Med School Goes Digital: The Future of eLearning in Healthcare

By | eLearning Solutions | One Comment

When you think of typical healthcare training, it probably brings to mind conference centers filled with white coats, endless slides, and a lot of complicated jargon. But the medical field is making huge strides in eLearning, with a 45 percent increase in custom content development services.

In an industry steeped in tradition and status, healthcare professionals are starting to loosen up their stethoscopes and welcome a new type of training and learning. The sheer convenience of eLearning is enough to make time-strapped docs take notice, but it’s the content and application that has the biggest impact.

Diagnostics and Artificial Intelligence

Patients might not take kindly to a computer diagnosing their next cough, but artificial intelligence is lending a hand for diagnoses and treatment options. Utilizing systems that allow health care professionals to combine their observations with massive databases full of studies, treatments, and reports means better access to information and ultimately better care. Through sophisticated healthcare diagnostics tools, professionals literally have the entire weight of decades of options and outcomes at their fingertips.

Electronic Records

Here’s the thing: Humans make mistakes. They have sloppy handwriting; they get distracted; they pull the wrong files. And in healthcare, small mistakes can have dire impacts on patients’ health. In 2009, the U.S. government issued a $19 billion dollar stimulus to the healthcare industry as funding for electronic records.

By transferring patient records to a digital database, it’s less likely that a professional can make human mistakes. Digitizing records means access to a patient’s entire health history, including contraindications, family history, medical issues, and past care procedures. In short, it’s human care without the human mistakes.

Interactive Simulations and Training

Naturally, every healthcare professional undergoes rigorous education and training before graduating and heading into the field. The problem is that the medical field changes so rapidly that each crop of graduates already begins a little behind the rest of the industry.

A study by the World Health Organization found that eLearning was just as effective as traditional training methods for healthcare professionals, particularly when simulations were used. When healthcare professionals can test their knowledge and technique (and receive automatic feedback) with a simulation, there’s an increased level of confidence that goes hand-in-hand with a well-practiced pro. This bodes well for eLearning development companies.

At the same time, training can be used as a refresher and to introduce new concepts to even the most established health care professionals, making it more accessible and faster for time-crunched docs.

As one of the fastest-growing, early adopters of eLearning, the healthcare industry is giving us all a lesson in utilizing online tools, simulations, scenarios, and digital recordkeeping as a way to consistently improve patient care and experience.

What Does a Chief Learning Officer Do? (INFOGRAPHIC)

By | eLearning Solutions | 13 Comments

The Chief Learning Officer (CLO) has earned card-carrying membership into the C-suite along with a nameplate for the door on the corner suite. The position isn’t new; it was once called director of training or similar, but the CLO title carries with it an expanded skill set, leadership role, and scope of responsibilities in today’s predominant eLearning environment. (Click to see our infographic).

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Levels of Interactivity (and Why You’re Overcomplicating Things)

By | eLearning Solutions | One Comment

Everyone knows that interactivity and engagement can make or break an eLearning program, but if you run a simple Web search on how to best approach interactivity, you’re going to hear a lot of noise. One firm will compare interactivity with the Olympic rings, while another makes a pie graph. Call it the elephant in the room: Every instructional designer is essentially coming up with a new slant on Bloom’s taxonomy.

But pretty pictures and clever metaphors can muddy the waters on something that should be simple to understand: Interactivity is on a spectrum. By understanding when to use different levels of interactivity, you can ditch all the noise and metaphors for a clearer picture of how to truly engage learners.

The Spectrum of Interactivity

Forget all the graphics and charts; interactivity should be thought of as a wide spectrum. On one end is a fairly passive approach. In Bloom’s taxonomy, it’s the widest portion of the pyramid. While a hands-off approach might be cheap, accessible, and fast, it also doesn’t yield the results that a more aggressive measure of interactivity might.

As the other end of the spectrum is hands-on learning opportunities that force the learner to think critically. Caveat? These can be more expensive and time-consuming, so they aren’t right for every learning situation.

Instead of worrying about the perfect recipe for interactivity based on an arbitrary industry metaphor, you really only need to ask one question: Do you need to know something, or do you need to do something?

Do You Need to Know Something?

Knowledge-based eLearning requires interactivity at the lower end of the spectrum. Sure, an engaging approach is still necessary, but it can be more hands-off than other applications. Using videos, for example, represents something at the lower end of the interactivity scale while still being highly engaging. Interactive whiteboards and even branded “movie trailer”-type multimedia is perfect for knowledge-sharing and ideal for learners who want to go back and experience the media again when necessary.

Do You Need to Do Something?

If training is behavior-based, it’s time to move to the higher side of the interactivity spectrum. Hands-on learning, critical thinking, and application all result in better training and better knowledge retention, so swapping a how-to video for simulation-based training will yield better results.

When teaching learners how to do something, interactivity should be at a maximum to allow them a safe space in which to practice new techniques. Augmented reality, simulations, and training games are all perfect examples of giving learners a chance to test their behavior before applying it in the real world. This high level of interactivity can boost confidence while improving user engagement levels.

Don’t overcomplicate the issue: Instead of categorizing learners, using graphs, or coming up with a shiny new metaphor, simplify your purposes. If a learner needs to know something, choose interactive features from the low end of the scale. If a learner needs to do something, dial up the interactivity and offer a hands-on approach.

 

Talent Management 2.0: 5 Trends to Expect in the Next 10 Years

By | eLearning Solutions | One Comment

In the past, talent management wasn’t always a priority for organizations that fostered a philosophy of quantity over quality during the hiring process. After all, if one employee leaves, there’s always another to take his or her place, right?

As competition for the best and brightest employees has increased, however, organizations are seeing the benefit of putting more effort into attracting, training, and retaining that one perfect candidate. Talent management helps onboard the ideal employee and then stays close by to ensure that employee enjoys a long and satisfying relationship with the company.

Today, talent management starts with the hiring process and continues with leadership succession, office perks, and performance reviews, but we’re more excited about what’s ahead. Check out some of the most exciting developments and trends in talent management so your organization won’t be left behind.

  1. Talent Mobility. Today’s marketplace is highly mobile and location doesn’t represent much, other than a dot on a map. By creating mobile workspaces, employees will be able to live and work where they want. Conversely, responsibility-hungry millennials are more willing to move for their ideal career, so organizations should worry less about physical location and more about attracting candidates.
  2. Silo Removal. We’re already seeing organizations that are breaking down the silos which divide departments and prohibit idea-sharing. From organizational social media to regular collaboration between departments, employees have a better chance at reaching their potential when they feel free to share and work with compatible colleagues, no matter the department or location.
  3. Cultural Connection. To attract the right employee, the connection between organization and culture needs to start in the application process. Many companies preach a lighthearted atmosphere, but post the same boring want ads as everyone else. But realizing that talent management starts the moment a candidate reads a job posting? That’s forward-thinking. Positive workplace culture is at the top of most millennials’ must-have lists, and it’ll have to be more than Food Truck Friday. From their first interview to lunching with executives, talent management hinges on the overall vibe.
  4. Passive Recruitment. The perfect employee is out there; even if he doesn’t know it yet. A massive shift to passive recruitment is on the horizon, as organizations realize that the right person for the job might not actually be looking for one. Talent management of the future involves keeping in contact with the right people and learning more at a casual coffee meetup than in an interview setting.
  5. Big Data. We use big data for marketing campaigns and election projections, so why not for talent management? Once onboarded, a hire’s skillset, background, certifications, and even hobbies can be cataloged so that when it comes time to put together a team, managers can choose from those best suited to the task—not just those who are in front of them. Big data can effectively track an employee’s trajectory through the company to identify everything from weaknesses to opportunities so that progress never becomes stagnant.

As more and more organizations realize that they need to do more than just the traditional “Here’s your desk; call me if you need anything” approach to hiring, onboarding, and training, you can expect talent management to become more of a priority. Competition is fierce, and falling behind could mean missing out on the one person who could change everything.

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Who Benefits from Internal Communication?

By | eLearning Solutions, Engage and Retain, Learning and Development | No Comments

It was playwright George Bernard Shaw who said “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place.” Can we get an “amen” from the managers, executives, and employees? Internal communication has the opportunity to foster creativity and collaboration, or conversely, quash an innovative idea. But if communication is the lifeblood of an organization, why are so many attempts at internal structure D.O.A.?

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3 Ways Successful Companies Use eLearning for Leadership Training

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From Mattel to General Mills, Google to Twitter, there are companies that regularly top “Best Companies to Work For” lists for publications the world over. But it’s not just the free cereal bar and the nap pods that skyrockets an organization’s employee satisfaction rates. Successful leadership training plays a huge role in employee quality of life, therefore improving a company’s opportunity for profits.

Training leaders means investing in an employee’s future, and eLearning is up to the task. By taking a cue from some of the most successful organizations, implementing eLearning for leadership training is a no-brainer. Hey, fulfilled employees means better productivity; you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 companies to recognize that.

  1. Succession Planning. Metro Bank receives around 25,000 applications every year, but the main focus of the financial giant is talent management. Most employees start in entry level jobs, but are quick to move up the ranks; some as quickly as teller to manager in a mere 18 months. What’s the secret? Succession planning. Metro Bank has an extensive library of eLearning courses and modules, available to any employee who is interested. That means that if a teller is hoping to someday become bank manager, he or she can begin taking leadership courses that match that succession trajectory. At the same time, managers can choose employees they think match with certain roles and can suggest eLearning courses to help make employees more marketable for management positions.
  2. Personalized Learning. Not every leader has the same priorities, talents, and strengths—so why train them on an assembly line? Using eLearning allows leadership training to become highly personal. In a survey of the companies included in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for, organizations had, on average, about 60 hours of training annually. The focus of most of that training? Career roadmapping and leadership development, with 35 hours being dedicated to employee growth. That means successful companies are committed to catering to the individual employee. And, since it’s nearly impossible to do so in a typical training session, custom eLearning is deployed to allow employees to personalize their leadership training experience.
  3. Creating a Leadership Culture. To get employees onboard with leadership training, the best organizations know that it starts with the culture. Creating an atmosphere where every level of employee gets the same face time with managers, where ideas are shared, and where employees feel like they have the leadership opportunities they crave is paramount to promoting leadership training. An employee who feels unheard and unimportant is unlikely to voluntarily participate in leadership training. A leadership culture can be fostered in conjunction with other eLearning efforts: Tools like Slack which allow team collaboration, leadership simulations, and a knowledge library all give employees the power to test their leadership skills from day one.

Leadership training is often misunderstood and rarely executed as well as it should. By following in the footsteps of some of the greats, organizations can utilize eLearning to prove that their employees’ success is just as important–if not more–than that of the organization itself.

Microlearning: Strategy, Examples, Applications, & More

By | eLearning Solutions, Microlearning | 2 Comments

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning (also spelled ‘micro learning’) is a teaching style that involves short bursts of highly engaging and interactive information, delivered to the the learner at his request. The learner is in full control of his education, and decides what, when and how much he is learning.

Think about where you get most of your facts and food for thought nowadays. More likely than not, it’s not from the latest novel you’re reading, or long form article you’ve read, but something short and snappy you saw on your Facebook feed, Tumblr, or other social media channel. This is microlearning (and yes it means that the information you read on Twitter can be considered learning!) – bites of information – but we’ll explain more in a moment. You’re here because you care about learning, especially as it relates to the professional realm.

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Multitasking Vs. Continuous Partial Attention

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Continuous Partial Attention (CPA) is an automatic process that enables people to simultaneously pay attention to several sources of information, whilst scanning for relevant information. It allows people to shift from superficially concentrating on a lot of information to focusing on highly relevant information during a short attention span.

Multitasking is apparent human ability to perform more than one task at the same time. It is driven by a conscious desire to be productive and efficient. Studies show that it is impossible to focus on more than one task. Therefore, multitasking often results in a high error rate. Read More

Special Delivery: How 10-Second Training Can Improve Microlearning

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Snapchat Stories: They’re a fun way to check in on friends and even generating buzz, but could they be the next big thing for eLearning? Probably not. Unfortunately, Snapchat Stories–while super entertaining and hyper-condensed–might seem like a natural fit for microlearning, the format might put too heavy an emphasis on the “micro.”

Luckily, Snapchat Stories are just one format on an entire menu of microlearning and mLearning delivery options. By exploring how organizations can condense learning into something palatable, convenient, and portable, it could unlock new strategy for learning delivery.

Macro & Micro Learning

There’s a reason that microlearning has remained a trending topic among eLearning enthusiasts: It works. By shrinking down information to something easily delivered and quickly digested, organizations who adopt microlearning elbow their way into learners’ attention spans. But the question remains: What’s the best way to deliver those bite-sized pieces of information? On one hand, it needs to be easily palatable–but not so small that the value of the information is lost in translation.

Text delivery might be one way, but we know that most learners are visual. Therefore, short videos can act as a bridge between microlearning delivery and actual high-value content.

Instagram Intelligence

Almost everyone has used Instagram for learning, even if they don’t realize it. Those 15-second makeup tutorials, cooking videos, or extreme sports captures are more than just entertaining; they’re educational, too.

Consider the potential of harnessing the power of a delivery method like Instagram: Learners are already there, and tutorials and informational videos can be set to autoplay when scrolling by. It’s a natural way to capture learner attention without being intrusive. Here are a few other reasons to consider Instagram as a 10-second training machine:

  • It’s quick. Instagram videos can only be 15 seconds or less, and even the busiest person has 15 seconds. The promise of quick, palatable training means you’re more likely to grab attention. Fifteen seconds of unbroken attention may prove to be more beneficial of 30 minutes of a disengaged learner.
  • Videos can be repeated. Didn’t quite catch that? No worries: Instagram videos can be repeated over and over again, which is where they reign supreme over Snapchat Stories. The ability to check and recheck can help lower learner stress.
  • Social videos can be a catalyst for more training. It’s possible to use social video as a way to drum up interest in training. By using fun videos to hype training, it’s possible to set the tone for future interactions, even if they don’t solely take place on Snapchat, Instagram, or another social networking site.

Thinking outside the box (or training module) can yield amazing results when you’re attempting to capture learner attention. Microlearning and mLearning are ideal for capitalizing on the ways your learners already spend their leisure time, so mini eLearning can have a huge impact on training strategy.

 

LinkedIn Acquires Lynda.com for $1.5 Billion

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No one would every blame LinkedIn for being a 98-pound weakling in the career sphere, but now, the social networking giant adds a lot more power to its punch: It was announced on April 9th that LinkedIn has acquired eLearning website, Lynda.com, as part of a new push toward eLearning and changing the way the world looks at education credentials.

In a welcome letter addressed to the employees of Lynda.com, Head of Content for LinkedIn Ryan Roslansky pointed out that the marriage of LinkedIn and Lynda.com was a natural match for both of the respective powerhouses, saying, “We get so excited about the possibilities that could come from the integration of lynda.com and LinkedIn.”

For her part, Lynda Weinman, the owner of Lynda.com, hopes to forge a bridge that spans the skills gap in corporate America today. But what does it mean for both companies going forward?

A New Dawn

This isn’t LinkedIn’s first foray into the eLearning ring: Less-effective credentialing campaigns have lacked the power to really take off on the social networking platform. Last fall, LinkedIn announced a partnership with Udemy, promising better credentials displayed on user profiles if and when courses were completed on the eLearning site.

But Lynda.com might be the most established off all the DIY learning sites, which lends LinkedIn the authority it craves for eLearning purposes. By combining LinkedIn and Lynda, the seamless platform could make it easier than ever for users to showcase their certifications—all while learning new skills that improve their chances of getting hired.

Power, Meet Punch

LinkedIn has long been a force for good in the social networking world. Like the serious older brother of Facebook, LinkedIn’s biggest weakness has been the platform’s lack of action. Most professionals have a LinkedIn account–giving the site plenty of social capital–but don’t really do much with those profiles other than connect and only occasionally post content.

One can only speculate what’s next for LinkedIn, now it owns the extensive eLearning catalogs, courses, and videos from Lynda.com, but Roslansky gives a few hints: “Imagine being a job seeker and being able to instantly know what skills are needed for the available jobs in a desired city, like Denver, and then to be prompted to take the relevant and accredited course to help you acquire this skill,” he suggests. “Or doing a search on SlideShare to learn about integrated marketing and then to be prompted with a lynda.com course on the same subject.”

This acquisition makes LinkedIn a more action-based platform, with the ability for job-seekers and professionals alike to further their education, show off their expertise, and put a little more power in their profile.