Free White Paper: Selling Performance Support

The potential for performance support has never been greater. But selling performance support, especially if it is new to the organization, comes with unique challenges, from lack of awareness and confusion to downright suspicion. Beyond the technical barriers that must be overcome, there may also be organizational cultural barriers and individual histories and preferences that are often incompatible with something new. It represents a fundamental change in thinking about how people “learn” to perform, or even whether “learning” is always a necessary precursor to performance. So how do you get uncertain and resistant leaders, clients, and users to take a chance on a potentially game-changing approach to performance improvement?

In this free white paper, Selling Performance Support: Building Stakeholder Buy-in, from The eLearning Guild, Marc J. Rosenberg examines the four attributes of making the case for performance support. He also includes examples from the field and advice for what to do if you’re unable to make the sale.

Download this white paper today to discover how to sell performance support to even the most resistant leaders.

Download now:

Want to learn more about performance support?

Join other senior level professionals for the Performance Support Symposium 2014, September 8 & 9 in Boston, MA. The Performance Support Symposium offers you the opportunity to explore proven organizational strategies for reducing training time while increasing focus on delivering performance support directly into workflows as it is needed. Learn how to identify an appropriate balance between performance support and training, and discover how to create and implement a plan that will best suit your specific situation. More information at:

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

E-Learning Secrets: Managing Subject Matter Expert Time, Part Two

Ready for the Nuts and Bolts? Managing Subject Matter Expert Time for a One-Hour E-Learning Course

In Part One of this series on Managing subject matter expert (SME) time, I talked about what a SME is, and the valuable role that SMEs play in training projects. I offered some tips for managing SME time, including the variables that affect SME time during design and development of your e-learning course, along with the importance of setting expectations.

Here in Part Two, I’ll walk through a typical one-hour e-learning course, and define the “what” and the “how much” of SME time, along with some best practices and tips for helping the process go smoothly.

Before we begin, I need to mention two important ingredients in the recipe for success.

First, clear and documented SME sign-off is essential at every stage. Sign-off helps you manage SME time by minimizing rework, which requires additional reviews.

Second, and I made this point in part one, but it’s worth restating: Respect is where it’s at when working with any team member, but especially with SMEs. They often have busy jobs elsewhere in the business and are not part of the learning and development team, so set expectations properly and be efficient. Invite their ideas and collaborate!

Subject Matter Expert Time in E-Learning: A Typical Breakdown

Let’s use a one-hour e-learning course as an example to illustrate how much SME time is needed within the e-learning development process. We can assume content is about two-thirds documented and stable. This is rather typical of many e-learning course upgrades.

Initial / Content Analysis Stage: 4-5 hours

This is primarily meeting time for project onboarding, kick-off meetings and data collection and analysis sessions with the SME and the ID.

Prior to working with a vendor like SweetRush, the SMEs have a bit of pre-work to do. The SMEs gather existing content and provide it to the client-side PM. Additionally, the client PM may need to provide some internal onboarding for the SMEs to help set the context and describe the nature of the vendor relationship.

Don’t forget that data analysis (virtual or live) is an iterative process. As data is collected from meetings between the SMEs and the ID, there will be emails back and forth with questions and clarifications.

Best practice tips:

  • Set expectations with your SMEs that quick response to questions in the Initial stage is important. The ID will try to run with the content at hand to keep the process moving. However, the ID can only take it so far without SME guidance on pending areas.
  • I suggest having the ID record the data analysis sessions. This cuts down on questions from the ID later, and allows for SMEs to tap into their own stream of consciousness, letting the best information come forth. This often leads to new examples and scenarios that keep the e-learning course engaging and relevant.
Detailed Design Stage: 2 hours

This is the time needed for SME review of the Detailed Design Document (DDD) – the map, plan or blueprint for the e-learning course. Think of it as the ten thousand foot view of what is being proposed for the e-learning. Well-crafted DDDs present content in an outlined or bulleted format so at a glance SMEs can see the overall solution. SME reviews of DDD’s should include:

  • Learning objectives
  • Content accuracy
  • Overall completeness – is everything included that should be?
  • Overall flow
  • Suggested treatments – look, feel and functionality

The items in the list above are somewhat in order of importance from the SME’s perspective. The last two items on the list fall within the ID’s area of expertise. A DDD for a one-hour e-learning course can be 20-40 pages, but they are likely bulleted and can have a lot of whitespace.

Storyboard Phase: 3 hours

In this phase, the SME will review the e-learning storyboard. The five relevant points I listed above for SME reviews during the DDD apply to the SB phase as well. If the SME signed-off and did a thorough job on the DDD, the overall plan is locked in. What rises to the surface are the details. On a page-by-page basis, SMEs should be looking for…

  • Are concepts clear and accurate?
  • Do the examples used make sense?
  • Does each concept/block of information included support one or more of the learning objectives?
  • Is the e-learning course engaging in a way that supports the intended audience?

Best practice tips:

  • Some of the actual functionality may be hard to envision if SMEs are new to the world of e-learning. In this case, the ID should do a web demo and discuss sample page types. Though the demos will not include specific content, the SME will begin to see how a page may look or function. Also, there may be a series of mockups or wireframes – rough sketches of custom pages/concepts within your course – for SMEs to view, and the demos will help the SME understand concepts they are not familiar with.
  • A Storyboard for a one hour course can be 60-120 pages. Half of this information may be for the development team (engineering, illustrators, etc.), so it’s important to make sure SMEs know where they need to focus.

Alpha course review: 2 hours

If all the stages above are completed and on target, the review of the alpha course – the living breathing course you worked so hard to create – should go rather quickly. One hour courses can be anywhere from 40 to 80 screens in length.

Total Time: 11-12 hours

Does this amount of time align with your experience (acknowledging that the variables I described above do impact it)? I would love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment!

A few final thoughts: We get the best results when all team members – the vendor and the client – partner to create a concept, and leverage each other’s strengths. There may be many other players involved beyond our SMEs, IDs, and PMs: stakeholders, compliance reviewers, creative directors, engineers, illustrators, animators, etc. After years of experience and hundreds of courses, e-learning vendors like SweetRush know the process intimately, and how best to manage all the moving parts. It certainly takes a village and the result can be rather dynamic when you engage multiple parties bringing their best to the table. Like I said – a challenging job, and a highly rewarding one!

Get more e-learning and instructional design best practice tips from Catherine on her blog at!

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The future of universities. The digital degree

Eine Zusammenfassung der laufenden MOOC-Aktivitäten liefert der Economist. Mit den üblichen Zutaten wie “change”, “revolution” und der “reinvention of the university”. Auf die Treiber dieser Entwicklung haben die Autoren bereits mehrmals hingewiesen: das wacklige Geschäftsmodell der (amerikanischen) Hochschulen, die “explosion in online learning” und ein Arbeitsmarkt, der das lebenslange Lernen seiner Mitspieler verlangt.

Kosten, Technologie und Nachfrage. Vor diesem Hintergrund wird daran erinnert, dass es keinen Grund gibt, MOOCs vorschnell abzuschreiben: “Since the first wave of massive online courses launched in 2012, a backlash has focused on their failures and commercial uncertainties. Yet if critics think they are immune to the march of the MOOC, they are almost certainly wrong. Whereas online courses can quickly adjust their content and delivery mechanisms, universities are up against serious cost and efficiency problems, with little chance of taking more from the public purse.”
The Economist, 28. Juni 2014


It Pays to Implement a Retail Learning Management System

If you are contemplating a retail learning management system, stop contemplating and start doing.  The bottom line is that a retail learning management system is everyone’s friend… you want one! Had…

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How to Choose the Right Instructional Design Master’s Program

Obtaining a master’s degree in Instructional Design offers you a variety of benefits. Though it may come with a higher price tag than Instructional Design Certificates or Instructional Design bachelor degree programs, it will make your resume more attractive to potential employers. Not to mention that Master’s degrees allow you to gain a more in depth understanding of ID concepts, principles, and design theories. Given that there are so many ID master’s programs available today, choosing just the right one for you seems a quite daunting task.

4 Key Factors to Consider Prior Selecting your Instructional Design Masters Program

Here are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind when searching for the ideal instructional design masters program:

  1. Curriculum
    What curriculum is being offered and how are the courses structured? Does the school offer online education, or will you be required to attend in-person classes? How many credits are required for the degree itself? How long does it take to complete the program?
  2. Faculty
    Is the faculty experienced? Is the faculty active and supportive? Will you be able to get in touch with your instructors should the need arise? What methods of student-instructor communication are offered (i.e. email, live chat)?
  3. Costs
    What are the costs involved? Are learning materials covered with the cost of tuition, or will you have to pay for those separately? What is the cost of each credit? What are the financing options involved (i.e. grants, scholarships)?
  4. Career goals
    Will the program enable you to achieve your career goals? Are the subjects being taught going to provide you with the practical and theoretical knowledge you’re looking for?

Instructional Design Masters Degree Programs To Consider

There are a myriad of instructional design masters programs offered today. Here are a few that you may want to consider and review prior your final selection:

  1. California State University, Fullerton – Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology
    This program focuses on both private and corporate sector instructional design. It is designed for those who wish to learn about emerging technologies, course creation, and the technological applications for curriculum development.
  2. Capella University – Master’s in Instructional Design for Online Learning Specialization (Online)
    This program equips students with the knowledge to utilize instructional design models, resources, and strategies to create training and eLearning courses for diverse student groups. Courses include: principles of instructional design, instructional media design, ID assessment and evaluation, and distance education delivery.
  3. Franklin University – Master of Science in Instructional Design and Performance Technology (Online)
    This ID master’s degree program allows students to gain an in depth understanding of educational technology, eLearning development, and performance improvement. Principles of learning theory, performance analysis, improving eLearning through technology, and Principles of human performance are just some of the classes included in the list of course requirements.
  4. Harrisburg University – Master of Science in Learning Technologies
    This program focuses on learner engagement, collaborative applications, media design, and content creation. You can also choose from a range of ID specialties, including: Instructional Technology Specialist, Instructional Development, and Games & Simulations.
  5. James Madison University – Master of Education degree with a concentration in Educational Technology (Online)
    This program offers students the opportunity to learn about emerging technologies within the eLearning industry, and how to apply those technologies in both private and corporate educational settings. Courses include: learning theory, principles of ID, developing visual literacy, and curriculum theory.
  6. Purdue University – Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology (Online)
    This program is ideal for professionals who want to develop meaningful and effective corporate training experiences, as well as those who wish to pursue a career in technology-based school instruction design. Courses include: learning theories, foundations of learning design, learning systems’ design, and instructional development practicum.
  7. University of Arkansas – Master of Education in Educational Technology (Online)
    This non-thesis ID Master’s degree program consists of 8 core curriculum classes and four electives. Foundations of educational technology, educational media, ID theories and models, and web design, are just a few of the courses that are offered through the online program.
  8. University of Massachusetts -Master of Education in Instructional Design (Online)
    Program focuses on the educational design process, primarily in regards to adult education. Emphasis is placed upon communication, technology, media, and learning theories. There are 12 required courses, 10 of which are being offered online.
  9. University of North Dakota – Master’s Degree in Instructional Design & Technology (Online)
    This degree takes roughly 2 years to complete and is offered online. Courses include: Survey of Instructional Design, Instructional systems analysis, psychological foundations of education, and education research. The program also features an ID internship which offers practical experience for its students.
  10. Virginia Tech – Master of Arts in Instructional Design and Technology (Online)
    This online degree program offers a wide range of specialized courses, including: Educational applications of microcomputers, audio and visual uses in instructional technology, instructional technology policy issues, and ID tools and methods. An internship course is also part of the required curriculum.
  11. Walden University – M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology (Online)
    This online degree program can be completed in about 24 months. Learning theories and instruction, multimedia design, foundations of research, distance learning, and program evaluation are just some of the required courses.
  12. Western Governors University – M.Ed. in Instructional Design (Online)
    This regionally accredited online program is ideal for licensed teachers, educational content developers, corporate training facilitators, and education specialists. It can be completed in 2 to 2 1/2 years, with each term lasting 6 months. The course is based upon “competency units”, rather than credits, and a degree can be earned upon completion of 30 units.
  13. Western Oregon University – Master of Science in Education: Information Technology (Online)
    This program can be completed online and offline, and can be completed in five terms. Courses include: theories of learning and teaching, instructional design, communication theory, and research and writing. There are also a variety of electives to choose from, such as: designing and teaching online courses, web 2.0 tools for teaching, writing grants for technology, creating an internet website, and mobile technologies in education.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

What can 500 billion words tell us?

Big Data and Learning Analytics are ‘big’ things at the moment – lots of chatter and papers and articles are coming out on it. The Horizon report has had it on it’s list for a couple of years now.

But what about using data from 15 million digitised books to investigate trends in grammar, perspectives, ideas, passions, people, etc.? If you like data, you’ll like this.

Now, think about this approach and using it on student data, engagement rates, assessments, learning materials, attendance, activities, etc.? See where this is (could be) going?

Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel show us how it works, and a few of the surprising things we can learn from 500 billion words (TEDx Boston – What we learned from 5million books).

Wie smarte Dienste die Arbeit aufmischen

Gunter Dueck hat sie an einigen Stellen schon beschrieben, die neue smarte Service-Ökonomie. Bernd Bienzeisler (Fraunhofer-Institut für 
Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation) macht es etwas komprimierter, wenn er uns mit einigen Beispielen innovativer, informationsbasierter Dienstleistungen füttert. Im Anschluss riskiert er drei plausible Thesen zur Zukunft der Arbeit und ihren Auswirkungen auf Qualifikationen und Beschäftigungsfähigkeit:

“These 1: Es kommt zu einer technologischen Integration 
von Arbeits- und Lebenswelten …
These 2: Soziale Kompetenzen werden zum Engpassfaktor …
These 3: Es entsteht ein neues Bewusstsein für Arbeit …”

Bernd Bienzeisler, Magazin Mitbestimmung, 06/2014

8 Steps To Create and Develop an Effective Mobile Training Strategy

How to Develop a Successful Mobile Training Strategy

Developing a mobile training strategy can be a daunting task for those who may not be familiar with the steps involved. In this article, I’ll walk you through the mobile training creation and implementation process, so that you can tap into the learning power that mobile devices can offer to your learners.

Step #1: Identify your target audience and the primary objectives of your eLearning course.

The first step in developing a successful mobile training strategy is to identify who will actually be accessing the information. In other words, who is your target audience and, most importantly, what do they hope to achieve by taking the mobile training course? You’ll have to keep in mind that, for the most part, learners who participate in mobile training courses are pressed for time. They have chosen learning on-the-go because they want to be able to log onto the LMS anywhere and at anytime.

As such, you will need to design mobile training courses that help them to develop the skill sets or offer the information that they need quickly, conveniently, and without wasting time on irrelevant course content. That is why you’ll need to pinpoint their primary learning objectives even before you begin the design process. You will also want to consider the background of your audience and their learning needs. For example, what is their level of education and work experience? Should you include industry-specific jargon, or are they beginners in the field? What previous knowledge about the topic do they already possess? Do they respond more favorably to visual learning tools or audio elements? What is their learning environment (i.e. on-the-job, at home, or at school)?

Step #2: Determine how your mobile training content will be distributed.

Are you going to make your content available on all platforms, such as iOS and Android? Are you going to include graphics that can be accessed on all devices? Ideally, you’ll want to support as many devices as possible, so that you give all learners the opportunity to benefit from your eLearning course or modules. You should also consider the screen sizes of mobile devices. For example, if you design your mobile training course with an iPad screen in mind, then be sure to verify that a learner using an iPhone will be able to read your text or view your smaller graphics.

The delivery method of your mobile training content is yet another significant consideration. While some eLearning developers might focus on web delivery when they are creating their mobile training strategy, others might center their eLearning course design around native apps, which can be downloaded from the app store. So, you will want to decide which delivery options are best suited for your content, subject matter, and audience.

Step #3: Create high quality and mobile-friendly content.

This is one of the most important aspects of a mobile training strategy, given that eLearning content you are currently using may not be ideal for mobile training purposes. For example, some of the eLearning courses you already have in your LMS may be too long or too complex for mobile training applications. Ultimately, you’ll want to consider short, bite-sized mobile training courses that can be effectively completed on-the-go, and elements that are easy to use on a mobile device. For instance, create mobile training courses that require the learner to speak rather than type, or modules that can be navigated on a smaller mobile device.

Step #4: Boost User Engagement Through Emotional Involvement.

Given that learners may be on-the-go when they’re accessing your mobile training courses or modules, you need to ensure that your content is engaging and draws the learner in from the very start. Emotional involvement is key to keeping them interested and motivated to learn, such as games that offer rewards or real life examples that help the learner relate to the content being offered. If you are able to capture this emotional aspect of the learning experience, then users will be get much more out of your mobile training deliverable.

Step #5: Integrate Social Learning strategies.

Much of the mobile training experience is asynchronous, meaning that students learn on their own. However, you can easily transform it into an interactive and engaging social learning course by integrating social media into your strategy. Social networks, collaborative learning tools, and group projects completed remotely are all examples of social learning elements that can make your mobile training course even more effective.

Step #6: Ensure the Security of your mobile training platform.

One of the primary concerns of mobile training is security, given that smart phones and other mobile devices have the capacity to download information. As such, it’s important to ensure that your mobile training platform has some sort of encryption or password protection, or a security measures in place in the event that the system is hacked. Be sure that all personal information is encoded or carefully guarded, so that you don’t have to deal with security concerns down the road.

Step #7: Test, revise, and launch.

Before you officially launch your mobile training course, it’s essential to test and revise. Try to pinpoint areas that may need to be fine-tuned or catch any glitches before allowing learners to log on. While many eLearning course developers may not allocate many hours to testing, it’s vital that you do allocate a fair amount of time to ensure that your finished product is ready for public consumption. This will not only allow you to uphold your professional name and brand, but enable learners to get the most out of their learning experience.

Try accessing the mobile training course on a variety of different devices and browsers to ensure that everything is in proper working order, both functionally and aesthetically. When first launching your mobile training course, get a core group of learners to give it a try beforehand and ask them to provide their honest opinion about what they have learned and how they value their overall educational experience.

Step #8: Continually assess the effectiveness of your mobile training strategy.

As is the case with all things in the world of Instructional Design and eLearning, a mobile training strategy should always be a work in progress. Don’t hesitate to survey your learners to get invaluable feedback or assess how effective your mobile courses are via other methods (such as on-the-job skill assessments), in order to gauge your strategy’s weaknesses and strengths. A successful mobile training strategy is one that is constantly being improved upon and polished. So, if you find that something simply isn’t working, take action to fix it, and then carry out another round of feedback to determine whether or not the issue has been resolved. Ensure that the primary objectives are still the focal point and that your audience is getting the most out of the mobile training strategy that you’ve worked so hard to develop.

Last but not least, you may find valuable the 6 Tips To Effectively Evaluate Your Corporate eLearning Strategy. This article delve into some helpful and effective tips to evaluate a corporate eLearning strategy, so that you can determine if your current plan is offering the best possible return on investment.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.