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Project Management Platforms are a dime a dozen, and in order to capture the most customers, they usually offer generic tools that do not cater to a specific industry.
 

Articles & Research

Welcome to Instructional Design Genius’ learning Articles & Research page. Here you will find articles or abstracts with links to full articles, that cover an array of interesting topics. The internet age has greatly increased the number of practitioners commenting on their craft which has produced a huge surge in quantity with a variance in quality. We culled those articles we think our subscribers will find most insightful and enjoyable as a way to say thanks.

What Does An Instructional Designer Do? 

By: Sprout Labs

 

Originally Published by Sprout Labs based on a section of their Instructional Design 101 webinar.

 

08/27/2017

 

Abstract: This article outlines the many competencies instructional designers must develop in order to deliver meaningful training. It considers the role from both a historic and modern perspective.

 

Full Link: http://www.sproutlabs.com.au/blog/what-does-an-instructional-designer-do/

A Quick Introduction To LMS Standards

By: Trina Rimmer

 

Originally Published by E-Learning Heroes

 

08/24/2017

 

Abstract: This article explains the purpose of LMS standards and reviews three that have supported the learning industry: AICC, SCORM, and xAPI. The article also introduces a fourth standard, cmi5, which attempts to blend characteristics of both SCORM and xAPI.

 

Full Link: https://community.articulate.com/articles/a-quick-introduction-to-lms-standards?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=elh-101

Does eLearning Work? What the Scientific Research Says!

By: Will Thalheimer

 

Originally Published by Work Learning Research Inc. 

 

08/18/2017

 

Abstract: This paper evaluates the effectiveness of eLearning in comparison to other modalities, as well as identifies effective practices that transcend learning vehicles entirely.

 

Full Link: http://willthalheimer.typepad.com/files/does-elearning-work-full-research-report-final.pdf

Converting Traditional Multiple Choice Questions to Scenario-Based Questions

By: Christy Tucker

 

Originally Published on Experience eLearning

 

08/01/2017

 

Abstract: This article explores how to rewrite bland multiple choice questions which measure simple recall, as engaging scenario-based questions which measure higher-level thought and provide relevant context.

 

 

Full Link: https://christytucker.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/converting-traditional-multiple-choice-questions-to-scenario-based-questions/

Measuring the Business Impact of Learning 

By: Piers Lea, Chief Strategy Officer at NetDimensions’ partner company LEO and Donald H Taylor, Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute

 

Originally Published on LinkedIn by Donald Taylor

 

07/12/2017

 

Abstract: In this conversational interview, Piers and Donald, two industry professionals, discuss the growing call to demonstrate the ROI of corporate learning initiatives and the thinking driving this movement.

 

Full Link: https://youtu.be/FPl5wj8R-Ww

How To Speak About Training ROI Without Devolving Into Bullsh*t!

By: Chris Straley

 

Originally Published on eLearningindustry.com

 

06/29/2017

 

Abstract: This article describes how learning professionals can speak about training ROI in a meaningful and honest manner to demonstrate the value of learning initiatives without overstating results and thereby discrediting the industry.

 

Full Link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/designing-your-course-structure-mukund-aralikatti?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BsrLYjjks8sC2JEjkUtphFg==

Designing Your Course Structure

By: Mukund Aralikatti

 

Originally Published on LinkedIn

 

06/03/2017

 

Abstract: This article outlines a thoughtful approach to estimating the necessary duration of an eLearning deliverable and provides tips regarding how to structure it accordingly.

 

Full Link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/designing-your-course-structure-mukund-aralikatti?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BsrLYjjks8sC2JEjkUtphFg==

8 LMS Metrics To Use In Performance Management Online Training

The Science Behind A Low “No Show” Rate

By: Christopher Pappas

 

Originally Published on: Speexx.com

 

06/03/17

 

Abstract: This article provides eight ways in which you may use an LMS to assess job performance. It covers completions, surveys, and simulation activities, as well capturing consumer feedback and linking to business metrics.

 

Full Link: https://www.speexx.com/home/lms-metrics-use-performance-management-online-training/

feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_detail_base%3B2iR4hUGD0f57HABVDkHAzw%3D%3D

By: Erin Stashin

 

Originally Published on: LinkedIn Pulse

 

05/16/2017

 

Abstract: Review practical tips to maximize ROI on training classes through sound communication and promotion techniques.

 

Full Link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/science-behind-low-show-rate-erin-stashin?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_detail_base%3B2iR4hUGD0f57HABVDkHAzw%3D%3D

The 7 Golden Rules of Public Speaking for a Tight Delivery

By: Dave Mac

 

Originally Published on: Presentation Blogger

 

4/24/2017

 

Abstract: This brief article presents practical tips to apply when preparing to give a presentation. It specifically focuses on placing the speaker, rather than her slides, front and center.

 

Full Link: https://www.presentationblogger.com/the-7-golden-rules-of-public-speaking-for-a-tight-delivery/

How to Use Positive Feedback to Build Leadership Skills

By: Steffen Maier

 

Originally Published on: The Business Journal

 

4/21/2017

 

Abstract: Read how to put the positive feedback you receive into action to drive additional successes as both an employee and a manager of others.

 

Full Link: http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2017/04/how-to-use-positive-feedback-to-build-leadership.html

Busting The Attention Span Myth

By: Simon Maybin

 

Originally Published by BBC News

 

3/10/2017

 

Abstract: This article addresses claims about the much-discussed, yet little understood, topic of attention span.

 

Link To Full Article: health-38896790

5 Highlights From LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report

By: Chris Straley

 

Originally Published by eLearning Industry

 

3/05/2017

 

Abstract: This past October LinkedIn assembled the 2017 Workplace Learning Report to provide an overview of industry statistics, trends, and recommendations. This article summarizes the second half of the report titled “How to Succeed in the Future State of L&D”.

Two business women waving

Think your slides are great? Better ask your audience!

By: Mike Taylor

 

Originally Published by LinkedIn Pulse

 

2/17/2017

 

Abstract: This article provides tips you can use to improve the quality of PowerPoint presentations.

 

Link: https://community.articulate.com/articles/elearning-games-recap?utm_source=LinkedIn&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=elh-chal

40+ Interactive E-Learning Games and Examples

By: Various Authors

 

Originally Published by E-Learning Heroes

 

2/2/2017

 

Abstract: Explore a number of real game-based interactions in Articulate from various authors who submitted examples.

 

Link: https://community.articulate.com/articles/elearning-games-recap?utm_source=LinkedIn&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=elh-chal

Three Tips For a Successful eLearning Project Kickoff Meeting

Accompanying article image - business meeting

By: Tim Slade

 

Originally Published on LinkedIn Pulse

 

12/19/16

 

Abstract: This article describes the purpose of holding a project kickoff meeting when working on an eLearning deliverable and provides helpful hints about how to run it effectively.

 

Full Article: https://timslade.com/blog/e-learning-project-kickoff-meeting/

9 Worst UX Mistakes You Must Avoid

By: Alok Singh

 

Originally Published on Design India

 

12/08/16

 

Abstract: This article focuses on UX Design mistakes as they apply to websites, much of which translate to eLearning Development, a closely-related discipline.

 

Full Article:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/9-worst-ux-mistakes-you-must-avoid-alok-singh?

Accompanying article image - scale showing balance between business needs and customer needs

What Do You Know: Do We Learn Less from Screens?

Accompanying article image - Finger touching a tablet

By: Patti Shank

 

Originally Published on ATD: Science of Learning Blog

 

12/7/16

 

Abstract: This article examines how the presentation of content in print versus online via a screen affects comprehension and retention. 

 

Full Article: /wp-admin/

The 4 W’s of Microlearning Mobile Strategy

By: Designing Digitally, Inc.

 

Originally Published on Designing Digitally

 

11/28/2016

 

Abstract: This article defines microlearning, summarizes a few of its advantages, and discusses where and when to use it.

 

Full Article: http://www.designingdigitally.com/blog/2016/11/4-w%E2%80%99s-microlearning-mobile-strategy?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=linkedin&utm_source=socialnetwork#ixzz4SB08QIYy

Accompanying article image - mini ship in a bottle to represent microlearning

Different Types of Gamification and Choosing the Correct Strategy: Gamification vs. Serious Games

Accompanying article image - Example gamification badges

By: Aman Deep Dubey

 

Originally Published by Learn Tech

 

11/25/2016

 

Abstract: The author summarizes two different approaches to gamification that vary by the time, cost, and effort necessary to create a solution, and examines when to use each approach.

 

Full Article:  http://learntech.in/types-of-gamification-games-vs-gamification

Employee Learning and Development: The 70:20:10 Model – Relevant or Refuse Bin?

By: Chris Osborn

 

Originally Published on LinkedIn Pulse

 

11/21/16

 

Abstract: This article summarizes the 70:20:10 model, explains its lack of validity, and suggests alternate steps to improve learning and retention.

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/employee-learning-development-702010-model-relevant-chris-osborn

A picture of Alvin Toffler

I Don’t Want “To Understand” In My Learning Objectives

Accompanying article image Instructional Design Genius - Compass pointing the way to the hiker's objective

By: Viv Cole

 

Originally Published on LinkedIn

 

11/21/2016

 

Abstract: As the title suggests, this article describes why the word, “understand” does not lend itself to writing strong learning objectives.

 

Full Article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-dont-want-understand-my-learning-objectives-viv-cole?trk=hp-feed-article-title-comment

Expand Your E-Learning Career by Expanding Your E-Learning Toolbox

By: Tim Slade

 

Originally Published on LinkedIn

 

11/1/2016

 

Abstract: This article highlights supplementary tools eLearning professionals can use in conjunction to their primary authoring tool (Articulate, Captivate, etc.), to create high quality learning solutions.

 

Full Article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/expand-your-e-learning-career-expanding-toolbox-tim-slade?trk=hp-feed-article-title-share

Accompanying article image - Cartoon image of a toolbox

Five Mistakes To Avoid When Working With Subject Matter Experts

Accompanying article image - Business woman speaking to employees

By: Tim Slade

 

Originally Published on TimSlade.com

 

10/22/2016

 

Abstract: This article examines how to build a strong relationship with the SMEs with whom learning professionals must work when developing solutions.

 

Full Article: https://timslade.com/blog/five-mistakes-avoid-working-subject-matter-experts/

Bad Writing Is Destroying Your Company’s Productivity

By: Josh Bernoff

 

Originally Published on the Harvard Business Review

 

9/6/2016

 

Abstract: This article considers the adverse impact of poor writing practices in the workplace including use of passive voice and extensive jargon.

 

Full Article: https://hbr.org/2016/09/bad-writing-is-destroying-your-companys-productivity

An image of scrambled words

Has Training Lost Its Personality?

Accompanying article image - bored business woman

By: Alan Landers

 

Originally Published on Alan Landers / Pulse / LinkedIn

 

8/14/2016

 

Abstract: This article examines the struggle to create fun and memorable learning experiences in a corporate world that subtly discourages creative outlets for training.

 

Full Article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/has-training-lost-its-personality-alan-landers?trk=hp-feed-article-title-comment 

Corporate Learning Buzzwords, Or Let’s Cut To The Chase

By: Chris Straley

 

Originally Published on elearningindustry.com 

 

9/12/2016
 
Learning professionals often differ in approach, design preference, and style, but many agree corporate culture has spawned innumerable corporate learning buzzwords that fill cubicles the world over with the sound of misplaced metaphor, pointless euphemism, and self-important drone. This article examines a few of the most common offenders and attempts to hack away the excess.

 

1. Cloud
The term, “cloud” describes hosting (saving) content online in a server, usually owned or rented by a business, rather than on individual hardware such as a desktop, laptop, or phone. That’s it! The “cloud” is not an empyreal land of wonder, but the same old idea of saving content in one of the millions of servers that comprise the bones of the internet. Cloud-based solutions allow users to save content and run programs without using space on their own devices.

 

A boring presenter putting the audience to sleep

2. SaaS
Think of SaaS or “software as a service” as a rental (sometimes permanent, depending upon the agreement). Instead of purchasing software on physical medium as in the past, (think CDs or floppy disks if you are really old like me), users pay a service fee to access software hosted online in that happy cloud. This saves space as aforementioned, but also ensures customers are using the most up-to-date version of the software. IT professionals tend to appreciate that they no longer need to download and install software on individual machines one at a time.

 

3. Agile
This overused word describes a concept similar to its cousin, “agility”. Agile development uses short cycles to create a product one small piece at a time, rather than build something from start to finish before releasing it. This approach allows software developers, learning professionals, and anyone else who chooses to embrace this common sense approach to obtain frequent feedback from users of the product under development which may save time wasted by traveling too far down a wrong path.

 

4. Asynchronous Training
Four syllables… Sounds academic, but what is it? Traditional classroom experiences include live communication between a learner and an instructor as well as with other students. However, with the advent of online technology, learners may choose from thousands of self-paced courses, commonly constructed as eLearning, that provide participants flexibility to complete them whenever they so desire. In these instances, the learner foregoes live interaction for the sake of convenience. Asynchronous training may still include interactions with other people in the form of message boards, forums, etc. They simply don’t take place in real time. So which is better, asynchronous or synchronous training? Like your children, love them both equally; they bring different qualities to the table.

 

5. Thought Leader
This term essentially describes a theorist who influences a community’s perspective on a particular subject. Unless you wish to alienate a good portion of your fellow practitioners with a title dripping in self-congratulation, I suggest avoiding it altogether. After all, to what degree need someone influence the community? Which thoughts can one deem worthy of necessitating a “leader”? Don’t attempt to answer these hypothetical questions; it’s not worth your time.

 

6. Opportunity
A euphemism for “weakness” invented by someone who values obfuscation over clarity for the sake of political correctness. Learning professionals will undoubtedly encounter this term during needs analysis (and their own reviews), but can make the world a better place by not reinforcing its use. Note that Webster’s Dictionary does not even include the corporate world’s interpretation of the word.

 

Full definition of opportunity:

  1. A favorable juncture of circumstances <the halt provided an opportunity for rest and refreshment>.
  2. A good chance for advancement or progress.

 

7. Gamification
Gamification describes the process of incorporating gaming elements such as rewards, competition, and scoring to drive engagement within a learning experience. The approach often adds value and many including myself find it fun. However, don’t expect it to solve all problems or add gaming elements in all circumstances. Somehow, I don’t envision the sexual harassment training game going over well.

 

8. MOOC
While it sounds like a term a 1930s gangster might use, MOOC is an acronym which stands for Massive Open Online Courses. Many universities, including some of the most prestigious in the world, offer free courses in topics ranging from software engineering to the humanities on a variety of platforms. I recommend starting by exploring Coursera which includes a large library of options.
This list of corporate learning buzzwords represents only a single bucket in the endless ocean of offensive business terminology (ahhhhh, ridiculous metaphor), so feel free to record your own pet peeves in the comments section. But don’t forget to provide a succinct explanation or really, you’re just adding to the problem. Happy hunting!

Comic Books & eLearning: Lessons from Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”

A comic book cover

By: Jeffrey Dalto

 

Originally Published on Convergence Training

 

8/12/2016

 

Abstract: This article examines similarities between comic book and eLearning design and outlines how principles transfer across the two mediums. Specifically, it summarizes concepts from each of the nine chapters in Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art and discusses how they still apply when building eLearning deliverables.

 

Full Article  http://blog.convergencetraining.com/comic-booksand-elearning-lessons-from-scott-mcclouds-understanding-comics-the-invisible-art#comment-94669

Using Word Clouds to Support Learning & Development

By: Chris Straley

 

Originally Published on elearningindustry.com

 

5/30/2016

 

Analysis – Use Word Clouds to Identify Trends

Are you struggling to identify the root cause(s) of a given performance opportunity? Are you hearing multiple, or even conflicting, stories? Did the surveys and focus groups you conducted to uncover specific challenges create confusion and dissention rather than clarify the situation? If so, use a word cloud to zero-in on trending feedback. A gap or challenge as articulated by one person may not reveal much of value. However, trends offer greater reliability than one-off comments as they apply across a number of individuals with inherent differences.

If certain themes continually appear in response to a learning professional’s inquiry, she can use a word cloud to identify them. How? Simply copy and paste text from survey and interview questions into any number of free online word cloud generators to create a graphic such as the one accompanying this article. The more respondents used a particular word, the larger it will appear in the graphic.

A word cloud image that shows a ton of words

In the context of needs analysis, the word cloud accompanying this article reveals how a learning professional may narrow a vague request about a perceived gap in communication skills to a specific focus such as “writing” or “email.” Even better, the learning professional might use such a graphic to determine that a broad request for “communication training” actually calls for helping the learners write concise emails to customers.

 

Design & Development – Use Word Clouds to Focus Your Deliverable

Learning professionals often address wide-ranging subjects that might go in any number of directions. An instructor-led class or eLearning about leadership skills might address hiring, coaching, delegation, performance evaluation, or other topics. Creating a word cloud from drafts of facilitator talking points or eLearning narration provides a quick focus check. For example, if a proposed leadership module should focus on performance evaluation, certain terms should appear more than others. A word cloud culled from this type of training might distort to terms such as “measureable,” “impact,” “results,” “feedback,” etc. If the word cloud does not reveal a high use of such terms, the training may lack focus and/or reiteration which would aid in retention.

 

Implementation – Use Word Clouds For Search Optimization

As learners sort through ever-increasing amounts of available information, tagging has assumed an important role in sifting through the noise. Learning professionals may use tags within learning management systems, article databases, and blog posts to identify content. Word clouds provide a painless way to create tags based upon a word’s frequency of use. Referring again to the word cloud included with this article, one might use tags such as “emails, “writing,” “learned,” “communication,” “concise,” and “customers” to assist in searches.

 

Evaluation – Use Word Cloud to Organize Open-Ended Feedback

Level one open-ended survey questions offer a personalized level of feedback not available through Likert Scale questionnaires. Even more useful, follow-up interviews with a learner’s manager may reveal coveted instances of level three on-the-job application. Yet, despite their value, both approaches are labor intensive due to the need to manually sort through feedback. A word cloud may mitigate some of that work by identifying words and concepts that most resonated with learners and their manager respectively. If used for measurement purposes, the word cloud above suggests that participants who attended this particular communication course most remembered content about writing emails to customers, active versus passive voice, and editing (the words “review,” “drafting,” and “re-read” all appear in the cloud). Moreover, analysis-based and evaluation-centered word clouds will mirror each other in effective training solutions, meaning the learners best recalled concepts around which they had gaps in the first place.

 

Conclusion
Word clouds provide a flexible resource that learning professionals may leverage across multiple facets of their job. They offer a unique way to analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate solutions in an easy-to-follow manner. Analytic concepts such as visualization needn’t remain abstract, specialized exercises, but instead, offer utilitarian value if one applies them creatively.

Why is Gamification not a Magic Bullet for Organizations?

By: John Turner

Originally Published on John Turner / Pulse / LinkedIn

5/4/2016

Abstract: This article discusses the need to formulate a concrete plan when using gamification in learning deliverables and gives examples of approaches developers may adopt.

Full Article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-gamification-magic-bullet-organizations-john-turner

A gun firing a golden bullet

Learning And Development: Anyone Can Do It… Right?

By: Chris Straley

Originally Published on elearningindustry.com

5/15/2016

 

Why People Believe That Anyone Can Create Learning And Development Programs
In my fifteen years-experience working in Learning and Development, I have come across more than a handful of people who either directly or indirectly demonstrated the belief that anyone can build or deliver training. Learning professionals witness this when leaders task Subject Matter Experts with creating and delivering “training”, usually PowerPoint decks on steroids delivered to passive audiences, or when business leaders fail to distinguish between communication and training. While most learning professionals undoubtedly deem this attitude as annoying, counterproductive, and even disrespectful, most rational people do not go out of their way to denigrate another individual’s profession. So what drives this cavalier attitude toward training, that anyone can do it? In the space below, I explore 3 possibilities.

 

A misunderstanding of what constitutes training.
This dynamic stems from mistaking communication and training as interchangeable. The use of “understand” or “know” as learning objectives act as red flags that a would-be training professional cannot differentiate between training and communication. A savvy Instructional Designer avoids using “understand” as a learning objective due to its incompatibility with measurement. One cannot measure an ethereal concept like understanding. Knowledge, while technically measureable by rote tests, is not much better. Whether or not you agree with the specifics of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a strictly knowledge-based objective measures nothing more than the ability to parrot information. If pseudo objectives such as “understand” and “know” truly satisfy the needs of the situation at hand, the prospective audience likely requires simple awareness, and communication rather than training may suffice. It is the act of advertising such solutions as training by which non-learning professionals create confusion. Training implies the application of knowledge, which in turn manifests in the form of behaviors. Subject Matter Expert driven “training” rarely moves beyond awareness, which means classifying it as training remains suspect at best.

 

Underestimating the knowledge/experience that learning professionals apply to their craft.
As demonstrated by the communication/training dynamic, Learning and Development rests upon a foundation that someone who did not specialize in learning would find difficult to navigate. Learning and Development incorporates elements of psychology, biology, visual design, writing, interviewing, delivery, and measurement capabilities at which one grows proficient via a combination of schooling and practice. In this respect it mirrors most other professions such as law, medicine, engineering, or accounting. Except in the rarest of circumstances, a lawyer would not attempt to perform surgery while a surgeon would not moonlight as a city prosecutor. Why? Because each respects the training and experience necessary to perform the other’s job well. Why then does training and education tend to produce a high number of quasi-practitioners? Over-estimating one’s capabilities due to a perceived familiarity may provide one explanation. Because virtually everyone has attended school in their lifetime, they do have limited context with the field of education. Problems arise when they extrapolate this experience as providing them with the necessary expertise to develop training. After all, they’ve attended school so they know what it’s all about.

 

Reticence/inability to make a real investment.
The final reason that prospective clients assign Subject Matter Experts to create or deliver training stems from neither a misunderstanding of the purpose of training nor of the expertise necessary to create it, but instead from monetary restrictions. Developing and implementing interactive training that evokes behavioral change incurs significant costs. When a single simulation-based eLearning can easily run over 40k, businesses may resort to going the Subject Matter Expert route out of expediency or necessity. In situations such as these, one can only hope that the Subject Matter Expert tasked with creating or delivering learning receives support in the form of a train the trainer experience or an Instructional Design fundamentals class. One cannot learn an entire profession in such a manner, but a short Instructional Design seminar or training delivery course can introduce the basics.

 

Conclusion
So where do we go from here? What is a weary learning professional to do in the face of these misunderstandings? For one thing, all Learning and Development employees can advocate on behalf of the profession. Take the time to explain the differences between communication and training to prospective clients; introduce them to sound practices that demonstrate the value of the profession. If we fail to do so, we only propagate the frustrating dynamic in which we often find ourselves. The best learning professionals not only provide clients with viable solutions, but insight into their process and why it matters.

Organizational Trends In Learning And Development

By: Chris Straley

 

Originally Published on eLearningIndustry.com

 

4/29/2016

 

Top Organizational Trends In 2016
Members of ATD may access the complete ATD’s 2015 State of the Industry report for free, while non-members may order it for a one-time charge. Learning practitioners who want greater context, industry-specific information, and charts that outline organizational trends over time should review the full report. This brief summary provides high level information learning professionals may use as a point of reference when helping executives, Subject Matter Experts, and those new to the profession better understand the current landscape.

A magnifying glass hovering over the words, "top trends"

Cost Trends
The amount that organizations spend on training marks one of the greatest areas of variance in the information covered in the report. Small organizations spend significantly more on training per employee than large organizations at $1,716 to $868 (ATD: 2015 State of the Industry, 8). However, this difference makes sense once one considers reuse and the economies of scale large organizations can apply to their training deliverables. When considering the cost per training item available, and the cost per training item used, small organizations exhibit a seemingly paradoxical situation in which the cost per hour available runs less than half that of large organizations, $1,162 compared to $2,324, while the cost per learning hour used amounts to more than double that of large organizations, $95 dollars compared to $42 (22-23). The lower cost per learning hour used in large organizations likely correlates to the same concepts of reuse and economies of scale that temper overall spending per employee. Additionally, ATD posits that the anomaly of low spending per hour available at small organizations may stem from pressure to reduce costs due to a lack of delivery options. One might extrapolate that this frugal approach applies not only from a dearth of delivery options, but also from greater awareness when working with a small budget. ATD further notes that industry differences may also play a role as small organizations distort toward management consulting businesses which needn’t supply expensive technical or role-specific training.

Organizations honored as best in class mirrored large organizations, spending $2,395 per hour available, yet only $55 per hour used. This implies they created specialized training, yet leveraged economies of scale to mitigate expenses.

 

The 2015 report also outlines how training aligns to an organization’s revenue and profit. Although small as a percentage, these investments often represent a significant amount in terms of raw dollars, particularly at large organizations. Mean training expenditures for 2014 sit at 1.5% of revenue and 8% of profit (16). Of note, best in class organizations spend significantly less at .5% of revenue and 2.1% of profit which suggests that they spend more efficiently (17). However, a large best in class organization may produce a profit in the billions of dollars. Thus, a miniscule 2.1% accounts for $21M for every billion dollars in profit an organization makes. In 2014, Apple generated a profit of $39.5B, which using the same ratio, denotes a budget of almost $830M for Learning and Development.

 

Time, Content, And Modality Trends
The difference in total time an employee devotes to training on an annual basis varies little for small, mid, and large-sized organizations with a mean time of 33 hours. This implies that regardless of size, organizations value training (8). Based upon a 40 hour work week with a vacation allotment of two weeks, average employees spend approximately 1.7% of their time at work completing formal training. Regarding the type of training on which most employees focus, over a third centers on three areas: managerial, function/job specific, and compliance (29).

 

While the move toward technology-centric training continues, a full half of all formal learning remains instructor led (29). Self-paced online training (eLearning) comprises 19% of all training while the virtual classroom now accounts for 10%. Mobile learning delivered on a smart phone or tablet still greatly lags these other delivery methods at 2% (31). Mobile learning has witnessed some growth as it stood at a mere 1.5% in 2013, yet only a third of organizations surveyed have a mobile learning program (32). This small percentage may reflect the challenge of working with new technology as well as limits around the type of content a mobile device can display.

 

Conclusions
Based upon the above information and multi-year trending data from the report, organizations have once again increased their focus on Learning and Development post the 2008 recession. Since numbers vary based upon size, industry, and specific company-needs, those who wish to create a comprehensive profile of how their own organization stacks up against industry standards, should review the full research.

Andragogy versus Pedagogy: An Unnecessary Paradigm

By: Chris Straley

Originally Published on eLearningIndustry.com

4/21/2016

The Premise
Theory-driven fields like learning and development have long produced select, “sacred-cows” that practitioners have repeated for so long that they have become accepted as fact despite evidence to the contrary. Whether this stems from the abstract nature of learning with its complex interaction of biology and behaviorism, or from passive acceptance of select authorities, learning and development professionals would do well to examine and challenge assumptions.

The perceived dichotomy between andragogy and pedagogy represents one such example of this dynamic. Andragogy refers to the theory and practice of educating adult learners. To distinguish andragogy from pedagogy, the theory and practice of educating children, Malcolm Knowles identifies several differentiators:

1 Adults require a reason for learning.
2 Adults respond to learning practices that build upon prior experience.
3 Adults desire self-directed educational experiences.
4 Adults wish to learn content that translates into immediate action & application.
5 Adults rely on internal motivation to prompt learning.

Several students gathered around a computer

The Theory Evolves
While Knowles’ differentiators convey a degree of practical wisdom, e.g. adults have a larger well of experience from which they may draw than children, the theory also makes assumptions that lack universal applicability. For example, any schoolteacher might share that she hears the question, “Why do we have to learn this?” with regular frequency whether teaching algebra or the history of the Reformation. Requiring a reason for learning hardly applies only to adults. Conversely, the notion that adults always want self-directed educational experiences may not hold up in situations in which the adult learner lacks context, self-awareness of blind spots, and particularly, the skills to self-educate. In fact, the entire continuing education profession would cease to exist if all adults displayed the motivation, foresight, and ability to self-direct their learning.

To his credit, like many theorists, Knowles revised his views over many years and began to consider andragogy and pedagogy less as oppositional approaches that align exclusively to adults and children respectively, but as a contrast between teacher-centered and student-centered learning, both of which apply to children and adults depending upon the circumstances. In this light, educators and instructional designers may use Knowles’ differentiators as valuable guidelines when designing, developing, and delivering training, yet shouldn’t apply the same unflinching reverence to this updated binary relationship lest they repeat the past mistake of over-generalizing.

The Theory In Practice
So, how can a thoughtful learning professional address the varied needs of adult and child learners and incorporate both teacher-centered and student-centered practices? The following list provides a few suggestions.

1. Regardless of the audience’s demographics and background, frame learning in the context in which participants will apply it; make it real.
2.  Provide the WFIM (what’s in it for me) for participants to increase receptivity and cultivate a desire to learn.
3. Increase engagement by soliciting stories and examples from participants, adults and children alike, which also reinforces the relevance of learning.
4. Provide options, particularly around application activities, e.g. “Choose from one of the following scenarios,” “Make a final presentation on a topic about which you might speak in real life,” etc.
5. Use simulations, case studies, labs, on the job training practices, etc. to promote practice and to mimic expectations about what the learners must physically do either on the job, or when they get into “the real world.”
6. Leverage natural curiosity and drive by building engaging experiences that grab the participants’ attention and prompt them to want to know more.

Rather than waste time sorting educational practices into a binary relationship of andragogy versus pedagogy, adults versus children, learning professionals who apply the above guidelines will enhance any learning experience. The specific approach may differ based on the situation, but using them as guardrails will prove valuable in creating engagement, establishing context, and promoting application. While in different places developmentally, children and adults alike crave active learning experiences that provide clear value and answer questions about which they are curious. Most couldn’t care less about how well they fit into neat categories born in academia.

HOW TO CHUNK TRAINING MATERIALS

By: Jeffrey Dalto

 

Originally Published on Convergence Training

 

10/31/2014

 

Abstract: This  article describes how the instructional design practice of chunking information drives retention by aligning with the mechanics of working and long-term memory.

 

Full Article:  http://blog.convergencetraining.com/chunk-training-materials

Three boxes grouped together to illustrate chunking

Graphic Design Tips for eLearning: 25 Fundamental Techniques

Monitor displaying art tools

By: Jeffrey Dalto

 

Originally Published on Convergence Training

 

8/20/2014

 

Abstract: This extensive article explores tips to improve retention via the use of strong visuals. It examines how graphics can reduce complexity by depicting what might otherwise take a long time to describe verbally, direct the learner’s attention, build emotional engagement, and more.

 

Full Article  http://blog.convergencetraining.com/graphic-design-tips-for-elearning