Are you going to World of Learning 2017? We are!

Visit us at stand B80

Last year we attended the UK’s most comprehensive two-day event for all aspects of learning and development, World of Learning Conference and Exhibition at the NEC Birmingham.

We’ll be going to World of Learning again this year, from 17 to 18 October to share our latest learning and development insights, showcasing our award-winning learning technology solutions and demoing our new customisable online training product, CourseKit at Stand B80.

Once again, our captain and leader, Managing Director and Chief eLearning Strategist, Dr Maureen Murphy will take part in Learning Design Live and present a session on ‘The three R ’s of responsive learning.’

The session will take place in conference room 3 on Wednesday 18 October at 1pm – 1:30pm. Attendees to Maureen’s session will receive practical tips on how to design responsive digital learning content.

Sponsored by the eLearning Network (eLN), Learning Design Live is particularly useful for those who are involved in learning tech design. It’s free to attend and draws a popular crowd who are interested in getting the latest and best techniques from real-world practitioners.

All in all, World of Learning is shaping up to be another great event and the team is really looking forward to getting there and catching up with some familiar and new faces.

Registration is now open for the World of Learning Conference and Exhibition. If you’re attending and want pre-book a demonstration with an Aurion Learning expert, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

See you at Stand B80!

3 things you will learn from our upcoming webinar on eLearning trends for 2017.

looking ahead car windscreen

L&D professionals had a lot to keep up with in 2016. 2017 doesn’t look to be any different either. Staying on top of your game means you have to keep up with, or at the very least, a keen eye on the ways our industry shaping.

Yet, with the rate of change in our industry, staying on top of trends can often seem like a full time job. Yes, trends come and go and it can be all too easy to just switch off and turn a blind eye to what’s going on outside our own little comfy bubbles of doing what is always done, not to mention the constant interruption of new information, which can be over whelming and hard to digest.

But what good will it really do just to put your head in the sand and ignore what developments are being made in eLearning?

Keeping abreast, now more than ever is so incredibly important. Things do change. And staying up-to-date on industry trends allows you to be in the best possible position to made any necessary informed decisions about strategy and plans going forward. And hey – we’re not saying that you must adopt the trends and developments, just be conscious of them.

So if you feel you have fallen out of the loop and want to get back on-trend or you want to stay ahead of your game, we’ve done all the hard work for you and disseminated the industry information and predicted the top 10 eLearning trends of 2017, leaving you to take on board what’s happening!

Under the guidance of Gavin Woods, Client Services Director and our Associate Director and Chair of the eLN, John Curran, we will take you on a digital journey for an hour, during a live webinar on Wednesday 16 November at 12noon to explore our predictions on the latest eLearning trends that will likely make an impact in 2017.

So reserve your online seat and join us online and learn:

  1. The 10 eLearning trends to watch for in 2017
  2. What impact the key trends will have on L&D strategies
  3. New opportunities available

So what better way to get over the American Election results than to get back to the task at hand and gain great knowledge relevant to your working practice? Hope to see you online next Wednesday.

Sign up and register for free 

 

Is your eLearning in need of a refresh?

Refresh your e-learning

We love spring. It gives you an opportunity to dust off your goals and start afresh. Temperatures are (almost) into double digits and signs of green are literally springing up everywhere, but have you fully embraced the new season and spring cleaned your eLearning?

 

Unfortunately for many of us, daily demands and distractions defer us from staying on track and laying those best laid plans of revisiting our goals. Often eLearning courses and training materials only get updated when new software is released or when new budget become available! So to help inject a little spring into your learning and development, we’ve highlighted a few things to help refresh your training plans.

Review

If you’ve multiple courses, resources and programmes all on the go, it can be hard to know where to start. But if you don’t take a step back and review your current eLearning offering, you won’t be able to tell the wood from the trees and you’ll easily fall into the trap of doing more of the same.

  • Review your current courses, programmes and resources and ensure that they are still relevant and doing the job intended.
  • Make sure your content is up to date.
  • Have you got the right learning technologies for the job in hand?
  • Are you making enough of your existing eLearning materials and resources? Many can be re-used in multiple forms or similar areas.
  • De-clutter – determine what you want to keep and what you want to archive –  less really is more!
  • Have you completed your organisational needs analysis – if you have all your training ducks in a row, brilliant – you know what to prepare for the year ahead. But if you have the difficult task of reactionary training, then now is the time to find out what training requirements are expected of your organisation for the year ahead.

Prepare

Once you reviewed your current inventory, resources and assets, start compiling your next stage – preparing for what needs to get done.

  • If you are developing a new E-Learning course or programme or updating an existing one, do you have the necessary content ready? If you have a scary amount of information and training materials that are in raw form, it is worth taking the time to define the key learning objectives.
  • Have you got your subject matter experts ready to rock? When starting a new eLearning project or reviewing an existing one, your SME’s are so important. Be clear with them from the start of the project and communicate what you need from them and more importantly, in what format is required.

After reviewing a programme, you may find that it is in need of a restructure or there are elements that you’d still like to keep, but you are unsure if it still educationally effective. Know when to delegate! If you have the time, resources and skills in house to treat your programmes with sound instructional design – fantastic! If however, like many, you run the risk of overwhelming yourself with this task, knowing when to outsource and delegate certain areas or tasks can be hugely beneficial, allowing you to concentrate on the task at hand.

Engage

Having buy-in and engagement for eLearning in your organisation is key to its success. Inform and involve your managers and team leaders about your eLearning. Don’t forget to sell the benefits of the training and of e-learning as this will help you get buy-in and support. Similarly, don’t forget to report on the success of your new revitalised e-learning programme!

Whether you want to update an existing course, create a new programme, transfer classroom training materials online or looking to develop new skills to design and deliver e-learning in-house, we can infuse a little spring into your learning and development. Get in touch with us today.

Are you getting the most out of E-Learning in your organisation?

Masterclass-email-image

As L&D professionals we tend to be busy bees. Planning, implementing and tracking training and development initiatives takes time. Often though, this results in little opportunity to lift our heads from the day to day busy tasks to take stock of where we are in our overall strategy.

Ideally, what we should be doing is taking a leaf out of our own books and practice what we preach.

Next month we will provide busy Learning and Development Managers, Learning Consultants, Trainers and Facilitators the opportunity to attend a free morning of e-learning. Our free-to-attend, half day e-learning masterclasses will provide attendees with a better insight into what’s happening in e-learning and how it can help improve learning and development throughout their organisation.

Held in Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast throughout October, these events will also deliver  a quality programme of content and real-world speakers from organisations in Ireland and the UK will also share their insights deploying e-learning, and how the team have embraced the new challenges and opportunities.

What’s more, our masterclass events will also offer an unrivalled opportunity for networking.

Like-minded attendees with a passion for E-Learning looking to get the most out of it and optimising its potential for the future have already signed up, meaning there are no shortage of chances to expand your professional network with the right contacts.

Whatever stage your online journey is on, you’ll also get practical tips and techniques on how to put a plan in place to make informed decisions on the best learning design, tools and technology for you and your organisation. It’s a morning of e-learning not to be missed.

So busy bee, what’s stopping you? Take a look at what you can learn at these free events.

Register for free and find out more.

5 Learning Apps that are changing the world

Blog Title Image, "Five Learning Apps that are changing the world" accompanied by an image of a hand and other eco imagery. Join the conversation on Twitter with #EndPoverty

The theme for the United Nation’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty this year is to ‘think, decide and act together against extreme poverty’ so we’ve compiled a list of five learning apps that are working towards this purpose and making a positive impact on the world.

Mobile apps are increasingly popular because they allow learners to tap into on-demand, bite sized and just in time learning both wherever and whenever they want to.

The apps we want to highlight stick out because they deliver short, relevant pieces of information that either create awareness of the daily struggles faced by those in poverty or else provide users with the information they need to make informed decisions:

 

1.    My Life as a Refugee

This app is developed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and allows learners to gain an insight into the dilemmas and difficulties faced by refugees. The learner adopts the role of either Amika, Paulo or Merita, gets to hear their story and has to make quick fire decisions on how to deal with unfolding events. Using gamification, storytelling and problem-based learning, this highly interactive app educates learners on the complex and dangerous situations faced by refugees and hopefully provokes them to take action.

 2.    DataFinder Apps

The World Bank have developed a series of apps packed with extensive and reputable data on world poverty, health, jobs, climate change and much more. These apps allow users access to a previously unimaginable repository of information that they can dip in and out of and use on an informal learning basis. Having such important information on such an accessible platform means that the global community is now able to be more informed and take more action on justice and inequality issues than ever before.

3.    One Today

In a world where there are an overwhelming amount of good causes and charities to support, One Today educates and connects its users with one good cause each day. By including an element of social sharing, One Today allows the philanthropically minded to quickly and easily share new knowledge and findings with their family and friends.

4.    instead

Many people would like to give more to charity but don’t know where to start or what their money could be used for. There is a disconnection between the money in people’s wallets and an understanding of the impact it could have on the world. The instead app provides learners with information on what their money is worth in terms of aid. For example, by cooking at home three times instead of eating out, it’s possible to save enough money to provide HIV medication for one person for three months. By equipping learners with this valuable information, this brilliant app allows them to make decisions and engage with issues that previously seemed distant or difficult to understand.

5.    Save the Children Earthquake Response

Save the Children have been working in disaster relief since 1919 and designed the Earthquake Response app to educate learners on what the priorities and objectives are when they respond to a disaster. The app allows the user to take the place of an aid worker in the aftermath of a disaster. By educating users on the practical and life-saving work they do, they are able to communicate better with sponsors and attract new donors.

 

According to Cisco’s 2013 global mobile data forecast, there are almost as many mobile devices (7 billion) as there are humans on the planet! Because of this, the potential for learning apps in global development is both exciting and potential filled.

Learning apps are now becoming widely adopted across every sector. However, in the charity and development sector where creating awareness and sharing information is intrinsic to receiving support and engaging with live issues, learning apps really are a practical and tangible way of addressing and overcoming global issues. Mobile learning apps present a promising opportunity to ‘think, decide and act together against extreme poverty’.

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.

What makes a successful MOOC?

A number of multi-coloured hands reaching up to education icons.

MOOCs are the modern day marmite of the digital learning scene. We want to steer clear of all of the clichés that have already been postulated and stick to what we know best. We hope you’ll find our practical, realistic advice on delivering a successful MOOC beneficial as you make plans for your own online learning.

We think MOOCs are fantastic because they offer dramatic cost savings, a standardised level of training across large organisations and can allow people all over the world access to the leading academics in a subject.

There are three things intrinsic to a MOOC’s success:

  1. High levels of interactivity
  2. Best practice pedagogy
  3. Appropriate technology

Interactivity

Interactivity is essential in all forms and styles of learning. Learners grow and develop whenever content is delivered in a way that makes it memorable.

To inspire knowledge retention and stimulate thought amongst MOOC users, consider the following ideas:

  • Storytelling is being used across a broad spectrum of organisations because it captures the heart behind a lesson and delivers it in an entertaining way.
  • Problem-based learning can easily grab a learner’s imagination. Rather than completing a series of monotonous tick-box quizzes, learners are posed with real life problems faced by other individuals or organisations.
  • Gamification allows learners to apply knowledge and be rewarded as they progress.
  • Social learning allows a group of learners to come together to solve problems as well as give and receive encouragement. The creation of assignments to be posted on social forums creates conversation and stimulates thought amongst learners.
  • Progress tracking and instructor involvement encourages students by showing them how far they’ve come and allowing them to ask questions and receive advice when they get stuck.

Pedagogy

MOOCs present an opportunity to turn learning on its head. It is possible to design learning content in line with how the brain actually learns.

MOOCs are in a position to apply contemporary pedagogical principles and break free from the traditional and often ineffective styles of teaching that have crept their way into many organisations. By monitoring learner activity using big data, administrators can even test the effectiveness of different teaching styles.

In order to be truly successful, it is important that MOOCs do not simply copy dated models of learning from the past but are used as a forum to design new, better ways of learning. We face new challenges than ever before and require a new approach to learning.

Technology

If you’re able to successfully create a MOOC for your organisation, make sure you don’t fall at the last hurdle. When choosing an E-Learning provider, be sure to ask all of the right questions from the beginning. You’ll need to know what browsers will be able to support your E-Learning content, whether mobile devices will be supported, if the systems technology is up-to-date and whether it will require regular updates.

It’s really important to choose the right technology to support your learning goals so make a list of all the technical specifications you require before you begin to search for an E-Learning provider and you won’t have any regrets later.

Organisations all over the world are choosing to develop MOOCs because they offer possibilities and opportunities to engage with learners on a greater scale than ever before. MOOCs won’t work for everyone but if you have a restricted budget, a large learner audience to reach and are ready to adapt your learning content to make it more accessible, then a MOOC might just perfect for you.

Have you recently developed a MOOC? Please comment below and let us know what worked and didn’t work for you. Feel free to share this blog with others who you think may benefit from it. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

New to E-Learning? Where to get started

Infographic containing the E-Learning advice from the blog below.

This infographic is available to download here.

1. Learning strategy
Define your aims and identify issues that need to be resolved.

2. Set quantitative goals for progress and definitions of success
Make a list of measurable outcomes you could expect to see as a result

3. Identify a solution that fits both the goals and the audience
Keep in mind the age and background of users, their level of technology adoption and what sort of devices they will be using to access learning content

4. Get buy-in
Communicate issues, goals and expectations to stakeholders. Make sure they understand the value of a new E-Learning programme

5. Ask internal subject matter experts to summarise content
Identify the experts within your organisation and ask them to share their expertise with you.

6. Assess the technical requirements
Check out our Jargon Buster handbook for E-Learning newbies.

7. Instructional design
Apply best practice pedagogical principles. Think rich, concise content, heaps of interactivity and beautiful multimedia.

8. Begin to design and develop
Keep in mind accessibility and usability when choosing fonts and colours.

9. Pilot
Ask an internal group of stakeholders to test and review your learning campaign.

10. Amend where necessary
Take on board the feedback given by your pilot group and decide which changes are necessary. Small, incremental change will help to ensure that the baby isn’t thrown out with the bath water.

11. Collect data on learner progress
Check out our blog: Big Data: Big Results for E-Learning?

12. Assess the success of your E-Learning
Check out our blog: How to work out if your E-Learning programme is a success and what to do if it isn’t.

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.

How to work out if your E-Learning is a success and what to do if it isn’t

Image saying containing an illustration of a businessman flying into the sky in a rocket with a briefcase on which has been written the word SUCCESS. The title of this image is 'How to work out if your E-Learning is a success and what to do if it isn't'

In a bid to rush to the next project, many E-Learning professionals carelessly skip over the evaluation process. Because we believe it is vital to learn from experience, our mantra of the moment is:

 “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”.

Therefore, today we want to take the opportunity to unpack best practice in E-Learning evaluation.

Evaluation is often overlooked because people lack the time, patience or clarity on the right approach or tool to use. Often, they are unsure of what data to collect or how to use it once they have collected it.

The first step in evaluating an E-Learning campaign lies in identifying the success metrics or performance parameters. These are formed by aligning or comparing organisational aims and goals with the results of the learning campaign.

Following this crucial first step, there are a number of ideas and approach methods to evaluation. One of the foremost ideas being propounded currently is Kirkpatrick’s taxonomy.

Kirkpatrick identified four levels or criteria for successful training evaluation:

Level 1: Learner reaction

Level 2: Learner knowledge

Level 3: Learner behaviour

Level 4: Learning results or impact

Sadly, many learning and development departments move no farther in their evaluations than level one or two.

They listen to how a selection of learners feel about the learning campaign and measure how much information they have retained but fail to research how the newfound information is being applied or what impact it is having on the organisation.

So what are the best tools to use to evaluate success?

We recommend a combination of the following:

  • Knowledge assessments both before and after completing training to assess learning progress;
  • Conducting a pilot to spot flaws early on;
  • Using big data to track learner engagement as well as weak points within the E-Learning content;
  • On the job assessments by management to gauge behavioural changes;
  • A forum (such as Survey Monkey) to receive feedback from learners about their personal experience;
  • Encouraging learners and stakeholders to give feedback in the long term; and
  • Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method suggests that we must look at success at an organisational or system level rather than just the individual learning programme. Brinkerhoff also asserts that it is useful to look at the “outliers” i.e. those who have been particularly successful or unsuccessful. By looking at these outliers, it may be possible to identify the differentiators between E-Learning success and failure on an individual level.

Now what?

After using this toolkit to evaluate your E-Learning success, you may find that learners are happy, clued in, applying their knowledge and your organisation is flourishing.

Hooray for you!

If you have a different result and find issues with your E-Learning, then take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay!

There are a number of reasons why your E-Learning campaign might not have hit the target this time.

It could be as a result of lack of support from management, the learning campaign being too theoretical or inaccuracy in identifying knowledge gaps pre-training. Luckily, your evaluation should point you in the right direction.

An important nugget of knowledge to keep in mind is not to throw the baby out with the bath water. In the majority of situations, change can be made in small, incremental amounts.

We recommend asking the people who have given you feedback and identified issues to become part of the solution by suggesting what they would have needed or preferred to better their learning experience.

There is always room for improvement and evaluation is one of the most consistently helpful tools we have at our disposal as learning and development professionals. Just remember our mantra, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”.

 

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. We’d love to hear about your biggest E-Learning successes and failures. What is your strategy for recovering and fixing your mistakes? Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

 

4 Types of “Problem” E-Learners and how to deal with them

In an increasingly tech-savvy and budget driven age, the potential for E-Learning is limitless. The key to a successful E-Learning strategy is buy-in by people at all levels of an organisation. Sadly, anyone who has ever delivered an E-Learning programme will know that there will always be people who find transition difficult. We’ve identified four types of E-Learners to watch out for and how to deal with them when you spot them:

Infographic representation of the blog

This infographic is available for download here.

1. The Technophobe

Who? Often, but not always, this person is of an older generation and has limited experience with technology. They are timid as a mouse around the computer and if they had their way, they would print out the whole E-Learning course and complete it manually.

How to bring the best out in them: The greatest tool at your disposal for a technophobe is buckets full of encouragement. Every time they complete a task, make them feel like a champion. User interfaces should be simple and designed intuitively, with the learner in mind. If your organisation has a high concentration of technophobes, consider introducing blended learning or providing equipment so that these E-Learners can meet in groups and help each other out with the technological side of things.

 

2. The One with Great Intentions (but not much else)

Who? This particular character is enthusiastic and excited about all of the new facts and lessons they can learn with all of the beautiful online content you have created. However, when it comes to actually completing online modules, they fail at even the first hurdle of logging in.

How to bring out the best in them: Expect that you will have to sell your learning content to them. An enthusiastic person like this one will have many different interests competing for their time. When you release a new course, create a short description that tells the learner how much of their time they will need to spend and give them two or three returns they will gain from investing their time. If you can engage this learner and get them to take part in and enjoy your E-Learning, you’ll find that their enthusiasm is infectious.

 

3. The Shortcutter

Who? This type of E-Learner is their own worst enemy. They would like all of the benefits of hard work without actually having to do any. In their constant rush to the next achievement to add to their trophy cabinet, they have little more than superficial knowledge in any particular area.

How to bring out the best in them: There are three keys to slowing down this student long enough for them to learn something. Firstly, you can make it mandatory to spend time on each page of learning. Secondly, consider integrating assessments into the learning content to identify knowledge gaps and diagnose additional learning material to fill those knowledge gaps. Last but not least, try to create spectacular E-Learning content that distracts them from racing on.

 

4. The Spoon-fed Student

Who? This individual has always consumed superior quality, highly personalised learning content, which is certainly no bad thing in itself. However, because they have always been looked after so well, they tend to lack the initiative to further explore external learning content that would supplement and improve their learning experience.

How to bring out the best in them: The first step to creating a great E-Learning experience for this student is to communicate expectations. If he/she knows from the beginning that it will be beneficial to read supplementary materials, then that will hopefully plant a seed in his/her mind. We recommend that you include regular prompts throughout your E-Learning course that refer learners to relevant websites or repositories of valuable information. Try creating a social platform for learners to communicate and grapple with difficult questions. To kick-off conversations in these online forums, you could set a project which requires students to interact. If you succeed with this type of student, you won’t only have taught them something new in your subject area, but also the value of taking initiative.

 

We’d love to hear about difficulties you have experienced when delivering E-Learning and successful techniques you have used to overcome them. Join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #elearningwin. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

More Informal Social Learning; Less Formal Training

Less formal training; more informal social learning

March 12th 2014 marked the 25th birthday of the World Wide Web. Over these last 25 years, we have seen huge technological growth that affects every individual and organisation in society. The way that we communicate and convey information has totally changed. As a result, the ways in which we learn have also changed.

In this post, we consider how engaging and stimulating learning content must incorporate informal social learning and embrace the technologies which assist it.

What is informal social learning?

In the words of informal learning guru Jay Cross:

Informal learning is the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way most people learn to do their jobs. Informal learning is like riding a bicycle: the rider chooses the destination and the route.”

In the past, individuals were able to learn and develop by tapping into the knowledge of those around them and turning to relevant literature. The learning curriculum in schools and organisations reflected this by placing high emphasis on knowledge retention. Successful individuals were often those who were able to gain access to the best academic institutions and social networks of other like-minded and educated individuals.

How has education culture changed over the last 25 years?

We now live in an information saturated age where there are limitless access points to new information and learning. How often have you asked a friend or colleague a question only to hear the response, “Google it”?

Web-based technologies greatly lessen the obstacles that learners were forced to overcome in the past. As the demographic of the workplace shifts to contain more people who grew up in an age where new technologies and social media are an integrated part of daily life, it is natural that the style of learning and training will adapt to engage with learners and technological advances.

In addition, the skills required from employees in the workforce in recent years have changed and shifted in line with technology’s ability to do things faster and to a higher quality than previously possible.

We’ve created a list of social media tools you can use to enhance learning:

  • Social assignments are great for creating community and maintaining user engagement. Novelist and investigative journalist Amanda Ripley talks here about students engaging in a Physics MOOC by responding to a challenge to apply trigonometry and geometry learning to real life then posting it online for other students to see. This challenge not only allowed students to evaluate how much they had learnt by putting it into practice but also created space for discussion and new ideas.
  • TweetChat has been around for almost as long as Twitter. You can create your own topic or “hashtag” and allow open conversation between learners. Using a content curator, you could even extract the best or most interesting ideas discussed and publish them to a blog. If learners miss live conversations, they can catch up using Storify.
  • Twitter lists are a curated group of Twitter users that have something in common. As a supplement to elearning, you could use a twitter list in order to gather a group of learners together.
  • Youtube channels create an excellent forum for additional learning material and for interaction between learners. If a picture speaks a thousand words, just think of the learning through discussion potential in a video.
  • There are a number of different Wikis that can be used including Wikispaces and PBworks. Essentially, they are a platform where you can share a range of resources including documents, PDFs and media. Most Wikis also feature an opportunity for discussion.

It is important not to overlook the power of LMS integrated social learning. Many LMS systems come with the ability to create a social learning platform for learners. Creating in-built social learning allows you to tailor it to your learners and makes it accessible and more likely to be used. If you would like to discuss the capabilities of an LMS with in-built social learning capabilities for your organisation, please get in touch with us at info@aurionlearning.com

To sum up, informal social learning is a great tool when used as part of a blended approach to instigate conversation between learners and create access to more relevant learning content. In an increasingly social and collaborative age, it is time for educators to join the conversation.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. We’re interested in hearing what you think about Informal Social Learning. How have you been able to use it to supplement learning in your organisation? Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.