Digital learning environments, like e-learning, online training, and massive open online courses (MOOCs), have without a doubt been the biggest influencers on corporate training practice over the past several years. According to recent statistics, 80% of organizations offer online training and companies that have adopted e-learning have realized significant benefits, including 60% reduction in training time.
But while traditional e-learning may offer improvements over instructor-led training, from a learner’s perspective, it still leaves much to be desired. As this Learn Dash infographic shows, e-learners become frustrated by many aspects of their courses, including:
- Finding lists of procedures and regulations tedious (76%)
- Getting bored with the courses (38%)
- Hating it when the pace is too fast or too slow (37%)
In the previous post, we explored how MOOCs can improve on instructor-led training and traditional e-learning in terms of saving organizations both time and money. But of course the ultimate goal of training is have your employees learn something, which requires keeping them engaged. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 31, 2014 No Comments
How does your company currently get buy-in from employees for your training programs? I’m willing to bet that for a reasonably large percentage of organizations, that question isn’t even asked on a regular basis. Training is too often imposed on employees in a top-down fashion—e.g., “The new course on [fill in the blank] runs Monday through Wednesday from 9 to 5. See you then.” If you ever wonder why employees seem less than thrilled to attend training sessions, and then proceed to forget most of what they learn, a lack of buy-in is probably the culprit.
MOOCs are different. They are flexible training formats in which the learners have full independence and control of their own learning experiences. Because they are bottom-up approaches, gaining employee buy-in is absolutely crucial to their success.
So, how do you do it? (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 10, 2014 No Comments
Computer-based training (CBT) has been around in some form for roughly 50 years, and in that time it has generated a significant amount of buzz. Two of the biggest promises of CBT have been universal access to education (especially with the growth of online and mobile technologies) and adaptive learning—the ability to personalize learning experiences for individuals. Now, with massive open online courses (MOOCs) continuing to proliferate and new adaptive learning technologies popping up, it looks like 2014 might be the year these two promises are finally realized, together.
MOOCs and adaptive learning have not quite gelled yet, but there are trends that suggest they will soon. And when they do, the face of workplace and corporate training will change completely. This article briefly reviews what adaptive learning is and how it can improve organizational training and development, and then describes various advancements and technologies that suggest adaptive learning could soon be incorporated into MOOCs to produce some of the most powerful training models we have seen so far. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 24, 2014 No Comments
The education and training worlds are fond of buzzwords, too many of which tend to be old ideas wrapped in shiny new packaging. But there is one buzzword that is set to transform the way we think about education from higher education classrooms to corporate training and development departments: unbundling.
We are all familiar with the concept of bundling—we use Expedia to get better prices by bundling our flights, hotels, and car rentals together, and we bundle our cable and Internet packages to save money as well. While bundling may be great for saving money on vacations and utilities, the all-in-one format that is currently the standard in education seems to have run its course. Now, thought leaders are exploring ways to improve education by breaking it into its component parts.
One of the biggest current proponents of unbundling in the education sphere is Anant Agarwal, MIT professor and president of massive open online course (MOOC) provider edX. In a December Huffington Post article, Agarwal (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 17, 2014 No Comments
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a rising trend in corporate and workplace training. The courses are still fairly new, and many questions remain to be answered. Currently, one of the hottest topics is how to measure the success of a MOOC. Although once everything is up and running, the marginal cost associated with MOOCs can approach zero, they still require significant upfront investments of both time and money. Organizations interested in using MOOCs as part of their training programs need to have a clear idea of the benefits they will realize—preferably reflected in their bottom line.
In the previous post, I outlined the four-level model of evaluation developed by Donald Kirkpatrick. Here, we’ll explore how MOOCs and the data that comes out of them can be used to measure success at each of these four levels. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 23, 2013 No Comments
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have rocked the world of education probably faster than any other innovation in history. In just over a year, MOOCs have gone from being viewed as a panacea for all that ails education to being seen as an imposter: a cheapened form of education. Now the pendulum is swinging back to somewhere in the middle. Several pundits and observers have noted that MOOCs are following the Gartner hype cycle for emerging technologies, and most agree that we are now somewhere between the “trough of disillusionment” and the “slope of enlightenment,” on our way to the “plateau of productivity.”
As we move toward an environment where MOOCs are considered neither cure-alls nor curses, but rather tools that can be used in many different ways to improve education, it is useful to take a few steps back and examine where we’ve been and where we are so that we can make some reasonable predictions about where we’re going. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 24, 2013 No Comments
What parts of your training program are the most effective? The least effective? When are your employees really engaged and when are they daydreaming? What training units / simulations / assessments / employee actions are most associated with learning? How does training influence the success of your employees and your organization? Would you like to be able to answer these questions? According to the ASTD 2012 State of the Industry Report, in 2011 U.S. organizations spent more than $156 billion on training, averaging just under $1200 per employee. For that kind of dough, companies want to see some results.
MOOCs (massive open online courses) are currently redesigning the educational and training landscape. In January 2013, the Harvard Business Review blog called “the advent of massively open online classes…the single most important technological development of the millennium so far.” Did you get that? The single most important technological development of the millennium so far. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 20, 2013 No Comments
A company’s Learning and Development (L&D) function is only as good as the outcomes that it consistently delivers. Are your employees working to their potential? Are there skill gaps that have not been addressed? Is L&D listening to what employees think they need more of? All these questions, and more, need to be answered to help an organization learn and grow. The success of any company depends on the success of its employees. In order to be motivated and productive, employees must feel that they have achieved professional growth as individuals within the organization. A training strategy involving MOOCs creates an environment that allows people and organizations to learn and grow, not only as individual entities, but also within the sphere of the industry that they belong to.
When you host MOOCs across your organization, you ensure that everybody is trained to perform role-based activities in a similar fashion. MOOCs enable a uniform content delivery platform, thus standardizing processes across geographies, to the extent possible. In case of process deviations in certain locations, participants from other offices can choose to learn about the reasons for these deviations and increase their awareness of the company’s operations. This environment of “one way” of doing things allows a company to measure and monitor its offices’ performances more accurately. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 8, 2013 No Comments
The extremely fast paced growth of Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs , means that many companies are now evaluating how they can benefit from this training methodology. In order to perform this evaluation correctly, one key question must be asked – do you view a MOOC as a product or a service?
MOOC – product or service?
Before digging deeper into this question, it is important to understand the difference between a product and a service. By standard definitions, a product is a tangible object manufactured, developed or assembled, while a service is an intangible benefit or value addition. However, in the world of MOOCs, this line is very blurred. Do MOOCs provide content that is developed for the consumers, thus making it a product? Or does it provide a platform for content, thus making it a service?
MOOCs can be sliced into two distinct segments.
The first segment comprises of:
– Creating course syllabus and structure;
– Developing content by using information collated from various sources such as books, the internet, professors and professionals; (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 27, 2013 No Comments
Markets are moving and the need for training is ever present for firms wanting to survive.
The disruption that is ‘already here’ is changing everything we know and do.
The question everyone has is… what are we going to do knowing that this disruption has occurred.
In the past, training required that you book flights, transportation, hotels, take care of meals and entertainment… all to get people together for training. We have for decades thought the best method for training was flying hundreds of people from all points, to a central place for training. The costs have always been HUGE.
Then ADDING the cost of the venue AND the training. (more…)