Web Seminars Series

A Modern Learning Experience

Can Give Companies a Competitive Advantage

BY JEREMY AUGERN

Savvy organizations can capitalize on new workplace learning solutions to attract talent and improve performance.In the war for workplace talent, a robust learning experience can be a company’s secret weapon. Employees now want learning to be an integral part of their job, and they want employers to offer a modern approach to it. According to Gallup, 87% of millennials (who now occupy the largest share of the labor market) say development is important in a job. In fact, Gallup’s 2016 “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” report revealed that the opportunity to learn and grow is what millennials look for most in a new job opportunity.

A modern workplace learning experience is about strategically harnessing technology to put the right information at employees’ fingertips “just-in-time” so they can lead their own continuous development and drive iterative improvement. There are three things that are critical for creating a modern workplace learning experience:

1.  CONTENT CREATION AND CURATION

Creating and curating “just in-time” learning content is a critical component of the kind of informal, modern learning experience today’s professionals are seeking out. By leveraging next-generation learning engagement platforms, companies can easily deliver snack-sized knowledge and micro-skills to employees when they need it most, using built-in capabilities like automation features, adaptive learning technologies and learning repositories.

This means companies no longer have to rely solely on HR to manage learning. They can increasingly tap internal subject matter experts (SMEs) to create custom, shareable learning that can be leveraged throughout the organization. This SME-developed learning not only helps to identify and foster growth of high potential employees, but it’s also a good strategy to deliver learning that is tailored to the organization versus off-the-shelf content.

As companies use technology to expand their workforces internationally, and as employees increasingly opt to work remotely, creating and curating localized learning content is particularly important for facilitating an interconnected workforce that isn’t bound by geographic and cultural obstacles. According to an analysis of American Community Survey data by Global Workplace Analytics, fortune 1000 companies around the globe are revamping their space to accommodate the fact that employees are already mobile.

2. VIDEO LEARNING

Video is a great way to deliver meaningful, engaging, and job-relevant learning to employees. It can have an especially high impact on employee learning. People only remember 10% of what they hear after three days, but if relevant visuals are paired with that same information, they retain 65%.

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Video tools integrated into next-gen learning platforms can be used to do things like:

>> create custom video tutorials and training sessions;

>> record stand-up trainings and augment them with different learning aids and rich content;

>> provide customer support for service technicians;

>> capture employees’ experiential knowledge and deliver it to their peers by recording them talking about what      they do in their roles and how;

>> and allow trainers to overcome time restrictions, travel costs, and other barriers.

3. SOCIAL LEARNING & ASSESSMENT

Social learning is about empowering individuals to access information, expert advice, and online mentorship, as well as virtual networking and sharing experiences and insights. For example, video can be used for social assessment and leadership development, where performance-improving feedback from peers, managers, coaches, and mentors is delivered regularly to drive iterative improvement. Activity feed functionality can also be used to foster group discussions while building out products or projects.

By investing in all these areas, companies can deliver the kind of modern learning experiences that will help improve employee performance, attract and retain the right kind of talent, and ultimately improve their competitive advantage in a quickly changing workforce. To learn more about modern learning strategies and facilitating an engaging modern learning experience in the workplace, visit D2L.com/enterprise.

About the author: Jeremy Augern is Chief Strategy Officer of D2L Learn more at: D2L.com/ enterprise

 

Published in Ideas

THE THREE KEYS TO A MODERN WORKPLACE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

when looking for talented employees to join your company, what are the most relevant qualifications that your recruiters and hiring managers consider? Résumés are primarily filled with education and work experience aspects that demonstrate what an applicant has learned over the course of his or her life before joining your team.

However, the most important characteristic for people you’re bringing on board is a talent and a passion for life-long learning. While it’s helpful to find people with an inborn talent that matches perfectly their new positions, the reality is that most new employees need to add to or refine their current skillset.

The good news is the majority of skills your company needs in its employees can be taught. Today’s workforce recognizes the benefits of personal and professional self-improvement, and offering training and development that fits the needs of modern learners will shift your organization to be more creative, agile and growth-minded.

There are several key aspects to modern learning that look different from traditional training methods.

1. The first step in delivering a modern workplace learning program is moving it online. The ability to access training videos and materials anytime, anywhere allows your team to find exactly what they need, when they need it, and to apply it on the job right away. One huge disadvantage to traditional classroom training is the lack of mobility. Expenses add up quickly when everyone has to be brought together and taken off the job for hours at a time for sessions. Online training that is also mobile-optimized extends that “anytime, anywhere” ability even further, so those working in the field can fit training in whenever their schedule allows.

2. The second key to delivering a modern workplace learning program is to use video. Let’s face it: this is the way most of us learn at home and away from work. YouTube is a tremendous resource for learning all types of new things. Workplace learning needs to work the same way. Take advantage of the most effective form of training today: micro-learning videos. Video allows both sight and sound to create a more engaging learning experience, and especially when it’s in a micro-learning format, retention rates go through the roof compared to clicking through a text-heavy, hour-long course.

Using micro-learning videos improves the learning process, decreasing the cognitive load, which is necessary for employees to retain information. Even for someone with an exceptional attention span, giving too much information at one time is futile because the brain cannot process and retain it all.

3.  That brings us to the third key of a modern learning program, which is post-training reinforcement. Our brain works on a “use it or lose it” basis, so your employees need opportunities to recall what they’ve learned afterward, or the natural process of forgetting will take over, ousting the majority of that expensive training. With microlearning videos, employees will retain more initially, but they’ll still need the extra boost to retain the information long-term. Better learning retention can be achieved easily and efficiently through an online program that includes reinforcement, such as quizzes and thought questions delivered in the days and weeks after a learner has engaged in training.

All of these key aspects of modern learning online accessibility, in a micro-learning format with post-training reinforcement are what create significantly higher engagement in your training program, which translates to employees being more adept at finding solutions to business challenges across the board.

To gain an advantage among your competitors, you have to take advantage of the talent for learning that each of your team members possesses. Employees are your most valuable asset, so investing in their development in the way modern learners need is the ace in the hole for your organization to become a leader in your industry and to stay there for years to come.

— Dean Pichee, Founder and President of BizLibrary.

Published in Insights

BY JONATHAN PETERS, PH.D

An oft-quoted prediction by Gartner Research notes that 80 percent of gamification efforts will fail. No one is sure if the prediction of massive failure will ever come true, nor how we would measure failure in the first place.

Why will so many gamification efforts be unsuccessful if not outright failures? Could it be that designers and instructors simply slap some game mechanics on a program and declare it gamified? Instead of examining their programs and learners, and then strategically interweaving game mechanics, they settle for some points, badges and leaderboards and wonder why very little changes. That’s like placing a cherry on top of a dish and declaring it a sundae. That one ingredient does not magically convert Brussel sprouts into a delectable dessert.

THE GAMES APPROACH

At Sententia, we have a five-level process for creating successful gamified learning programs. Each level builds on the one before it, and like a game, you can’t jump ahead. That would be cheating! Each level consists of six stepping stones. If you follow each stepping stone, we basically guarantee a successful gamified learning program.

To give the process a memory hook, let’s use the acronym GAMES:
Goals
Adventure
Method
Engagement
Synch It
Most people skip over the G and A levels and jump straight into the E level (game mechanics).

FIRST: GOALS

This level can be summarized as the WHAT and the WHO of design. Before we begin to gamify a program, we must first know what we want to accomplish. Where we are and where we want to be, and who will be “playing.” Without knowing these foundational components, it doesn’t matter what game mechanics we throw at a program; we will never be successful.

In my opinion, Gartner’s prediction was wrong not because it was off in the numbers, but because most organizations don’t have a metrics for success or failure in the first place. In other words, how would you know if a learning program failed if you don’t have a definition for success?

You’d be surprised by how often companies are unable to tell us their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for a learning program. When we ask them “what behavior changes they’d like to see in their learners,” we get responses like, “we want them to work better together,” or, “we want them to be happier at work.” It’s a rare organization that can tell us how it will measure success for learning programs in business terms.

In other words, we can’t measure a Return on Investment (ROI) in money, time and effort if we don’t have a method for determining what a return is. To use a traditional business as an example, a return would be higher profits for the company. We would begin with a company’s current profits and then lay out a plan for achieving the desired profits.

Once we understand profit goals, we can establish KPIs that are needed to reach that goal, such as leads, conversion to customers, price and frequency of sale, and margin. Progress there can be measured, and we can chart progress or lack of progress over the coming weeks and months.

What if we applied the same discipline to learning? What if we had specific and measurable goals for our programs? If we did, we would then be able to analyze what KPIs (behavioral changes) we will measure to know if we are on track.

The good news is that game mechanics can provide feedback loops that let us know if we are on track. Quizzes and traditional methods for measuring learning rely on memorization and short-term responses, but certain game mechanics allow learners to demonstrate that, yes, they understand what is being taught and that they are able to take that learning and apply it to their work and professional lives.

As boring or tedious as it may be, before we begin to gamify a learning program, we need to invest significant effort in defining our business goals for the program, what behavioral changes we want from our learners, and what we will measure as an indicator of performance.

As for the “who,” you chose this profession, but isn’t it true that you usually design for and deliver to people who are not in your field or department? The problem is we tend to create learning programs and environments that we enjoy. It’s what Dr. Stephen Reiss labeled “self hugging.” He said, “Not only do we think everyone should be like us, but that they are like us.” 

Reiss’s empirically-based taxonomy reveals that each of us places different priorities on certain core drives. For instance, we have found that L&D professionals tend to place more emphasis on the curiosity core motivator than the rest of population. What does this mean for the programs they create? Well, they are more driven by learning and knowledge than people for whom they create learning programs. While they enjoy learning, the people in their programs do not. Because of self hugging, L&D professionals will not anticipate other people’s resistance to, if not disdain for, information, knowledge and learning.

Therefore, before we begin the process of creating a program, we first need to understand who our learners are, what motivates them and, ultimately, what they consider fun. Remember, they are the learners; we are creating programs for them.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ADVENTURE

Since the moment humans first developed complex language, they have been telling stories. Why? Because it’s how we transfer information from generation to generation, and it’s how we socialize each generation. It is difficult to retain a list of all that will harm us, but a vivid story will not only help us remember that saber-tooth tigers and white berries are dangerous, but we can also easily pass this information to others. Similarly, a list of, say, 10 commandments, cannot cover the nuances of what defines a “lie” and the consequences of breaking that cultural norm. But a story about how Sally lied, and the consequences she faced after telling the lie, (not to mention what we now think of Sally) make lessons easier to learn.

Before the Gutenberg press, there wasn’t a convenient way to distribute information and knowledge. Yet even today, with vast information a few clicks away, we still tell stories. In the workplace, gossip has more of an impact on a person’s behavior than an employee manual. It doesn’t matter how important your learning program is; if employees tell each other how stupid the training is, it will not be effective.

Story gives a context for information, it aids in memory, and it allows listeners to apply the lessons learned to different applications. Studies show that when we hear or read stories, a hormone called oxytocin is released, causing us to be more empathetic to others and more likely to help our peers in the workplace. Inside of games, we expect at least a thread of story. Some stories within games are rather detailed (“World of Warcraft”), others provide mere outlines (why are those birds angry at the pigs?).

What if, instead feeling dread before beginning a learning program, the learners were eager to hear the next installment of your narrative?

THE IMPACT OF METHODS

While the first two levels of our gamification process may feel strange, and they may stretch you a bit, the Method level is one that will be more familiar to you. Here is where we decide how we will deliver the program. As a reader of Elearning! magazine, you probably already understand the differences between instructor-led learning and e-learning. You probably already have your preferred platform for delivering online programs. And you have also created some amazing programs on your preferred platform.

This is also the level where we look at learning activities. As Monica Cornetti, CEO of Sentient Games says, “Learning happens when the instructor shuts up.” If you’ve been in the L&D field for more than a couple years, you probably already have your go-to learning activities, and you probably have sources for more learning activities when you need to mix things up a bit.

Because you are probably comfortable examining how you’ll present your programs and the inclusion of learning activity, I will move onto the fourth, and most exciting level:

ENGAGING LEARNERS

We are now ready for game elements, mechanics and dynamics. We have to travel all the territory of the first three levels to prepare ourselves to apply game mechanics to our programs. “The fundamentals are the building blocks of fun,” adds Cornetti. If we have not laid the proper ground work, we will not know which game mechanics to apply to our learning programs.”

If you ask a LMS company if its product supports gamification, you’ll get a “Yes, we have points, badges and leaderboards” answer. In truth, the company simply added a couple mechanics onto its platform. It’s like saying, “Yes, we have a ball and bat, so we have baseball.” In reality, baseball is made up of lots of elements and mechanics. There are bases that have to run in a specific sequence, balls and strikes, outs, a leaderboard, boundaries, positions, and so on.

In the field of game design, practitioners have identified more than 300 game mechanics. You need to be strategic in which game mechanics you use and how you use them.

Three lessons here:

1. There are tons more mechanics available to you than just points, badges, and leaderboards.

2. Not all of those 300 mechanics are applicable to learning programs (I’ve identified more than 120.)

3. Less is more. Just because you have 300 or 120 possible mechanics doesn’t mean you should use them all, or even a dozen of them.

What games did you play as a child? Seriously, I want you to, right now, visualize the specific games that absorbed some of your time as a child. Isn’t it true that while you loved those games, you had certain friends and classmates who weren’t excited to play with you? Maybe you had to coerce your siblings to play. This was because certain game mechanics appeal to your motivation profile. Meanwhile, your kid sister or brother was drawn to very different game mechanics.

The effectiveness of a mechanic depends on the player’s motivation profile. A person who is highly motivated by social contact, for instance, will not complete your online program unless you have a mechanic that allows chat between learners. Your interdependent learner will want to work with teams, while lower-motivated people will roll their eyes at teamwork much like your older brother or sister did when you asked him or her to play with you.

To make this a little more tangible, only certain profiles are attracted to leaderboards, and many people are turned off by them. High-vengeance people want to win; they appreciate the opportunity to see who is on top and who they have to conquer to be there. High-power and status people might like leaderboards if the leaderboards represent achievements they value. Meanwhile, high-acceptance motivated people may find leaderboards disheartening if not threatening.

The point is we must match our mechanics to what motivates our learners. That is why, at the first level of this gamification process, we took so much care to identify our typical learner. If we had skipped that step, we wouldn’t know what game mechanics would entice and engage them, nor what mechanics will de-motivate them and cause them to resist our learning program.

SYNC IT’

If you’ve carefully leveled up through the GAMES process, this final stage will simply be a matter of play-testing your program. This is the level at which you look at all your hard work and make sure your program makes sense.

Do you have a single narrative that weaves all the way through? Do your mechanics motivate your learners? Are your mechanics strategically applied? Do your learning activities support the material, and are they synced with the narrative and game mechanics? Is progress clear to your learners, and are you measuring the correct things?

One of the disciplines of game design that I’ve enjoyed applying to L&D is the concept of iteration. We don’t have to get it perfect the first time out. In fact, we wouldn’t expect our programs to be perfect until they’ve been tested.

In the final level, you create a prototype or beta version of your program and test it with a portion of your target audience. Observe where they engage and where they disengage. What do they enjoy, and what appears to be a grind for them? Do they need feedback at certain stages? Where do they become frustrated? Finally, are your mechanics engaging?

When you’re satisfied with the results of your tests, you are finally ready to roll out your program.

But you have one last stepping stone. After all of this effort, you finally must ask, “Is it FUN?”

After all, fun is in your DNA.

—Jonathan Peters, Ph.D., is an international professional keynote speaker, trainer, author and copywriter. His current pursuits center on how leaders, marketers and salespeople can utilize persuasive elements and new technologies to not only inspire, but also to compel people to action.

 

 

 

Published in Top Stories

Virtual Reality (V.R.) has been slower to catch on in the U.S. despite the huge investments made by Google and Facebook. It is projected that 22.4 million people in the U.S. will engage with a form of V.R. at least monthly this year, up 109.5% over 2016, according to eMarketer.

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The V.R. category is being driven mainly by 360-degree photos and videos. The gaming industry is also driving growth of V.R. headset use. In 2017, 9.6 million people in the U.S. will use a headset to experience V.R. monthly, up 98.7% over last year.

While V.R. headsets provide a more immersive experience, adoption will remain low due to their often high cost. This year, only 2.9% of the U.S. population will use a V.R. headset at least monthly, eMarketer estimates, with that number growing to just 5.2% by 2019.

—Source: eMarketer’s AR and Virtual Reality (VR) Forecast 2017

Published in Trends

In 2017, 40.0 million people in the U.S. will engage with some form of augmented reality (AR) at least monthly, up 30.2% over last year. Much of A.R.’s growth will be fueled by Snapchat Lenses and Facebook Stories, according to eMarketer.

By the end of 2019, A.R. users will top 54.4 million, accounting for 16.4% of the U.S. population, or nearly one in five Internet users.

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“Users of Snapchat Lenses comprise the vast majority of our A.R. estimates,” says eMarketer forecasting analyst Chris Bendtsen. “Snapchat growth will continue to contribute to A.R. users in the future, but in the next several years, eMarketer also expects Facebook Stories to be a significant growth driver of A.R. usage, since it is now widely available to Facebook’s user base.”

—Source: eMarketer’s AR and Virtual Reality (VR) Forecast 2017

Published in Trends

The global HR software market is projected to reach $9.2 billion by 2022, a CAGR of 2.4%. The growth rate masks a shift from traditional HR functions of payroll, time and attendance and benefits to the lucrative talent management sectors. These high-growth areas include recruiting, training, performance management/business intelligence and leadership/succession management as well as a shift to software-as-a-service.

While the HR software market went through an unprecedented wave of consolidation in recent years, the digital transformation is under way. The ERP software giants pursue a double strategy in acquiring HR software companies by expanding and integrating the new best-in-class HR management functionality into their comprehensive product/service offerings; and introducing broader ERP product/service offerings through HR management loophole.

Transportation and Logistics is the heavy-user of HCM solutions, according to Market & Markets. The growing technological developments in the field of Cloud, analytics and the emergence of mobile technologies have led to the high adoption of HCM solutions in major industries such as banking, financial services, insurance (BFSI), and health care.

By region, North America is expected to be the largest user of HCM solutions. The high adoption of digital technology across all major industries helps the HCM market to grow in North America, particularly in the U.S. and Canada. The market is in the emerging stage in the regions of Asia-Pacific (APAC), Latin America, the Middle East and Africa (MEA). Therefore, these regions exhibit immense scope for the adoption of HCM solutions.

—Sources: HR Software Market Forecast (2012-2022), Market Analysis https://www.marketanalysis.com/?p=338, HCM Market Worth, Markets & Market shttp://bit.ly/2rlbHVg

Published in Trends

The new technologies of what is being called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” have the potential to transform the global geography of production and will need to be deployed in ways that address and adapt to the impact of climate change, reports the World Economic Forum in a paper titled, “Technology and Innovation for the Future of Production: Accelerating Value Creation.” The WEF paper, prepared in collaboration with AT Kearney, explores the new technology landscape, focusing on five technologies that will have the most immediate impact on production-related sectors. It raises questions for CEOs, government leaders, civil society leaders and academics about the implications for individuals, companies, industries, economies and society as a whole, and as is intended to bring new perspectives and generate responsive and responsible choices.

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The paper maps the full production value chain of activities of “source-make-deliver-consume-re-integrate” products and services from origination, design manufacturing and distribution to customers and consumers incorporating principles of circular economy and reuse. Production fundamentally impacts economic structure at a global to local level, affecting the level and nature of employment, and the environment.

The transformative potential of technology in production systems is widely recognized.Trends toward higher levels of automation promise greater speed and precision of production as well as reduced exposure to dangerous tasks. They also can help overcome stagnant productivity and make way for more value-added activity. The extent of automation, however, causing significant anxiety about issues of employment and inequality.

—Download full report at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/ WEF_White_Paper_Technology_Innovation_Future_of_Produc- tion_2017.pdf

Published in Trends

With the new SALESFORCE- IBM global strategic partnership, IBM Watson, an A.I. platform for business, and Salesforce Einstein, A.I. that powers the world’s No. 1 CRM, seamlessly connect to enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more. IBM is also strategically investing in its Global Business Services for Salesforce with a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

Published in Deals

BRAINSHARK and SEISMIC are partnering to help companies optimize sales readiness and performance, bringing together Brainshark’s training, coaching and content authoring capabilities with Seismic’s advanced solution for sales content management and personalization.

Published in Deals

LEARNZILLON LAUNCHES curriculum-as-a-service (CaaS) in Brazil for schools in a unique partnership between LearnZillion (platform provider), GOOGLE.ORG, LEMANN FOUNDATION and NOVA ESCOLA. The project follows similar successful LearnZillion (CaaS) partnerships with Louisiana and New Mexico. RAND looked at the impact in Louisiana, which found teachers were using these resources and it was quickly showing a positive impact on student achievement. This may save public schools money and forever changing a multi-billion dollar industry.

Published in Deals
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