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6 Steps to Prepare Your Company for a MOOC

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 30, 2015 No Comments

success-413093_640Moving your corporate training courses to a massive open online course (MOOC) format represents a huge change, especially if you currently offer only instructor-led training (ILT). People at all levels of your company–managers, trainers, trainees–may understandably feel some apprehension about moving to the new format. The more you do at the beginning to address their concerns, the better the chances your first MOOC will be a success.

Here are six steps you can take to prepare your company for a MOOC.

1. Get buy-in from top to bottom

One factor that distinguishes MOOCs from all other forms of training is that their reach can span an entire organization all at the same time.

ILT takes place at the classroom level — interactions around courses are often limited to the employees in the room, or employees and their direct managers. E-learning takes place at the individual level — often no person-to-person interactions take place at all. But the most successful MOOCs take place at the organizational level — individuals throughout your organization participate through taking the course, facilitating the course, commenting on discussion boards, or serving as subject matter experts for certain topics. The best MOOCs have people participating at all of these levels, which means everyone in the organization needs to be committed to this new form of learning. (more…)



What’s in Your Technology-Enabled Learning Toolbox?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 23, 2015 No Comments

kit-2160_640Last week, we looked at the building blocks of technology-enabled learning, from elements like learning objectives that are common across all training formats to those that are specific to digital formats, like content authoring tools. This blog will explore more than 60 tools and technologies for successfully implementing each of these elements in your technology-enabled training program.

Learning objectives

All training courses and programs should have learning objectives. This may seem obvious, but a lack of clearly defined objectives, or sometimes having the wrong objectives altogether, is a main reason why some training fails.

The first step in writing learning objectives for online training is to identify what type of course it is. As Tom Kuhlmann wrote on The Rapid E-Learning Blog, online courses usually fall into one of two categories: information or performance. Kuhlmann likens an information-based online course to a multimedia textbook: its doesn’t teach performance, it supports performance. Therefore, the objective of an information-based course is performance support. Performance-based courses do teach performance, and their goal is to change learner behavior. The category your online course falls into will determine how you present content and assess learning. (more…)



The Building Blocks of Technology-Enabled Learning

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 16, 2015 No Comments

New Technology on Black-Golden Watch Face.So, you’ve decided to start using technology-enabled learning in your corporate training program. Now what?

Well, just like there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to all of today’s training challenges, there also isn’t just a single way to “do” technology-enabled learning. Your particular implementation depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Whether you’re developing the training in-house or purchasing it from a third-party vendor
  • Whether you are using a fully online model or a blended learning model
  • The comfort of the instructors and learners with the technologies you will use
  • The devices learners will use to access the training
  • And much more

However, regardless of the exact details of your implementation, all technology-enabled learning courses have a common set of building blocks. Some of these, like learning objectives, are the same for any type of course, online or off. Others, like analytics and reporting, are really only available in digital environments. This post explores each of these building blocks, and in the next we’ll look at specific tools and technologies in each category. (more…)



Is the Training You’re Providing the Training Your Employees Want?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 9, 2015 No Comments

Head in HandsBefore you read this article, try an experiment:

Go to Google (or your favorite search engine) and type in “why employees love training.” Take a quick scroll through the results. Now type in “why employees hate training.” Notice the difference? Pages upon pages of articles about why people hate training, but on the love side, nada. Only advice on how to get employees to love your training. The assumption is very clearly that they don’t love it already.

The conundrum here is that employees want training. For a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, 35% of respondents said that increased training and learning opportunities would motivate them to stay with a company. Training helps employees do their jobs better, it helps them fit better into the company, and it provides the knowledge and skills they need for advancement. So why do they hate it? (more…)



Why You Should A/B Test a MOOC, and How to Do It

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 2, 2015 No Comments

keyboard-597007_640In my talks with the heads of training departments and other company leaders, I have found that many have a high level of interest in massive open online courses (MOOCs), but that they feel there are still too many unknowns. That’s why several of my recent posts have addressed resistance to MOOCs, such as last week’s article on the not insignificant issue of barriers to organizational change.

Here, I propose a solution for training departments that are interested in seeing what MOOCs can do, but aren’t yet totally convinced, or perhaps haven’t been able to get the necessary buy-in: A/B testing. This article explores what A/B testing is, why it is valuable, and how to apply it to your training programs.

What is A/B testing?

Buffer’s Kevan Lee has a great, simple definition for A/B testing: “an A/B test is a way to measure two versions of something to see which is more successful.” Essentially, it is running an experiment with two groups to see which group has the best results. (more…)



Why 65% Savings Isn’t Enough: Barriers to Organizational Change

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 25, 2015 No Comments

changeIn the previous post, I examined how much MOOCs cost compared with instructor-led training. What we’ve found is that for a 5-day training course for 500 people, a MOOC can translate into savings of about 65%, and that’s just the price of instruction alone. When you factor in all of the true costs of ILT — such as the cost of employees being away from their desks, not to mention travel — the savings rate can jump to 95% or more.

That’s a significant number. Other than eliminating your training programs entirely, what other action could you take that would reduce your training budget by 95%? Nothing.

However, despite the incredible potential for savings, many companies are still hesitant to adopt MOOCs. So, the question we need to be asking isn’t “How much do MOOCs cost?” Because obviously that isn’t the problem. The real question is “Why is 65%, or even 95%, savings not enough to convince more companies to give MOOCs a try?”

The answer in many firms is that MOOCs require a fundamental change in attitudes toward training — at the executive level, the manager level, the trainer level, and the employee level. And change is hard. (more…)



How Much Do MOOCs Cost Compared to ILT?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 19, 2015 No Comments

money-163502_640Not surprisingly, one of the most common questions I get from people who are interested in using massive open online courses (MOOCs) for training is: “How much do they cost?”

This is a simple question, but the answer is complex. I could say, “A MOOC equivalent to five days of instructor-led training (ILT) costs roughly $160,000, or a bit more than $30,000 a day.” But without any context, it’s difficult to determine what that number means. And anyway, what most people want to know isn’t what MOOCs cost in absolute terms, but what they cost compared to ILT. And that’s where things start to get complicated.

The problem isn’t on the MOOC side, where the costs are straightforward, but on the ILT side, where far to many of the true costs are hidden. MOOCs are infinitely scalable–the 5-day course would cost about $160,000, whether it was delivered to 50 people or 500 or 5,000 (slightly more). Not only is this not true of ILT, but the cost of an ILT course itself isn’t the full cost of running the training. In fact, it doesn’t come anywhere close. (more…)



How Mobile Devices Will Continue To Shape HR Departments in the Future?

By Jennifer Birch On March 13, 2015 No Comments

touch- tablet in hands businessmenWith the strong adoption of mobile devices in enterprises, it is showing no signs of slowing down in the future, especially with the continuous development to produce smarter, high-tech devices. Today, smartphones and tablets are among the most evident gadgets being maximized by employees and businesses in providing more efficient work even when on the go.

One of the departments in the office that highly utilizes mobile devices today is the human resources. Based on the report released by Aruba Networks, 86% of HR professionals globally own two or more devices with internet connectivity and productivity apps for work purposes. As the demand goes stronger, it is expected that smartphones will continue to shape and revolutionize the HR department. Here are some of the future trends to expect in this category:

Social media screening

As social media becomes an extension of people’s lives, HR has now extended their extensive (more…)



Your Learning Culture is Killing Your Company

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 11, 2015 No Comments

learn-64058_640In 2010, Bersin by Deloitte published a massive research report analyzing human resources and corporate training practices. The goal was to identify “which practices, processes, structures, and systems drive the greatest business impact.” What did they identify was the most significant element driving business impact, out of the 100+ they studied? Learning culture.

Now keep in mind, that was five years ago — before BYOD, before lifelong learning was being called a trend, before MOOCs and the countless other learning technologies that have fundamentally changed how we view education, not just in the training world but in society as a whole. Even back then, the number one factor was “the strength of the organization’s learning culture.” Today, as the training world is adapting to these changes, having a strong learning culture is even more important for companies’ success.

But the opposite is also true — the lack of a strong learning culture can actively harm companies. This post explores what a learning culture is and several different ways not having one can spell an organization’s demise. (more…)



3 Reasons You Need to Reinvent Your Corporate Training Program

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 5, 2015 No Comments

dollar-544956_640Spending on corporate training is rising rapidly. According to Bersin by Deloitte, corporate training spending increased 10% in 2011, 12% in 2012, and 15% in 2013. The numbers for 2014 aren’t out yet, but they were probably even higher. Wouldn’t you hate to find out that you are wasting your money or your time, or both?

It isn’t much talked about in anything more than a whisper, but corporate training fails quite a lot of the time. It fails to engage; it fails to enhance employees’ knowledge and skills; it fails to provide meaningful learning experiences. There are many, many reasons corporate training fails. Here are some of the most common:

  • There are no defined learning objectives, or the learning objectives aren’t aligned with your business goals.
  • Employees do not have the opportunity to apply what they learn to real-world problems and situations.
  • Training effectiveness is not being measured in a valid way (happy sheets are not a valid measurement of training effectiveness).
  • It’s boring!

Whatever the reason your training isn’t effective isn’t important (well, it is, but that is for another article). What is important is that you fix it. If you’ve been dragging your feet about revamping your training, now is the time to get going. With the pace of change in business today, companies that don’t move forward will quickly find themselves far behind. (more…)



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