Many of us have been in a learning / training role for several years in our careers. Let’s take a moment to reflect on who our learners have been, esp in the context of a corporate setup.A typical learner is an adult, has a certain level of education, is a professional concerned about his or her professional growth and the need to learn to maintain or grow in their job.But, how do we treat our learners? Let’s see…
We force them to learn…for example, in Elearning programs, sometimes we go as far as not letting them move to the next screen before they listen to the complete audio.We also track their learning…by tracking what all slides they have seen, how much time they have spent, etc. It’s important to evaluate the impact of learning of course…so we give them tests and quizzes to see how much they have learnt.
Some words to describe an engaged learner…on other words, a “Collaborative” learner
An engaged learner is collaborative…but what makes them collaborative?
While we have all been engaging for years, the current workscape makes this engagement even more relevant.
Engagement beyond the classroom or offices is as old a concept as learning and teaching itself. Such an engagement is for the most part an informal process. The challenge, however, lies in giving this engagement a structure that allows people to collaborate and connect productively, thereby bridging the gap between formal and informal learning.
What makes it so important to have a structure around something that we have been doing for so many years?Most organizations have dispersed and virtual teams…the workforce is becoming more and more diverse and global. As a result, companies are creating formal processes and systems to enable these diverse set of people to work with each other. On the other hand, company structures are changing from formal hierarchies to networked organizations. All of these factors combined together make it imperative to have a structure around how all these people collaborate with each other.
When you try to implement a new strategy that counters the corporate culture—the corporate culture will push back and almost always win. This type of challenge is often identified when leaders and employees say, “We’ve never done it that way.” This attitude represents a fear of something new. Cultures may be more resistant to adoption if they are less technologically-dependent, or if the organizations are more hierarchical. Demographics, such as generational differences, may also play a role in this dynamic.“These systems compromise classified or private information. Social media is effective, but primarily for socializing, which could lead to lawsuits (e.g., sexual harassment).”
Basically state conditions conducive to collaboration in a disperse, diverse, virtual corporate environment.
Web2.0 is often taken to be built up of technology components, however is it important that we first attempt to look at it within the discourse of learning and engagement. Web 2.0 technology, with its social paradigm, provides the tools to create collaborative learning platforms. This can serve as a vehicle for learners to share further insights, get their questions answered, and connect with their peers and mentors to further enhance learning based on real-life experiences. Web 2.0 allows for social computing, and creates a social structure for engagement wherein technology puts power into communities, not institutions.
Organizational risks: Cultures may be more resistant to adoption if they are less technologically-dependent, or if the organizations are more hierarchical. Demographics, such as generational differences, may also play a role in this dynamic.
A client in the logistics space for whom we created some leadership development programs are implementing a system that connects the people taking these programs in the form of a team that has a means to sustain the learning in the programs beyond just the courses administered thru the LMS.Another client in the advertising space has made a very unique use of an engagement platform wherein they are using it to conduct brainstorming sessions on creative ideas for adverts. As they are a consortium of geographically dispersed advertising companies that work together, they are using features that allow some ideas to be shared by all companies and employees across all locations; whereas some idea communities are restricted to only one particular company. Overall, the idea is to also create a huge repository that can be cross-leveraged.
A client that is into development of medical devices has started using a system for collaboration during development of new product ideas or design changes to existing products. They have created communities focused on specific products and people from different departments – product development, design, marketing, sales all are contributing to ideas. The intangible benefit seen is faster ideas…superiority is somewhat ambiguous to measure as of now…trying to link it to product changes and recalls later.Another client – a pharma company – is implementing a system to engage their large talent pool – both internal and external. The aim is to create knowledge repositories by tapping into their large talent pool.
A social learning model will not replace traditional formal learning. Companies will still need to create, deliver, manage, and report on certification and compliance initiatives. Physical classrooms, virtual classrooms, and web-based training (WBT) will all still be appropriate vehicles for content delivery, and instructional designers will still need to determine which approach to use.Once you implement a system, do not expect the culture to change next Monday…people will continue to collaborate and engage the way they have been used to…it will take a lot of management support, conviction from the learning team, from entities like HR to ensure that the collaboration actually happens to create a tangible benefit for the organization.Also, it may not be fair to expect quantification or measurement of collaboration similar to formal training…for instance, the way we have been used to tracking learning parameters thru LMSs.
Engaging Learners Beyond The Classroom
Sonia Wadhwa & Arun PrakashInfoPro Learning, Inc.Engaging Learners Beyond the ClassroomCollaborating to Learn : Learning to Collaborate
1 Who are LearnersMultimedia Workflow2 Why Engage3 Engagement: Structure4 Platforms for Engagement5 Challenges in Engagement
Who is a Learner?• Adult• Literate• Professional• Adept at managing his / her learning and growth - ?How do we treat the learner when we are in a “classroom”(teacher) mode?
How do we treat the learner when weare in a “classroom” (teacher) mode?• Force them to learn• Track the learning• Evaluate the impact of learning• Try to engage learners - ?What exactly is an engaged learner?
What exactly is an engaged learner?InterestedInvolvedContributive ActiveSharingKnowledgeSharingIdeasAskingQuestions ParticipativeConnected
Why Engage?Why Collaborate to Engage?•Find information•Get answers toquestions•Seek guidance•Share ideas•Get secondopinionsThink about howoften you connectwith someone to:•There is too muchinformation for us tomange it all byourselves•Information frompeople we trust isricher•We all need to connectand feel connectedThe reality is that:Because this is the way we have learned and worked…
The New WorkscapeNeed for engagement…Work is increasinglycollaborative• Specialization• Optimization• Just in timeinformationChanging nature of work•Anytime, anywhere•Faster, smarter, betterNeed for streamlinedinformation base•Collective commonrepository•Organic expert base“Today more than 85% of a typical S&P’s500 company’s market value is a result ofits intangible assets. For many of thesecompanies, a bulk of these intangibleassets is its people. It is no longer whatyou own that counts, but what youknow…”Craig Symons (Forrestor Research)
Engagement: Why structure?FormalProcesses andSystemsDispersed andVirtual TeamsDiverse, GlobalWorkforceFormalHierarchiesNetworkedOrganizationsA structure that connects formal & informal learning, without compromising on the quality of engagement…
• Does your company promote a culture of open sharingand decentralized decision making?• Does your L&D department recommend on-the-jobemployee development?• Do you have a significant number of millennialsgeneration (and outgoing baby-boomers)?• Does your industry demand constant innovation andexperimentation?• Most importantly – what is the senior management’sconviction?Are you ready for a structuredengagement?
• “Corporate Hierarchy” based communications to “Qualityof Thought” based communication• Extension of formal training• Connects the knowledge from formal training with real-life situations• Knowledge that is contextual and relevant to theorganizationWhat can you “expect” from anEngagement / Collaborative system?
More “expectations”…UsergeneratedContentSelfpolicing,notanarchyModeratedforComplianceConnectswithFormalLearningMethodsReal-timeengagementwithExpertsStructured,searchableorganizationalrepositoryMeasurableOutcomesCreates a social structure for engagement wherein technology puts power into communities, not institutions
ChallengesArghh….But achieving this Ain’tSounds great…..
The Brave New Connected WorldWhat do you think are thekey challenges towardsimplementing a collaborativesystem in the workplace?
ChallengesOrganizationalRisks•Lack ofreadiness tomove to a nonhierarchicalframework•Transparencyissues•Lack ofsponsorship-both financialand moral•Hesitation inintra-organizationalsharing•Usage /adoptionTechnical Risks•Platform doesnot supportinternal rubricsand systems•Securityconcerns•Privacy issues•Compliance /regulatoryconcernsEconomic Risks•Lack oforganizationalsponsorship•Cost ofengagementMeasurability•Lack of analyticsexpertiseand/orresources•Unreliable data•InconsistentanalyticalapproachesOther Risks•Anarchic datawithoutmoderation•Lack of visiblementors•Perceived lossof employeeproductivityThe bump before the freeway…
• Do not be in a hurry…consider a phasedapproach• Identify the departments or businessesthat are good candidates• Take IT into confidence • Let momentum build up naturally• While you govern subtly…Mitigating the ChallengesMaking engagement a reality…
Creating Organizational Value with EngagementCase StudiesNeed CollaborationMethod and How itWorkedLearner Benefit OrganizationalBenefitDeveloping Leadership Cohort learning inwhich a team ofpeople came togetherfor a sustained learningexperience beyondcourses and sessionsSustained relationshipswith learning partnersand senior leadersMeaningful networkingand long-term loyaltySharing amongcompanies in aconsortiumPlatform for continuedsharing of creativeideas beyond“brainstorming”sessionsLeveraging acrossgeographies“Idea” repository
Creating Organizational Value with EngagementCase StudiesNeed Engagement Method andHow it WorkedLearner Benefit OrganizationalBenefitNew ProductLaunchesUsed by teams to collaborateduring development of newproductsCritical and creativethinkingFaster and superiorproduct ideasMaximizing useof large talentpoolCommunities of practice inwhich internal and externalscientific brains coordinate toexchange knowledge andpractices around sharedinterestsAccess to specialized,often tacit,knowledgeEffective way of engagingspecial interest groupsthat minimizes risk andvariance with diversity oftalent pool. Creation oforganic knowledgerepositories.
• Replacement for formal / traditionallearning• Overnight culture change• Quantification similar to “formal” trainingWhat not to “expect”
http://www.infoprolearning.com/gnosisGNOSISTap Into Knowledge; Derive Wisdom