For 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
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 8, 2013 NO COMMENTS
Tyler Cown, a professor of economics at George Mason University, wrote a New York Times article, with the same title as this post (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/business/a-dearth-of-investment-in-young-workers.html?_r=0). What is troubling is his argument that due to a slow economic recovery, that much of our nations youth are being bypassed. Suggesting that these workers will not attain the economic status of their parents or achieve the desire of being middle-class.
Mr. Cown’s article makes the following points:
- Businesses have been and are expected to continue to be unwilling to invest in teaching skills to their new staff.
- That these same businesses are investing in information technologies that eliminates dependency on staff, and,
- Staff can expect to have more of their training and education delivered to them online.
The article is a bit sobering and does not point to a rosy outlook. Reading is does, however, provide opportunities for companies who wish to take an alternative path to success. It also creates opportunities for firms delivering affordable solutions to these companies to provide the training that they remain willing to deliver.
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.”
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 7, 2013 NO COMMENTS
Just in case you’ve been under a rock lately, here is a news update: the nature of training is changing, and fast! The recent explosion of massive open online courses (MOOCs) in higher education has brought with it a whole new set of technology-enabled learning tools. Education and training are no longer delivered exclusively in closed classrooms by experts, and learning is no longer something people do in isolation surrounded by textbooks. Today, through computers and mobile devices, education can happen anywhere and at any time, and learning involves students not only actively engaging with the content, but also using various tools and platforms to interact with instructors and fellow learners. In the education sector, this is known as Learning 2.0, and the corporate sector needs to be prepared: Training 2.0 is coming.
What exactly does this mean?
There continues to be plenty of controversy surrounding MOOCs, but one thing we can all agree on is they are changing the way we think about education. The main drivers and implications of this change are huge improvements and innovations in learning technologies. Technology-enabled learning tools are not a panacea, but they can go a long way toward solving many of the challenges facing training departments today, including high costs, a lack of qualified employees, the rapidly changing business and technology landscapes, and long training development times coupled with the need to educate employees quickly. Over the course of two articles, we will examine the main “MOOC tools” – online technologies that have made it possible to deliver highly engaging training programs to any number of employees, anywhere, at any time.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 20, 2013 NO COMMENTS
In its race with Amazon, Rackspace Hosting’s struggle over the open-source cloud computing has been epic. The two firms compete heavily with each other over the emergence of each of there computing platforms. Rackspace has promoted its OpenStack platform to corporate clients, just as Amazon has been doing. As tech heavyweights throw their support behind one or the other, the growth for both firms have been massive.
Both firms struggle to finding enough technical workers with any experience with “cloud computing” skills. These are the skills necessary to take the various computer languages and install them into the infrastructure of these cloud-based platforms. Universities and colleges have limited or no programs dealing with these cutting-edge technical skills.
To solve this problem, Rackspace is launching the Open Cloud Academy. The Open Cloud Academy will offer a number of educational programs that will provide students certifications in these cloud-based technologies. Rackspace Chairman, Graham Weston says; “The Open Cloud Academy can help turn the tide by offering highly sought after technical training to the public, bolstering the this scarce pipeline and helping fill the countless number of roles in San Antonio and beyond.”
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 20, 2013 NO COMMENTS
Many industries have Continuing and Professional Development or CPD requirements. Those in finance, accounting, legal all have mandatory training requirements that demand anywhere from 20-40 hours annually to be completed. These CPD requirements are in addition to many product or specific product programs that many firms offer.
A quick Google search for ‘CPD requirements’ provides almost 7 million results. CPD’s are serious business, yet many firms struggle with coordinating and delivering these programs to their staff. The standard litney of reasons for why this is difficult is common to many. Things like,
- Time away from the office
- Travel time to an event
- Sometimes the cost of airfare and hotel accommodations contribute to the costs
- Relevance of the training to the participant.
To me, there is a solution out there waiting to be discovered. Something that is easy to participate in, easy to access, manageable from a time perspective and yet fully reportable and accountable for firms, regulatory bodies and associations.
Copyright 2013 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.
Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– offers 25+ years of training and talent management for executives, business owners, and top performing sales executives in taking the leap from the ordinary to extraordinary. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.
Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 10, 2011 NO COMMENTS
Investing in employee training is not an activity that should be taken lightly.
Unfortunately, it often is. Every day, countless organizations send their employees to one of the thousands of seminars held throughout the country. And when the employee returns to work, no one asks, “So what did you learn and how are you going to use it?” What’s worse, those same organizations may bring a training provider onsite expecting a miracle, and then after the excitement of the day wears off (assuming it was a good session) nothing really changes back on the job. Mercifully, by doing a little work up front, you can save yourself a lot of money. First, identify the reason(s) why you believe your organization needs training.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 15, 2009 NO COMMENTS
As we hear rumors of the eventual upturn in the global economy, organizations are beginning to emerge after taking cover and taking drastic action during the downturn. Many organizations will never operate the same again, and many are looking for ways to absorb the lessons learned and move forward with new structures and operations. How can the training organization help during this time of stepping forward? There are several areas on which to focus and change training – and ensure that the organization continues to move forward.
First, take a look at the new hire situation. Many organizations are on hiring freezes or may still be involved in layoffs. But some organizations are in constant need of new hire employees, especially on the front lines. If your organization has high turnover or simply continues to hire, look at the training that was offered for this group during the times before the economic downturn. How much of the information was truly “need to know”? Did the training integrate efficiencies such as e-learning and on-the-job programs? If not, take the time to revamp these programs to make them as efficient in delivery and subject matter as possible. Did the material focus on how to do the job efficiently? Try focusing the training itself on efficiency and see how well the new hires do. On top of this, remember to evaluate the new program in order to clean it up and keep it as cost-effective as possible.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On January 7, 2009 NO COMMENTS
I just finished reading an article on how Starbucks is closing over 7000 of their stores, for 3 hours on Tuesday, for remedial espresso training. Starbucks, which already has an extensive training program feels that their baristas are not making their coffee drinks up to the standard that Starbucks seeks to be known for.
When was the last time you saw a company, who is committed to success, stop all business activities to insure that their staff have the proper skill set to perform their job? You don’t see it because most companies are short sighted. They are willing to delivery mediocre products and let their customers know that as a company, they do not care!
Starbucks is setting a ‘gold standard’ on this. They ‘are doing’ what many more companies aught to be doing…. training their staff. They are less concerned with the loss of economic opportunity (which Dunkin Donuts is taking advantage of with their 99 cent caffeine shot) for those 3 hours, but remain focused on the truly ‘long-term’ value of delivering high quality coffee products.
In the end, this training action by Starbucks will cement their already strong relationship with their customers, who in turn will provide the on-going viral word-of-mouth advertising for their superior coffee products.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 1, 2008 NO COMMENTS
Only high-level industry training will allow you to become a trusted adviser to your clients.
Hold onto you hat and please do not fall out of your seat. I am going to dispel a common myth that some people hold so dear, they may see it as blatant heresy. “The customer is always right.” No. No the customer is not always right. Now, I know that many have learned to believe this old saying as fact. However, the fact is that the customer is not always right and actually, much of the time the customer is wrong. Before you shut me out here, bear with me and let me explain.
Think about this: if your clients knew exactly what they needed and exactly what was best for their situation, then there are only one of two possible reasons: One; they know as much or more about the mortgage lending industry or the real estate business than you do; or you just don’t know a whole lot. Does that make sense? I am not saying that your clients do not know what they want and desire more than you, but you should have a far deeper understanding as to what they need to achieve want they want, more than they do. You are the expert right?