Dan Pontefract, Chief Envisioneer of TELUS

I discovered that many people are suffering from their thinking.

Whether via the pressures and stresses at work, a state of freneticism, the distractedness of social media and notifications, or overburdening time constraints, many of us are no longer capable of doing the heightened thinking required to be sane, engaged, and happy.

That got me down a little, to be honest. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. During my journey of research and interviews, I came across many people who had sorted out the secret sauce of thinking. Whether for themselves or including a team or organization that they were leading, these were indeed the “Open Thinkers.” These people had sorted out a way in which to balance the realities of today’s busy world with the absolute need to have space to creatively think while having the time and methodology to make better decisions.

One of my favorite discoveries was when I entered a hat millinery. I did not expect to get a hat made. I just wanted to see how milliners operated. What I stepped into was a hive of Open Thinking. There was simultaneous Creative Thinking (brainstorming, discussions, what if ’s and why not’s) with Critical Thinking (don’t do this, do this) alongside Applied Thinking (sewing, stitching, ironing, and steaming). I learned so much I decided to get a custom hat, to go through the process and experience their world first-hand. It was a glorious, hands-on experience.

The millinery was an incredible metaphor and example of Open Thinking. It was a sublime example of light, where all the dots of my research began to connect. “Open to Think” highlights not only what’s going wrong with our thinking; it provides an antidote for better thinking. It gives you the license to analyze how you currently approach your thinking and makes recommendations on what to alter. 

When I noticed leaders and team members in the organizations I work with were complaining about various pressures and stresses, I began to inquire about their cause. Some of those factors led to a lack of Open Thinking.

There are far too many people who are stressed out at work and life, in part because of an incredible imbalance that they place on themselves, and an imbalance that has been placed on them, too. Time has become the enemy. We no longer use it to our advantage.

What I learned is that people who appropriately balance their time through improved Creative Thinking and Critical Thinking with the need to get things done (Applied Thinking) end up being more engaged, innovative, productive and, happier.

It is possible to win back your time, your thinking, your life.

The model found in the book “Open to Think” is a simple one: Dream, Decide, Do Repeat.  It serves as a reminder that when we balance the three categories of thinking, we are far better off. I hope it provides ideas, solutions, and techniques to help you (or your team) to become better at daily thinking.

—Pontrefact is the author of “Open to Think” his third book.  “Flat Army” and “The Purpose Effect” were his previous titles tackling workplace collaboration and meaningful work. View Dan’s TEDTalk at https://youtu. be/sQSFW8HWVFg  Dan is also Chief Envisioner of TELUS, a four-time Learning! 100 award-winning organization.

Published in Insights

…TRIDIB ROY CHOWDHURY, SENIOR DIRECTOR & GENERAL MANAGER, ADOBE

HOW HAS ADOBE PARTNERED WITH ITS MANY LEARNING! 100 CLIENTS TO CREATE ENGAGING LEARNING EXPERIENCES AND DRIVE ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE?

The Learning! 100 finalists are an impressive list of organizations with a stellar learning culture, which directly correlates to their leadership position in their respective categories. This endorsement only cements our belief that learning continues to be a critical and indispensable piece of organizational growth. These organizations are invested in creating a vibrant and collaborative learning culture. Adobe is helping them to keep learners front-and-center of all their learning initiatives through unique and engaging learning experiences that can be delivered across devices. This is made possible through innovations in content creation, delivery, tracking, and collaboration. We couldn’t be happier to see this list of organizations - many of which we partner with - and we feel both humbled and proud of the global benchmarks they have set in driving effective learning cultures.

LEARNING LEADERS ARE CHANGING THEIR LEARNING ECOSYSTEMS TO SUPPORT DYNAMIC LEARNING (DIGITIZATION, MOBILE, IMMERSIVE). HOW DOES ADOBE FACILITATE THIS TRANSITION?

It’s all about the ZMOT (zero moments of truth) and the learner. Adobe’s strategy starts and ends with the learner experience. The status quo of expecting learners to come to an LMS has brought us to a stage where LMS is a “four-letter word” at best and irrelevant at worst. We need to take the learning systems to the learners at their point of need. A big part of this story is around mobile-first. We introduced the concept of auto-responsive content authoring in 2017 and continue with our innovations to achieve the author-once, publish-anywhere paradigm a reality in the multi-form factor and multi-platform world. Efficacy of learner immersion in real-world scenarios is well documented, though proven difficult to implement. Our new Adobe Captivate makes it super-easy to introduce VR in your learning - literally with just a few clicks.

We are committed to making the authoring and management experience easier for designers and administrators and the learning experience enjoyable for learners, and that’s the vision we set for my teams at Adobe. Our new LMS allows learners to navigate through content seamlessly across different media, different devices and across online and offline delivery. Learners are mobile, learners learn differently, and learners are adopting technology at a fast rate, so how long can learning organizations afford to stay relevant by tying them to their desks in a uniform straitjacket with a keyboard and a mouse?

ADOBE HAS JUST ANNOUNCED A SIGNIFICANT PRODUCT ADVANCEMENT.  HOW WILL THIS IMPACT THE FUTURE OF LEARNING?

The 2019 release of Adobe Captivate is just the beginning of our journey as we transform how modern learning experiences are created for a smarter world. The future of learning is here, and we are doing everything we can to equip our customers with the right set of tools and technologies to design, deliver and manage smart learning experiences. Some cool new features include the ability to create learning scenarios delivered using VR, creating interactive videos, and using the QR code technology to preview their courses live on mobile. My personal favorite is the ability to change your webcam video background on the fly. Now designers can create any kind of experiences without the need to physically be present or hire a studio with a green screen. You will also see some major advances around auto-responsive authoring with the revamped Fluid Boxes. Captivate Prime, being introduced this fall, has the ability to integrate informal learning among employees into a formal learning plan that is scalable and trackable.

IT’S AN EXCITING TIME IN LEARNING WITH AR, VR, AND MACHINE LEARNING CHANGING THE WAY WE WORK AND LEARN. WHAT IS ADOBE’S PRODUCT ROADMAP TO LEVERAGE THESE ADVANCEMENTS?

We are excited to see how customers use the super-easy VR functionality in the upcoming release of Adobe Captivate. Ease of content creation, dropping price points of the VR devices, and the extreme simplicity of their use makes us believe that it is only a matter of months before we see VR becoming mainstream in learning. We also are starting to see the first set of browsers offering native AR capabilities, driving the urgency of our efforts around a WYSIWYG AR content-creation framework. New developments revolve around how we integrate machine learning to help accelerate learning in a corporate setup.

Published in Insights

We are living in one of the most innovative yet disruptive times. The millennial workforce will account for 50% of the workforce by 2025. Five generations are working side by side. Digital disruption has arrived; mobile communications, the Internet of Things and the sharing economy are our new norm. Soon, artificial intelligence (A.I.), machine learning and cognitive systems will be augmenting the workforce.

How do today’s learning leaders drive the high-performance organization in this age of disruption? This year’s Learning! 100 award-winners have some answers (beginning on page 26). In this issue, Elearning! magazine recognizes 100 organizations across the public and private sectors for innovation, collaboration, learning culture and high performance.

The most innovative companies like Amazon Web Services and Bayer AG not only create new solutions, they host a culture where innovation is in their DNA. (See Bayer AG’s story in our November edition.) Enterprises like Cisco, Agilent and IBM are shifting from manufacturing to business and cognitive services while reinventing their learning organizations. Scripps Health, Bing Lee Stores, VCA and universities like Georgia Tech, USC and the University of Edinburg are embracing simulations, virtual reality and A.I. to improve learner performance.

The Learning! 100 are thriving in this age of disruption.

Where do you start your own organization’s transformation? Defense Acquisition University (DAU), a seven-time Learning! 100 winner, reveals the evolution of learning strategy on page 14. At DAU, strategy development is collaborative; courses are tiered and evaluated with Impact Metrics to assure alignment with business strategy and impact. Performance improvement is the criterion every course is measured or replaced.

Disruption is also changing the role of instructional designers, subject-matter experts (SMEs) and learning leaders. In a data-driven world, we need to be more analytical and insightful. Access to intelligence is key to this transition, as noted by Candy Osborne, Bob Danna and Laci Lowe on page 42.

Even though your organization might not be ready to embark upon a re-invention, you can make learning more impactful. So Jonathan Peters, Ph.D., shares how L&D professionals can gamify learning, beginning on page 21.

Congratulations to the 2017 Learning! 100. Thank you for sharing your stories and showing the way to building the high-performance organization in the age of disruption.

Jerry Roche

Contributing Editor, Elearning! Media Group

 

 

Published in Insights

What Steve Jobs Can Teach Us About Success

BY WALTER ISAACSON

Steve Jobs is one of the most admired and admonished figures of the technological age. With his razor-sharp focus on his work, continuous quest for perfection, unapologetic behavior, selfishness at times, seeming disregard for the feelings of others, and absolute dedication to his life’s work, he is like the hero of an Ayn Rand novel. His life, character, achievements and failures are repeatedly debated by admirers and critics alike.

Jobs’ path was not straightforward, winding through Indian ashrams, unfinished education, psychedelic experiences, companies found, and positions lost. But as Jobs himself says:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

No matter what Jobs did, however starting companies, looking for spiritual answers, winning over the woman he loved he did it fully.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

And his main approach for doing things well, probably rooted in his affinity for Buddhism, was always looking for simplicity, stripping ideas, problems, products to their core, looking for that one, simple, clean essence of things.

“That’s been one of my mantras: focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Finally, we should emphasize over and over again, that probably the biggest common denominator between incredibly successful people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Bill Gates is simply their incredible perseverance and refusal to quit when faced with failure.

“Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

—Walter Isaacson is author of “The Innovators.”

Published in Insights

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

CHANGING YOUR PARADIGM ON HOW YOU WORK AND MANAGE MILLENNIALS CAN COMPLETELY CHANGE YOUR CANDIDATE POOLS.

BY BILL KLEYMAN

There’s clearly an evolution happening in our profession. The research firm Gartner recently reported that by 2020, 100 percent of technology roles will require at least an intermediate level of proficiency in business acumen.

“Developing strong business acumen is a prerequisite to effectively shift focus from optimizing operational efficiency to driving business effectiveness, value creation and growth,” Lily Mok, Gartner’s research vice president said. “At the heart of an effective communication strategy is the ability to clearly link the vision, strategy and action plans of the business to drive desired behaviors in the workforce that contribute to improved performance and business outcomes.”

Communication aside, new management styles are required to gain as much value as possible out of employees. Furthermore, these new management styles also introduce more value to the employees through new, exciting challenges, growth opportunities, and new ways to interact with the business.

MANAGING THE MILLENNIAL

We are firmly within the digital economy with a digitally-enabled workforce. This means we are a part of a fluid, dynamic business environment that is constantly evolving.

Millennials are the drivers of today’s emerging digital economy. Now that we have an idea as to how these legacies work, let’s examine a new approach to managing millennials that involves re-prioritizing the hiring traits we discussed earlier.

1.  Attitude: What is the candidate’s attitude toward the industry and the job at hand? Is he or she excited or just there to make a dollar? What’s driving him or her to succeed? A digital-ready organization will want a positive-attitude candidate who’s ready to emerge into the digital framework and be excited by change.

2. Aptitude: Once attitude is established, what is the candidate’s aptitude toward learning and growing? Does he or she want to take on more roles? Is he or she curious about cross-training? Going beyond what the candidate already knows, aptitude toward learning will allow you to hire a moldable and excited new member to the team.

3. Experience: Let me start by saying that experience is certainly important. But fluid organizations ready for the digital economy won’t hire for experience alone. They’ll want a positive attitude, the aptitude and capability to learn, and then the ability to evolve the experience. Having some experience is great, but it’s even better to mold the experience to what the organization really needs. In a way, we’ve flipped candidate capabilities and priorities to match the strengths of the millennial.

We’re allowing experience to grow organically around what the business requires. Ultimately, this gives the millennial candidate a voice within the company and an opportunity to grow and evolve with the company. Most of all, it builds loyalty and encourages thought.

Think of Facebook as an example. Yes, it loves your experiences and what you’ve done in the past; but it will very actively look at your attitude, your aptitude to learn new technologies, and your personality. These organizations know that if they hire the right people, the experience will come. However, it’ll also give these organizations an employee who’s much happier in his or her job.

Changing your paradigm on how you work and manage millennials can completely change your candidate pools. Furthermore, millennials don’t often work well in overly rigid environments. This is where they get restless, become less productive, and are more prone to leaving. However, if you employ and nurture around attitude and aptitude, you’ll see that not only will they get more experience, but also they’ll bring more value to your organization.

—The author is vice president of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies, a Stamford, Connecticut-based consulting firm.

Published in Insights

BY DEAN PICHEE, CEO, BIZLIBRARY, INC.

Unengaged employees cost the U.S. economy $550 billion every year! According to a report by Gallup, 70 percent of workers aren’t engaged at work. The modern worker is changing, and the workplace is not modernizing quickly enough to meet employees where they’re at and engage them. So, in this new environment we’re all navigating, what do employees really want? Security?Stability? More money? In nearly every instance, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “NO.”

In 2016, research conducted by ClearCompany discovered that 68 percent of workers say training and development is the most important workplace policy. In fact, many employees value employee training and development more than salary or even benefits. So, if engagement could be increased and turnover mitigated, why is this employee training and development often an afterthought?

There are multiple answers:

>>  It’s Too Long - Along with a changing workforce comes a changing attention span. YouTube has ushered in the era of the short video, and that’s what today’s employees expect. The average attention span of a learner is now said to be in the 5-to 15-minute range. This is due to our inherent limited ability to concentrate, as well as the steady stream of interruptions throughout a normal work day. It’s a fantasy to think that learners can maintain full attention throughout an 8-hour class or a 90-minute e-learning course. They physically can’t do it, and the workplace environment wouldn’t let them even if they could.

>>  It’s Too Boring - In addition to the fact that most training is too long to be effective, it’s often too boring. Let’s face it: we’re all professional TV watchers. We’ve been conditioned to expect visually stimulating content. We’ll gladly play along at home with long-time classics such as Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune. But we have no tolerance for “death by PowerPoint” presentations or click-and- read e-learning where stilted text is read to us word-for-word while we look at static graphics.

>>  It’s Too Expensive - Traditional training — a costly proposition — is much more expensive than many organizations realize. It requires a lot of money to bring people together, whether it is in a room or online. In addition to the direct costs of the training itself, there are often hidden and indirect expenses, such as travel costs or opportunity costs. It’ s no wonder managers are always looking for ways to cut the training budget.

It’s time to give your employees effective, modern, microlearning development opportunities and really support those initiatives. Microlearning is the ideal solution to the employee engagement problem because it addresses the vast majority of issues organizations are facing when it comes to employee engagement. Videos average in length from five to seven minutes so learners can actually focus long enough to absorb the information they need.

Microlearning is done in a way that’s familiar to learners. When you need to learn how to do something quickly, you usually turn to short online videos to demonstrate those things to you. By providing employee training using this method, we can ensure that the learning experience is consistent with what they already do.

IS MICROLEARNING REALLY A SOLUTION?

If done correctly, absolutely! You’ll need to use your program to develop your employees in their current positions, but also develop them in a way that will benefit their overall career. In fact, employee development is the second-most impactful way to improve employee engagement (after recognition).

Gallup studies have shown that 87 percent of Millennials think development is important in a job – making training and development a top priority among the generation that is soon to make up nearly half of the nation’s workforce. Employees who are provided with these modern development opportunities are more engaged at work and more satisfied with the workplace overall, so it’s no wonder that readily available training opportunities often lead to reduced employee turnover. Instead of searching YouTube on breaks, learners can watch an online training video that’s relevant to their job and improves their overall skillset.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Employee engagement, employee turnover, productivity, agility and many more business challenges are all different parts of the same problem — a problem that can be solved with strategic employee development and made more effective with microlearning at its core.

Published in Insights

The top consumer technology transformations were revealed by Dr. Shawn Dubravac, Research Director, Consumer Technology Association. These trends will impact enterprise technology over the coming months and years.

1. The Next Computer Interface is Voice

The word error rate is now at human parity, meaning the graphic user interface will disappear ushering in an era of faceless computing. Voice will be the command function for digital devices including robotics, A.I., etc.

2. Increasing Intelligent Systems  will Connect Diverse Objects

Software is now found in hardware out of the box, and hard- ware is eating software. Alexa is found in refrigerators and automobiles. While google’s newest smartphone is embedded with AR/VR software out of the box.  “This creates a ‘physical manifestation of data’ in our lives,” says Dubravac.

3. Transportation Transformation

The self-driving car was the catalyst for intelligent systems. With connected systems reporting to other cars, the vehicles can respond and react without human intervention. This is a model of many “robotic” type activities that may complement or replace human interactions.

4. A.I.’s Infusion into Real Life

Blending data from diverse devices is improving signal, functionality, and recommendations for users to follow. Hub de- vices will be used for vocal computing. A.I. will boost informa- tion processing geometrically. For example, Google cars have already driven more miles than a human can in 75 years. The speed, experiences, data collection and sharing has increased geometrically.

5. Digitizing the Consumer Experience

From wearables to smart home, online and mobile characterizes consumers tastes. Drone purchases reached 1.1 million units in 2016; VR 700,000 units; smart watches 5.5 million units and fitness trackers 12.6 million.

—Source: CTA.tech  bit.ly/CES2017TRENDS

Published in Insights

BY PRADEEP KHANNA

The other day, I went to meet someone in downtown Sydney, Australia. On my way, back on the local train, I looked at my mobile to check my emails and found a message asking me whether I would like to meet the person I had just connected with on my LinkedIn network. So, was this some form of artificial intelligence (AI) at play?

Yes! We now live in a brave new world where AI is the next frontier. We keep hearing about bots, chatbots, teacherbots, digital assistants, machine learning, deep learning and many more such words and often wonder what do they mean.

Just like virtual reality (VR), AI has been around for quite some time. In fact, I remember taking AI as a subject when doing my second master’s degree in computer science at University of Technology in Sydney 17 years ago. So, why so much fuss about AI now? AI will reshape how we live and work, but will AI also reshape the way we learn?

ABOUT BOTS, CHATBOTS, TEACHERBOTS AND A.I.

A bot is software that is designed to automate repetitive tasks. Bots have been around for quite some time. An example is use of bots for searching and cataloguing Web pages for search engines. Another example is shopping bots which pull out prices of an item from different vendors from the Internet. Some recent examples are bots making dinner reservations, adding an appointment to the calendar, or fetching and displaying information.

Chatbots are bots that conduct a conversation mirroring potentially a real-life conversation. Chatbots can either be simple rule-based or more sophisticated AI-based. AI-based chatbots get smarter as more interactions take place. The popularity of messaging apps has been lifting the demand for chatbots. Another way to look at the rise of chatbots is the user migration from Web to apps and now from apps to chatbots.

What are teacherbots? Just like a bot or a chatbot, a teacherbot can be a simple rule-based or smart AI-based. Simple rule-based teacherbots can automate simple teaching tasks whereas a smart AI-based teacherbot can become a teaching assistant (TA). A yet smarter AI-based teacherbot can also be personal tutor.

TEACHERBOTS AT WORK

There are two well known instances of teacherbot pilot projects at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. and Georgia Tech in the U.S.A. The University of Edinburgh teacherbot project was led by its School of Education in collaboration with the School of Informatics and the Edinburgh College of Art. It was launched in April 2015 by Siân Bayne, professor of Digital Education. “Botty,” as this teacherbot was affectionately called, was created to engage on Twitter with students of Edinburgh’s e-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC on Coursera. This MOOC has had 70,000 enrollments across three course runs. The teacherbot’s primary role was to act like a TA. It could answer simple questions on deadlines, course content, etc. It was also able to answer some complex questions as well, based on AI that had been developed on stored tweets with Twitter hashtag #edcmooc. In “Botty’s” case, the students were aware that a teacherbot and not a human being was answering their questions.

Georgia Tech’s teacherbot was developed by Ashok Goel, a professor of Artificial Intelligence at Georgia Tech. Typically, the 300 students at Georgia Tech’s online AI course posted around 10,000 messages in online forums during a semester. Many of these questions were repetitive in nature. This was enough of a driver for Ashok to initiate work on the teacherbot. Leveraging IBM Watson’s technology platform and a databank of 40,000 questions and answers from past semesters, Ashok developed the smart AI overlay for the teacherbot, calling it “Jill Watson. The students were not told that TA “Jill Watson” was a teacherbot.

“Jill Watson” was launched in Jan 2016. As expected, its responses were not very accurate in the beginning, so responses were moderated by the human TAs before posting in the online forums. But by April, it had become sufficiently “intelligent” to answer the questions without human intervention.

The table on the following page compares the two pilot teacherbot projects.

ELM March A.I. Already Reshaping

Many factors determine the accuracy level of any AI project, including the AI technology layer at the infrastructure level, the size of the database, and the contextualizing smart AI layer. Looking at the above comparison between the two projects, the Georgia Tech project does have an advantage of using IBM Watson as a technology platform and having a database of 40,000 questions and answers from previous courses. No wonder, it performed better.

AI NEXT IN LEARNING?

The potential of AI to disrupt education and skills training sectors is immense. As Microsoft’s Bill Gates remarked sometime back, we already have online tutoring services where humans provide the services while the platform is online. Smart AI-based teacherbots can replace the humans to provide personalized learning. This has special relevance in lifelong learning scenarios where we will be dipping in and out the learning continuum all through our life.

Automated assessments are a natural application of AI in education and skills training. This application gets further amplified when  large number of assessments are being done in an online environment. Use of technologies like Facebook’s facial recognition technology and proctoring are classic examples.

Are we already there in the brave new world where AI is reshaping the way learn? IN these early days, where we are seeing AI-based projects being rolled out in different parts of the world. In the first instance, the focus appears to be on automating routine teaching tasks. This is akin to the Robotic and Process Automation (RPA) implementation onslaught we are seeing in other industries.

“Jill Watson” is estimated to have taken 1500 hours to develop. When many “Jill Watsons” are produced in 15 hours is when we will see real disruption in education and skills training.

Developments in AI in education and skills training will to an extent follow the developments in AI in general. With all major technology innovators investing heavily in AI, it appears certain that our working and learning will get reshaped by AI in future.

—Pradeep Khanna is founder & CEO of Global Mindset (www.globalmindset.com.au) and Technology-enabled Innovations in Learning & Teaching (TILT). He works on enhancing collaborative learning across boundaries and by leveraging technology. Khanna has also been Global Delivery Leader for IBM GBS Australia/New Zealand. He lives in Sydney, Australia, and can be contacted via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Published in Insights

6 STRATEGIES FOR MAKING YOUR TRAINING STICK - BY DEAN PICHEE, CEO, BIZLIBRARY, INC.

THE SCIENCE OF LEARNING

Many professions use science to improve the outcomes of their work. For example, architects use the principles of physics and math to design buildings that will function safely and last decades or even centuries. Architecture is often equated with art, but it's the science behind the art that truly makes it work.

In much the same way, we as learning and HR professionals need to understand and use our knowledge of the science of learning to improve the outcomes of our efforts in training employees. What does science tell us we should do to improve the way employees learn?

Here are six things you can start doing today:

1. Make learning bite-sized. Use short, relevant, video-based training (microlearning) focused on individual concepts.

2. Space training out over time. Employees should use the information they learn during training within the first 24 hours after the training event and in the days and weeks to come. Time is on our side here!

3. Add post-training reinforcement. Use quizzes, polls, videos and other resources to reinforce key concepts.

4. Mix it up. Combine training of multiple related skills rather than focusing on one skill at a time. Scientists call this learning concept interleaving.

5. Make it difficult. Resist the temptation to make training easy for learners. Challenging them actually increases the learning impact. One of the ways to make it more difficult is to increase the amount of time between testing and retrieval opportunities.

6. Write to remember. Your brain will recognize more of what's important when you write what you learn.

WHAT WORKS?

We call microlearning and post-training reinforcement "Burst and Boost Training." Using a combination of "bursts and boosts" is a proven way to get more ROI from your employee training program. Bursts of microlearning have been proven by cognitive psychology to be the most effective way learners receive information. Cognitive load theory states that we have mental "bandwidth" restrictions. The brain can only process a certain amount of information before reaching overload. To improve training content, chunk it down into bite-sized bursts to lower the cognitive load. Microlearning is very popular today and is a key component of BizLibrary's online training solutions.

Boosts, or post-training reinforcement, has been shown to increase long-term memory. Testing can actually INCREASE learning more than any other study method. Scientists call this idea "The Testing Effect," and numerous studies have shown that long-term memory is increased when some of the learning time is devoted to retrieving the to-be-remembered information. Incorporating tests and quizzes into employee training programs is more than just measuring the amount of learning that has taken place ... it's a critical part of the learning itself. Resist the temptation to skip testing and boost learning!

THE GREAT TRAINING ROBBERY

Stop the great training robbery that occurs when we deliver programs that are too long, too boring and easily forgotten. Microlearning is the first step. It's also crucial to add on-going reinforcement. Think of post- training reinforcement as the deadbolt on the door of your house, keeping the valuable information you're delivering to your employees from being forgotten and ultimately, maximizing the ROI of your program.

Published in Insights
Page 1 of 13

 


You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials