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the top ten tasks
for L&D in 2014

learning insights report 2013
learning at the speed of need


Challenges for a vibrant and
talented community
Welcome to the Learning Insig...
learning at the speed of need

E-Learning Age and City & Guilds Kineo are two organisations that are passionate...
learning at the speed of need

people without any reference to the learning teams.
In the workplace on a daily basis learn...
learning at the speed of need

4. Design higher empathy learning. Learning technology has delivered speed,
scale and reach...
learning at the speed of need


Learning at the need of speed
In this introductory section we set out the con...
learning at the speed of need

same way as staff use Google to access information.
The quality of screen and technology ex...
learning at the speed of need

Web technology – tracking and


Under 19



All ages

learning at the speed of need

makes personal content recommendations. What
Outbrain offers is a plugin service so that it...
learning at the speed of need

Towards a new Learning Architecture The Empathy/System Model

Fig. 5: Author of the article...
learning at the speed of need

Learning Insights 2013:
Ten trends


Learning is Pervasive
“We need to design multi-chann...
learning at the speed of need


Learning delivery in a pervasive learning world
“We are radically rethinking how we work...
learning at the speed of need


Assessment and accreditation in a pervasive
learning world
“As we move away from courses...
learning at the speed of need


Design higher empathy learning
“Websites are better ways of delivering learning
and trac...
learning at the speed of need


Line managers remain critical in high
empathy learning
“One of the key responsibilities ...
learning at the speed of need


Never underestimate the ability of people to
learn from each other

“Social learning is ...
learning at the speed of need


Informal learning must not become chaotic
“L&D’s role is building out a toolkit for crea...
learning at the speed of need


Developing people through apprenticeships and
“Generally employers are find...
learning at the speed of need


Budget pressure continues – but strategic projects
will get through
“Regulators are beco...
learning at the speed of need

efficient through designing diagnostics, creating
personalised, tailored experiences with m...
learning at the speed of need


Where the web goes learning will follow
“Technology is great but the pace of change cre...
learning at the speed of need

what’s next?

Last year’s to-do list,
a new one for 2014

How do we turn these observations...





the cost of creating these systems through open
source tools, increased use of webinars and
Our thanks to the organisations who participated in
the research, which included :
American Express
Bank L...
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Learning at the speed of need

Learning at the speed of need
the top ten tasks
for L&D in 2014

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Learning at the speed of need

  1. 1. the top ten tasks for L&D in 2014 learning insights report 2013
  2. 2. learning at the speed of need introduction Challenges for a vibrant and talented community Welcome to the Learning Insights report 2013. Now that Kineo has joined forces with City & Guilds, I am really pleased that City & Guilds can be associated with this fascinating research project. It is also a pleasure to produce this report in association with e.learning age which, along with the E-Learning Awards, works assiduously to raise awareness of the issues facing, and the achievements of, technologybased learning in the workplace. It is no accident that we publish this report to co-incide with the climax of the Awards, the gala evening, where the winners for 2013 are unveiled. I would like to thank all those who contributed their time, experience and wisdom to creating these insights. Also I am grateful to all who have worked so hard to produce the report. A consistent characteristic of City & Guilds Kineo is that it unfailingly produces work of great quality which always challenges and inspires in equal measure. This report, “Learning at the Speed of Need”, is no exception. We’re all time poor but I would urge a close reading as it contains a host of fascinating insights and I’m sure there are actions which every L&D department should be taking as a result of this project. In particular we should recognise the challenges many of us face around what this report calls ‘pervasive learning’ and proactive learners, including creating the right culture within our organisations. Challenges which I’m sure we can meet well. We all know that learning matters to the whole organisation: it is a board level issue that requires constant attention if organisations are to thrive. Our mission at City & Guilds is to enable people and organisations to develop their skills for personal and economic growth, in simple terms we help people into a job, to progress within their role and into their next job. We acquired Kineo as we know that learning technologies will be critical and when used well can be transformative. This report sets out the challenges 2 and opportunities and I would encourage you to pass it on to your colleagues across the organisation Finally, this report reinforces the fact that we live in exciting and fast moving times and it is a privilege to work with such a vibrant and talented community. We would welcome a dialogue with you as part of that community on any aspect of the findings of the report as we work to fulfil our objective. Chris Jones CEO & Director General City & Guilds November 2013
  3. 3. learning at the speed of need background E-Learning Age and City & Guilds Kineo are two organisations that are passionately interested in developments in learning and technology. In our respective ways we aim to lead and inform the market through our research and sharing our insights. Early in 2012 we decided to work together to produce an annual e-learning insights report. In 2012 we undertook interviews and meetings with over 30 leading L&D figures across 30 businesses and published our first report in November 2012. This year we have interviewed 20 new businesses and also revisited interviews with many of those that took part last year. The purpose of the interviews was to explore the trends in learning technologies, the challenges facing L&D departments and how they were responding to the challenges they face. This report highlights the key insights from this research. summary Learning at the speed of need One of the key trends that emerged from our research this year is what we call ‘learning at the speed of need’. This is a phrase that has been used by a number of commentators. It was used a few years back by Joe Pokropski, former head of client training at Thomson Reuters and now at JP Morgan Chase. It has been used more recently by Dan Pontefract in his book Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organisation. Dan argues for learning at the speed of need through formal, informal and social learning modalities. Dan’s premise is that learning has become pervasive and that learning is now ‘collaborative, continuous, connected and community-based.’ The concept of pervasive learning is that learning is not trapped in a learning management system or in books or in formal learning but is continuous. The 70:20:10 model recognises this explicitly through its contention that 70% of development and learning comes from on the job experiences and work challenges. Pontefract proposes a different model that of 3:33 where learning takes place in three modalities in broadly equal proportions namely formal learning, informal learning and social learning. In his model, as in 70:20:10, learning is all around us and is continuous, collaborative and connected. What came through strongly from the interviews this year was this notion of pervasive learning and learning at the speed of need. Increasingly learners are not waiting for the learning to come to them. They are increasingly proactive and are using technology to support them. From the research came examples of apprentices who have set up their own Facebook groups to share and support each other without any reference to the trainers or tutors and of experts who had set up webinar sessions to train “Increasingly learners are not waiting for the learning to come to them. They are increasingly proactive and are using technology to support them.” 3
  4. 4. learning at the speed of need people without any reference to the learning teams. In the workplace on a daily basis learning can take place through problem solving, watching, trial and error, imitating, coaching, feedback, conversation, helping others, enquiry, critical thinking, listening, writing, reflecting and competing. The growth in technology has increased the opportunity for learning particularly through access to knowledge and social networks. Thus informal learning may now include ebooks, self-paced content, video, podcasts, blog articles, slideshares, webinars as well as more traditional books. Social learning has also been expanded through online networks, commenting, ratings, and sharing. There is no question that learning as a continuous, collaborative and connected activity has grown stronger in recent years. The pervasive, continuous nature of learning and the growth of technology creates challenges for learning and development departments including:  How to keep up with the speed of technology changes and the consumerisation of IT with more savvy staff and customers  The challenge of trying to control a pervasive, fluid system from the centre rather than facilitating local innovation and action and ‘letting go’  Conversely, the danger of a chaotic approach to learning through an abundance of resources and opportunities, of varying quality, and possible duplication of resources.The danger of deploying high system, scalable technology, low empathy approaches using online technology which may work well in areas such as compliance but less well in areas such as cultural change  How to deploy more structured, scalable approaches but with higher empathy such as personalisation and collaboration  How to track, assess and acknowledge learning where learning takes place in many forms. 2013 key insights 1. Learning is pervasive. Learning is continuous, collaborative and connected and most learning lives outside a learning management system. This has implications for the learning architecture and intervention models adopted by Learning and Development departments. 2. Design and delivery in a pervasive learning world. There are growing challenges for learning delivery that stem from more fragmented, more mobile and more global workforces; and from the speed of change. There are multiple channels for delivery, multiple devices and time constraints. 3. Assessment is different in a pervasive learning world. As learning becomes even more pervasive there is a challenge in assessing and recognising learning. If we are designing learning experiences that are experiential then assessment has to be more experiential and not a multiple choice test on an LMS. The development of badges and company specific accreditation has a role to play in assessment and recognition. 4
  5. 5. learning at the speed of need 4. Design higher empathy learning. Learning technology has delivered speed, scale and reach but there is a need for higher empathy learning design. It is not so much about meeting learning objectives as about empathy with the learner, their position, their challenges and personalising their experience. 5. Line managers remain critical in high empathy learning. There is a need for low system, high empathy solutions such as experiential learning, coaching, observation and feedback. The role of line managers is critical here and they need support with development and online tools including e-portfolios. They also need to be developed to act effectively within the system. 6. Never underestimate the power of learners to learn from each other. Social learning is an important part of pervasive learning; up to a third of learning according to Dan Pontefract. L&D departments need to help people develop their social learning skills but not get in the way of social learning. Learners will use their own networks, including those outside of work, and will learn from each other. 7. Informal learning must not become chaotic. There is a danger with the pervasive nature of learning and the wide range of informal opportunities that learning can become chaotic. Learning can be less chaotic through structured resources, guides, tailored searches and filters. Authority matters, as we have seen with Google where they promote content based on the authority of the author. Learners need access to authoritative content and people. As in other domains, quality and relevance will rise to the surface. 8. Develop people internally. With hiring freezes and a desire to higher ‘will not skill’ there’s increased focus on internal development through apprenticeships, accreditation and qualifications. Thus a challenge is developing cost-effective trainee/ apprenticeship programmes of learning. 9. (Mainly) more for less: Businesses continue to have limited budgets for learning. However, strategic projects that demonstrate they can add value to business imperatives will get funded – and measured. 10. Where web technology goes, learning will follow. It is difficult to overstate the degree of change in web technology.Your search results are personalised and reflect what your connections like or use.Your online behaviour is tracked extensively to help determine what content or services you need. Web sites adapt instantly to multiple devices and track you from one device to another. Learning needs to stay abreast of web technologies and explore the potential of these technologies with fast, low cost pilots. 5
  6. 6. learning at the speed of need Introduction Learning at the need of speed In this introductory section we set out the context in which learning departments operate in 2013 which is drawn from the interviews we conducted and wider research. The world in which we operate continues to change whether it is new legislation, new processes, new technology or more complicated global challenges. As the world changes so we learn and adapt in our jobs and in the way we work.This learning in the workplace is not trapped in a learning management system, any more than it was trapped in books or in formal learning; learning is collaborative, continuous, connected and community-based. As the demands change so the learning needs to adapt to keep up with the speed of change.This can be called learning at the need of speed. This year’s research revealed some of the context in which learning now takes place and what is affecting the need and speed required. The consumerisation of IT and its impact on learning The fast changing nature of technology is having a greater impact on businesses. This is particularly so in what is termed the consumerisation of learning. Customers and staff have become much more technology savvy and are driving changes independently of any e-learning strategy or technology strategy in businesses. Technology in corporates is being outpaced by the change in consumer technology. The nature and impact of consumer technology change is not waiting for corporate strategies, policies or guidelines and in many respects is actually driving and shaping strategies. Blackberry devices are a textbook example, corporate IT departments fought to keep staff on Blackberrys for many good reasons including security but the consumer world was moving to iPhones and Android devices. Corporates were left behind and are only now catching up with consumer devices. Blackberry failed to keep up with the changes and went from a $83bn company to a $5bn company. The consumerisation of IT is not limited to 6 phones. For example, webinar style software such as Skype or Google Hangouts are being adopted by staff at home and used for work purposes, in much the 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 J 2011 F M A M J J A S O N D J 0 2012 Fig. 1: Blackberry RIM share price 2011-2012
  7. 7. learning at the speed of need same way as staff use Google to access information. The quality of screen and technology experiences is also getting better, both in terms of high visual quality and technology that works first time. People also have more control, such as when they watch TV or whether they bank online. Whilst it varies from workforce to workforce staff are becoming more technologically savvy. Most households now own at least three internet connected devices and use these seamlessly to perform tasks moving from one device to another. This technology such as smartphones is being brought into the workplace. An Economist report earlier in 2013 found that almost half (49%) of companies felt that using mobile devices boosts innovation, and many staff feel they are more on top of their jobs (39%) and more efficient (37%). They also say mobility is making their companies more dynamic and innovative (49%) and improving communications (42%). Customers are also adopting and using new online technology. For example, they are complaining and asking questions via social media even if companies have not set up these channels formally. This consumerisation of IT is having an impact on learning as staff:  Expect to seek and access information online as they need it  Expect to work seamlessly across devices. They expect to start a task on one device and finish on another  Have a low tolerance for technology that is difficult to use or doesn’t work  Have online social networks where they seek support, even if it is just to find a plumber, but increasingly they also have work related social networks  Expect a more personalised experience  Expect more control over when and how they learn. What emerged from our research this year was that more technically savvy staff are not waiting for learning departments to take advantage of new technologies. For example, staff apprentices in one “The danger for learning departments is that they are no longer driving technology enabled learning but being driven by consumer trends and by learners themselves.” Fig. 2: Richer media used at home and the workplace business set up their own Facebook group separately from any direction corporately and started engaging in social learning. In another business specialists started running their own virtual classroom sessions without reference to training teams or being taught how to run webinars. Free tools like Google Hangouts and Skype are providing richer functionality and allow commenting, screen sharing and video sharing which many staff are using at home and increasingly at work. The danger for learning departments is that they are no longer driving technology enabled learning but being driven by consumer trends and by learners themselves. Workforce changes In the last 12 months most businesses we spoke to had lower staff turnover than in recent years. This may be partly due to recession with staff less keen to move but also less opportunity to move. The ability to recruit staff was mixed with most problems in very specific skill areas. It is apparent as each year passes that there are different generations in the workforce, from younger digital natives to older workers who are working longer due to later retirement ages and lower pensions. A Harvard Business Review article on Mentoring Millenials noted that next year the people born between 1977 and 1997 will account for nearly half the employees in the world. It also noted we have for the first time four generations in the workforce. 7
  8. 8. learning at the speed of need Web technology – tracking and personalisation 900,000 Under 19 800,000 19+ All ages 2008/09* 2009/10* 2010/11* 700,000 600,000 500,000 400,000 300,000 200,000 100,000 0 2007/08 2011/12* Fig. 3: A steady increase in the number of apprenticeships These different generations have different values and preferred ways of communicating. The generational differences were referenced by learning managers in the research and although it wasn’t seen as a major issue there were questions about how to engage different generations in learning. The workforce in businesses continues to be more fragmented, as more staff work remotely and there are more global teams. The nature of office space is also changing, with more flexible, wifi enabled, space and less fixed desks or offices. The Economist survey earlier this year found that organisational structures are also becoming flatter and less hierarchical. There does appear to be a greater focus on developing more trainee posts or apprenticeships and training these staff as part of a long term development strategy. The figures for the UK from the Skills Funding Agency (above) show a steady increase in apprenticeships. Talent management is starting at a younger age and there is a focus on recruiting for aptitude, attitude and potential rather than specific skills. Many learners as noted above are not waiting for the learning to come to them. They are increasingly proactive and seek out knowledge for themselves which is made much easier in an internet connected world. Learners can be more demanding wanting immediacy, control and choice. It can, however, be difficult to generalise as while some staff are selfmotivated and learn informally there are other groups of staff who have little control over their time such as retail staff, call centre staff and other customer facing staff where time for learning is tightly controlled. The pressure to ensure staff are productive was reflected in a couple of organisations where their key targets included reducing not training costs but the time staff spend training. Thus there is pressure to find more intensive ways of training to reduce time away from productive work. 8 “For Your Eyes Only” Web technology is developing very quickly as companies want to provide consumers with content that is relevant for them. If we take Google as a leading example, they are concerned to deliver search results to people that are relevant and authoritative. The Google search results you see will be personal to you, very personal to you if you are logged in to a Google account such as Gmail. In order to provide you with what is relevant for you Google monitors your behaviour such as sites you visit, how long you spend, results you click on, where you are located, etc., to display ads and search results which are relevant to you. They have recently taken this further and monitor the behaviour of your online friends such as your Google Plus connections, and your friends can influence your search results as Google will assess things they like and spend time on. The degree of tracking is extensive with a view to providing very adaptive and personal results. There is also software such as Outbrain which “Developments in the web tracking of user experiences and using this data to personalise future experiences is already one step ahead of Tin Can and one question that emerged from the research this year was whether the future is not Tin Can but web technology that tracks experiences and then uses that data to personalise new experiences.” Fig. 4: Web technology providing customised content
  9. 9. learning at the speed of need makes personal content recommendations. What Outbrain offers is a plugin service so that it will sit in a section in your site, monitor users and make personal content recommendations to users of content from elsewhere on the web, primarily its partners. Outbrain say they “understand an audience’s browsing habits across all content types and recommends personalised links based on each individual’s content preferences”. Outbrain is used by many major news sites, thus while you may think it is the news site offering other stories that might interest you or other articles from around the web, it is actually Outbrain based on your personal behaviour. Does your LMS do this? No. But it won’t be long. This level of web tracking and personalisation is ahead of most learning systems that try to personalise content and searches for you. LMS systems are trying and may personalise search results by your region or job role, they may rank resources by ratings from colleagues but they do not track behaviour as comprehensively. Traditional SCROM tracking has been useful for compliance purposes as it tracks course progress, completion, scores and pass/fail status. However, in a world of pervasive learning new forms of tracking are required. Tin Can is a relatively new API which makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of learning experiences a person has whether online or offline. It recognises that learning takes place outside an LMS and when a learning activity needs to be recorded this can be sent in various forms to a learning record store (LRS). This LRS can exist within or outside an LMS. Sony Europe, for example, uses a mixture of web tracking, Google analytics, Salesforce reports and LMS tracking for its customer training. This also links learning experiences to performance. Web Technology – social networks Web technology is changing almost daily in the area of social networking, which includes platforms for sharing, commenting, group activity and webinar style sessions. In a pervasive learning world social learning cannot be trapped in a single LMS. And it will take place increasingly on web platforms. New social platforms such as Google Plus provide a platform for a learning community which can be set up instantly, at no cost, and offer private groups, sharing of content, rating, commenting and instant video conferences via Google hangouts. LinkedIn offers similar features including notifications of new content and discussions. These platforms provide a challenge to the traditional LMS and it is not about functionality but about social networks. On platforms such as Google Plus or LinkedIn learners already have a network of people which goes beyond their organisation. They may include previous colleagues, mentors and industry experts. In reality learners will use these networks which are outside the control of the learning department. Attempting to manage this centrally will fail but the use of these tools can be part of structured experiences as we’ll see later. Web technology – establishing authority This is a really important development in the world of the web and it is useful to understand what Google is doing in this area. Google wants users when searching for information and content to find content that is authoritative. There is no shortage of content on the web, the concern for Google and for learning departments is to ensure people find authoritative content. Google’s Matt Cutts was clear on this when he said recently: “We’re doing a better job of detecting when someone is more of an authority on a specific space. You know, it could be medical. It could be travel. Whatever. And try[ing] to make sure that those rank a little more highly if you’re some sort of authority” Thus what Google has developed is the concept of Google Authorship, as it is interested in ascertaining which individuals are seen as authoritative and trusted by real people on the Internet. Increasingly when you search on Google you will see the author of the article appear alongside the search results. If you search for “elearning market” you might get a result like in Fig 5, overleaf. What Google is effectively doing is promoting the role of experts, giving them more weight and directing 9
  10. 10. learning at the speed of need Towards a new Learning Architecture The Empathy/System Model Fig. 5: Author of the article appears alongside the search result us towards authoritative experts in particular areas. This is part of the semantic web where information is within context and where we will see the social media optimisation of search results i.e. where authorship and activity on social networks plays a key role in determining search results. Whilst Google has patented the concept of author rank, no one is exactly sure what goes into the algorithm but we can expect it to include the number of followers an author has, the number of times their work is cited in respected journals and websites, the number of times their content receives a plus one, Facebook like, retweet or LinkedIn share etc. This type of web technology is potentially very powerful in informal learning where learners are actively seeking resources. It also raises an issue about experts and authority within corporates. Will authority come from experts outside the L&D team who create their own content? High system Cultural change Compliance Adaptive & personalised Impersonal but efficient Contribution & collaboration Immersive and playful Low empathy Structured resources Informal resources Coaching Low system 10 High empathy Last year we referred to the new learning architecture and how learning and development departments were responding to changing demands including more informal learning, resources not courses, social learning and experiential learning as well as more formal learning. In a pervasive learning world there is no one right way to organise and manage learning. Charles Leadbeater has developed a new model of learning which we found a useful way of analysing and understanding options in learning delivery. The model (below) is a simple grid. It has two axes, one of which reflects the degree of empathy of the learning and the other which reflects the degree to which learning is highly structured or has high system approaches. For example, compliance training tends to be typified by a high system, low empathy approach. It is scalable, makes good use of online delivery and SCORM style tracking e.g. score and status; however, it tends to be impersonal. Often everyone has to do the same course and same assessment – there is little personalisation. This may work reasonably well for basic compliance training but is less effective for cultural change programmes as an example. By contrast a lot of informal learning is both low empathy and low system where individuals search and access resources on their own initiative. There is a danger of learning in the low system, low empathy space being chaotic. Training departments can help move this to a higher system approach with structured resources and also help move this towards a higher empathy approach with resources linked to say job role or recommended by managers. Coaching continues to be popular and effective and is a high empathy approach albeit tends to be low system and less easy to scale. The research this year highlighted the importance of coaching, of observation of behaviour by line managers and feedback as part of development programmes. The really interesting area is the high empathy and high system area. In essence much of the opportunity in learning is in this area. Many of the web technology developments we have referred to earlier allow companies to use technology and scale learning but also to adopt a highly personalised, adaptive, collaborative and immersive experience. This model provides a new way of looking at the learning architecture that companies might adopt and the strategies they deploy in each area. We have used this model as a reference when discussing the insights from our interviews this year.
  11. 11. learning at the speed of need Learning Insights 2013: Ten trends 1 Learning is Pervasive “We need to design multi-channel learning experiences. That should include portals, learning events and resources, communications, campaigns and more. No one channel is enough to deliver complex learning and change programmes” In Dan Pontefract’s book Flat Army he characterises pervasive learning as continuous, collaborative and connected. He argues persuasively that learning has to take place at the speed of the need and that this learning takes three forms namely formal, informal and social learning. Dan further argues that learning is broadly split between these three modalities, hence his 3:33 model. Some have argued that this model of pervasive learning misses the 70% of on the job and task based learning of the 70:20:10 model. Continuous learning can include various aspects of learning that take place on the job such as learning by watching, by imitating, by practising (‘trial and error’), through feedback, through conversation, though helping others, by problem-solving, by producing knowledge, by listening, by reflecting, by being coached and by being mentored. What is common though across both models is that learning is pervasive and it is not trapped in formal learning. From our research this year it was clear that learning departments recognise the pervasive nature of learning and the fact most learning actually takes place outside the learning management system, whether formal, informal or social. This has caused learning managers to think in a wider context about learning architectures and the role of learning departments in helping to support learning. In particular using the system/empathy model it is clear that learning departments have a role to play in recognising that there is a time and a place for different learning approaches including low system, low empathy approaches, whilst recognising the need to develop higher system, higher empathy approaches. It is also important to recognise the role of compliance training in an increasingly regulated world. Mentoring Web Conferencing eLearning Books Websites Shadowing Shadowing Workshops Conferences Roadshows Rotations Physical Classroom Performance Reviews Case Studies Virtual Classroom Podcasts Webcasts Coaching Pervasive Learning Wikis User Generated Content Game-Based-Learning Forums Articles Blogs Webjams Comments Friending Ratings Videos Micro-blogging Tagging Discussions In our research interviews many businesses referred to tougher regulation. High system, low empathy solutions for compliance that use Scorm style tracking with scores and pass marks may still have an important role to play in your learning interventions and overall learning architecture. However, are they sufficiently empathetic to the individual’s role and compliance awareness needs? Many businesses are adding empathy elements through campaigns, followup webinars and more. This acceptance of pervasive thinking also raises questions about how learning is designed, how online approaches can be more empathetic, adaptive, immersive and personalised; and how learning is tracked, assessed and recognised. These are questions we address in this report. 11
  12. 12. learning at the speed of need 2 Learning delivery in a pervasive learning world “We are radically rethinking how we work as an organisation. We are creating more flexible space, promoting more home working, more informal meetings and using virtual meetings. One of our key tasks is to educate people in better ways of working.” The delivery of learning is proving a challenge for many learning departments. The delivery challenges are heightened by:  More dispersed workforces  More home working  More mobile workforces  More global teams  Staff with less time available  Changing technology and multiple devices  Speed of delivery required  Level of tracking required Learning departments are supporting these changes through learning technology. Thus we are seeing an even greater use of blended learning programmes. The online delivery element in its many forms is providing scale, reach and accessibility. However, there are challenges such as multi-device delivery. Increasingly websites will adapt instantly to the device you are using and deliver content in the most appropriate format. Social platforms such as Google Plus, LinkedIn or Facebook will also track you across devices and notify you on any device if someone comments on a discussion you have been involved in. Thus you may make a comment on LinkedIn on your smartphone and receive a notification if someone else has commented, on your desktop. E-learning content will need to work across multiple devices and particularly tablets. In our interviews tablets were being identified as a primary delivery device, more so than smartphones currently. This means creating responsive elearning content, using existing web technologies, which will adapt and adjust to provide an optimised experience for learners regardless of their device. Other technology enabled learning will need to 12 work across devices such as learning management systems, eportfolios and webinar software. We are seeing a continued increase in webinar based delivery of learning as the software gets better, as bandwidth improves and as people become more familiar with the technology. We are also seeing more video delivery which is seen as relatively quick and low cost to produce, with the added advantage that it works across devices and there are fewer issues as bandwidth and compression improve. One specific delivery issue which emerged is the time constraints that many staff operate under. Whilst some businesses talk about informal learning and 70: 20: 10, many staff have little or no control over their own time. Businesses expect more online learning delivery and also want training to take less time. One way to reduce learning time is a greater use of upfront diagnostics to ensure that staff only get the training they need. There is also a desire to focus down on the minimum knowledge required by learners and delivery of additional knowledge as required, so driving towards a lean learning model. This is affecting learning design along with a desire for more informal resources rather than longer courses. Thus we are seeing smaller, bite-sized pieces of self-contained learning content. It is also impacting business cases for investment in elearning, as increasingly reductions in training time are seen as a major benefit and saving in the business case. Some respondents pointed to what one called ‘corporate nervousness’ – lack of will to experiment with new technology when budgets are tight. However, people will find a way to connect in their own way using free tools such as Google Hangouts.
  13. 13. learning at the speed of need 3 Assessment and accreditation in a pervasive learning world “As we move away from courses and towards design of learning experiences with diagnostics, assessment needs to become more experiential too. It needs to be more sophisticated than just an online test.” In a world of pervasive learning where learning is taking place continually and where up to two thirds of learning is social, informal or on the job learning there are challenges in assessment and recognition. Arguably learning departments haven’t been great at assessment and learning management systems have tended to rely upon SCORM tracking eg did you complete the course, what was your score and did you pass? And what does that tell us really? Most of us if asked to take a test we passed last Christmas would probably fail it if we had to do it again. In a world where learning departments are creating more experiential learning and where more informal and social learning is taking place it doesn’t feel appropriate to assess learners by sending them to a multiple choice quiz on an LMS. It may work in a compliance area around say knowledge but in more behavioural areas and where cultural change is required it can be lacking. There is a need for more observation, which comes back to the role of line managers in higher empathy solutions, and higher systems to enable them to be efficient. . In this year’s research we also asked about the nature of recognition of learning. In some businesses they support formal, external qualifications but increasingly employers were seeking to have their own internal training and learning endorsed and accredited. There has been a lot of early interest in Open Badges which have been created by Mozilla. Badges can be awarded for very specific competences within a business. For example, a badge could be awarded for completing a programme of learning followed by manager observation. Mozilla’s open badges are supported by a number of LMS systems and allow a learner to receive an electronic badge. The badge both sits in the LMS under the learner profile but also in the learner’s own badge backpack on Mozilla. This allows the learner to retain the badge if they leave and to choose to display the badge in other places such as an online CV. So the badge is a portable form of recognition or even qualification. The badge is also verifiable in that it is a clever electronic badge which when clicked brings up the details of how the badge was earnt, why it was awarded, who awarded the badge, their contact details etc. Badges can also have expiry dates, and the word expired will automatically appear if the badge has passed its expiry date. This is useful in areas where there is an annual renewal or licence to practise is required. 13
  14. 14. learning at the speed of need 4 Design higher empathy learning “Websites are better ways of delivering learning and tracking experiences than the LMS – we use SharePoint, we get better tracking data at page and resource level, we can get people to comment more actively, people can like and rank resources better. That data is more useful than assessment scores.” The challenge for many businesses is how to create a higher system and higher empathy approach which combines formal, informal and social learning. If we look for a definition of empathy we might find concepts such as “the ability to imagine oneself as another person”. The use of personas and cases in web design is an example of this. These techniques are also used in learning design, but less systematically. An empathetic interaction is adaptive in that it involves communicating or interacting in a way which recognises the situation of the other person, their issues, their characteristics and likely emotional state. Thus empathetic learning is about adapting content and experiences in a way which closer represents the situation of the learner. This can take many forms including: recognising prior knowledge; using scenarios which a learner can instantly recognise and relate to; immersing them in a simulation which is close to their situation; providing High system Adaptive & personalised Contribution & collaboration Immersive scenarios Low empathy High empathy Low system 14 them with feedback; raising or lowering the level of challenge based on their demonstrated skill level; and recognising their needs from skill deficiencies to simple time constraints, their location and job role. An empathetic approach will also allow a learner to collaborate, ask questions and contribute to and shape the learning. The type of adaption and personalisation we are seeing through web technology is moving heavily in this direction. The technology may remain a high system solution but the degree of personalisation can also make the solution high empathy. Thus, just as the web has become increasingly high empathy, we can expect to see learning follow a similar approach. Within learning, designers are developing higher empathy approaches where they use real life scenarios, more immersive experiences and where content adapts based on your role, previous experience, your career path and recent work projects. Adaptation and personalisation at a system level requires data collection and tracking. Typically tracking whether collated via SCORM or through a Tin Can API has not been used to then deliver more sophisticated personalisation. There is personalisation often in the form of progression through learning and activities completed but the main purpose of tracking has not been to customise the future learning experience. This is where web technology differs as one of the key purposes of collecting data is to then serve up content and information that is personal and relevant to you. You may not think your tracking data is empathetic right now – but it needs to be. Google Now is an app which if you use Google services has an amazing ability to anticipate the information you need, when you need it, based on your diary, location, weather, your emails and other factors. The future of high empathy, high system learning may start to look something more akin to Google Now.
  15. 15. learning at the speed of need 5 Line managers remain critical in high empathy learning “One of the key responsibilities of Line managers is to develop their staff. They can observe them, provide feedback and coach them on a regular basis. They can also help structure their formal learning.” Last year the research drew out the importance of line managers in learning delivery. Using the empathy/ system model it is clear that there is a role for high empathy learning which is also low system. This may include activities such as coaching, observation, conversation, delegated tasks and feedback. The role of the line manager is critical in making high empathy, low system solutions work. These managers will also need support. There are tools and systems which can be put in place to help managers. For example, e-portfolios can work well to support managers in areas such as observation, commenting, recording and monitoring progress. Managers play an important role in the ongoing assessment of learners’ progress. Learning and other systems along with social learning technology can support managers by providing richer, just-in-time data to indicate engagement, involvement and progress in learning. For example, one business said that its managers “will be more accountable for monitoring competency daily rather than being dependent on annual assessment”. We need to provide managers with tools that enable that to be high system, not a full time job in itself. A key role of line managers is coaching and developing staff in their teams. These skills and competences are increasingly being sought and developed by businesses in recognition of this. Businesses also recognise the need to train and support managers to perform multiple roles. They are increasingly asked to act as Virtual Classroom facilitators, evidence gatherers – these roles are different from the day-to-day management duties and managers will need training with them. And of course, managers are accountable for setting tone and culture. Several of the major strategic learning programmes we discovered in the research are focused on management and leadership. Their critical importance as a committed, engaged and (yes) trained group can’t be understated. Managers are one group who respect authority and authorship qualities – one of the reasons the Executive Education sector has flourished (but MOOCs put the core content under threat). Several organisational learning programmes have external professors, experts or faculty to add the authority dimension. 15
  16. 16. learning at the speed of need 6 Never underestimate the ability of people to learn from each other “Social learning is a key part of the learning experience.” This phrase “never underestimate the ability of people to learn from each other” came from one of the learning directors interviewed this year. They emphasised the natural tendency for people to want to help each other and how willing people are to share. This can be seen across the web and especially in social networks. Whilst it may be true that only 1% of web users create content, 9% comment and share and 90% just read or lurk, the 1% and 9% are very powerful in these social communities. The small number of creators may actually be a good thing and fit with Google’s concept of expert authors. In many ways we don’t want those that know little to create content, we want experts to lead on content origination. That is not to say that there are not experts in the field and social media networks are actually quite good at filtering out experts by what they share and contribute rather than their formal status. 16 Social learning will take place with or without the intervention of the learning department. This may take many forms from friends and colleagues to online networks where people share, comment, rate etc. Another organisation intends to pilot blogging as a peer to peer learning tool. In this leadership and management programme, Each cohort will produce one blog which is a resource specific to them, they author and own it. See it as action learning with a blog output that provides a new learning resource for the leadership population – tagged and shared on the intranet. It’s a good way of bringing the social element in with a purpose and an output. Learning departments will want to encourage sharing and participation in industry networks as well as work networks. LinkedIn is already well established as the go-to place for industry and area networking. It’s also a great channel for content through posting updates, sharing your activity, and joining discussions and groups on specific topics.
  17. 17. learning at the speed of need 7 Informal learning must not become chaotic “L&D’s role is building out a toolkit for creating informal learning resources and giving to SMES – might be webinars, or how to videos, possibly rapid elearning. Let users generate their own content, doesn’t all have to be owned by L&D, it’s not possible to cover them all.” Pervasive learning will include a wide range of informal learning and last year we reported on a move towards resources rather than courses. We noted the creation of a range of short content or learning objects which could be accessed as required by learners. Learners will also access other resources as they need such as websites, social networks, books, etc. There is a danger that this informal learning, which is both low empathy and low system, can become chaotic. Learners access information which is not the most up to date or authoritative. If we come back to the example of Google, they are constantly fighting a battle to organise the world’s information and deliver content to users which is relevant to their needs. One of the key ways we mentioned before is content authority. Google uses a wide variety of means including the author’s reputation to determine the search results for individuals. There are a variety of ways learning departments can provide more structure and empathy to informal learning and resource access. For example, it can provide aggregated search options across respected sources and sites to help meet needs. Resources can be filtered by job role or region to help learners. Whilst learners will be free to use external sources and networks, they can be guided, for example to more authoritative Google Plus communities or LinkedIn groups, they can also be guided to content search and aggregation engines such as Guidance can also be given on how to be an independent learner, how to check on sources and validate content. Learners will take the easiest path, as they have a requirement to learn at the speed of need. The more systematic structure that can be provided to informal learning activities the more learners are likely to access them. There will be low empathy and low system learning activities, the key is to recognise this and not seek to control all of these but through guidance and accessibility to minimise the potential for inefficiency and confusion. There’s a sense that L&D’s role is increasingly to stay away from the ‘long tail’ of highly specialised training needs for small audiences in large companies. L&D’s emerging role here is to experts with tools to create their own resources, templates and guidance for best practice, and the channels to share them. This is nurturing informal learning and preventing chaos and quality issues. 17
  18. 18. learning at the speed of need 8 Developing people through apprenticeships and traineeships “Generally employers are finding they can recruit the staff they need in the market but there is a strong preference to recruit for “will not skill”. In essence employers are looking for aptitude, attitude, motivation and potential.” Being ready for work: employability Employers noted that not enough young people are ‘work ready’ – they may have high aptitude and raw potential but there are gaps in ‘confidence, selfpresentation, and workplace etiquette’. These are increasingly seen as core skills, and the question remains as to who is responsible for developing these employability skills in new entrants to the workforce. Many employers feel that traditional education systems are failing here, and they are creating their own initiatives to develop people both in their industry skills but more broadly in making them employable. One such initiative is Barclays LifeSkills programme, which is designed to help younger people develop to be attractive to employers ( Initiatives like these have a dual benefit as a public good and in improving the quality of the labour market for employers. Developing talent from within: apprenticeships Employers interviewed were in the main strong advocates of the apprenticeship model for developing new joiners and progressing learners, with most having an apprenticeship or youth development programme. The cost effectiveness and loyalty benefits of this model make it a compelling route to develop people on the job, when compared to hiring in more costly talent. Traditional apprenticeship models were seen as high empathy as there’s a strong coaching, support and evidence and observation element, leading to a formal qualification. However they can also be classed as relatively low system and high cost to administrate and manage. Reducing the system cost through learning technology would make them more attractive – through blended programmes, elearning content, platforms, and improved methods for evidence gathering with ePortolios and other tools. 18 Employers were keenly aware of the shifting funding model for apprenticeships in the UK and see the need to reduce the direct cost to employers as necessary. Evidence of competency: qualifications and accreditation Appetite varies in sectors for formal qualifications as evidence of competency. In the caring professions, it is a vital indicator of competence and highly valued by the individual and organisation – with many organisations designing their own qualifications to ensure their standards are reached. For some regulated industries the need for a licence to practice drives the qualification requirement, e.g. Series 7 in financial services. For several, the benefits of an accredited model, with endorsement from an awarding body or institution was seen as valuable: “Our staff are highly motivated by this”. It also provided a lower cost option to provide reassurance internally and externally of the quality standards reached. However some organisations also questioned the long term benefit of accrediting or providing formal qualifications as it creates the risk that people will advance to a new role outside the organisation. In practice, the current labour market is reducing that risk, and as one person put it: “’What if they get a qualification and they leave?’ is the wrong question. We should be asking ‘what if they don’t get a qualification and they stay?’ That’s much higher risk.” In customer facing roles, having a qualification provides reassurance to the end customer. Learning technology has an increasing role to play in increasing empathy and improving systems in apprenticeships and qualifications. There continues to be interest in models like Mozilla’s open badges project, which provides an automated certification in a more immediate and examinable way than paper based alternatives.
  19. 19. learning at the speed of need 9 Budget pressure continues – but strategic projects will get through “Regulators are becoming more focused on the detail and effectiveness of the underlying training, not just the assessment results – so we have to ensure quality.” Still (mainly) more for less Last year’s report showed that the vast majority of L&D teams we interviewed were facing continued budget cuts. The ‘more for less’ mantra that was adopted at the start of the downturn was still dominant. Many reported a complete freeze on training budgets and severe reductions in headcount in L&D organisations. This year, the picture has changed a little – though heralding green shoots would be going too far. US businesses and the L&D teams within them are emerging faster from the recession than Europe. Bersin reports that training budgets in the US are growing significantly. In the UK budgets are broadly flat in 2013 though it varies with some businesses reporting growth whilst others still are experiencing reductions. Consumer confidence and improvement in underlying businesses is starting to open up budgets in some areas. Other economies, e.g. Israel, are also emerging faster from downturn and businesses interviewed there are reporting slight increases in spend. The most consistent message from the interviews this year is that ‘more for less’ is still the mantra. Learning technology is consuming proportionately more of the total training spend in the businesses we interviewed, not surprisingly as it’s more scalable and more likely to deliver more for less – depending on how systematic and empathetic it is. “Follow the money” – it’s there for strategic initiatives There is funding for learning initiatives that demonstrate they can deliver on strategic objectives. Some examples included:  A major leadership and management programme in a financial services ? institution. This was aligned to a culture change project which was a strategic imperative to restore credibility and public faith in the sector and the organisation. The leadership programme is high empathy (and cost) but the connection between developing top managers and changing the culture is demonstrably strong enough to justify the investment.  Customer care programmes in businesses where customer service, sales or frontline teams are not meeting expectations. These will always get attention in retail organisations as they directly align to business financial performance.  Compliance and risk awareness programmes in regulated industries where reputational risk is high. Financial services and others referred to increased scrutiny by regulators, including the change of FSA to FCA in the UK. In response to this some L&D teams are taking a more comprehensive approach, with embedded campaigns, resource based approaches, and use of portals for delivery. In these cases we see compliance training moving from a traditionally low empathy to a higher empathy model, more focused on continuous behaviour change than annual assessment scores. Because you’re worth it – if you can prove it Last year two key trends were the focus on improving performance and the trend to evaluation, and unsurprisingly there’s been no relaxation of these expectations. From tactical to strategic initiatives, projected benefits and ROI remains a key stage gate in unlocking limited budgets. An emerging measure of value is time released to the business, often expressed as opportunity cost. Knowledge workers in particular are time poor, and many of them highly billable (and those are of course related). Learning that is not empathetic to its audience’s prior knowledge, needs, and availability is more likely to be inefficient and incur a higher cost. As one interviewee put it, we can be more 19
  20. 20. learning at the speed of need efficient through designing diagnostics, creating personalised, tailored experiences with more freedom to the individual, and tough summative assessments where we need them. More personalised learning is more efficient at a macro level, returning more time to the business and reducing the opportunity cost. This becomes a key metric in time pressured organisations – and an increasing driver to make learning available on mobile devices, so that learning can pervade even further. Better for less – up with empathy, down with system costs: Strategic learning programmes that can show they’re delivering on corporate strategic agenda are more likely to get disproportionally more budget. They’re more likely to reside in the High System/Empathy quadrant. Tactical interventions such as recurring basic training or informational needs are either being commoditised (off the shelf solutions), or insourced, using authoring tools, running simple webinars, or creating fit for purpose resources such as PDFs, infographics, or audio to impart key information. Budget for these projects is disproportionately lower 20 and they tend to be lower system/empathy, and arguably don’t need to consume more budget and effort. The aim for organisations should be to retain the high empathy but reduce the cost of the system that enables it. We saw multiple examples of doing this across businesses:  Increase webinars, decrease face-to-face  Use immersive/game techniques to make live practice of a skill more focused and lower risk  Use open source and free tools, replace proprietary learning tools and systems  Create models for learners to support each other and prove their knowledge through evidence gathering, with experts coaching and reviewing, rather than teaching, using ePortfolio and other tools In each case the L&D team were aiming to retain high empathy and system, but reduce system cost. So while ‘more for less’ is a well established phrase for L&D, a movement towards ‘better for less’ – empathy and quality, not volume and chaos – might more accurately describe the aspiration now.
  21. 21. learning at the speed of need 10 Where the web goes learning will follow “Technology is great but the pace of change creates challenges. It is expensive to keep up with the latest technology and it takes time to secure funds and develop new platforms.” We have set out in the introductory section how web technology is changing in areas such as: high expectations this will create in learners. There are specific challenges:  Tracking and personalisation  Social networking  Content and author authority 1) Understanding new web technologies and how these can be used to change the learning experience. This means staying abreast of developments and how platforms such as Google Plus are developing. They have similar interests in understanding individual requirements and personalising their experience. 2) Piloting and testing ideas in a fast, low cost way. It can be costly updating and changing systems as noted by one of our interviewees below. However, there is an opportunity to use low cost existing platforms to test and pilot ideas. These low cost approaches keep things fresh and interesting for learners – and help stakeholders consider approaches they don’t even know how to ask for yet. 3) Designing for web standards. If we are right that learning technology will follow web technologies then it is important to design for emerging web standards and to adopt standard web technologies. From our interviews this year there is a growing feeling that corporate technology is lagging behind consumer technology and struggling to keep up. The difficulty for learning departments is that learners won’t wait. They are increasingly likely to set up their own social networks, potentially outside the workplace or at least on platforms outside the corporate infrastructure, they may start to use web technologies that enable them to share, collaborate and learn online, they will continue to use search tools such as Google but also search other content such as YouTube, SlideShare, Podcasts, LinkedIn groups, etc. They will use multiple devices including personal devices and not just work provided devices. The pace of buying decisions and IT changes in corporates will make it hard for learning departments to keep up with the consumerisation of IT and the 21
  22. 22. learning at the speed of need what’s next? Last year’s to-do list, a new one for 2014 How do we turn these observations and findings into action? Before we look forward, let’s look back. At the end of our 2012 report we encouraged you to form an action plan based on the trends and recommendations in that report for the next 12 months. They were: 1. Develop a business case for your key initiatives 2. Design learning for on the job use 3. Move towards more resources than courses 4. Pilot webinars if you’re not doing it already 5. Target multiple devices for learning delivery 6. Be influenced by web design in your learning design 7. Consider a tiered approach to classifying your elearning 8. Design programmes and experiences, not courses 9. Support your coaches and line managers 10. easure what counts – approach assessment differently. M So how did you do in 2013? Have these actions matured into part of your learning strategy, or are you carrying some of them forward to next year? We’d like to hear from you at Your 2014 to do list Not to add to your load, but based on our research this year, there are a few new areas to consider, building on last year’s actions and refining them for 2014. So in a forgiving state of mind, let’s ‘rollover’ the 2013 list and add these points: 1. Establish a culture of pervasive learning: It is already. Recognise the areas where learning is flourishing, and help it to go further through pilots, support and curation. Use terms like 70/20/10 or 33:3 to give them a name if it helps. Don’t try and control it all. Aim to be a champion and evangelist for new learning models in L&D, not the controller of them. Prevent chaos, promote quality and standards, and foster innovation – this is what a central L&D team should do. 2. Increase empathy in your learning experiences: High empathy learning experiences 22 and systems will lead to better individual and business performance. Design resources, courses and programmes to be empathetic to learner needs, preferences and location. Don’t rely on the LMS to set the tone for empathy. Support or bypass with other systems that do this better. 3. Let Google lead – but don’t fall too far behind: We use Google as a reference point for all that’s personalised, immediate and semantic in web design and technology. Aim to create a learning architecture that’s as high system as this. Experiment with new ways of personalising, tracking, collaborating and supporting with web technologies. The web has set a standard which learning needs to follow – it’s what learners will expect. 4. Improve systems, reduce their cost through technology: High empathy, high system learning programmes will deliver the best results. Control
  23. 23. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. the cost of creating these systems through open source tools, increased use of webinars and virtual coaching methods, and not over-designing learning where simple, focused resources can suffice. Make it personal: Tools like Outbrain show that personalised recommendations improve engagement with content. Personalising the learning experience increases empathy and relevance. Move away from the ‘one course fits all’ model to respect the individual. Also introduce personality to your learning content and experiences with authorship. The best hallmark of quality is a trusted author. Help your best content authors develop their reputation through recommendation and rewards for authorship. Make assessment an experience, not an event: This carries over from 2012 but is amplified by the movement towards higher empathy, more experiential programmes. Assessment cannot be an annual event-driven test in this model. It needs to be constant, multi-channel and experiential. Use tools to improve the assessment and evidence gathering system, while controlling its cost. Use assessment methods such as accreditation, qualification awards and Open Badges to send clear signals of the value of your learning to employees, stakeholders and your customers. Develop existing people before you hire new ones: Apprenticeships and training schemes provide a cost-effective model of developing next generation of productive employees. Consider how you can develop from within to engender loyalty. Follow the money, and prove the value: It’s true in any year – focus on strategic initiatives that align to business critical objectives and base your business case around enabling those objectives through learning and performance. Be a consultant to your business and you will win the mandate to develop strategic learning programmes. Empathise with and enable your line managers: In a high empathy learning culture, “We need to look at programmes and act as consultants and architects, not transact on discrete projects. The nature of what we do is getting more complex and we need to be able to design programmes. We need to get to know the business and innovate to solve their problems in a unique way. It has to differentiate to help us be competitive in the market.” your line managers play a pivotal role as coaches, facilitators, evidence gatherers and advocates. Design for them – consider how your management and leadership programmes currently rank for empathy and system. Start with addressing their personal needs as learners and as a group. 10. Be a consultant: The highest performing L&D teams have a strong consultancy ethos. They scour the internal and external market for innovations and see the opportunity to influence their learning culture with new approaches. They look beyond the immediate L&D and HR communities to web technology for inspiration. They lead the business to think differently about addressing performance challenges, not order taking or designing to stringent briefs. They’re thought leaders – sharing ideas and encouraging debate through blogging and social media internally and externally. And they’re selective: they focus on high value strategic projects that make the biggest difference. The ability to be consultative is now the core competence for the learning professional. Delivery is a commodity. Consultancy is a differentiator. 23
  24. 24. Our thanks to the organisations who participated in the research, which included : American Express Amdocs Barclays Bank Leumi Boots British Sugar Caring Homes Co-operative Group Kohls Network Rail Unilever Vodafone Whitbread We have kept some contributors and all quote attributions confidential on request.