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

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

change-671374_640In 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…)



What You Risk by NOT Using MOOCs

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 27, 2015 No Comments

laptop-601536_640To wrap up our series exploring arguments against massive open online courses (MOOCs) and potential risks associated with the courses, in this final post we’ll turn the tables and look at some risks of NOT adopting MOOCs and other technology-enabled learning initiatives in corporate training programs.

MOOCs and other forms of technology-enabled learning signal a shift in our thinking about training. Today, learning isn’t just something we do in class; it’s something we do all of the time.

Companies that choose not to move their training programs into the 21st century using technology face three main risks:

  • Not being able to provide enough training
  • Not providing training that is as effective as it could be
  • Being perceived as out of touch

More training

The Association for Talent Development defines the term skills gap as “a significant gap between an organization’s skills needs and the current capabilities of its workforce that occurs at the point at which an organization can no longer grow or remain competitive because they don’t have the right skills to drive business results and support the firm’s strategies and goals.” (more…)



Are MOOCs Too Risky for Your Corporate Training Program?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 26, 2015 No Comments

risk-237960_640For the past month, this blog has focused on common objections to using massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other technology-enabled learning tools in corporate training programs. We’ve explored the arguments that MOOCs aren’t interactive, that they are a one-size-fits-all solution to a many-sided problem, and that people don’t learn very well in them.

This article finishes up the series by addressing the idea that MOOCs are simply too risky on which to bank something as important as corporate training success.

What are the risks of MOOCs?

In addition to the issues explored earlier in this series, here are some perceived risks of using MOOCs in particular and technology-enabled learning in general.

The technology could break down or become obsolete.

Well, yes it could. But so could any other technology your company uses, whether it be an iPad or a cloud-based software application. (more…)



“We’ve Always Done It This Way” and Technology-Enabled Learning

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 18, 2015 No Comments

telephone-167068_640In the five previous articles, we have addressed common objections to using massive open online courses (MOOCs) in corporate training. Here, we take a step back to tackle a more fundamental objection—the objection to using technology at all.

Here’s a sentiment commonly heard in training departments and conference rooms:

We’ve always done instructor-led training. Our entire training program is based on face-to-face interaction, and I don’t think learning technologies can offer us much of an advantage. Using learning technologies just isn’t right for me or for my company.

“We’ve always done it this way” syndrome is rampant in companies, especially regarding adopting new technology, and it can be difficult to overcome. This objection usually stems from an unwillingness to learn something new. But while adopting a new way of doing things can be painful for some, it must happen for businesses to survive and grow into the future. (more…)



MOOCs Are Too Uncontrollable – People Could Do Anything!

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 12, 2015 No Comments

97033289_57fab34574_zThis is the fifth 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: MOOCs Aren’t Interactive, So There’s No Real Learning Taking Place.

I understand the benefits of digital learning environments, but the problem remains that MOOCs are not very well controlled. How will we know what learners are doing? They could say they are taking the course, but really just be watching YouTube. And what about our intellectual property and other proprietary information? We can’t have employees holding Twitter chats about our business.

Retaining control over employees’ training is a very real concern for many organizations. Not only is training time paid time, but training often involves the communication of sensitive business information that companies do not want publicly disseminated. In addition, many courses are mandatory and training departments are often held responsible for tying training efforts to performance metrics, so the idea that learners could engage with their courses according to their own schedule and using their own devices can be a bit scary.

I have two major responses to this objection:

  1. MOOCs used for corporate training don’t need to take place publicly.
  2. The lack of tight control found in MOOCs can actually be an advantage for organizations.

Let’s look at both of these in more detail. (more…)



MOOCs Aren’t Interactive, So There’s No Real Learning Taking Place

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

Interactive_table_at_Ideen_2020_exhibition_2013-04-16_09.27.08This is the fourth 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: MOOCs Treat All Learners the Same.

MOOCs aren’t interactive. They don’t provide opportunities for active learning or engagement. Learners just sit in front of a computer and watch video lectures (they probably aren’t even paying attention) and take multiple choice tests. There is no learner-learner interaction, no instructor-learner interaction, and only a minimal amount of learner-content interaction. This isn’t meaningful learning—one could hardly call it “learning” at all.

This would be a very convincing argument, if it were true.

In the previous post, we saw that the widely held perception of MOOCs as a one-size-fits-all solution is inaccurate. While some MOOCs do take a “cookie-cutter approach” (which isn’t always a bad thing—think compliance training), this is not a trait inherent to the courses themselves. The same idea applies to active learning and interactivity. (more…)



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