Practice what you Preach: Keep on Learning

Practice what you preach - keep on learning

As L&D and HR professionals, it is in our DNA to help others learn. However with an increase in organisational learning needs and squeeze on staff, budget and other resources, how can you ensure that you also stay on top of your learning game?

In this blog post, we look at the importance of practicing what you preach and consider the benefits of informal learning.

Keeping up with the Jones’

We are acutely aware that it’s simply not enough to be content with what you already know. However in the quest to operate effective training and HR departments, keep up with the demand of learning services, whilst doing more for less –status quo can easily suffice. That is of course, if it wasn’t against our learning DNA. 

In order to reach your maximum potential, you must endeavour to learn and increase your knowledge and avoid professional stagnation.

Whilst there are a varying degree of learning styles and although nothing new, informal learning opportunities can help to attend this must. For the past three years, Aurion Learning has hosted a series of Masterclass events throughout the UK and Ireland. Like many other informal workshops and seminars, these practical sessions have proven to be a popular forum to discuss L&D strategies, with hundreds of learning and HR professionals gaining inspiration about the best way to improve learning and development within their organisation.

What’s more, these informal learning settings allow learning devotees to take the time out of their busy schedules to pause, reflect and most importantly learn.

Next month, Aurion Learning will host another free-to-attend Masterclass: E-Learning Journeys on Thursday 10 October in Glasgow.  This half day event will provide an opportunity for learning professionals to come together, learn, share experiences and discuss their learning and development journeys so far.

As well as gaining actionable tips and inspiration, attendees will hear from a range of public, private and third sector organisations and learn how they have implemented online learning with blended classroom practice.

The benefits of taking part in informal learning:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Although keeping up with industry news and latest developments may seem to be just one more thing to add to your ever growing to-do list, there are several benefits to taking the time and energy and partaking in informal learning:

  • Collaboration

When engaged in collaborative learning, you are able to get the most out of each other resources and skills by sharing information, ideas, experiences and asking for feedback. During our informal learning session, Masterclass E-Learning Journeys, participants are provided with numerous opportunities to take part in collaborative learning through practical workshops and interactive panel discussions.

  • Learn from others:

If you are always on the look-out to improve learning and development in their organisation, there are a number of ways to seek out this need through mentoring and work-shadowing. This learning technique allows you to seeking advice from those whose techniques and skills that you wish to equal. By participating at sessions like the E-Learning Journeys Masterclass, participants can seek guidance and recommendations from like-minded professionals.

  • Update knowledge:

When you’re busy at work it’s easy to lose sight of what’s new. Whilst most organisations requiring a particular amount of professional development, as a learning professional you need to ensure that you are up-to –speed with what’s happening in your industry, whether it is a necessary requirement or not. Thankfully it is easier than ever to participate in learning.  During Masterclass: E-Learning Journeys, Aurion Learning will present the latest trends and insights in learning technologies as well as imparting actionable tips and strategies to improve learning and development.

  • Enjoyable and engaging

Having the freedom to spend days acquiring knowledge and new skills would simply be impractical. However, by dedicating some time in your diary periodically to take part in collaborative learning, you will reap the rewards, especially when you are learning about something you love as it then becomes fun and enjoyable rather than a chore.

Interested in getting involved in some informal learning?

You can register-for-free to attend Masterclass: E-Learning Journeys  – #ELJ13 here:

Eventbrite - Masterclass: E-Learning Journeys 2013 #ELJ13

The event will be held on Thursday 10 October from 9am – 1pm at The Lighthouse, Glasgow.

Let us know what you think about collaborative learning or share with others that you think would benefit from this post.  Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

Game on? The use of gamification in e-learning.

by Sarah Sweeney, Marketing Assistant at Aurion Learning.

SQUARE imageMany HR and L&D professionals face the problem of ensuring that their training and learning programmes maintain learner engagement and motivation. Gamification has been regularly recognised as an opportunity to help solve this problem.

In this post, we consider whether gamification can enhance the learning experience. Before we consider if it is game on for gamification in learning, it is necessary to look at what gamification essentially is.

What is Gamification?

Games and game like components have been invading the learning realm for quite some time now. Although its definition differs, for the most part, gamification in learning is the use of game mechanics to ‘gamify’ content to engage and entice users by encouraging and rewarding use.

Although Nick Pelling first coined the term “gamification” in 2002, it has actually been around for some time – 40 years in fact, with many organisations already using features in their work from video games.

Indeed, it can be said that loyalty programs, target-based bonuses and employee-of-the-month schemes are all examples of how gamification as an incentive to growth has been around for a long time too.

Examples of gamification in learning include:

  • Training: technology giants, Microsoft use gamification to train users of Microsoft Office on how to use the new ribbon interface effectively.
  • Education: New York based school – Quest to Learn, advocates game-based learning to make education more engaging and relevant to children.
  • Employee productivity: Management tool Arcaris uses gamification to improve productivity in call centres.

Now that we know what gamification is and where it is being used in learning, it is necessary to see whether it actually works.

Does Gamification in learning work?

The gamification of e-learning unquestionably presents unique possibilities for learning technologists as they explore additional ways to educate and importantly engage learners.

It is widely recognised that adding interactive activities in e-learning are no longer optional extras, but essential to effective learning. However, it is important that the addition of game like elements into the e-learning programme are only applied in the context of the programme that allow the learner the opportunity to apply their retained knowledge to live situations, rather than distract and dazzle learners with wizardry from the overall learning goal.

Frequently, my social media feeds are inundated with social games, although irritating at times, there is no escaping the surge in popularity of online gaming and social media. The site, DevHub, reported an eightfold increase in the number of users completing their sites after adding gamification elements to the process. If there was any indication that the gamification was a fad, according to research from M2 it’s here not only stay, but increase in its use.

The global market for gamification apps and services will grow to $2.8 billion by 2016.”

The enthusiasm for gamification has however met with some criticism. Game designers Radoff and Robertson have criticised gamification for excluding aspects like storytelling, an important element of learning. Whilst university researcher Deterding, has argued that current approaches to gamification create an artificial sense of achievement.

What does the successful application of gamification in e-learning look like?

  1. Gamification isn’t about games, but the learners.
  2. It isn’t about knowledge but behaviour.
  3. It extracts the motivational techniques out of games and uses them for life-applicable learning.
  4. It allows quick feedback of progress and communications of goals that need to be accomplished.

Gamification is made appealing for e-learning because of our human tendencies.  On the whole, we generally enjoy actively participating engaging and competing with others. Gamification allows learners to connect and learn together with playful applications and incentives, particularly when there are engaging game design elements used.

Today’s learners are however no longer placated with trivial reward systems but rather sophisticated experiences that hold real value. Organisations embracing the gamification in learning can stand to see learners more engaged and retain more information, but only if it is applied aptly to the e-learning programme, achieving the overall core learning objectives.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.