Category Archives: Informal Learning Tips

Fun and games to upgrade your skills

Arijit Lahiri and Kamalika Bhattacharya, who spent over a decade in organisations like ABN Amro Bank and Intellecap, saw learning department heads begging, bullying and even bribing their learners to stick to their learning agenda.
So they put on their marketing hats to understand what would catch learners’ attention. “Game-based learning pretty much screamed itself up,” says Bhattacharya. Games allow for more engaging learning experiences while also making the learner behaviour more measurable and analysable. Today, their company, QuoDeck (earlier Ptotem), uses board games, murder mysteries and treasure hunts as learning methods, and these have been used by organisations like PepsiCo, Unilever, Aditya Birla Group and Tata Group.

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5 ways to leverage AR and VR for training your employees

According to IDC, the estimated market opportunity of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) solutions by 2020 will be $143 billion. Companies of all sizes are increasingly using AR and VR for corporate training and to acclimatize their new employees to the work environment.

In fact, according to STRIVR, learning retention rates with AR/VR can be as high as 75 percent as compared to just 10 percent retention rate through reading or lecture. Whether its management, customer services, or seasonal situations, businesses are successfully using AR and VR for numerous purposes.

For your company, that means if you are still not incorporating AR and VR in corporate training, then you are missing out on a lot. Here are some of the ways you can take advantage of AR and VR for training your employees.

1- VR workplace tours for new employees

With a virtual tour of the workplace, your new employees can familiarise with their new work environment, even before actually coming to the office. For you, it means your employees will be ready to get started with their work right from the first day since their learning curve will reduce greatly.

They would already know the breakrooms, bulletin boards, their team leader’s office, and their own cubicle when they arrive. You could also design the entire onboarding training module for new employees as a VR tour to make it more engaging and interactive.

2- Emergency drills

Emergency drills are a necessity for every company, and they have to make sure those drills are being conducted from time to time. But just getting a safety expert to explain the different scenarios to your employees is not enough. Most people find emergency drills boring as it interrupts their work, and they often don’t even pay attention to it.

However, you can create emergency drills using AR/VR technologies to check if the employees can handle stress and identify the correct security protocols through simulations. The biggest advantage of this is that employees can take these courses according to their own time.

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3- Task walkthroughs

To help your employees get a better understanding of the tasks that they need to perform on a daily basis, you can create online training simulations which would allow them to learn in a virtual environment.

With these simulations, they can determine the skills and steps they need to follow to complete a task, and it would also give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes without any consequences.

Bear in mind, it’s important to make sure that the simulations are as realistic as possible to provide your employees with a fully immersive experience that they can implement in the real world.

4- Compliance training

For companies, compliance training is one of the most important and mandatory processes, and they have to make sure their employees are well accustomed to it. But handing out a large document to every employee and hoping that they would read every line of it is not enough and it may not even help your organisation in the long run.

Instead, you can use AR/VR to create virtual workplace environments where employees can get a better idea about the compliances they need to adhere to through online simulations. You can also create game-based lessons where employees are given different situations to see how they would respond to it, whether its accepting gifts from a client or a workplace injury.

5 – Virtual case studies

There is no better way to understand the business and skills, than by going through previous case studies which had successful results. But most case studies are text-based and they aren’t as engaging. With AR/VR technology, your employees can understand these case studies in a more interactive way, as they will be able to see those examples in action.

By adding simulations, activities, and fun quizzes, the otherwise boring case studies become more life-like and allow your employees to retain more knowledge.

Getting the most out of AR/VR training

By implementing VR and AR technologies, you are also able to measure the performance of your employees accurately. Heat maps make it possible to see exactly where users look during their 360-degree experience and the instructors can monitor trainees in real-time. You can create VR/AR applications that can be easily integrated with your Learning Management Systems (LMS) as well.

In conclusion

Augmented and virtual reality training provides an innovative and new way to increase employee engagement, improve productivity, and save costs while offering a cutting-edge learning experience. With the latest advancements that have happened in the AR and VR technologies, the barriers are quickly fading away making it a viable option for immersive training for any industry.

Informal Learning For Startups: Preparing For Internal Social Collaboration

Classroom teaching has been debunked for newer forms of learning and engagement across organizations. Interestingly, startups seem to be the ones driving companies towards such learning. Read about it in detail here.

The Use Of Informal Learning For Startups

Working in any organization involves learning, and at different levels. The most common approach is a presentation and exemplifying, followed by learning and then repetition. However, this technique may not always yield appropriate results. Several startups in today’s business ecosystem have realized that one needs to make a framework in order to get a complete view of a learner’s overall needs.

There is no doubt that L&D plays a very important part in developing successful leaders amongst Millennials across organizations. With increase in competition, companies have started pursuing more efficient as well as effective methodologies of social learning. [1] As per an international survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, 82% respondents declared that they were making use of some form of internal social network. Since informal learning comes to 90% of total work-based learning, this is bound to happen.

Though it is known that internal social networking is highly beneficial to any company, putting together a suitable network is easier said than done. Gartner’s estimate claims that about 90% initiatives for social collaboration fail due to the “provide-and-pray” approach- one which says that any new initiative does not necessarily require massive marketing and internal promotion.

Jacques Bughin at McKinsey states that if internal social networks need to be counted as success stories, at least 30-40% of staff must be utilizing in every day. If that does not happen, then the social learning initiative will gradually fade away and you will not get the expected results.

This is what Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, Senior Vice President at PageUp, a well-known HR software company, said during her answer to L&D professionals’ questions on informal learning methods: [2]

Investment in informal learning is increasing as more and more organizations realize just how ‘sticky’ on-demand micro-content such as online blogs, podcasts, and videos are for engaging employees of all generations. With advancements in mobile learning technology, it’s now much easier for employees to share informal learning content with their peers, sending it viral across the organization. (…) People have always learnt informally, and formal education and training has supplemented that. Enterprises are now just leveraging what is a very natural and intuitive way of increasing their employees’ knowledge and skills.

3 Steps To Develop An Informal Learning Strategy

1. Engagement Strategy

Informal learning helps in attaining a massive amount of organizational knowledge, through a varied and exciting learning program which enables learners to make advancements in their careers. Only a clear engagement strategy can ensure that learners are motivated enough to participate in the very first instance. Rewards and recognition can be a good method to engage them. Make use of a game-based learning platform to create a meaningful program for them. This should be accessible through all devices, even mobiles.

2. On-The-Job Admin Team

It is natural that an elaborate learning module will require several moving parts. Every member of the L&D team should understand the aims of this initiative. If managers can become gung-ho about the new training initiatives, they will certainly become extensions of your own admin team. The organization’s culture of adapting it is what will help you move forward with the initiative.

3. Open Community

One of the major reasons for the success of any informal learning program is its nature of providing autonomy to the user. Though the user is empowered through the Learning Management System, it is also necessary to link needs of the user with those of the organization. When employees participate in open forum discussions, they get a sense of belonging with the company. At the same time, the LMS leads to better engagement levels for employees.

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Informal Learning In The Startup Environment

The changing landscape of business across India has seen the magnificent and unprecedented growth story of startups. And there is no reason why such learning cannot benefit these small organizations as well. In most cases, startups do not have the necessary funds in order to execute a full-fledged L&D program. They also do not possess requisite manpower for the same, which again brings informal training to the fore.

Adaptability And Flexibility

These are two key parameters that employees working at a startup always have to keep in mind. Well, the same goes for the learning program as well, and that’s the beauty of informal training. It has to be constantly adjusted and tweaked as per the needs of the startup. And yes, this is certainly the need of the hour since the startup is constantly evolving. By having a formal structure in place, it will no longer be possible to adjust.

Here is one of the reasons why informal learning programs can be most successful with startups. As mentioned above, learning is most effective when the user becomes autonomous. In other words, self-led learning has the potential for maximum rewards. Try to understand; who is the person who learns the most in the daily working of a startup? Well, you guessed it right – it is the average employee who is possibly engaging with clients on a daily basis. He or she is the person who will be facing the maximum number of doubts, and by being at the seat of the informal training program, he or she will also get the fastest answers. This will naturally lead to greater retention, as the employee will understand how the organization is committed towards his or her welfare.

New Vision For eLearning On A Global Scale

Today technology is advancing at a pace quicker than any one of us could have ever imagined. Eventually, there will come a time when our systems of pedagogy will be unable to handle the impact of global change. For this reason, a new vision needs to be drawn out, and informal learning is certainly a part of the same.

We are currently residing in societies which have the facilities to be able to network, collaborate and coordinate on an international scale. When we look at bringing about innovation to organizations, it becomes increasingly certain that those involved in such endeavours need to come up with a long-term vision on the future of eLearning, according to a universal global standard.

Startups can really help to take the above vision, and here’s why. They are the companies which get into territories that no one else does. They are the ones considered to be the harbingers of change in society. So if they drive forward the new eLearning vision, there is no reason why the world’s organizations will not follow.

 

This article was first published at eLearning Industry.com.

 

References: 

  1. Transforming the business through social tools
  2. Why informal learning is a worthwhile investment