SumTotal Blog

Return to Blog Index →

Tag Archives: Professional Development

June 26, 2017

How to Achieve Effective Learning in the Age of Personalisation


pexels-photo-books-bed-markers-human

It’s no secret that organisations are struggling to engage people’s interest when it comes to learning and development. Part of the problem is that companies are still running either day-long, generic training sessions or mundane webinars that fail to be effective because they focus on the subject, rather than the learner.

The reality is that technology has changed how we absorb information, and our expectations of the learning experience. People are turning to YouTube, Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), TedTalks, and a host of other channels to find engaging, easy to digest content that is personalised to their particular interests and goals.

Isn’t it time businesses followed suit and overhauled their learning and development programs to correspond to changing consumer habits?

Yes is the answer. And it is easier than ever to do.

All it takes is following these four steps and you will ensure your business is delivering effective learning in the digital age.

1. Make your content relatable

Skillsoft_800x400_blog_MarketingCompliance

Everything from online shopping ads to healthcare is increasingly personalised, consumers expect learning content that “speaks” to them; it has to be relatable. Retention is always higher when people experience training where they recognise the players. We use actors in our training videos who portray recognisable characters – perhaps someone who is always doing things wrong, or a manager who is calm under pressure. It’s almost like an episode of “Friends” – you know what each of the characters’ strengths and flaws are. It may sound silly, but this form of learning creates empathy and relatability between the character and the learner and, ultimately, makes the message stick.

2. Keep sessions short

clock-time-stand-by-38267

In between emails, texts, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and more, it’s hardly surprising that our attention is divided and short snippets of content are going to be much more effective than a learning session lasting hours. Through regular testing and surveys, we’ve found that around five minutes is the ideal length for a learning module – long enough to convey an important lesson, and short enough to sustain interest so the facts are retained.

3. Allow self-guided learning

pexels-photo-297755

Companies need to get better at merging personal development with professional development to make the experience more valuable and meaningful for the learner. If, for example, an employee wants to learn about “Time Management,” they should be able to do their own search and then pick and choose from the best books, videos, and courses on the topic – whichever is most suited to their needs and how they like to learn. Learners should be able to read, watch, or listen to content to suit their needs.

The next step for learning providers will be allowing access to public material. We’re moving toward learners being able to curate any form of content through a single platform and gain learning credit for it.

4. Invest in consumer-led technology

pexels-photo-29532

The future of learning isn’t just personalised, it’s also real-time. If you’re a manager dealing with a difficult situation at work, you need have immediate access to information that enables you to solve the problem quickly and effectively.

It’s important to find the right technology partner who offers a truly consumer-led experience and can provide ongoing technical and even strategic support to help you to stay ahead of the latest trends and game-changing functionality – and make it as easy as possible for you and your learners to use.

I’m delighted to say Skillsoft ticks those boxes. Our newest learning platform, Percipio, offers each user their own personalized homepage complete with playlists, recommendations and suggestions all based on the user’s interests. And we use the same elastic search capabilities as Facebook and Netflix – again giving the learner the experience they know and expect from consumer sites.

Simply put – it all boils down to giving a learning experience that puts the individual first.

October 16, 2014

6 Traits of Exceptional Managers


It’s true, if it wasn’t for Facebook or Hallmark (or my colleague who asked me if I was doing anything special for my manager) I would not have known that October 16, 2014 is National Boss’s Day in the United States. It looks like this holiday wasn’t on my radar. That being said, I am sure many of us out there are left scratching our heads thinking, “What?! Does my boss really need a day?”

Birds

Exceptional managers and truly great leaders share many common similarities. As Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

In celebration of National Boss’ Day, here are 6 traits of exceptional managers:

  1. Motivators: “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” John C. Maxwell
    Great leaders don’t suck the energy away from others. They put people first and find new and interesting ways to energize and motivate their team. They are relatable. They are passionate. They know that acknowledgement for a job well done is more than just a pat on the back.
  2. Mentors“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter
    Great leaders are mentors who are not afraid to push people outside their comfort zone. They are open, honest and invested in your potential and future. Having a manger that doubles as a mentor will boost your confidence and help shape your professional (and maybe even personal) development. If you don’t have a good mentor, I urge you to go out and look for one. My colleague, Jody, has some good advice on mentors in this blog post.
  3. Assertive“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”  Tony Blair
    Often it is difficult to say no. It’s even more difficult to be assertive without being aggressive. Great leaders understand the difference between the two. They are able to overcome adversary and resistance without ruffling too many feathers.
  4. Trustworthy“There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.” Klaus Balkenhol
    When I imagine a boss, I think of Gary Cole’s character, Bill Lumbergh, from Office Space. The term “boss” gets a bad rap. Probably because it’s associated with distrust, micromanagement and bad communication. It’s easier to trust an exceptional leader because they are transparent and they care. They hold themselves accountable to the same standards and expectations they set for their employees.
  5. Passionate“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” – Steve Jobs
    Passion is contagious, disinterest is destructive. It is painfully obvious when leaders do not stand behind their organization or its goals. Great leaders have a desire to continuously cultivate creativity, change, innovation and collaboration across their teams and organization.
  6. Not Sociopaths“The internal management application of this is that it’s always a bad idea to set one’s employees too much against one another. You want to find ways to differentiate people’s roles. Frame it this way: If you were a sociopathic boss who wanted to create trouble for your employees, the formula you would follow would be to tell two people to do the exact same thing. That’s a guaranteed formula for creating conflict. If you’re not a sociopath, you want to be very careful to avoid this.” Peter Thiel
    Peter’s quote from a recent WSJ article pretty much speaks for itself. Creating conflict in the workplace isn’t going to get you anywhere in life. Great managers know how to avoid and resolve frustration. Conflict resolution is a simple concept that sadly enough, is not at the forefront of every ordinary manager’s mind.

What do you think? Do you have any to add? Leave a comment below!

 

 

June 17, 2014

Workspiration: 23 quotes to get you through the day


Do the dog days of summer have you down? That’s ok. Sometimes all we need is an extra push to get us through the workday. Here are 23 inspirational quotes to help get you through the day.

Tweet them. Share them. And, most importantly, live by them.

Pick a quote that inspires you and write it down. Put it somewhere you’ll see it every day – your bathroom mirror, your computer screen, your phone background, your car. Let it help challenge you and drive you to be the best you can be. Continue reading

April 24, 2014

Drawing inspiration: How we learn from doodling


Ever since I can remember I have been a doodler. I scribbled pictures during class, drew patterns while on the phone, and of course, wrote my name in hearts when I thought I met the one.

But I hadn’t given much thought to the profound impact doodling has on engagement and knowledge retention until a few weeks ago, when my colleague caught me in the act during an important meeting.

My face reddened, and I tried to play it off as taking notes. But my drawings eventually sparked a conversation about doodling, learning and everything in between. Continue reading