You have been there before. Your leadership team is asking for e-learning courseware that looks like your organization. They want courses with your branding; they want courses with your company images, videos of your storefronts, manufacturing facilities or hospital hallways, and they want courses with your specific company policies and resources. From a leadership standpoint, this makes sense.

BENEFITS OF CUSTOM E-LEARNING

There are good reasons your leadership team wants to deliver custom e-learning courseware to your company employees and leaders. As Sairam Chawhan, e-learning evangelist, says:

1.  Custom content is more relevant, meaningful, engaging, and more authentic than off-the-shelf courseware.

2. Custom content aligns with the organization’s branding and, more importantly, connects the organization’s values with your training modules.

3. Custom content increases learners’ motivation and engagement with the courses.

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While the benefits of custom courseware are significant, there are a few limitations. Many organizations don’t have the budget or the time to either hire a company to create custom courseware or pay for an off-the- shelf courseware provider to customize courseware. Additionally, many organizations don’t have the internal team to create their own custom courses.

That has all changed now.

Vado’s self-service editable courseware is the answer. With Vado, you get to select the courses that will meet your company’s development needs from a catalog of more than 375 micro-learning, mobile-responsive courses.

With your selected courses, you’ll then use the proprietary Course Editor software tool and personalize the courses to your organization. Change the branding, add a company video, add company images, or company policies and forms. The choices are endless.

HOW TO START

Vado’s award-winning management development and leadership development learning tracks are the perfect place to start. Edit the courses and make your desired changes, and in no time at all you’ll be introducing your learners to customized management and leadership development courseware.

Provide your learners with courses they can connect with and courses they want to take.

You’ll reap the all the benefits of customized courseware at a fraction of the time and cost. The results of editable off-the-shelf courseware will surprise you.

To learn more about Vado’s editable courseware, visit the Website www.vadoinc.net/Ed- itableContent, or phone (952) 545-6698.

—Cindy Pascale is CEO of Vado, Inc., a multiple Best of Elearning! honoree. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Published in Ideas

Describing “leadership” is not an easy task, and definitions can vary depending on who is asked. Is leadership a quality, an attribute, an attitude, a job title? A lot of the trouble we face in finding the best definition arises from confusion. It’s essential to distinguish between holding a leadership position and demonstrating leadership skills. Making this fundamental distinction can help clarify what we truly mean by leadership.

Organizations assign leadership positions to selected individuals: this means that they receive a mandate from the company to lead others and are recognized as such. Only a small percentage of employees can hold a leadership position.

However, any employee can demonstrate leadership skills, regardless of seniority, job title, place in the hierarchy, or even management experience. To understand this, we need to start looking at leadership as a daily practice, not a job title. In the words of Chris Worley, it’s essential to think of leadership “as an organization capability, rather than as an individual trait or position in the hierarchy.”

For an organization, it is both essential and beneficial to have as many employees as possible demonstrate leadership skills; it is a key driver for increased performance. Employees with leadership skills will be more engaged in their work and will actively contribute to the organization’s bottom line. They will also demonstrate more vision, more adaptability and increased innovation capabilities. It’s obvious that organizations have everything to gain from having employees with strong leadership skills; this is why they must strive to foster and develop this capability in all employees, from the bottom up and across every department.

It’s also important to keep developing employees that currently hold leadership positions, to make sure they are growing and that they will keep bringing more value to the organization.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT HAS TO BE A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY BETWEEN L&D AND THE REST OF THE ORGANIZATION.

Countless studies, both empirical and statistical, show the correlation between successful organizations and powerful leadership. As we’ve seen, there is just as much opportunity in developing employees that currently hold a leadership position as there is in creating leadership capabilities in every employee. This mission will never be over — and this is why L&D departments play such a crucial role. They have to bring their expertise to make sure that leadership development remains a priority and that leadership training is accessible for everyone in the organization.

However, they can’t do it alone. In order to stay relevant, L&D teams need to engage with all departments across the organization, to make sure that the training they provide aligns with the bottom line.

Our business environment and the way people learn are both changing at an unprecedented pace. This heightens the need to increase communication between L&D departments and the rest of the organization, including business leaders and learners. L&D programs must aim at developing the right skills at the right time, in ways that modern learners will relate to. This can’t be done without ongoing discussions with representatives of relevant departments. This approach will also help the L&D function to demonstrate its contribution to organizational results, something that continues to be an issue in large corporations today.

These fresh, innovative learning strategies will be co-designed for leaders of today and tomorrow. This virtuous circle will enable all employees to think about the leadership practices they can adopt and convince them that they don’t need a specific job title to lead.

Published in Ideas

The 2017 release of Adobe Captivate - which went live in April - contains several enhancements and additions that make it easier and faster for e-learning authors to create high-quality, responsive content without programming.

 The new features are:

>> Fluid Boxes

>> Integration of Typekit fonts

>> Conversion from non-responsive to responsive

FLUID BOXES

The most significant change from Adobe Captivate 9 to Adobe Captivate (2017 release) is the addition of Fluid Boxes: intelligent containers that use white space optimally. Objects placed in Fluid Boxes get aligned automatically to the device or browser, without the e-learning author having to manually adjust the content, so learners get a fully responsive experience. Fluid Boxes can be laid out horizontally or vertically and have a host of properties that can be adjusted to give the desired outcome to the responsive project.

INTEGRATION OF TYPEKIT FONTS

With Adobe Typekit integration, e-learning authors can use high-quality fonts from the Typekit font library and ensure that a great viewing experience is delivered to learners across devices and browsers. Adobe Typekit is a Cloud-based repository of fonts that are Web safe - which means that the chosen font will look the same across devices and platforms, even if the font isn't installed. This is especially important with the prevalence of HTML5, where the content comes as text instead of a graphical element as in Flash.

CONVERSION FROM NON-RESPONSIVE TO RESPONSIVE 

Another major enhancement in the 2017 release of Adobe Captivate is the ability to convert a legacy desktop-only (non-responsive) project into a responsive course with just a few simple steps. This means that e-learning authors need not scrap or redo their old desktop courses. Instead, they can just launch an old Adobe Captivate (v8 and 9) project in the Adobe Captivate (2017 release) and save it as a responsive project before re-opening it and publishing to HTML 5 for a truly responsive e-learning experience.

Published in New Products

Global corporate e-learning market is set to grow at a CAGR of close to 19% during the forecast period, 2017-2021 according to Technavio. The Americas currently account for $15.59 billion in revenues or 41% market share. EMEA represents 32.7% share and is expected to reach $30.82 billion by 2021. APAC regions is 26.3% share and will see 20% CAGR.

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“The market is expected to witness rapid growth during the forecast period owing to the increase in digitization and corporate realization of the importance of training in strengthening the workforce. In addition, e-learning helps companies overcome the obstacles that may arise from traditional learning formats,” says Jhansi Mary, research leader, Technavio.

Published in Trends

Learning Ovations, Digital Promise, UCI, and MDRC were awarded U.S. Department of Education EIR Grants to scale personalized literacy instruction for United2Read Project. The five-year expansion grant aims to have 90% or more of students reading at grade level by third grade, and to improve district, school, and teacher capacity.

Published in Latest News

Seven of the top 10 strategic corporate initiatives require HR involvement.  HR must play a strategic role in the future success of organizations in an increasingly competitive market for skills and talent, according to HR Realities 2017-18 Study.

“There is a great opportunity for HR to extend its influence right now. But, with a decrease in headcount and rise in HR technology spend, the need to innovate and be agile is vital,” says David Wilson, CEO of Fosway Group.

Forward thinking organizations are already looking at:

>>  Video based recruiting (84%),

>>  Continuous employee appreciation (82%)

>>  Social recruitment (77%).

Sadly, only 12% of organizations use artificial intelligence currently. But, the rate of innovation is only going to accelerate with increased adoption. “Those that are early adopters of technology will see the benefits,” concludes Wilson.

Download complimentary infographic summarizing findings of this U.K study at: http://bit.ly/2izhHte

Published in Latest News

The CEO of Mastercard told an audience in Saudi Arabia that “data could be as effective as oil as a means of generating wealth.” Is he right?

“Companies today handle more data than ever before and it’s having a profound effect on the way governments, businesses and technologies evolve,” says data scientist Justhy Deva Prasad, author of “The Billion Dollar Byte: Turn Big Data into Good Profits, The Datapreneur Way.

Non-digital companies may be doomed. “You cannot halt the digital revolution and if companies don’t build a boat that embraces the coming data tsunami, they’re not going to be able to compete with those who do,” says Prasad.

Traditional legacy companies need a framework for making data strategy central to their business models in the same way that the newer Digital Native companies have. The framework should provide concrete models for creating smart data infrastructures, accurately weighing the value of data and data systems, investing in the right technologies, hiring entrepreneurial people with tech skills, leveraging the full value of data, and much more. It aims to help companies align their data strategy with their business model.

Published in Latest News

The buzz was all about artificial intelligence (A.I.) at this year’s HR Technology Conference. No surprise, as the size of the global market for artificial intelligence for enterprise applications is worth around $360 million according to statistics.

A.I. HR implementations are seen in talent, recruitment and succession planning.  IBM Talent showcased some applications.  Several other companies displayed Alexa-customized solutions like Paradox, which is a branded A.I. coach. It claims to “build human-powered A.I. to engage, empower and understand large groups of people.” Oracle will be infusing its Cloud applications with artificial intelligence. “A.I. should be an enabler,” says Gretchen Alarcon of Oracle.

Published in Latest News

Learners in today’s workforce don’t want to be taught to, but expect to be able to learn. Millennials especially cite learning as the most desirable benefit a job can offer. They expect learning opportunities to be personal, accessible and flexible. That’s the heart of modern professional learning.

To be able compete in the war for workplace talent, organizations need to personalize the professional learning experience and empower employees to lead their own learning.

“It’s not just about the pay as it is about the whole experience of working for a business,” says Shane Sutherland, founder and chief designer at portfolio and personal learning platform company PebblePad, a D2L partner.

HOW TO PERSONALIZE LEARNING

There are four ways organizations can personalize professional learning.

1. CREATE PERSONALIZED LEARNING PATHWAYS

Enabling employees to create and keep online learning portfolios is a great way for organizations to pave personalized learning pathways. Online portfolios are a space where employees can build up evidence of their learning, reflect on their experiences, and share those reflections if they wish. In that way, they can make employees active actors in their own learning.

They can be transferable from job to job, so employees can tell the story of who they are, what they’ve learned, and the skills they’ve developed — a key consideration in the quickly growing gig economy.

Portfolios can be particularly effective when embedded into well-thought-out learning designs via an online learner engagement platform that presents learning to employees in specific contexts. Modern learning platforms can provide employees with easy access to their portfolios and other learning materials as needed — things like “just-in-time” social, mobile and video learning content, or content that they can access at their own pace after completing certain tasks or reaching different milestones.

2. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOCIAL LEARNING

Conversation can be a crucial driver of personalized employee learning. Coaches, mentors and peers can all help employees to extract insights out of a learning experience, which can be something as simple as a discussion by the office coffee machine.

According to an October 2015 survey by the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, 88 percent of people believe knowledge sharing within a team is essential for workplace learning. Group research projects are a great tool in that regard— they empower people to seek out new knowledge, make sense of it, and share what they learn with their peers.

Manager-led learning, where managers act more like a coach or mentor and give people opportunities to learn through things like projects, can also drive social learning. Creating custom templates can give managers a framework for facilitating effective conversations around projects and performance: What 10 words would you use to describe your performance? What did you find most challenging? What do you feel you achieved?

3MAKE LEARNING MOBILE, AVAILABLE ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

Workplace learners expect to be able to access learning experiences anywhere, at any time, and on multiple devices.

According to Google, when it comes to search, 80 percent use a smartphone and 57 percent use more than one type of device. Gartner says that consumers will own and use three to four devices by 2018. And according to a study by Global Workplace Analytics, 80 percent to 90 percent of people in the U.S. workforce say they would like to telework at least part time, and Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are entirely revamping their space around the fact that employees are already mobile. That’s why it’s become increasingly incumbent on organizations to enable mobile learning.

4. ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEES TO TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THEIR OWN LEARNING

Empowering employees to learn outside the office is a great way to get them to take ownership of their own learning. They can learn a lot through online sharing with their own professional and social networks, and independently researching on the Internet — be it through Google, YouTube videos, or LinkedIn.

There are also many learning opportunities available out in the real world, too. Professional events, volunteering, hobbies and personal interests, and community engagement are also great opportunities for professional learning and development.

At the end of the day, personalizing employee learning is about more than simply modernizing learning and development. It’s also about providing learning that’s beyond the bounds of the work they must do.

—Jon Paul is Content Manager for D2L.

Published in Ideas

WHAT, EXACTLY, ARE COMPETENCIES?

Competencies are abilities, behaviors, knowledge and skills that impact the success of employees and organizations. They can include general skills (like communication skills), role-specific skills, leadership skills and others. The common theme is that a competency can be analyzed and broken down into a set of specific behaviors that tell employees what is expected of them and that management can measure.

The idea is that these competencies should be well-defined across the organization. The definition is not enough by itself, however. It needs to be paired with specific behaviors or tasks that are expected of the employee. These will be different depending on the role of the employee in question Once competencies are defined, you can create a competency model: a set of 7 to 10 core competencies that are aligned with your company’s business goals.

Once you have a model, you can begin defining tasks for each competency for given roles. You can then use them to assess potential employees for different positions. You can also easily and consistently communicate your expectations, as well as measure competencies as part of your performance reviews. Finally, you can grow your training opportunities for employees to improve upon the competencies.

WHY INCORPORATE COMPETENCIES?

Competency modeling is now a mainstay in the most successful businesses. In one study by Development Dimensions International (DDI), 89 percent of best-in-class organizations had core competencies defined for all their roles, compared to a mere 48 percent for all other companies.

A separate report, the Top Companies for Leaders report done in conjunction with Fortune and Aon Hewitt, found that a full 100 percent of companies making the global top companies list use a well-defined competency model.

There’s ample evidence that using competencies does help businesses. For example, companies that manage their people well with regard to skills, knowledge, commitment and abilities are 30 percent to 40 percent more productive than average. The issue isn’t whether the model works. The issue is how to get started using the model.

FIRST STEPS

Here are six steps for getting started with competencies:

1. Start small.

Don’t re-invent the wheel. Work to identify just a handful of competencies — no more than five or six — for your organization. Once you’ve incorporated a select few and shown success, then you can build on these.

2. Decide on consistent terminology to be used.

This includes the names and definitions of the competencies themselves. To make them memorable, you can use the first letter of the names of each competency to spell out a word, like GROW or STEAM.

3. Think in terms of specific, concrete tasks.

Think about the tasks or behaviors that demonstrate the competencies you have chosen. Also think about tasks and behaviors that fail to demonstrate them so you can incorporate into your performance review process.

4. Work your new terminology into job descriptions, and use it when advertising positions. 

When it comes to describing job positions or roles, and when looking for people to fill those roles, use the language you adopted when talking about your competencies.

5. Research how competencies can be measured in your assessments.

Both assessment questionnaires and 360 surveys can be tuned to uncover evidence of competencies in your employees.

6. Craft training around those competencies.

Find content (or a training partner like ej4) that speaks to your competencies, and create courses that can help both your leaders and your front-line employees grow in those areas.

Use of competency learning tracks in the learning management system, like Thinkzoom by ej4, is just one way to incorporate competencies into their learning. Ready to get started? Visit us online at ej4.com.

Published in Ideas
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