What this performance model means for the provision of learning support in organisations So taking the performance lens to typical learning challenges, let’s finish with looking at performance in context. To do this, I have broken down performance in a more contextual way and applied our model to each situation of the following contexts: Performance rehearsal, performance analysis, performance catalyst Today, we’ll take a look at performance rehearsal. Examples: This could range from preparing someone for their first managerial role through to highly complex skills, such as designing major structural engineering projects, conducting medical procedures, flight training etc Conditions: This requires clear communication about expectations for a given role, understanding of core work activities (i.e. the processes, tools, inputs and outputs), transfer of knowledge, mentoring, practice opportunities aligned to typical work challenges and scenarios to develop a realistic and fully aligned view of what levels of performance are needed. Where these skills are complex, rare or safety critical, investment in creating the right conditions is a much easier case to make (think flight training) but there are other areas where a safe place to explore skills acquisition can benefit, such as first time management challenges. From an organisational culture perspective, leaders need to endorse time for people to invest in development, recognise and value contributions to supporting rehearsal (though capturing and sharing case studies, volunteering as a mentor or peer reviewer, contribute as a subject matter expert into formal content development). Goal setting: For those with clear outcomes (such as engineering projects, flight deck, medical etc) it is likely that well defined measurement is in place already and that number of incidents, speed of project delivery, budget, errors, quality etc can be tracked. This can be integrated into your performance dashboard and over time, you can track these numbers. However for topics such as leadership, the measures can be quite subjective and a great outcome can mean different things is different contexts. That’s where a value chain can be very useful; its a worthwhile exercise in which to engage, not only for the purposes of defining measures but its also a great tool for senior team buy in. Community: Mentoring is relevant here, but there are other community activities that can be beneficial. Peer assists are a great way for teams of people to test hypothesis, present ideas and explore options, with the support of ‘critical friends’ who, in a facilitated environment, will encourage the team to scenario plan, work through alternatives and refine their plans. Communities are also a fertile ground for gathering business stories that can be used to build realistic and credible scenarios. Tools and Tech: For complex, highly specialist settings, investment in VR could be a viable option. Creating physical simulations of some of these tasks has been the only way to create a realistic environment but advances in VR technology are bridging that gap. It may never replace it entirely, but speed to competency and high performance could be accelerated. Collaborative platforms with effective search capabilities help Responsive content can enable scenario base content to be delivered across platforms but its worth considering the screen real estate of each device and how detailed an interaction you can achieve. However, there is a great role here for mobile in the continuum of performance rehearsal into application, through reinforcing learning with refreshers, quick exercises and top tips at the point of need. People: Facilitators to support and nurture communities are key roles here – connecting experts to novices, gathering insights to build realistic scenarios, orchestrate and facilitate peer reviews are just some of the key activities they can support. Experts in content development with specialism in interactive scenarios, video storyboarding and production can be useful here. VR simulation development houses are growing all the time (we at WillowDNA work with virtual environment and VR specialists, Immerse Learning). Learning professionals need to ensure they are aware of progress in these areas and most major conferences will provide demonstrations and examples of new tools. It goes without saying the leaders and budget holders will need to be supportive here but getting buy in requires well informed learning professionals who can tap into good case studies and examples from other organisations. Next, we’ll take a look at performance analysis.
MOOCs are e-learning programmes typically delivered, like the best these days, via online platforms with social media components. So there’s no inherent reason why they shouldn’t provide engaging learning experiences, encouraging the lively exchanges with peers that are so valuable in constructing ideas. As with all learning interventions, the key to success is in great design based on sound pedagogy, in carefully crafting authentic activities geared to the needs of learner and organisation. The MOOC format should be able to accommodate all of this, shouldn’t it? Well, yes and it’s the quality that counts of course but, somehow, the very word ‘Massive’ conjures up a monster to me; something that’s surely too big to be friendly. How do you engage with a cohort of thousands? Who do you turn to if you just don’t get it? Perhaps the trustees of the ‘Serious eLearning Manifesto’ had MOOCs in mind when stating their belief that: “current trends evoke a future of only negligible improvement in elearning design—unless something radical is done to bend the curve.” How could a MOOC adapt to learner needs (principle number 9 of 22), or provide support for post-training follow-through (13)? I may be proved wrong, but I’d rather sign up to an OOC than a MOOC. For more on the Serious eLearning Manifesto, see: http://elearningmanifesto.org/
As we get banners packed, leaflets stacked and ourselves transported to London, we wanted to share with you some of the things we’re looking forward to at this year’s LPI Learning Live event. Video has always been a major feature of our programmes and this year, we are extending our capability with some exciting partnerships powering in the coming weeks. So we’ll certainly be listening to this year’s keynote speaker with great interest. BBC presenter Spencer Kelly, who is described as a pioneer for new forms of interactive broadcasting, will be exploring the latest in learning technologies and their impact in the workplace will include LiveChats with “celebrities” streamed across the web. As Willow’s roots (excuse the pun) are firmly in knowledge sharing and collaboration, the ‘International Thinktank’, sponsored by our friends at Cisco, promises to be a great opportunity for the learning community to share insights and lessons. At such a vibrant and exciting time for L&D, these networking opportunities are becoming even more critical in ensuring the profession continues to meet and exceed learner expectations. Really hoping plenty of people take part and for those of you based in the South West, Willow and Cisco are supporting free networking events for CLOs through our CLONetwork SouthWest initiative. So come and find us at stand 26 if you want to find out more.
Debbie Lawley, Managing Director of WillowDNA, gold winners of the Online Distance Learning Award 2012 reviews the Towards Maturity benchmarking report on learning technologies, published November 2012 There are gaps in our expectations of what learning technologies will deliver and the benefits that most achieve. So says the recent Towards Maturity benchmarking report. The study cites workflow and learning integration as a particular concern. What are those gaps and what can be done to address the integration of work with learning? 95% seek to improve the sharing of good practice, 25% on average achieve this The report cites under half using 3rd party social media or video clips of good practice. This compares with top performers more than 3x likely to be using simple tools such as Skype for instant sharing. Most of the options here are not costly ticket items. The phrases in the section that stand out the most relate to a lack of active encouragement. That can be hard to picture but it need not be. Establishing organisational habits is usually best achieved virally. Picking the movers and shakers out who have influence and supporting their adoption of better practice is a great start. Then ensuring the formal learning experiences provided by the organisation are seeded with sharing good practice sets a clear expectation and a good example of how to do this day to day. Very practical examples of getting habits established in sharing good practice include:
- Managers asking teams to connect with others to find out ways in which similar issues have been tackled.
- Prominent individuals taking time to identify great performance and making time to share that practice with other interested parties.
- Making a habit of videoing subject matter experts and sharing short vignettes of approaches.
- Skyping, not meeting, so that physical presence no longer becomes the constraint to the flow of knowledge and decision-making.
For us at WillowDNA, the design of our Pathway hosted platform enables sharing of templates, case studies and video snapshots from seasoned players. And it is not all about how to get it right, these videos often talk about personal learning journeys and development. Coupling formal learning closely with discussion forums is a centre-piece in many of our programmes. 94% seek to speed up the application of learning back into the workplace but only 23% achieve this. One of the most insightful facts in the report is that high performing learning organisations are 7x more likely to encourage and provide time for reflection. Given that this involves no technology, no clever investment this is an extraordinary figure. Many would feel that this is where delivering courses via technology has its downfall but that absolutely need not be the case. In constructing our learning paths, Lisa Minogue-White, Head of Learning Solutions and her team, use many techniques to encourage reflection. In fact, the longer elapsed time with online courses is actually an enabler in this respect. The opportunity to learn, work, reflect and learn again, as part of the time to mastery, is an essential aspect of the learning path approach. The structured approach to the learning journey becomes inextricably linked to informal learning. Formal learning should never be divorced from context but is part of the larger system of learning and working. 92% seek to respond faster to business change: only 25% achieve this There is much written and much research on the topic of business and leadership agility. There has been a huge increase in numbers looking to achieve this from 2011 to 2012 – from 70% to a whopping 92%! But very few achieve this. Here is an interesting fact – high performing learning organisations are 3x more likely to analyse the business problem before implementing a solution. The extraordinary point here is the obvious implied one – that many learning organisations are failing to analyse business problems before implementing a learning solution! It really is time for all learning organisations focus on the business and especially what the business is striving to achieve. The learning path design puts the business objective at the heart. Agility when it comes to learning can mean honing down the content and creating the vital scaffold from which learners can make their own meaning to apply in their context. Creating links through to the working context and the challenges there is one of the ways in which to ensure business agility is architected into the learning experience. 91% seek to improve talent/performance management: only 20% achieve this The report highlights substantial differences between top performers and the bottom quartile. Figures abound such as top quartile teams are 27x more likely to encourage their learners to develop their own learning strategy and13x more likely to integrate learning technologies for development into the way they performance manage and appraise their staff. Many of our customers build learning programmes that go way beyond induction and H&S compliance. Learning is seen as a vital for all whether as a novice, moving into new roles, becoming expert or becoming a subject matter expert. Gaming it is not but there is a sense of progression and contribution whatever your experience. Creating a learning strategy for all is core to creating an expectation of learning for everyone. We all have a role to play in this and a key part of the learning strategists approach is mobilizing talent and knowledge for the benefit of the individual and the organisation. We work all the time with our customers to create that overall learning strategy whether the learners are internal to a company or organisation, whether our customer is providing learning to members or students. The same applies. I warmly recommend this report as s a valuable tool for anyone responsible for delivering learning. The combination of current trends, insights from contributors plus the longitudinal statistics creates a comprehensive resource.
Last week, I was at the 2012 Peer Award conference and It was fascinating to see how learning professionals had met challenges with a whole range of learning techniques and approaches. But one topic in particular really resonated with me and that was the subject of voice. Nick Shackleton Jones, Group Head of elearning at BP shared with us their performance support system, which certainly gave a nod to their knowledge management roots. Stories from subject matter experts feature highly and encouraging people to share how they have utilised this knowledge is a key aspect. What was particularly interesting though was, being an organisation where learning truly is at the heart of the organisation, if high production values were regarded as important, the business case would be endorsed. However, a flip HD camera and authentic unscripted videos are the method of choice for these video stories and a good choice it is too. A trusted voice of experience always features highly in our learning design and short videos are often used. However in the past, clients new to online learning have been rather nervous about this more casual approach to videos and can be concerned that without a script and well polished performance, the credibility of the content could be compromised. However, it is useful to consider the age old question of how people really learn. When the debate on formal and informal begins between learning designers, what is at the heart of it is what learners really want to know – how do things really happen around here? There are plenty of ways to package and capture formal learning but having explore the structure, the frameworks and theories, learners then want to know how this plays out around here. It’s about supporting people through the learning cycle and when learners are ready to try out what they have learnt , the sharing of a story from a trusted peer on how things played out, what worked and didn’t worked its best achieved in a relaxed, informal and earnest telling of a true story is incredibly valuable. The value is in that story, not in production values – over engineer it and it loses the authenticity and also, the relevance – having a decent handheld camera available to take along to key events, conferences or even over coffee capture fresh insights in context and keep your learning up to date. So it’s time to break down another barrier to great online learning, good stories make for good learning and anyway, the hair and makeup team needed to look good on HD video is unlikely to to get signed off by procurement!
Subscribers to our newsletter have given us some great feedback on our report on this year’s learning survey from CIPD. It was a great opportunity for us to share how Willow address the challenges of online learning in context, so we thought we’d share it with you as well.
Described by reviewers as a ‘gamechanger’, this summer (well summer in principle but not reality!) saw the launch of Articulate Storyline. More powerful than studio, html5 output and greater creative freedom for designers means you’ll be seeing much more output from it hitting some e-learning near you. Our head of learning technologies, John Curran takes us on a quick tour in his blog.
For someone who believes conversation is one of the most powerful tools for learning, having the pleasure of sitting with Don Freda and Tom Kuhlmann from Articulate last night made for a great evening.
In amongst the discussions talk of the Euro, the race to the White House, the beauty and relaxed paced of the US North West vs the buzz and history of the US North East, the kindness of strangers when abandoned at Doncaster because of a signal failure of the British rail network, we got round to online learning too!
The combination of realism but undeniable passion for what they do was truly refreshing and hearing about the various ‘groupies’ they have encountered along the way was not only very entertaining but a reflection of how much people appreciate how empowering rapid development tools such as Articulate have been for the learning profession. I look forward to hearing more from Don and Tom today, as well as the many interesting talks planned for our day. Fingers crossed for the Articulate Storyline license raffle!
We are very excited about the launch of our new series of guides on ‘5 days to Success: Creating great online learning in just 1 week’. Our first guide is available down for download from our site here. It is taken from our ‘5 days to success’ workshop so if you like what you read, why not sign up for a place on our next session on 29th March 2012 at Southwark Cathedral. Places are currently just £99 for those that book in the next 2 weeks, so secure your place today!
Very interested to read the BBC News story last week on a paper published in the Lancet recently. It explores the delivery of online therapeutic solutions to teenagers suffering chronic fatigue syndrome. What is particularly interesting is that the intervention used was a form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) delivered online with access to an expert via discussion boards. With the severe shortage of qualified CBT therapists, it is an exciting way to increase the access to this valuable technique. Being a psychology graduate, it’s really exciting to read, given the proven benefits of CBT as an intervention compared to other therapeutic or pharmacological treatment packages. So if online could provide a highly effective delivery mechanism, this could be very significant indeed.
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