I’ve been writing about massive open online courses (MOOCs) fairly steadily for the past year and a half or so, and over that time, MOOCs have changed considerably from what they were when they first appeared on the scene. Largely, these changes have been due to more investment and research into the development of digital learning environments.
Early MOOCs were often nothing more than long video lectures with a few multiple choice questions at the end—if you read much MOOC literature, you will know that these early implementations were roundly criticized for their poor pedagogy and almost complete lack of meaningful learning experiences. And the critics were right. However, that is no longer what MOOCs look like. As more institutions have experimented with them, and more research has been done about how to improve online learning, new pedagogical approaches and technologies have come on the scene. In terms of quality and learning, today’s MOOCs rival and sometimes even eclipse what is found in many instructor-led courses.
This post examines a few of the innovative new technologies that are helping MOOCs evolve into powerful active, collaborative, and immersive learning experiences. (For a review of basic technology-enabled learning tools used in MOOCs, see here and here.)
Enhanced content delivery: LectureScape
Watching a long video lecture isn’t any more engaging than watching a long in-person lecture. There are certainly some advantages to video, for example, learners can pause, rewind, and return to the content as needed, even after the course is over. But MOOCs can do better. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 17, 2014 No Comments
From the outside, corporate training appears to be something of a paradox. On one hand, it is becoming ever more necessary for companies to provide training, especially for recent college graduates: according to a Gallup survey, only 11% of business leaders believe that college graduates are adequately prepared to succeed in the workplace. Corporate training is also a huge factor in company success—a 2000 analysis by Laurie J. Bassie found that investing $1,500 per employee per year leads to 24% higher profit margins and a more than 200% increase in revenue per employee. On the other, research suggests that as much as 90% of what is learned during training is lost in a short period of time.
Given these data, it’s obvious that training is one of the key drivers for companies’ success. But the data also suggest that many organizations aren’t doing it as well as they could be, which means they are likely not achieving anywhere close to the level of success indicated in Bassie’s analysis.
I’ve written before about various ways massive open online courses (MOOCs) can improve upon traditional training, for example by better meeting the needs of today’s corporate learners and by making elearning more interesting, more interactive, and more relevant. This article addresses three common problems found in training and discusses how MOOCs provide solutions to these problems. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 15, 2013 No Comments
Forrester Research (http://www.forrester.com/Gamification+Level+Up+Your+Strategic+Approach/fulltext/-/E-RES95622) recently released a new study that highlights the fact that companies just don’t understand the concept of gamification well enough in order to make it work to their advantage. This helps to confirm the point that I have tried to make all along and that is… Companies and universities for the most part just don’t recognize the unique value proposition that gamification coupled with simulation technologies can bring to the organization to aid in training/teaching learners.
In the study, Forrester states that a company investing in gamification needs to know who their target audience is and what that audience finds as valuable. Also the organization must determine its business objectives and chart an action plan to reach them, and in addition use an “engagement loop to connect user motivations to those actions.” Past failures by some businesses have lead enterprises to question gamification applications even more so then they already were previously. The Forrester report also said, “It’s not gamification itself that fails, it is the poor application of gamification that does.” (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 10, 2013 No Comments
What is it about games that make it possible to feel like we can accomplish anything and be a master at it, how can this transfer over to real life? Games are compelling and can lead to behavioral manipulation without the player even knowing it. They have a way of draw users in and engaging them. That is why gamification elements transfer over to simulation training as a perfect fit for one another, kind of like yin and yang. The art of game design has been around for ages, although it may not have first been applied to the computer. But none the less a board game or the like can also draw players into it as well (it just might not be as immersive).
“Games enrich us with intrinsic rewards. They actively engage us in satisfying work that we have the chance to be successful at. They give us a highly structured way to spend time and build bonds with people we like. And if we play a game long enough, with a big enough network of players, we feel a part of something bigger than ourselves—part of an epic story, an important project, or a global community.” -Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken
Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world TED Talk
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 3, 2013 No Comments
As gamification moves from the early adoption stage to becoming more broadly accepted across all arenas it will prove to be a useful tool within training programs across a variety of industries. In order for gamification to be successful it can’t just rely on badges, leader boards and points. Rather, gamification mechanics need to have objectives in place towards collaboration and innovation.
Gartner (http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/gamification/) defines gamification in the following few paragraphs:
“Gamification is the use of game design and game mechanics to engage a target audience to change behaviors, learn new skills or engage in innovation. The target audience may be customers, employees or the general public, but first and foremost, they are people with needs and desires who will respond to stimuli. It is important to think of the people in these target audiences as “players” in gamified applications.
While game mechanics such as points and badges are the hallmarks of gamification, the real challenge is to design player-centric applications that focus on the motivations and rewards that truly engage players more fully. Game mechanics like points, badges and leader boards are simply the tools that implement the underlying engagement models.
Gamification describes the use of the same design techniques and game mechanics found in all games, but it applies them in non-game contexts including: customer engagement, employee performance, training and education, innovation management, personal development, sustainability and health. Virtually all areas of business could benefit from gamification as it can help to achieve three broad business objectives 1) to change behavior; 2) to develop skills; or 3) to enable innovation. While these objectives are very broad, more opportunities may emerge as the trend matures.” (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 6, 2013 No Comments
SYKESVILLE, Md., Mar 01, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — GSE Systems, Inc. (nyse mkt:GVP) has published a new white paper titled “The Case for Simulation-Based Training in the Oil and Gas Industry, Upstream and Downstream”. The document examines the need for efficient and effective workforce development in the oil and gas industry worldwide to combat the acute shortage of skilled workers both upstream and downstream.
“Statistics show that U.S. universities are producing only about 20 percent of the engineering graduates they did 20 years ago,” said Jim Eberle, Chief Executive Officer of GSE Systems. “Thus, the petroleum industry needs to train its recruits better and faster on systems that are more complex than ever before. They also need to make sure that they retain those recruits over the long term. New innovations in simulation-based training will allow industry trainers to accomplish these goals in less time with lower costs.”
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 7, 2011 No Comments
In this series of articles, we will look at the use of simulations in effective training interventions. First, let’s find out why an organization would want to use simulations in its training program.
In the past, the mention of training simulations brought pictures of high-tech cockpit mock-ups and controlled burning buildings to mind. But in today’s environment, a training simulation can occur in a classroom or online with just about any line of professionals. We know that simulations in highly technical or dangerous situations are necessities, but why should we consider using simulations in various aspects of business training, such as strategy, operations, or even leadership? The answers are fairly simple, so in this series we will discuss simulations and how you can effectively implement them in your organizations. (more…)