Millennials: learning is their bae* 

By John Helmer

The publication each year of Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report is always an event. It’s been running for 20 years, is highly authoritative, and comes stuffed with information and stats useful to anyone who uses digital technology in the organisational context (here’s a digest from Techcrunch of the 2015 report).

One thing that particularly caught our eye this year was her findings on Millennials.

According to Meeker, Millennials are now the largest generation in the US workforce, and so are now ready to drive the economy – and it is interesting to see that their most valued benefit from an employer is training and development. This comes above cash bonuses, free healthcare, pensions or company cars. They also highly prize flexible working arrangements and are – surprise, surprise – tech savvy.

slide showing Millennials value training & development

We’ve been doing our own research into millennials, with particular regard to how they like to learn, and how they use technology in their learning.

You can watch the webcast here:

INSPIRE series – Millennials: How will the next generation of employees learn?

*slang note: ‘bae’ stands for ‘before anyone else’.


Create or curate? Pros and cons of learning content curation

By Carole Bower

Following our recent post Six Key Skills of Learning Curation I thought I would contribute a further thought to this topic. It concerns a decision learning and development professionals often face, namely: when is it better to create your own learning content from scratch – and when might you be better advised to lean on curation?

As a way of giving a bit of focus to this decision, let’s look at the pros and cons of learning content curation. Here’s a table that summarises the main considerations.

Table showing pros and cons of learning curation

Pros of learning content curation

One of the key benefits of content curation very much taps into how we have changed as learners and information seekers. We are well used to finding our own content and many learners have a preference to casual and informal learning.

Curation can provide trusted content; it’s a learner-centric approach – and it is easy for L&D to organise and make changes to. It is agile and responds to the speed of change, allowing an L&D Department to get content out to learners really quickly.

According to the 2014 Towards Maturity Benchmark study, Modernising Learning, Delivering Results, which provides insights from 600 L&D global L&D leaders:

  • 91 of respondents were looking to provide a faster response to changing business conditions
  • 87% needed to push updated information to employees at the point of need
  • 96% needed to increase access and flexibility in providing staff training

The provision of curated content from lends itself well to all of these drivers.

One of the key advantages for learning designers is that curation gives us the opportunity to tackle the issue we talked about in our previous post; how to create content when the subject matter expert has little time to support the process. A curated option can offer the opportunity to provide access to experts for example by providing a platform where learners can view their collective expertise.

Drawbacks of learning curation

Naturally of course there are also some disadvantages of using curated content. A lack of curation skills can make putting together such a solution difficult. There are translations issues, and copyright considerations. There is no tracking available, which can have an impact when compliance is needed. It can also be hard to maintain control over learning effectiveness, learner relevance and quality.

With masses of new content on the web every minute, content curation is an endless job. With the likes of Facebook producing 2.5 million shares of content a minute there’s ever such a lot to get through – it’s a skilled role and to be done well requires experience.

The role of content curator is very similar to that of the learning designer though. For a learning designer the process of collating and filtering a mass of content, establishing the relevant elements that will meet learning outcomes and presenting this to the learner in a usable and useful way is all part of the day job.


The six key skills of learning curation

By Carole Bower

Vintage collection of preserved butterflies and other insectsCuration is the new skillset learning and development professionals have to master. It is made up of six key skills that we will cover in this post. Learning curators:

  • Find
  • Filter
  • Grade
  • Synthesize
  • Contribute
  • Signpost

Before we look at each of these skills in more depth, let’s look at what learning curation is, and why it is becoming so central to the practice of L&D.
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CIPD report shows digital learning on the increase

By John Helmer

CIPD survey report graphicThe CIPD’s annual survey report on Learning and Development is a valuable and hotly awaited piece of research in learning industries. The report contains a wealth of information about the profession in general. However, people with an interest in digital learning, especially, look to it each year as a barometer of attitudes towards and adoption of technology within L&D departments.

This year’s report shows digital learning on the increase:

  • Three-quarters of organisations now use technology for learning
  • Most anticipate an increase in their use of learning technologies
  • A third of organisations have increased their investment in learning technologies over the last year

However, the report also states that many lack confidence in their ability to use it effectively. Just a quarter of respondents felt at all confident in their ability to harness technology for learning interventions.

This chimes with the results of our own research. Earlier in the year, we polled L&D attendees at the Learning Technologies exhibition with the question: ‘Is there a technology skills crisis in L&D?’

Over 53% of attendees felt that there was indeed a real problem. You can read more about this research, and the findings of our think tank discussion on the subject here:

How L&D must change: report from our think tank 

We’d like to commend the CIPD for producing such valuable research, but also for raising awareness about the need for greater understanding about the best way to use technology for learning.

Another finding of interest to us, as a company that creates award winning bespoke elearning and also supplies the largest catalogue available of ‘read-made’ or off the shelf learning resources, is that about half of L&D content is developed from scratch. Clearly a major decision faced by L&D is whether to ‘buy or build’. We’ll be blogging in the near future about how you make this decision, and also about a new trend in learning content: content curation – and how to do it well.


Avoid the pitfalls of training across cultures

By John Helmer

Here’s a fascinating infographic from Business Insider that shows how communication patterns vary around the world – leading to very different negotiation styles.

If these findings are correct, Americans see a fight as communication, the English will always a defer a decision to a further meeting, Hungarians all speak at once, while Fins like to keep the talk ‘minimal’. (Who knew?)

negotation_patterns

Click to see the whole infographic on Business Insider site.

 

The article draws on a book by Richard D Lewis entitled ‘When cultures collide: leading across cultures’ – which has a wider focus than just negotiation, however. Lewis is an expert in cross-cultural communication with a strong training background (according to Wikipedia he founded the Berlitz School of Languages in Finland in 1955).

Training for executives in cross-cultural understanding is a fertile area. The Hofstede Centre is also prominent in the field, and their website has a handy tool that lets you select from a huge range of countries around the world and compare cultural differences along 6 dimensions.

The focus in this sort of work has tended historically to be on training executives who go abroad to do business, or to lead and manage regional offices. Increasingly however, learning professionals creating global programmes for multinational workforces are having to come to terms with such differences as well.

Creating trans-cultural learning programmes

Imagine that you are about to create a sales training programme for a global workforce, and you are going to need at least some technology in the mix to make it feasible. You might want to include bespoke learning in that mix. Looking at the infographic above, you would at once see a huge diversity of negotiating styles that your training programme would have to cover.

Clearly you are going to have to make some decisions straight away about what can be generic in your programme, and where you might need to localise the content to cater for different national cultures. How will you make those decisions? What are the pitfalls to avoid in training across different cultures?

At Lumesse we’re extremely conscious of these issues – and not just because we’re a global group with offices all around the world. Our clients face these problems all the time, and regularly come to us for help with designing global learning solutions.

To help you avoid the pitfalls of training across cultures, we’ve created an insight paper, in collaboration with Towards Maturity, the international recognised learning benchmarking organisation: The Challenges of Building Skills in Geographically Dispersed Teams (and how to overcome them).

Download your free copy now