.

So the tests continued and he even- tually concluded that in nine months, a group of children left alone with an internet-connected computer – in any language – would reach a respectable level of effciency. But he learned a lot more as well.

He discovered that when positive encouragement was also added to the mix of broadband and collaboration, real learning occurred--and with mini- mal supervision. He called this phe- nomenon “Minimally Invasive Education” (MIE) and defned it as a method that uses the learning environment to generate an adequate level of motivation to induce learning in groups of children, with minimal, or no intervention by a teacher.

He also learned in his journey that educators need a curriculum of great questions. He seems to think that educators have lost sight of that element in our current teaching, and tend to teach and test at the micro detail level, not too far from what would cause the reptilian brain to engage in defensive maneuvers, thereby shutting down the prefrontal cortex, where learning occurs. He feels that great intellectual adventures can be derived from great intellectual questions.

Last year, Mitra was awarded $1 million in seed funding to work on a new design for the future of learning. He hopes to build a “School in the Cloud” in India, where children can embark on “intellectual adventures” by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online.

So perhaps we can learn from Mitra’s work as we begin to investigate how we should build our educational offer- ings in the cloud. Perhaps we’ll learn that a truly great teacher need only raise the question, and then be ready to stand back and admire the answers.

–by Joe DiDonato

For more information on Mitra’s work, you can watch the TED presentation at http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_ build_a_school_in_the_cloud.html and join the discussion on our blog entitled “Building Education in the Cloud.”

 

Published in Insights

The rapid emergence of the everywhere, always-connected consumer places new demands on marketers, according to an eMarketer report, “Key Digital Trends for 2014.” The report raises expectations about the speed with which businesses need to respond to the customer journey, from the consideration phase all the way through to post-sales service. “Gone are the days of 24- or 48-hour response times,” the report notes. “Consumers expect instant interactions, whether it is a relevant offer or an answer to a customer service query, and the ability for same- day delivery of items purchased through digital channels.”

Smarter applications of data will help them respond faster to business challenges. For example, 87% of US fnancial services and healthcare executives cited the acceleration of their ability to gain insights and answer questions as a byproduct of working effectively with Big Data.

–Source: www.emarketer.com

Business Benefts that US Executives at Financial Services and Healthcare Companies Expect Their Companies to Achieve with Big Data, July 2013 % of respondents

Accelerate the speed with which we can gain insight and answer critical business questions 87%

Integrate a greater variety of data sources 82%

Analyze larger volumes of data 81%

Improve our overall analytics capabilities 80%

Analyze new sources of information in real time 70%

Reduce the costs of our analytical and data discovery environment and processes 70%

Off-load production processes to Big Data technology platforms for cost savings 62%

Intelligence monitoring 57%

Scientifc discovery 49%

Source: NewVantage Partners, “Big Data Executive Survey 2013,” Sept. 9, 2013

Published in Trends

The Top Game-Changers for Business survey has been released by the Association of Management Consulting Firms. The survey results highlight the eight forces that will affect the business environment signifcantly over the next 12 months which are:

>> Beyond Big Data: Volume, Variety and Velocity

>> Big Brother Gets Bigger: Regulation, Risks, and Ramifcations

>> Redistributing Global Power: The Hunt for Natural and Human Resources

>> Goin’ Mobile: Being Smart with SMART Technology

>> Another BRIC in the Wall: The Future of Emerging Markets

>> Mobile Millennial Mindset: The Workforce of the Future

>> Complexity Reduction: Back to Basics

>> From Social to Socially Savvy: Quality Over Quantity

Source: AMCF.org

Published in Trends

IMC’s Innovation Pack 1 delivers expanded functionality for its Learning Suite 2013 (formally CLIX) frst released in April 2013. Its open innovation strategy pro- vides innovations developed in line with market-led demands A completely new user-friendly learner interface based on REST (Representational State Transfer) has been developed and is being used for the frst time on IMC’s MOOC platform, Open Course World.

Furthermore, Innovation Pack 1 contains innovations in the areas of Trusted Data, Tailored Cloud and Learning Analytics.

Te IMC Learning Suite 2013 ensures privacy and data protection, high system performance and the documentation and archiving of relevant information. It also permits the archiving of communication data, history or confguration changes to free up system capacity guaranteeing comprehensive sustained evidence of all status changes.

Published in New Products
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