E-LEARNING&TRAINING For Industry Learning Leaders
A Revolution in Knowledge Sharing
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SkillSoft has the E-Learning X Factor P20 Learning Management Systems for Effective Business Training P22 Leveraging Psychometric Testing Results for Optimal Training Outcomes P24 ISSN 1837-7637
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Seriously Fun – Business Simulations for Real World Engaging Learning P13
E-LEARNING&TRAINING For Industry Learning Leaders
A Revolution in Knowledge Sharing
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06 It’s proving to be a very hot course
22 Learning Management Systems
13 Seriously Fun – business simulations
24 Leveraging psychometric testing results
15 Secret Trainers’ Business – when
26 E-learning is a journey – did you
16 Embedding E-learning in Small
28 Optimising learning outcomes
for Effective Business Training
for optimal training outcomes
for real world engaging learning
subject matter expertise is not enough
Businesses: Why they don’t, why they should, and how they can
20 Skillsoft has the
E-learning X Factor
4 E-LEARNING&TRAINING VOL 1 NO 1
forget to pack the learners?
with cognitive templates
34 Nachiket Khare answers some
questions about rapid e-learning
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Be a Winner in 2010 THE 2010 CALL FOR ENTRIES IS UNDERWAY. SEE PAGE 35 FOR TIMELINES. VOL 1 NO 1 E-LEARNING&TRAINING
It’s proving to be a
very hot course
Rebecca Hall, Director – B Online Learning, speaks about the launch of the “Master eLearning Course”
1 Why a Master eLearning Course? Our aim is to dispel the myth of eLearning and place it in the hands of subject matter experts and workplace teams. A majority of the programs currently being delivered as face to face programs can easily be converted to eLearning. In fact the need for “bells and whistles” and complicated, expensive eLearning extravaganzas is what is stifling the uptake of eLearning. There is however a need for this type of eLearning, but we believe that in the majority of cases of eLearning being delivered in organisations today, such as induction and compliance programs, these can be easily developed in house with a rapid approach to eLearning and some assistance and advice up front from eLearning experts such as B Online Learning. The Master eLearning Course is not just about designing and developing an eLearning course, from our experience exhibiting at trade shows and conducting client demonstrations we realise that eLearning is still relatively green in Australia. Many people do not understand how the different technologies combine to create an eLearning environment and what is actually necessary to deliver a successful eLearning program. We get questions all the time like; what does an LMS do? Do I need an LMS? So we explore, in the course, the different eLearning technologies such as LMS, LCMS, Authoring Tools, Web 2.0 and Web Conferencing and also give advice on what to look for when purchasing this technology. Individuals and organisations also want flexibility with their eLearning. They don’t want to be locked into providers that have access to their intellectual property, don’t allow their courses to be used with other
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systems, and not be able to take their courses to other providers in the future. So developing eLearning in house or with a provider who gives clients all the source material, is an attractive option. Organisations are realising they can reduce their energy use and carbon footprint by providing an eco-friendly alternative to traditional classroom-based training. Green eLearning can bring training to organisations' desktops without the trainer cost, travel time and facility hire associated with traditional learning and classroom based training.
What is the difference between the Rapid eLearning approach used in your course over a traditional approach? Rapid eLearning uses a different development process to traditional development which we explore in the course. It also uses small multiskilled teams, templates and patterns for re-usability and web tools to keep courses current. Audio, graphics, Flash animation and video material are commonly used in rapid eLearning. Animation and audio are often sequenced to provide a rich learner experience. A template approach is recommended for content development throughout to ensure the organisation can focus on the learning rather than the interaction and design. The benefits are numerous and include less development time and cost, more control for organisations, fast response to emerging needs and minimal resource contribution.
Keep your online learners from drifting away. Enter Adobe. With ADOBE® ACROBAT® CONNECT™ PRO you can quickly create online virtual classes that capture and keep your learners’ attention. You can use video, interactive games, simulations, and breakout rooms for focused discussions. It’s like a real classroom. Dynamic. Interactive. Engaging. Business never looked better. www.adobe.com/ap/products/acrobatconnectpro
© 2008 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe, the Adobe logo and Acrobat Connect Pro are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and /or other countries.
What does it take to create a successful eLearning course? For an eLearning program to be successful it must be collaborative, engaging and interactive. Our courses focus on motivating learners to engage with others in an online collaborative model using latest technologies. Because people learn from one another, our programs aim to connect learners with experts, colleagues and professional peers, both in and outside their organisation. By adapting activities from the traditional classroom and adding imaginative ideas that take advantage of the unique online technologies, you can create eLearning courses that will excite and engage students. And, by including a variety of interactive eLearning experiences, you should be able to improve retention rates, increase learner participation, achieve your learning objectives, develop online learning communities, and ensure that your online courses engage learners, regardless of the course topic.
2 Who can take the course, and how might it be applied in the workplace? B Online Learning’s Master eLearning Course is designed for training program developers, HR professionals, training co-ordinators, instructional designers, workplace trainers, IT professionals and teachers who wish to develop, design and deliver courses via eLearning. This course does not teach you how to be trainers or teachers. It already assumes that you have some experience and skills in a face-to-face situation. This course helps you to evaluate and transfer your existing skills to the online environment, and to develop new strategies for facilitating online learning. Therefore students should already have a teaching/training qualification. Some experience in the field, however this is not mandatory. Students might like to consider gaining a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification prior to enrolment. During the course learners will be taken through the benefits and merits of eLearning so they can see how this applies to their workplace and how it would enhance their business processes. Some
organisations are putting a few of their team members through the course so they get to design and develop an eLearning course that is currently being delivered in the workplace in a face to face capacity, such as the organisation's Induction Program. Students can then go back to the workplace and subsequently design and develop new and existing programs in an eLearning format.
3 What does it take to create a meaningful eLearning experience for diverse learners? To effectively meet the needs of diverse learners, the eLearning environment that you create needs to be: • Engaging – engagement is more important than content • Learner Focused – let the students guide their learning • Collaborative – the students learn from their peers. eLearning is a different way of learning from the traditional workshop approach. Many people, including training and learning managers, express concerns about how eLearning will meet the needs of their learners. The most effective program, for both traditional and eLearning, is one designed to take all learning styles into account. The Master eLearning Course shows you how to use various eLearning techniques to accommodate multiple learning styles.
4 What are the components of this course, and how does it guide the design of a meaningful learning environment? The course covers 3 competencies from the Diploma Training & Assessment and is delivered 100% online. It consists of self paced eLearning modules, live webinars, learning coach support, software demonstrations, video and advice from industry experts and social networking with other learners, to get you eLearning in just 3 months. Students gain practical experience using best of breed, award winning education technologies with Atlantic Link Content Point and LearnFlex Learning Management System. They take away a fully functional, SCORM compliant, eLearning course ready for delivery in the workplace. .....(Continued pg10)
Self-paced eLearning Topics
MODULE 1: Research and Design eLearning Resources
• Defining eLearning • Project Planning • Using a Rapid eLearning Approach • Stakeholder Engagement & Management • Choosing eLearning Technology Authoring Tools, LMS, LCMS, Web2.0 • Training Needs Analysis • Learning Principles and Styles • Using a Team Approach • Create and Review the Design Concept
Engaging Learners with Interactive Strategies
MODULE 2: Develop and Evaluate eLearning Resources
• Instructional Design Strategies • Determine Content • Template Design • Assessing Performance • Develop, Trial and Evaluate the eLearning Prototype • Build the eLearning Resource
Atlantic Link – rapid eLearning collaborative software. A handson workshop based on a case study covering the process of building a course, adding content and publishing a course.
MODULE 3: Facilitate eLearning
• • • • • • •
LearnFlex – learning management system • Publishing a SCORM course • Registering users and trainers • Creating an online assessment • Generating reports • Conducting a survey to evaluate the training Conducting a Successful Webinar
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Establish the eLearning Environment Being an eLearning Coach Designing Webinars Supporting your Learners to Ensure Participation Building a Learning Community Review eLearning Processes Marketing and Change Management for eLearning
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5 How does the course differ from other e-learning courses? The major drawcards to our course are the hands on practical application and experience that students gain using our best of breed technologies and the insight into developing fantastic, not just good, eLearning from some of the best eLearning professionals in the industry. The course has been designed and developed by our expert eLearning development team with experience in developing hundreds of eLearning courses for corporate, government and small business clients. Combined with our extensive delivery experience in the VET sector through our Registered Training Organisation we offer a unique course that not only addresses the fundamentals of best practice eLearning design but also offers insight into delivering successful eLearning programs.
Our unlimited support model means students get expert advice and guidance from our dedicated experienced Learning Coaches when they need it, via phone, webinars, email and discussion forums.
6 Do we see this course going international? We are currently working with some global industry organisations. This combined with our established partnerships with Operitel Corporation and Atlantic Link, we hope to begin international delivery early 2011. Our software and tools have multi lingual capacity which means the course can be easily adapted to meet the requirements of other regions. firstname.lastname@example.org www.bonlinelearning.com.au
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– Business Simulations for Real World Engaging Learning by Jeevan Joshi
Games and game technology are poised to transform the way we educate and train students at all levels. Education and information, skill training, even political and religious beliefs can be communicated via video games. But these games and repurposed game technology, collectively called "serious games", have yet to be fully embraced by educators. Serious games, like every other tool of education, must be able to show that the necessary learning has occurred. Specifically, games that teach also need to be games that test. Fortunately, serious games can build on both the long history of traditional assessment methods and the interactive nature of video games to provide testing and proof of learning. E-Learning & Training talks to the experts behind the launch of a new online business simulation tool for discovery learning in Australia – Paul Vorbach (Director – AcademyGlobal) Thomas Lihnert (Chief Technologist – Tycoon Systems) Jeevan Joshi (Principal Consultant – KnowledgeWorking). TAMAG: When and why did you first become involved in business simulations for learning? PV: I first experienced business simulations as an undergraduate student studying in the UTS Bachelor of Business degree program in 1989. 10 years later, I again used a business simulation as part of the Oxford Advanced Management Program in the UK. TL: I developed my first business simulation in 1992, while I was graduating at the University of Cologne, Germany. That was a desktop application, able to simulate the business of a car manufacturer. The product was called Cabs (Computer Aided Business Simulation) and in the following years it was used by many Universities, Corporations and Individuals.
JJ: I experienced the effectiveness of simulations in 1995 as an HR Manager for Boots Pharmaceuticals, where it was part of an assessment centre for Sales Managers. It has however been in the past 2 years that I have observed widespread adoption of online simulations. This can be attributed to learning professionals looking for more effective and engaging learning tools,increased availability of broadband, and reduction in costs for developing simulations. TAMAG: When do you think simulations are effective in learning? PV: I believe they can be highly effective in the right context, but not often as a substitute for face to face classroom or coaching methodologies. As an adjunct to face to face, as a means of reinforcing earlier learning and a means of adding variety and interest to more traditional means, simulations can be highly relevant and effective. JJ: I think it was Confucius who in 450 BC said: "Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand". I certainly won't recommend simulations for soft skills such as interpersonal skills training. Business simulations work best for accelerated learning and where the learning involves some complexity. Let me explain. Much of what we do at work is a complex interplay of many variables, which we need to assess quickly, choose from many options and act accordingly. In addition we need to react and adjust our actions according to external market factors, such as what our competition does. Simulations are unique in allowing trainers to replicate some of these complexities and provide contextual learning experience.
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Secondly, simulations, especially online simulations, provide immediate corrective feedback. For example, in IndustryMasters business simulation, the participant has couple of minutes to analyse why the company profitability (and share price) is declining, and take corrective actions in terms of pricing, marketing, production capacity, financial health etc. Whether their corrective actions have worked will be apparent in the next couple of minutes when their company share price increases or decreases. This allows for an acceleration of Kolbs experiential learning cycle. Online business simulations open up new exciting options to learning professionals, such as use in remote coaching managers and company wide learning events, where employees can compete against each other from their work desks, which allows for lot of fun while learning. TAMAG: What are the design considerations for developing a business simulation? How can the effectiveness of learning be assessed? JJ: There is quite a bit here including instructional design, usability, game design etc, so let me focus on some important practical design considerations for business simulations. One of the early decisions is the level of complexity you want in the simulation. Ideally you want a simulation where the level of complexity can be varied depending on the audience. Good design will also encourage the growth of learner responsibility, initiative and decision making. Finally a good business simulation design can be used in a variety of the learning settings including as part of classroom training, individual and team online play. TL: You need to decide about the platform (desktop app or browser based), the format (single- or multi-player), the industry sectors and the scope (operational or strategic). Ideally the score evolution over several simulation rounds should reflect the learning curve. A simulation score based on cumulative economic profit is a good way to weight the outcome of all decisions according to their success contribution. TAMAG: What issues or challenges do educators face introducing simulations into the learning environment? PV: Three challenges (in order of significance); reliable and appropriate hardware technology and web access, realistic time management so as to avoid either rushing or excessive allocation to the activity, and finally participant comfort and familiarity with the basic technology used to access simulation. JJ: It is only a matter for time before business simulations will be adopted by educators. The Games Developers Association of Australia estimated that in 2008, 88% of Australian households had devices for playing computer games. 71% of these households had more than one device. The usage is not restricted to the younger generation either with 70% of parents in games households using the devices. The point being that learners are more ready for learning through business simulations than we think. Based on my experience, educators will be pleasantly surprised at the support they will receive from management, who in most cases intuitively understand the effectiveness of business simulations. As with any new tool, it will require a bit of effort from educators to explore and become comfortable with business simulations. A good
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place to begin is to gradually introduce business simulations in their current classroom offerings. Cost is certainly a consideration but cost effective business simulations and tools to build them are now available in the market. On the other hand educators should make sure that business simulations are used appropriately. TAMAG: Can you some some examples where online business simulations have provided effective learning outcomes? TL: Large Business School competitions for IIMA and IIFT, Business Simulation Seminars for Siemens USA, Business Simulation Events to RS-Components JJ: A large global engineering company includes online business simulations in its management development workshop for high potentials, to develop entrepreneurial and strategic management skills and provide an engaging and challenging experience for the participants. On the first day, after the facilitated session which covered strategic business concepts, teams competed in the Automotive industry simulation. The teams deployed their initial seed capital of $100 million and expanded as revenues grew while maintaining profitability. The pace of the simulation was slower to allow the teams to analyse product, finance, inventory data and make strategic decisions. On the second day, the teams played a five year Machinery industry simulation at a much faster pace. The teams enjoyed the fast paced and challenging simulation while making strategic leadership decisions. Post workshop feedback indicated a high level of satisfaction with business simulation as a learning experience. We recently provided an online simulation for a learning event for a leading business school in which 350 teams and 1000 participants competed. A business simulation fortified the management concepts and the basics of finance. Tycoon Systems develops business simulation technologies with a specific focus on educational business games for entrepreneurs and business students. These highly interactive designs convey realistic and challenging business games to empower individuals to play their role as an entrepreneur in a virtual environment as an intense training process. These virtual business platforms are perfect for the early stage entrepreneur or the business student. Clients include individual users and large business schools using a variety of packages and simulations. Users of the Business Simulation Games, experience the fundamentals of strategic management within their own, interactive virtual economy. Players develop a strategy, undertake an entrepreneurial start-up and compete with each other in a real-time multiplayer competition. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org www.knowledgeworking.com
Business – When Subject Matter
Expertise is not Enough by Tania Tytherleigh To create strategically driven, outcome focussed learning experiences, subject matter expertise alone will no longer meet the increasing challenges and demands of organisational (and individual) training and development needs. If L&D professionals want to continue to be recognised as the strategic partner of choice in organisations, they must consistently focus on meeting their clients’ needs through the development of their own craft. I asked the question recently to a group of individuals – about 300 in total – spanning government and non-government organisations, and across a variety of roles, and levels: What do learners want from great training? What learners want, it seems, falls into four specific areas:
1. Expertise And not just subject matter expertise either, though this was important. Learners want trainers who not only ‘know their stuff’ but are also experts in designing and delivering it in ways that make it easily accessible and entirely relevant to their learning needs and clearly aligned to the strategic outcomes of their organisation.
2. Connection One respondent answered, “I need the trainer to understand that when I ask a question, I’ve made the brave decision to speak up in front of a room full of people. So when they answer, I need to feel as if answering my question is, to them, the most important thing they could do in that moment.” Another respondent said, “I need to feel that they ‘get’ me. If they just talk at me, I switch off.” Other responses were along similar lines, speaking of a “likeability factor”, the “x-factor – when you just have to keep listening because you have to”, and “they need to be excited about what they’re telling us. If they’re not excited, how can we be?”. So connection, though at first appearing an elusive concept to pin down and understand, is in fact quite straightforward. The learner wants a trainer who connects with them intellectually, linguistically, psychologically, socially and emotionally. A trainer who makes them feel important and understood, and actively involves them in the learning process.
3. A Learning Experience It appears our learners want a great learning experience when they attend a workshop or are involved in our training interventions. They want interesting visuals, and learning environments that are stimulating and thought provoking. They want to be actively involved in the search for knowledge, rather than passive recipients of information from ‘the font of all knowledge’ standing at the front of the room. They love a mix of theory, supported by stories and examples to make it real, and interesting activities where they can ‘play’ with key concepts.
4. Value This comes in the form of tangible new skills, knowledge and processes that they can apply immediately when they get back to their workplace, quality support materials and tools they can use beyond the training and an ongoing information flow of relevant
resources. Value also comes from training interventions that deliver outcomes directly related to organisational objectives. A few interesting conclusions emerged from these results. 1. Subject matter expertise alone is not enough to deliver value. (However, if the training professional is not perceived as an expert in their field, then learners feel they receive little or no value.) 2. Learners who perceived the trainer to be a SME but one who had no delivery expertise, felt no connection with the trainer. 3. Connection with the training professional is essential for learners to have a positive learning experience. Connection is the catalyst for learning and value. So what does this mean for L&D professionals who want to remain at the forefront of delivering what our learners and organisations value and need, so that we are our clients’ strategic partner of choice? Firstly, we must ensure we are committed to maintaining our own professional development – as committed as we are at ensuring the professional development of others. We must make the time to continually develop our craft as training professionals by seeking out quality professional development in training mastery. Programs that develop our training holistically are the ones we need to seek out. We should also be continuously investigating new developments in our specialty, to increase our knowledge base and keep us competitive. Secondly, we need to focus on learning how to develop deeper connections with our learners, to enable us to get into their hearts and minds. Incorporating rapport building skills based on the principles of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), for example, builds deep connections with learners linguistically and experientially, on both conscious and unconscious levels. There are many tools such as this, which we need to investigate and explore, and start incorporating into our work with learners to forge those stronger and deeper connections. Finally, we must be constantly looking for new ways to create outstanding experiences for our learners. Designing new methods of delivery which are learner centred, creating new training interventions including blended solutions, creating ‘safe’ environments for our learners to experiment with their learning and finding ways to delight and surprise them will be key to our learners receiving the ultimate value from us. There is a message here too for those recruiting L&D professionals to deliver training for their organisations: Subject matter expertise is not enough! The L&D professional that will be the face of your organisation must be committed to developing their skill in the craft of training, focussed on making meaningful connections with learners and dedicated to creating experiences and value that align with your organisation’s strategic outcomes. email@example.com www.theworkplacecoach.com.au VOL 1 NO 1 E-LEARNING&TRAINING
in Small Businesses: Why they don’t, why they should, and how they can by Rhys Moult According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are over 750,000 small businesses in Australia employing up to twenty people. How many of these businesses are getting on the web2.0 wave and taking advantage of the many benefits of e-learning? A report recently published by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework (AFLF) has shown that barely a third are involved with e-learning for their staff and those that are, most likely use a Registered Training Organisation to deliver the training for them. With some careful planning and some well placed mentoring, small businesses can take advantage of the flexibility that e-learning can offer their staff and take control of it like never before.
Why They Don’t There is no doubt that training is a priority for small business owners but with pressure from the recent Global Financial Crisis and the current credit crunch in Australia, many business owners are reluctant to spend money on costly training programs. You don’t need to mention ROI if there is no “I” to discuss.
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Knowledge of what is available and how to use it is undoubtedly a barrier for many small businesses. The survey commissioned by the AFLF 1 found that 60% of the businesses surveyed felt their knowledge of e-learning was inadequate. On the bright side, this figure has improved markedly from the previous survey in 2007, but this low knowledge level of e-learning among small businesses is a problem. As a small business owner myself (though not employing anyone... yet) and having worked in many small businesses, I know that time is of the essence. Training new staff is a task that needs to be slotted in among doing the accounts, selling the product, networking with clients .... and the list goes on. How are business owners supposed to fit in an e-learning plan for their staff among all these things? Visualising how e-learning can have relevance in their business and industry is a stumbling block for many. For businesses in the traditional trades or other practical industries, making the connection between the computer they do their accounts on and a learning hub for their staff is a big challenge.
This is all looking a bit grim so let’s take off the black hat for a while and consider why businesses need to embrace and embed e-learning.
Why They Should Strategy: With e-learning and web2.0 strategies making ground in the corporate sector, the small business owner needs to join in the revolution to keep pace with their bigger opposition. Creating an e-learning strategy that aligns with the business’s web2.0 strategy will also make it easier for employees to wrap their head around the difficult concepts of digital footprints and how they can impact future employment. People: Good employees are difficult to keep and they demand training and professional development to maintain high job satisfaction levels. High staff retention also means keeping knowledge in the organisation. With the use of tools such as wikis and blogs, small businesses can retain knowledge in a format that can be searched, shared, stored and built upon for the benefit of both current and future staff members. For those businesses with a traditionally high staff turnover rate onboarding new staff is a necessary and costly evil. One proven way of reducing costs for businesses is setting up an online staff onboarding program for completion before a new staff member’s first day. This will save many hours of tedious form filling and tour guiding on the job bringing onboarding costs down through reduced wages time and productivity gain. Skills: The Employer E-learning Benchmarking Survey 2009 also showed that over two thirds of businesses surveyed believed employees need good computer skills and 70% believe that e-learning improves these skills. 81% of those businesses surveyed said they would encourage their staff to use e-learning. They want it, they like it, but they don’t know about it. So how can we, as learning professionals change the status quo and how can businesses embed e-learning in their organisation?
How They Can Strategy: Small businesses are diverse in every way and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Working out what the strategy should be will require a bit of navel gazing, some research and some external and experienced eyes. There are plenty of case studies of previous projects and many free and inexpensive online and face to face workshops available to learn from the experiences of others and aid in strategic planning. Ning sites, Facebook groups and user forums abound where folks gather to discuss what their business or institution is doing that works or doesn’t work and what pitfalls and successes can be expected. Embrace the technology early as part of the research and it will come more naturally when the same technology is being used as part of the learning. People: Probably the biggest key to embedding e-learning into any organisation is a champion. The best scenario is for the organisation to have that champion in-house. In small businesses finding that person can be difficult. One tip is to look for any staff member who is interested in the internet and web tools. They need not necessarily be an e-learning leader (though that would help) but they definitely need to show enthusiasm for the online format. Often champions will emerge unaided but when they have been located they must be nurtured and supported.
Bringing in an external consultant to mentor the organisation, and particularly to aid in nurturing the champion, is a strategy that has proven to work quite effectively with many projects. The mentoring does not even need to occur face to face so organisations are not geographically tied to a particular pool of consultants from their city or even their own country (though I am an advocate for using local talent whenever possible). Mentors bring knowledge and experience that will prove to be the maker of success for an e-learning project. Find a mentor that fits the organisation culturally and the chances are the project will be a roaring success. Tools: For small businesses looking at dipping their toes into the e-learning waters there are three things to remember about choosing tools for their early projects: (1) Open Source (2) free and (3) Open Source By trying out free and Open Source tools, small businesses can rest easy in the knowledge that they are not allocating vast chunks of the budget to software. If the tool has been tried and tested but does not fit the organisation’s needs, cut it out of the strategy quickly and move on, no capital has been injected into it. If the tool fits but you want something shinier, there will be plenty of proprietary tools ready to take its place. If a Learning Management System is required (and for small businesses that may not always be the case), Moodle is Open Source and can be installed and hosted for peanuts. Hosting packages can be found for as little as $3 a month with unlimited everything and a Moodle installation can be up and running in a matter of a couple of hours at the most. Content: No e-learning chat is complete without mentioning content. Getting content into an e-learning project is easier all the time. Widgets, embed codes, RSS feeds, Creative Commons, Flexible Learning Toolboxes and user generated content are all making rapid e-learning development an achievable goal for every project. Everybody can unleash their inner instructional designer when they are no longer hindered by the need to know Flash. Changing, updating and growing the content is less of a burden when there is so much freely available content around. The barriers for small business to embrace and embed e-learning are being conquered by more and more organisations. The costs are falling and the depth of knowledge among consultants is getting ever deeper. The tools are more accessible and user friendly every day. Small businesses can jump on the e-learning wave now and ride it all the way to success. All they need is a strategy, a champion and a mentor and they will inform the tools and the content. It is a basic recipe for success that is achievable by all employing small businesses.
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E-Learning & Training Solutions International Conference & Expo Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre 9 to 10 June 2010 Sydney Australia
Frontliner Sessions Snapshot Dr Helena Popovic The X Factor: For achieving Xcellence Anne Moore, CEO – SydneyTalent Aligning learning with business needs Les Lisz, National L&D Manager – Australian Red Cross Blood Service Running L&D like a business Margaret Mason, E-Learning CDO – Sydney Adventist Hospital From zero to 100 in 3 short months Miriam Scurrah, Senior Learning & Development Designer – Kmart Engaging in safety: Cloning around
Sarabjeet Singh, Manager L & D – Australian Customs & Border Protection Robb Reiner, Chief Learning Officer – Evolve Studios Learning at the speed of thought Jenny Pita, E-Learning Manager – Sydney West Health Area Service Michael Gwyther, E-Learning Director – Yum Productions Around Australia in 80 days with the TAA e-learning competencies
Dai Vuong, Training Projects Officer – Energy Australia Richard Stubley, Head of Learning Design – OpenLearn Maintaining effective design when using rapid authoring tools Christine Stephens, National Training Officer – Social Security Appeals Tribunal John Gaunt, National Training Officer – Social Security Appeals Tribunal It's hip to be green: Did the training lead to a change in behaviour?
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Learning Leaders Panel
Continuous learning for today's knowledge based workforce Carolyn Barker, CEO – AIM Qld/NT & MD TheCyberInstitute Greg Harper, General Manager – National Retail Institute Arndria Seymour, Head of Training Design & Delivery – Commonwealth Bank Lindy MacPherson, General Manager – People Solutions, OD & HR – Data#3 Jeevan Joshi, Chief Learning Officer – KnowledgeWorking
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SKILLSOFT HAS THE E-LEARNING X FACTOR by Diane Falzon With a long-standing global reputation and industry-leading e-learning repertoire, SkillSoft has worked extremely hard in creating and sustaining long term, fruitful partnerships with worldwide corporations. SkillSoft’s diverse and eclectic mix of Australian companies reflects it’s dynamic approach to e-learning and its innate ability to nurture unique and varied e-learning requirements. It is often a challenge to have customers sing the accolades of a service provider. With SkillSoft, five significant corporate power brokers stepped up to clearly articulate their e-learning journeys and their business successes because of it. Despite the diversity of demands and business-end goals, these five companies – Data#3, Suncorp. CITEC, Thales Australia and AlcatelLucent, have similar grass roots e-learning requirements and have set the e-learning benchmark to an even higher level for others to follow. The end result is a perfect fit between SkillSoft and the organisations’ strategic online training goals. Lindy MacPherson, General Manager, Organisational Development and Human Resource at Data#3, is wholly in sync when it comes to human capital development. Since joining forces with SkillSoft in 2004, Data#3 has provided all permanent staff with a plethora of business and IT skills courses and online training resources. The variety of content available through SkillSoft, including Books 24x7, Executive Summaries and the Leadership Channel, has given Data#3 employees with the ultimate foundation to not only enhance their personal business goals on a micro and personal level, but also play a significant role towards Data#3’s business growth strategies. According to Lindy, what impressed Data#3 the most about SkillSoft was the model in which SkillSoft used to mould Data#3 as a customer and be able to set and implement Data#3’s program, set goals and to support Data#3 all the way through the implementation and ongoing management of e-learning programs. Also, having a designated SkillSoft account manager, who not only works closely with Data#3 inside the business but is also embedded within the learning team to make the programs better. “Right from the outset, we aligned our learning programs with the key result areas of the organisation, so right at key strategic planning level, we identified what were the key outcomes we wished to achieve and then mapped out our learning programs to them.
and its place within a successful organisation. In 2004, Thales Australia began its relationship with SkillSoft and over those five years, it has become an organic and fruitful partnership. SkillSoft’s service philosophy is built upon the foundation of supporting customers in the achievement of their successes and business objectives. SkillSoft stands behind the goal of unparalleled and uncompromised service for the full circle of the organisational partnership. SkillSoft involvement with Thales Australia’s newly created Senior Leadership Development Program has been critical with SkillSoft providing the online education resources to play a key role in the blended training offered to Thales Australia employees. “The simple, yet effective, philosophy at Thales Australia regarding e-learning is the premise that employees should embrace self guided learning and the fact that Thales Australia management ‘just care that they, the employees, are learning’,” Paul said. Tony Skippington, General Manager of CITEC, has a similar e-learning philosophy to Paul where it is imperative to inject the online training resources to employees and recognise e-learning as a true investment in the organisation. Tony’s proactive approach towards e-learning has cascaded to all facets of the business with great emphasis being placed on accurately evaluating CITEC’s ROI with e-learning. With a comprehensive online learning solution package, comprised of high-quality learning resources and flexible technology applications, SkillSoft directs and helps its customers achieve sustainable and measurable business results. These solutions are designed to support all levels of the organisation and can be adopted to quality and quantity strategic business initiatives. According to Tony, CITEC is able to judge the success of SkillSoft’s program from not only a business sense but also from an investment sense. “CITEC’s Leadership and Management Program has been a success because you can see the productivity improvements that we achieve and the general improvements in some of the management activities of the staff who have undergone these courses.”
“In a balanced scorecard approach we measure our results of the business and can attribute where the learning has contributed to the over-arching result of the organisation.”
“CITEC’s Leadership in Action leadership program encourages staff to apply what they learn in their day to day activities. You can also see the improved general attitude of the staff where there is a reduced number of staff issues because of the online training on offer.
Paul Bowles, General Manager of one of Australia’s leading international electronics and systems groups servicing the defence, aerospace and security markets, Thales Australia, is also a zealous e-learning advocate who appreciates the fundamental importance of e-learning
“From a technical perspective, at CITEC, the ICT expertise is a fundamental component of our skill capability and in relation to the solutions we provide and better service and productivity is definitely evident as the development continues.
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“SkillSoft certainly addresses CITEC’s business needs and understands the organisation’s intricacies and really helps support our blended learning and makes it more relevant to our organisation. Also SkillSoft has played a major role in assisting in marketing e-learning within the organisation. We have a fairly young staff where 65% of the organsation is under the age of 45, and this dynamic group have a thirst for knowledge, so SkillSoft is very important in nurturing that drive. “There are three main focuses to CITEC training – first there is the leadership element and due to the current skills shortage, we are continually trying to attract the top staff in a competitive market. It is the leadership and management in the organisation that will help take CITEC forward. “Secondly there is the ICT technology where the changes are constantly dynamic and it is imperative that CITEC makes sure that our skill level and expertise is maintained. “And finally the other main focus is base level learning which includes things like our induction program. This program helps our employees really understand what the organisation is about and helps explain our culture and administration. SkillSoft can also link performance of human capital to competitive advantage and maximise on investment by increased savings by expanding learning content and services. SkillSoft’s focus is on true training effectiveness by delivering maximum impact that is closely aligned with the business strategy. The integration between learning with performance management programs and processes is becoming a critical element to the organisation’s ROI. As Suncorp’s Group Executive of Business Technology, Jeff Smith has clear and specific processes and advice for other businesses who are contemplating diving into the world of e-learning. “My first piece of advice is to know what an organisation wants to achieve. At Suncorp we knew we wanted to dramatically improve the capability of our people so we could do more work for ourselves and we also knew we were embarking on new technologies which we had not used before so we needed additional education and we had to have it so it could be ongoing. “The second thing I would recommend is not restrict their thirst for learning and extend the services beyond what you originally thought. Don’t pigeon hole it as technology training as your people would appreciate it. According to Jeff Smith, success with e-learning can be measured a couple of ways. Firstly it is measured by the level that employees have built their skills up which enabled Suncorp to use more of their own people on projects, versus contract, and sent Suncorp’s delivery and cycle times and costs down – that is a real measure.
SkillSoft has richness and diversity that is incomparable. Second would be the support from the people who help us out who are passionate about learning. Harry Halliday, Director, Alcatel-Lucent University, is also satisfied with the partnership that has developed between Alcatel-Lucent and SkillSoft. The complete online package, ranging from virtual classroom, videos on thought leaders and CEOs, to the world's largest online library and certification, reflects SkillSoft’s true 360 degree solution that meets the training needs of all individuals in an organisation, regardless of responsibility. SkillSoft’s approach to collaboration and integration with the organisation is the backbone of its systematic line of attack to e-learning. SkillSoft’s strategic outlook in linking learning content to key competencies and critical job roles allows for seamless learning alignment within the organisation. “In terms of ROI, our statistics show that if we have blended learning, we get as much as 55% extra learning objectives being achieved. That is value for money spent in learning,” said Harry. “Secondly, the management and leadership can actually have a way to all people through the presence of Alcatel-Lucent around the world, now have access to learning 24x7, which is a critical thing for our organisation to be able to do. This leads to employee engagement and retention. “Alcatel-Lucent has approximately 10-12,000 licences and we have our own SkillPort site, we use Books 24x7, really, the whole gamut of the SkillSoft portfolio.” According to Harry, the reason why SkillSoft is the right partner is simple: “I think we are heading in similar directions – we are listened to by SkillSoft so we can see where the next phase is and see where industry leads us in terms of mobile learning. “We want to engage with a company for the long haul, to go with us on the journey on the learning space as well.” Founded in 1989, SkillSoft became one of the first companies to bring business skills training to the e-learning environment. SkillSoft currently has more than 3000 corporate and government accounts and more than 10 million learners and sold in 65 countries worldwide. As a true industry leader, SkillSoft offers more than 6000 courses spanning business skills, information technology, safety compliance and legal compliance. SkillSoft mentors are available on line 24 hours a day to provide support, guidance and encouragement to learners while preparing for certification – a clear winner in personal, long term service.
“Cycle times have gone down by 60 per cent and where we used to have 70 per cent contractors prior to e-learning, now, this has shifted to 70 per cent internal and 30 per cent external – that is the real benefit.
SkillSoft has the capacity, resources and knowledge to identify and nurture key training needs for an organisation, and at the same time take full stock of business growth objectives and the necessity to keep employees engaged in their roles.
Jeff Smith is also very complimentary on SkillSoft’s uniqueness in the market and the level of service the company provides.
SkillSoft works closely with organisations in identifying their fundamental business needs and integrating relevant and crucial educational resources to achieve their goals, reducing significant costs through effective and tuned online training.
SkillSoft prides itself in providing experienced, reliable and accessible professionals to support customer efforts in designing, implementing and continuously enhancing a solution that meets the e-learning objectives of the organisation. SkillSoft is the first company in the industry to certify its learning consultants based on demonstrated competence in SkillSoft’s e-learning methodology. “The key elements that differentiate Skillsoft from its competition are the breadth of content. Whether it is the book on courseware,
When SkillSoft creates a strategic alliance with a company, SkillSoft in effect creates an e-learning blueprint for the organisation’s learning transformation, while reducing significant costs and enhancing organisational performance in the process. Justina_Phoon@skillsoft.com www.skillsoft.com
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Learning Management Systems for effective business training by Chad Outten
There is no doubt that Australia is a well connected, technology pervasive country. Current business, social and technology data points to a growing trend whereby users have the technology and tools to remotely connect to learning experiences. This impacts the education landscape and has implications for how we, as educators, design and deliver business training. Analyst IBISWorld forecasts online education to be the fastest growing industry in Australia this financial year. Revenues have increased from $827 million in 2004 to more than $2.7 billion this year. This represents a compound annual growth rate of more than 27 per cent, more than seven times the 3.5 per cent growth rate in the education sector as a whole. According to a recent Media and Society Report released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, 98 per cent of households own a computer and 90 per cent are connected to the Internet. Moreover, Nielsen Online reports that we are now, on average, spending more time using the Internet than watching television. This implies we are communicating, collaborating, consuming media,
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socialising and being entertained in new and different ways. Historically speaking, education has been controlled by two key dimensions, time and space. This has meant that participants involved in education in schools, universities and elsewhere have been bound to same time same place learning. In the context of business, this has no doubt translated into a rather limited approach to business training to the detriment of trainers and trainees. If we think beyond this age-old paradigm for a moment, we might imagine the boundless potential of a learning environment whereby anyone can learn about anything, anywhere and at anytime. This open and flexible approach to education adds new dimensions and dynamics to business training. The Internet is a well-established technology that has been around for more than two decades, but the relatively recent advent of learning management system software has been cornerstone to effective business training delivered online.
A learning management system (LMS) is a course-based system that which enables participants to communicate and collaborate, access activities and resources, while, being assessed, tracked and reported on via the web. Key benefits of using an LMS include the ability to deliver flexible training to participants; less travel and tangible resources will be required by trainers and participants, so there should be a reduced environmental impact; importantly, this delivery mode promotes collaborative learning, which can make learning more engaging and interactive. These benefits can ultimately reduce the total cost of ownership of business training to your organisation. To successfully provision an LMS, back-end server-side technical requirements include a web server, database, dynamic scripting language and LMS software. The web server software, database and server-side scripting language need to be configured to work in harmony with the LMS software. The LMS can be hosted internally or externally to your organisation. To access the LMS front-end, the end-user or client will simply require a computer or laptop, internet connectivity and web browser. In terms of evaluating the plethora of LMS software and selecting the best solution for your organisation, it helps to know there is a real dichotomy in this market, namely commercial and open-source software. Commercial LMS software is released under an End User License Agreement (EULA) whereby an organisation purchases licenses or â€˜seatsâ€™ for a pre-determined number of users and agrees to use the software in accordance to the EULA. There is typically an ongoing annual cost to maintain this agreement, which may also entitle the purchaser to software updates and support. The commercial option is definitely a recurring big budget item. Commercial LMS software providers include Blackboard, Desire2Learn and SumTotal. In contrast, open-source LMS software is released under General Public License (GPL) and is freely available for download and use by the recipient. There is typically a web-based community of users who give generously of their time to contribute code, ideas and feedback to improve upon the core LMS software. As a rule of thumb, opensource software is not as polished as its commercial equivalent and may sometimes contain minor bugs. There is no direct cost to download open-source LMS software, however, associated costs such as hardware, training, user support and time to learn the new software, should be factored in. Open-source LMS software includes Moodle, Sakai and ATutor.
Moodle originated in Australia several years ago and has since internationalised to more than 800,000 registered members at moodle.org from 200 countries and 80 languages. Moodle is software designed to help educators create effective online communities. It is freely available to download, customisable, scalable and easy to use. Moodle is flexible and can be customised to suit your preferred training mode. It can be used for face to face, distance or a blending training approach to add value to your current practice. Social constructivism theory asserts that we learn well through our interactions with other people. The expression of ideas for others, establishing a culture of sharing artefacts and meanings are ways we collaboratively construct knowledge. To that end, Moodle has a rich set of social constructivist tools for assessment, collaboration and communication. These tools include assignment, blog, chat, forum, glossary, messaging, quiz and wiki. It also supports multimedia and the integration of web compliant content such as AICC, IMS and SCORM, that can be used to deliver interactive training material, assess, track and report on learners. In summary, a learning management system can help your organisation to deliver training in a cost-effective and flexible manner. Moodle LMS software, punches well above its weight division and has an array of pedagogically sound tools to engage learners. It is recommended you create a free profile account, check out the Moodle Features Demo course situated at moodle.mylearningspace.com.au and contact us directly should your organisation require expert e-learning services. firstname.lastname@example.org www.mylearningspace.com.au References http://www.ibisworld.com.au/industry/retail.aspx?indid=1907&chid=1 http://acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_310893 http://www.nielsen-online.com/pr/pr_080318_AU.pdf http://www.elear ningguild.com/research/archives/index. cfm?action=viewonly&id=130 http://moodle.org http://moodle.mylearningspace.com.au http://docs.moodle.org/en/Philosophy http://docs.moodle.org/en/Pedagogy
Having worked in the Australian education sector for the past 15 years, I have been fortunate to use numerous learning management systems, both commercial and open-source solutions in a variety of contexts. I can confidently say that Moodle, as an open-source learning management system compares favourably to commercial solutions such as Blackboard. A recent research LMS report produced by the e-Learning Guild supports the above sentiment. The Guild conducted a survey of its members, the several thousand respondents were LMS users from diverse industry sectors and organisations of various size. The report analysed survey data to essentially compare the major commercial and open-source learning management systems. According to the report, Moodle ranked first on numerous metrics, including cost; ease of installation, customisation and use; implementation time; business impact; assessment capabilities and support for web 2.0.
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LEVERAGING PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING RESULTS FOR OPTIMAL TRAINING OUTCOMES by Sandra Walden Pearson
A Personality Profile Experience It was week three in a course with 15 people who had been complete strangers just 21 days earlier. The usual ‘icebreaker’ activities had been useful in transitioning us to acquaintance status. However, it was mutual anticipation of our Personality Profile results that accelerated our bonding process. The time had come. The facilitator distributed several pages of text and one page of diagrams to 20 pairs of dubiously eager hands. The silence that descended the room as each became immediately engrossed in reading ‘all about me’ was finally interrupted at the facilitator’s signal to bid farewell until next week. Some participants left looking very happy with themselves. They may have been buoyed by validation of their already acute self-awareness or, perhaps, by an assessment surprisingly elevated relative to their expectations. Others left more with an air of despondency than of joy. Few remained neutral.
I was a regional manager with a national social profit organisation. Our region had just successfully implemented an ambitious plan to embed its entire team in communities across the wider Sydney area. It was so much more than an operation in logistics. This was a transformational strategic project that required exceptional people leadership, on my part, to encompass all six dimensions of DOOS-A™,³ the blueprint system for organisational self-actualising:
I left perplexed. It began as a riveting read: analytical, rational and logical. I now had Personality Profile ‘evidence’ of the legitimacy of my MBA attainment. I indulged in self-congratulation as it continued to extol my left brain capabilities as a task virtuoso – little realising that the corollary of this asset could be construed as a right hemisphere deficit. That realisation came with just one line:
‘People management and motivation should not be a prime requirement of the function.’
A Bias in Our Thinking The human mind is a funny thing. In his most recent book, The Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt describes its predisposition to focus on bad rather than good as the negativity bias. He explains it as a function of survival based on the principle that ‘bad is stronger than good’ – and therefore, ‘responses to threats and unpleasantness are faster, stronger and harder to inhibit than responses to opportunities and pleasures’. Presented with a scene involving both a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Mononykus Olecranus, for example, priority would be given to managing the threat of the carnivorous former before attempting to secure the tasty pleasures of the herbivorous latter. Indeed, such may be the strength of the bad that the good is something to which one may become oblivious. My reaction to my psychometric testing results represented Haidt’s description perfectly. I knew all Personality Profile results were confidential and that none in our course would be aware of the existence of this sentence. Yet from first reading I began to feel somehow out of integrity with myself; with this group (to whom I had introduced myself as a people leader, essentially); and with every one of my staff.
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TRAINING ELEMENTS OF Productivity and Profit INTERDEPENDENCE
performance DOOS-A: Dimensions Of Organisational Self-Actualising™
Spiral Down It mattered not that the last of those several pages of text promoted the importance of absorbing Personality Profile results in context. A plethora of factors constitute a well-rounded assessment of personality, behaviour and preferences. Any reading in isolation could be erroneous. Especially in isolation of analysis, rationality and logic.
It was a challenge to convince my mind’s negativity bias of that. My habitually intense sensibilities worked in overdrive to ensure the region epitomised a culture of optimal engagement and productivity – role modeled by a leader with exceptional ‘soft’ skills. While frequently humbled by my feet of clay, commitment to the blueprint system and in particular, its first most important component: people, ordinarily constituted the ‘good’ that kept my feet on the ground, threats and unpleasantness notwithstanding. But how delusional might I have become? People management and motivation were prime requirements of the function. What if I was a soft skills’ fraud? The region’s preparedness to believe in my leadership was frequently demonstrated in outstanding engagement and productivity outcomes. How delusional had they become as a consequence of being defrauded? Could delusion be our region’s groupthink?
Spiral Up Fortunately, my years of training and my sharp tools enabled me to recognise and challenge the limiting beliefs that triggered my psychological spiral down.
results are not an essential prerequisite for negativity bias stimulation: all we need is a mind untrained in empowering thinking for best results. Psychometric testing results can be, however, a resource par excellence in highlighting an innate predisposition and informing choices that could make the difference between full engagement and productivity, and meaninglessness. The value add psychometric testing offers is the opportunity to become aware of our responses to the results and training to leverage the six dimensions of DOOS-A™ for individual and organisational winwin outcomes.
The Training Lesson One line does not a Personality Profile make. In this instance, that one line didn’t mean I was bereft of people management and motivation capabilities. It simply implied that if people management and motivation were prime requirements of the function, their conscious cultivation would prove a useful complement to the ‘hard’ skills already possessed. Yet that one line could have been my one significant take out from the results.
It was all about intention, after all, and my intention was to role model exceptional leadership. It was an intention to which I remained committed despite being subject to frailty inherent to the human condition.
Due to years of developing resourcefulness to empower my thinking, I was able to discipline my mind to move from reacting to observing my thinking about my reaction. I then moved to exploring how to integrate and apply the results to my current context: to leverage psychometric testing results for optimal training outcomes.
My foray into delusional thinking had been a function of my uniquely prehistoric preference for all to be both absolute and perfect. My 21st century self was working on developing ‘either/or’ thinking into thinking capable of embracing ‘both’: leaving the two toned world of black and white (along with a predominantly left or right brain identity) for an integrated world coloured myriad shades of grey. Or of all the colours of the rainbow.
Yet that wasn’t the ostensible lesson facilitated by the trainer. It was the one I chose to learn – based on resourceful decision making. It is unlikely, given the research cited by Haidt, that all other participants determined this same decision. Moreover, it is equally unlikely that all other participants possessed the resourcefulness to do so, their capacity notwithstanding.
A Personality Profile Teaching It is unsurprising that Personality Profile results could lead one to question the integrity of who they are; what they do; and how they do it, especially if feedback affronts qualities valued most. However, for individuals and businesses large and small, failure to leverage strengths from diagnostics such as Personality Profiles can lead to chronically poor prognoses for employee engagement and business productivity. Those who left looking very happy with themselves and those more with an air of despondency than of joy are equally at risk of arrested development. The former may begin to believe they have ‘arrived’ while the latter may begin to believe they will never get there. Since human and organisational potential are largely arbitrarily determined, belief in a ‘there’ to which one will never get is just as limiting as a belief in the existence of ‘arrival’. Both will plateau growth and lead to stagnation. My own case study on my responses to my Personality Profile results illustrates another aspect of the negativity bias. ‘We can’t just will ourselves to see everything as good because our minds are wired to find and react to threats, violations and setbacks’. That one line I initially perceived as a violation of my integrity momentarily evaporated all other feedback. We remember that one unforgettable insult more readily than ten sincere compliments. This, in itself, is proof that Personality Profile
Self-reliance by each individual participant on her/his resourcefulness to leverage psychometric testing results, alone, cannot guarantee optimal learning outcomes. However, the more resourceful each is, the greater the potential to enjoy the benefits. The training lesson for participants is to empower thinking so that resourcefulness to optimise training outcomes is not dependent on the calibre of the trainer. The training lesson for trainers is to deliver training at the calibre that ensures every participant’s decision making aligns with leveraging psychometric testing results for optimal training outcomes. These are win-win for trainer and trainee.
REFERENCES 1. Haidt, J. The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting ancient wisdom and philosophy to the test of modern science. London; Arrow Books, 2006. 2. Haidt, J. The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting ancient wisdom and philosophy to the test of modern science. London; Arrow Books, 2006, p.29. 3. Dimensions of Organisational Self-Actualising (DOOS-A) Model. Created by BESTMe founder, Sandra Walden Pearson, 2007. IP registration pending. 4. Haidt, J. The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting ancient wisdom and philosophy to the test of modern science. London; Arrow Books, 2006, p.29. email@example.com www.bestmeconsulting.com
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Elearning is a journey
– did you forget to pack the learners? by Karen Moloney
Elearning projects are exciting. For training teams it’s an opportunity to learn new skills, review existing content and present information and in an innovative and engaging way. For management it’s an opportunity to save time and money around the logistical side of training and upskill employees quicker than before. But for learners, it’s a time of change and that isn’t always an exciting prospect for everyone. Having an audience whose enthusiasm and interest is outweighed by those delivering the solution is never a good thing, so how do we win them over?
needed and you need a strategy and plan for execution, so get your marketing team involved. If you don’t have a dedicated marketing team, then the internet is a great source for free advice, marketing plan templates and strategies you can draw on.
Get them on board early
Start communicating with your learners from the outset of a project by telling them what it’s about, why it’s happening, who's involved, timeframe for delivery, how it will affect them and any other details you have to get them ready for what’s going to happen.
There are a number of ways you can get your learners involved in an elearning implementation and add substantial value to your end product. This list is by no means exhaustive, but will hopefully spark some ideas on how you can get your organisation as excited as you are about the change elearning will bring about.
It’s all very well kicking off nicely, but communication with the target audience needs to continue at regular intervals throughout the project. Attend team meetings, post updates on the Intranet, include articles in the newsletter and always give details of a point person to contact for anyone who has questions.
Communication is a major factor in developing successful learning programs, not just elearning. While it may seem to be the most obvious thing to do to ensure learner buy-in and project success, it is the one area the majority of organisations fall down on. Constant communication from the project will avoid “mushroom syndrome” – a state where those affected complain about always being in the dark…
Marketing Strategy This project is about launching a new product, regardless of the fact that it is an internal product. To get buy-in at all levels, marketing is
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All communication needs to send a clear and consistent message to the target audience and for this to happen all project team members and stakeholders need to buy-in to the project 100%. You can execute all of the above perfectly, only to have your efforts quashed by a negative comment from a manager who is not on board with the project, so you’ll need to work on them first.
Needs Analysis Elearning project teams are made up of stakeholders, trainers, SMEs and authors who all think they know what’s best for the learner. Asking your target audience a few simple questions can often uncover
very different needs which have a direct impact on the success or failure of the implementation. Whether it’s because we forget to ask those directly affected by the change or because we assume we know what they need, we’re still missing the point. Everyone learns differently and if you are about to change a delivery method your learners have become familiar and comfortable with, not involving them in the change process can be detrimental to the project on a number of levels. Here are a few areas for consideration when putting together your needs analysis which may give you some valuable insights into how to accommodate the requirements of your learners so they get the most out of the program.
Learning styles In most cases, elearning will be new for both the project team and the learners. Find out how your audience best learn and tailor your program accordingly. For example, if you have an audience who are strong audio learners, ie they like to learn by listening, you will need to ensure that your elearning has narrative. This raises a number of issues around the IT hardware, software and internet connections being used, so you’ll need to work closely with your IT team on those. Also you need to consider where the learner will be participating in the elearning session. Will they be in an open plan office? If so, how will you deal with the audio disturbing other workers?
Information technology Just because most of us use a PC in our day-to-day work doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re all comfortable around IT. Do your learners all use a PC in their work? If you have employees working in a warehouse loading trucks, how often will they have come into contact with a PC? In that instance, is elearning really the best method of delivery? A few simple questions or practical test will reveal whether you need to conduct any basic IT training prior to rolling out elearning. Whether this is the case or not, a PDF document with clear instructions on getting into and around the program may be useful for learners to print off and refer to as they complete their first couple of lessons.
Self-paced learning It takes a motivated learner to successfully complete any selfpaced learning, so what’s the motivation or incentive for your target audience and how will you monitor their progress? In many cases the requirement to complete learning is linked to compliance or business process requirements, but finding out what drives your learners can help you define other motivators to make the program inviting and engaging. Blending self-paced elearning with other interactive activities like discussion forums or as a lead into classroom based courses works well. However, support from management at all levels is the key to getting learners to complete self-paced programs, so having their buy-in to the project is absolutely vital to its success.
The Generation Y Assumption There is an assumption that Gen Y – being the technology generation – is the perfect target audience for elearning because they seem to be permanently online in social forums via their PC or handheld device of choice. However, they crave a level of engagement which can sometimes be difficult to address in self-paced elearning in order for knowledge transfer to take place. Gen Ys question everything and need on-demand answers, so if you have the budget and time for complex product development you’re onto a winner. If not, is selfpaced elearning the way to go? Should it just make up a small part of a blended program, or is it better to stick with traditional classroom training or webinars as a hybrid solution?
Learners as part of the Project Team Having learners involved as part of the project team can give you valuable information about your target audience which feeds into every phase of the rollout. Here are a few examples of how that might work:
Design What might seem like a logical order or flow for material to a designer or SME may not be in line with the learner’s way of thinking. Having a focus group review initial design ideas may save you a lot of time in changes down the track.
Usability and end-user testing As early as possible, a pilot lesson needs to be tested, feedback analysed and required changes implemented. Quite often, testing only takes place within the project team, carried out by people who are familiar with the content, format and functionality of the end product being delivered. While these tests will normally pick up any bugs and allow for some minor tweaking, it is only when real learners get their hands on a lesson does the truth come out! When testing, learners need to be asked a range of questions from how they feel about the colours, to how easy they found it to navigate, to how clear the instructions were and what they felt they learned. It’s not just about whether the elearning works in a technical sense, it’s also about whether it works for the learner as a way of acquiring new skills or information. If they can’t work out where they are in a lesson, or if they find the instructions vague they will get flustered and their attention is no longer on the subject matter.
Steering committee Steering committee members need to be chosen carefully to ensure they will bring value to discussions and decision making situations. Ideally, the person chosen to represent the target audience will have some level of authority in the organisation and be experienced in the business and industry, although not so experienced that it would be difficult for them to be open to the changes that an elearning implementation would bring. Being a part of the decision making process helps assist with the communication of messages back into the business and understanding of why a particular decision was made can often be the difference between learners buying-in or not buying-in to a change like elearning.
Champions Project champions can be your eyes, ears and voice out in the business. They can be used as a vehicle to communicate with other learners on their level which makes conveying key messages easier. Holding regular meetings with your champions can also provide an opportunity to get some feedback from the target audience about, eg, their views on the pilot lesson or their anxieties about having to complete learning on their own. Champions can be used in the review of materials as described in the paragraphs above and may even have a representative on the steering committee. At the end of the day, it’s all about communication. Whether you have one basic elearning lesson developed in PowerPoint or a full-blown simulation with all the bells and whistles, if you’re not communicating with and involving your target audience in the implementation, it will be a very quiet go-live party. firstname.lastname@example.org www.getmelearningresources.com
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Optimising Learning Outcomes with Cognitive Templates by Bruce Hilliard
What are these Templates?
A great deal has been written on methods of developing training packages so the content is properly aligned to the learning objectives. For example, the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) provides detailed guidance on scoping the information within training modules. Unfortunately, these frameworks do not actually explain how to then fit this information into a readily understandable message.
There are just five templates, as shown in the following table. You can use each of them individually, or they can be applied as building blocks, to create even the most complex messages.
For this reason, I am sure we have all had moments where weâ€™ve sat in front of a blank computer screen, and tried to work out the best way to develop the body of the module. It was in one of these moments in 1983, that I decided to go back to basics. This led me into detailed research in a wide range of psychology related fields, with particular emphasis on the application of cognitive science. After In 2005 independent research many years of investigation, was conducted by Pilbara Iron a set of advanced cognitive Training, in conjunction with the templates was created. Each University of Western Australia. of these templates was then This experimentation showed that tested in numerous business the application of these templates, and teaching situations, within a composite training to create frameworks for approach, increased the audienceâ€™s rapidly building message retention and understanding of the content. Most importantly, content by around 40%. Just by using these templates, as importantly, the research also your message becomes showed that after 25 days, the readily understandable, and retention of the information was this can help your students up to 200% higher using this to remember the information approach. more effectively (as shown in this sidebar).
Table 1: The Five Types of Template Template Number
When to Use this Template
Use this template when you want your audience to reach a decision, by selecting from a set of options. You will use this template when you want an audience to agree with just one recommended approach. Apply this template when you want to give your audience information that will help them to reach a specific conclusion. A sequential template is used whenever you want to explain a series of events in any form of chronological order. Use this template for any other form of message, because it allows you to link any type of information together into a coherent structure.
The first two of these templates are designed predominantly for persuading other people. The latter three are most commonly used for teaching. For this reason, this article is focussed predominantly on these final three templates.
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Each of these templates contains three parts, as illustrated in Figure 1. Recommended elements are included for each part. These elements provide a checklist of the issues you may need to cover to get your message across effectively. Figure 1: The Structure of Each Template
The types of information that would normally be included within the Analytical template are: Part 1 - Background. The background sets the scene, so the students can understand the evidence, so they can then interpret this knowledge appropriately. You can include the following information, as you think fit:
Because you are trying to build understanding for your audience, you often need to begin by:
WHY HAVE THREE PARTS? Have you ever noticed that almost every joke you have ever heard involved three things or events (e.g. The Englishman, the Scotsman and the Australian). The reason for this is simple. When we think through issues, we look for patterns (often referred to by cognitive scientists as Top Down processing). When telling a joke, we hear the first action, and this gives us an indication of what is to follow. When we hear the second event in the story, we relate it to the first action. If we see that the two actions are similar, we generally accept this as a trend. The brain will then analyse the third action in relation to this trend. The punch line (or third action/event) is normally funny because it works against the trend. Writers have been leveraging this cognitive process for years, in what they call the ‘Rule of Threes’. For instance, you will notice that many politicians and professional speech givers will talk about ‘fixing three things’ or ‘identifying three issues’. They will then describe each of those three things or issues. They do this because they know that you are likely to see the trend and relationship in their three points, and therefore have a greater chance of understanding and remembering the message. You can easily use the same technique in your presenting. To use these templates you just need to include each Part in the recommended order. However, you may not need to use every element, or you may be able to cover an element through a single sentence or picture. The idea is simply to apply the appropriate elements within the templates, and deliver them in a manner that fits in with your message. This whole approach is therefore extremely flexible, and you can literally build any training package or message with these templates. So let’s look at each of the last three templates in turn.
Template 3 – Analytical Template
The Analytical template is widely used in teaching to present information that will support logical analysis by your audience, so they can reach a conclusion. The three parts to this template are shown in Figure 2. Figure 2: Analytical Template
Providing Domain Positioning. Invariably the subject that you are discussing will fall within a knowledge domain (eg software engineering, accounting, financial management, etc). If this is not inherently clear beforehand, you need to begin by positioning your module within this domain. This will allow your audience to assess the information more effectively, by linking to what they already know (so you can leverage Gestalt principles). Using the Audience Paradigm. In addition to positioning the analysis within a domain, you should often begin by explaining the situation in relation to the audience paradigm. In other words, start with simple statements of, or allusions to, facts that they are likely to believe. You can then develop their understanding from this common point. The following focus box gives an example of this type of positioning. EXPLAINING THE SITUATION AND ISSUE In a presentation to bankers, you could begin with a statement like; ‘The information provided in this training module applies standard financial accounting practices’ (This positions the domain). ‘In particular, this session will show you how you can improve profit margins so your organisation can grow more effectively’ (This leverages their paradigm, so they can relate to the following information, because they know that profit is good).
Scope of Evidence. The next step is to explain the scope of the evidence that you are going to provide. For example, you could tell your banking audience that ‘we will particularly focus on cash flow issues, because this is the critical factor confronting your team’. With a simple statement such as this, you have effectively told them the information comes from a relatively narrow field, and this will assist them to understand the content more effectively. Define
and Explain Models. In some cases, your training will use standard models to form the basis for the discussion of the key principles. For instance, a presentation about the effects of the macro-economy on a business could begin by explaining a standard economic model, so this can provide the framework for assessing the evidence. In this situation, you would need to define and explain the model, before you can apply it to shape the delivery of the evidence later in the presentation.
Methodology for Analysis/Data Collection.
In some situations, you will use this optional element to explain where the following evidence has come from. This can be important in circumstances where you need to explain the process for analysis (eg giving the hypothesis, aim and research methodology, if you are giving scientific or technical information), or the method by which the following data was collected. In either case, you are aiming to explain the relevance and validity of the information to your audience, so they will give credence to the following evidence.
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Part 2 - Evidence. This part delivers the evidence the audience needs to reach an appropriate conclusion. The elements in this part of the module include:
Apply Models. If you are using models to provide the structure for assessing the evidence, you need to then apply the model to your situation. In real terms, this means that you have to give your evidence, so it directly links to the model you are applying. Experience shows that failure to stay close to the defined model makes it very likely the students will reject the evidence you are providing. Provide Appropriate Detail. Give your audience appropriate detail, to allow them to reach the right conclusion. When determining the level of detail required, you should take into account the audience’s level of knowledge and learning style (the approach needed to determine the likely learning style is beyond the scope of this paper). Show Linkages and Dependencies. As you describe each piece of evidence, it is important to make sure the audience clearly understands the linkages and dependencies between each piece of information. This element is extremely important, because if you fail to make this explicit, your audience may not reach the right conclusion. Part 3 - Interpretation. In many situations, this is actually the most critical part of the template, because this gives your students a clear interpretation of the evidence you have provided. The two general guidelines for providing this interpretation are:
Provide Clear Analysis. Many people
become so intent on giving details and data that they forget to explain what it all means. You have to remember that what may be blindingly clear to you might not be so apparent to your audience, and they will simply miss the point. Avoid this trap by spending an appropriate amount of time explaining the conclusions which can be drawn from the evidence.
Link to Situation/Issue and WIIFMs.
Your interpretation must also link back to the situation you are discussing. Most importantly, do not forget to relate it to the audience WIIFMs, wherever possible. WHAT IS A WIIFM? The term WIIFM simply stands for ‘What’s in it for me’. Really successful teaching comes from identifying the WIIFMs for your audience and then making sure that you:
align your content, so it helps your students achieve real benefits; and
explain how your information will assist your audience (so they become positively motivated). This second point is really important! Unfortunately, at one point or another, we have all been guilty of not making the benefits for our students explicit. In this situation, your pupils may not understand these benefits, and can therefore disregard the content. By making the WIIFMs clear for your audience, they are much more likely to be better motivated toward your information, and are more likely to retain and apply this knowledge.
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In practice, therefore, if you follow these guidelines, your audience is much more likely to reach the conclusion you are seeking from them, and accept your information.
Template 4 – Sequential Template
You should use the Sequential template when you need to explain a set of events in a specific order or sequence. As shown in Figure 3, this template contains three parts, which allow you to outline, describe, and then summarise the sequence. Figure 3: Sequential Template
The three parts required to help ensure understanding of sequential information are: Part 1 - Outline Sequence. Have you ever sat through a lesson where someone is talking about a sequence of events, but they only address each individual event, and don’t explain how they fit together? Most people feel very uncomfortable with this approach, because it is too disjointed. It is therefore recommended that you begin by outlining the sequence, and include the following elements:
Scope Sequence. You often need to begin by scoping the sequence that you are about to describe to your audience. Some common examples of scoping include: • Sequence in a Procedure. When scoping the sequence of events in a procedure, you need to begin by explaining what the process is about (eg making widgets, following safety procedures, or even opening bottles of wine). This description must be clear and concise, so your audience knows what process you are going to be describing. • Sequence of Events. To scope a sequence of events, you need to begin by explaining the general period in which they take place. For instance, you might scope the events by saying they occurred during the 18th Century, or alternatively they took place over the last twelve months. You can even be more general by explaining that ‘we will look at the events that led to the current situation’. The bottom line here is to ensure that your audience can situate the content effectively.
Overview of Sequence.
Once you’ve scoped the sequence for your audience, you should then provide a short overview of the events. This type of description should generally be short and to the point. A good way to do this is to categorise events, or parts of the sequence, into no more than seven groups (to conform to the Rule of Sevenplus or minus two). You can then give each of these groups a simple and memorable description (eg collecting the parts, connecting the components, and testing the widget).
Let your audience know what the outcome of the process or sequence is going to be. This is important, because you want your listeners to know why the sequence you are discussing is significant to them. By adopting this approach, you can improve their attention, and get them more interested in the content in the next part of the template. The best way to describe an outcome is to relate
it to the audience, or more importantly to the audience WIIFMs. The example in the following box provides an overview of this approach. AN EXAMPLE OF OUTLINING THE SEQUENCE As an example of this outlining approach, the following sequence information explains how you would begin to describe the sequence for a bottle of wine being opened and drunk: ‘In this presentation, I will describe the way in which you would open and prepare a bottle of wine for drinking’ (This scopes the sequence of events in a procedure. You could then give an overview of the sequence as follows.) ‘There are four key steps in this process, which entail: (1) choosing the right bottle and taking it from the rack; (2) removing the cork in the right way, so you don’t ruin the wine; (3) letting the wine breath (if you want to waste all that time), and (4) then drinking the wine, In this sequence, you have grouped different tasks into a readily understandable process and given a clear beginning and end point for your discussion (note that the scope does not discuss issues like getting a hangover, so this issue would not be covered in the detailed description that follows). You could then finish off the outline by stating that; ‘by following this process, you can be sure you get the greatest enjoyment from drinking the wine’. As you can see from this final statement, you have linked the outcome of the sequence to the audience’s WIIFMs, so you have included all of the required information.
descriptions of the results of the process or events, in relation to the final outcome of the sequence. As an example, you might want to describe the outcome from your cake mixing as; ‘you now have a yummy mixture that is ready to go into the oven’. You will notice that this is different from the output, because you are now linking this outcome to the audience WIIFMs (eg you now have something tasty, but it is only part of the way to the end of the process). Part 3 - Summarise Sequence. After describing each step in the sequence in detail, you should then reinforce the information you provided by describing a:
Clear Path/Process. Give the audience a quick description of the path or process used in the sequence. In other words, you need to provide a short summary of the sequence. Final Outcome. Finish your discussion by reinforcing the final outcome, so people really understand the importance of the sequence that you have just described. As always, try to link this outcome to the audience’s situation, and where appropriate, make sure the audience understands the import of this outcome in relation to their WIIFMs. As you can see from this discussion, this template is useful for describing events and processes, so you can educate your audience very effectively.
Template 5 – Relational Template The Relational template provides a very effective means for covering a wide range of topics. In fact, the elements shown in Figure 4 provide an extremely handy checklist for relating any form of content, which is not already covered by the other four templates.
Part 2 - Describe Detailed Stages. After setting the scene in the outline, you can then begin to provide a detailed description of each stage in the sequence. The content for these descriptions will vary from subject to subject, but you should aim to include the following, where appropriate:
Focussed Groupings. There is often a tendency to put too much information into the content for a sequence. When describing the detailed stages you should ensure that you keep the content focussed, and stick to the groupings that you nominated in your outline. Inputs and Outputs.
It is sometimes useful to explain inputs and outputs at each stage in a process. For example, when describing the process for mixing the ingredients for a cake, you might say; ‘at this stage you will add another egg to the mixture’ (which is an input). After beating the cake mix ‘you will have a firm mixture that can then be spooned into the cake tin’ (which is an output from that stage in the process). Simple information such as this helps your students to understand what is going into and coming out of each stage in the sequence.
Outcomes at Each Stage.
You should normally aim to describe the outcomes at the end of each stage. This typically entails giving
Figure 4: Relational Template
The parts of the Relational template are: Part 1 - Whole Picture View. The first stage in this template is very important. You must begin by giving your audience:
Overview of the Issues. Start by giving an overview of the issues that you are going to be covering. This step will assist you to program the audience, and help them to put all of the following information into the appropriate context.
An Explanation of the Relationships. As you are describing each of the issues, it is important to explain the relationships between each piece of information. You can do this either verbally, or through graphical representations (such as those shown in Figure 5 shown on next page).
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Figure 5: Examples of Graphic Representation of Relationships
Part 2 - Describe Issues. After providing the whole picture view, you can then move on to describe appropriate aspects of each issue independently. Where possible, however, you should also try to reinforce the relationships between issues during this phase, so your audience can properly understand the interaction. Additionally, you may need to describe outcomes and effects, using similar techniques to those described in the Sequential template. Part3 - Overview of the Relationships. Use the final part to deliver a quick overview of the issues and their relationships. This part is important, because it will help your audience to assess the information, and remember the content more effectively. For example, research indicates that providing this type of summary can improve retention of the key message by up to 80%. This is a deceptively simple template, but if you follow this approach, you can make your general modules much more understandable and memorable.
Using the Templates You can use each of these templates individually to develop the body of a coherent training module. In many situations, therefore, one template is all you will need. However, when you have to create a more complex message, you may also want to use more than just one template to develop your content. In these circumstances, you can use the templates like building blocks. The process for building up the message in this way is quite straightforward, and uses the following steps: Step 1 - Select the Dominant Template. Begin by identifying the template that matches your dominant message. For instance, you might want to get your students to reach a conclusion from your information. In this case, you would use the Analytical template to set the primary structure for the body of the message. Step 2 – Insert the Appropriate Subordinate Templates. This second step entails putting the content you have identified into the dominant template. Where the points are highly complex, you can then use other templates to explain these points. Figure 6 shows a simplified example of this approach.
Figure 6: Using the Templates as Building Blocks
As shown in this diagram, the Introduction and Conclusion would encapsulate the body of the presentation (Note: A discussion of the content within the Introduction and Conclusion is outside the scope of this paper). The body of the presentation has then been structured using the Analytical template. In this case, the underlying points have then been built into the appropriate part of this structure. For example, when describing the methodology for data collection (which is an element in the first part in the Analytical template), we could use a sequential template, because the process is quite complex. In practice, this means that you can now use a clear set of guidelines to show you the types of information needed to make this very complex point. Just as importantly, by using this template this complicated element of your message can become much easier to understand and remember. It is therefore possible to create virtually any form of presentation by combining the templates in this fashion.
Conclusion As shown in this paper, you can quickly create the body of your presentation by using one or more templates. Because each of these templates is aligned to the way people process information, your message will then be highly coherent and understandable. In practice, this means that your students will find your message very sensible and easy to follow, if you use these templates. Just as importantly, these templates take much of the guesswork out of developing your message, because you can use them as checklists. In my experience, this can help you to cut your content development time by up to half. As we are all very busy, this can provide a major bonus. email@example.com
For a great deal of additional information on this subject, a new book called ‘Persuasion and Influence – The Science and Art of Effective Presentation’ will be released in all good bookstores by March 2010.
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Nachiket Khare answers some questions about rapid e-learning In the global economy slowdown, how do you think e-learning quality can be maintained when the budgets are limited?
2. Simulation tools: These tools help in creation the of simulations. Some examples of such tools are Captivate, Camtasia and so on.
Considering the slowdown in the global economy, we can imagine that training budgets will get affected. Organisations will start depending more on e-learning because travel budgets will be reduced. Good quality training courses will be expected in limited budgets. Now is the time when strategic initiatives will be put to the test. Developing e-learning using traditional methods of programming or outsourcing the development is not cost effective and hence companies have started looking at Rapid e-learning more seriously. Organisations now need to deliver effective and interactive e-learning courses using powerful rapid e-learning tools to optimise costs and maximise returns.
3. Interactivity tools: These are special tools which help in the creation of interactions such as learning games, branching simulations, virtual worlds, brainteasers and so on. Harbinger is proud to be the innovator of the leading interactivity building tool – Raptivity.
You mentioned rapid e-learning. Can you elaborate more on that? Firstly, as the name suggests rapid means quick/fast. So using the rapid e-learning approach, one can develop e-learning quickly. Now the immediately obvious question arises about the quality and effectiveness. Does rapid e-learning compromise on quality and effectiveness? The answer is “No” provided you use the right tools. In fact, using the right combination of tools, one can easily create highly interactive courses which include learning games, branching simulations etc. Another important characteristic of rapid e-learning tools is that they should be very easy to use and anyone should be able to use them without much of a learning curve and without any programming knowledge What kinds of tools are required to develop rapid e-learning? Depending on the need, the course developers need to use different tools. There are various types of rapid e-learning tools available such as: 1. Authoring tools: These tools help in creation of e-learning courses. Some examples of such tools are Elicitus, Lectora, ToolBook and so on.
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What is rapid interactivity and why is it needed? E-learning courses get boring if there is no interactivity in them. Boring courses increase drop-out rates. This then results in ineffective learning. Course developers understand the need of interactivity in courses. However, interactivity development can be very expensive if you decide on using traditional methods. In traditional methods, you need programmers, instructional designers and graphic artists to develop interactivity. However, with rapid interactivity, you get access to a pre-built library of ready interactions. You can simply choose the interaction you want, customise it for your needs and use it in your courses. And you can do all this without any programming knowledge. Who should be using Raptivity? Raptivity can be used by anyone who wants to create high quality, interactive e-learning. Today, Raptivity is being used by course creators, instruction designers, subject matter experts, trainers across different verticals – manufacturing, healthcare, IT, BFSI, Telecom and a lot more. It is also being extensively used by schools, colleges, universities, government organisations, and Not for Profit organisations. Today, Raptivity has a user base in over 45 countries. Most of them use it as they get a very high return on investment. Amitabh@harbingergroup.com
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