Learners show equal success on the same courses, whether they access the courses on their desktop or on a mobile device. That’s one of the key determinations made by a recent survey.

“But mobile learners achieving same outcomes in half the time,” CEO Donna Wells of Mindflash adds. “And providing mobile course access is likely to increase percent of learners who reference course content after they initially complete the course.”

The research also emphasizes that shorter courses are better when learners are accessing them via mobile devices. Wells suggests that course designers break up courses into a series of shorter lessons, which should require sequential passing.

She also suggests that learning professionals “consider swapping PowerPoint for Microsoft Word and increasing usage of video to improve experience and success among mobile learners; to correlate training outcomes with business outcomes; and to integrate LMS data with CRM or financial systems data, if at all possible.

—More info: www.slideshare.net/mindflashmarketing/taking-measurement-mobile-assessing-mlearning

Published in Trends

A new McKinsey Global Institute report, “The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype,” finds that the hype may actually understate IoT’s full potential — but that capturing it will require an understanding of where real value can be created and a successful effort to address a set of systems issues, including interoperability.

According to McKinsey research, IoT has a total potential economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion a year by 2025.

MGI’s Michael Chui believes that these factors will determine how successful businesses are at unlocking trillions of dollars in value during the next decade:

  • Interoperability between IoT systems is critical.

  • Currently, most IoT data are not even used for optimization and prediction, which provide the greatest value.

  • Business-to-business applications will probably capture more value—nearly 70 percent of it—than consumer uses.

  • IoT users (businesses, other organizations, and consumers) could capture 90 percent of the value that IoT applications generate.

 - Download the podcast and/or report: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/the_internet_of_things_the_value_of_digitizing_the_physical_world?cid=other-eml-nsl-mip-mck-oth-1507

Published in Trends

E-learning could help prepare more health-care professionals, according to a recent review of research projects carried out by Imperial CollegeLondon by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.).

More than 100 studies found that undergraduate students acquired knowledge and skills through computer-based e-learning (CBL) as well as - or better than - they do through traditional teaching.

Eleven of 33 studies demonstrated statistically significant knowledge gains for students engaged in CBL methods. Eight of 13 studies found a statistically significant difference in skill acquisition favoring the participants allocated to the CBL group. And five of 12 studies found more favorable attitudes among CBL group students. There was also found to be statistically significant knowledge gains for students using 3-D enhanced visual aids compared to students using standard 2-D.

The report concludes, "Information and communication technology (ICT)…called e-learning or blended learning…offers promising new modes for the delivery of education."

The report, edited by Najeeb Al-Shorbaji, Rifat Atun, Josip Car, Azeem Majeed, Erica Wheeler, with 31 contributors from around the globe, is titled "E-learning for Undergraduate Health Professional Education."

—Full report: http://whoeducationguidelines.org/sites/default/files/uploads/eLearning-healthprof-report.pdf 

Published in Latest News

Halfway through 2015, the learning management system (LMS) software market isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. While this growth is great for vendors, it can be intimidating for first-time buyers, according to Brian Westfall of Software Advice, an LMS solution review site. After surveying hundreds of LMS buyers and users, he identified five top trends that are driving e-learning so far in 2015. The top three:

  1. Nearly one-third of LMS users say integration is their top challenge.

  2. Less than 5 percent of buyers request mobile, social or gamification, even though these software capabilities engage learners.

  3. 99 percent of users say LMS software positively impacts content organization and training efficiency.

   - More info: www.softwareadvice.com/lms/top-stats-2015/

Published in Latest News

E-learning has grown in complexity due to the introduction of mobile devices and the growth in operating systems. With the increased demand for mobile learning, clients in turn need to understand the complexities and requirements involved in creating mobile learning courseware.

On the flip side, the rapid increase in the use of mobile devices opens a new world of training opportunities to organizations that have not considered mobile learning. This short mobile learning infographic highlights the important changes and aspects that organizations need to consider.

—Source: http://www.pulselearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mobile_infographic_final.pdf

Published in Latest News

The learning industry came together during the Enterprise Learning! Conference, a three-day live event held in Manassas, Va., June 8-10, and a two-day virtual follow-up held July 16-17.

Cutting-edge keynoters addressed the crowd. Keynoter Wayne McCulloch revealed the future of learning by showcasing the learning ecosystem of Salesforce, an organization named the Most Innovative Company four years running by Fortune magazine. Dr. Jennifer Golbeck shocked attendees by revealing how much of our personal data is available to virtually anyone, unbeknownst to most of us. Keynoter Col. Ronald Dodge disclosed that the greatest threat to a company’s cybersecurity is actually the users. McCulloch is senior vice president of Salesforce; Golbeck is director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland; Dodge is CIO and associate professor at the West Point Military Academy.

The on-site event was held in Manassas, Va. June 8-10 while a live virtual edition was held July 16-17. A combined 1,897 learning professionals registered for the hybrid event.

The conference theme of “Building Smarter Organizations” provided four distinct learning tracks that examine learning ecosystems, smart connected things in learn, big data and learning analytics and best practice of the Learning! 100.

“The way we conduct business and train our employees in today’s world is different than any other era, and the popularity of having the option to attend an on-site or virtual, from-your-desktop learning event was reflected in the robust attendance for both events,” notes Catherine Upton, group publisher and event producer.

The July online event featured six live sessions and video broadcasts of the most popular onsite sessions. A live Q&A opportunity was made available to all virtual attendees during the keynote address by Wayne McCulloch as well as a learning CEO panel featuring Todd Tauber from Degreed and Malcolm Lotzof from INXPO.

Another important function of the annual conference is presentation of the annual Learning! 100 awards. The honorees represent 60 corporate enterprises and 40 public-sector/nonprofit organizations. The top winner in the corporate enterprise category was Salesforce, and the public-sector winner is Defense Acquisition University. (See article beginning on page 24.)

The conference programming was designed by George Mason University, Defense Acquisition University and Elearning! Media Group. Those that missed the event can still view content, Q&A and chats on the ELC online platform through Oct. 16.

              -To register: https://presentations.inxpo.com/Shows/ELearning/Microsite/registration.htm

Published in Latest News

By Sharon Boller

Today’s workers and “modern learners” only have 1 percent of their work week to devote to professional development and learning. The concern I have is that we make an assumption that we can and should winnow down all learning initiatives to fit into this 4.8 minutes per day or 24 minutes per week. Most definitely, reinforcement of a skill or reinforcement of a specific body of knowledge can be handled in 4.8 minutes a day. Learning sciencebased platforms such as Knowledge Guru, qStream or Axonify can be very useful in delivering micro reinforcement in this context.

Micro-learning is NOT useful when people need to acquire/learn complex skills, processes or behaviors. Imagine trying to learn any of these behaviors or skills in 4.8 minutes per day:

  • A musical instrument
  • Project management
  • Agile software development and processes
  • Instructional design
  • Any software tool
  • Teamwork skills
  • Sales
  • A [new] product 


What our industry needs is better clarity on when we need to formally train people, when we need to reinforce knowledge or skills people are building on their own, and when we simply need to keep key principles or practices front and center (e.g. safety and security practices).

A few years ago, we opted to create a “learning lab” environment in our own organization. We wanted a means of building technical and project management skills — and we recognized that if we want innovation to happen, we have to give it time to happen. This sparked the idea of “skill-builders,” which are formal side projects that employees can do ON COMPANY TIME. This year, we formalized this to the point of letting an employee allocate five full work days of time on a skill builder. Criteria for doing a skill-builder:

  1. The skill-builder needs to link tightly to a competency the company has agreed is important to us. (For example, we use AfterEffects quite a bit. So if a graphic designer wants to learn AfterEffects, he or she can craft a skill-builder around it.)

  2. We need to make sure employees have sufficient time to do it; ideally, they will be able to work in one-half to full-day “chunks” on the skill-builder as it is too hard to stop/start when you are in learning mode.

  3. A formal document needs to be created that describes the project, what skills it will build, what resources are required, and how it links to our business needs.

                  — Sharon Boller is the president of Bottom-Line Performance. Established in 1995, the company creates award-winning learning solutions for a variety of corporate clients. To read the rest of this blog post, visit www.bottomlineperformance.com/the-myth-of-micro-learning.

Published in Insights

What Have You Worked On Recently That You Believe Will Become An Industry Trend In The Near Future?

Think about how we accessed “timely” information just twenty-five years ago. We picked up a newspaper or read a magazine, turned on the radio or caught the evening news on TV. The distribution of this information was controlled by a few and inherently delayed due to the restrictions of the channels themselves.

In less than 30 years, the Internet has revolutionized the way we access information by flipping this “top-down” model on its head. We now have access to a seemingly unlimited amount of information, when and where we want it. Social media and crowd-sourcing have largely democratized the process of creating, sharing and monitoring this information. The user is now the creator and curator of content.

Our industry remains largely focused on developing better ways to disseminate educational and training materials through the Internet. But this is still a top-down model. Forward-thinking companies are looking for ways to flip this archetype over, too.

I’ve recently encountered several highly innovative organizations asking the same question: “What makes a great teacher truly great?” They’re inevitably going to reach the same answer. An effective teacher has the ability to present a complex idea in a way that is accessible and resonates with students. Taking a lesson from the Internet’s elevation of the user, these organizations are developing strategies for “student curation.” They are empowering students to develop and share learning opportunities on topics or subjects of passionate interest. I will wager that your students are going to begin demanding this capability very shortly, if they haven’t already.

How Does A Company Prepare To Introduce This Type Of Student-Driven Capability?

The best way to prepare is to first dedicate time and resources to teaching people how to teach others. The organizations that are already going down this path are leveraging their existing learning platforms to deliver basic training around proper communication techniques and how to effectively present ideas. They are working now to ensure student creators and curators are prepared in the near future to deliver content effectively.

There are concerns that student-driven content will be full of errors or result in low-quality content, disrupting the the overall integrity of the learning environment. Once you successfully prepare students to become instructors themselves, the next step is to develop an effective process for group management and self-governance. Now is the time to plan out how you will transition your organization’s learning environment into a true learning community.

If Uou Were To Recommend A Good First Step That Learning Professionals Could Take Today In Pursuit Of This Future Development, What Would It Be?

You have to consider the ways in which people communicate and learn in their personal, daily lives. In less than seven years, we’ve doubled the amount of time we spend online every day, and the majority of this online access occurs on a mobile device. We now dedicate 41 percent of our total online time to social media — and this number is growing. We are suddenly consuming way more “bite-sized” video than we’ve ever consumed before. Today’s learning environment should already offer students the same kind of mobile viewing, content sharing and collaborative opportunities in which they so willingly engage outside of work. If your learning environment doesn’t currently mirror your student’s personal online experience, look for learning management solutions that take a “mobile-first” approach when designing their tools. The ability to confidently deliver a seamless, effective mobile experience is the first step in being prepared for a number of industry developments headed our way.

Published in Insights

There's No One Answer, Since Audiences Are Diverse But There Are Pitfalls.

By Matt Gilley

Many organizations often want to explore how to engage, communicate and train “external audiences.” Generally, requests are focused on students, or potential students, who are not employees of the company and reside outside of the organization’s physical footprint and technological infrastructure. This scenario certainly presents a series of unique challenges.

Five common misconceptions and pitfalls that, when avoided, lead to much more successful external programs.

#1: Don't Recreate The (Content Strategy) Wheel

Companies sometimes overanalyze the needs of their external audiences. They mistakenly assume external audiences require a level of engaging, entertaining content that is somehow different from what they provide their internal audience members. Before you worry about internal versus external audiences, you should develop an over-arching content strategy that results in creative, modern, engaging training material. Then you can determine how to present the appropriate content to the appropriate audience. If you’re considering content for external users that is superior to the content you present to internal users, you’re doing something wrong.

#2: Don't Ignore Student Segmentation

Even the organizations with great content strategies sometimes neglect to plan ahead when it comes to segmentation. You would be surprised by the number of companies that allow external students into their learning environments without a clear way to identify or track them as such. If you can’t tell at a glance which students are internal and which students are external, how can you expect your learning management system to deliver the appropriate content? Develop an efficient way to designate a new user as internal or external during the registration process. You certainly do not want to try and identify them once they have become active users. If security becomes a big concern, you can consider pushing the two audiences into separate accounts. Over-complicating the structure and security requirements of a single learning environment in order to accommodate
both internal and external audience members can divert attention away from the primary training mission. Instead, think: “Same great content, same variety, same over-all approach, different accounts.”

#3: Don't Overcomlicate Registration

The registration portal is the first thing external students encounter. It should mirror the kind of simple, clean and intuitive experience the entire learning environment offers. Too often, registration pages and processes are bulky and confusing, forcing external users to jump through too many hoops before accessing the learning content. Difficult registration processes will result in significant drops in user activity. Consider the simplicity of the registration process for the majority of the consumer apps we rely on everyday. Are you thinking about single or social sign-on to simplify registration? You should be.

#4: Don't Undervalue The User Experience

A large number of external training initiatives rely on the “selfpaced” model, allowing students the freedom to move through topics and access modules at their own speed. Amazingly, many organizations do not consider the student’s actual experience when they build out an external, or even internal, learning environment. Students expect to find
the content they are looking for immediately, and with little effort. This means search functionality must be exceptional. Key words, course descriptions and summaries need to be less clinical and neutral, and much more strategic and engaging. The affect that images have on user engagement numbers, positive or negative depending on the quality of the
images, are staggering. It’s time to ditch the outdated clip art in your catalog and course descriptions. Work with marketing to develop an image strategy for the entire learning environment that not only aligns with your content, but helps “sell it.”

#5: Don't Forget To Ask, "Why?"

External is definitely “trending up,” but first, companies should really evaluate what they are trying to achieve. Perhaps more importantly, why? Some organizations have the kind of content that external audiences are already demanding. Some companies view external training and education as a way of strengthening or securing their already strong brand ties and audience relationships. Either way, these organizations typically have external audiences in place, audiences that already perceive value in the content and
justify the required resource investment. If you don’t have a good answer for why the content should be offered to students outside of your organization, there is no reason to
further explore the how.

                                 —The author is the CRO for Intellum. More info: www.intellum.com

Published in Ideas

How Do You Improve Employee Engagement? Laz Parking and Randstad Reveal Their Learning Philosophies.

By Matt Gilley

Let’s start with an openended question: How do you define and measure "employee engagement"?

Andi Campbell, VP of Human Resources, LAZ Parking: At LAZ Parking, we measure engagement by asking employees their sentiment toward topics like tenure, effort, communication, management and culture. We are concerned with things like how likely employees are to work for us long-term, how likely they are to say positive things about LAZ, how well they think leaders demonstrate the LAZ values and how inclined they are to exceed job expectations.

Rick Maybury, director of Learning & Development, Randstad U.S.: When we think of employee engagement at Randstad, we are really trying to assess the ability and interest our folks have in being creative, and innovative and going beyond the basic expectations. We are focusing on how we encourage employees to become more selfmotivated and self-driven when it comes to their work, their own personal development and even driving innovation.

How do traditional training tools, like an LMS or a private activity stream, play into your strategies for improving engagement?

Campbell: We don’t think of the Intellum Exceed LMS as "an LMS." It is a strategic tool for delivering results. If we are continuously improving the learning resources and tools we offer our employees, we are going to continue to see improvements in employee engagement. The LAZ Parking Learning Center is powered by the Exceed LMS, but it has become the launch pad for everything related to talent, and by extension, engagement. So you go to the Learning Center, you can view your talent profile, then fill out your performance review, check out upcoming training opportunities, visit your team's Tribe (Intellum's private activity stream). It all starts from the Learning Center. 

Maybury: We believe there is tremendous value in creating curriculums, on-the-job training and career-development opportunities that empower individuals to drive their own careers. If employees are creating a portfolio of capabilities that are truly transportable, even ultimately to other companies, they become more dedicated to our company. Our openness and focus on their personal development, as opposed to focusing only on what we can get out of them, is the key. The Exceed LMS is the tool that enables them to pursue these developmental opportunities effectively.

If you were going to offer a peer one piece on how to achieve the kind of engagement results you have achieved, what would it be? 

Campbell: Don’t over-complicate things. If you mirror employee behavior outside of work as much as you can inside of work, you will absolutely witness positive change. We know that people in “the real world” expect to Google information and get immediate access to quick, bit-size chunks of information at the exact moment in which they need it. We know that people enjoy “liking” photos on social media. Give them the tools to apply this consumer technology experience to their business lives and people will become more involved'  

Maybury: Begin by selecting the tool that enables selfdirected development along a broad base - development that is both career and personal. Then embed within the tool the ability to self assess and track growth. Provide employees with a transportable portfolio of capabilities that becomes applicable through out their individual careers. One of the prime motivators for an employee to engage and dedicate superior effort while they are with you is directly correlated with what that individual perceives as her or his professional and personal development opportunities. 

                             —The author is the CRO for Intellum. More info: www.intellum.com 

Published in Ideas
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