eLearning for Corporations: Leveraging the MOOC

Though online tools like massive open online courses (MOOCs) were developed for educational purposes, with the goal of reaching larger and more diverse audiences than is possible with traditional classroom settings, MOOCs can also be used by corporations for marketing purposes. Just as the top universities have the reputation of providing the highest quality educational content, the biggest and best companies may begin to be viewed as those providing the best content related to their industries. Continue reading

How Blended Learning Can Improve Education

As massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other digital options for education become both more abundant and of higher quality, the landscape of education is sure to change. How exactly digital education tools will be implemented into education programs is not yet clear. Some believe that digital offerings will take over education and replace traditional universities, while others feel that the current digital trend will fade, leaving traditional universities to continue their hundreds of years of dominance in education. Perhaps the most likely outcome, however, falls somewhere between these extremes and will involve the incorporation of new resources into older techniques for learning. Continue reading

eLearning Assessment of Emotional Intelligence

If you’ve taken to heart the latest trends in eLearning for soft skills training, then you know that emotional intelligence (EI) is a high-priority area for learning. Indeed, Daniel Goleman, who played a key role in popularizing the concept, conducted competency research on hundreds of companies all over the world and found that technical skills and IQ could only account for one third of performance variance. The remaining two thirds of variance could be accounted for by emotional intelligence, which means there’s a lot at stake here. But once you’ve got your learning content in place to leverage emotional intelligence among your employees, how will you measure the effectiveness of their learning and practice? What you need is an EI assessment tool. Continue reading

An Example of eLearning for Soft Skills

To wrap up this series of postings about eLearning Soft Skills (see eLearning and Soft Skills: What Went Wrong? and New Directions in eLearning Soft Skills), I want to share some great examples of content that will spark your own thinking. For companies that don’t have the resources to jumpstart their own course designs, you don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel. Luckily, lots of people have been putting time and effort into designing eLearning content for soft skills, and the State of Michigan is making theirs available to anyone and everyone. Continue reading

New Directions in eLearning Soft Skills

In my previous article, eLearning and Soft Skills: What Went Wrong? I laid out the problems with previous approaches to teaching softer skills in the eLearning environment, and mentioned that the most recent efforts in this area were bearing much juicier, tastier fruit. The reason for this is that eLearning soft skills has taken to heart three important characteristics of a better way: Speed, thin-slicing, and coaching orientation. Continue reading

eLearning and Soft Skills: What Went Wrong?

The promise of eLearning at the dawn of the new millennium was huge – people happily learning everything they needed to be successful in businesses and organizations in the digital age, from the comfort of their own computer screens. But that didn’t happen when it came to utilizing eLearning for soft skills – in particular, leading and managing people, with all the emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication skills that entails. People simply weren’t logging on and learning soft skills the way everyone thought they would. Return on investment began to be questioned, and everyone from learning professionals to end users expressed frustration. What went wrong? Continue reading

When Big Data Creates Big Stereotypes

Talent and HR departments everywhere are jumping onto the Big Data bandwagon, and with good reason. The promise of big data is a mighty appealing one – better-informed decision-making that has a real impact on organizations. However, one dark side of big data is the potential for misinterpreting all that data. And that can lead to the creation of persistent stereotypes that hold people back and color their perceptions of others. Continue reading

Zappos Zaps its Hierarchy

Zappos, one of the largest online shoe and clothing retailers in the world, recently undertook a radical reorganization. It completely zapped its traditional organizational hierarchy in favor of a radically flat structure called a holacracy. Holy hierarchy, Batman, no bosses? That’s right, there is no “leader” per se (though you can bet that for external purposes, Tony Hsieh will still be considered the CEO), or even job titles, if you can imagine that. A holacracy takes a very different approach to structure, decision-making, and distribution of power. It’s a very transparent approach that focuses on the work that needs to be done rather than the people doing it. Continue reading

Flash Teams

You know what a flash mob is, right? Wikipedia calls it “a large public gathering at which people perform an unusual or seemingly random act and then disperse, typically organized by means of the Internet or social media.” Is there a space for flash mobs in organizational life? On the surface, it would seem not so much. But what if you combine elements of the flash mob concept with something else like the hackathon, with its incredibly focused brainstorming to quickly solve complex challenges or problems? Combine the concepts of flash mob and hackathon and what you get for organizations is the flash team. Continue reading

When Promoting from Within Fails

There’s a surprisingly strong business case for promoting from within. Studies have shown that external hires cost more while at the same deliver fewer results in terms of performance. External hires are also more likely to either be laid off or leave the job by choice. Internal hires already know the culture and how things work, which means fewer headaches and more performance early on. That is, if they know what they’re doing. While the business case for promoting from within is clearly very strong, organizations can still make a mess of it. One area in which this happens all to often is in the sales department. Continue reading