eLearning: Strange Facts and Anomalies

Now that 2015 is well under way, it’s time to take a peek at some of the statistics related to eLearning that tend to come out around the end of one year and the beginning of the next. The intention of those articles is typically to identify trends that are shaping the eLearning field. Unfortunately, the statistics are often presented without much context, which makes some of them rather perplexing. In this article, I bring a more nuanced perspective to many of these statistics. Continue reading

Extended Roles in the Health Care Sector Generate Satisfaction

Expanded role and extended role are terms sometimes used interchangeably but in fact, they mean two different things. In a nursing context, for example, an expanded role typically refers to the broadening of a nurse’s work within her profession (e.g., a nurse carrying out a wider range of nurse duties). An extended role, by contrast, typically refers to the nature of a nurse’s work changing to take on new work (e.g., work that may have traditionally been carried out by a doctor). Continue reading

Skills Escalation in Retail

Around the world, people flock to Ikea stores to purchase inexpensive modern household products, which are designed to be assembled at home either by the buyer or, for a fee, by an assembly service. While most people are familiar with Ikea’s products and philosophy, the company’s approach to training is also the result of thoughtful design. Continue reading

Role Extension and Skills Escalation

There is a tendency to think about career development in a linear way. In other words, we typically imagine going up the ladder more often than we imagine developing parallel skills at various stages of development. Role extension and skills escalation, especially when adopted for entry-level workers, hold the potential to radically transform how people think about their jobs, their professional possibilities and future prospects with a current employer. For organizations, these approaches hold the potential to help better harness the knowledge and skills of their current workforce, to enhance cooperation among workers and managers, and to increase employee retention. Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Education and Training

The idea of replacing humans with computers has preoccupied science fiction writers for generations. Indeed, when most people think about artificial intelligence, they first think about representations of artificial intelligence (AI) in Hollywood films, such as A Space Odyssey, Bladerunner or more recently, Her. Of course, in reality, AI is already present in our lives but in far less highly developed forms. Continue reading

mLearning for Medical Interns

It is now commonplace for patients to search their symptoms and even to arrive at their doctor’s office prepared to offer advice on potential courses of treatment. The availability of medical information online reflects the fact that the medical profession recognized the value of online learning early on. Medical professionals were also among the earliest adopters of mobile devices as a platform for education and on-the-job training and mentorship. Continue reading

mLearning for Low Wage Workers

Low-wage workers, concentrated in the service industry, have the lowest retention rates of all workers. McDonald’s, for example, hires an estimated 1 million workers per year with a 150% turnover rate. While their workforce may be smaller, other fast-food restaurants also hire thousands of workers each year and report similar turnover rates. Continue reading

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