Have you seen how people use public libraries these days?
They pick up books, skim through them, and then put them back on the shelf without reading them. Sometimes they even check out books and don’t read them. Sometimes they just photocopy a few pages or a chapter, or look up a reference. Sometimes they don’t use the books at all, but instead participate in a discussion group or even watch a film! In fact, a 2012 study found that only a bare majority of people who go to a public library actually borrow printed books.
Since people who go to libraries aren’t all borrowing books—and even when they are borrowing books they probably aren’t all reading them—public libraries are failures.
By now, I expect you are rolling your eyes. And for very good reason—the assertion that public libraries are failures is ridiculous. But these are the very same arguments often used to suggest that MOOCs are failures. The fact that only between 5 and 10% of people who sign up for MOOCs actually complete them has led some to conclude that MOOCs are not engaging, that people don’t like them, and that they are not effective forms of instruction. However, the research that has been done on MOOCs shows that this argument is not valid, because completion rates are not useful measures of what really happens in a MOOC.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 14, 2015 NO COMMENTS
Last week, we looked at seven predictions for how technology will affect training and development in 2015. This week, we’ll look more broadly at a handful of corporate training trends—still mostly technology driven—that organizations can no longer afford to ignore.
The idea of business-centric learning came onto many people’s radar last year, after the Brandon Hall Group did a survey showing that about 40% of businesses were developing their learning strategy in alignment with business needs, while the other 60% were focusing on the learners and the content. David Grebow of the Brandon Hall Group offers these characterizations of the three types of learning:
- Just-in-case learning is content-centric. This is the one-size-fits-all model that made up the training landscape for many years, particularly with the widespread implementation of e-learning. As Grebow notes: “We took the instructor completely out of the picture, and ended up with nothing but content.”
- Just-in-time learning is learner-centric. Here the learners’ needs are the focus of course development, and learners can access the information when, where, and how they need it.
- Just-for-me learning is business-centric. Grebow writes: “There is no point in focusing on just-in-case learning when the business case for the learning has not been made. No need to get that content out there just in time if the learner has no time to waste finding an answer to a question with no relationship to the business needs. What makes the most sense strategically, as well as operationally, is to provide the exact information that is just for me, when and where I need it, as long as it supports the business needs of the company.”
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 7, 2015 NO COMMENTS
It’s the beginning of the year—the time to make predictions about what the coming year will bring so that we can congratulate ourselves when they come true and make up excuses when they don’t. So, what will 2015 look like for corporate training and technology-enabled learning?
This is going to be a big year for technology-enabled learning. Many trends and movements have been bubbling just under the surface, and I expect that this will be the year they start making some serious waves. Here are my seven predictions for workforce education and learning technologies in 2015.
More companies will experiment with MOOCs.
Over the past year, companies have started dabbling with MOOCs, but the courses have yet to take off big time. There are a variety of reasons for this, including a lack of awareness, uncertainty about how to do it, and concerns regarding security, control over the information employees are learning and sharing, and so on (I’ll be addressing these and other objections to MOOCs in a series starting soon).
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 30, 2014 NO COMMENTS
In the training world, we often refer to instructor-led-training (ILT) as the gold standard. We compare every other form of training to it and seek to replicate it as closely as possible when developing new training methodologies. But it recently occurred to me that the underlying assumption here might not be correct, and that ILT might not be the ultimate high-value training after all.
Digital learning environments like massive open online courses (MOOCs) are starting to challenge the preeminence of ILT. Is it time we had a new gold standard?
Why is instructor-led training considered the best?
ILT became the gold standard not because it’s perfect (we all know that isn’t true), but because it’s better than other traditional methods of training. There is no question that ILT is superior to sending a new hire a booklet to read or putting an employee in a room with a computer to hit “Next-Next-Next” on a PowerPoint deck, but these are not exactly examples of high-quality training.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 3, 2014 NO COMMENTS
Over the past few months, we have explored the social component of massive open online courses (MOOCs) from several angles. We have examined the role of peer learning in organizations and the importance of creating personal learning networks. We have also reviewed the major technology-enabled learning tools that MOOCs use to support social interaction. In this article and the next, we will put it all together by looking at why businesses should use social media in their training and development programs and various practical ways to implement peer learning through social media in corporate MOOCs.
Many organizations are wary of social media, mainly because of a lack of control and the fear that social networking on the job will quickly devolve into “social notworking.” This fear is probably largely unfounded—companies were also suspicious about email and the Internet, but there is little doubt (and a lot of empirical research) that these innovations have improved, not harmed, productivity. In today’s environment, businesses that do not adopt new technologies are setting themselves up for failure. According to a 2012 Capgemini report, digital leaders—defined as those companies that use new technologies such as social media, mobile technologies, and analytics—are 26 percent more profitable than their competitors and generate both more revenue and higher market valuation ratios.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 21, 2014 NO COMMENTS
As digital learning environments, MOOCs are incredibly flexible—they can be used for fully online courses, in hybrid courses, as supplementary materials, and more. One of the offshoots of the growth of MOOCs has been an interest in “flipped classes,” which is commonly conceived as a reversal of in-class time and out-of-class time. For example, the typical formula for flipping a class is to assign video lectures as homework and use in-class time for collaborative activities including role play and problem-solving. Here, we’ll look briefly at how to use MOOCs to flip a corporate classroom in this way as well as explore a broader perspective on what it means to flip an online course.
Flipping class time
When people talk about “flipping” a classroom, what they are usually talking about is a way of integrating technology into
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 16, 2013 NO COMMENTS
How much of their essential job skills and knowledge are people in your organization learning from one another? 10%? 20%? Probably closer to 80%. Do you know what they are learning? Does it align with the goals of your training program? Well, that may be difficult to judge, but one thing is certain: they will remember it. Regardless of how much time and energy you put into creating content and designing your training, your employees will learn more from their peers. In a previous set of articles, we looked at the advantages of using a massive open online course (MOOC) to incorporate informal learning into training programs. Here we will focus more specifically on peer learning and how a MOOC can be used to facilitate, structure, and assess it.
Peer learning is a powerful learning tool, but one that is largely unharnessed in any organized way, often because of the belief that it does not allow for very tight control. One method that many companies have embraced is mentorship, and research has shown that employees who have mentors feel more supported by the organization, show stronger organizational commitment, and are more likely to stay. But peer learning takes place in many other ways—people give one another advice, opinions, and ad hoc lessons all of the time, over email, the phone, and even the water cooler. Although these interactions are casual, they nevertheless account for a large amount of organizational learning, and companies can benefit from not only encouraging but also facilitating them.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 23, 2013 NO COMMENTS
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a bit of a chimera – they have the head of instructor-led training, the body of traditional e-learning, and the long tail of social media. They also take advantage of many technology-enabled learning tools and platforms. Just as there are myriad types of brick-and-mortar courses, there are many types of MOOCs, each of which has its own goals and implementations. How do we design effective training programs for such an eclectic creature? In a presentation given at the 2013 Sloan-C conference, Jason Mock, instructional designer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, noted that MOOCs do not require completely new models of instructional design, but that problems in MOOCs are by nature much, much bigger than problems in traditional courses. Because of this, sound instructional design is even more essential for MOOCs than for other types of programs.
So what are some main issues corporate trainers need to consider when designing a MOOC?
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 8, 2013 NO COMMENTS
The proliferation of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has prompted many discussions about what education is, what it means, and how best to deliver it in the current digital environment. While the debate continues on whether MOOCs will eventually lead to degrees, the knowledge gained from the first year and a half of these huge online experiments is changing the perceptions and practices of education both online and in the classroom. These lessons are especially valuable for corporate training and continuing professional development programs, which companies are rapidly moving online to lower costs and increase efficiency. Over a series of articles, we will explore what MOOCs have taught us about the best ways to design, deliver, assess, and recognize learning online. This first article highlights MOOC methods for delivering training content in a way that leads to real engagement and mastery, and ultimately to better job performance.
MOOCs have focused the spotlight on how teachers teach and students learn, and many of the assumptions that form the foundations of education and training are being challenged. The first idol to fall has been the lecture. Lectures have been staples practically since the beginning of training programs. The problem is that unless the goal is to put people to sleep, lectures just don’t work. Studies going back to the 1970s have shown that people simply can’t pay attention and retain
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 10, 2013 NO COMMENTS
Let’s just admit now, that most of you reading this blog post have enjoyed some play time behind a video game controller whether it be mastering Tetris, Doom or any other video game for that matter. Although it’s scary to learn that three billion hours a week (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22508983) are spent on playing games (mainly as a pastime) it also drives home my point of stating that simulations coupled with gamification techniques can be an extremely powerful tool and one that resonates with a wide audience. Games are everywhere; games will lead the way both now and in the future.
It always seems as though the video game industry is introducing sequels to popular games rather than re-inventing the wheel and developing a new game, why not just add another one onto an already popular money-making video game series? Not to name names here, but: Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3 and Mass Effect 3 are just to name a few. And while I’m at it I might just mention Play Station 3. The lure of the video game is to draw the player in, interaction if you will. Not only does one have the opportunity to play against another player but there is also the aspect of the leader board. This leader board drives one to achieve better mastery of the game and reach higher levels. The whole idea around leader boards, badges, community collaboration, achievements and the list goes on and on… is that all of these ideas transfer over to real life.