Why The Net Generation Is Paving The Ways In Which We Learn And How We Will Learn, Now And In The Future

The Net Generation And Why Technology-Based Learning Will Play A Bigger Part Ever In Our Learning

I recently read a highly insightful paper from the NeuroLeadership Institute about how our brain learns, understands, and ultimately retains and remembers the knowledge and information it acquires. I don’t want to recount all the points addressed in the report, that’s not the purpose for my writing this particular piece, but two of the key points I did note from the insightful “Learning that lasts through AGES” paper was the part played by the environment on the way which people learn, and how people absorb knowledge. It’s those two points that I want to address.

As a learning provider, I do agree with the value of knowing about the science behind learning. Having a scientific perspective on how we learn will enable learning providers and companies to better understand the impact, and ultimately the value, of their chosen approaches to how learning is delivered, and the impact this will have on their workforce.

So taking the matter of the environment first, I do think the ultimate game-changer has to be on the design of workplace learning environments, now and in the future.

Learning Technologies: Defining the learning environment in line with the demands of the Net Generation

Today’s workforce can now enjoy online and virtual classroom training, not just the traditional classroom style. Technology is everywhere! The Net Generation just can’t remember a time when a computer wasn’t used for some kind of learning experience. It’s because of their “tech-savviness” that more traditional Learning and Development practices and approaches are coming into question. The Net Generation is growing exponentially and its intuitive and instinctive use of technology is quickly shaping and determining how workplaces work and what training methods they will buy into. The “Net Gen” is fluent in the language of technology and the work seamlessly in the virtual and the real world. They’ve grown up “Digital”; previous generations are still getting to grips with it. As such, current and future generations are evolving on a daily basis to become even more tech-aware.  As a consequence of this, employees will have very high expectations for their training and how it’s delivered in order that their demanding expectations are met. That’s why we now all need to be more aware than ever of the mind-set of the current and upcoming workforce.

Challenges For Learning And Development 

So what does the Net Generation want from learning technology? Interactivity! Some, (not all!) traditional classroom style training methods won’t tick this workforce’s boxes forever, as it won’t fulfill their learning potential and expectations. They want to be able to use the learning technology, but they want that technology to ultimately be relevant and interactive. (Remember, they had exposure to computers, tablets, and smart phones at school, and then at college or in higher education, so they need and want to take their computer skills way beyond just the basics.)

With this in mind, Net Gens will expect training technology in the workplace, just as it did in college or university, to allow them to engage with peers and trainers quickly, but in a centralized way. That’s why Virtual Training really meets this current, and future, change in the learning mind-set. They are fluent in Digital and, because of this, are used to preparing their own schedules, to collaborating constantly, and for wanting ongoing feedback and training, and for wanting access to the tools and technology to master their jobs. Forget telling them what devices and platforms to use. Companies can probably learn a thing or two about cutting-edge Learning and Development technology just by listening to the Net Gen! They are a creating a demand that needs to be met.

What comes after the current Net Generation? 

Needless to say, the workforce beyond the current Net Generation will exceed and surpass it. As such, companies will need to completely change their infrastructure of learning technologies. By then, hopefully companies will all understand how technology can be used to reach people in an effective way. The Human Resources decision makers and Learning and Development teams will just be older Net Gens with a legacy of knowledge behind them, and so have a greater and be more attuned to the training needs and expectations of the upcoming workforce.

The writers of the report to which I referred at the start ask “How do we ensure people are interested in learning what is presented, and how then do we present the information to ensure that the knowledge is sustainable, accessible, and easily applied in adaptive and contextual ways?”. For me, it’s Virtual Training and the hum that also being made about things like holographic technology (expensive though the latter might be for companies, but that could potentially be used to enhance company Learning and Development), that I think meet many of the scientific points raised about the way in which we learn, and the way people will want to learn in the future.

Until then, it will take tremendous effort and buy-in from both companies and employees alike to really understand and integrate latest emerging learning technologies effectively.

But the benefits will be well worth the effort.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Using Storytelling For Compliance: Why Storytelling Is At The Heart Of Great Compliance Training

Why Using Storytelling For Compliance Is Effective

If you reach into the depths of your memory, chances are that the first words you remember from childhood are “Once upon a time…”. You loved a great story back then; you probably still do!

And that’s why storytelling is such a vital component of any eLearning program that we develop at Interactive Services. A story taps into something very primal - the promise of a narrative that will reward us simply for listening.

The attention span of the learner is assailed on all sides, from text messages or email to TV; whatever may be happening right then in the life of the learner. So to demand attention, the “hook” of a great story is extremely powerful.

What Sort Of Stories Work Best? 4 Tips On How To Use Storytelling For Compliance

  1. A starting point to developing a story is to make it realistic to your audience.
    Develop a main character who belongs in the world of the learner, and give him/her a background, a problem to solve, and a positive outcome.
    For example, for an Insider Trading eLearning course, create an everyman character – it could be you or me – who has no intent to breach compliance rules, but who may trip up due to lack of knowledge, or lack of care.
  2. In filling out the details of the story, keep it conversational.
    Write as you would speak, keeping it as informal as possible. Remember, too, that you can localize your stories, placing them in a context that will be most recognizable to the learner.
    For example, you could set your Insider Trading story in a pharmaceutical firm, but don’t assume that everyone will know all the complex medical jargon and language used by the Pharma industry.
  3. Another key to successful storytelling is to keep the story short.
    You need to do this particularly when it comes to eLearning, when there are so many other demands on the learner’s time. The moral or learning point of the story can be just as powerful if you keep it brief.
    For example, in our Insider Trading example, present a dilemma and give the learner a choice of actions. You don’t need a lengthy preamble. It’s enough to say “You meet a friend who tells you his firm is about to acquire a competitor…” and get straight into the story.
  4. Make sure the story has a beginning, middle, and an end.
    Typically, this will involve the hero/heroine being faced with a challenge, teasing out how best to address the problem, then implementing the action needed to solve the problem - and creating a better reality in the process.
    For example, the consequences of a breach of Insider Trading rules can be severe. So make sure you leave enough time to outline the outcomes. And try to finish on a positive. Focus on the disaster averted rather than the crime discovered.

Finally, remember that using storytelling for compliance is a powerful method of getting the compliance learner to change behavior rather than simply absorbing information. A great story can motivate, encourage, and inspire – leading to a new way of thinking and a new way of behaving.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

How To Review The Effectiveness Of Your Learning And Development Function

Traditionally, Learning and Development teams have taken an inward-looking approach to measuring their effectiveness. They have analysed the things that matter to them, such as feedback on training courses, time spent on training courses, numbers of attendees on courses and so on. The problem in gathering this data, is the fact that it has very little relevance to the business. Why? Because the business wants to know the impact its investment in learning and development is having on business outcomes, not how successful a training course has been for those who attended it.

So how do you figure out the effectiveness of your Learning and Development function? To what extent are you able to demonstrate that you are adopting modernised learning approaches that deliver the outcomes the business needs: improved productivity, engagement; revenue and agility?

Data is Vital to Success

Data is vital; it provides the evidence you and your team need to understand impact and drive performance. An invaluable source of external, credible data is performance benchmarking – this provides robust, genuine and independent evidence on Learning and Development’s performance; the effectiveness and impact of the learning process. It enables organisations to reflect on their own performance and see how they compare against peers and top performing organisations.

However, in likeness to internal data-gathering, organisations are failing to grasp the opportunity on offer. Towards Maturity’s research shows that only 23% actively benchmark their learning strategy and practices against others in their industry, compared to 41% of top performing organisations. Only 17% actually use that benchmarking data for performance improvement, compared to 35% of top learning organisations.

So how can organisations use benchmarking to review their effectiveness?

Let’s start by defining it. Benchmarking is the process of comparing key performance indicators for one organisation with the indicators of others who are considered to represent the industry standard or best practice for that field. Business benchmarking focuses on 2 aspects: Key Performance Indicators (or KPI’s, comparing outcomes) and performance benchmarks (comparing activities).

This is nothing new; businesses have been benchmarking since the early 1990’s in order to develop new strategic direction and improve performance. Since 2003, Towards Maturity have been demonstrating effective practice benchmarking principles to help Learning and Development departments do the same.

Our benchmark helps organisations review their learning strategies, including the role of technology-enabled learning, through the application of our framework of effective practices. We define the Towards Maturity Model™ on six areas that we call workstreams, against which we measure the maturity of all organisations that benchmark. Below, we unfold these workstreams, which reflect the characteristics of more mature organisations.

It is important that benchmarks remain relevant and as future-proofed as possible, which is why we continually ask leading thinkers and practitioners in Learning and Development to sense-check our benchmark. This is critically important in an ever-changing world. Your effectiveness as an Learning and Development team must measure up to the current business context, not the business context of five years ago.

The Towards Maturity Model™

Defining Need
Mature organisations are more likely to align learning to business strategy, ensuring that programmes are relevant to both business and individual requirements.

Learner Context
Mature organisations are likely to have a greater focus on understanding the context of the learner, their motivations and environment.

Work Context
What are the work environment factors that might influence success? What needs to be changed? How should we go about it? Mature organisations ask these kind of questions.

Building Capability
Mature organisations target the changing needs of their learning and development professionals to ensure that they are to be equipped with the right skills, resources and reputation to effect change.

Ensuring Engagement
Mature organisations have proactive strategies for involving critical stakeholders who influence behaviour change.

Demonstrating Value
Mature organisations will be proactive in identifying the value their learning technologies are adding to their organisation.

The Towards Maturity Model helps L&D leaders adjust their practices to align with these six effective workstreams identified through extensive research on over 3,500 organisations since 2003.

The Towards Maturity Model™ helps L&D leaders adjust their practices to align with these six effective workstreams identified through extensive research on over 3,500 organisations since 2003.

We know that reflection is an essential part of learning; by using the framework of the Towards Maturity Model™ to reflect on the effectiveness of your learning strategy, you will learn what is working, what isn't and why. This generates insights that will have value for the wider business in terms of measuring outcomes. It will also help you make better decisions, which will help you become a more effective Learning and Development team or leader.

The Towards Maturity Benchmark™ is a useful tool to help you understand how effective your Learning and Development strategies are and how you compare to peers and top performing learning organisations.

If you are keen to find out how effective your Learning and Development team is, make sure you benchmark this year: it’s open until 31 July. More than 3,500 organisations have taken part to date, so there is plenty of data for you to benchmark against.

Start Your Benchmark

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Proof Of The Pudding: Measuring The Business Impact Of Corporate Training

Investment in training and employee capability development is higher than it has ever been. In 2014, spending on corporate training reached an estimated $70 billion in the U.S. alone. Considering how much money and resources companies are committing to training, shouldn’t they be doing everything they can to justify doing it?

Why should we measure Corporate training?

We all know that employees need training right? They need it in order to be able to do their jobs with confidence and efficiency. That’s common knowledge, so why would we need to measure anything? Without closely monitoring the performance of your employees, how can you really determine how well employees how much progress they make following their training and what level of impact their training has had on productivity, profitability and the success of the organization as a whole?

What exactly should we be measuring?

There are a whole range of metrics that can be generated by Learning and Development teams to determine the impact of training on an organization. Some of your key metrics should include:

  1. Increased sales
    Are there signs of an increase in sales since you deployed your training? Seek out ways that tie increasing sales directly to training such as monitoring employee workloads and productivity.
  2. Reduced costs
    One of the main metrics used to prove the value of training by many organizations is cost savings. You should be looking at how training affects the operational costs of the organization.
  3. Increased employee retention
    Increased retention rates are generally a good indication of employee satisfaction. If staff receive training, it gives them confidence and improved ability to do their jobs. This can often leads to a better employee retention rate.

Measuring Corporate Training Performance: 4 Important Considerations 

  1. Determine what the business is already measuring
    If you haven’t already been tracking, analyzing and evaluating how training performs in your organization, now is the time to start. Begin by assessing what areas of the business are already being measured and determine how you can add to this through measuring training impact. Most likely, sales and ROI are the main focus of your organization in terms of evidence of success. Consider how the business is measuring these things and see if you can apply a similar model to training. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do this – cost savings, increased productivity and sales, as highlighted earlier, are some of the main KPIs you can get from training.
  2. Complete performance reviews and impact assessment
    At a basic level, this is one of the best ways to determine the impact that training has on a business. It may not tell you how it has affected ROI or sales directly, but monitoring the performance of individual employees and departments through performance reviews and assessing their skills and ability will tell you a lot. Doing this should help you answer a key question – how has their training affected the quality of their work? If you can tie performance improvement to training, there is a strong case to be made that training has resulted in more confident and capable employees. This leads to increased efficiency and productivity which in turn leads to higher sales and good ROI.
  3. Utilize control groups
    A control group is a group used as a standard of comparison in a controlled experiment. Using control groups is an excellent way of proving how valuable something can be. They can be particularly useful in piloting a training program, highlighting the value of training in terms of employee skills development, etc. For example, if training on a new production process is required by three production lines in a large manufacturing firm, training could be provided to just two of the three groups with the third group not receiving any training initially. The Learning and Development function would monitor the teams who received training for a 2-3 month period and compare their performance against the team that received no training. The results of this could be used to establish how much the work of the trained teams improved and thus determine the overall benefit of the training program by comparison with the investment made to develop it.
  4. Evaluate and improve existing Learning and Development processes
    Perhaps you already have a strategy for measuring training? Ask yourself, just how effective is it? Does it provide me with enough data I can use to justify our investment in training? Are there other ways to highlight the benefits of training to management which could result in them increasing the budget for training in the next financial year? Quite often, we implement strategies and processes to help us doing things more effectively. But once they are in place, we neglect them and forget that there are always new ways to improve them. Once you have a process of measuring training, each year you should review it carefully. Perform an Learning and Development needs analysis. Organizations grow, develop and change over time and the process you have for measuring training, like any other, should adapt to changes and growing needs within the business.

Deploying training programs in your organization because you believe they are necessary is fine. But always be prepared to back up and support what you believe with results and KPIs. The saying “proof of the pudding is in the eating” truly applies here. Training staff is one thing. But actually proving the value that training adds in terms of employee skills development, cost savings, increased sales and ROI and performance improvement of teams across your organization should be your top priority.

For further perspectives on this topic, read 3 Ways to Measure Training Effectiveness and learn more about how you can apply measurement techniques to your business.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Benefits Of Integrating Knowledge Management Systems Into Corporate eLearning Platforms

Integrating Knowledge Management Systems Into Corporate eLearning Platforms: 5 Top Benefits For eLearning Professionals

Merging corporate eLearning platforms and knowledge management systems could be a solution to this mess of dealing with corporate systems of various types that they all serve the same organizational purpose: knowledge sharing. Leaving corporate web sites out of discussion, as they typically address to the general public and do not include “confidential information - for internal use only”, I foresee a back to the basics approach with eLearning platforms substituting the traditional “intranet” and serving as a single point of reference for all employees. Some of the top benefits of such an integration are presented below:

  1. Easier updates. Reusability of resources. No duplicates.
    Easier updates of files in accordance to ISO qualitative standards and reusability of resources for common sections are elements that cannot be overlooked. The same online training content, uploaded only once in a single system may target different audiences, saving valuable server space, though at the same time the eLearning platform provides features that allow for customized views with different online content for each group/department, according to the permission rights assigned. Lack of duplicates also raises employees’ confidence that they access the correct version of the information they are looking for.
  2. Different access rights and better tracking through activity reports.
    Different access rights for managers and staff allow the HR department to have better control of who has access to what. The activity reports feature that most eLearning platforms nowadays offer, enable better tracking of employees’ performance on the online training material, eLearning course completion rates, possible knowledge gaps, etc. Employees’ direct feedback can be received through online suggestion boxes, though a knowledge sharing organizational culture can also be promoted through the use of chats and discussion boards in order for the employees to share professional experiences and best practices.
  3. Formal and informal training in a single eLearning platform.
    In terms of eLearning content, videos, press-releases, product knowledge material with features and benefits, selling techniques, customer service approaches and best practices are only some of the examples of the type of information the eLearnng platform may contain in non-downloadable SCORM format for security and confidentiality purposes. Therefore, apart from a great resource center, the eLearning platform could also serve as the ideal training tool for synchronous, asynchronous and blended learning, with the corporate trainer’s role enhanced, as an e-moderator.
  4. Sense of community. Loyalty.
    Through the integrated eLearning platform new employees not only would be allowed to quickly familiarize themselves with their new working environment, the organizational structure, “who is who” etc, but also such a system would give them access to FAQ sections about their role in the organization, best/worst practices discussion groups, as well as “Ask the Expert” sections where they would have the opportunity to stay tuned with their new colleagues, managers and corporate trainer(s).
  5. Bulletin boards.
    Last but not least, the eLearning platform could also serve as a bulletin board for all company-related announcements, new hires, job openings and other type of corporate incentives that have been proven to reinforce a sense of belonging in the community  and to increase employees´ loyalty in the company.

Never before had the human resources and training department been closer to their common aim of professional development of employees as through the integration of the company’s knowledge management system with the eLearning platform in a single communication and training tool available on a 24/7 basis.

Want to learn more about how an organization can enhance the knowledge and skills of its employees? Read the article 6 Tips For Creating A Winning Performance Management Online Training Strategy to get tips and techniques you may use to create a winning performance management online training strategy for any organization.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Organizational Culture Of Learning Needs To Change For The 70:20:10 Method To Work

The Increasing Use Of 70:20:10 Model 

Learning and Development is always on the hunt for new ways to deliver effective training and learning methods for the workplace, whether it’s mobile learning, blended learning, or virtual training. Unsurprisingly, some methods have caught more attention than others, and the 70:20:10 model is creating quite a buzz right now.

According to the GoodPractice 2015 UK Learning Trends Index, 93% of Learning and Development leaders say they have heard of 70:20:10; of these, 44% are currently using 70:20:10 in some way to deliver learning in their company, with a further 30% planning to use 70:20:10 as part of their learning strategy. This gives a combined total of 74% of companies who are either currently using or who plan to use 70:20:10 in the foreseeable future. This is massively encouraging. But why exactly is that? One potential reason highlighted in the report is that 70:20:10 is a move away from the more expensive, formal courses, and a move towards those of a more experiential nature. The latter are often seen as attractive methods because of their time-saving efficiency, compared to more formal courses which can potentially impinge on an employee’s day-to-day workload.

For 70:20:10 to truly work, there needs to be a change in an organizational culture of learning

For me, 70:20:10 is a great reference model, so much so that Creativedge is launching a new 90 minute bite-size training session for it this summer, but it shouldn’t be used a primary training method, or one to be used in silo. For 70:20:10 to ultimately be really effective, there needs to be a change in an organization’s culture of learning, and there needs to also be a strategy for the informal learning part of the 70:20:10 concept, so that it has a defined and clear structure. Ironically, the GoodPractise Index states that 76% of practitioners surveyed didn’t have any kind of strategy in place for informal learning. But 69% of Learning and Development practitioners say on-the-job learning delivers lasting improvement in employee behavior, knowledge and skills. And they still don’t have a strategy? The report calls it a paradox. I think it needs a change of mind-set. Let me explain.

Change of mind-set and the organizational culture of learning 

Finding success with the 70:20:10 model requires a change of mind-set by the Learning and Development practitioners that takes them away from content and courses and into employees’ shoes, in order that they might empower them with the tools they need for their learning on an individual basis.

I read an interesting article in Personnel Today that points out that one of the misconceptions around 70:20:10 could be that some Learning and Development teams slavishly work to get those proportions exactly right. As Andrew Parkinson, academy development manager at Tata Steel Europe, says in the article: “I believe many companies use the model, but whether they manage it or could demonstrate it, is another matter”. Again, another example that comes back to the point I made earlier: the organizational culture of learning and mind-set need change so that the 70:20:10 model can work in practice.

Whilst I do extol the benefits of 70:20:10 (I wouldn’t provide it as a training course to my clients unless having personally understood and considered its value), I do think that an over-reliance or a total dependency on it wouldn’t necessarily be in a company’s best interest. It would be unlikely to match the practices of organizations with the highest-quality Learning and Development methods, or be what leaders themselves would prefer.

Let me finish by giving you a parting thought: the 70:20:10 ratio -in fact any ratio- emphasizes the separation of learning methods rather than their integration. Allowing learning methods to compete rather than integrate so that they can build on one another, undermines their impact and, as such, their value.

As a provider of a range of learning methods, a multi-disciplinary approach to training is generally a good one to follow. The ultimate challenge is to support learners with blended learning which is about building in a thoughtful, systematic, personalized way a structure to enable and support how people can learn best. As Nigel Paine, a key contributor to the 70:20:10 debate, points out in the Leaning Trends Index, “70:20:10 has become something of a mantra or motto that Learning and Development people blithely rattle off without an understanding that their practice must change”.

Once more it comes back to the organizational culture of learning and mind-set needing to change, so that the 70:20:10 model can work in practice. 70:20:10 has shaken things up for organizations about how people learn and how learning experiences can be packaged and delivered. I think that change in mind-set and organizational culture I have repeatedly referred to (forgive me, readers!), will happen as a consequence.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

8 Tips To Measure Your Online Training Effectiveness

How To Measure Your Online Training Effectiveness

Regardless the amount of time, energy, and resources you invested on designing and developing your online training course, you can’t just assume it is effective. Online training is a sound investment only when you are able to measure the results. If you cannot determine whether your online training strategy is improving employee performance or giving them the skills they need, then you won’t know if it’s worth your resources. In order to find out whether your employees actually learned what you offered them, you need to evaluate your online training strategy, and thus be able to review its strengths and weaknesses for making the necessary improvements. In this article, I’ll share 8 tips to measure your online training effectiveness, so that you can make the most of your training budget and offer your employees the training they need to succeed.

  1. Observe on-the-job application of newly acquired knowledge.
    One way to determine whether your audience retained the knowledge you offered them during your online training course is by simply checking whether employees are able to apply newly acquired knowledge and skills to practice. Are they changing their behaviors and displaying that they know how to carry out their job duties on a daily basis, or do they have to ask for assistance when it’s time to perform a transaction or deal with a customer service issue? What were the goals of your online training? Improving skills, acquiring certain knowledge, modifying behaviors and attitudes? To measure your employees’ learning, consider observing them before and after they attend the online training, so that you can compare their results. The true test of a training program’s success is whether the employees have the knowledge and skills necessary to do their job effectively and efficiently.
  2. Use scenarios and simulations.
    If you cannot afford or you are unwilling to take the risk of measuring the effectiveness of your online training on-the-job by observations, you may create scenario-based tests that allow employees to show how to apply what they have learned during the online training. Rather than sending them out onto the sales floor, for instance, you are able to determine if they have the skills and knowledge they need to help customers or carry out basic job related tasks in a supportive environment. This enables you to measure the effectiveness of your online training course without compromising your level of customer service. Ask them to perform specific tasks and observe the outcome of the scenario, to check if the participants pass or fail the test. If they fail, you may need to revise your method, modify certain behaviors, remedy mistakes or to provide additional training content until they master the learning objectives; effective online training means all employees being able to put what they have learned into practice.
  3. Use performance goals.
    Performance goals are a great tool for measuring the effectiveness of your online training course. How to use them? Again, you need to compare performance before and after training. In order to evaluate performance prior to online training, you must analyze your audience and make sure that you know exactly their knowledge base and experience level. Then, you will be able to determine how closer your employees have come to reaching their goals, after they have completed the online training. To keep your audience focused to their performance goals throughout their online training experience, always link your training back to performance expectations. Use assignments that simulate real life processes and help employees put their skills to practice. Moreover, you may consider conducting interviews, or integrating questionnaires that record co-worker complains or supervisor reports into your post-course evaluation. This way, you will be able to accurately measure the your online training effectiveness and determine whether your goals have been met.
  4. Use assessments to gauge employees’ knowledge and skills.
    While assessments can test employees’ knowledge for their own benefit by allowing them to analyze their weakness and fill in knowledge gaps, they also give you the opportunity to determine how effective your online training really is. For example, if a vast majority of employees are not able to pass an assessment at the end of the second module, then you may want to consider reworking this module to improve either its content or the delivery method. You might include more interactive elements or break the online training content down into chunks that are easily digestible. Quizzes, tests and exams on skills assessment will help you get an insight on whether employees benefit from your online training and therefore are developing their skill sets or, if they are falling behind and they need additional help to improve their job performance. Measuring their skills sets prior to and after online training is, once more, essential; when identifying the specific areas in which you want to support employees, it becomes much easier to design an effective online training course. Provide your audience with the same tests that assess their skills twice: in the beginning of the online training and at the end of it. This way, you will be able to compare scores and check whether your online training had any effect on their performance. Finally, always keep in mind that a learner-centered approach will help you personalize the online training experience by focusing on specific skill sets and thus it will make it easier for you to assess your employees’ skill development.
  5. Promote social learning; turn employees into instructors.
    Why not turn your employees into instructors by encouraging them to teach a specific topic or discuss concepts with other employees? There are two benefits in applying the concept of social ownership to measuring your online training effectiveness: First, it engages your audience to teach and learn from each other, which encourages the collaborative spirit in the company and thus motivates your employees to work faster and better together. Second, it helps you determine whether the online training participants have learned what they were supposed to have learned. In order to instruct others, they must first have an in depth understanding of the subject matter. And if they have a grasp on the topic, then you know that the training strategy is actually working, as being able to effectively transfer the "message", may be considered as a proof that you really own it. Furthermore, by having employees teach others what they have learned will not only help you to check whether your online training was successful or not, but it also helps them reinforce the newly acquired knowledge. It is a win-win situation, but it needs careful planning: in order for employees to be able to teach others about a particular topic, they will need to demonstrate that what they have learned can also be applied to the real world. Incorporate scenarios with real world benefits into your online training course design, so that you can help your audience apply social ownership successfully and become real experts of the subject matter in question.
  6. Gain insight directly from your employees.
    Employees are in fact the best critic of your online training course. Their perception of and response to your online training will provide you with valuable feedback for measuring your online training effectiveness and thus help you to establish its strengths and weaknesses in order to revise it and improve it. To determine whether your it was engaging and meaningful to them you can use your Learning Management System as an evaluation tool. By programming it to ask questions that determine the degree of employee satisfaction and positive reaction in online training, you can collect valuable data, such as whether your audience believed that your online training course was worth their time, if they would recommend it to their colleagues and what were the topics that they found most interesting and useful. Furthermore, consider holding focus groups, in which employees will be given the chance to inform you about how they feel about their online training experience as a whole and maybe to suggest ways to improve it. Surveys and one-to-one interviews can also offer insight with respect to the online training effectiveness, employee satisfaction, and even help you to pinpoint weak areas of your strategy. You can get an accurate gauge of how employees perceive your online training course and if they are truly benefiting from the activities and exercises you’ve incorporated. Employee satisfaction is key in investigating your online training effectiveness. Beyond everything, if your audience is not satisfied with every aspect of the online training experience, it is unlikely that they will be interested, engaged and motivated to fully commit themselves to it; a situation that is not only alarming, but also an infallible indicator that you are doing something wrong.
  7. Take full advantage of learning analytics.
    Many learning management systems have built-in analytics that give you an overall picture of how employees are progressing, how quickly they are completing each module, and how often they are logging into the system to access their online training. All of this data can help you the opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of your training and custom tailor it to meet the needs of your employees. For example, if you find that most of your employees are taking much longer to progress through a module than expected, you may want to assess its difficulty level to see whether it's too challenging.
  8. Calculate ROI.
    Finally, to measure your online training effectiveness you need to measure its ROI. Without checking Return Of Investment you will never be absolutely sure of your online training course’s success, as you need to make sure that the performance results you have achieved were actually worth your investment. To calculate ROI you need to estimate costs, such as design and development cost for your online training, as well as the benefits associated with your online training program, such as increased productivity, increased sales, fewer customer complaints, etc. By evaluating costs against performance results you will be able to get a cost-to-performance ratio that can truly help you determine whether your online training was effective or there are still areas that need to be improved.

An effective online training strategy can help to improve your employee retention rates and increase the profitability of your organization. Use these tips to measure the impact of your online training and you will be able to easily determine whether your online training development time and energy were worth the investment, that is, whether it is really working or you need to identify ways to boost its effectiveness for the future.

No online training strategy is complete without evaluation. After all, how can you know that you are getting a sound ROI if the effectiveness of your online training cannot be measured? In the article, 10 Tips To Effectively Evaluate Your Online Training Strategy you will find 10 online training strategy evaluation tips you can use to ensure that your strategy is in-line with the objectives of your eLearning course.

Interested in learning how to enhance the effectiveness of your performance management training? Read the article Top 5 Performance Management Online Training Strategies where I highlight the top 5 performance management online training strategies that you should be aware of.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Why Blended Learning Still Ticks My Boxes

Blended Learning Still Ticks My Boxes – As Does Mobile Learning Despite What Some Reports May Say!

I always relish reports about the learning trends, and the latest 2015 Good Practise UK Learning Trends Index is a really insightful read, casting light on the challenges and issues being faced by senior Learning and Development practitioners, the people with whom I work!

I was delighted. I was to read in the Trends Index about a rise in the use of technology to deliver learning, with 77% of Learning and Development respondents predicting a rise in their use of technology to deliver learning in the coming six months. Of this number, 48% predict a minor shift, and 29% say it will be a major shift. What’s more – and this is the icing on the cake - 62% of respondents are predicting an increase in spend on learning technologies over the next six months. This clearly indicates that more and more companies are continuing to see and really understand the benefits offered by learning technologies.

But according to the Learning Trends Index, the first initial enthusiasm around mobile learning and its practical uptake has slipped. Other types of learning technologies such as e-learning and online performance support tools are growing, but the use of mobile devices for learning has not gained the traction everyone had first hoped. How so? I don’t think it’s time to put in to the side-line, just yet.

The Mobile Learning Value

Mobile learning apps are very useful in certain situations, we all know that. But take BP, for example. The energy company recognizes the value of mobile learning, and in taking an unconventional approach, has chosen videos, checklists and games to deliver engaging learning content to employees’ mobile devices. The information can be accessed on iPads or smart phones anytime and anywhere. The new apps will be used by BP’s 25,000 business leaders and managers, providing them with support for key “transition points” in their careers. These “transition points” are things like new recruits to the company, someone starting their first management position or moving up a level in the management ladder, or a person moving to a new different department.

I think BP’s use of mobile learning and the development of the new apps, perfectly encapsulates a company’s effective use of the ‘right’ technology, for the the ‘right’ learning style, for the ‘right’ group of people, at the ‘right’ time.

Mobile Learning shouldn’t be used in silo: make it part of a blended approach

First of all, let’s remember that mobile learning is not designed to be an educational tool that works in silo, but as a tool that complements other training measures such as classroom style training and virtual classes.

For example, if one were to choose between a computer and a mobile phone for researching a subject in-depth, mobile learning probably wouldn’t necessarily be the best option. (Note that the BP use of mobile technology is to communicate ‘key learning messages’. ‘Messages’ generally won’t include information that is highly detailed). This being the case, the important thing is that BP is using the most suitable method for the delivery of information to specific members of staff in order that they can optimise the way in which their staff learn. If you visit their website, you’ll see that BP also uses structured courses online learning, mentors and a whole host of other methods for continuing its staff development, including the mobile approach; in  other words, blended learning.

Mobile learning was the big buzzword in 2014 and despite what the Learning Trends Index has highlighted, I believe that with more organisations making mobile a part of their learning strategy and as mobile technology evolves and improves, stories of success will increase. The effects of using mobile for learning and development will become more apparent in terms of cost savings and ROI, and this will result in more organisations choosing to incorporate it into their learning blends.

In order that they might target the growing diversity in the workplace, more and more of the companies with whom I work with are looking at new training models that connect and integrate a variety of tools to meet their training needs.  These blended learning models need companies and their training providers to focus on optimising the desired outcomes of learning objectives by applying the ‘right’ technologies to the ‘right’ learning style to the ‘right’ group of people at the ‘right’ time. Again, back to BP and its training app investment - it’s one of a whole range of methods used by the company.

Really effective blended learning goes beyond good, basic training to a more systematic education that delivers ongoing learning within the workplace. By developing learning strategies that incorporate a wide variety of learning activities such as classroom instruction, virtual training, or mentoring, companies can give staff greater, more flexible learning and improved performance support. And isn’t that the holy grail for an Learning and Development practitioner?

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

12 Reasons For You To Embrace eLearning

Why Embrace eLearning

For Centuries we had been used to learning in a particular way. Our learning was always shepherded by a guide – parents at home; teachers and tutors during our school years; professors and mentors at college. We then entered a vocation which again required some learning; and the way we learned from our childhood carried on into adulthood where we again learned under the guidance of an instructor.

This worked fine until recently when technology enabled learning changed the way that educators and L&D faculty thought of learning. Today, educational institutions and offices, both in the public and the private sectors, are making the shift to technology-enabled, online learning.  Within organizations, there is always a faction of those employees who are uncomfortable with this new way of learning. If you are one of those who hesitates to give technology-enabled learning a try, here’s 1 reason to embrace eLearning – you will love it!

Here are 12 reasons why you will love and embrace eLearning:

  1. Learn on your own device. If your organization is against its employees bringing in their own device to work, you can access your learning when you are not at work.
  2. Learn at your own pace. eLearning recognizes that your needs are unique and lets you learn in your own time, in your own way, at your own pace.
  3. You will have access to a unique learning plan that has been designed keeping your job role and capabilities in mind.
  4. Get access to information as soon as you need it – courses are well structured, so you can find the information you need, easily.
  5. The industries' best practices are at your fingertips. Oftentimes, instructors are inadequately equipped to answer questions related to the most recent practices. eLearning courses are prepared with much thought and research. Because the content can be easily updated, you can be sure that you are accessing the most recent information.
  6. Self-evaluate. Self assessments after every course let you know where you stand. If you are unable to fair well in a particular course, you have the option of redoing the course until you get it right.
  7. Get immediate answers to your most pressing questions through the interactive interface that connects you with peers and industry experts - across the globe.
  8. Train in a safe environment with simulated learning. This is especially useful for employees who are exposed to hazardous conditions like the pharmaceutical industry and those who must train on the use of heavy/dangerous machinery.
  9. eLearning is eco-friendly and drastically reduces your carbon footprint.
  10. Increase your overall productivity by training in your free time, when you are at home or traveling; it is accessible every day.
  11. You don’t have to be connected to the internet. Organizations, whose employees are constantly on the move, make sure that they can train, offline; work is automatically uploaded when you are connected to the internet.
  12. Perform better, and have greater retention of what you have learnt, than your classroom-trained counterparts, and enjoy the fruit of being a top performer.

We live in a futuristic world of high expectations and increasing demands. We must keep pace with the superfast changes around us while delivering a 100%. It’s impossible to keep up a chaotic lifestyle, keep pace with hectic work schedules and attend training. How do we sustain the balance? With the help of eLearning, of course. For most of us this is a scary proposition; the more set our ways - the scarier it is; but eLearning is one of the most beneficial forms of learning for busy employees.

Don’t think of the ‘e’ in eLearning as ‘electronic’. Think of it as ‘exciting,’ ‘extraordinary,’ ‘efficient,’ and ‘easy,’ and you would have taken your first step toward a more rewarding career.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

How Do You Infuse A Culture Of Innovation?

How To Infuse A Culture Of Innovation

When faced with the challenge, it is a bit like being handed the Schopenhauer Conundrum and asked to solve it.

The German philosopher Albert Schopenhauer who used parables to describe his philosophies back in the nineteenth century used this puzzle to prompt people to consider how to change their mindsets:

"A man of correct insight among those are duped and deluded resembles one whose watch is right while all the clock in town give the wrong time. He alone knows the correct time, but of what use it this to him? The whole world is guided by the clocks that show the wrong time."

When you sit around a boardroom table discussing attitudes of innovation, you may find yourself feeling that the safest road to take is to just surrender to those who say you should stick with the "tired and true", and forget that you know you need to change.

But where would that leave all of the employees when the real truth is finally known? If they have not moved their minds into a sphere of openness to change, they will inevitably be moved out of the organization. That is not a worth result for the human resource professional.

Instead, somehow, you must bravely find the means to explain to everyone that their watches are telling the wrong time. You cannot force them to change, for they will do so in front of you and then revert to their old ways the minute you turn away. In their hearts, they still believe they are right and you are wrong.

When you have to be part of the team for change in your organization, you must instead consider a logical, three-device toolbox to help you solve the conundrum of persuading employees that your timing is correct. Here are three tips:

  1. Gather all the data that supports your position and learn it well. You will be challenged on this, and you need to be sure of your facts. Clarify your thinking. Know precisely why doing what you have always done won't always work. Have examples. Have counter-arguments honed and ready.
  2. Keep your attitude easy-going, calm and open. To a great extent, people will change if they believe that they and their opinions are respected. Acknowledge their knowledge, their expertise, and the innovations they have already introduced or accepted. Invite them into the conversation and use all your communication skills to encourage an open-minded sharing of information. You cannot just go along to get along when you want to foster change, but you can get along to get around objections.
  3. Make the benefits of innovation and change obvious to employees. Let's suppose that the employees really must turn their watches back an hour so your company functions at the same time as your customers. You can illustrate to your team how they will personally benefit from this adjustment. Point out that they will be able to sleep in one hour later in the morning and arrive to work more refreshed, for example.

Few people embrace change eagerly. But they will embrace it openly if the benefits are obvious.

Share with us your experiences or tips on how to embrace innovative thinking in the workplace!

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.