Training in the 21st Century

Getting to the Heart of Gamified Learning Development

Guest Blogger: Kyle Lagunas, HR Analyst at Software Advice

Employee engagement and participation in learning and development programs has always been a challenge. With the rapid development and deployment of new tools and technology in the workplace, though, there’s more to be learned and mastered than ever. Leaders are now looking for methods to tackle this issue head-on and driving demand for changes in learning management. Enter gamification.

The use of game mechanics in non-game environments to improve user experience and participation is rapidly gaining interest as a solution for improving learning management. We’re told it can fundamentally change an organization’s learning and development processes, but many still aren’t sure how—and have questions around what gamification really is.

The Truth About Gamification

Let me be clear: Gamification is not about turning work into a game, or making work fun. As Andrzej Marczewski of Capgemini explains, employees won’t be sitting at their desks, “with Call of Duty-like games on their screens, shooting at reports and running around 3D spreadsheets.” At its core, gamification is a tool for motivating your people to show up and perform to the best of their ability. Continue reading →

The Importance of Being (Earnestly) Heard

Years ago, when I attended a 12-week course on Facilitation offered by Community at Work, I learned many valuable skills and techniques that I continue to use in both face-to-face and virtual meetings and training events. One of the most important and valuable insights I gained was something Community at Work’s founder, Sam Kaner, told us during the course, “It’s really hard for people to listen before they feel heard.” I came to realize how true, and how important, that statement was as I gained experience facilitating meetings for groups and teams whose members spent their time and energy trying to get their points across. And no one was listening. Continue reading →

Webinars: More (Information) Is Not Always Better

Last week, when I attended and presented at the Virtual Edge Summit in San Diego, I realized once again what odd and valuable experiences conferences are: People come from far away, sometimes at considerable expense, to meet and greet others as they rush from presentation to presentation. During this intense experience, they sample a smorgasbord of knowledge and information. Those topics that are most relevant to their present needs will likely stick with them. Less relevant information may be stored in their memories (and/or folders) as interesting tidbits, headlines, and key words that will enable retrieval and exploration later, when needed.

This process works for conferences. The short- and long-term value is proven each year as people put responsibilities on hold and head off to the airport to attend this or that annual meeting. Certainly, I learned many new and important things at VES, met new people, and encountered a few I knew from other events. But this year, the conference experience offered one additional insight: As I was leaving, I came to a realization that the way conference presentations are designed is a close match to the way many webinars are structured. And though it works for conferences, it’s usually a very unsuccessful format for virtual presentations. Continue reading →

Blended Virtual Solutions to Enhance Training and Learning

The creation of the blackboard (or chalkboard) in the early 1800’s offered a huge new benefit for teachers: the ability to share drawings, writing and formulas with everyone in the classroom at the same time. Their use spread fairly quickly, given the speed of those times, and by the mid-1800’s blackboards had become standard equipment for classrooms throughout the United States. Just as this innovative breakthrough in the early 1800’s opened possibilities for new ways of teaching, today’s new technologies offer enormous benefits Continue reading →

“Cheaper” Can Be Costly: A Case for Investing in Self-Paced ELearning

Self-paced e-learning is more expensive to create than real-time curricula, but the savings begin immediately and it’s an investment that pays off in multiple ways. Like buying a rug or carpet, you can spend more upfront for something that will really work and be usable for an extended period, or you can buy something that is cheaper initially, may not have the look and feel you want and will need to be replaced within a few years. Most of us have learned that, ultimately, the cheaper choice actually costs us much more in a number of ways.

Self-paced e-learning is an amazingly flexible component to include in any blend of learning tools. But an hour of self-paced e-learning costs much more to create than an hour of real-time curricula (approximately $10,000 compared with $6,000 for design, development and production costs). However, once the e-learning is created and uploaded, Continue reading →

Training Survey Says: Part I—What Methods Work

In September, Training in the 21st Century™ posted an on-line survey on Training to learn more about what kinds of training methods companies are using, which seem to be most effective, and what new methods are planned for implementation. We’d like to thank all those who participated in this study. We hope the information we gathered will provide insights and ideas to each of them, as well as to our other readers.

Many respondents to this study are using a blend of methods for training: 45% use four or more of the training methods listed in the graph below,  Continue reading →

What Is Blended Learning?

The term “Blended Learning” is used to describe a mix of learning environments that combines old and new resources for learning and development. This strategy creates a more integrated approach for learners.

Computer technologies and the Internet have led to explosions of knowledge, with a resulting increased need for people to process and utilize that new information. Fortunately, those same technologies also offer a wide array of surprising new possibilities for learning and development. Many of the technologies people think of as resources for staying connected with friends, and for entertainment, are being incorporated into formal Blended Learning programs. Continue reading →

Two Types of Immersive 3D Experiences and Their Impact on Training

Two types of immersive 3D experiences are being researched and discussed in relation to training, and it seems important to try and separate the two. Most people familiar with monitor-based 3D environments know the experience as one in which small figures/avatars act as our agents inside the world we see on our monitors: We use our keyboards and mice to direct our avatars, inside our monitor screens, to interact with other people’s avatars and with the environment around them, and to talk using VOIP or chat.

For most people, whether they’re playing video games or attending 3D training sessions, the monitor-based 3D experience is what they think of when they read reports of the impacts of 3D immersive experience on people’s real-life behavior and self-perception. Continue reading →

Why IBM Uses 3D Virtual Training: It Works!

IBM is one of several large, successful companies that have pioneered the use of 3D environments for their virtual training programs. Research they conducted1 to assess their 3D training programs’ effectiveness showed that simulation-based training improved information retention rates of employees to between 70% and Continue reading →

Looking For Lasting Results From Your Training Programs? Virtual Training Re-Introduces: Incremental Learning

Virtual training has reintroduced a possibility for teaching that had become rare in corporate training programs: the ability to offer incremental learning programs.

For many years, companies focused on marathon training events: People were brought from all over to attend training programs with back-to-back workshops and other learning activities. These were sometimes held at corporate training centers or, for the lucky, in resort settings. They incorporated experiential learning activities, as well as discussion opportunities, that encouraged people to exchange ideas, network and strengthen relationships with their peers. But once the training was over, it was back to “business as usual” in the same old office space—trying to catch up on work that had piled up. Perhaps that’s why post-tests have often shown conflicting results: Those administered immediately after training generally show high rates of learning. But tests given a few months later, as well as observations of behavior related to the training, often reveal that the information taught has mostly slipped away. Why? Too much information poured into people’s heads with too little time for them to reflect on, and practice, what they’ve learned.

Most corporate training involves changing habits: whether it’s replacing an established process, or implementing a whole new activity, it means that the old neural patterns involved in how we go about our work each day—that have become automatic—now require constant, conscious thought. The age-old teacher’s stricture to “pay attention” is exactly what is required to create new neural patterns that are, in essence, the infrastructure for new behaviors. But who has the time and energy for that? Especially after returning from a week-long training to a desk piled high with work, and a mailbox full of unopened messages. So most people come back from these great training experiences with the best intentions, but soon find themselves defaulting to old ways of doing things as they scramble to get back on top of the workload.

Virtual training technologies enable incremental learning processes that include practice, reflection, and time and energy to incorporate new ideas into everyday work—a little bit at a time. With the easy access and low cost of attendance, it’s now possible to deliver a 25-to-30 hour training program over several months. Participants log on early in the week to learn a little bit, then spend a few days practicing what they’ve learned. Near the end of the week, they “meet” again for a free-wheeling discussion of how the new ideas worked, and learn a little more to try out before the next class. This training process helps keep people focused on using what they’re learning. By the time they reach the last class, people will actually be applying most of what they’ve been taught. They’ll also understand why and how things work in ways that can’t really be learned in a week-long cram session. And they’ll be far along the path of establishing new behavior habits related to the training. That meets my criteria for a truly effective training program

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