The Consumer Electronics Show 2017 (CES), the world’s large consumer technology event happens this week, and serves the $287 billion U.S. consumer technology industry. Thousands of solutions and exhibitors are on display with the new and the next in consumer tech. But, which solutions will really move the needle for enterprise learning?

While many at CES are focused on autonomous cars and their intelligent systems architecture, there are some technologies to watch for enterprise learning on display. Let’s look at five interesting solutions that offer a mirror to the future…even some may redefine how learning is delivered.1.      

1. HTC Tracker Vive Turns on VR for Everything

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HTC Vive has been called the most immersive VR experience to date. At CES, HTC showcased the VIVE Tracker, a new tracking peripheral that can be inserted into any product to make it work in the virtual world. Image adding the Tracker to your baseball bat to practice your swing in a VR game. Peacekeepers could use the tracker on equipment during fire simulations, police officers for standoffs, and the like. There are hundreds of potential learning applications.

The Tracker transforms any device into the virtual environment. This means any manufacturer can be a VR device manufacturer by embedding the tracker.

 

 

2. First Google Tango-enabled Augmented-reality Smartphone

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At CES 2017, we see a trend of software being embedded in devices. We no longer must learn to code. ASUS ZenFone AR  Smartphone is the world’s first 5.7-inch smartphone with Tango and Daydream by Google. Tango's AR lets you see virtual objects and information on top of your surroundings. And, Daydream is Google’s virtual reality technology.

For enterprise learning applications, AR if great for on-boarding, technical and safety training. The faster these capabilities are pushed to the smartphone and adopted, the sooner users can generate training content to share their native expertise. Learn more at: https://www.asus.com/Phone/ZenFone-AR-ZS571KL/

At CES 2016, we learned the cost of sensing technology has dropped to pennies an axial, and text to voice is now 95% accurate.  No surprise, we see these technologies integrated into some smart devices for home and work.

 

3. Voice is Everywhere: LG, Alexa and Google Home

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Like VR, manufacturers are integrating voice assistants within devices at home. NVidia plays with Google Home to create smart home devices. LG is using Alexa in refrigerators to track use by dates, groceries to buy and can place the online order via Amazon Pantry.

These solutions are launching at rates faster than enterprises can adopt them. Enterprises are using machine learning and AI to drive business decisions today. We could drive this intelligence to voice commands at the enterprise creating the perfect assistant.

 

4. Concept: Razer’s Project Ariana

razerariana

 

We have heard of Microsoft’s HoloLens and Star Trek’s Holodeck. Now we have seen Razer’s new concept projector, called Project Ariana. Ariana can bring projection mapping to the masses. The system is a giant screen that blends seamlessly when projected across your wall, furniture and tables. Under development, expect to see this projection system engulf an entire room with visuals that simulate being there. Imagine a Super Bowl broadcast that fills the room with you immersed in the sound and visuals. For enterprises, use of live immersive projections like Project Ariana would be great for CEO meet and greets and group wide or global team meetings. See it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX3sz0S5PA0

 

5. Cool Tools for the Office

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CES is not CES unless you come back with cool tools you want to take home. Here are two our editors loved.

First, Tickle Sensor is a tool to convert your PC to touch screen. Neonode Airbar is sold for $189 and clips to the screen easily. Learn more at: http://www.neonode.com/

Second, the travel keyboard that folds up to fit in a pocket is a must have. The Kanex Keyboard has a 2-day battery life.  It is Bluetooth enabled and the magnetic case keeps it closed. Cost is less than $100.

Next up from Elearning! Magazine: Key trends and consumer technology market growth reports from CES. Follow us at @2elearning or visit: 2elearning.com.

 

 

 

Published in Latest News

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

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

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

THE VIVE EXPERIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

GETTING STARTED IN VR

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

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

LEARNING GAME CHANGER The HTC

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

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

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

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

Published in Insights

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

MICRO-LEARNING

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

GAMIFICATION

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

AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY (AR/VR)

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

THE “OPEN LEARNING EXPERIENCE”

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

BIG DATA

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

TRANSFORMING THE E-LEARNING INDUSTRY

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

>> The most flexible buying options to maximize your budget

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

>> Compatibility with every LMS

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

—BY SIMONE SMITH

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Trends

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

TODAY’S TRAINING CHALLENGES

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

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

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

ENTER MICROLEARNING AND LEARNING TECHNOLOGY

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

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

LEARNING RETENTION AND SCIENCE

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

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

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

THE RIGHT MIX

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

--Dean Pichee, Founder and President of BizLibrary

Published in Insights

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

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

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

FRACTAL SYSTEM CHARACTERISTICS

Author Janna Raye identifies the properties of the fractal system:

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

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

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

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

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

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

FRACTALS AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Insights

Insights into the Future of Work

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

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

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

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

II. MILLENNIALS AND GEN Z DRIVE PERSONALIZATION IN THE WORKPLACE

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

III. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ENTERS THE WORKPLACE

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

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

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

Published in Insights

Current e-learning can be boring, ineffective and lacks motivation. Training may not be engaging enough with dropout rates of 70% for e-learning. This means companies could waste 3 out of every 4 dollars invested in online training- a disproportionate and unaffordable cost for any company.

How can we improve online learning completion rates? Discover these 4 strategies to solve this learning crisis:

1 OFFER QUALITY, PRACTICAL AND APPLICABLE CONTENT

Deliver your employee what they need in your training courses; quality, useful and applicable content. To ensure that your content is practical and useful for your employees, it is essential to turn it into a set of tools directly applicable to real life. Avoid the indiscriminate use of models, theories or definitions that only convey obviousness. If you want your employees to be engaged within your training, you must first convince them that the training is beneficial to them.

2 OFFER SAFE ENVIRONMENTS

If you want to motivate your employees to learn, you must first improve their self-confidence.

An employee who faces training with confidence is likely to become a motivated employee. Create a safe environment in which the participant can test the contents without risk, thus improving their confidence.

You can use gamification techniques, collaborative activities, business simulations or business games to create these safe environments. Make sure your training does not become an obstacle.

3 GIVE PERSONALIZED FEEDBACK

It’s important to give your employees the chance to observe the result of their decisions and receive immediate feedback about areas to improve. Feedback which is permanent, personalized and that allows adaptability and is scaleable. Be sure to leave enough time for the employee to internalize the improvements and to put them into practice again.

Feedback should be:

>> Clear and direct

>> Constructive

>> Given immediately

>> About facts, not about the person

>> Descriptive, not qualify or judge

>> Focused on behaviors that can be changed or improved.

4 TURN YOUR TRAINING INTO A GAME

What if you told your employees that they can train and develop their skills while playing and having fun? What do you think their answer would be?

The game has become the most effective learning tool, as shown by a study conducted by Traci Sitzmann. Her findings show games:

>> Improve learning retention by 90%,

>> Improves the conceptual knowledge of the student by 11%, and

>> Increases task completion by 300%.

And since we are playing, there is nothing better than a learning video game. This solution solves the learning completion challenge, as it:

>> Engages. Through the adventure, learning turns into something entertaining for students.

>> Builds confidence. Being a video game, the user relaxes and feels safe, increasing their self-confidence.

>> Improves performance. The game dynamics motivates students, increasing their effort.

>> It is based on practice. The content is fundamentally practical, allowing the user to learn and master the skill or the competence through experiential learning.

To discover how to add games to your training programs, contact gamelearn at www.game-learn.com.

Published in Ideas

Today’s competitive landscape requires workers who can learn and apply knowledge faster than ever. Spending on corporate training has grown to $70 billion in the U.S. and over $130 billion worldwide. Has this increased investment taught us the best way to teach today’s workforce? How do workers learn best? To answer these questions we usually start with the newest generation entering the workplace. We know that today’s workforce is in the midst of a generational shift:

>> More than one in three American workers today are millennials.

>> In 2015 millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

What does this generational change mean for learning? It may not mean as much as we think. Focusing on the wants and needs of millennials seems like a good place to begin, but new research reveals the best way to learn doesn’t consistently rely on age or experience.

Age doesn’t dictate how each worker learns best. To teach today’s workforce it’s crucial to address the needs of modern learners. These learners are busy balancing work and home life, looking for ongoing self- and professional development as ways of keeping pace with constant change. Above all, modern workers are savvy consumers. When faced with an abundance of learning and development options, they expect the same level of relevance, quality and delivery flexibility they encounter daily in their customer transactions.

To attract and engage modern learners, learning must be personalized to the needs of each learner, sized to fit into open spaces of time and attention and embedded into daily experience.

1. MODERN LEARNING MUST BE LEARNER-CENTRIC

Learning must be personalized to enable learners to choose what, how and when they want to learn resulting in ‘one-size fits one’ experiences. Serving up related content on relevant topics, in learners’ preferred formats, helps create a unique journey aligned to each learner’s needs and preferences.

2. MODERN LEARNING MUST BE MICRO-SIZED AND MODULAR

Uninterrupted time is limited: providing short bursts of knowledge that can stand alone or serve as components of broader programs is key.

3. MODERN LEARNING MUST BE MOBILE

Learning must go with the learner. Modern learning considers the most appropriate mode for learning while on the go. Support the needs of today’s active workers with videos, e-books and audio books that can be consumed while walking, running, biking or driving.

While L&D professionals must learn to adapt some of their methods to better serve the modern learner, many basic principles of strong learning program design remain the same. Learners still want—and need—content presented in a variety of different modalities. Opportunities for reinforcement, practice and application on the job are still crucial for helping learning stick. Rethinking the types of multimodal content we provide and how we ensure learning is retained an applied ensures that learning keeps pace with the changing needs of today’s workforce.

Download new research from Skillsoft to learn how to meet the requirements of modern learners.

--Kieran King, VP, Global Enablement, Customer Insight & Field Marketing

Kieran began her career in the talent field more than 20 years ago, participating in the evolution of the industry by consulting with organizations across a wide variety of sectors and geographies. She has designed enterprise learning programs, implemented learning and talent platforms, led strategy engagements, and advised on measuring impact on business outcomes. Kieran has authored several methodologies and white papers, she blogs regularly and she’s been featured in multiple magazines. Today, Kieran studies the composition of successful learning and talent partnerships throughout the world.

Published in Ideas

Learners forget 70% of what they learn over a 24-hour period, so organizations need to find ways to reinforce their training in order to realize a positive return on investment.

After budget concerns, “reinforcing training so that it sticks” is the greatest challenge faced by training and learning departments today. Indeed, “Burst and Boost” have become buzzwords in the industry, referring to best practices surrounding short-form content with heavy follow-up. This is a recognition on the part of the industry that, for training to be effective, there have to be ways to make it stick—otherwise, companies will never see a positive return on their investment.

The problem is built right into our brains: Research from Washington University in St. Louis and Harvard University found that the learning curve for just about any kind of information drops off exponentially, meaning that people will forget a full 70 percent of what they learn after a mere 24 hours have elapsed. This means that training programs that do not address retention are, at best, only 30 percent effective at behavioral change.

So how can L&D departments do better? There are many good psychological theories about what is conducive to remembering. In a nutshell, these theories agree that information is not so much “stored” and “retrieved” in the brain as it is connected, rehearsed, and reconstructed. Remembering information, then, is more a matter of engaging in the right sorts of activities to recall, use, and re-engage with information.

On a practical level, there are many ways to do this:

FOLLOWING UP WITH THE RIGHT “BOOST” CONTENT.

Summaries or recaps of critical pieces of information can prompt memory, helping employees recall what they have learned. It also refocuses their attention on what is important and helps them decipher their notes. Receiving reviews on a weekly or monthly basis can thus solidify what was learned, and can easily be done with a short “CliffsNotes” version of the training in the form of a one-to-two-minute video highlighting the main ideas.

PERIODIC QUESTIONS AND QUIZZES.

People are more likely to remember information that they must use to answer a question or figure out a problem. That kind of re-engagement is a great way to boost recall, especially when the questions require applying the information to a scenario the learner will see on the job. For example, periodic quizzes can be scheduled for two days, two weeks, and two months afterward, allowing for spaced learning— proven to be the best method for retaining information.

MOTIVATION THROUGH COMPETITION.

You don’t need a huge budget and a team of programmers to “gamify” your training experience. You can enhance training reinforcement simply by adding some elements of competition to motivate your employees. For example, you can add badges and leaderboards to your training program so that employees can have a public display of what they have done, adding to their overall sense of accomplishment. Quiz contests can work well too: After sending out your post-training quizzes, gather the results and offer small incentives for those who complete them with a better-than-passing grade.

WHAT DO THESE ACTIVITIES ACCOMPLISH?

The main aim of these methods is to reinforce what has been learned. During the process of reinforcement, short-term memories of the actual training event are slowly turned into long-term memories that can truly change behavior. This halts the forgetting curve and makes the learned information more easily accessible from memory. As a side benefit, employees feel more confident, engaged, and knowledgeable.

What’s more, training programs that succeed in doing this provide a positive return on investment over the long term. Training programs that do not take reinforcement seriously often falter as the forgetting curve kicks in.

–Ryan Eudy is CEO of ej4. Ej4 is a 2016 Best of Elearning! winner. Learn more at: www.ej4.com

Published in Ideas

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Learning Content Investment

Stuck in inflexible pages, much of today’s learning material remains trapped in traditional formal vehicles like elearning courses or presentations. As a result, learning content – and the time and effort that goes into it – is often poorly leveraged. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

STRIVE FOR SINGLE SOURCE, MULTI-PURPOSE CONTENT

Organizations are awaking to the importance content plays as a competitive differentiator and are now demanding tools and processes that allow them to gather, create, organize, disperse, and re-use learning content in multiple ways, across multiple learning vehicles.

Today’s learning content development tools need to support the creation of single-source, multi-purpose content for both formal and informal learning experiences. As you build out your learning content strategy, look for tools and processes that allow your organization to collaboratively create content that can be used at multiple times of need — from formal learning through to application on the job — and let you to measure its effectiveness.

FIND THE RIGHT TOOLS

There’s been a rush for authoring tool vendors to get on the responsive band-wagon. That’s great news for those wanting to develop content that can be accessed on multiple devices and used in multiple ways, but beware, not all responsive tools are created equal. Truly responsive content means developers can build rich learning experiences without worrying about specific devices or multiple versions of the same content.

Stay away from vendors that enforce a dumbed-down approach to learning content development. Templated, fill-inthe-blank, or block-based tools help get stuff out the door and satisfy the responsive checkbox, but they often don’t satisfy the learning need.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE POWER OF MANY

Today’s learning organizations must adjust to the rapidly changing content requirements of their audiences. Whether it’s evolving regulations, product updates, or changing business drivers, training departments must deliver content that is relevant and useful — with little or no delay. While there are still content developers that work alone, team-based development models have become the norm because they can leverage the collective skill and expertise of dispersed teams.

To make the most of the time and dollars spent on learning programs, all learning stakeholders (authors, subject matter experts, sponsors) need to easily engage in the development process. Explore integrated, collaborative development platforms that satisfy the needs of all your learning stakeholders.

LOOK TO THE FUTURE

Future organizational learning success means making the right tool and process decisions today. The history (and current state) of learning technologies is full of horror stories about costly investments in proprietary technologies that lock up content and make it unusable beyond its initial purpose. Eschew propriety technologies and focus on vendor neutral, standards-based platforms. You’ll own your own content and be able to re-use and repurpose it freely — both today and tomorrow.

DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS

Learning content developers need to make the best learning experiences possible — quickly and efficiently. Don’t settle for an uncompromised content development experience. Platforms and tools exist that offer both powerful features AND simpleto-use environments. Search out robust, scalable solutions that give you the power to create meaningful learning content, without the need for complicated interfaces or programing languages.

IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT CREATING GREAT LEARNING EXPERIENCES

How your organization gathers, creates, organizes and disperses content to support its business goals can mean the difference between market leadership and failure. Always keep in mind that it’s not about creating great eLearning, it’s about building and sharing great learning experiences — and then maximizing your content use and value.

-- Luke Hickey is CEO of dominKnow Learning Systems, a multiple winner of 2016 Best of Elearning! award. Learn more at: www.domiknow.com

Published in Ideas
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