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

IT WILL TAKE A COMBINED EFFORT FROM EDUCATIONAL AND BUSINESS INSTITUTIONS TO DRIVE THE AMERICAN ECONOMY IN THE HIGH-TECH YEARS TO COME.

BY JERRY ROCHE

Preparing future workers for success in the global marketplace is so important that President Donald Trump’s administration has aimed several new measures at the issue. “Workforce development is a critical part of our infrastructure proposal that the White House sent to Congress” First Daughter Ivanka Trump said recently, during a trip to Iowa to learn about one school district’s experiential learning program — where students work directly with local businesses.

Further proof of the importance of a knowledgeable workforce was evident when Jennifer Taylor, vice president of U.S. Jobs at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), recently moderated a round table sponsored by her organization. Focus of the discussion was the problem created by sweeping industry and workforce changes, some of which are already here, some of which are coming.

“The U.S. labor force is experiencing radical disruption,” Taylor said. “The shift from low-skilled to high-skilled workers is happening right before our eyes.

She noted that the domestic unemployment level (3.9 percent at this writing) is the lowest in years. But many jobs remain open in the tech sector that require medium-or high-skilled backgrounds, certifications or education.

“Six million people still are not working — so companies, our education community and our policies all need to be involved,” Taylor continued. “If we take a holistic approach, we can prepare future workers as well as existing workers to meet these demands.

“And once someone has started to work, it is absolutely critical that both the worker and the employer continue to encourage the worker to learn new skills. They may be more technical skills or management and soft skills.

THE SKILLS GAP

David Lewis is president and CEO of Operations, Inc., a national human resources consulting firm. “The biggest issue right now is that there’s a disconnect that a lot of our clients are seeing between education and business,” he said.

He believes that it takes a joint effort by the employee and employer to make sure that people are suited for the new job market. Employees need to find state-supported apprenticeship programs and grants while employers need to find colleges, universities — and even high schools and middle schools like the one Trump visited in Iowa — that are feeding prospective employees to their businesses.

“We’re not turning out enough students that fill the tech sector by far in this country,” Lewis said. “There’s also a big problem in what the schools are actually teaching. That is, students are coming out ill-prepared to take on a lot of these roles.

“For anybody who’s my age or older, [the perception] of manufacturing is mostly men standing on an assembly line, doing manual work, and that’s not what it is. Manufacturing, as an industry, as a sector, needs a reboot, needs a rebrand, because parents are not sending their kids to college thinking, ‘I want them to have a manufacturing career,’ unless they truly understand that manufacturing at Toyota is a high-tech job, that manufacturing at Amazon is a high-tech job.

Operations, Inc., tells smaller companies to consider partnerships at the very basic level as a long-term plan. “You’re not going to out-spend bigger companies,” Lewis observed, “and you’re not going to out-brand them. Competing in markets like Silicon Valley or New York City is just not a fight that smaller companies can win. They have to look, longer term, at ways to feed their systems.”

Hilary Cain is director of Technology and Innovation Policy at Toyota, which has produced more than 1 million cars since 1988.

“As products and the processes for manufacturing them become more sophisticated and complicated, workforce needs in the high-skilled space are expanding,” Cain began, citing domestic companies involved in artificial intelligence (A.I.) and data science. On top of those high-skilled professions, there is a new demand for cybersecurity professionals. “[Because] we are competing for a workforce with folks like Amazon, Google and sexy Silicon Valley companies, we have to try to convince people that there’s also a lot of sexiness in working in the auto industry.”

One of the steps Toyota has taken to attract and keep people is instituting an Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) degree.

“Along with our 8,000 employees who work on the line, we have robots,” said Cain. “The AMTs maintain the robots. These are high-skilled positions, and colleges and high schools were not graduating people with skillsets that we needed.

The two-year AMT graduates get an associate’s degree in Applied Science. It consists of two eight-hour classroom days per week and three days working on the production line as an apprentice. The “classroom” is a mock manufacturing floor. The program has expanded to 22 community colleges in nine states. About 800 students participate, and 95 percent of them find employment with Toyota or a company with similar positions available.

“Some folks even choose to go on to a four-year degree and become engineers,” Cain pointed out.

Meanwhile, Walmart is taking its own path toward pairing candidates with available jobs.

“We have partnered with the Walmart Foundation to invest about $100 million over five years into the retail workforce specifically,” said Sara Decker, who is in the Federal Government Affairs Department at Walmart.

“This past year, we opened 200 ‘academies’ that train associates in customer service, including how to use technology to interface with the customer in a positive way.”

Walmart is the largest employer in the country whose current CEO started at the company as a teenager — so workers are near and dear to his heart.

“A big challenge is figuring out how you train somebody for a job that doesn’t even exist yet,” observed Decker. “So lifelong learning will have to become our reality in the future. We’re excited about where the workforce is going, and where technology is taking it.

Likewise, Amazon has instituted a Career Choice Program.

“After a year of working for the company,” said Steve Hartell, director of Amazon’s U.S. Public Policy, “employees can go back to school, and we will pay 95 percent of the tuition, up front, and books. Now we’re building glass classrooms inside our fulfillment centers. We did it in glass so that everybody who walks by sees and is inspired by those employees taking classes.”

Amazon has open-sourced the program, too.

“The White House asked us to come talk to them about it ” Hartell continued. “We’re also talking about this program in state capitals around the country."

” What if Career Choice Program employees choose to leave Amazon after having their continuing education paid for?

“We’re okay with that. That’s the idea. It’s an enlightened kind of self-interest. We want to facilitate the [perception] that it’s a career pathway.”

FOCUS ON YOUNGSTERS

Getting youngsters involved in science,technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM) careers is not an easy task. According to Amazon’s Hartell, 60 percent of high schools don’t have a computer-science department, and only 14 percent of them offer an advance placement test in computer science.

“The challenge is how you provide problem-solving, hands-on information about computer science or STEM in a way that’s approachable,” said Hartell. “Children are concerned about how it’s perceived. Is it cool?”

His company has a boot camp that ushers youngsters (K through 3) into an inside tour to talk about invention. “That’s inspirational,” Hartell said. “We also give them craft projects where their experience is creative and fun and is giving those kids the building blocks of a career.”

Another Amazon program is Coder Dojo, a weekend 140-country program that opens up office space to seek mentors for students up to middle school. It’s free.

“It’s really important to get kids at an early age interested, in a way that’s not off-putting but engaging,” Hartell concluded. Wynn Coggins is deputy chief administrative officer at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She, too, believes in promoting occupations in the high-skilled STEM fields. For example, her office partners with the National Inventors Hall of Fame on two projects.

“One is Camp Invention,” Coggins said. “These are summer camps that elementary- school kids can go to. They use household products where they get their hands dirty, and they get to put things together. It really focuses on STEM and intellectual property (I.P.). And it brings to them this awareness of how important it is to be able to protect those ideas,” which is what the USPTO is all about.

The office also partners with the Inventors Hall of Fame on an annual competition among college undergraduates and graduates, “just to bring awareness to I.P.”

Other USPTO projects are a Summer Teacher’s Institute; the establishment of an I.P. Patch for the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital organization; and famous inventor (Steve Wozniak, Thomas Edison, etc.) collectible cards.

“All those show how we’ve moved the needle in the [STEM] awareness space,” Coggins said.

But having a career in the STEM disciplines does not guarantee success for any employee.

“Sometimes soft skills need a little bit of attention if a person is coming in with a science or an engineering background,” so the USPTO sends all its managers to a four- or five-day leadership forum and offers a robust mentorship program that pairs hundreds of mentors and protégés together. The latter is a nine-month formal annual program.

“People are put together who would never have a chance to converse otherwise,” Coggins said. “Top executives are paired with entry-level patent examiners, for instance, and they learn from each other. Remember, learning is not just from the top down, it’s from the bottom up, too.

“A lot of these partnerships last past nine months to become career-long connections. It’s a great employee engagement tool, as well as a knowledge transfer tool.”

Toyota has also implemented programs whereby it brings elementary and middle school kids into plants to get exposure to what it’s like to work on a manufacturing floor these days.

“There are lots of manufacturing opportunities, but we also have an incredible need at our dealerships for trained technicians to work on vehicles,” Cain further noted. “This is not grease monkey work anymore, either … because today’s vehicles are highly computerized.

“Not everything requires a four-year degree, but none of this works if you don’t have investment from the top: senior leaders, most-senior CEOs, senior executives.”

TRANSITIONING THE WORKFORCE

“Focusing on the technical pieces are really, really important, but to be a well-rounded employee capable of pulling off a lot of these jobs, you’ve got to have soft skills — communication, public speaking, problem-solving — too,” said Toyota’s Cain.

“It is absolutely critical that both the worker and the employer continue to encourage the worker to learn new skills,” added Taylor. “They may be more technical skills or management and soft skills.”

Operations, Inc. CEO Lewis chipped in: “Forget what it says on resumes. You have to take people [whose careers ended in one discipline] and retrain them, using state retraining credits, and then you re-deploy those individuals into new careers.”

It doesn’t help that the Millennial generation views job-hopping as entrepreneurship. Rather than be retrained by their employers, Millennials seek to pair their specialty at whatever company they can find.

“They know where the grass is greener, and they go to that grass far more often than their predecessors did,” observed Lewis. “But the other key point is they’re also incapable of disconnecting. And employers need to really emphasize this now, both by setting the example, but also by establishing policies around the idea that when you come to a meeting or when you’re sitting in a discussion with somebody else, you either have to turn the phone off or you actually have to put it away. And that’s really hindering the  Millennial in the workforce because their inability to do that — unless they’re working with other Millennials who are doing the same thing — is fostering a communication gap.”

Rotational-type training can help transition the workforce, according to Cain.

“At Toyota, people move within the company from one department to another unlinked department,” she said. “One day they’re in marketing, and the next day they’re in product planning, and then all of a sudden they’re working at the A.I. company.

“I thought it was strange at first, but now I’ve come to see that what it does is create employees that do two things. One, they’re well rounded, so as they move up the ranks they’ve had exposure from everything to H.R. to engineering to product planning to sales and marketing. But also it creates people who are more willing to jump in on something that’s not familiar to them, to take risks.

“It fits into the lifelong learning idea in that it challenges people and pushes them in new directions. It’s probably intended, but when I came into the company it seemed bizarre."

Published in Top Stories

BRIDGE

A newer entry into the LMS market, Bridge does not market themselves as an LMS. They are really an LMS Lite, resembling more of an LMS App. A very simple mobile centric learning platform, Bridge does not have the visual or image heavy environment most platforms host. With mobile first being Bridge’s mantra, they focus on organizations with mobile workforce, distributed teams or/and retail organizations where a laptop or PC is not readily available for learning.  Built on Ruby on Rails, the user does not see a dashboard upon sign-on, only a list of top priority tasks based upon due date or urgency. The learner can access content from internal and external sources within Bridge. The focus is on accessing, completing the component and moving on-all on the mobile phone.

Bridge also has a rich text editing and authoring tool. Not the robust features of Storyline or Captivate, but it does support video streaming with data tracking on viewer activity.  With the recent acquisition of Practice, Bridge users will have access to live video recording of ‘their pitch’ within the LMS, which is saved and viewable by managers and peers for instant feedback and collaboration. This is a plus for field sales teams and managers.

Reporting on Bridge is focused on the learner’s progress; which tasks are over-due, in progress, completed within a date range. Cadence is also measured; how the individual or team is progressing toward a specific goal. For example, at the individual level one can see progress toward a career development goal.

Performance measurements focus on career development goals, achievements and 1 to 1 assessments. These include skills assessments, evaluations, team mentors and learning courses to improve. Visit: www.mybridge.com

NOVOED

Developed by Stanford University Educators and ex-EdX staffers, NovoEd was built to improve on the learner experience. Touted as a Learning Experience Platform built on mobile-first practice, NovoEd has a mobile UI with embedded social collaborative component to improve learner engagements. According to a Stanford University study, a student is 16x more likely to complete a course when engaged within a team vs. 2% if taken alone. The collaboration component is critical advantage with NovoEd. It enables social live interactions within course context, project galleries, and on individual learning profiles that support peer to peer feedback.

NovoEd also hosts real-time reporting and management tools tracking learner engagement and content quality. Unlike other systems, the social engagements are tracked from posts, to active discussion participation to team specific interactions via their native google analytics integration.

NovoEd also integrates with enterprise systems supporting single sign-on, data integration, and system security.  NovoEd is SaaS based and priced using a per user per month model. Visit: www.NovoEd.com

CEREGO

New to the learning market, Cerego is a personalized learning platform designed based upon brain science principles. They say, “imagine a system that can visualize what employees retain from training and provide insight into their knowledge on any subject any time.”

Cerego’s learning engine incorporates distributed learning with retrieval practice. Distributed learning is "spacing out learning across time [to] improve long-term retention." Retrieval practice, known as "testing effect" is to "actively attempt to re-call previously studied materials [thru testing]." Cerego allows learners to focus on content they don’t know rather than review content they do.

In studies conducted at NYU College of Dentistry, use of Cerego replaced 96 hours of class teaching time while students scored 2.6 standard deviations above the national average on the State Board exam. Fifty-six percent of students said, “using Cerego to review mate- rial was worthwhile.” All, 100% of students using Cerego passed the board exam.

How was this accomplished? Cerego’s learning solution incorporates content authoring tools based upon their learning science practices. Content is imported into a PPT like portal to improve effectiveness

and increase engagement thru digital experiences. Customized courses are drop and drag. Instructional templates and quizzes are available to help create and edit courses.

Performance data and analytics are collected in a visual dashboard to track what learners know and retain. Content metrics provide red flags where adjustments may need to be made. The Knowledge Bank provides insights into individual learner progress as well as comparisons to peers. All analytics are in real-time accessible via mobile device. Visit:www.cerego.com

Published in New Products

Some stalwart brands are re-imaging their platforms like Skillsoft's new Percipio. There are four components of the new Percipio: User Experience, Courses, Reporting and Personalization.

User Experience (UX): The interface is simple, has all content channels available but is prioritized based upon urgency and learner personalization. Benny Ramos product manager, provided the tour of Percipio. Launched in English only, French, Spanish and other languages are to launch early first half of 2018. The platform is an “all you can eat” content model offering 50,000 programs. Users can create a personal playlist from all channels-leadership, project management, etc. Plus, learners can choose to read, listen or view the content.

Content: More than 21 new course modules are launched each week. New content is less than 30 minutes long and viewable in 2-3 minute sections to fit anytime viewing. Consistent characters appear across the programs i.e. Toby as host, Maria the Type A character, etc. There are thousands of new assets aligned to key business needs.

Dashboard: New performance dashboards are available in Percipio for managers, mentors or self-management. Learning must have impact and the dashboards report value of the learner's gain as well as the mode of learning improvement i.e. Instructor led classroom vs. e-learning. Business alignment is a goal assigned for each task.  Managers can assign topics to different business goals like Employee Engagement by assignment and or topic. Content consumption can be viewed via drill downs by team or individual performance.

Personalization: Personalization closely followed engagement as top business drivers for investing in Learning and Development according to the study.  Percipio can personalize learning to content, interest or career. Think Netflix for personalization and Amazon for transactions.

If you are on Skillsoft/Skillport, should you change? According to Ramos, Percipio offers the full catalog of courses vs. channel selections on Skillport. The pricing models are slightly different but still rely on the per user per year license model. While some may want to stay with what they know, you should consider Percipio to enhance the learning experience. If you are ready, make the transition to Percipio. Visit: www.Skillsoft.com

BRIGHTSPACE BY D2L

D2L was founded in the education space with a focus on the learner. This perspective gave D2L an early advantage in personalized learning and mobilization. D2L took the best of the LMS for education and reimagined it for Enterprise.

Brightspace Enterprise offers a rich platform with robust feature sets including personalization which taps Artificial Intelligence to predict and present the most relevant content to the learner. They also offer analytics tools to review top line data on usage, time within content, failure points and more. These edge capabilities are built on a platform with a consumer-like UX. The personalized dashboard the learner sees upon login provides a snapshot of the most relevant and timely learning activities. Collaborative streams are incorporated into the dashboard, quick or important videos as well as updates on ones learning path. With one click, the learner can access the content now. The experience is also ubiqui- tous for PC, laptop or iPad users.

Performance Plus (PP)module gives organizations the power to improve employee performance through adaptive learning and predictive analytics. The tools in Performance Plus help L&D and business leaders proactively identify and close knowledge gaps, to ensure each employee attains a high level of competency.

PP uses predictive analytics to understand each employee's performance trajectory in a course and identify those that need additional support or training. The intuitive dashboards transform learner data into easily-identified patterns of performance and engagement. The integrated workflows make it easy for managers to reach out to high-potential employees or provide help to low performers. With a better understanding of which employees need extra support, leaders can ensure everyone finishes the course with a higher level of competency. Visit: www.D2L.com/Enterprise

BLACKBOARD LEARN

Blackboard, a top brand in awareness according to the 2018 Learning & Talent Buyers Study, has made some recent changes to their platform as well. The web conferencing experience was re-engineered and branded as Black-board Collaborate Ultra. The claim is the new environment makes "learners forget they're not in a physical space". The solution features interactive whiteboard, multi-point video (new) with application and desktop sharing (new). While we didn’t get to see it at work, it is nice to see Blackboard Collaborate improve the platform to compete with others in the market given the size of their user base.

Blackboard also launched Blackboard Ally, a new 508 compliant accessibility service. If your organization must be 508 compliant, this new service from Black-board will make identifying violations early easier. The solution integrates with the LMS and workflows. It will automatically check all course content for accessibility issues, provide alternative formz ats and provide feedback and guidance. The outcome is to provide a comprehensive report and action plan that will aide organizations to be proactive, benefit employees and provide a score on the accessibility spectrum. Visit: www.Blackboard.com

Published in New Products

ISOtrain’s family of products provide an Ambient User Experience for the Administrative and Employee End Users improving the quality of life in the learning management space with a variety of behind the scene services.  The ISOtrain LMS is a Decision Making/Knowledge Based System focused on appropriate utilization of educational scheduling and intelligent management of resources allowing the Users to focus on essential assigned tasks.

The ISOtrain Ambient User Experience has personalized interfaces with intuitive displays, accurate confirmation and responsiveness to user input; supporting real time interaction that delivers essential training, assessments and reports.

As an Administrator, ISOtrain allows you to make training assignments that comply with your training requirements and the employee’s work schedule reinforced with tools to proactively manage and automate the process.

Employee End Users can perform their job responsibilities concurrently incorporating training requirements from ISOtrain complete with visual aids, prompts and reminders.

Leverage your investment by linking ISOtrain to other products like human resources, document management systems, manufacturing systems, time and attendance for a piece of mind that employee data is current and they are qualified to perform their job.

Take it a step further to incorporate mobile devices and biometric readers across your global enterprise for the ultimate Ambient User Experience that eliminates language and cultural barriers.

Whether you are searching for a replacement or an initial LMS, look at ISOtrain for a platform that provides a secure, compliant, Ambient User Experience to support your Heterogenous User Group.  Learn more at: www.isotrain.com

Published in New Products

Simply put, learners in teams are more engaged. Research Eesley conducted shows that collaboration in online classes significantly improves learning and engagement and course completion.

According to the study, students who worked in teams were 16 times more likely to pass the course. As a baseline, of the 23,577 students working individually, only 2% (501) passed the course. However, 32% of all students on teams graduated-1500% higher. Of this, 21% of students working in teams without mentors and 44% of students in teams with mentors passed (See Figure 1).

Similarly, students in teams were more engaged in the community and contributed more to class discussions and peer evaluations. For example, students on teams accessed the course five times as often. On average, learners working alone logged in once per week, but students in teams (no mentors) signed in 4.9 times per week, and students in teams with mentors signed in 5.5 times per week (See Figure 2).

COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENTS

The completion rate of individuals working alone resembles that of most free, open courses on traditional learning platforms. It is clear that basic “social features,” such as discussion boards, messaging, and social network sharing, are insufficient to drive higher engagement.

The benefit of social learning comes when students feel responsible as part of a learning community. One can achieve this with a combination of team-based assignments, mentorship, reputation systems, identity transparency, community moderation, and the like. This ‘felt accountability” is a powerful intrinsic motivator that is effective at increasing course persistence and learning outcomes. This type of networking drives significantly higher engagement and completion rates.

CONTEXT AND RESEARCH

This research was conducted at Stanford University from 26,248 students in Technology Entrepreneurship, an eight-week free course. The analysis utilizes a multivariate regression format, with dependent variables of various engagement and satisfaction measures, independent variables including collaboration type, and control variables for demographics, engagement level, etc.

B2B-0

Published in Insights

Transforming the Learning Organization from Order-Takers to Business Partners

By Ronda Feague

"It's just training, it doesn’t take long to create." How many times have you heard that or something similar?

The challenges facing the learning organization when moving from order-taker to business partner are:

>>  Customers often think it is easy  to create training.

>>  Customers may have a pre-determined solution.

>>  The learning organization is often backed into a corner in terms of  development time.

>>  Due to cost constraints, the learning organization must deliver more  with less.

Our internal customers often don’t realize how long good learning design takes. We feed this myth, by continually jumping through hoops to deliver the learning solution in time to support a new software, product or program release, reinforcing that we are just order-takers and not partners in providing the solution. As learning professionals, we know that well designed learning solutions can add value by improving efficiencies, engaging staff, saving money, providing metrics data and showing Return on Investment (ROI) for the business. It is imperative that we build strong relationships and partner with stakeholders, so they understand the type of value we can bring.

HOW DO YOU GET IN THE  DOOR AND GET TO THE TABLE?

To start, you must assess your team’s capabilities, your larger learning team goals and combine that with a deep understanding of your company’s organizational goals and the operational realities of the business. Do you have a defined vision (what you provide) and mission (how you’ll provide it)? If not, you need to spend some time reflecting and building out what that is and making sure your team is onboard. You can’t expect anyone to follow your lead if you don’t know where you are going.

While a strong learning design background and understanding of the business is important it is equally important to build relationships.  According to Peter Block: “The building of authentic relationship as the delivery system for expertise and business knowledge. The result is to make internal clients trusted business partners which results in improved business outcomes for companies and organizations." Building on that philosophy, find your champions and cultivate those relationships. Once you have found them, ask if they see areas where the learning organization can be included.

IDENTIFY PROJECT OBJECTIVES

You’ve been invited to the table, now what? When you meet with stakeholders initially, listen first and then ask questions to help: narrow focus, get the project team on the same page and help you decide which learning solutions, if any, to recommend. Then share how learning can help them achieve their goal. Some questions to ask are:

>>  Who are we impacting (target audience)?

>>  What problem is being solved?

>>  What will success look/feel like (metrics)?

The answers will help you to narrow recommendations and decide if learning is the solution.  Sometimes as you meet with the stakeholder and they answer questions, you may realize that the solution is simpler, maybe a communication or a conversation is all that is needed not a full-blown learning solution.

Tip: Use stakeholders time wisely. Some stakeholders may want to be more actively involved in the process than others. Be proactive; ask them how they would like to be communicated with and how often.

Bonus Tip: Begin with ‘yes.’ Yes can be disarming (assuming it is the truth) that you could build what they are requesting (take their order). But, once you know what they want to accomplish, that may drive the design and you are on your way to ‘partnership.

DESIGN PROPOSAL

Once you have completed analysis, go back to the business with your recommendations for learning solutions. As you put the design proposal together tie in your recommendations to the answers that the stakeholder’s provided and use their language.  Provide reasoning as to why the recommendations landed where they did. Be sure to note how you will track success and when results will be reported back to the business.

For example, we were asked to create a half day in person instructor-led training for a new phone system being installed in five countries over the course of two months.  To save money and time we recommended short, engaging e-lessons to introduce the new system followed by a virtual session with an instructor where learners could ask questions.

Tip: Don’t over engineer solutions.

STATEMENT OF WORK

Once the design proposal is accepted, we follow up with a Statement of Work (SOW). This document has been key in our success, second only to building relationships. This will become the roadmap for the project with the business and should include:

>>  What learning solution will be delivered.

>>  Expectations of the stakeholder and subject matter experts during the feedback cycle.

>>  List any critical items from the stakeholder and promised deliverable dates from them.

>>  Signature lines for stakeholder and learning solution provider.

How many times have you begun work on a project, sent for feedback and the stakeholder wants to add additional items that were not part of the original conversation?  The SOW helps with scope creep. If the business doesn’t provide critical information or feedback as agreed to, you can pull it back out and remind your business partner where you landed prior to starting the project.

Tip: We stopped giving delivery dates and moved to hours for all projects. People latch on to dates and remember them.  They forget when the software development cycle ran late or critical items needed for learning solution design were not delivered on time.

DEMONSTRATE IMPACT

Remember you need to report results back to the business. By building in tracking during the design phase you can track that data at set times and share with the business.  This is where your credibility is built.  Cool, flashy design will only take you so far. You can have cool, flashy plus impact or lower key design with impact, but you cannot under any circumstances have any type of design with negative outcomes or impact.  Sometimes projects miss the mark, better to course correct as soon as a you know the solution is not hitting the mark. Sometimes it can just be a small tweak to set the solution on the right course again. When a solution misses the mark, own it.  Reach out to the business and deliver this information and offer solutions.

Tip: If the learning solution is not making a difference, stop and/or readjust.

PITFALLS

This sounds great on paper, but the reality is that it isn’t easy. You can’t chase fads or make a project fit a tool that you want to try out.  Credibility is at stake, make sure that the solution and tool for delivery match, the solution fits the target and that the learning will make an impact.  Look for innovative solutions and don’t over-engineer.

When approached about a project, it is easy to fall back into the order-taker mentality because it is familiar.  Take a step back, ask the questions and provide thought leadership to arrive at the right solutions.

Keep your eye on your target audience and put yourself into the “shoes of the learner”.  Would you want to use the solution?  Would it engage you, provide you needed information, or is it just checking a box? If you aren’t moving the needle, then why do it?

CONCLUSION

Becoming a trusted business advisor takes time and effort. You must build and maintain relationships. You must also understand the business and how learning can help. Results should take the form of speed, quality, operational efficiency, cost savings, culture/engagement and other performance related outcomes.

As you start experiencing wins with this process, start sharing those with your team and across the organization.  The best feeling is for teams to reach out to the learning organization, not because they have a training need, but because they want to bounce ideas to get your thoughts prior to them moving forward with a project.  This seat at the table feels good.

It took 12 months for us to get to this point, and we continue to hone our story and approach, relationships and outcomes, provide thought leadership and continue to help our stakeholders to start in the “What do they need to know” mode and not jumping to “solution” mode.

Order taking will never go away and, for certain instances, it still makes sense. But for the larger asks, put a process in place. Ask: “What problem are we solving?” “Are the results measurable?” and “Is this the right solution?” The process creates a circle of learning and performance. Success breeds trust, credibility, the ability to make a difference with learners and the business, ensure learning is an active partner of future initiatives.

Celebrate your successes internally with your team.  Apply for industry awards and, as you accept industry acknowledgement, share that internally.  Your team is now viewed as a value add. Not just because you said so, but because others see it too. And remember that the purpose for learning in the context of organizations is to add value to the business.

--Ronda Feague is Director of Instructional Design Strategy & ChoiceU Operations, at Choice Hotels International. Choice Hotels International is a 2017 Learning! 100 award-winner for culture.

Published in Top Stories

Strategy cannot always ensure success.

The learning culture of an organization can be easily overthrown by even the most formidable learning and development departments.  Creating sustainable organizational change means having a strong and effective culture around learning and development. But when bureaucracy is expanding, and change is slow-particularly within large organizations - how can we create highly effective learning cultures in today’s modern business world?

There are 17 ways of cultivating a highly successful learning culture for any organization.

1. TAKE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SERIOUSLY

Create formal professional development plans for every employee - including managers, senior executives, CEOs, and board members.  Document the professional development pathways, skills, and knowledge gaps of everyone. In doing so, place importance on closing those gaps and advancing employees.

Employees will see how much the development of their professional skills are valued by the organization. It shows them that their learning is important. Ensure that the professional development plans are updated at least quarterly by the employee, reviewed by their direct supervisor on all occasions, and recorded in the employee’s HR file.

2. GIVE THEM CONTROL

Allow employees to take control over their own professional development  - even to the extent of allowing them a degree of control over the training budget allocated to them.   When employees have this level of control over their learning, they will be sure to spend their budget allocation on training and topics that they are truly interested in instead of being sent on training programs that are of little use, benefit, and interest to them.

One of the key principles of adult learning is allowing learners to self-direct their learning journey. This adds a sense of responsibility, ownership, and increases the value of organizational learning and development.

3. SET KPIS FOR LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT - AND MEASURE THEM

By making learning and development a performance indicator and criteria that must be met, the organization is showing just how important the development of everyone is. It makes the acquisition of new knowledge, skills, and competencies as important as the job roles and responsibilities themselves. This creates a powerful and positive L&D culture shift.

4. MATCH LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES TO THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ON EVERY JOB DESCRIPTION.

For every function that an employee must perform, have a list of training, education and development activities that could be implemented.

Some elements to consider include:

>>  Role compliance (what training must be done to be ‘compliant’ in their roles)

>>  Recommended training for the current state of the industry (training that helps them meet a standard industry benchmark or general norm outside of compliance needs)

>>  Desirable training (non-essential but ‘good to have’)

>>  Above and beyond (training that will enhance the professional in their wider career)

Documenting suggestions for training and development - from a compliance level right through to ‘above and beyond’ training - will show employees how much importance the organization places upon individual development. It will also make it easier for managers and individual employees to select appropriate learning and development options. These options, in turn, will directly contribute to the responsibilities of each role within the business.

5. RECOGNIZE INFORMAL LEARNING AS A VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION TO FORMAL EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT

Recognizing only formal and accredited training can leave out the significant development that can be acquired through informal means of education.  Some examples include new knowledge and skills acquired via online learning programs, attending conferences and networking events, reading books and industry magazines, attending webinars, engaging in social learning and participation in online forums.

Ensure that all employee professional development plans contain an area for the documentation and recognition of all informal learning.  Use this information to find out what skills and knowledge were obtained from informal learning activities. Then analyses how this knowledge has contributed to the development of the employee’s role within the business.  Not only does this show the employee and the company how much developmental progress the employee has made but can give clues to existing training gaps within the business - not to mention encouraging ongoing lifelong learning.

6. CREATE A SHARED LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT LIBRARY

Provide a learning library that can be accessed by all staff where the sharing of learning is easy for everyone. Enable employees to share videos links, articles, blogs, study notes, books, workshops, webinars, conferences, events, and more with each other within the learning portal.  When people see that it is encouraged to share they may be far more likely to.

You could take this one step further by making knowledge sharing a key performance indicator.  Set ‘knowledge sharing’ goals which can be achieved in person, face to face, via e-delivery, via contribution to a resource library and so on.

7. ENSURE THAT THE BUSINESS AND ALL MANAGERIAL AND SUPERVISORY STAFF PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH IN TERMS OF YOUR LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES

Ensure that all initiatives are implemented and followed up on, and that professional development plans are always reviewed during the appraisal period. The informal messages that you and your managers send can significantly influence the learning culture within the organization.

8. SHARE PROGRESS  WITH THE TEAM

 Sharing the company’s strengths, progress, desired destination, and current position in terms of learning and development, can contribute to the learning culture.   When employees can see that the organization has a strategy, their attitude can change dramatically as to how much they feel their development is valued.

An additional bonus to sharing this progress is that employees may come up with solutions and strategies that may not have been considered by managerial staff.

9. CELEBRATE L&D ACHIEVEMENT

Just as the old-fashioned mentality of ‘Employee of the Month’ shows that an organization values strong a work ethic and dedication, celebrating the academic and developmental achievements of employees can also be extremely motivating in developing a learning culture.  Why not create a ‘Learner of the Month’ or a similar natured award in your company?

The open sharing of workforce development progress also allows the opportunity for employees to contribute to the overall organizational learning and development strategies for each year.  Provide all employees with knowledge of the company strategic objectives and the gap analysis and open the training plans up for contribution to by the workforce themselves.

10. MONITOR THE MANAGERIAL AND EXECUTIVE RESPONSES TO ORGANIZATIONAL CHALLENGES AND FAILURES. 

The way senior staff act in their roles shapes the way the rest of the company responds and behaves in similar situations. If senior staff within the organization see all challenges as an opportunity to learn, grow, develop and improve on their work, it will foster a culture of learning and development.

11. BE CONSCIOUS OF THE SUBTLER ATTITUDES TO LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

The underlying attitude to training and development can be highly influenced by how resources are allocated to it in comparison to other activities and departments within the business.  If management appears to have a negative attitude to learning and development, or places a low value upon it, so will the entire team.

12. CLEARLY DEFINE  AND COMMUNICATE HOW ARE YOU TRACK RETURN ON INVESTMENT OF TRAINING ACTIVITIES.

If people know that their training has a value, and that the value is being quantifiably measured by senior management, then a learning culture will continue to develop. Conversely if they don’t see this, then they start to get the impression that the company doesn’t care, and they in turn shouldn’t care about their own learning and development either.

13. ENCOURAGE INTERNAL COACHING AND MENTORING.

Valuing the skills that already exist inside the team make people feel valued and encourages the sharing of knowledge.

14. REWARD THE WHOLE COMPANY WHEN KPIS ARE EXCEEDED

Part of cultivating a positive learning culture is reducing the risk of employees competing with one another.  If one person wins then somebody else must have ‘lost’. To foster a team working culture set personal KPIs and require each person to be effectively meeting the objectives of their job - the expected minimum requirement. Then, have company KPIs that if exceeded offer reward to everyone - recognizing the collective contributions of skills and knowledge from everyone.

This will reduce the likelihood of competition - which causes employees to withhold and hide their knowledge from each other.

15. ENCOURAGE  PEER TRAINING SESSIONS

Encourage internal buddy days where the team work with employees and colleagues from other departments and spend a few hours of the day conducting a completely different job within the organization. This increases cross departmental sharing of best practice and cultivates improvements made by gaining outside perspective. It also generates wider learning and collaboration within the organization.

16. REWARD BEHAVIORS ATTITUDES AND OUTCOMES THAT ARE MOST  IN LINE WITH THE DESIRED CULTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION.

Too often it is bad behavior that is rewarded with attention and resources, leaving those who work hard and consistently meet their KPIs feeling unnoticed and undervalued.  Ensure that positive behavior is noticed and given managerial attention far more than negative actions and situations.

17. THE WAY THAT YOU RECRUIT WILL IMPACT ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING CULTURE.

Hire internally before you advertise externally. Provide numerous opportunities of promotion from within.  If employees can see that their development is rewarded by progress in their career, they will be far more likely to engage in developmental activities as they will be confident that their efforts can bring the reward of climbing higher up the career ladder.

LAST THOUGHTS:

Clearly communicate the organizational values and explicitly describe the behaviors and attributes of culture that you desire. If people don’t know exactly what the desired learning culture looks like and how it is measured, they simply cannot model it.

—Sarah Cordiner is CEO of Main Training, Australia and  expert in communications, marketing and online education expert.  Learn more at: https://courses.maintraining.com.au/

Published in Top Stories

Learning! Champions embrace hard work, dedication and creative thinking.

The 2018 Learning! Champion Award honors individuals for exceptional contributions to the learning industry. Elearning! Magazine names 17 professionals across six categories for 2018.

“Thought-Leaders” are industry experts always willing to share their expertise and are dedicated to bettering their communities and industries. “High Performers” have gone above and beyond, usually in a relatively short time frame to implement new learning techniques in their organizations. “Trail Blazers” forge new processes and procedures in uncharted areas to elevate learning and technology successes.

“Innovators” are technologists or problem solvers who often bring these solutions to market for others to share. “Creative Consultants” have the ability to create solutions to learning problems that scale beyond the current challenge.

“Rookies of the Year” are new to their role or industry and have surpassed performance expectations and are on their way to a successful career in learning.

The 2018 Learning! Champions are...

THOUGHT LEADER

1. Sae Schatz, Ph.D Director, Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, Department of Defense

Sae Schatz, Ph.D. serves as the Director of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL Initiative), a research and development program under the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training. In the role of Director, Sae leads the ADL in thought-leadership, facilitating learning for our nation’s Warfighters, government agencies, and beyond.  Through research, development and collaboration, ADL is working on next generation strategies, best practices, and innovations to advance the way we learn.

Sae also supports ADL’s mission to develop and advocate open source software, tools, and specifications; as well as create and accelerate the establishment and utilization of technology-driven learning standards that prepare and enable our nation’s learners, both military and civilian. Innovative learning technologies impact our learners by enabling them to be more mentally agile, expanding their capacity to develop sophisticated competencies and skills, and enabling them to thrive in the most  complex situations.

In the last few years, Sae led the authorship and execution of the Marine Corps’ Making Good Instructor Great project and accompanying instructor tool kit. She also acted as chief scientist for the award-winning Border Hunter research effort (sponsored by Joint Forces Command) and, later, for the Joint Staff’s blended learning – training initiative. Sae is passionate about human–systems integration and, in general, about emphasizing human-centered approaches in research, develop- ment, education, and training.

Before joining ADL, Sae worked as the Chief Scientist for a small defense contractor as well as a professional development consultant, and prior to that, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training.

Dr. Schatz received her Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida. She served on the UCF faculty from 2006–2011 (teaching courses in human-systems integration, visual and web design, and web development) and continues to support the Modeling and Simulation graduate program as an occasional adjunct instructor. http://www.linkedin.com/in/saeschatz

2. Anthony Gagliardo, Head of HR, Training & Development, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dare Mighty Things

Anthony is committed to supporting the technical training and professional needs of the men and woman of NASA and California Institute of Technology in their quest to DARE MIGHTY THINGS. JPL’s office of Technical Training and development is comprised of industry leading learning professionals focused on enabling the knowledge that propels those who accomplish the impossible.

In 2017, Anthony reinvented learning at JPL transitioning it from an event-based training model to a collaborative open learning ecosystem. With the world’s top experts in jet propulsion to tap, knowledge exchange was a top priority. Anthony lead the transition by creating a learning ecosystem that tapped expertise internal and external to JPL. Learn more about this program on page 25.

Prior to joining JPL, Anthony served the Federal Aviation Administration as Director of Technical Training where he guided efforts to modernize and transform training for the FAA’s 20,000 air traffic controllers and 6,000 technicians. He also served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years as a flight engineer instructor.

Anthony has published numerous articles in the field of technical training and corporate transformation.  He has earned a Master’s Degree in Management and Public Administration from American Public University and a Bachelor of Arts in Management from APU. He also holds FAA certifications as a Pilot, Right Engineer and Aircraft Maintenance Technician.

HIGH PERFORMER

3. Ryan Waltrip, Ph.D Director of Online Programming, William & Mary University

Agent of Strategic, Institutional Transformation and Instructional Innovation

In just five years as a Director of Online Learning, Ryan Baltrip has demonstrated exceptional distance education leadership and transformed two different institutions’ approach to online learning. In his first Director role, Ryan served a private institution primarily focused on professional, graduate education that also offered undergraduate programs. When he first stepped into the position, the school’s online offerings were extremely poor quality. Online courses were little more than correspondence classes. Yet through four years of driven and dedicated work, Ryan changed online learning at this institution and developed it into a recognized leader in online graduate theological education. He built a team that would grow annual revenue from $1.7 million to over $7million. The overall satisfaction ratings and quality of the programs increased. Ryan also developed holistic course, instructor, and program evaluation tools that were used to improve effectiveness.

After four years of success, Ryan transitioned to a new challenge – being the Director of Online Programming at William and Mary. His leadership has expanded undergraduate offerings that generated half-million in new revenue and fostered improved student satisfaction ratings with online learning in 14 of 15 measured categories. He worked collaboratively with schools of law, business, education, and arts & sciences to develop new online initiatives in each; helped develop the law school’s first online program; and assisted the School of Education’s strategic plans to expand online. He has provided the strategic direction that revamped existing e-learning workshops into the current E[x]ploring Learning Design program that generates a teaching and learning commendation for faculty and helped the second oldest college in the country to see online learning not as a threat but as an opportunity. Ryan’s leadership has been a vital catalyst in transforming a historical, highly ranked institution and helping it to offer high-quality online learning that matches its brand expectation.

Ryan holds a B.A. in Theology, Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and is completing post doctorate studies in Business.

4. Kristen Davidson, VP of Organizational Development, Consumers  Credit Union (Consumers CU)

Kristen has A Passion for Engaging Employees and Fostering Their Growth

As Vice President of OD, Kristen supports the learning needs of 300+ employees at 19 offices in southwest Michigan. She is responsible for scoping, developing, and delivering training programs for employees, utilizing blended learning. She is a highly motivated, self-driven team leader with expertise in process improvement, change and transitional management, performance metrics, and reporting.  She understands the importance of mentoring and has implemented a formal mentoring program at Consumers CU. She works closely with mortgage sales and operations to ensure training needs are met through various trainings supporting other departments.

Kristen’s impact can be seen in many ways throughout the organization. From the 69 people who have taken Kristen’s Leadership 101 curriculum, 74% have since been promoted with 35% promoted to a manager or supervisor role. After 101, people wanted more opportunity to grow and develop. From there Leadership 201 and 301 were created. These focused on developing further leadership qualities. Leadership 201 is geared toward employees who are looking for the next level in developing coaching or management skills. While 101 may qualify you for a position as a Team Lead or Mentor, 201 will develop skills suited for an assistant manager, like recruiting, credit union financials, and strategic thinking. Leadership 301 is designed to hone the skills of someone who currently leads or will soon be leading a team of people. This class gives participants the chance to connect with the CEO and dig deep into the Integrity Coaching process.

When it comes to employee engagement, Consumers CU stands out from its competitors in the marketplace and Kristen is a huge contributor to that. Another initiative of hers, the Performance GPS, has taken our employee engagement levels up 15 basis points, from 4.34 to 4.48 as assessed by our annual Employee Engagement Survey! Comparatively, the credit union average is a 3.96. The Performance GPS revolutionized the way performance appraisals were done credit union-wide.

Kristen has earned many honors including HR Professional of the Year from CUNA, Program of the Year and Best Results Finalist. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidsonkristen

 

5. Ciara Daume, Instructional Design Manager, Heartland Dental

Leading Training Transformation at Heartland Dental

Ciara leads online learning at Heartland Dental, founded in 1997. The organization’s mission is to “support dentists and their teams as they deliver the highest quality dental care and experiences to the communities they serve while providing exceptional careers and creating value for our stakeholders.”

With their network of over 800 dental practices, 1,200 supported doctors, 10,000 team members, and a presence in 34 states (and growing), Heartland Dental has become the nation’s largest dental support organization. Their support services include HR, marketing, supplies, accounting, payroll, patient support, IT, and more.

Under Ciara’s direction, Heartland Dental transformed their fully in-person training program and made it digital while expanding training opportunities at a cost savings, ($18.5 million to be exact), all while growing their business at an impressive rate. This program compliments Heartland Dental’s 5-year Mastery Program. Upon completion graduates can earn a Fellowship to the Academy of Dentistry along with an award of $250,000. Only seven percent of dentists hold this honor.

6. Andrea Strong, Manager of Instructional Design, SkillPath

Talented Instructional Designer Creates 1,200-Plus Custom Learning Programs Annually

Working fast, furious and full of smarts, you’ll find Andrea Strong, a dedicated Manager of Instructional Design.  For six years, Andrea has led a team of six talented instructional designers, pushing them to deliver quality content and quickly. Andrea is known for meeting lightning-fast deadlines and going above and beyond for clients, employers in all industries and all countries with varying degrees of wants and needs in learning and development.

In 2017 alone, Andrea and her team designed 1,220 learning programs for public and private companies, federal agencies, medical centers and more. Andrea is a fierce proponent of education and lifelong learning, evidenced by her 20-plus years of tenure in designing, training, deploying and leading learning solutions and her own multiple degrees.  Andrea specializes in executive leadership, assessment, education and government business relations – and making learning sing for thousands of learners.

Under Andrea’s leadership, SkillPath has provided training to professionals at 997 of the Fortune 1000, 15 branches of the federal government and four branches of the U.S. military, including work on 226 military bases. Andrea and her team have also trained staff at the headquarters of all four major sports leagues – the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.

Andrea’s intense and extensive work for Komatsu has led to additional opportunities (and more than half a million dollars in revenue) to create learning programs within the global company.

“Andrea Strong’s contributions and the thousands of learners she helps each year is staggering,” said SkillPath President and CEO Cam Bishop. “She is bright, talented and extremely determined to create the very best content, curriculum and custom learning programs for our clients, who benefit immensely from her more than two decades of industry experience.”

Andrea has a Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Education from Park University (1997-1999) and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Communication and Speech from William Jewell College (1993-1997). https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-strong-6ba81

CREATIVE CONSULTANT

7. Matt Chambers, Learning Specialist III, California Coast Credit Union

Matt Chambers Creates Unforgettable Learning Videos in Record Time

Matt Chambers is an astute, prolific learning and visual design professional who creates advertising-agency quality live and animated videos.  His other talents include classroom facilitation, experiential activity design, service measurement, lean process improvement, and knowledge management/Intranet design.

In a span of five months, Matt Chambers created three (3) memorable, inventive, and emotive visual learning videos.He has a film director’s sense of setup and framing, a digital artist’s sense of how to create emotional impact, and a digital designer’s understanding of the tools of the trade.He also has great insights into music selection to create a full cinematic effect.While Matt had previous experience in graphic design and video creation, he had not used many of the effects and animation software tools deployed in the crafting of these projects.

To achieve the delivery of three (3) professional quality, highly engaging videos in five months exceeds the production schedule of visual professionals with more years of experience. Additionally, Matt wrote the scripts, narrated the voice-overs, and incorporated ambient music, providing deliverables that are inspiring, educational, and impactful to many different audiences.  He has proven himself to be an innovator and trail-blazer.

Two live videos with effects were created for the organization’s Board of Directors planning retreat and will now be used in the company’s new hire orientation and on the public web site to help recruit new employees and interest prospective credit union members in a profile of what the credit union represents. This placement is the first time the company has ever used in-house videos on the public web site.

The third deliverable, an animated video, was created to launch a corporate initiative in using behavioral competencies (referred to as “superpowers”).  This video is essential to the company, tying into the Employer Brand, Member Experience Story, and updated standards as a high-performance organization. This video is being used in company-wide communications and training, as well as in new hire orientation and in management development (e.g. writing performance reviews).  The concepts are vital for the company, driving recruitment and coaching practices, while communicating key messages about the organization’s culture.

As an individual, Matt is humble, creative, insightful, and committed to life-long learning.  At 30 years old, he is a powerhouse who will make larger contributions to the learning community as his career progresses.  He earned his BA from San Diego State University in Teacher Education, and has been working in learning and visual/graphic design for the past 10 years.  Matt is a senior learning specialist at California Coast Credit Union in San Diego, CA. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattcbusiness/

 

8. Kim Mabon, CEO, Creative By Design

Where Creativity is Born

Kim Mabon launched Creative by Design in 2011 after honing her design skills in advertising and marketing for large lifestyle and business publishers: Creative Age, Advanstar, Questex and B2B Media Company. Since 1995, Kim has earned over 60 Maggie Awards in partnership with her publishers. As Creative Director of Elearning! Media Group, Kim has collected 24 pub- lishing awards for Best Cover, Best Trade Magazine, Best Media Kit, among others.

“Kim has the unique ability to take verbal and written words and convert to living color that captures the attention of the audience. And, she does it every day,” shared Catherine Upton, Group Publisher,  Elearning! Media Group.

Her skills don’t end in publishing. Kim invests her talents in many volunteer efforts including: Creative Director, My Father’s House Church; Executive Board Director, Corona Chamber of Commerce and Secretary, STARS Network.

Kim is the author of the 5&5 of Advertising program which teaches business owners the top 5 mistakes and 5 essentials of advertising.  She has presented in front of audiences both large and small including The Black Chamber of Commerce, Corona Chamber of Commerce, TEAM Referral Network’s Big Event, SCORE, Inland Empire Woman’s Business Center and many more.

Kim holds an Associate Degree in Graphic Design as well as numerous design, software, publishing certifications. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cbdgraphics/

 

9. Alexandra Manolis, Client Success Manager, BizLibrary

Creating Partnerships that Last through a Consultative Approach

Over the past two and a half years, Alexandra has been instrumental for the Client Success Team at BizLibrary. In her role as a Client Success Consultant, she worked with over 80 clients on their learning and development program. Many of these clients have received industry awards such as Learning! 100, Learning Top 125, Emerging Training Leaders, and LEAD. Addition- ally, through her work she has helped her clients achieve tremendous results.

Alexandra’s work with her 80 clients is a great contribution to the learning industry. Through her consultation, many clients have gone on to present at various conferences, published articles, and made great strides in their training programs. She has presented at conferences on a variety of topics such as launching a new program, marketing a training program, and setting goals. Her clients credit her and her partnership as a reason for their success.

Through her partnership, Alexandra has helped her clients see great results. Go Solution worked with her to create a program that helped them improve close rates by 7%, and FedBid improved their technical and soft skills through their work, just to name a few. Additionally, the internal impact she has had on the team helped to improve the team of 8 consultants. Each week, she provides best practices and strategy to consultants to improve their work with clients.

Alexandra earned a B.A. in Business and a M.B.A in Human Resource Management. https://www.linkedin.com/in/Alexandramanolis/

TRIAL BLAZER

10. Nancy Saks, Director, Learning Center for Learning & Innovation (CFLI), Scripps Health

Nancy leads the award-winning Simulation Center for Collaborative Medicine at Scripps Health, a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.  At the center, teams are trained using live simulations and robotic patients for on-boarding, certification and general practice.

“The use of simulated scenarios has increased in clinical pre-licensure education programs,” shared Nancy. “New graduates come to Scripps expecting to participate in simulation exercises. Now we can build on their training and help them become experts with the equipment they will find in their work areas.”

Nancy joined the leadership team at Scripps Mercy Hospital in 2007 with over 25 years of experience in healthcare and higher education as clinician, faculty, and administrator. Now a part of the Scripps Center for Learning and Innovation, she currently manages education and training activities across the Scripps system for staff, volunteers, and students.

Committed to lifelong learning, Nancy achieved a B.S.N. from DeSales University and Master’s and Doctoral degrees in nursing from the University of San Diego.

11. Jordan Wilcosky, Employee Development Supervisor, Garney Construction

Employee Development for Employee-Owners

From day one, Jordan has been innovative in her approach to training. With Garney Construction being an employee-owned (ESOP) company, Jordan had to ensure that any training plans/approaches provided maximum value to the employee-owners, as all money and time spent on training was time not spent contributing to the ESOP. Keeping this challenge in mind, Jordan was, and continues to be, forward-thinking in program implementation, as well as continues to be proactive with training and serving as the learning and development subject matter expert for the entire organization.

After joining Garney Construction, Jordan had employee-owners express that the training Garney provided in classroom sessions was not relevant to their roles. Additionally, it was expressed that training was not timely. In some cases, information given was provided too late for implementation. On the other hand, some expressed they had forgotten what they were taught at sessions when it came time to implement. With this feedback, Jordan determined they needed a solution that is multifaceted, allowing employee-owners to access training that is relevant to their role, when they need it. She began to implement a new program, Garney’s first online university.

After deciding to launch an online university, Jordan had three initial goals for the program:

  • Create excitement within Garney’s employee-owners via a strategic marketing plan that began one month prior to going live and ramped up in frequency and intensity as the go-live date neared.
  • Average one course completion per user, per month after product launch.
  • Gain buy-in and support from the Officer Team (executive team).

After the initial launch, ongoing goals were made to continue to improve the skills of employee-owners, as well as have a positive impact on the learning culture.

Garney has consistently reached (or exceeded) their initial utilization goal by averaging one course per user, per month, so last year. So, Jordan began calculating the percentage of employee-owners who were completing the Garney University monthly course assignment. She found that while course completion numbers were high, the number of people completing the assignment each month could be improved. In 2016, they averaged 62% completion. By January 2018, Garney averaged 79% assignment completion. In a year, participation increased 15%  while adding 50 new learners.

This initiative has earned many honors including Program of the Year and Best Use of Technology.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordanwilcosky

12. Cris Hatcher, Director of Training and Development, Watco Companies

Inspiring Others through Relationship, Dedication, and Service

Since joining Watco, and the Watco University Team, Cris has taken a hands-on approach of building relationships, listening to understand what customers need, and offering ideas or possible solutions to the needs of his customers as the core of developing initiatives related to learning and development.

Cris focuses on providing initiatives that spark an ongoing interest in continued learning by providing initiatives that meet the needs of multiple people at the same time, but also caters to specific learners, so they can get both what they need and want. Additionally, Cris maintains a direct connection to the Watco Customer First! Safety Always Foundation Principles of Watco which are: (1) Value Our Customers, (2), Value our People, (3) Safely Improve Every day.

A new online system, Watco U Online (WUO) was launched under Cris in 2015. Since its launch, Watco U Online has seen con- stant growth in the use of the system, and now supplements instructor led training initiatives, and many other initiatives. WUO offers a proactive approach to working safer for our Customers through consistent weekly training. It also sparks engagement from the top down to the frontline at our locations as managers complete the training, and then pass on what they learned to the team members they serve by teaching them. These programs have forged working relationships among several different divisions of Watco. They have further led to other groups recognizing the ability to use Watco University as a business partner, which leads to continuous value being added as new programs are created and added

Watco University has impacted the business. Over the last two years there has been a reduction in turnover at Watco. Watco ended 2014 with a turnover rate of 35% with an estimated turnover cost of $14 million. In 2015, they reduced turnover by 7% to 28% and reduced the financial impact to $11 million, which translates to a $3 million savings. In 2016, Watco reduced turnover rate by another 6% to 22% and reduced the financial impact $9.3 million which relates to $5 million in savings since 2014.

In 2014, Watco did not have any online training. In 2015, they had 2,008 online completions after launching. In 2016, it improved to 4,704 completion. And, in 2017, online completions grew to 11,679, almost tripling 2016. This is over a 581% increase over 2015.

“This is a great return on Watco’s investment,” says Chris.  When you provide a resource and show team members how it can help them, it gives them the chance to grow. You get some much more value.” https://www.linkedin.com/in/crishatcher/

13. Andrea Jones, Director of Organizational Development, Comer Holdings

Creating a Culture of Learning and Excellence from the Ground Up

As a team of one, Andrea Jones has taken Comer Holdings/IMA from having non-existent training culture to an environment that embraces and craves new learning opportunities. After a much-needed analysis of their employee culture and engagement, Andrea created marketing and training engagement campaigns to take learning beyond compliance and engage every member of the organization, from hourly employees to senior leaders. With her creative, blended training program, Andrea has helped to take learning from a “nice to have” to an essential part of the organization’s culture and ongoing commitment to employees.

Andrea has implemented and incorporated several initiatives as the sole learning and development professional. These initiatives include:

  • Incorporating ethics/harassment training starting in 2012.
  • Conducting a training needs analysis for IMA, followed by aligning their HR goals to the company needs in areas of finance, operations, and leadership.
  • Developing campaigns to continually increase the level of leadership engagement, including developing graphical aids such as word clouds, timelines, and creating a voice for learning and development.
  • Building recognition programs and marketing strategies to create excitement and increase LMS usage to achieve organizational goals. Examples include producing a training newsletter, ongoing email blasts, seasonal contests, a publishing a “honors list.”
  • Building custom certifications for IMA/Comer that incorporate both off-the-shelf and custom content.
  • Coordinating with the HR team at IMA to ensure alignment and develop best practices/strategies for

Notable results of these training programs have included a reduction in harassment incidents, greater collaboration in management across locations, a 15% reduction in IMA’s turnover rate, and a culture shift from low morale to one of excitement and appreciation for the company’s investment in its employees’ development.  Plus, people are proactively asking for training. Plant managers are requesting training for not only themselves, but also their employees to enrich the workforce. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-jones-33434295/ 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

14. Mary Feierabend, Talent Development Program Leader, MarksNelson LLC

Solving Business Challenges with Development and Fun

The rapid pace of change, competition for talent and continuing education requirements for accountants are pressures 

MarksNelson faces every day. With only 11 months of experience as Talent Leader, Mary had to construct a strategy to combat these challenges.

In Jan 2017, Mary launched MarksNelson’s talent development program called MarkNelson University. At its foundation is a competency framework Mary assisted in creating that ensures skill mastery and promotion readiness. The competencies are tied directly to the firm’s mission and core values and are formatted into Success Profiles for each position. The profiles help employee’s answer the question “when am I ready to be promoted?”

Mary used the profiles to create learning tracks for each position that help to teach the skills needed by employees to be successful in their careers. Other tools in MarksNelson University include a career coach program and a voluntary mentor program.  Mary promotes a culture of learning through creative and innovative programs. She created an Excel Ninja certification to raise Excel knowledge among the staff, a virtual scavenger hunt to educate staff on the tools available through MarksNelson University, used Kahoot (a free game-based learning platform) to engage staff in learning, and markets her learning program regularly. She makes sure to take advantage of all free resources and shares various how-to guides, competency guides, and articles with the staff.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-fei-erabend-83835197/

INNOVATOR

15. Russel Sarder, CEO, NetCom Learning & Sarder TV

Russell is known as the CEO of Learning. Sarder’s portfolio includes the production of learning media, an educational channel, award-winning learning software and cloud learning companies.  Sarder owes much of his success to his passion for becoming a lifelong learner.

Under his leadership, NetCom Learning – a managed learning services, training, and talent development company - has become a multimillion-dollar business. Among many awards, Inc 5000 Magazine listed NetCom Learning three time as one of the fastest growing private companies in the USA. NetCom Learning has also been recognized by Microsoft as Learning Partner of the Year and has been rewarded four times as Top 20 IT Training Company by Training Industry.

He shares his expertise in his books and speaking. Sarder is the author of, “Learning: Steps to Becoming a Passionate Lifelong Learner” and “Effective Learning Methods: How to Develop the Most Effective Learning Method.” He has been featured in Yahoo Finance, CNBC, Daily News and the New York Times. Sarder is also a business practitioner and mentor for MBA students and alumni at Columbia University.  Sarder was named Top Ten Asian American Business Awards and 50 Outstanding Asian Americans in Businesses.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/russellsarder/

16. Angela Dawson, Training and Development Specialist,  Event Network

Guest Experience & Culture is Job One

Angela oversees training for store team members. She develops and maintains curriculum for many training programs including the “1-2-3-Floor!” program (onboarding), succession planning, lunch and learns, peer to peer program, and “Momentum” (elective training incentive program). She also works on marketing and communication for training, launching a marketing initiative called “Third Space.” She supports approximately 500 store facing team members throughout the United States with training and training support for the entire organization, which is approximately 1000 to 1500 team members.

To drum up interest and participation in training, Angela creates many catch ad campaigns to promote training. She is extremely innovative in her themes, making sure they are always timely – relating to the season, world events, and company events. Some examples include marketing around the Olympic Games and being “hungry” for learning (Snickers spin off). She enlisted the help of other team members to go beyond typical flyers and create interactive campaigns to show on TV screens throughout locations.

With the “1-2-3-Floor!” program, she created a new onboarding program with the goal to extend and elevate the guest experience at their partners’ attractions to achieve their maximum retail potential. The name “1-2-3-Foor!” is the goal of the program; new employees are trained and working on the floor on the 4th day of employment. This allows employees to spend 3 days fully immersed in the company culture and training before stepping onto the floor, ensuring they are fully prepared for the job at hand. This program increased revenue, decreased turnover, increased productivity and speed to competency. Angela faced many challenges in creating this program, including a multi-generational workforce and a dispersed workforce. She was able to overcome these challenges with ease and grace.

During Angela’s tenue, Event Network has been named a Learning! 100 and a Top 125. Angela has won numerous program awards. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Xavier University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Communications from DePaul University. https://www.linkedin.com/in/angela-dawson-579a0512/

17. Dr. Nurkhamimi Zainuddin, Deputy Director, Centre for Global Open Access Learning & Lecturer, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

Nurkhamimi is Deputy Director at Centre for Global Open Access Learning, Immersive Technology and Quality Assurance (GOAL-ITQAN) and staff at the Faculty of Major Languages, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). His research focus is on Teaching Arabic as a Second Language and Technology Enhanced Pedagogy. Nurkhamimi is actively involved in research on open and flexible learning. He coined the phrase for FLOOC (Foreign Language Open Online Course) by adapting the concept of “Learning Buffet”. He has developed e-learning courses and Online Education Resources for life-long learning. Students from all over the world have benefited from his MOOC and OER.

Nurkhamimi believes, ”teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who do not use technology will be replaced by those who do.” Nurkhamimi holds a Ph.D. from International Islamic University Malaysia; is a member of The Malaysian e-Learning Council for Public Universities (MEIPTA) and editor of International Young Scholar Journals of Language, Video Journal of Innovative Pedagogies, Malaysian Journal of Educational Technology and Journal of Technology and Information Education.    https://www.linkedin.com/in/nurkhamimi-zainuddin-63398539/

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