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Archive for the ‘Learning & Development’ Category

How MOOCs Address the Needs of Today’s Corporate Learners

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 28, 2014 NO COMMENTS

PlanningHow do your employees feel about your organization’s current training program? Are they getting the training they need? Do they find that training valuable? Engaging? Relevant? Does it help them do their jobs better?

Corporate learners today need something different from their training than they did in the past. This article will focus on those needs and on how massive open online courses (MOOCs) can address them.

More training

There are no two ways about it: today’s employees need more training—both more than they have ever needed before and more than they are currently getting. This need takes a variety of forms:

  • More new-hire training. A recent Accenture survey revealed that while 80% of 2014 graduates expected formal training at their first job, fewer than half of 2012 and 2013 graduates actually received any training at all. Companies, especially those facing a skills gap, need to provide more training to help new hires be successful on the job.
  • More regular training. With the pace of technological change, the half-life of skills is getting shorter. In many cases, knowledge and skills acquired five or 10 years ago are now obsolete. This is especially true in tech industries, where skills that were in hot demand even a few months ago may already be in need of an update. Annual or biannual training isn’t sufficient to keep up with the pace of change. As management consultant Mark Lukens wrote for Fast Company, the traditional once-a-year approach to training often focuses more on filling gaps and fixing weaknesses rather than on developing strengths. It also encourages complacency. Lukens suggests that organizations should “change goals as they become redundant or something better shows up, not just because it’s January.”
  • More varied training. According to a new study by IBM, 80% of companies are now looking outside of their IT departments for ideas to bridge technical skills gaps. With boundaries between departments becoming blurrier, today’s employees need more well-rounded training options, including technical training outside of their areas of expertise and soft skills training to improve communication and collaboration.
  • Innovation training. Innovation is the key to success in today’s competitive business landscape. Innovation expert Anthony Ferrier recommends training employees at all levels how to be innovative, not just to manage innovation. This training can result in benefits an improved bottom line and more empowered and engaged employees.

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Training in an Ad-Hoc, BYOD Environment

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 20, 2014 NO COMMENTS

byodFor more than a year now, this blog has focused on massive open online courses (MOOCs). We’ve looked at what they are, the technologies that underlie them, and their place in organizational and employee learning and development. At this point, it feels like a good time to take a step back from the ROIs and the how-tos, and explore the top reason MOOCs are having such a huge impact on corporate training.

MOOCs are not just fancy new technologies to attract and retain Millennials. Nor are they just more efficient methods for companies to save time and money while also delivering high-quality training. Over the past few years, especially as the skills gaps continue to widen and digital technologies pervade every aspect of our personal and professional lives, some of the fundamental ideas that have defined training for decades are shifting. Training is not only moving from in-person to online, but from just-in-case to just-in-time and from knowledge transfer to performance support. MOOCs have become popular largely because their flexible format allows companies to deliver the type of training required in the increasingly ad-hoc, BYOD environment that is the modern workplace.

Training with a purpose

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Why Your Existing E-Learning is Failing, and How MOOCs Can Help

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 12, 2014 NO COMMENTS

elearning_failDigital 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.

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How MOOCs Can Save Your Organization Time and Money

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 7, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Time and MoneyOrganizations are now spending more on corporate training than they have in more than seven years. According to Bersin by Deloitte’s 2014 Corporate Learning Factbook, U.S. companies increased their spending on corporate training by 15% in 2013. Training is now a $70 billion industry in the United States and a $130 billion industry worldwide.

This is surely a good sign for the economy, and for training professionals, but what does it mean for companies? Well, it doesn’t mean that all of these organizations are suddenly flush and have extra money to spend. Instead, organizations are facing serious skills gaps that are already threatening their bottom line and promising to have even more of an impact in the future. Employees require much more training than companies were previously providing, and it is taking a toll. So while businesses may have increased their L&D budgets by 15%, they are expecting a much greater increase in both the amount and the quality of the training provided.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) allow organizations to deliver that increased and high-quality training their employees need without necessitating even larger increases in the training budget. In fact, compared to instructor-led training and even traditional e-learning, MOOCs can even confer cost savings. Here are five ways MOOCs can save your organization time and money.

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Corporate MOOCs: Getting Buy-In from Employees

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

businessman and businesswoman showing thumbs upHow 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?

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Corporate MOOCs: Getting Buy-In from Executives and Managers

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

EnterpriseOn this blog, we have looked at massive open online courses (MOOCs) from a variety of perspectives. We have explored what MOOCs are and what they can do, the many reasons corporate training departments are ripe for MOOC disruption, and how to use various technology-enabled learning tools to design and run a MOOC.

One issue we have not addressed, and which will be the focus of this next short series, is how to get the support—from executives, managers, and staff—necessary for a MOOC’s success.

Upper-level buy-in is important for all L&D initiatives, but perhaps even more so with MOOCs. Many of the advantages of using this training format, for example the development of personal learning networks, only come when a course is integrated both horizontally and vertically throughout an organization.

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On the MOOC Horizon: Tin Can API

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 26, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Tin CanOver the course of the past year on this blog, I’ve described several ways MOOCs are already changing training and development. These digital learning environments and the technology-enabled learning tools that power them are making training more engaging, more relevant, and as a result, more effective. In particular, MOOCs have three main advantages over traditional instructor-led training:

  1. They allow training departments to easily unbundle content so that employees have access to the information they need when they need it.
  2.  They help foster peer learning and the development of personal learning networks within, and even between, organizations.
  3. They allow organizations to track and mine training data on a large scale to improve training results, discover relationships between variables, customize training programs, and predict training effectiveness.

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Megatrends in MOOCs: #13 MOOCs as Relationship Builders

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 18, 2014 NO COMMENTS

Leader-buildersWe have finally come to the end of a long road. We have looked at how MOOCs can foster learning organizations, encourage lifelong learning, and be used in competency-based training. We have explored how gamification, mobile learning, and microlearning are changing ideas and practices surrounding corporate training. And we have seen how MOOCs are changing the role of the instructor and causing us to rethink the credentialing system.

Finally, in this last article in the “Megatrends in MOOCs” series, we’ll look at one of the most underestimated, but potentially most powerful, aspects of MOOCs—their role in building relationships: between companies and their current and prospective employees, companies and their customers, and even between business partners. It may see strange to say, but one of the largest impacts MOOCs have on training may not have anything to do with actual training at all.

The importance of relationships

Contrary to popular opinion, as we become more dependent on technology,

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Megatrends in MOOCs: #12 Training for Millennials

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 12, 2014 NO COMMENTS

MillennialsThe Millennial generation has posed one of the greatest challenges to the business world over the past few years. Millennials have different ideas from the generations that came before them about what jobs should be (i.e., places to learn and then move on), work-life balance (they believe balance is important), and the place of technology (they grew up with technology and much of their educational and social lives is already spent online). Millennials are changing how business is done, and in particular how workforce education is done. They are also the perfect audience for training MOOCs.

What do Millennials want?

What are Millennials? Digital natives who now make up more than one-third of the workforce. Tech-savvy self-directed learners. Young people who have spearheaded the rise of the share economy. Recent college grads who both expect and require extensive formal training to be successful in their jobs.

Their attitudes toward work and training are fundamentally different from those who came before, and it is essential that organizations both recognize and embrace these differences. As the Allen Communications website puts it:

“As learning professionals, we know we have to keep up with our audiences or be left behind. We also hear that Millennials

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Megatrends in MOOCs: #10 The Changing Role of the Instructor

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 28, 2014 NO COMMENTS

corporate-instructorIn this series so far, we’ve explored how massive open online courses (MOOCs) are changing the nature of learning. We’ve looked at how they can help foster learning organizations, promote lifelong learning, facilitate collaboration, and even provide just-in-time performance support. But one of the biggest transformations that has been brought about by MOOCs, online learning, and the Internet in general is a shift in what means to teach a class. The role of the instructor is changing, and while the initial reaction has been one of shock and fear (educators are afraid of losing their jobs), the truth is that this shift is actually very good news—for companies, for employees, and for trainers.

Here’s why: If your company is anything like almost every other organization, you have probably noticed a skills gap between what job applicants and employees can do and the skills you need them to have. Likely, you are observing the biggest skills gaps in the areas of computer and mathematical occupations, architecture and engineering occupations, and management occupations. And these gaps are costing you money—a recent CareerBuilder survey showed that “on average, a company loses more than $14,000 for every job that stays vacant for three months or longer” and “that one in six companies loses $25,000 or more.” The answer to bridging these gaps is training, but while 80% of college graduates expect that they will be provided with formal training on their first job, only 48% actually receive that training. Clearly more training is needed…and fast. The new role of the instructor in MOOCs means that companies can train more people, more quickly and more effectively, than ever before.

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