Learning Management Systems: Adding Value to Instruction

For at least some people, the idea of online learning is still cause for alarm. On the more moderate end of the spectrum are those people who assume that virtual classrooms—and more generally, all distributed forms of learning—hold the potential to augment but never truly replace face-to-face forms of instruction. On the more extreme end of the spectrum are those people who see the move to online learning,  in both the education and training sectors, as a sure sign that the “death of education” and the “commodification of knowledge” are already Continue reading

Talent Analytics: Issues, Ethics and Possibilities

It is now commonplace to keep detailed statistics on one’s customers. Customer analytics help organizations make smarter decisions and lead to a higher return on investment. In theory, talent analytics do the same thing—they help guide upper management’s decision-making processes by arming managers with increased knowledge on everything from their workforce to the micro impacts of specific policy decisions. For this reason, talent analytics are also generally associated with higher levels of productivity and a higher return on investment (e.g., for recruitment and training efforts). However, talent analytics—when taken to their extreme—may also raise ethical concerns that can’t be overlooked. Continue reading

Is Over Hiring an Effective Recruitment Strategy?

When farmers plant a field, they generally plant more than they intend to harvest. Wine growers, for example, “green harvest” excess grape clusters, typically from younger vines, to ensure that the remaining grapes are able to fully ripen. The same holds true in other agricultural niches. If one fails to thin out their beet crop, for example, they risk ending up with all tops and no bottoms, or just the beet greens without the beets. The equation is simple—plant more than you need, keep only the healthiest plants and give them ample space to grow and thrive. Crop thinning, however, isn’t just a practice in farming. Many professions from law to higher education to business also embrace a “crop thinning” mentality when recruiting new employees. In other words, they hire far more people than they intend to retain in the long term, but is this strategy ultimately good for business? This article considers the benefits, risks and long-term return on investment for recruiting and training far more new workers than one is committed to retaining over time. Continue reading

Writing for eLearning, Part II: Clarity

You may have the best learning management system (LMS) available and the most powerful authoring tools, but even those can’t write your content for you. In this second article on writing for eLearning, the focus will be on clarity. After all, the whole point is to make your content as clear as possible to your learners, right? Continue reading

Writing for eLearning, Part I: Concise and Compelling

Everyone needs a great learning management system (LMS), from a business to a learning professional to an end-learner. But when it comes to your job as an eLearning professional, you and your staff need more than a fantastic LMS. And that’s because even if your LMS has all the amazing bells and whistles that make it a top-of-the-line technology supporting your efforts, there’s at least one thing it can’t do for you: Write the content! Continue reading

How to Train Like an Amazonian (or Not)

A recent report on Amazon by New York Times writers, Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld, offers new insight into the company’s hitherto largely secret approach to recruitment, training and employee management. Among other revelations, the article highlights the extent to which the company has built its retail empire on an allegedly punitive approach to training and managing employees of all ranks. In short, the article reports that employees are expected to work long hours on site and to remain online at virtually all hours of the day, to eschew family vacations and even personal crises for work, and to value harsh and cutting criticism over the “soft skills” that have become increasingly valued in most workplaces in recent years. In short, unlike many other high-tech leaders, the article claims that Amazon prides itself on being a cut-throat, race-to-the-top work environment where employees are more likely to be awarded for being hyper competitive and exhibiting extreme endurance than for being nice, considerate and collaborative. Continue reading

Exploring the Future of LMSs: Mobile Augmented Reality

Most people now more or less understand virtual reality. In short, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated world. By contrast, few people still fully understand and appreciate the concept of augmented reality, despite the fact that a growing number of applications (both commercial and educational) rely on augmented reality applications. At its most basic, augmented reality—a form of mediated reality—is a view of a physical or real-world environment that has been augmented by computer-generated auditory, video or graphic data. In other words, augmented reality technologies effectively inter-lay reality with digital data, enabling Continue reading

Office Design and Inclusion

Over the past month, temperatures have soared across the United States–except in most workplaces. And as a widely circulated new study, published in Nature Climate Change last week, concludes, the chilly climate of many offices may reflect a problem that can’t be easily solved by simply adjusting our thermostats. Indeed, the study suggests that the chilly climate of many workplaces reflects deeply rooted assumptions about the “normal” size and gender of workers. Continue reading