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Eighty percent of the focus on an implementation must be about the business and process.

Questions are swirling today about the value proposition of a learning or talent system. Do these systems provide real value? Do the systems meet the expectations of users? Are the systems helping you do a better job of developing people? The answers can all be found in the alignment of the systems to the true needs of the business.

I was recently speaking at a conference and asking about the implementation of the attendees’ learning and talent systems. One question that I asked received a very telling response. I asked, “When you were about to implement your brand new system, how many of you looked at your business processes, mapped them out and used these processes to guide your implementation?” Less than 1 percent had taken this approach. That led me to a second question, “How many of you are happy with the value your learning or talent system provides for you today?” Only about 5 percent answered that they were happy. This is very typical of what we at Bluewater see in the marketplace today. Most people are not happy with their learning and talent systems, but most are also being guided, incorrectly, by the idea that an implementation should happen quickly and painlessly. No need to map business processes when we can just turn the technology on, right?

For more than 14 years, I have been working with companies to help them assess business needs, select learning and talent systems, implement and even operate these systems. A trend I have noticed while completing more than 400 projects over the last few years, is one simple fact: 80 percent of the focus on an implementation must be about the business and process, with 20 percent of the focus being on the technology. As an industry, we have gotten this wrong for so many years because our focus is on technology. Technology itself does not solve problems; it only enables the user of the technology to solve a problem.

Implementation failures occur fundamentally because of four key factors:

1) Everyone is in too much of a hurry.

2) The business processes in the learning or talent systems are established on the fly.

3) Configuration is not driven by what the business needs, but by what the system can do.

4) And the overall user experience is not considered in the purchase.

That covers about 95 percent of failed implementation issues.

If you have a system today, my recommendation is to fix it rather than replace it. The steps described below can and should be used to help you take a fresh look at your existing implementation, not only for when implementing a new system. As your business is going to change over time, you must proactively and regularly re-align your learning and talent systems with the needs of your business.

Step 1. Getting Started - What can we do to achieve a successful implementation or renewal of a learning or talent system? Start where it all begins: with understanding what drives your business. What are your business drivers? These are not your departmental drivers, but rather the corporate goals and objectives regarding revenue, profitability, enablement of your people, and so on. What keeps the doors open at your company? Tat will provide a huge insight into your business drivers. Document these goals, as you will use them later in the process.

Step 2. Create a Map - Map your training and people development objectives and align them to your business drivers. If you find elements of your training and development organization that do not match up to your business drivers, consider eliminating these elements. Once there is an agreed-upon understanding by all stakeholders and an alignment of your business drivers and training and development objectives, it is time to move onto functionality.

Step 3. Functionality - Functionality and technology must come last. They are enablers of what you are trying to achieve. Technology is not the solution, but it will help you get there. The idea is to put your organization in a position to take advantage of the technology you select. Many organizations skip this step and, while they intuitively understand the needs of the business, there is a gap in the actual knowledge of how to get the technology to do what you need it to do. This is because there is an incomplete understanding of the operating methodology required by the business.

THE VALUE PROPOSITION

Increasingly, I am seeing the business drive requests for talent. These are not the simple job requisitions of years past. Rather, they are deeper requests that understand the value of talent in the business. I have spoken with numerous CEOs who are concerned about the future of talent within their business and their company’s inability to identify who has the skills necessary to drive the business forward. Therefore, the work you do with learning and talent systems is crucial to helping the business understand what talent is available, along with current and future talent gaps and opportunities. This is no longer just about developing leaders. It is about enabling your company’s people for long-term success. Done right, the use of learning and talent systems can finally provide information that will help business leaders make decisions about the future.

Note where I started. It is all about understanding the business and mapping processes to inform how the business needs to interact with your new or renewed learning and talent system, today and in the future.

LMS VS. INTEGRATED TALENT MANAGEMENT

Reviewing a sample of the organizations we work with, the LMS-only purchase of the past is becoming rare for companies who are doing an in-depth review of business drivers, processes and development needs. Of more than 200 projects we worked on just last year, 76 percent were focused on learning, development and talent management. Of the numerous selection projects we worked on, only the extended-enterprise projects were LMS-only. LMS purchases are still the number one learning and talent system purchase, but now they are combined with performance, succession, recruiting, workforce management, compensation and even HRIS. This is occurring because the need for data in managing talent and the development of people is becoming increasingly important, and the LMS-only approach is limiting. These organizations saw the need to align not only learning and development, but also the ability to measure performance, implement career paths, measure competencies, and identify succession plans for the 90 percent of the organization who are not executives. The HR, learning and development organizations and others found that mapping the needs of the business first revealed a bigger role that their organization could play in the bigger business.

Of the 76 percent of projects that were learning and talent focused, the majority used learning, performance and succession tools together to achieve objectives. But do not focus on performance reviews only, since the performance component of a talent system includes development plans, goals, competency mapping and skills analysis. The idea of including components of a talent system with learning is to provide tools to help analyze gaps in talent against the needs of the business while developing knowledge of where development really needs to happen. Finally, the use of these tools can also provide a degree of personalization and personalized learning.

IMPORTANT ITEMS

Your roadmap for implementation and the overall operating plan must be tied together. There are seven key elements that should be the focus of your planning. Each of these elements will help you focus on specific areas where we see great success or failure.

Let’s start with the most important item for creating a proper working environment and that is user experience. If you get the user experience right then the rest of the system flows. If the user experience is wrong, then it does not matter what you have in your system. User experience extends not only to the user interface but also to the user workflow.

Second is content. Content is king. Without great content, the system will not drive any business impact.

Third is all about people. You must establish proper governance of the system, a proper approach to change management and, finally, an administration plan. Do not overlook the needs of your people.

The fourth item is technology. Keep it simple, as it will become a foundation of your operating environment.

Fifth: map all business processes and continually update these processes over time. Know how your business operates in detail.

Sixth, create a data strategy. Know what data you need in your system, what data operates your system, and what data you need out of your system.

Finally, it is all about reporting. I am not sure that I would ever purchase a learning or talent system if I were not 100 percent sure it would provide the reports I need to inform my business. The data we collect in the learning and talent system can transform a business. But that data is only effective if we can report on it.

In this diagram, you see all seven categories their impact on each other. If one area is not addressed, then the wheel will fall apart. If all are addressed, then the wheel will turn properly and drive the business of your organization.

We began with questions about whether a learning or talent system truly offers value, if a system can meet the expectations of the user, and can it help you better develop people. As we see, the answer to all of these questions is not so much about the system, but rather about how the system and the use of the system is aligned — and kept aligned — with the evolving objectives of the business as a whole. Proper selection, implementation or renewal of your system is a result of proper planning. Do the work required, spend a little extra time, get to know your business and the results will speak for themselves.

— Chris Bond, president and CEO of Bluewater, has been transforming the learning and talent management felds through his articles, speaking engagements and consulting services for almost 15 years. More info: www. bluewaterlearning.com.

Published in Top Stories

 

MasterClass, a San Francisco-based online education platform that’s luring some of the most talented professionals in their respective fields to teach, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by New Enterprise Associates.

Javelin Venture Partners also joined the round, which follows a previously undisclosed $4.5 million Series A led by Javelin. Other investors in the company include Bloomberg Beta, Novel TMT Ventures, Advancit Capital, Harrison Metal, WME Ventures, Downey Ventures, and numerous individual investors, including Casper CEO Philip Krim.

What investors are backing is certainly interesting.

MasterClass, which charges $90 for each “MasterClass,” currently features five options, including five hours of acting class that are taught by Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman; two hours of advanced tennis techniques taught by tennis great Serena Williams; 22 lessons on writing taught by bestselling author James Patterson; and 16 video lessons by entertainer Usher on the art of performance.

The newest “master class” is an acting class by Oscar winner Kevin Spacey (perhaps for those who’ve already seen Dustin Hoffman’s tricks and are eager to learn more). It debuts today, to be followed soon with singing lessons by the Grammy-award-winning singer Christina Aguilera.

MasterClass cofounders Aaron Rasmussen and David Rogier — who met on a “friend date” years ago — say the idea for MasterClass sprang from a small dinner that featured as its guest of honor the computing pioneer Alan Kay.

Says Rasmussen, “It was one of the most perspective-altering conversations we’d ever had . . . and it only happened for 10 people.” Later, the two started to think more seriously about whether a person could be placed into an intimate conversation – a “teaching moment” – with some of the most skilled people in the world.

With exactly one connection to Hollywood types – Rogier was friends with Dustin Hoffman’s daughter — the friends began making calls from a borrowed office space in 2013; not long after, Jay Roach (of “Meet the Parents” fame) was filming Dustin Hoffman for MasterClass. Soon after came James Patterson, whose class was filmed by a two-time award-winning director named Bill Guttentag. And so on. (In fact, the New York Times reported on thenetworking prowess of Rogier in particular last fall.)

 

Asked about the financial arrangement between the startups and its famous participants, Rasmussen and Rogier offer simply that “if a class is successful, they are successful.” They also note that some of the talent gravitating to the platform, including Spacey and Usher, are also investors in the company.

They also decline to say how many people have now taken a class, or how many have signed up for more than one class, saying only that they have “substantially more” registered users than the 30,000 cited in a September report about the startup.

Their new funding should help, either way. The pair, who currently employ 22 people, say they hope to film between 10 and 15 more classes in 2016, even if those classes aren’t available until next year owing to post-production.

They plan to keep the price point reasonable, too. “David and I are serious about democratizing access to genius,” says Rasmussen.

He notes that throughout history, so-called masters have taught apprentices, “but it’s been two people or maybe a handful at most, and typically people who were chosen based on their social status or political connections.”

MasterClass meanwhile is giving today’s masters a way to memorialize what they’ve learned, while also giving them a venue to share stories, insights, and advice with anyone in possession of a computer, $90, and several hours to spare.

-For more information, visit http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/23/masterclass-raises-15-million-for-online-classes-taught-by-celebrities/

 

Published in Latest News

Many learning and training professionals are, by now, familiar with the term “MOOC,” but the truth of the matter is that MOOC is only the beginning when classifying technology-friendly modes of learning and training.

MOOC, of course, stands for Massive Open Online Course. The importance of this course is that it is open to a lot of people — students or employees — at the same time. MOOCs represent a distance-based approach to e-learning wherein many learners may participate in a collaborative and interactive fashion. Course contents are distributed using a Web platform under a per-course or subscription model. The unique features of MOOCs include mass participation, social collaborations, interactive forums, and open-ended outcomes. MOOC adoption employs various technologies and solutions including Big Data, analytics, gamification and Cloud.

There are a few key market factors to consider with MOOCs, including low-cost certification, leveraging various technologies (data; smartphone, tablet and wearable device proliferation; and flexible learning experience), cost reductions for corporate training and others. Arguably, one of the main growth drivers of today's MOOC industry is cost reduction for learning and development (L&D) programs at major corporations.

Similarly, COOC stands for Corporate Open Online Course, which is self-explanatory. They’re MOOCs for businesses large and small.

SPOC stands for Small Private Open or Online Course. Contrary to MOOC and COOC, the aim of a SPOC is to offer a small group of people a tailor-made course. University of California Berkeley Prof. Armando Fox coined the word in 2013 to refer to a localized instance of a MOOC course that was in use in a business-to-business context.

SPOCs support blended learning and flipped classroom learning, which variously combine online resources and technology with personal engagement between faculty and students. Early research results point to improved learning and student outcomes using such approaches, as pointed out by Will Oremus in a Slate magazine article. They can include video lectures, assessments (with immediate feedback), interactive labs (with immediate feedback) and discussion forums such as those used in MOOCs.

Reiterating, the target audiences for these three online courses are very broad: individuals, students and workers enrolled by their companies. Their main advantage is that learners can register just by clicking online. They can train, whenever they want to from home, and they no longer have to go out. A lot of people who are at work all day are now able to train this way in the evenings.

Basically, the aim of all three — MOOCs, COOCs and SPOCs — is to offer free training. When you produce a video for an online course, there is no difference in the cost whether it is watched by one person or thousands.
Published in Top Stories

Every day new learning technologies and practices are born. Which are fads and what have staying power?

Join Catherine Upton in this session when she reveals the results of the E-learning User Trends Study.  What drives investment in learning and development. Which tools are learning leaders investing in and why?

Catherine will also be joined by Becky Sterling who will discuss several e-learning trends, predictions and practices.  Share insights with Becky who is on the front lines of development and implementations. Bring your questions and challenges to share and discuss: The role of e-Learning in the consumerized world, Learner-directed learning and enablement, Evolution of learning ecosystems, and how to leverage technologies to create the engaged workplace.

 

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Published in On-Demand

 

As the New Year is well under way, Americans are making strides to make their resolutions a reality, and it turns out that many plan on changing jobs in 2016. Of the working Americans who report that they will definitely change jobs, 50% are Millennials. The findings are part of the “2016 Industry & Productivity Perspectives Report” from business operating system Bolste, which commissioned accredited research firm YouGov to poll the views of a representative sample of 2,766 American adults.

Key findings from the 2016 Industry & Productivity Perspectives Report include:

>> 28% of working adults will contemplate changing jobs in 2016, with 15% speculatively looking for new opportunities.

>> 26% of working Americans are unhappy, unmotivated, not stimulated, bored and stifled, or indifferent with their current job.

>> American employees most commonly feel their employers don’t value their ideas (20%) and independent working skills (21%).

>> 22% of working professionals say half or more of the work emails they receive are irrelevant to them.

“Employee turnover is a huge strain on businesses and workers alike so it’s important to address the issue of workplace dissatisfaction. To remain competitive on the world stage, American business leaders need a way to evaluate their employees’ ideas, give proper feedback and equip their teams with tools and skills to manage projects efficiently,” says Leif Hartwig, CEO of Bolste.

Distracting Email

Email has been the default means of workplace communication for several decades, but overflowing inboxes are a cause of frustration for employees. More than one-fifth of working professionals say half or more of the work emails they receive are irrelevant to them. Additionally, 11% say as much as 75% or more of their inbox is filled with irrelevant emails. The problem with email is especially visible for those who work in the education sector, as 35% report that half or more of email received is irrelevant.

While face time is an important aspect of business and work, 14% of American workers feel that new employees at their company are faced with many pointless meetings to get them up to speed. Meanwhile, 21% say that their employers provide a cookie-cutter type manual for new employees, with 22% reporting that new hires are left to figure out things on their own.

 “We’re seeing a trend away from email and outdated, time-consuming workplace technology for technology’s sake. We will see more software built around helping professionals seamlessly collaborate and ultimately do their jobs better,” adds Hartwig. “Businesses have to respond to workplace shifts and be more flexible to meet the specific needs of their most valuable assets—their employees.”

—More info: www.bolste.com

 

Published in Top Stories

 

The newest release of BizLibrary’s learning management system (LMS) is now available to all of BizLibrary’s existing and new clients.

The BizLibrary LMS represents a major step forward in learning technology, with the introduction of an innovative and dynamic recommendation engine that helps create personalized learning environments for each end user.

The system is also fully responsive to help maximize the effectiveness, convenience and reach of the BizLibrary Collection of thousands of online training videos, so employees have unlimited access to content on any device at any time.

Other important innovations include enhanced catalog browsing and search capabilities, a new and improved in-line course player, and a wholly redesigned learner and team administration section and learning activity progress activity dashboard.

The new platform is a completely responsive design so it will automatically re-size to fit any device or screen. It looks great on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, making the learning experience 100% mobile.

—More info: www.bizlibrary.com

 

Published in New Products

 

Bill Donoghue is the new chief executive officer at Skillsoft Corp. Chuck Moran, Skillsoft CEO since its founding in 1998, will continue to serve as the company's chairman.

Donoghue had been supporting Skillsoft in an advisory capacity for the last few months. Prior to that, he was chief operating officer of TES Global, a company focused on education technology.

Donoghue has over 25 years of executive experience. He has served as a non-executive director and advisor to a number of companies in the technology, media and recruitment sectors in the U.K., Ireland and the U.S.A.

In Moran’s capacity as chairman, he will continue to chair the company's board and will work with Donoghue and the company's owners, Charterhouse Capital Partners, on the strategic direction of the business.

 

Published in Latest News

 The emergence of e-learning and virtual learning is also expected to contribute to the interactive projectors market growth of interactive projectors during the forecast period. E-Learning is gaining popularity in educational institutions all over the world, and the interactive projector is an ideal tool to deliver content with rich media. Virtual learning helps foster interactivity between students and teachers and has enabled the ease of access to education. It enables distance learning through live sessions, webinars, and video lectures.

The low cost of interactive projectors, when compared to other interactive devices such as interactive whiteboards and interactive flat panel displays, is the key growth driver for interactive projectors market. Interactive projectors can be used on any surface and performs and provides the same quality of an interactive whiteboard. The analysts forecast global interactive projectors market to grow at a CAGR of 26.58% during the period 2016-2020.

Segmentation by Technology and Analysis of the Interactive Projectors Market- Short throw projectors and Ultra-short throw projectors

Short throw projectors work best when the projection screen is perfectly flat, but can be used on a wide range of surfaces including whiteboards, blackboards and green screens. They come in a variety of form factors, from highly portable to large versions designed for permanent or semi-permanent installations.

Segmentation by End-User and Analysis of the Interactive Projectors Market- Education sector and Corporate sector

The education sector dominated the market during 2015, accounting for a market share of around 88%. The increased government initiatives and the adoption of e-learning are driving the market growth in this sector. Interactive projectors allow teachers/facilitators to present content in a more dynamic, comprehensive, and engaging manner than traditional methods of teaching.

Geographical Segmentation and Analysis of the Interactive Projector Market

APAC dominated the global interactive projectors market during 2015, accounting for a market share of around 41%. Countries such as India, China Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore are the major contributors in this region.

Competitive Landscape and Key Vendors

There are only a few prominent vendors in the interactive projectors market; however, considering its potential, several vendors such as Texas Instruments (world's renowned semiconductor devices manufacturers) and Touchjet have entered this market.

The key vendors analyzed in interactive projectors market are: BenQ, Dell, Infocus, Seiko Epson, and Smart Technologies.

Other prominent vendors in the market include Barco, Boxlight, Casio, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electrical and visual imaging system, Ricoh, Sony, Texas Instruments, and Touchjet.

Further, the report states that lack of awareness could have a crippling effect on the growth of the global interactive projectors market.

Another related report is Global Interactive Flat Panel Market 2016-2020, the analysts forecast global interactive flat panel display market to grow at a CAGR of 84.31% during the period 2016-2020. Currently, interactive whiteboards have a significant market presence compared to other interactive displays due to their low cost. However, interactive flat panels are gaining prominence due to their benefits and declining ASPs. The replacement market for interactive whiteboards is also gaining pace, which is another major driving factor for interactive flat panels. Interactive flat panel market to grow at high rate and take over the interactive whiteboards and projectors markets.

More infohttp://finance.yahoo.com/news/interactive-projectors-market-grow-26-211700910.html

 

Published in Latest News

 

Grovo has announced $40 million in Series C funding led by existing investor Accel with participation from Costanoa Venture Capital, SoftTech VC, Greg Waldorf and new investor Vayner Capital. Grovo will use the funds to expand its core product offering and secure its position as the leader in workplace learning innovation. To support its explosive growth, the company also plans to invest in a round of key executive hires and an expanded New York City headquarters. The round comes a year after Grovo’s $15 million Series B, also led by Accel, and brings Grovo’s total equity raised to $65M. 

Grovo’s annual recurring revenue has grown 400 percent over the past 12 months. Recent clients to join Grovo’s portfolio include WeWork, The Wyndham Hotel Group, and the National Basketball Association. They join existing clients such as Capital One, Chevron, the Kansas City Chiefs, Pernod Ricard, and DDB Worldwide.

 

Published in Latest News

ProctorFree announced a successful round of investment funding to close out 2015 and contribute to continued growth in 2016. This financing round was led by Real Ventures with participation by Task Force X Capital and other select, individual investors. This funding will enable ProctorFree to maintain and enhance its cutting-edge technology, accelerate sales and marketing, and add key new hires as the team grows to meet market demands.

ProctorFree, founded in 2012, provides technology solutions to the higher education and business markets in the form of automated exam proctoring for students taking online assessments.

"We are continuing to bring the best partners, customers and growth-drivers into this organization. We are delighted to partner with Real Ventures, an institutional venture capital firm, and we welcome Mark McDowell, a Special Limited Partner at Real, to our board of directors. There's a lot to be excited about for 2016," said Mike Murphy, Co-Founder of ProctorFree.

Prior to this financing, ProctorFree was an NC IDEA Grant Fund winner and had received angel investments from several esteemed individuals located in the greater North Carolina region.

"Our team did a fantastic job executing at the end of 2015 and we have some additional key hires joining us in the first quarter of 2016. Moving forward in a partnership with Real Ventures and Task Force X Capital will help us maintain focus on what's most important to better serve our customers and partners as we grow," said Velvet Nelson, Co-Founder of ProctorFree.

This is a new phase of growth for the company and ProctorFree is looking for experienced, entrepreneurial software developers to join the team to be a part of the continued growth. Interested parties can email the company at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 For more information about ProctorFree please visitwww.proctorfree.com.

Published in Latest News
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