THE EXPONENTIAL INNOVATION ERA IN LEARNING TECHNOLOGY

BY SAM ADKINS

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

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

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

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

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

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AUGMENTED INTELLIGENCE: THE HOLY GRAIL OF LEARNING

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT-GENERATION COGNITIVE LEARNING PRODUCTS ALTER THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

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

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

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

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

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VIRTUAL REALITY TERRAFORMS  THE LEARNING LANDSCAPE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDUSTRIAL INTELLIGENCE:  REAL-TIME AUGMENTED PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE POINT OF NO RETURN: NEW TECHNOLOGY REQUIRES NEW EXPERTISE

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

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

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

Published in Top Stories

THE WORLD BANK USES VIRTUAL TECHNOLOGY TO TRAIN GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE WORKERS.

BY DARLENE CHRISTOPHER, CPLP

The World Bank provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Like many organizations in today’s increasingly global marketplace, the World Bank faces the daunting task of training globally dispersed staff efficiently. With a diverse staff of 10,000 in more than 120 countries that span a wide range of time zones and a rapidly evolving operational environment, the organization’s training needs are challenging.

THE CHALLENGE

We realized we needed to transform the way we delivered training. Our traditional classroom training is costly due to the dispersed nature of the organization, and it’s difficult to scale. Meanwhile, the self-paced e-learning we offer provides introductory information; however, the one-way flow of information often left learners with unanswered questions. To fill the gap between multiday workshops and selfpaced e-learning, we developed a program of live virtual classroom training on key operations topics that reaches frontline staff around the world via an efficient and effective delivery mode.

The virtual classroom program, known as the Global Operational Clinics Program, consists of 90-minute virtual classroom sessions on 28 different operations topics. The program targets operations staff at all levels and focuses on practical information and common challenges.

To reach staff in Washington D.C. and around the world, topics are offered at different times of day. For example, we offer sessions at 7, 9 and 11 a.m. (Washington, D.C. time) to reach staff in various time zones. When sessions are offered during business hours in Washington, D.C., staff members who are based there have the option of joining the session face-to-face or virtually.

Last year, we expanded the program by training an auxiliary team in Asia to run Operational Clinics during the middle of day in Asia when it’s the middle of the night in Washington, D.C. By varying the delivery time of Operational Clinics, we are able to reach everyone, no matter where they are based.

Our busy frontline operations staff is often hardpressed to attend a multi-day training session. However, staffers embraced the shortened format on targeted topics. In 2016, we delivered 126 Operational Clinics reaching more 5,000 participants. In 2017, we are on track to expand the program by approximately 20 percent by offering 150 Operational Clinics reaching 6,000 participants.

Each Operational Clinic is also recorded and posted online, with slides and other materials from the session. This allows staffers who couldn’t attend the live delivery to watch it at their convenience. It also allows participants to review sections of the recording as needed. On average, we offer a topic once a quarter, so we are continuously replacing our recordings with an updated version. This means that our content is always current. The recorded sessions are surprisingly popular with staff. In 2016, more than 1,000 hours of recordings were viewed by staff.

SEVEN ELEMENTS OF VIRTUAL CLASSROOM

A key aspect of the success of the program is the structure of the team that runs the program and clearly defined roles. We identified seven core roles needed for a successful virtual classroom program. After we clearly defined the tasks for each role, we provided coaching and guidance where needed to fill skill gaps. The core roles include:

>>  Producer: The virtual classroom expert who provides technical expertise.

>>  Facilitator: The host in charge of leading the session.

>>  Subject Matter Expert: The team member with the session’s relevant content knowledge.

>>  Instructional Designer: The virtual classroom content designer.

>>  Administrator: The person who provides administrative support.

>>  Information Technology (I.T.) Support: The person who provides technical support.

>>  Participants: Those enrolled in a session to gain knowledge, skills and abilities.

THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM TEAM

Producer – Like a producer on a movie set, a nightly newscast, or a stage production, the virtual classroom producer works behind the scenes during a live session to support the event’s flawless delivery. As illustrated above, the producer role is central to virtual classroom training, as this person orchestrates all the elements.

The producer works with the facilitator(s) and subject matter expert(s) in advance of a session, rehearsing and fine-tuning the various technical features, such as polls and online exercises.

The producer troubleshoots technical issues during a session in real time and ensures minimal disruption due to technical glitches. The producer understands the virtual classroom’s technical aspects — how the features work — and partners with the instructional designer to determine how to best design a session and incorporate interactive features. He or she also engages with the administrator and I.T. support to plan the logistics of a session. Finally, the producer interacts with participants in support of the facilitator and is ready to step in and troubleshoot any problems that participants experience during the live session. After a session ends, the producer reviews and edits the recording and shares it with the administrator for posting online.

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Facilitator – Like the facilitator in a traditional classroom, the facilitator in a virtual classroom is the class leader. The facilitator opens the session, welcomes participants and trainers, and closes the session. The facilitator ensures that the live session runs smoothly including starting and ending on time. He or she helps monitor the chat area and relays questions for the subject-matter expert to address, often summarizing and determining how to best group questions together. He or she partners with the subject-matter expert as described below.

Subject-Matter Expert – The subject-matter expert is the content expert, but is not expected to have any particular expertise with the virtual classroom. The content is technical, so the subject-matter expert is our lead trainer. Similar to face-to-face classroom training, the subject-matter expert works with the instructional designer to adjust content as described below. He or she also works with the facilitator to fine-tune delivery techniques.

Instructional Designer – The instructional designer’s role in face-to-face classroom training mirrors the designer’s role in virtual classroom training. The designer uses adult learning principles and builds appropriate virtual interactions required to accomplish learning objectives and keep participants engaged in the session. Since our audience is global, he or she also checks for culturally appropriate content.

Administrator – Virtual classrooms in particular require well-coordinated logistics and communication support. The administrator manages enrollment in the learning management system (LMS), sends class materials, and provides log-in instructions. He or she carries out post- session tasks, such as sending a follow-up email with instructions on how to view the session recording and marking attendance in the LMS.

Participants – Participants are World Bank staffers who join a session that is relevant to their role and work program. Approximately half of the participants join physically in the actual meeting room and half join virtually using a computer or mobile device. Participants are given instructions on how to participate remotely and tips for staying focused on the virtual classroom in an environment with multiple distractions.

Information Technology (I.T.) Support – The I.T. person works with the producer in the physical meeting room to test audio settings, check the audio-visual feed, microphones and audio input levels. The I.T. person also works with the team to oversee upgrades of computer equipment and virtual classroom software.

In some cases, a team member plays more than one role, but we always make sure that each role is covered. These well-defined roles not only ensure the smooth execution of our virtual training sessions, but also maximize the efficient transfer of knowledge.

SUMMARY

The operating environment of the World Bank continues to change rapidly to ensure that we offer developing countries the best global expertise and solutions. As the saying goes, “Nothing remains constant except change itself ” and the Global Operational Clinics Program will undoubtedly change and adjust, so that we can continue to meet the evolving learning needs of our global workforce.

Published in Top Stories

BUILDING THE ULTIMATE GLOBAL LEARNING COMMUNITY WITH DESIGN THINKING AND GAMIFICATION

BY KAREN HUFFMAN

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

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

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

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STAGE 1: CHAOS

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

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

STAGE 2: SILOES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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STAGE 3: SUPERHEROES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Top Stories

BY JERRY ROCHE

Global Council  Of Corporate Universities

Thankfully, we in the U.S. were the first to avail our employees of "corporate university" (CU) training, the first such organization having been established more than 60 years ago by General Electric (GE). So the CU concept is far from new -- but it's beginning to become commonplace even in the most remote nations of the globe.

Organizing and implementing a successful CU is no easy task, for many factors have to be considered beforehand -- especially when benchmarking against other existing corporate universities -- like:

 >>  contribution to the effectiveness  of the business;

>>  corporate influence;

>>  structural considerations;

>>  learning process; and

>>  management of information.

The main goals of a corporate university are organizing training, promoting continuous learning, supporting organizational change, retaining employees, and bringing a common culture, loyalty and belonging to companies -- especially multi-nationals.

Elearning! magazine recently had the opportunity to question leading proponents about their global corporate universities:

TELL US ABOUT THE GLOBAL COUNCIL OF CORPORATE UNIVERSITIES (GLOBALCCU): SIZE, FOCUS, MISSION.

The GloblalCCU platform is a unique global online private social network entirely dedicated to optimizing the performance of corporate university professionals and showing their stakeholders that their corporate university or their internal learning structure creates real value.

Multi-national corporate members come from more than five continents. Member states are Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China,Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, U.K., U.S.A., Venezuela and Vietnam.

WHAT UNIQUE CAPABILITIES/ CHALLENGES DOES A GLOBAL CU HAVE VERSUS A ONE-NATION CU?

Today, even if companies operate solely on a national scale -- which is less and less frequent -- they cannot stay away from the transformations of the world from which they are interdependent.

A fortiori, corporate universities belonging to multi-national companies face very big challenges. They have to juggle many paradoxes related to their organizational architecture, to the engineering of their central and/or local learning offerings, to the modes of execution and delivery -- especially in countries where Internet infrastructures are not sufficiently deployed. They have to cope with different cultures, international time differences, inter-generational, inter-religious relationships, social belonging differences, local managerial customs, relationship differences with power and authority. They must be concerned with languages of learning, since English is far from being spoken everywhere. In other words, it's not easy to run the CU of a multi-national company.

WHAT BEST PRACTICE CAN YOU SHARE TO OTHER GLOBAL CORPORATE UNIVERSITY LEADERS?

It is difficult to put forward one good practice when there are thousands, all as exciting as another. I would just like to cite the project of the integration of 20,000 HSBC employees following its purchase in 2016, by Banco Bradesco, our best overall Gold Award winner 2017. The process was skillfully worked and deployed. I was struck by the intellectual approach of the designers of this program, who, for example, worked closely together, both the integral and integrated teams — on the Prince of Machiavel. In the auditoriums where the meetings were held, the scenography exposed the words: “Pensar e Agir” (think and act) in very large, three-dimensional letters. What great art.

--Annick Renaud-Coulon is founder and CEO of the Global Council of Corporate Universities, based in Paris, France.

Software Ag

YOU WERE RECOGNIZED AS A WORLD CLASS CORPORATE UNIVERSITY BY THE GLOBALCCU. WHAT DISTINGUISHES YOUR ORGANIZATION FROM THE OTHERS?

One of the key differentiators for sure is our size. We are much smaller than most of the other training organizations competing for the award. Software AG is a midsize company but with a truly global setup -- which makes us somehow unique: we are small enough to care and big enough to deliver. This describes pretty well our customer relation in comparison to the real big fish in our market, like IBM or Oracle. As the corporate university of Software AG, we directly face the "stretch" of having learning and development requirements of a global player while at the same time not having resources like largescale organizations. But such a stretch has a positive impact: it makes us more creative. So for our CU, we believe we are small enough to care and smart enough to deliver.

The other thing that differentiates us is that we have to focus. We do not follow every trend or hype but have a crystal-clear vision where we have to go. The foundation of our strategy is “Design Thinking.” We apply this problemsolving philosophy in a slightly adjusted way to everything we do as CU, but also to Software AG as such. It is a central element of every high-potential or leadership training program:

1. We embedded it into our new-hire education package;

2. Once a year, we run a MOOC for all interested employees; and

3. Developed over time "Design Thinking Champions" in all regions of the world to drive this mindset change through the whole company.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE KEY BUSINESS CHALLENGE(S) YOUR ORGANIZATION FACED, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

Digitalization is one of the key disrupting megatrends of today's world: it affects literally every company on the globe. Software AG is a leading-edge I.T. technology supplier that helps companies to survive this turmoil but also to win against their competitors.Thus customer centricity, agility and speed of innovation are key for us to win our competition against both very large companies and startups or small, specialized niche vendors. This is a real challenge. We neither have the massive resources like the big players nor can we act as flexible and fast as startups, as we have strong customer relations for more than 45 years and a workforce that is between 4,000 and 5,000 employees globally. We have to be smart in how we manage this challenge. We respond to this with a number of strategic programs and initiatives, among which Design Thinking is the cornerstone. Since we started these initiatives, we have seen significant change of behavior in all departments, across all hierarchies.

WHAT BEST PRACTICE CAN YOU SHARE WITH OTHER GLOBAL CORPORATE UNIVERSITY LEADERS?

Basically two ideas: the first one being to apply Design Thinking to all our services and offerings.Too often we build our "products" inside-out. Like engineers, we think we know what's required and develop solutions based on “functions and features.” We forget the usability of our “products.” Of course we (occasionally) do learning needs analyses, but they are not user-centric. Instead, we ask what is required for a certain department or a theoretical job role (a manager, a consultant, a sales rep). We tend to forget the individuals behind these structures and role definitions. But in the end it's the individual who "consumes" our offerings and either does learn something or doesn't.

The other idea I would like to share is more a question than a recommendation. I asked my team this question a while ago - with an astonishing result. It goes like is: "What would we do different, if we had to earn our salaries (or the budget of our organization) like any other external vendor of training offerings?" The answer was: "A lot!" This evoked vivid and fruitful discussion. The full potential of this thinking exercise unleashes when you think "time is money" and turn the question into: How can we "earn" as much time (instead of money) as possible from our learners? What should our offering look like, how would we need to market and sell it, etc. You can also turn it into a profitability statement: To become profitable, we need to earn more money with our offerings than we spend to create and maintain these offerings. Imagine what happens if you combine this exercises with the Design Thinking approach. The areas of improvement that become visible are incredible.

--Peter Dern began his career at SAP where he held various management responsibilities in the education area. He also worked as management consultant with focus on education and change management and developed a partner network to offer SAP education and professional certification as part of government-funded education programs for unemployed Germans. In a joint program with the Swiss Center of Innovation in Learning (SCIL) at University St. Gallen, he developed a service offering for personal development departments and corporate universities. Today, he runs the Corporate University at Software AG.

Defense Acquisition University

YOU WERE RECOGNIZED AS A WORLD- CLASS CORPORATE UNIVERSITY BY GLOBALCCU. WHAT DISTINGUISHES YOUR ORGANIZATION FROM THE OTHERS?

The DAU extends the concept of learning beyond the classroom. DAU is now delivering more "in-context consumption learning" on the job -- anytime, anyplace -- a growing number of learning products to an increasing number of Defense Acquisition Workforce members. All learning assets (e.g., courses, how-to videos, self-service portals, communication technologies, and on-the-job support tools) are integrated and shared by the workforce. The widespread use of social media, which provides users a sense of instant access to information and opinions, instills an expectation for fast and relevant two-way communication; government organizations that communicate through social media must meet their customers' expectations to remain relevant or risk losing their audience. As a leader in training for the Department of Defense, DAU is no exception, and is actively building its social media presence. Working through multiple social media platforms enables the university to connect directly with its customers and stakeholders and incorporate communications technologies within our curricula.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE KEY BUSINESS CHALLENGE(S) YOUR ORGANIZATION FACED AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

At DAU, we understand the tremendous potential technology now plays in learning and development but also the fundamental changes needed to effectively leverage it. This is even truer for a new, rapidly growing, and “always connected” (collaborative/social) generation now part of our workforce. This generation has fewer programs (career opportunities) on which to learn and gain experience, fewer mentors to help them learn, fewer resources, and fewer of themselves, yet we still need to find ways to help them succeed. To this end, DAU's leadership team strategically envisioned, designed and implemented a totally new enterprise learning strategy to meet the dynamic career-wide learning needs of our generation, transforming 150,000 workforce members. Incorporating it into and reshaping our strategic plan has brought a huge paradigm shift on the job, providing students with real-time access to all our learning assets whether formal or informal. This has continued to drive remarkable results impacted by these communication technologies and tools:

>>  graduated 181,970 students,46,024 classroom and 135,946 distance learning;

>>  Provided 5.1 million hours of training;

>>  provided 12.3 million hours of formal and informal learning;

>>  increased continuous learning modules completions to more than 673,000 per year;

>>  provided 525 total mission assistance efforts, totaling 291,000 hours -- all working with customers in their workplaces; and

>>  reached our 160,000th Acquisition Community Connection member with 45 million page views.

WHAT BEST PRACTICE CAN YOU SHARE WITH OTHER GLOBAL CORPORATE UNIVERSITY LEADERS?

These last two years, DAU has committed to developing qualified acquisition professionals by fully engaging our students, both in the classroom and on the job. DAU is fully integrated in our learners' careers from the time they enroll in their first DAU course until they retire. We are also becoming more learning-asset-centric. This approach changes how we develop, deploy, deliver and maintain all our learning assets. It minimizes bias toward courses as the only solution, leverages technology that best suits the material and student needs, and allows for sharing and re-purposing of learning assets across the Acquisition Learning Model (ALM). Not only do we consistently update our curriculum and improve our learning assets to ensure the most up-to-date information is available right at our learners' fingertips, but as technology advances, we also explore new content delivery methods to meet the changing needs of the workforce. By taking advantage of new technologies, we are able to create learning environments that provide students opportunities to gain the knowledge and understanding they need while reducing time away from the job. DAU has implemented a totally holistic approach to learning. This paradigm shift:

>>  develops,deploys,delivers and maintains all formal,informal and social learning assets;

>>  moves curricula and asset development upstream;

>>  creates an early point for learning asset creation and allocation;

>>  minimizes bias toward courses as the only solution;

>>  leverages technology that best suits the material and the student needs and enables social links and promotes a common learning culture; and

>>  establishes requirements that translate directly into Learning Objectives.

Additionally, by nurturing social links easily accessible in the classroom, on-line, at home and on the job, DAU has fostered a common corporate culture of learning.

--Christopher R. Hardy, Ph.D., is the director, Strategic Planning and Learning Analytics, Office of the President. He co-authored "Leading a Learning Revolution:  The Story Behind DAU’s Reinvention of Training" in 2008. Under his direction, DAU has repeatedly been recognized as one of the best learning organizations throughout the public and private sectors with more than 60 awards in 14 years. In 2017, DAU was recognized for the seventh year in a row as one of the best Learning! 100 organizations. Dr. Hardy was personally awarded the Eagle Award in 2014 for lifetime achievement in e-learning by the U.S. Distance Learning Association.

Published in Top Stories

 

9th Annual Enterprise Learning! Conference Announces 6 Keynotes and 2 Awards Events at August 29th-30th Conference in San Diego, CA

 

Elearning! Media Group, the leader in learning and workplace technology media, announced the Enterprise Learning! Conference 2017 (ELC17) keynotes and event agenda. Registration is also now open. The event takes place August 29-30, 2017 in San Diego, CA. The theme is “Building the High-Performance Organization in the Age of Disruption.” 

The Enterprise Learning! Conference 2017 hosts global thought leaders and executives from corporate enterprise, government agencies, higher education and non-profit organizations. This conference reveals how leaders are building high-performance organizations in the age of digital disruption. ELC17 serves the robust $243 billion enterprise learning market expanding at 17% CAGR. 

ELC17 convenes over 125 award-winning learning professionals to share the best practices of high performance organizations, lessons learned, and future strategies. Invest 48 hours at ELC17, and discover how to engage teams, build a productive learning culture, measure impact and embrace the future digital enterprise.

“There is no better location to share what’s now and next than California,” said Catherine Upton, ELC17 conference chair. The rate of technological innovation is disruptive to our organizations. At ELC, attendees will meet leaders from Salesforce, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs,Zappos, T-Mobile and Cisco; all are embracing innovation to re-invent learning within their organizations.”

ELC17 Keynotes Announced
ELC17 theme of Building the High-Performance Organization in the Age of Digital Disruption. The digital evolution is just beginning; AI, Machine Learning and Immersive learning is progressing rapidly and will change the workplace, our jobs and roles. Discover how to harness the age of disruption by attending these keynotes at ELC17.



Keynote: Thriving in the Age of Disruption 
Speakers: Sundar Nagaranthnam, SVP, Salesforce University, Salesforce 
& Kathy Bries, GM, Learning@Cisco, Cisco

Keynote: Breaking the Rules: Creating the Contemporary Learning Organization
Speaker: Anthony Gagliardo, Head of HR & Training, NASA JPL

Keynote: The Future Work Experience: 10 Rules for Mastering Disruption
Speaker: Kevin J. Mulcahy, Partner, Future Workplace

Keynote: Learning Ecosystems for Tomorrow’s Workplace
Speakers: Dr Jennifer Vogel-Walcutt, Director of Innovation, ADL, Dept. of Defense, & Tina
Marron-Partridge, VP, Global Talent Director, IBM Watson (invited)

Keynote: Building the Culture of WOW at Zappos.com
Speaker: Erica Javellana, Speaker of the House, Zappos.com

Keynote: Helping Employees Thrive in the Age of Disruption
Speaker: Joe Burton, CEO, Whil Concepts, Inc.

Celebrating Excellence
ELC17 provides executives an engaged environment to network, share and learn from leaders across the globe. Coupled with cutting edge research, expert learning technologists and two prestigious industry award programs- Learning! 100 and Learning! Champions- this is the “Must Attend” forum for learning and performance executives. Registration is now open at: http://www.ELCEShow.com Register by July 1st and save $500. 

Who Should Attend
Executives charged with driving enterprise performance via learning and workplace technologies, including HR, Talent, Development, Training, E-learning, Project Management, Education, Sales & Service should attend ELC17. Government, non-profit agencies and educational institution leaders are also in attendance to collaborate on the now and the next in learning. Attending this conference is an amazing opportunity to meet colleagues from across the globe. Registration is now open at:http://www.elceshow.com. Register by July 1st and save up to $500. 

About Elearning! Media Group
Elearning! Media Group is owned by B2B Media Group LLC. Elearning! Media Group consists of eleven media products including: Elearning! Magazine, Government Elearning! E-Magazine, e-mail newsletters, Alerts, Websites, Web seminars, the Enterprise Learning! Summit and Enterprise Learning! Conference. Elearning! Media Group serves the $243 billion learning & workplace technology market. Suppliers and practitioners can follow us: online at www.2elearning.com; on Twitter: @2elearning or #ELCE; via Facebook: Elearning! -Magazine or LinkedIn: Elearning! Magazine Network or Enterprise Learning! Conference. 

Enterprise Learning! Events 
Since 2008, Enterprise Learning! Events bring onsite and online audiences together to learn, network and share. Mark your calendar for Enterprise Learning! Conference on August 29-30, 2017 in San Diego, CA. Enterprise Learning! Conference hosts the Learning! 100 and Learning! Champion Awards. The Enterprise Learning! Conference Online is an on-demand event available to all ELC17 conference attendees, and online only attendees after the live event. For more information about the Enterprise Learning! Conference visit http://www.elceshow.com

 

Published in Latest News

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

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

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

Published in New Products

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

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

-Visit: www.docebo.com 

Published in New Products

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

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

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

-Learn more: www.insynctraining.com 

Published in New Products

The Harvard University strategic initiative HarvardX is running a massive open online course (MOOC) that features adaptive learning and assessment algorithms that tailor course material in response to student performance. 

"Adaptive learning functionality, through which a computer system can fit learning experiences to the needs of each student, had not been offered previously in a HarvardX course and is featured in a few courses across the edX online learning platform, reports Brent Marlow, Harvard correspondent. That all changes with the first pilot course "Super-Earths and Life, taught by Harvard's Phillips Professor of Astronomy Dimitar Sasselov. The goal is to gain a preliminary assessment of the technological feasibility and impications of adaptive functionahlit to online courses. "Depending on the results, the technology may expand to other HarvardX MOOCs, says Marlow.

"Adaptive learning programs are very good at speeding up information acquisition and lengthening retention, as well as individualizing learning to help learners see where they have difficulty, says Peter K. Bol, Harvard's vice provost for advances in learning (VPAL) and Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Lan- guages and Civilizations.

"One of the big advantages of learning in the digital space is the ability to get real-time feedback, says Robert A. Lue, HarvardX faculty director and professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology. "Adaptive functionality allows users to optimize learning based on their performance, offering a personalized path to mastery."

-Learn more: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/02/adaptive-learning-%20featured-in-harvardx-course/

 

Published in New Products

Mark Zuckerberg recently visited the Oculus Research Lab in Redmond, Wash., and showed off how the Oculus Gloves could type in virtual reality. He shared:

“Our Oculus Research lab in Redmond is where some of the best scientists and engineers in the world are pushing the boundaries of virtual and augmented reality. The team is led by Michael Abrash and focuses on things like advanced optics, eye tracking, mixed reality and new ways to map the human body. The goal is to make virtual reality and augmented reality what we all want it to be: glasses small enough to take anywhere, software that lets you experience anything, and technology that lets you interact with the virtual world just like you do with the physical one.

He concludes: “The technology being builtin this lab right now makes me want the future to get here a lot sooner.”

 

Published in New Products
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