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MOOCs Treat All Learners the Same

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 30, 2015 NO COMMENTS

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This is the third in a series of articles that tackle common objections to and arguments against using massive open online courses (MOOCs) for training. Read the previous article: People Don’t Learn as Well Online.

All learners are different. They come from different backgrounds and have different levels of prior knowledge. They have different learning styles and preferences, different needs and different questions. For education to be effective and engaging, it needs to be adaptable for the needs of individual learners. MOOCs treat all learners the same, and a one-size-fits-all approach works just as well for education as it does for clothing, which is not well at all.

This is probably my favorite objection to MOOCs, perhaps because it is the one (aside from low completion rates) that has gotten the most attention. The basis of this argument is that “massive” courses can never work because they don’t take into account the needs of individuals. In fact, I (and many others) believe that MOOCs are able to support individual learners even better than traditional instructional formats.

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People Don’t Learn as Well Online

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 28, 2015 NO COMMENTS

Startup Stock PhotoThis is the second post in a series of articles that tackle common objections to and arguments against using massive open online courses (MOOCs) for training. Read the previous article: Public Libraries Are Failures (and So Are MOOCs).

I’ve heard all of the benefits of online learning. Learners can access the course materials anytime, from anywhere. They can schedule their courses around their life, rather than their life around their courses. Companies can offer the same amount of training in less time and with considerably less expense.

I know all of that. But when it comes down to it, people just don’t learn as well online. They don’t put in the time or they get distracted by their email. They can’t easily ask questions. And besides, there is just something magical about an instructor standing in front of a class that simply can’t be replicated in or replaced by the online experience. Right?

The myth that people don’t learn as well online–that there is indeed something magical about face-to-face instruction–is as pervasive as the myth that teaching to individual learning styles affects learning outcomes (it doesn’t). The idea that people don’t learn as well online is usually the first argument made against massive open online courses and in defense of instructor-led training (ILT). But it isn’t true.

Let’s explore the research behind this idea.

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Public Libraries Are Failures (and So Are MOOCs)

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 21, 2015 NO COMMENTS

tkLOe7nnQ7mnMsiuijBy_hmThis is the first in a series of articles that will tackle common objections to and arguments against using massive open online courses (MOOCs) for training.

Have you seen how people use public libraries these days?

They pick up books, skim through them, and then put them back on the shelf without reading them. Sometimes they even check out books and don’t read them. Sometimes they just photocopy a few pages or a chapter, or look up a reference. Sometimes they don’t use the books at all, but instead participate in a discussion group or even watch a film! In fact, a 2012 study found that only a bare majority of people who go to a public library actually borrow printed books.

Since people who go to libraries aren’t all borrowing books—and even when they are borrowing books they probably aren’t all reading them—public libraries are failures.

By now, I expect you are rolling your eyes. And for very good reason—the assertion that public libraries are failures is ridiculous. But these are the very same arguments often used to suggest that MOOCs are failures. The fact that only between 5 and 10% of people who sign up for MOOCs actually complete them has led some to conclude that MOOCs are not engaging, that people don’t like them, and that they are not effective forms of instruction. However, the research that has been done on MOOCs shows that this argument is not valid, because completion rates are not useful measures of what really happens in a MOOC.

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5 Corporate Training Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 14, 2015 NO COMMENTS

blackboard-573023_640Last week, we looked at seven predictions for how technology will affect training and development in 2015. This week, we’ll look more broadly at a handful of corporate training trends—still mostly technology driven—that organizations can no longer afford to ignore.

Business-centric learning

The idea of business-centric learning came onto many people’s radar last year, after the Brandon Hall Group did a survey showing that about 40% of businesses were developing their learning strategy in alignment with business needs, while the other 60% were focusing on the learners and the content. David Grebow of the Brandon Hall Group offers these characterizations of the three types of learning:

  • Just-in-case learning is content-centric. This is the one-size-fits-all model that made up the training landscape for many years, particularly with the widespread implementation of e-learning. As Grebow notes: “We took the instructor completely out of the picture, and ended up with nothing but content.”
  • Just-in-time learning is learner-centric. Here the learners’ needs are the focus of course development, and learners can access the information when, where, and how they need it.
  • Just-for-me learning is business-centric. Grebow writes: “There is no point in focusing on just-in-case learning when the business case for the learning has not been made. No need to get that content out there just in time if the learner has no time to waste finding an answer to a question with no relationship to the business needs. What makes the most sense strategically, as well as operationally, is to provide the exact information that is just for me, when and where I need it, as long as it supports the business needs of the company.”

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Technology-Enabled Learning: What Will 2015 Bring?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 7, 2015 NO COMMENTS

new-years-eve-419862_640It’s the beginning of the year—the time to make predictions about what the coming year will bring so that we can congratulate ourselves when they come true and make up excuses when they don’t. So, what will 2015 look like for corporate training and technology-enabled learning?

This is going to be a big year for technology-enabled learning. Many trends and movements have been bubbling just under the surface, and I expect that this will be the year they start making some serious waves. Here are my seven predictions for workforce education and learning technologies in 2015.

More companies will experiment with MOOCs.

Over the past year, companies have started dabbling with MOOCs, but the courses have yet to take off big time. There are a variety of reasons for this, including a lack of awareness, uncertainty about how to do it, and concerns regarding security, control over the information employees are learning and sharing, and so on (I’ll be addressing these and other objections to MOOCs in a series starting soon).

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MOOCs – What Are They? Why Should You Care?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 5, 2015 NO COMMENTS

networkJoin me for my presentation to the New York Chapter of ATD on Wednesday January 14th, 2015.

It seems like everyone is talking about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) these days. But what are they? What are the advantages of using a MOOC? How do they apply to a corporate setting? All of htese questions and more will be discussed in the first ATD eLearning SIG meeting of 2015.

In this interactive session, we will discuss:

What is a MOOC
How companies are using MOOCs
Success Stories
Nuts and Bolts (technology, transitioning from ILT/elearning)
Trends and Future directions.

Agenda:
5:30- 6:00 pm – informal networking/welcome
6:00 – 7:00 – presentation
7:00 – 7:30 – Q/A/wrap-up

When: Wednesday, January 14, 2015
5:30 – 7:30 PM
Where: CUNY School of Professional Studies
119 West 31st Street Room 103 – 1st Floor
Between 6th and 7th Avenues
New York City
Presenter: Bryant Nielson, CapitalWave Inc.


Registration: required
Must register by noon January 12, 2015.
Picture ID required for building security

For in-person registration click here >>>

About the facilitator: Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– Being a big believer in “Technology Enabled Learning”, Bryant seeks to create awareness, motivate adoption and engage organizations and people in the changing business of education. Bryant is an entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual via technology.

Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson


2015 the Year of “Technology Enabled Learning”

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 31, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Learning with TechnologyMOOCs, gamification, social media, engagement, all of these are reaching out and asking for our attention.  All of them are being amplified, accelerated and enabled with technology.  It is our intent to provide you the reader with a host of perspectives that will entertain, delight and whet your appetite for knowing more about how Technology is Enabling Learning for the corporate environment.

Join us by following our posts for this year.  It is our hope that we will provide a thoughtful perspective to you and your associates.

Copyright 2014 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.

Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– Being a big believer in Technology Enabled Learning, Bryant seeks to create awareness, motivate adoption and engage organizations and people in the changing business of education. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.

Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson

Bryant Nielson - EzineArticles Expert Author

Strategies for Implementing Gamification in Your Training MOOCs

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 15, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Gamification on Highway Signpost.Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and gamification hit the corporate training world at roughly the same time. MOOCs started to make their way into the mainstream in 2012, and while the idea of gamification has been around for more than a century, and the value of games in learning has been recognized for several decades, it is only recent advances in technology that have made both MOOCs and gamification viable training options.

Gamification has been a growing trend in organizations over the past few years. Starting mainly as a way to motivate sales teams through competition, the idea of using game mechanics has moved into many areas of the business environment, including training. Big-named companies, such as Deloitte and IBM have successfully implemented gamification in their L&D programs, and more organizations will be giving it a try over the next few years. According to this elearning infographic:

  • By 2015, half of organizations’ innovation processes will use gamification for some aspects.
  • Also by 2015, gamification will be the primary method by which 40% of Global 1000 organizations seek to transform their business operations.

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5 Non-Financial ROIs of MOOCs

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 1, 2014 NO COMMENTS

ROI on Blue Puzzle Pieces. Business Concept.Often when we talk about the ROIs of any type of training, we focus on things that can be easily monetized. There is good reason for this—L&D, like every other department, must usually justify its existence by showing how its courses and programs are having a positive financial impact on the company. However, not all ROIs of training can easily be boiled down to dollars and cents.

The intangible benefits of training in general are many. In an article for Training Journal earlier this year, Martin-Christian Kent identified six intangible benefits that are common to all types of training programs:

  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Increased organizational commitment
  • Improved teamwork
  • Improved customer service and reduced complaints
  • Reduced conflicts
  • Reduced stress

Even though these training results range from difficult to near-impossible to measure in monetary terms (at least immediately), they can have significant impacts on the success of a company. As training solutions, MOOCs can provide these benefits just as well as instructor-led training (ILT) or traditional eLearning. But as flexible, collaborative digital learning environments, MOOCs have the potential to provide even more intangible assets to an organization.

Here are five non-financial ROIs of using MOOCs for your corporate training and development.

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How Much Learning Really Occurs in MOOCs?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 24, 2014 NO COMMENTS

touch- tablet in hands businessmenThis is a question I hear often, and only recently has research become available providing us with an answer. But before we get there, take a moment to ask yourself two questions: “How much learning really occurs in instructor-led training?” and “How much learning really occurs in elearning courses?” The reason I call your attention to these questions is that for many trainers in many organizations, the honest answer is “I don’t know.”

But you should know.

Whether learners are actually learning is important information for companies that are finding themselves increasingly required to provide more training, more frequently. Too often, however, we focus so squarely on training delivery that we fail to measure, or even notice, if anyone on the receiving end of that delivery is even awake, much less encoding any information.

The problem of forgetting

One of the main challenges for workplace education, what Art Kohn calls “the dirty secret of corporate training” is that learners forget, and they forget fast. Kohn cites research showing that learners forget 50% within an hour, 70% within 24 hours, and as much as 90% within one week.

Perhaps the single biggest cause of this extreme forgetting is the fact that traditional training doesn’t gibe particularly well with how people learn. Bottom Line Performance President Sharon Boller puts it well when she writes: “A significant portion of what organizations label as training fits [a common but ineffective model]: it’s delivered as a single ‘glop,’ and large volumes of it are delivered up at once with nothing repeated. The intent in these instances is efficiency, but the result is the opposite because people don’t remember well in these scenarios.”

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