Category Archives: L&D professionals

On-boarding for a Job Role STACK

Unless you have been living under a rock through the last decade, you have heard of tech stacks. A tech stack is the set of underlying elements of a software application. These are the frameworks, languages, and software products that everything else is built on. Every developer who joins a tech team needs to learn his stack.

Similarly, I believe that every business role has a stack. A stack that has to be mastered by anybody looking to do that role.

Skills

Skills are what we all need to know how to do in order to our job effectively. There are two broad categories of skills – Soft Skills and Functional Skills. In the context of this framework, the “Skills” being referred to are Functional Skills only. Every role demands certain core functional skills, that are essential for the employee to function in that job.

Good examples of these are Javascript expertise for a ReactJS developer, Negotiation and Presentation Skills for a salesperson and Accounting Skills for a credit analyst. While such skills can be trained for, true expertise comes only from experience. This is why expertise in such core skills is typically evaluated during the recruitment process itself. And once in the job, organizations trust employees to progressively get better the longer they perform the role.

In the context of role on-boarding, there is very little that can be done in a short duration program to build up these core skills. Instead, what is recommended are skill assessments and quick refreshers. Essentially, just show them a mirror and jog their memory.

Don’t spend inordinate amounts of time (not more than 10%) on skill training during on-boarding.

Tools

Can you imagine a carpenter without a saw or a blacksmith without a hammer? A skill is useless without the tools that go along with it. Similarly, every job role typically requires an employee to use a set of software and hardware tools and systems to perform their jobs.

Good examples of these are IDEs for developers, Canva and Amplayfy for content marketers and Microsoft PowerPoint for salespersons. Apart from industry-specific tools like these, most companies also have their own company-specific ERP, CRM, LMS, HRMS, etc. that the employees need to familiarise themselves with.

In the context of role on-boarding, expertise on industry-specific tools is akin to having the core skills. It is not recommended that any industry-specific tool training be undertaken during the on-boarding program. Instead, it is recommended to focus on providing primers for company-specific tools. Most people are hesitant to learn new systems, and the on-boarding program is the best place to manage this trepidation through these introductions to the tools. Giving them access to manuals or help videos in a repository format will encourage deeper self-training at a later date.

Spend more time on training on tools (about 15%) over training on skills during on-boarding.

Attitudes

Attitudes are a mixed bag of soft skills, beliefs and habits that are required for working in a role. These dictate how well you can work or interact with others to form relationships, create trust and dependability, and lead teams.

Good examples of these are leadership abilities in team leaders, assertiveness in analysts and persuasiveness in salespersons. Beyond the role requirements, all companies have a clear set of values, principles and guidelines that they look to inculcate in their workplace. Every employee must learn, internalise and display these attitudes to fit into the company culture.

In the context of role on-boarding, such attitudes need to be communicated right up front. These are best done through meet and greets, icebreakers, evangelical sessions and value discussions with the employee. Given that these require significant face-to-face interactions, it is perhaps the most expensive part of an on-boarding program in terms of time and effort and might seem to have a lower direct benefit in role on-boarding.

However, attitudes are critical in integrating a new hire into the company on the whole, and deserve significant resource allocation (about 20%) during on-boarding.

Customers

Customers are the only purpose for existence of any business activity. Customers can be internal or external, depending on the nature of the job role. But in all cases, knowing about and understanding customers is critical to performing the job well. Such customer education is unique to role on-boarding, differing from organisational induction in its application.

Good examples of these could range from retailers for front-line FMCG sales, website visitors for SaaS inside sales teams and company employees for an HR team. A stakeholder mapping exercise would be a good starting point for identifying the customer for a role.

In the context of role on-boarding, the difficult question is determining the best approach for the customer familiarisation exercise. In the case of institutional sales, it could be one-on-one meetings with the clients and account planning exercises. In the case of B2C sales, it might be participating in surveys, focus groups and interviews. Attending reviews and meetings might be a good way to familiarise the employee with internal customers.

Customer familiarisation during on-boarding requires significant time expenditure (about 25%), but reduces the need for on-the-job training in the long term.

Knowledge

Knowledge required for a job role spans a matrix of Industry-Company-Employee and Information-Concepts-Expectations. This has been explored in great detail in the ICE Cube induction framework I and II which are linked here and here.

Good examples of knowledge needs are company background, regulations, company policies, business concepts, etc. A larger part of required knowledge are job role specific knowledge of concepts, processes, products, expectations etc.

In the context of role on-boarding, the knowledge requirement takes up the largest chunk of time. It is recommended that to the extent possible, the knowledge sections should be administered through e-learning and not instructor-led training. The knowledge content should be structured as a combination of course-ware and reference learning centers, with a focus on on-demand learning and personalization. Try and find ready learning resources on LinkedIn, Coursera, Udemy, etc. before starting to create your own learning resources.

Knowledge training forms the base of the entire role on-boarding program (about 30%) and needs to be planned smartly to manage time, cost and effectiveness.

* * *

The Job Role STACK approach integrates really well with competency mapping and organizational development. Ideally, we typically recommend getting veterans of each job role in the organization to define the STACK and its constituents. Post that, taking the common elements of multiple Job Role STACKs into a common company induction program becomes easier. The remaining STACK components then move into a relatively shorter role on-boarding exercise that finally gets integrated with on-the-job training and coaching.

Do let us know your opinions on job role stacks and whether you see them being applicable in your businesses. And if you are looking for an easy to use tool to create interactive content for such programs, do consider giving Amplayfy a spin…

P.S. This was first published on LinkedIn – Click here to see the original post

6 tips to integrate micro learning in your courses for rapid learning

Micro-Learning can be defined as a skill-based approach in education as well as training that delivers the information in small, ‘bite-sized’ chunks. This is useful as the learners can quickly assimilate the knowledge that they need to perform a particular task without having to spend long hours learning about it. Thus, it creates an opportunity for the learners to engage with the content exactly at the moment they need it.

In recent years, Micro-learning has supplemented and in many cases, even replaced the traditional method of learning which was time-consuming and primarily focused on theory. Microlearning, on the other hand, focuses more on the application and is largely self-driven, thus, producing effective and measurable results.

This is why many training programs are now utilizing the micro-learning principles to generate rapid learning and make the process engaging and successful.

Let us look at the 6 tips to integrate micro-learning in your courses for rapid learning:

1) Gamifying Learning Content-

Learner engagement is one of the most important aspects of any training program. Without effective engagement, content retention or recollection is not possible. Micro-learning principles can be utilized to create a game-based learning scenario that is interactive and interesting. Gamifying the learning content makes it visually appealing and engaging which can help the learners better understand and remember it. Incorporating gaming mechanics like compelling narratives, characters, badges, etc proves to be useful in making the entire learning process fun and effective.

2) Using Interactive Training Tools-

Using micro-learning principles in creating Interactive training tools like simulations and scenarios can effectively and rapidly teach a particular skill-set. Simulation, in particular, can be really helpful in creating a virtual situation where the learners can apply the knowledge they have gained to solve a problem or achieve a certain goal. Thus, focusing on the content application instead of theory can help increase its intake and retention. A time-based decision-making scenario is also helpful in testing the learner’s capability in handling work pressure. Thus micro-learning principles offer a unique experience in a training program that may not be possible by following the traditional way.

3) Creating Instructional Videos and Podcasts-

Instructional videos can be a great way to give information as they are engaging and brief. Micro-learning can be used to create short videos about a particular product or developing a needed skill-set, which can then be shared across a variety of platforms like the company’s website and Youtube. This is convenient as the learners can access it whenever required.

Similarly, educational podcasts make it easier for the learners to gain information from the comfort of their own house or while traveling, without taking up too much of their time during work hours. It makes the process more learner-centric as they have control over their learning and can easily set their own pace for receiving the necessary information.

4) Writing Blog Posts-

Micro-learning principles can be used to create something as simple as a blog post which can keep the learners informed about various topics. Blogs don’t take much time to read, and a large chunk of information can be easily condensed in the form of points which the learners can easily remember. Blog posts can also be easily accessible from any device and can be published on various platforms which makes it handy for the learners to read them as and when required.

5) Creating Self-Assessment Tools-

One of the most effective ways of using micro-learning principles is by creating self-assessment tools which can include online quizzes, questionnaires, puzzles, case studies, etc. They provide an excellent opportunity to gauge the level of the learner and quantify their progress and understanding. Instant feedback that is given, helps the learners in identifying knowledge gaps which they can then rectify. As the evaluation is quick, the learning also progresses at a rapid pace. Self-assessment tools are also helpful in judging the effectiveness of a training program as they test the learner’s understanding and retention of the content.

6) Using Multimedia Resources-

Micro-learning makes it easier to condense information into various multimedia resources to provide a variety in learning and make the process interesting and enjoyable. Online slideshows and presentations are a great way to deliver information in a few minutes as the learners can easily absorb the content. Micro-learning is also used to create infographics that provide a comprehensive overview of the subject in a way that the learners can quickly understand and recollect.

Thus, integrating microlearning into the regular courses is a great way to boost the productivity of the training program and generate rapid learning and better content engagement, involvement, and retention.

Why is it important for the HR’s to upgrade their Induction programme in 2021?

The induction programme of an organization is an important process of introducing a new employee to the working environment, rules and regulations, company policies, job responsibilities and other such essential information. It forms a part of an organization’s knowledge management process and helps the new member become integrated into the team and the company’s business. It has proven to improve employee retention, build the company’s reputation and increase overall productivity of the employees.

However, the current pandemic situation has proven to be both, challenging and enlightening with regards to the typical recruiting process. With  new emerging technologies and more people opting for a digital workspace, it becomes imperative that the onboarding process be accordingly upgraded, to the changing times and scenarios. Here are some reasons why it is important to upgrade the Induction programme in 2021:

Remote Working:

Telecommuting has become the new reality for business corporations. In the current pandemic situation, the entire recruiting process is completely online. Hence, it is essential that the onboarding process also be similarly upgraded. The upgraded Induction programme should have information about work from home policies, provision for online introduction and interactions,  and should also provide technology training and support for those who require it. A mobile workforce changes the dynamics of an organisation, in the sense that it becomes more impersonal, in comparison to a face-to-face interaction. It is therefore important that the digital training process is able to make new recruits feel welcome and included in the company. 

Networking Systems :

Technology has become an integral part of business and with the introduction of new tools, services and upgrades, it is important to train the new recruits to become more digitally aware and utilize these tools for better collaboration and communication, especially during these challenging times. 

Basic training on the new networking systems like Skype for business, Sharepoint, Google Meet and emerging technologies like Office 365 should also be incorporated to the regular induction process. This would enable the new members to communicate and be in touch with the organization and also provide a great platform for them to get to know their colleagues and develop a great working relationship with them.

Introduction of Learning Management Systems :

Induction is no longer simply a text based training programme. Many corporations are now opting for a gamified learning approach when it comes to introducing the new employees to the company history, structure and policies. Using a learning management system (LMS) for the recruiting process helps the new member learn about the business culture, standard business procedure, compliance policy etc in a more interactive and engaging manner. LMS can be used to design courses for enhancing the employee’s skill or to introduce them to a new software or technology. It can also be used by the Learning and Development team for testing and assessing an employee’s performance. It can thus help to evaluate the success of a training programme and see if the trainee’s have managed to retain the information after training.

Innovation (Creativity over Formality) : 

Many organizations are going the creative and personal route over the completely formal onboarding process. Induction forms the first introduction of the organization and its tone and the methodology used goes a long way in creating a great impression on the new recruits. Therefore, some companies prefer a more innovative approach, rather than the traditional approach while welcoming their new employees. This may include-

Gifting: 

This is a great personal way to make an employee feel welcome. Some companies give their new recruits a pen and a notebook with the company logo and others even give out gift coupons.

Activity based programme:

Some organizations arrange an activity programme where the new member can interact and get to know their colleagues. Activities like sharing a funny story, engaging in some fun games go a long way in breaking the ice and building great working relationships among people.

Buddy system:

Most new recruits often feel intimidated and unsure about their roles and responsibilities when they first join an organization. Induction usually takes care of this by giving them the information in print, but some companies have introduced the buddy system to supplement this process. The buddy system involves assigning a buddy to the new member, who would be responsible for introducing them to the other team members, helping them get accustomed to the company role and answer any queries that they have. Many corporations have reported great success in implementing this method during their onboarding process.  

Thus, upgrading the induction process according to the changes and emerging trends, helps in creating a friendly and dynamic workplace which in turn enables the employees to grow and develop and achieve greater results for the organization

The 7 Advantages of Remote Working

People have always been drawn to the idea of a flexible workspace that provides them with professional and personal control over their career and life in general. While some corporate organizations were hesitant and sceptical about the concept of a productive remote working scenario, the current pandemic situation has forced many to re-evaluate their opinion.

The last couple of months have highlighted the fact that working from home is not only a great alternative to the routine office set-up, but also benefits both, the employee and the business organization. 

Highlighted below are the seven main advantages of remote working :

Increased Productivity

Many corporate companies are of the opinion that working from home can result in their employees becoming lazy and unproductive, but factually, the opposite is true. 

Distance work gives people the freedom to select their own workspace. They can choose to work in comfortable clothes, relax on a comfortable chair or even have their laptop stationed on the kitchen counter. This familiar and ergonomic workspace helps in reducing stress, thereby increasing productivity and performance. 

Moreover, people do not have to expend their time and energy in daily commuting to their offices. Not having to travel long-distance or suffer traffic congestion reduces the anxiety of being late or wasting too much time. People doing remote work are often, more inclined to start their work early or even extend their work hours due to not having to travel to their workplace.

Independence of Location

A flexible workspace allows people to continue working despite a change in their location without having to change their company or start over in a new organization. 

It also provides access to a broader range of employment opportunities that are not limited by geographical location. People can thus, avoid moving to a major metropolitan area with a high cost of living simply to have a career that they desire. 

Companies will also not lose their employees if they re-locate and can thus enjoy a greater degree of employee retention in their organization. 

Reduction of Expenses

Telecommuting can be a great way to save money and reduce expenses. Having a remote job instantly reduces the cost of petrol, vehicle maintenance, professional attire, daily meals etc. It also benefits the companies and allows them to save money as it decreases the cost of real estate and technology.

Inclusion of People

Digital workspace is not limited by geographical location and hence, it allows companies to hire people from different places. This enables greater diversity in the work environment as employees belonging to different culture, language, race, religion, etc., all come together and enhance the social dynamics of the organisation.

Moreover, it also provides an excellent work opportunity for people with disabilities and others who cannot work an on-site job, to follow their career goals without having to worry about external factors like work commute, etc.

Better work-life balance 

Telecommuting makes it easier for people to balance their career and family life. It reduces stress, gives time for recreational activities and improves personal relationships. In addition, the interaction between the employee and the employer is greatly enhanced without all the distractions and politics that come with an on-site job. 

Working remotely also encourages people to live a healthier life by eating well, having time to exercise and not being stressed or over-burdened by external factors.

Flexible Timings

Many remote jobs come with flexible timings where people can start and end their day as they desire, as long as the work schedule is not compromised. This factor is desirable to people as it allows them to take an active part in their family and still maintain their career. It allows them to balance time for their children’s school activities, family functions, medical appointments etc. Thus, an off-site workspace can lead to a more fulfilled and satisfying life.

Environmental Impact

Telecommuting not only benefits people on an individual level but it also proves advantageous to the world at large. When many people choose to work from their homes, it positively impacts the environment by reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases and saving oil resources. Reducing travel also helps in reducing pollution and carbon emissions which greatly affects the climate. 

Moreover, distance work negates the use of too much paper, air-conditioner, lighting etc in a corporate set-up which in turn can leave a positive impact on our globe.

 Although the current on-going pandemic situation has been the catalyst for people turning to a digital workspace, many are realizing its multifarious advantages. It is thus, safe to say that this  is one trend that isn’t going to slow down anytime soon

How to motivate employees

The Outbreak of Covid19 has created social devastation and economic disruptions in the country. Pretty much all the workers across various sectors are in lockdown, and some are self-quarantined. The concept of Work from Home has therefore become an essential part of most organizations.

You need some proactive strategies and tools to create social bonds, connections and motivate employees that are working from home.  So here are some pointers on how to do this effectively:

  1. Set Clear Expectations: Flexibility in schedule is an advantage for working from home employees. But if you want your employees to be present and more responsive at a certain time, you need to communicate this to them in advance. Encourage employees to maintain a calendar to know their online and offline availability.
  2. Communicate and Stay Connected: Try and connect with your employees over phone or video/audio conference. Your voice and tone will typically communicate your thoughts much better than emails.
  3. Recognize: Recognize the efforts made by the employees and reward them with praise, whenever appropriate.
  4. Create a visual scoreboard: You can create a visual scoreboard for the week and ask employees to tick each and every pointer on the scoreboard. This will help the employee understand their goals, progress and potential on an ongoing basis.
  5. Convert Phone calls/Conference to Video conferences: Use technology to the utmost. Organize Video Conferences instead of phone calls to have a stronger connect with your employees. Agenda of what will be discussed in the meeting should be sent well in advance to allow the employees to prepare themselves. The call should always start with small talk by the Manager to make the employees feel connected.
  6. Use Gifs: While chatting or on a group chat, in order to praise and congratulate, you can use gifs to make employee feel more connected. After all, comfort of the employee is most important. Often having an informal conversation with employees can be constructive.
  7. Group Breaks while you work from home: Whenever you take a break, consider connecting over video conferencing with other employees to have an informal chat. Be as creative as much as you can with your team.
  8. Have a Development Plan: Make sure you have a development plan for each employee for one week. Have video conferences every day. Here are some points you can discuss as per the day:
  9. Monday: Cover the following stock-taking and planning points:
    1. Did we finish and meet the deadlines of the last week?
    1. What are the new tasks for each employee this week and how are they planned to be done?
    1. How can we help each other in the tasks?
    1. Who should improve and in what areas?
  10. Tuesday- Thursday: Have a conversation with each employee (if possible) or have a conference with small groups to help the team tackle the tasks and any problems they face. This would help in increasing coordination among the employees.
  11. Friday: Friday should always focus on Reflection. Here the manager should ask about how the team felt while doing tasks, what problems they faced, etc.

While there are many advantages to working from home, managing employees over the wire presents unique challenges. While the work environment has completely changed, the goals are no different from the traditional workspace because you require the same results as what you needed at the office workspace. Remember, a little planning, help and praise for hard work can go a long way in keeping your team motivated while working from home.

How To Enhance The Impact Of Your Mobile Learning Strategy In 2019

With the maturing of mobile learning, the focus shifts on how to maximize its potential. In this article, I showcase approaches that will help you enhance the impact of your mobile learning strategy in 2019.

Mobile Learning Strategy: Enhance Its Impact In 2019

Mobile learning is the training that is available to learners on their mobile devices. It can be consumed on the go, and it gives them the flexibility to learn anytime, anywhere, and at their own pace.

Access to learning assets is not limited to smartphones. Instead, it features “multi-device” support providing additional flexibility to the learners to move seamlessly across devices during their learning journey (between smartphones, tablets, or laptops and desktops).

Over the last 2-3 years, mobile learning has transitioned from its first avatar—the mobile-friendly format—to the mobile-first format. The initial format of mobile learning was an adaptive or a mobile-friendly format that supported all devices but wasn’t fully optimized for smartphones. But the more recent format of mobile learning is the completely responsive or mobile-first format that is fully optimized for usage on smartphones. Not only does it feature interactions that align better to the way we use smartphones but also the designs adapt fully to the viewable area of each device.

It also aligns well to the changing learner expectations and demographics. Today, mobile learning is the preferred mode of training for learners and this cuts across learner profiles (not just Millennials) and resonates well with the multi-generational workforce.

What Are The Key Benefits Of Adopting The Mobile Learning Strategy?

The mobile learning strategy offers several benefits to learners and L&D teams as it:

  1. Aligns to the way learners want to learn (on the go, anytime, and anywhere)
  2. Empowers learners by giving them control on the pace they want to learn
  3. Facilitates a “pull” of learning vs “push” and this resonates better with the learners
  4. Offers a higher engagement quotient
  5. Can be used across learning needs (formal, informal, or social learning)
  6. Can be used to support Instructor-Led Training
  7. Can address the entire spectrum of corporate training needs (ranging from induction and onboarding, soft skills training, product training, sales training to compliance)
  8. Features better completion rates
  9. Can be used for knowledge acquisition, its application, as well as meeting specific learning needs (through instant learning aids or job aids)
  10. Can be used to retain an ongoing connection with learners

What Is The Value That The Adoption Of Mobile Learning Strategy Offers?

The biggest strength of mobile learning is that it aligns very well with the way learners want to consume learning. For instance, you can craft your mobile learning strategy to include learner-centric formats that sync up with their lifestyle. These could include:

  1. Podcasts that they can listen to during their commute to the office
  2. Microlearning nuggets for learning that can be easily consumed during waiting periods (and avoid carving out specific time slots for training). You can also offer microlearning nuggets as refresher nuggets to keep the “forgetting curve” at bay
  3. Microlearning videos for quick time learning
  4. Interactive videos for the application of learning
  5. Just-In-Time learning aids or job aids to address specific challenges or provide tips, ready reckoners, or learning summaries
  6. Quizzes
  7. Practice exercises
  8. Personalized curated content
  9. Furthermore, you can add dollops of fun through gamified elements or make learning more immersive by using nuggets featuring Virtual Reality (VR)
  10. Mobile apps for learning

How Can You Enhance The Impact Of Your Mobile Learning Strategy Further In 2019?

You can enhance the impact of your mobile learning strategy by providing:

  1. A judicious mix of learning and reinforcements to ensure that the “forgetting curve” does not set in
  2. Adequate room to practice, hone skills, and gain proficiency or mastery
  3. Detailed feedback and remediation or recommendations to further enhance the learning
  4. Nudges to review, challenges, and hooks to come back for more
  5. A channel for informal and social or collaborative learning
  6. An avenue to contribute User-Generated Content (UGC)

Here is a ready reckoner of the strategies that you can use to enhance the impact of your mobile learning strategy.

1. You can use microlearning and video-based learning:

  • To create buzz or awareness prior to the formal training
  • For formal training
  • For Performance Support
  • For informal learning
  • For inclusive learning (provide room for User-Generated Content)
  • For social learning

2. Invest in some of the learning strategies that will deliver high-impact experiences:

  • Interactive video-based learning
  • AR/VR
  • Gamification
  • Scenario-based learning
  • Story-based learning
  • Guided exploration

3. Retain the connection with learners by pushing nuggets that:

  • Reinforce
  • Refresh prior knowledge
  • Provide room for practice and mastery
  • Encourage learning beyond the specified outcomes

As you have probably seen, if you want to enhance the impact of your mobile learning strategy, you need to adopt a multi-pronged approach (that cuts across learner profiles and across various types of training needs). I hope this article gives you the required insights on how you can use my pointers and step up your mobile learning strategy.

By Asha Pandey, Chief Learning Strategist at EI Design

How To Choose The Right Kind Of Video For Your Employee Training

Video-based learning has become an important part of corporate training delivery today. In this article, I share pointers that will help you identify what training videos would work best for your employees.

Choosing The Right Kind Of Video For Your Employee Training

Using videos for training employees has been around for a while. Of late, there is an acceleration in their usage. This is on account of the wider adoption of mobile learning and microlearning as they both leverage extensively on video-based learning.

Video is an immensely high-impact medium and when used as training videos for employees, they offer:

  • High engagement quotient
  • Sticky learning experience leading to higher retention and recall

The value of using training videos for employees lies in their ability to offer:

  • Formal training which can be consumed “on the go”
  • Instant job aids that are within the learners’ workflow and can be accessed at the moment of their need
  • Informal learning
  • Social learning

How Can You Use Training Videos For Your Employees?

You can use training videos for employees to supplement your corporate trainings and step up their impact. Some of the key trainings that can leverage on videos for employee training include:

  1. Induction and onboarding
  2. Soft skills training
  3. Product training
  4. Sales training
  5. Application simulations training
  6. Compliance training

The flexibility of training videos enables you to use them for:

  1. Formal training (online)
  2. Support Instructor-Led Training (ILT) or Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)
  3. Performance Support (learning aids/job aids to support formal training)
  4. Social learning

This is not all. The true power of videos for employee training lies in their ability to contribute beyond learning or performance support intervention. They can contribute to other levels of the learning and performance ecosystem, notably to:

  1. Create a buzz or awareness (before the launch of the training program)
  2. Support crucial change management initiatives
  3. Continue the connect with the learners (post the training program)

Are There Any Drawbacks Or Limitations That You Should Be Aware Of As You Opt For Training Videos For Employees?

As I see it, there are a couple of aspects that you should note:

From The Development-And-Cost Perspective

The cost of video-based learning for formal training or as Performance Support is higher as compared to traditional eLearning development. You also need to be aware that any updates or enhancements do entail significant costs and lead time.

From The Learning-Impact Perspective

Even though video-based learning offers an immersive learning experience, the video does have an intrinsic limitation of “passivity”. It allows learners only to start/stop or pause.

This can impede the learning impact when you have long run length videos.

Additionally, you cannot track the learners’ progress as they go through videos for training.

What Kind Of Video Formats Can You Opt For In Order To Create Training Videos For Your Employees?

You have wide-ranging options that you can offer as training videos for your employees:

  1. Teaser videos
  2. Context-setting videos
  3. Explainer videos
  4. Scenario-based videos
  5. Story-based videos
  6. Complex decision-making branching simulation based videos

Are There Other Interesting Approaches That Can Enhance The Impact Of Training Videos For Employee Training?

Here are 3 interesting options that you should certainly consider:

1. Interactive videos
This is a Next Gen approach that creates highly interactive and immersive video-based learning solutions. It includes:

  • Learning interactions that are similar to traditional eLearning (Hot spots, Click and Reveal and so on)
  • Quizzes and assessments
  • Learning paths that branch to different tracks based on learners’ choices
  • Gamification elements
  • Unlike traditional videos, interactive videos allow you to track learner performance, and they also offer SCORM output

2. Microlearning videos
These short, focused, bite-sized videos use rapid development approaches. They are particularly useful as a social learning tool. They are designed to be available within the learners’ workflow so that they can access the relevant bite exactly at the time of their need.

3. 360-degree videos for VR and AR
These can take your user engagement and stickiness of learning to an all high level.

What Kind Of Training Videos Would Resonate With Your Employees?

Modern learners face challenges of distractions and multi-tasking, and they certainly do not want to carve out a block of time for training. They want the training to be flexible, short, focused, and available on the go. So, as you opt for videos for your employee training, match it with their lifestyle and accordingly, craft the learning journey.

Here is a list of my top 5 strategies you should adopt as you offer training videos for your employees:

  1. Create the buzz or awareness and establish WIIFM (What Is In It For Me)
  2. Set context or teach concepts
  3. Offer learning followed by practice, application, and summaries
  4. Checkpoint learners’ progress and understanding
  5. Reinforce and keep the “Forgetting Curve” at bay

What Would Be The Impact Of Using Training Videos For Your Employees?

You would see:

  • Higher engagement
  • Better completion rates
  • Better retention and recall
  • Better performance support leading to better application of the acquired learning
  • Increased focus on informal learning
  • Higher ROI on your training spend

I hope this article gives you great ideas that you can use as you implement training videos for your employee training. If you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

By Asha Pandey, Chief Learning Strategist at EI Design

Design Thinking: The Future Of HR Learning And Development

L&D and HR leaders deal with some pretty large-scale people development problems, starting from managing attrition and creating learning engagement, to managing to stay abreast of technology trends in Learning and Development.

What The Future Of HR Learning And Development Looks Like

In a fast-changing world, incorporating design thinking into the design of employee training can help to solve problems like maximizing learning, improving engagement, reducing drop-offs and managing attrition.

In most organizations, employee training design has more of a top-down approach, where employers decide what learners should learn and how they should learn it, rather than catering to what and how they want to learn. This process has been seeing diminishing returns as a rising proportion of Millennials and Gen Z has joined the workforce. While some organizations have tried to solve this by building access to MOOCs such as Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning, these sort of learning options only cover self-development. What gets left out is functional knowledge or product/process training, which needs to be put out as structured learning.

So, how can design thinking help? The central premise of design thinking is a solution-based approach to problem-solving. Design thinking requires that the client (in this case the employee) is placed at the center of it all.

Step 1

Empathize with learners to understand their experiences and motivations. Leaders need to put themselves in the shoes of employees and figure out what motivates them. Tools to help with this can be surveys and interviews of employees, to get a thorough picture of different learner profiles. This is different from a Training Needs Analysis, since it focuses a lot more on behavior, likes, dislikes, motivations, and challenges in their daily life.

Step 2

Define the problem you want to solve. Very often learning outcomes falter because the learner and organization do not agree on the intended outcome of the learning. Defined problems will yield much clearer solutions.

Step 3

Ideate with all relevant stakeholders. Creating a multi-functional team that can contribute to this can help to introduce more perspectives and ideas into the mix. This team should know the learner, understand the problem you are trying to solve and brainstorm possible solutions. Approaching this as an open-ended discussion can help bring out as many solutions as possible before you start converging on one for the next step.

Step 4

Prototype a potential solution. Often the response to arriving at a potential solution is to select one and jump right into implementing it. This is exactly what the design thinking process tells us to avoid. The next step is to produce a scaled-down, inexpensive prototype of the most favored solutions, such as a tech platform or digital content. These are then shared within the design team and with a small group of people outside the team. The aim of prototyping is to identify the best possible solution for the problems identified in Step 2. These are investigated, accepted, improved, accepted or rejected based on the learners’ experience.

Step 5

Test the product using the best solutions identified in the prototyping step. While this is the final step in this 5-stage process, design thinking is an iterative process and testing phase results often indicate that you need to go back to the prototyping or ideation phase to get things right. If new insights present themselves about your learners or market realities have changed, then this may need a new set of solutions.

The process outlined above may seem linear and structured, but in reality, these steps are followed in quick succession and in a non-linear fashion, to ensure that speed is achieved. Design teams can delineate themselves to do parts of the process.

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

This article was first published on elearningindustry

6 critical eLearning pitfalls all Learning and Development (L&D) Leaders should avoid

eLearning is like the proverbial Prometheus’ Fire. It will deliver great good for your employees, improve engagement and increase knowledge assimilation. As an L&D leader, you should avoid the following mistakes to help maximize its effectiveness.

  1. Digitizing traditional offline or using existing traditional content: Traditional content such as long videos, lengthy documents and classroom training techniques are not symbiotic with eLearning. Content will have to be created and designed to be engaging, and interactive.
  2. Not creating mobile friendly courses: While this is a must for on field sales force, it is important to roll out mlearning for all employees. Employees spend a lot of time on their mobiles and it is imperative to make learning as informal and accessible as possible, even outside the work place.
  3. No effective assessment tools: Putting out the most engaging and interesting course, with no way to assess your learners, is a waste of your and the learners’ time. Put out quizzes and exams for each section, and the entire course. These tests should be short and fun. Use Images, videos and blurbs as part of the assessment to improve engagement.
  4. No feedback mechanism for the learner:  Learning is a two-way street, the higher the engagement with the learner, the more the learning. One of the primary reasons for drop-off in engagement is the lack of an effective feedback mechanism for the learner to express her views on the course. Listen to what your audience is saying and act on them.
  5. Unclear learning objectives: Why have you set this course up, what do you want your audience to gather, is this course to increase knowledge, boost productivity or develop objection handling skills? If you are unclear of the outcome of the course, your learner will be even more unclear. Lay down objectives at the beginning and design the course to fulfill these objectives. Gather feedback and conduct assessments at regular intervals to modify the course.
  6. Clunky and complicated UI/UX: So, you deployed the latest and most expensive Learning Management System (LMS) in town, but the adoption rates are low and dropping. This might be because its to complicated to navigate. Always approach eLearning from the learners’ point of view, not the creators.  The simpler and more intuitive the UI, the better the chances of learners engaging with it.
By  Venkataraman Ananthakrishnan, Head- Online and Global Business at QuoDeck

Why engagement is a critical ingredient in successful sales training?

Building a performing sales team is the holy grail that all organizations chase – and it’s definitely not an easy task. But building lasting engagement is a critical ingredient that can separate a good sales training program from a bad one.

Sales is the lifeblood of most organizations, and a performing sales team is worth its weight in gold.

Building an effective sales training program is the holy grail that all sales trainers chase – and it’s definitely not an easy task. More often than not, what seems like an easy problem to solve, can be a multi-layered challenge within a changing business and technology environment.

It’s clear that there are no easy formulas that sales trainers can plug in to make their sales training programs effective. But it all starts with ensuring that sales people at least consume the learning. Without adoption, it is futile to worry about downstream metrics like effectiveness, retention and application.

Adoption has many layers, and is very similar to any modern marketing problem. If you think of learners as consumers or ‘app users’ in the modern mobile learning context, problems become a little more apparent.

Just like a consumer app faces uninstalls after an initial period of usage, most learning programs suffer because they focus on creating short-term engagement. A good onboarding course or a gamified learning program will create short-term engagement but will leave learners very little to come back to when they have finished consuming that piece of content.

Therefore, sales trainers typically see good initial usage of their programs, and very little engagement after that.

In a training context, even if this results in a good onboarding experience, it rarely results in ongoing consumption of sales training and communication, Therefore, after the initial onboarding program, when sales people are on the field and need to be trained on new product releases or to address problem areas, getting them back to the training app or platform is as big a problem as when you launch.

So, how can you keep them coming back again and again? Build engagement.

It may help to better understand the psyche of the modern learner to figure out how to create ongoing engagement. In the context of mobile learning, any training app is competing for mindshare with platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. These are the apps that your users prefer to spend time on rather than consume learning. What is attractive about these apps, is that they serve up a constant stream of content for users to consume.

Learners will only flock to something which gives them equal engagement and freshness of content. Therefore, the chances of running a successful sales training program improve multi-fold by creating engagement and keeping up a high velocity of content. On average, putting out fresh content every day or alternate day is a good way to pique learner’s interest to see what you will come up next. If the overall quality of learning content you put out is interesting, you should see a upward trend in ongoing engagement levels among your users.

So, how does one do that without having to spent enormous amounts of money to create content? Here are a few tips.

Crowd source content

Most of the real wisdom on sales training comes from subject matter experts from within the organization. Leverage that by asking your internal subject matter experts to provide you with content that you can send out to your learners on a regular basis. A large kitty of content you can keep cycling through will ensure that your learners get to see something new every day or week. Use microlearning principles to nugget this content into bite-sized chunks and you can send out something every day. This will keep learners coming back for more. Ensure that your mobile app puts out push notifications so that learners know that fresh content is being populated every day.

Frequent quizzes and contests

Putting together an assessment is far easier than creating learning content from scratch. Create question banks that you can slice and dice into quick assessments. Create weekly contests and let learners visually see their performance through leader boards. The competitive element should naturally appeal to sales people. It does not matter if some questions are repeated from one quiz to the other. In fact, critical aspects or facts about your product should be repetitive to ensure retention, therefore, repeat those questions across multiple quizzes. These assessments can also help you identify gaps in knowledge and understanding.

Leverage social learning

Take a page out of the book of immensely successful social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and use social constructs to ensure content is always moving and fresh. Identify voices of authority among your sales team – for example, a veteran sales person respected by the team or an opinion leader. Ask them to put out micro-nuggets of content, such as an anecdote about their experience while selling. Ask them to post this content on the social learning section of your learning app. Drive engagement by boosting that post in the social network. This will encourage others to share more nuggets and drive repeat visits.

Use games and gaming

The planet spends around 30 billion hours a week playing games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds – this is natural behaviour. Play into this natural behaviour by giving them games to explore and play with. Having a ‘game arcade’ or library of games that they can try out just for ‘fun’ can be a great way to keep them coming back.

Quick authoring

This is the most obvious of them all. It is important to have your actual learning content out there, apart from the social and crowd-sourced aspects of this. Most learning platforms come with quick authoring and if yours doesn’t, you should find one. Quick authoring tools will allow you to create templatized micro-learning nuggets out of existing content. Ensuring that you have a constant pipeline of content being created will allow you to recycle over a period of time, once new learners enter the system.

Remember, learners should be treated more as app users, where the objective is to create engagement and pull, rather than use push methods to get them to consume learning. As soon as you see learning as a marketing problem, solutions start to appear more readily.

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck