In my previous post, I looked at how professional skills are acquired after many hours of background research and practice. Which often requires hours upon hours of learning delivery. But let’s focus on what Corporate Executives are demanding of their workforce. They have hired the new employee, assuming that those hours have been logged and the primary skills have been acquired…for the most part. Now you are on the payroll. They need to provide you with JIT/JET education for the pressing business needs…..new products, new services, new alerts, new processes, new opportunities, etc. If they can do this successfully, and better than their competition, my business will be differentiated going forward. With everyone competing for everything, everywhere, all the time, organizations must adapt their rapid learning strategies. Rapid is not only about how fast you get the information out, but more importantly, how fast does your employee/customer learn, implement, and change their behavior to address the new business need. How fast are your new employees oriented and approaching 80% effectiveness? How do we shrink your orientation results from 8 weeks to 4 weeks? How fast does your retail reps address customer concerns over new product launches. Post-launch, how fast do you alter/improve your training when the field tells you that the new training modules are not addressing the issues/challenges arising with the customers? 24 hours? 1 week? More? I would suggest you start making these kinds of commitments to your internal business partners to ensure that the training function is accountable for truncating the learning cycle down and creating an UBER-competitive asset for the organization.
Rapid eLearning – Let’s stop talking only about authoring. Let’s get our internal learning teams to start talking about total cost of ownership; speed of collaboration; access to learning by multiple stakeholders in parallel processes prior to course launch; speed of learning design. Today, a blended rapid learning strategy involves eLearning, discussion forums, blogs, video-casts, audio-casts, mentor availability and so much more. This all needs to happen with systems and governance. If it does, we can actually measure the results and focus on continuous improvement.
Spend your money wisely. Rapid learning is about systems, processes, a governance model, and instructional technique. The authoring tool is just an ‘enabler’. It is more of a paradigm SHIFT in learning versus a discussion about a particular medium or tool.
For eLearning, find out what the learner group needs now, deliver it rapidly in an educational and fun way, and determine when the learning modules have outlived their usefulness. Store all of the learning assets centrally, maintain version control, seek collaboration with as many relevant subject matter experts as possible and continuously improve. You can do all of this and fast. Reducing costs and improving learning delivery. Find the right systems and put the processes in place.
To finish up our discussion on implementing online learning into your training and development mix we are going to end things off with content. I have yet to come across an organization that solely using eLearning for all training and education needs. At this point it is important to do an analysis of which content needs to now be transformed to online learning as opposed to the traditional in class and documented training. Some material is better suited for in class where as other content is better absorbed via eLearning.
To recap, the first step is to find an LMS/LCMS provider. Your options range from purchasing one to outsourcing. Next it’s time to start identifying your development/instructional design strategy – will this be done in house or outsourced? And finally as we close off this topic a strong environmental analysis will identify what subject matter should be delivered via eLearning or other methods.
“Learning at the speed of change” is a reference to the fact that change is the only constant and the speed of change is increasing. The speed with which an organization learns collectively and individually will determine their fate in the coming years. Information overload is only going to get worse for everyone. We need to find a way to ensure that our focus in learning is on two things: quality of communications and our ability to extract value from massive amounts of information. Learning is not so much about pouring massive amounts of information into our brains all at once. It is about optimizing our social/professional networks and accessing new information JIT/JET – Just-in-time/Just-enough.
A Google search on the keywords “rapid eLearning” will offer up all kinds of forums and vendors discussing the relative merits of authoring software. Corporations have been discussing the JIT/JET approach to learning for decades. Why? Because, if it is done effectively, it provides for the best training ROI. It has been discussed and debated over and over at corporate education industry events for years. Yet, very few organizations can boast that an effective rapid learning strategy exists. Microsoft has decided to implement Microsoft Academy Mobile as an answers to their global sales training challenges. “Crowd source” the best learning content and make it available in a media rich social networking infrastructure. It is real-time sharing of client solutions, overcoming challenges, new products bundles, etc. Effectively, rapid learning in a JIT/JET model. Whether it is canned elearning, traditional classroom, virtual classrooms, discussion board, life experience and so on, most of us learn best if the learning happens when we are most ready for it, and in manageable bite-sized morsels, or ‘coursels’ as some industry folks are calling it.
Does your learning strategy incorporate enough focus on innovative tactics for training people JIT/JET? I often find that many academics frown at the simplicity of concept. Yet the Gen Y’ers are demanding only a JIT/JET learning strategy and have very little patience for the information dump that occurs in sessions that last much longer than 20 minutes. They want to know, what they need to know, as they recognize the need to know it. Get it?
In my next post I’ll explore the practice of rapid eLearning and how, properly implemented, it can revolutionize how virtual learning is delivered.
Let’s continue our discussion on including eLearning into the learning strategy of an organization for the first time. We have already covered the learning management system as well as the instructional design process. Let’s shift our focus to the development process. Similar questions arise here, in house or contract the work out? Again, really depends on several factors. For example, how much eLearning will be developed within a given year? If there aren’t high volumes of courses being developed then contracting out may be an attractive option.
If you were to hire developers in house the next decision would be which authoring tool should be used or should you choose a rapid eLearning tool. At this point there should be an evaluation process and all your specification should be well documented before hand to help you out in this process.
It’s fair to say at this stage there are potentially two key decisions to be made. Who should be involved with the decision making process? Thoughts?
Last week I began a discussion on how to ramp up an organization planning to implement eLearning into their corporate education function, starting with the learning management system. For this post let’s explore instructional design. The question here is should it be done in house or contracted out? Let’s explore the benefits and implications of both options.
Often times a corporate instructional designer is also the SME. These two are somewhat independent of one another. Contracting out your instructional design requirements provides clarity and accountability. However, having IDs on staff can prove beneficial as they are aware of corporate norms and understand the project nuances. Another factor to consider is how much eLearning is developed within a given year as this will impact your decision.
Seeing as how its 2009 and eLearning exploded onto the scene somewhere around 1998, we cannot assume every organization has the infrastructure to support online learning methods. In fact some of you reading this work for organizations that do not use eLearning nor do they believe they should. However, with the recent economic shift and the budgetary cuts training departments have been faced with, cost cutting is a necessity. There are obvious financial benefits to online learning given the global nature of today’s workforce. Although this is clearly not the only value add. Online forms of learning avoid scheduling conflicts, are easily deployed to all employees and easily tracked, thanks to LMS and LCMS.
What is the starting point for including eLearning into the mix of things? I have recently started down this path with one of our clients who is interested in getting up to speed with eLearning. First and foremost, do you have an LMS? If the answer is no, then you need to start looking around. Keep in mind that installing your own LMS is a costly investment and not always the only option. LMS outsourcing is always a possibility and provides more than just cost savings. If you partner with a vendor you get their expertise and a helping hand to walk you through the process.
We here at MindMuze we are really excited about a new web-based authoring system called Shift being added to our repertoire of tools. It represents a real departure from the traditional client-based applications because it allows anyone to create an eLearning course. And I mean anyone! Basically, if you can use Powerpoint, you can use Shift.
It really is an amazing piece of technology. It lets you create completely professional content. You can create drafts, and reviewers can add comments right in the learning materials, where they can be aggregated with other comments. It can therefore be as collaborative and interactive as you like. It also includes a powerful gallery of content templates that cover everything from straightforward presentations to complex scenarios and software simulations.
We recently used Shift to put together a special H1N1 awareness package. Our clients were stunned by how quickly we were able to put it together — it went online during the first wave of news reports, when people were only just hearing of H1N1 and few people yet knew what to do about it. As a public service, we quickly began offering the course as a free download (it’s still available), all thanks to this amazing system.
And if we were able to rush together an eLearning course of such importance in so short a time, imagine how easily it will be for anyone to create similar packages in response to frequently asked questions, even if those questions are constantly changing.
Shift will be officially launched very soon. Having worked with it myself, I can tell you this will be a huge, potentially game-changing event. Stay tuned!
I have been asked by many clients over the years about Learning Management Systems (LMS). It is very interesting to get an understanding of what people think a LMS can do for them. Some feel it will change the way they work and do their jobs in a training department while others see it as a big hassle that requires undo amounts of time and effort to manage. I honestly think that the truth lies somewhere in between.
The real question becomes what needs to be tracked and what does not. Often it is simply good enough that a person has opened the course and gone through it from an awareness perspective but scoring is not really required. More often than not the test scores are never even looked at or acted upon. I think this is the bigger issue. If you are going to score then someone needs to actually assess the data and try and assist the learners to ensure maximum retention.
Many courses are posted and then forgotten about by managers and admin folks. Obviously tracking compliance courses is essential, but other less mission-critical courses may not require the same level of tracking. When do you need to track scores at the module level vs. the end of the course final assessment? Most of our clients prefer not to score learners at the end of each module but rather create learning reinforcements with remediation to assist the learner to gain a clear understanding. The final assessment is scored and it this mark which is reflected on the Learners training history.
At the end of day tracking is essential but more essential what one does with the information.