Turning Digital Distraction into Digital Learning

In 2014, Science published a study on digital distraction that reached a potentially alarming conclusion—a majority of people do not enjoy having time to themselves free of their electronic devices. Indeed, the authors of the study discovered that many of their participants were so agitated when left alone in a room with nothing but their thoughts that they preferred to pass the time giving themselves an electric shock (the only form of entertainment in the room was a 9-volt battery that administered a shock when touched). The fact that many digital citizens prefer self-administrating electric shocks to spending time alone and offline may be cause for alarm, but is digital distraction really a problem? Continue reading

Training for the Future: What We Can Learn from Siri

Siri is the voice-activated personal assistant built into to Apple’s mobile devices. In theory, you ask and Siri responds. With Siri, you can use your voice to send messages, schedule appointments and acquire information. As Siri’s name suggests (reverse it, and it turns into Iris—the divine messenger in Homer’s Iliad), Siri was rolled out with high expectations, but there’s nothing godly or perfect about Siri. Continue reading

Building Assessment into Training

Without an assessment strategy, organizations frequently fail to make the most of their training dollars. For this reason, assessment needs to happen simultaneous to and following training events. After all, without a clear sense of a training event’s short- and long-term impacts, refining training strategies and making a case for training can be a challenge.   Continue reading

Retaining Low-Wage Workers

Low-wage workers, typically concentrated in the service industry (e.g., in fast food and retail positions), have the lowest retention rates of all American workers. Fast food workers, of all ages, have a particularly low retention rate, reporting on average 2.2 years with their current employer. But is the low retention of low-wage workers a problem that can be easily resolved?

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Principles of Grouping for eLearning

You don’t need to have an advanced degree in educational theory or psychology to create impactful eLearning experiences, but there are some foundational ideas that warrant your attention. Gestalt Theory is a different approach in psychology to understanding how people perceive things in our chaotic world. It doesn’t view the brain as sponge that only passively receives information. Instead, it recognizes that the brain is constantly filtering, structuring, and organizing incoming information in order to compare it with known patterns. It includes 6 different principles of grouping that can be incorporated into your eLearning efforts: Continue reading

Overcoming Resistance to eLearning

Few things are more frustrating than spending a lot of time and resources coming up with fantastic eLearning courses and modules only to find that people simply are utilizing them. This can be especially true when you’re dealing with mandatory trainings, but it’s a challenge in nearly all eLearning efforts.

How do you break through the resistance and really motivate people to engage in the eLearning you know will help them reach higher levels of performance? Here are some concrete tips and strategies to keep in mind: Continue reading

Responsive eLearning and You

There’s a big old bandwagon passing by and emblazoned on the side of it are the words Responsive eLearning. Are you going to jump onto that bandwagon just because it’s there and it looks like everyone else is probably going to get onboard? I would suggest you take a step back and think about this one before you make the leap (or attempt to do so). Continue reading

Immersive Learning Extends eLearning’s Reach

Learning professionals are always on the lookout for ways to extend the reach of their eLearning efforts. I’ve written recently about two different ways to do that by Using Peer-to-Peer Approaches and Snowball Sampling. Another way to get the most out of your eLearning programs is to make sure to include the practice known as immersive learning. Continue reading

The Art of Needs Assessments in eLearning

In a previous series of articles about evaluating eLearning, I noted how important it is to align eLearning goals with organizational goals (see Level 4 Evaluation for eLearning: Results). The six steps involved in that process include clearly defining performance goals, identifying the tasks that will achieve the goal, determining learning needs, prioritizing learning needs, developing learning content and delivery method, and implementing and tracking results. In this article I will hone in on that third step of the process – Determine learning needs. Continue reading

eLearning Content Needs Great Writing

It’s easy to lose sight of some of the basics when it comes to creating optimal eLearning experiences for your business or organization. It’s even more surprising how often learning professionals forget the most basic starting point of effective eLearning: Great writing. Even when you think about the ubiquity of video content to convey powerful ideas, it’s worth remembering that most of those still start out with writing, whether that’s a script or just a story-board concept. Continue reading