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The Learning + Training Podcast
15 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
Bridging the Gap – Seamless Workplace Productivity Across Generations – Part 3
This podcast is the last of our three-part series on Bridging the Gap – Seamless workplace productivity across generations. In today’s session we talk about how COVID impacted our training programs in 2020 and how differences in generations really are beneficial to how we work. The synergy of the workplace and how employees work together creates the success we hope to achieve. Ken Blanchard recommends we focus on this thought when working with different generations: “We need to have a mindset that none of us is as smart as all of us. All the brains are not in their office – that 1+1 is a lot greater than 2, and how do you utilize and bring in people that have differences and together create something that’s fabulous.” Eric Kaufman says, “There are some differences between generations. You’d have to be a fool not to see some of the differences, but some of it is not generational – it’s just human experience and human dynamics, right?” Host – Steven Maggi: Well, you know, as we think about all the stuff we’ve talked about today and some takeaways for people that listen, I think one is to avoid labeling generations. I wanted to ask Eric – I know we’ve talked a little and what you said before kind of leads to this generational information that we’re trying to do and how these skill sets are a tool; but they’re not the whole answer to this thing, right? We just have to set up an environment that makes all this flow and not get too caught up with labels. Eric Kaufmann: I love that you said that. I think that’s really important. For me, you know it’s interesting listening to all of us in this conversation – we’re saying, “Yeah, there’s some differences between generations.” You’d have to be a fool not to see some of the differences, but some of it is not generational; it’s just human experience and human dynamics, right? And so, there is a – sometimes it’s convenient to say, “Oh, that generation! The millennials are all this or the X’s are all this, the boomers are all this.” But that’s a very lazy way of being in life, right? There’s much more nuance, and at the end of the day, we’re still unique, precious human beings. You know, the Greeks in their mythologies had Cronus – like the first Titan and the father of all the gods in Greek mythology. He consumed – he ate his five children because he was afraid that the succeeding generation would overthrow him. And Zeus liberated his siblings from Cronus as god. And then, Zeus himself ate his first wife because she was supposed to give birth to a son, and he didn’t want the son to overthrow him. So, this tension, this awkward shift of power between generations is as old as people are, as old as humanity is. So, I think that it could be a little too convenient to say, “Oh, old people, young people, middle-aged people, whatever” – I think there’s much more power and there’s also much more effort, right? I mean, the reason to have stereotypes – the reason we have biases is because there doesn’t take much effort in our brains to be able to identify something as static. It takes more effort, it takes more consciousness, it takes more intention, it takes more care to look beyond the label and see the human or the team or the situation and free ourselves from the convenience of just labeling somebody as such and such, right? “This person’s a boomer; therefore…” – that’s not gonna really work well in a relationship. It’s going to be a terrible leadership approach. And it’s very ineffective for learning to say all Gen Z’s will work with the computers. They are still humans. You can’t confuse tools or ages for actual capacity. Steven: I think that’s fascinating. Now you know, I listen to that and Anthony, I think to myself, “You’re a millennial, so you’re on your way up.” Are you thinking that way at all? Do you think, “Well ok, to replace person X, I need to do so-and-so and whatever?” or is that just something that doesn’t even cross your mind when you’re thinking about your future and what you plan to do in the industry? Anthony Garcia: There’s a few different viewpoints, at least that I hold on that type of stuff too is – kind of going back to something I touched on on a previous question where everybody is different, right? We shouldn’t treat people by their generations because even within a generation, you have people who are exposed to technology and have different lifestyles that create those differences and challenges in trying to figure out what you should be doing, period, whether it’s through training and educational tools or technologies or just what you’re going to do in your career. I don’t think there is a straightforward answer to that one because of that. So, for instance, like my career goals and things like that are very different from my brother who’s in the same generation and even some of my friends that are in the same generation. We’ve kind of taken our different paths based on the difference experiences that we’ve had in life, and I think that even applies to the type of training that we enjoy or look forward to or really crave to take. Some people like videos, other people like reading, and other people like doing the more hands-on interactive simulations – whether it’s a desktop simulation or VR simulation. It’s kind of all over the place, so in relating to training and developing and trying to figure out what to do next, I think you need it all. You need all of those different aspects, kind of like that blended learning – you have all of the different types and modals of training available to everybody at any time. Steven: Yea, and Jasmine, it makes me think of you because as you’re just on the beginning rung of this, you must be thinking to yourself, “Wow, I’ve got to really stay with lifelong learning because these things change more and more and people are going to be looking at me” and even when the next generation comes along, you’re going to want to be ready at that end. So, is that something you’re always thinking about is “I’ve got to stay up on this stuff”? Jasmine Doctolero: 100%. So, when I’m in the workforce, I’m always asking people, “Oh, how was your training experience when you were growing up?” And that kind of gives me a visual perspective of how they grew up. I can implement it into what we are developing today and that way people are more comfortable doing our learning with virtual reality per se. And, in the future, there’s probably going to be some crazy stuff like – we have self-driving cars, maybe we’ll have flying cars in the future, but we all know how to drive a car and we want to implement that into new technologies that we’re developing today. Steven: I’ve wanted the flying car since I used to watch the Jetsons as a little kid; I got to tell ya. I love that idea. But let’s go back to Ken and Marjorie now and say, ok – something struck me from the very beginning when you guys were talking about some of the people in your organization just don’t want to get on, so they retire and what have you, but for those of us that want to stay involved and stuff, is it a willingness to try new things? Is that something we have to continue to be open with as we age with our various organizations? Ken? Ken Blanchard: Yes, I really feel that if you stop learning, you ought to lie down and let them throw the dirt on you, because you’re already dead. I’m excited, you know, I’ve celebrated that 60th anniversary of my 21st birthday, and I’m really still excited about learning and meeting new people and finding out where they are. Our grandkids teach us a lot of stuff. Our youngest is 15 and our oldest is 30, so we’re learning a lot from them. Marjorie Blanchard: It helps to bring in new people to the organization also. If you just stay with the same people who have to learn on their own, if you can bring in people that are further ahead or further down the pipe than you are, then that’s very inspiring – first of all – to work with them. One of the things we’re doing is, we’re doing more of these learning journeys where we are looking at the individual and where do they need to be at the end of a certain period of time, and their journey might include coaching; it might include some kind of reading, some kind of instructor-led training over time. I mean, one of the things that I think technology does is it gives us the advantage of being able to spread training out. We’re doing less “just in case” training; it’s better to spread it out, do real work and – you know, as you’re learning – and check in with each other, but have different modalities. That’s very popular, because people learn in different ways. Ken: It’s amazing – in 2019, we maybe did 20, 30 or 40 online sessions a month. We did 750 last month – online learning. Steven: Wow! That’s incredible! Ken: But we brought in people with talent too, that knew how to do that. We just didn’t sort of say, “Let’s see if our older folks can learn how to do this,” you know? We’re learning by watching too. Steven: That’s kind of what Eric said. Eric, just one more thought – you were talking about what you have to look at even if it goes way back to when if somebody was going to come in, we have to kill him because they might take my position. This is one of those things that the 21st-century organization – you kind of, if you want to be successful – you can’t be afraid to bring in people that have more talent in certain areas than you. Eric: Yes, absolutely. I have a cofounder of a large Silicon Valley company and he’s the CTO and the other cofounder is a CEO. When I started coaching the CTO, we had met with the CEO and I said, “What’s your goal for him?” and he said, “I want Chris to hire somebody he has no business hiring.” Right? And to your point, there’s a point in which growth can be – let’s see, it’s difficult to keep growing from within, right? If we want to be able to make a real phase shift, we’re gonna have to find that talent and experience elsewhere, right? I mean, that’s my job, our job – this entire conversation is about industry. It’s predicated on the notion that there are people who know how to teach and that they can impart that knowledge onto others in an effective way, so you either learn that or you hire that. I think that any executive who is insecure enough to not bring in people who are better than them in some ways is going to keep a very tight lid on the growth and the success of the organization. Bringing in somebody who’s got the experience, has got the genius – not having to be the most important, the most brilliant, the most notorious, the most famous, the most whatever – person in the room is one of the great keys to success, right? The CEO or the leader who wants to be the brightest, the smartest, the strongest, the fastest, is a pain in the neck and is absolutely going to keep the lid on their organization. Steven: I want to take one more shot at training. Karen, I wanted to ask you – we’ve talked about designing programs and what you have to do and so forth, but in terms of reaching all of these various generations, because you still want to train these people and people come in at different learning stages and so forth – it almost seems kind of like the guy on Ed Sullivan that used to spin the plates – you’ve got to keep these things all running. So, if you are in charge of a training company like that, how do you do this to affect everybody’s needs? One size certainly doesn’t fit all in the 21st-century. Karen Medsker: I really think we have to gear ourselves to the younger generations, to the more up-to-date. I think older people can get on board with that. It’s a whole lot better gearing it to the newer approaches than it is gearing it to the old approaches. Steven: What a great conversation this has been today. I’ve learned a lot. The whole idea of generations – we raised as many questions as we answered, but that’s the idea. This is a great conversation. I want to close out – I want to ask Ken actually, who’s written the book. Ken, if you are giving advice to people in terms of dealing with generations – and again, not just to people in your generation, but all the way down to generation Z – what would you recommend? Is it more a case of openness or embracing it? What would you tell them, as they are about to enter a new organization? Ken: I would say that they need to have a mindset that none of us is as smart as all of us. All the brains are not in their office; that 1+1 is a lot greater than 2, and how do you utilize and bring in people that have differences and together create something that’s fabulous. Steven: This conversation was fabulous. I hope we can do it again. Thank you all for participating. You all were great. I appreciate it. Eric: Thank you Steve. Thank you, Karen, Ken, Marjorie, Anthony, and Jasmine. Karen: Thanks Steve. Thanks everyone. The post Bridging the Gap – Seamless Workplace Productivity Across Generations – Part 3 appeared first on Epsilon XR.
18 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Bridging the Gap – Seamless Workplace Productivity Across Generations – Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 of our three-part series on Bridging the Gap – Seamless workplace productivity across generations. In this second part we will explore how various generations view their career paths, the differences, and the similarities. We’ll explore how each generation’s career perspective impacts the learning programs of our business or organization. Karen Medsker says today’s learning is about “No more sitting through five days of something, half of which you don’t need or 90% of which you don’t need. Much more targeted surgical strikes is what it’s about.” In other words, tech savvy Generation Z thrives on technology-driven microlearning. So glad you’re back to continue our discussion. Host – Steven Maggi: Now Karen, you’ve come from the baby boomer generation and you helped write all this; this is the idea of the new post-World War II organization and so forth. So, how – having dealt with all these generations in the workplace – how important is that with work just in general, as you’ve kind of seen the years go by? Karen Medsker: Well, I have to say that I’m what they call a “leading edge” boomer. There are kind of two types of boomers. I’m on the earlier side of the boomer generation. Our defining event was the Vietnam War. So, we thought we could end the war. We were the hippies and the demonstrators and the people who thought we could do anything. We thought we could end the war. We thought we could end pollution in the world. We were very ambitious and idealistic, but at the same time, we were the achievers. We worked hard; we’re the workaholic generation. So, it was important to us to have a career, first and foremost. Now, I’ve noticed that even though there was a change, people in earlier generations maybe stayed with one company and dedicated themselves to not only that career, but that company for their entire working lifetime. But people younger than me have less loyalty to a particular organization and tend to go where they can get better work/life balance or better salary or more challenging opportunities. It’s just interesting to see how attitudes toward careers have changed over time. I recently went on a college – first, I have to tell you, my daughter – who’s a Gen X – she and her friends were, “Oh, you know, I’m gonna go to art school because who cares if I can get a job or not. Do what you love.” I recently went on a college visit with my granddaughter, and the college girl showing us around said, “Well, I’m majoring in art education but I’m also gonna major in elementary education because I have to make sure that I can get a job.” I said, “Wow!” That’s a big difference with a Gen Z person compared to the Gen X kids that grew up with my daughter. I think I can see a big swing and maybe they’re coming back to being more career oriented. Steven: You know, Eric, it makes me think of Gen X, but you’re kind of seeing this across the board in the C-suites and so forth. How do you deal with all of these different personality types, because I think Karen brought up a great point is that – I remember my father fit in that baby boomer generation, maybe a little before that, but he worked for Safeway his entire life; that’s all he did, and that was expected. Most of his friends did the same thing. Nowadays, you’re trying to put together that great C-suite, but you’ve got to be able to move on a dime because people do not stay in the same position. How does that fit in, Eric? Eric Kaufmann: I’m loving what Karen said about the generation and the loyalty that – you said people are not staying as loyal to companies. There’s been a C shift in companies treating people as human resources and not really being loyal to their humans either, so there’s a bit of a reciprocity on both ends there, and when you ask Steve, this really provocative question about personality or how do you deal with the different types – I mean, I would direct the listeners to one of the great pieces of work out there; I don’t know maybe you guys have heard of this “situational leadership”, because there’s something about the ability to adapt your leadership to the person or team with whom you are engaged. And I think that if anything has happened that’s accelerated over time is that situational leadership, which I’m facetious obviously – I think Ken and Marjorie know it inside and out and backwards; they invented it, well, Ken did – but the premise of situational leadership is that you are going to be aware and attentive and present knowing both my own – so if I’m the leader, right? What are my own biases and prejudices, and the person in front of me or the team, where are they developmentally and what do they need so we can extrapolate that and expand that and add perhaps onto that situational leadership an awareness of culture, an awareness of age, an awareness of style? But I think that a really effective senior executive can’t just be self-centered. One of the great features of a highly effective executive is to be aware of other people. At the end of the day, when you’re the senior executive, you have no power to affect value other than the power that you have to influence and direct and guide and inspire humans. And so, I am a huge advocate for taking situational leadership and expanding it to be also including, not just developmental stage, but also style and age. Steven: And Jasmine, as I listen to both Karen and Eric, I just wonder – you’re kind of in the beginning of your career – what are you expecting? Are you expecting you’re going to work at a lot of different companies over time, maybe different parts of technology, or do you think now – when you look at things – maybe you’re going to stay in one area? Jasmine Doctolero: Well, as Gen Z, I can say that we’re very innovative, creative, and we always want to advance ourselves, so with Epsilon, I actually didn’t know what eLearning was. I knew that I was taking it when I was going through school, but now that I’m on the development side, I can see that I can actually pursue more than traditional e-Learning, which is virtual reality. As Gen Z, we’re very tech savvy, and seeing how a company that didn’t really grow with virtual reality is now expanding their department in virtual reality, it’s really cool to be a part of that and actually give my input and I just think it’s really cool that I can put my input as well, growing up with technology. It’s really cool to see a company starting to innovate all the new technologies that we have here today. Steven: Well, I think this conversation is showing that people at different age levels do think differently and they kind of look at the same world of work in a different way, which makes me want to ask Marjorie – we’ve talked about a lot of the advantages of different generations – what are some of the challenges though, because you can see people do think differently and these are all great thoughts, but if you’re trying to mold a group as a leader, what do you recommend? Marjorie Blanchard: Well, one thing I believe is that older workers – let’s say in the older generation – I see them as having the responsibility and the privilege actually to reach out and make connections with these younger generations. I think that that’s one of the spiffs – if you will – of being older is you know what’s been going on, you can help develop and mentor people. People still really appreciate one-on-one meetings with each other. I just facilitated a cohort of people getting to know each other better by kind of developing a leadership point of view that they shared, and I could just see both the older people and the younger people, they really valued getting to know each other. I’m beginning to believe with all of the isolation today that maybe the worksite is the last bastion of places where we are going to connect. Wouldn’t you love to have a daughter that has a great manager that knows how to connect with her or him? So, I actually believe the workplace is almost a noble place where we can help people connect, help them manifest their dreams and help them develop. If I were to say who needs to take the lead, I do believe it’s the people who’ve been around the longest, instead of being irritated because people don’t communicate the way they want them to or whatever. It’s kind of weird to see a movement start and I would challenge both the Gen X and the baby boomers. Steven: I love that, and you know Ken, as I listen to that too, I’m thinking we need to separate technology from those leadership skills because those same leadership skills that you and Marjorie have written about still apply. You’re using different tools, but not to let that new technology get in the way of that really kind of foundational leadership. Ken Blanchard: Yes, I think it really can play a major role. Peter Drucker said years ago to me, “Nothing good happens by accident. Put some structure on it.” I think with Zoom and technology, you can keep in touch with your people so much better because the old days of your direct reports were all in offices right down the hall from you is really gone. I don’t know how many people are going to really come back to the office. We’ve emptied one of our biggest office buildings of our five buildings and are putting it up for rent. We’re kind of having stations where people will come in when they want to, but a lot of people are gonna still want to work from home. Steven: I think that’s a great point and let’s talk a little about what happened through this whole Covid problem we’ve had throughout the country. It’s been a real shakeup. It’s impacted all the generations. Anthony, you talk about virtual reality and so forth, but this kind of makes the point for it more. Are you finding that people are kind of coming to you and saying, “You know, we may have to do more of this.” Because it’s like what Ken just said, we’re not going to stay in these buildings. We’re going to work out of our house and so forth, but some of these new technologies like virtual reality can happen at home. Anthony Garcia: Yea Steve, we do see a lot of people coming to us now and kind of more like investigating technology and what you can do with it. One of those things is providing training remotely so you could have your SME at their home and all of the students at their homes as well and doing the training, instead of having to come to a training facility altogether in person to complete that training. Of course, with all of this pandemic stuff going on, it’s more so the case now with a bunch of travel restrictions and meeting in larger groups and things like that, so that’s kind of forced people’s hands to look at technology in different ways. But I think some of that will still hang on just a little bit more than it probably would have if this didn’t happen, after things start clearing up and getting back to normal. Steven: Karen, I want to ask you – because you’ve been involved with training and stuff throughout your career – as you look at all this, are people pretty much – thanks to Covid-19 and stuff – now comfortable with this? Can you accomplish what you accomplished before in terms of training in person and so forth? Can you do it that way and will people accept it across the generational sides? Karen: Boy, that’s an interesting question, Steve. I developed a model, along with some of my graduate students several years ago, where we identified the characteristics of the learners, the learning content, the learning objectives and the context or the situation. Then, we identified which kind of a learning delivery system would be best for each situation after you had considered all of the factors. Would it be better to have some kind of distance or e-learning? Would it be better to do it in person or some other technology? So, with Covid, we’ve actually gotten away from that and everything is e-learning now or it can be face-to-face, but it has to be by distance. But I think there’s some other factors that have pushed us toward technology. I think one thing is the younger generation just relates better to technology and tends to learn that way. In fact, they tend to learn on their own, even without any formal training. They just go get what they need and learn it and move on. I think that’s a characteristic of especially Gen Y and Gen Z people – even maybe some millennials. But, having worked with ExxonMobil, I saw a big shift – since they’re a global company – they were doing a lot of things virtually anyway, just to save the cost of travel. So, I think there are a lot of factors pushing us more and more toward technology. I think you can accomplish most things – we used to say, “Okay, if you’re teaching interpersonal skills, you need to get together in person” – but I don’t see with all the technology we have now, why that can’t be done more virtually. Steven: Does that mean more microlearning too? Karen: Well, there’s that. I think that has to do with the younger people wanting quick fixes. They want to learn maybe one skill at a time, more just in time. I need this, I need that. Go learn it, go do it. Learn it as part of the job. No more sitting through five days of something, half of which you don’t need or 90% of which you don’t need. Much more targeted surgical strikes is what it’s about. I think a lot of us in the older generation – this kind of relates to what the Blanchards were saying – a lot of us know the content. We know the learning theories. We know the organizational theories – how people learn, how people perform and so forth and how to change people. So we know a lot of that stuff, but we need to get on board with the kids as to how to present it, because that’s the wave of the future. The post Bridging the Gap – Seamless Workplace Productivity Across Generations – Part 2 appeared first on Epsilon XR.
18 minutes | May 26, 2021
Bridging the Gap – Seamless Workplace Productivity Across Generations – Part 1
Today’s podcast showcases some of our best thought leaders from every generation in the workplace to discuss how generations connect. Joining us today is Ken and Margie Blanchard, Karen Medsker, Eric Kaufmann, Anthony Garcia, and Jasmine Doctolero. Part 1 of our 3-part series introduces you to each of the generations currently represented in the workplace and how the diversity impacts all of us. Ken Blanchard states it simply from something his mom would say, there is a “pearl of goodness in everybody.” Join us for an interesting discussion with five generations and their thoughts of how we move forward together. Host – Steven Maggi: Is your organization looking to forge a generation alliance to deal with the world of 21st-century business? You’ve come to the right place. Welcome to “Bridging the Gen Gap – Seamlessly Blending Workplace Productivity Across Generations.” Boy, do we have an incredible panel to discuss all this today. What we’re going to do on here basically is identify the benefits for generations working together and possible challenges, and maybe even identify design criteria to add to your training programs to ensure multi-generation audiences, all benefiting from learning. So, as I say, we have an all-star panel, and let’s start out with our first generation, the G.I. generation, which is defined as 1925 to 1945, and boy, do we have some names here. Ken and Marjorie Blanchard are with us. That’s right, they are the cofounders of the Ken Blanchard Companies, both world-renowned motivational speakers and management consultants. They are very prolific, have written over 60 books, including The One Minute Manager that everybody’s read; it sold over 15 million copies. Well Ken, let’s start with you. You’ve seen the growth of new generations coming along throughout your career. Has that been something that’s been an adjustment in your career all the way through as the years go on? Ken Blanchard: I don’t think so, you know, we were just looking at our company. We had to downsize some, but we still got 225 people. We have a pretty good mix of the generations and we’ve tried to keep it that way. I think my mother used to say to me, “Don’t you act like you’re better than anybody else, but don’t let anybody else act like they’re better than you. God didn’t make any junk. There’s a pearl of goodness in everybody.” So, I’ve never been uptight about what generation people are. I want to get to know them and what they’re thinking and how we can help each other. Steven: Now Marjorie, the fact that you guys are always out speaking to people and meeting new people all the time, does that kind of help you? Because these generations – you’re seeing them firsthand right there and you’re kind of getting the idea just by working with them from that perspective of how everybody understands everybody else. Marjorie Blanchard: I think basically people are the same. I do think there have been some changes just in the way we prefer to communicate. We’ve got kids ourselves and if I send them a text, they’ll probably answer it, but if I send them an e-mail, it might be a couple days. The biggest change for me is my comfort with technology. I really – I say to myself I was just born a little bit too early for these people that absolutely have no trouble at all just moving around in this technology space. We’ve had a few of our senior consultants decide that they don’t want to make that huge transition to teaching digitally, and they’ve retired. But then we’ve got some other just marvelous people who have made the transition and are doing a great job, and we’ve got new people as well. So, technology is one of the biggest things I think we have to be realistic about. Steven: We’ll come back and talk a little about that because I find that fascinating. I know just as the years go on for myself, suddenly stuff that I just jumped at – eh, I’d rather not bother. Let’s go on and let’s introduce Karen Medsker. She is representing the baby boomers from the years of 1946 to ‘64. Karen is the President and Principal Consultant of Human Performance Systems, Inc., been in the business over 40 years. I find it interesting Karen; you’re still working with some of these former students – because you’re also a professor – your graduate students and even their offspring. Do you find that – you know, you say your professional circle is really intergenerational – has that been a help throughout your career? Has that kind of kept you ahead of the game by being so tight with these different generations as they come along? Karen Medsker: It has indeed. As a professor, I had some fairly young students – some in their 20s and on up the ladder, some second career people in their 40s and even 50s – and recently, I’ve had a stent for two years of living with my millennial daughter and my two Gen Z granddaughters. Being associated with all of these young people has forced me, more or less kicking and screaming, to keep up with some of the latest trends. Steven: What happens in your private life is going to eventually get into the business life, right? I mean, these things are not totally separate and some of the same tools that your family uses are going to be used in the workplace. Karen: Yes, and I’ve been working for ExxonMobil as a training designer for over 20 years, and as that 20 years passed, we went from people attending a three-day in-person course to everything being e-learning, and some of the young people being hired wanting those trainings to be shorter and shorter and punchier and more entertaining. So, I’ve had to keep up with the learner population. Steven: Well, let’s move now to Generation X and that’s 1965 to 1980. With us is Eric Kaufmann, the president of Sagatica, and really interesting – you should go to his website – because the way he describes his business is in 20 years, he prides himself and his company by tapping untapped potential in the C-suite. Eric, I just have to ask you, is part of that being able to adjust to these things? Because you being in the middle – you’re dealing with generations that came before you and generations that have come after. Eric Kaufmann: Steven, yeah, thanks for that great question, and actually, it’s not just professional, right? So, my folks are in their 80s and my daughters are 18 and 20, and so some of the – I think, Karen, what you just mentioned in terms of living in that range – seeing it in the workplace, I think you know the miracle of – miracle might be too strong – but sort of the great privilege of science and medicine, people are living longer and healthier lives with more ability to be contributing and creative. So, there’s a big range of – obviously, this is why this program is on. So, from a C-suite perspective though, it starts to get a little bit like – I love, Ken, the way you described your mom and how she said that nobody’s broken, everyone’s a pearl and something to that effect, right? When we’re looking at the C-suite, there’s sets of challenges and requirements that don’t leave a lot of room for age, right? Or preference. You know, there’s certain ways you want to show up to serve your people. There are certain ways you have to show up to be able to think strategically, and there are responsibilities and pressures that tend to transcend age. So, it is interesting – there’s something real, right? There’s something real about the cultural influences that effected people over time – so, if you grew up in the 60s or 70s or the 80s – but underneath it all, it’s human beings making decisions and working with other humans. That’s at the heart of it. Steven: That’s a great lead-in to Anthony Garcia. He works in eLearning and VR development at Epsilon Systems Solutions. He’s representing the millennials, ‘81 to ‘96. Anthony, you had said that part of working with different generations is not over-emphasizing that age difference, and yet you work with VR, which is kind of scary. I mean, we were talking about some of the stuff from before, like what the Blanchards were saying was some people are like, “Wait, I don’t want to get near it!” Well, when you think of VR, just the thought of it’s kind of scary. But is that your attitude, Anthony, is to go out there and to try to not buy into that and to just try to simplify it to them so they don’t get scared from it? How does that work? Anthony Garcia: Yeah, great question, Steven. Kind of what we talked about before is that it really comes down to being patient with each other when introducing different types of technology or even different ideas. I don’t even think that just applies to different generations – kind of what we’re talking about now – but just to people from different backgrounds in general, just because we have so much diversity in the world and our nation right now that you are meeting people from all different types of backgrounds. They all have different exposure to media and then even the way that they live their lives are very different. So, having that patience to kind of go through those different things and new ideas is really crucial. Steven: “Patience” is a great phrase that we’re gonna probably say a number of times in this conversation. But, as we go to our last generation – Generation Z, which is 1997 to 2015, 6 to 24-years-old – we have Jasmine Doctolero, eLearning and VR developer also at Epsilon Systems Solutions. And now, she’s been in the business for a year and a half or so, but I got to wonder, Jasmine, as you hear all of this and so forth – we talked about patience – is it hard to identify with these generations ahead of you, the fact that they didn’t just grow up with this the way you did? Or is it something again – kind of like what Anthony was saying – where you just got to have patience and just assume that everybody can get this stuff? Jasmine Doctolero: Yeah, so pinging off of Anthony, being at home – my parents, they didn’t really grow up with all of these technologies, and they are the ones usually calling out to me and my brother to help them on Zoom conferences and all of these new technologies that they’re not familiar with. Being able to be there – an assistor and teacher – it’s really comforting to know that anyone can learn how to use these technologies. So, like Anthony said, patience is definitely a key in this. Steven: Well Ken, as you hear all this stuff, and of course you’ve written the book – you and Marjorie have written the book and many books. I know when we talked before this conversation, you had mentioned that in your family, you are doing this – these people are coming in and yet this mix is going on there. When you hear this, does this all make sense? Is it just a process that will continue as the years go on? Ken: Yeah, I think so. I think that technology is going to keep on getting better. I mean, who could’ve ever thunk that we could do the stuff that we’re doing now. I just couldn’t believe that I could be sitting in my office and doing a session for a whole bunch of people in India the other day. So, I mean, duh. But I’m anxious to learn. I heard other people, I’m kind of learning how to do some of the stuff myself, not just be helped. It’s a journey, but I’m excited about it. Steven: Eric, as you talked about the C-suite when you were chatting before, this is one of those things I would imagine that if you’re going to be good in the C-suite, regardless of where you fit in this generational side, you’ve got to have access to these people and it’s not a matter of you sitting in one of those offices knowing how to do it, but knowing how to get it done. Is that kind of what you look for when you’re helping companies do this? And also, as we’re serving very diverse clients, we want to know from all different directions – from the senior side on down to the youngest side – kind of how these people think, and it seems like we’re a little more segmented today in the way we think than we were 20, 30, 40 years ago. Is that something for the 21st-century C -suite or am I off target? Eric: The point that you’re making about we are more segmented, I think that – so, I’ve lived in four different countries – and I grew up in a multinational family. My daughter is right now studying in the Netherlands, and so I’ve been exposed to lots of different cultures and lots of different ways of being. I’ve noticed that people have traditionally been somewhat isolated. I would say that while there is a perception that we’re more isolated, in fact relative to 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 100 years ago – there’s a more distributed awareness among people of different cultures. I think that it’s convenient to say that we’re more isolated in the way we are – of course, we are pushed and pulled into very narrow channels of social media that only confirm and affirm biases – and having said all that, there’s far more opportunity to rub shoulders with people of different generations of different cultures. I’ve spent the last year just like the rest of us, right? In my office at home. I gave up my office in my commercial office and I’ve just learned working from home, but quite frankly, on Zoom I’ve met amazing human beings all around the globe and I’m not the only one. So, while technology can be isolating, it is also remarkably liberating and I don’t think we should forget that the point of technology is to facilitate human function, human behavior, not just how people think but how people feel. When we get caught up about technology as being a barrier, humans have always used technology to accelerate and improve their ability to do things, right? But we’re having to catch up with doing things in different ways. I think that a CEO, an executive, a leader, a supervisor, a mom, a human being that doesn’t know how to reach people – not just how they think, but how they feel – and relate, not just in terms of cognitive ideas, but in terms of meaningful human connection. People who can’t do that will suffer a real limitation in their ability to influence, to lead and to actually have meaningful lives. Whatever we can do with technology to connect, I think that’s the magic. Steven: Well, speaking of magic, Anthony, that must make you smile, because I’m thinking with VR – and you’re kind of on the forefront of this – this is exactly what you want to let everybody know is that we can do more and more things with virtual reality. It eliminates – not completely – but it eliminates a lot of the travel we talked about, and it’s kind of like what Ken was saying before, where you can do something in India the same day from here in the United States. So, is that something you try to push when you talk about VR, Anthony? Anthony: It is definitely one of the bigger aspects that we talk about when talking to people about using VR for training and educational purposes and things like that, where it kind of broadens your scope or your client base and kind of the type of trainings that they’re able to partake in, and of course, a lot of people may think that VR training or other type of simulation trainings are there to replace different types of training – whether it’s instructor-led training or in-classroom training – but it’s really there to supplement those trainings. It kind of provides an environment for certain situations that you can’t really replicate inside the real world safely. So, it is exciting to hear Eric talk about those types of things and how it kind of broadens that scope and that accessibility to everybody. Steven: Jasmine, you’re working with VR development as well. When you work with Anthony and so forth, is this an opportunity where working with multi-generations is really helpful? Because you get the technology and so forth, but you kind of want to find out what those fears are and what the benefits are – specifically to these other generations – so you can help them transition into that. Jasmine: 100%. I think it’s important to be open to new technologies and to supplement them; that way, you have a wider range, I guess. The post Bridging the Gap – Seamless Workplace Productivity Across Generations – Part 1 appeared first on Epsilon XR.
18 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
Microlearning – Right training. Right time. Right People
In today’s podcast, we will listen to Shannon Tipton discuss training and development’s newest trend — Microlearning. Defined as short bursts of focused, right-sized content to help people achieve a specific outcome, Shannon shares her years of experience in the learning and development industry and the impact that microlearning is making in our post-pandemic work environment. Host – Steven Maggi: 2020 was that kind of year. It affected business across the board, especially in learning and development, a really rough year. So, the question is, how do you come back from that? One answer might be microlearning, and we’ve got a real expert to talk about it today. I’d like to welcome Shannon Tipton to the show. She owns a company called Learning Rebels, has been 20 years in the training industry and is recognized for bringing real-world experiences and nontraditional solutions to help businesses, and that’s always important. She is also the author of Disruptive Learning. Shannon, welcome to the show. So, first of all, let’s just start out, what is microlearning? Shannon Tipton: Well, microlearning – it’s interesting that you start there, because if you went onto the Internet, you would find a variety of different definitions. The definition that I landed on some five or six years ago when I first started doing work and research in this area, was that microlearning is short bursts of focused, right-sized content to help people achieve a specific outcome. So, what that means is it’s about helping people do the thing they want to do at the moment they need to do it. Steven: Wow, so that’s a different way of thinking of this, because a lot of people when they think training and development, they’re thinking a couple of days in a place, a book to go along. You’re talking about really taking care of one particular issue at one time. Shannon: Yes, that’s exactly right. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the myths that I have tackled over and over again is that microlearning is about having one key concept, one key idea at a time. So microlearning is not the place to teach people the history of the combustion engine. It’s to show them how to turn on the car and that’s it, because that’s what somebody needs to know at that precise moment. Steven: So is this kind of the way we’re looking at things now in the 21st century. I mean, a lot of training in the home is done by going to YouTube and looking for one particular activity or something. Is that kind of getting to that, where we’ll take each of these things as they come along? Shannon: Oh yes, absolutely, and YouTube is the granddaddy of all microlearning. If you need to learn how to do something, almost the entire of the U.S. is going to YouTube to learn how to do it. Do I feel that learning and development is in that direction? Absolutely. I think that to be honest, we’re a little bit of a lagging indicator in this place. The whole world has migrated to bite-sized learning content – microlearning content – yet L&D still wants to put out a full course and a full curriculum, and that’s really not what people want. I think that the disruption that happened in 2020 really lead the industry to take a good hard look at itself and say, “We can’t do it this way anymore.” The businesses simply cannot because of the historic event around us. But now, what can we do to help people to take away disruption, to take away friction, to take away frustration? These smaller microlearning elements really is the solution. Steven: Is one of the advantages of it the fact that you can kind of change it to go? Because you’re not talking about 20 or 30 things, you’re talking about this one particular issue. As things change, you can kind of change on the fly. Shannon: You are more flexible and more adaptable, and especially if you create microlearning in a drip-feed context; meaning, “I’m going to deliver one piece of learning to you on Monday and another piece of related material to you on Wednesday and another piece maybe on Friday” and you give them these small little bits. You can plan ahead. You can go and say, “You know what? What we sent out on Monday didn’t work, so let’s fix what’s going to go out on Wednesday.” You have the ability to flex and adapt as you need to. Steven: Do you find that this makes for better learning experiences? In other words, as somebody’s kind of taken over a job and they’re doing these types of things, do they learn better that way than spending a weekend somewhere or whatever it might be? Shannon: Oh, for sure, and science tells us that. Science tells us that over and over again. People just are not built to sit in a day-long classroom without any sort of learning reinforcement before or afterwards and be able to retain the topic. It just isn’t going to happen. And especially with adults, when they’ve got so many things that are going in and out of their brains at any given time, the focus in a classroom on a facilitator or instructor is never 100%. You’re wondering, “Is my train running late? Did the kids get lunch? Did somebody walk the dog?” You have all of these thoughts in your head. And so, the more that we can help people allow their brains to breathe through microlearning, through bite-size learning, through structured space learning, then the better off we are. Steven: One of the things when you go to your website – learningrebels.com – one thing that jumps out at you is you keep repeating, “You gotta know who the end-user is.” Why is that so important? Shannon: I say this often, “One-size-fits-all training benefits no one.” It’s like going to the store and trying to find one-size-fits-all pants. It just doesn’t work. And so, you have to understand who are you sending this information to? So, if you create a series of sales training, let’s say, and you don’t target that to someone in particular, then that means you have new people who might be struggling to learn concepts that are better targeted towards more tenured salespeople, and vice versa. You have tenured salespeople and you’re putting them through intro training because you’ve created this one-size-fits-all. So, microlearning really does – and it demands actually – for you to take a very specific microscope to who you are sending this to. So, are you sending this directly to new people who are less than six months with your organization? Are you sending this to experienced salespeople who have more than 25 years? Because again, right people, right time to help them with the information they need to know when they need to know it. Steven: Does all of a sudden microlearning comes in – because it’s so laser-focused – does it sometimes cause disruption or friction in the workplace, where one person’s getting this, another person isn’t. You know, it’s not like everybody getting it all at once. Shannon: Right. Actually, I think there’s more of a relief there where people are like, “Thank goodness, I don’t have to sit through all of this.” They can ask their peers, “What are you learning today? Oh, I can’t wait until I get to that point because I’m learning this right now.” I think that there is a generalized relief again about helping people get through their workday, because when we think about what people go through during the course of their workday – a study was conducted by Bersin by Deloitte, which told us that people only spend 1% of their workweek on professional development – 1%. That’s it. So, that is just enough time for somebody to watch a baby goat video. If you’re competition – if you’re gonna watch my training program or a baby goat video, I guarantee people are watching baby goat videos. So, I think that people are very relieved to be able to say, “I’ve got this small bit of training that’s going to help me.” Steven: You had mentioned in your bio – and I mentioned it at the top of the show – that you enjoy bringing real-world experience to training. Well, this is really the case because everything you do in here, you’re doing for a real purpose. It’s not, “Well maybe 80% of this will work for you, or 50%.” No, this particular thing is made for that problem at that moment. Shannon: Exactly. Right training, right time, right people solve the problem. The key is that the business wants to keep operating, and so everything that we do as an L&D business – or as an L&D industry rather – needs to connect with overall business value. Why am I doing this? Why are we putting this training out in front of people? And, if that training is successful in whatever context it is, how is it helping the business then improve? If there is no improvement attached to the training, then why are we doing it? Steven: But do you get some pushback some time from the old timers that grew up in that other world? In other words, is it something – microlearning – that you’ve got to make people feel comfortable because they have an initial “the hair on their back is up” because it’s something they’re not familiar with? Shannon: Well yes, to answer the first part of the question, do we get resistance from within the industry? Sure, because it’s really ingrained in some areas of the industry where it’s learning first – come up with the learning solution first. When you have a hammer, everything is a nail, right? It’s about looking at it from an entirely different perspective, and so now we’re asking learning and development people to put business first and to put people first. So, if you do right by the people and you do right by the business, then the learning is going to happen, so it really is a paradigm shift for the industry, and that is what creates a sense of joy for learning. So, if you want to create a culture of learning and you want to create curious people within your organization, give them something wonderful to be curious about. Steven: So, as you’re planning this thing out, is there any worry – or is this just strictly a myth – that “Oh my gosh, there’s gonna be so many different things that pop up.” But then as I thought about that, I thought to myself, “Well, that’s the whole point.” You’re solving problems as they come up. Does that ever come up when you’re initially trying to make that paradigm switch? Shannon: Yes, because then what happens is your L&D person might go into overdrive, and then they’ve created a hundred microlearning elements and they haven’t necessarily filed them appropriately or put them in a space where people can access them smartly; that creates anxiety in and of itself. So, one of the touch points for microlearning is to be sure that what you create is easily accessible. So, for example, if you went to Google and you searched on Google – if you search one way, you’re going to get a million results. Yet, if you add maybe another key word to it, you might cut your results in half, right? So, it’s about smart searching and it’s about smart naming, because here’s the thing, there’s an old joke out there that says, “Where do businesses go to die? The second page of Google.” Steven: Yea, exactly. And you’re always afraid too that somehow the really good thing is on that second page that you didn’t look at. Shannon: Right, exactly, which is why structure and organization of your microlearning elements becomes just as important as the microlearning element itself, because people are not going to click five times to find something. Think about yourself, if you go to a website and you can’t find what you are looking for within the first two or three clicks, you’re off to another website. And the same thing happens with learning. You can have the best training created, but if people can’t find it, they can’t use it. So, you have to think about how are you structuring all of this too so again, we’re not creating confusion or frustration. Steven: So, organization is a key. I like that. And then finally, saving the delivery tool decision – you say it’s best to save that for last. Why is that? Shannon: Content drives delivery. A lot of times, L&D people – and just people in general – you’ll jump to a conclusion that, “We’re going to create a video today. We’re going to create a video for salespeople on how to talk about the features and benefits of our product.” On the surface, that sounds smart; however, let’s think about where do salespeople spend the majority of their time? In their cars. Are they watching videos in their cars? Steven: Hopefully not. Shannon: Hopefully not. So then, that means, when we think about – that’s why the end-user again comes into play. Who is the end-user? Where will they be accessing the content and what is the content about? And then you let those components drive the delivery decision. Which, if I were to take 1+1+1, I would put that into a podcast series for them to listen to while they are in the car. They don’t need to see this. They need to grasp the concept, and you can do that very well by listening too. So, it’s about understanding, “What is the end result? What are you hoping to achieve?” And let that decision drive your delivery modality. Steven: We are finding too that a lot of this training and so forth doesn’t necessarily happen in the workplace anymore, right? So, I would imagine the phone has become a great delivery tool. Shannon: Absolutely. You just see that more and more. People are rarely an arm’s length away from their own. The more that we can make use of where people are, the better off we become. So, thinking about – if I have a company-issued device, then let’s send learning to that device, to that mobile phone or to that tablet; easily transferable, easily portable, and it can reach people wherever. I can be in Starbucks and get my WiFi and have at it. It really does make it easier when you think about it like that. Steven: And our final question we ask everybody is – I know you think about this a lot, this subject is something that you’re constantly thinking about, and it is changing – where do you see it in the next few years? I know sometimes we like to ask for 10 years, but who could even imagine? I imagine there’s big changes in the next couple of years. Shannon: I’m having trouble thinking past this year – this year’s still Groundhog Day, it feels like. Where do I see this in the next few years. Well, I just see it growing stronger, to be honest with you. I think that we are going to take more advantage of drip-feed learning, which is feeding little bits of information to people in scheduled bites. I also think that we’re going to see – because of the events of 2020 – we’re seeing more virtual training and more online training. So, that means we need stronger performance support. So, this is where I think microlearning really does become your best tool to have in your back pocket, because training isn’t successful without some sort of learning reinforcement. It is not successful without some sort of feedback mechanism. And microlearning really does enhance those two critical points. I think that the future of microlearning – it is not a fad, it is not a trend, it is here, and it is loud and it is proud and it will be around for a long time. Steven: It’s an exciting topic. Shannon, thank you so much for joining us today. I really enjoyed that. Shannon: Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate you spending some time with me today. The post Microlearning – Right training. Right time. Right People appeared first on Epsilon XR.
22 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Managing Evolving Demands of EHS Compliance
Even before the pandemic, EHS regulations and compliance have continually evolved. Having a tool that manages compliance throughout the company is essential to maintaining a company culture of safety. Today we speak with Betsy Cottle for a look into a robust EHS compliance software – EHSdesk. Host – Steven Maggi: Environmental compliance is essential in today’s world – no question about it – but the big question is “How do you do it efficiently?” Our guest today is going to tell us exactly how. We have Betsy Cottle on the line. She is a Program Director for Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc. Betsy, it’s so great to have you here. You’ve kind of dedicated your life to this, haven’t you? Betsy Cottle: Yes, I have. It’s been the bulk of my career. Steven: Yeah, and you’ve been in the business for 33 years as an IT professional? Betsy: Yes, that’s true, and most of it dedicated to environment health and safety software. Steven: And the amount of change you’ve seen in that period of time is incredible, and when you talk about environmental compliance, it’s always been important, but technology at least has helped us keep up with all the changes and so forth. This has been really important with the changes we’ve seen. Betsy: Back in the 90s and early 2000s, it was rare to find a company that actually had software to manage this data, so we always felt like we were definitely ahead of the curve. But flash forward to today and it’s much more prevalent in our society that this is just embedded in the culture – that you need to care dearly about the environment and about the safety of your workers. Steven: And we as a society won’t accept misses anymore, right? I mean, people really want that compliance that’s right on the mark and as the right requirements get even tighter – even more from an enforcement point of view – you’ve got to be doing the right thing. Betsy: You have to. There’re just no ifs, ands or buts anymore in this day and age. How you go about doing it, that’s the tricky part. It’s actually fairly difficult for many companies to meet the strict regulations, so that’s where software comes in to help you try to meet those goals. Steven: We’re going to talk about a great piece of software today, but before we get into it, I had one other question for you. And that is – when we do these types of things, we try to learn a little about people, and one of the things I learned about you which is so interesting is that you are a singer and a piano player. I think most of us here, people that are working with IT and particularly as many years as you have, they can’t imagine that. How do you balance both sides of the brain with that? Betsy: I think there’s been studies done that many artists excel in math, and there’s just some sort of symmetry there between music and math and logic – which is really the basis for programming – so it’s really not that strange to think that someone who is by trade a programmer would also be good in the arts, but it is a good healthy division of the two sides of the brain – to keep the creative juices flowing with the artistic side, but also keep the more logic-oriented side going with the programming. Steven: Well, let’s get into that a little. A program called EHSdesk, and I’m really fascinated by this because – and first of all it’s been around since 1999, which is a long time – but it was originally developed as a Windows application, a network application. Talk about the transition from then to today. Betsy: Yes, so back in the day, back in the 90s, everything was on Windows of course; I mean, Windows is still the operating system, but I think today in 2020, one would find it very strange to have a Windows-based system. It used to be that you had a piece of software that was installed on your C: drive, right on your desktop. And that software would let you access the database that was typically in the network. At the time, it was really a very large team of people who developed the software, sort of responding to the issues of the day and trying to help companies be in compliance. Over time, it became clear that the Internet of course was the wave of the future, and now people think it’s funny to even think that, but of course it was all new at one point. Steven: Well, mobile access is so important now too, right, because mobile devices have become a big part of the way we do work. Betsy: It is a huge part of how we do work, but there’s still a ways to go I would say in the corporate world with regard to mobile devices, because there’s such strict rules around the security and it’s not always evident that someone’s mobile device is secure. So, that’s a big struggle that many companies have with allowing their workers to actually use phones, use tablets out in the field or in the shop to ensure that they’re secure, because just your personal mobile device, that wouldn’t be good enough for instance. Steven: Right, and is that one of the things where EHSdesk – which is customized – that’s a big part of when you go to work with the company and so forth, exactly who is going to use it and how? There are all those issues you just brought up. Betsy: Right, it’s so incredibly important for any software – EHSdesk included – that there is a consistency across the different facilities within the company, and across the different people that perform all the roles, because people move around, people change jobs, and it’s really critical that you don’t have to retrain someone every time they switch a position or switch a location. It’s all about being consistent and easy to use, so that you can keep that training burden down and once you’ve sort of learned one thing, then you can easily adapt to the next and/or go to a different location and easily adapt, so that’s kind of a critical component. Steven: I’ve been looking at your client list and it’s quite impressive. I don’t know how detailed you want to get with exactly who they are. All I can say is they are some of the biggest names you’ve ever seen in industries where safety is top priority – I guess everywhere it’s paramount – but particularly in here, it’s absolutely important. Does EHSdesk work for some of the smaller-type companies too, or is it really just aimed at these large behemoths? Betsy: Well, it was developed for these large behemoths, but it’s easily scalable down to the smallest company. It’s definitely in the software world easier to go from designed to work across a multinational corporation in multiple languages, multiple countries, down to just one facility uses it with a handful of users. It’s very difficult to go the other way. If the software was designed for just a few people, a few locations and then you try to scale it up, that’s nearly impossible, but because we had this advantage of having our subject matter expertise come from such large multinational corporations, that’s allowed us to really make it scalable and flexible and easy to scale down. Steven: The product itself, I guess the key word as I see through your literature is “efficiency”, and that’s really kind of the idea with this, because this can take up so much time. It’s very important. You want to make it at least as efficient as possible, and I would imagine that’s probably concern number one for anybody thinking of adapting this to their situation. Betsy: Well, in the compliance world, it’s really all about mining your data, gathering your data, and analyzing it and looking at it for trends to ensure that at a minimum you are complying. But, more typically these days is that people set goals, metrics, and you really can’t perform metrics against data that’s not managed, that’s not consistent. So, the idea of software is to have a really centralized, easy to use, safe, secure backed up place that you can gather this data. We’ve designed in as many efficiencies as we can where, for instance, any piece of data that’s central to many different functions is only ever there once, which is not something you would get, for instance, if there were five different spreadsheets tracking this kind of data versus software where you can ensure that there is one central set of data. That alone gets you efficiency, but also easy-to-use pages. If we know the role of the person is a person that’s infrequently using the software, then we will make sort of a special quick form for them to make it easy to get their data input in versus perhaps a safety professional who was interested in a much more detailed layer of data. Steven: That seems to make a lot of sense, because I think one of the things you don’t want to do is scare people off with software. Some people just are naturally scared of anything in the IT world. They know their job and so forth, but when it comes to new stuff – I don’t want to learn that, I don’t want to make a mistake – so if you can put something together, I guess user-friendly is really important to be able to get people comfortable with it. Betsy: Absolutely, and really great training materials. We pride ourselves on our very nice role-based user guides. I think back in the day, the software documentation and user guide was something that people avoided, but we’ve worked really hard to make it so that it’s a really efficient training tool so that a brand-new user can come on and take advantage of those training guides, which are catered to the role that they are going to perform in the system – not just screen by screen – and that enables quicker startup and more efficient use of the system. Steven: The biggest concern for any organization is going to be twofold: one has to be “Is our performance going to improve and can you show us how it’s improved?” and then secondly, and maybe the most important thing, “Ultimately, does this save us money or cost us more?”. Betsy: Right, so in the end, of course, the goal is worker safety and environmental protection. But, if you peel that back one layer, you can’t ensure worker safety and environmental protection unless you’ve done the work to gather the data to ensure that you’re within permit limits or that your injury rates are going down, because you’ve put in proactive programs to fix the issues that you identified, but you have to identify the issues first in order to do those proactive programs. So, it’s really all about tracking and trending and making sure that if you are a company with many facilities, many people, many users, that you have a way to look across your whole enterprise – so that it’s not just one facility in Arkansas doing a really great job, but the lessons can be learned by the facility in Connecticut – because it’s all in the same system and somebody at the oversight level can look across the whole domain and find trends. Steven: You know, when you go to customize these programs for particular companies and so forth, what is kind of the process there? I imagine you kind of have to dig deep to really understand where you can make this do all those things you just talked about – make them save money, make them easy to use. Betsy: Well, that is quite a challenge and at the heart of it is you have to garner what is required and sort of draw a circle around the pieces that everyone would want, everyone would need – they’d meet the regulations, they’re a benefit to all – and then isolate out the individual requests that perhaps are a little bit of a one-off. Then, you just need to do a really solid job with the programming so that you’re never hard coding these rules and you are always making sure that for the client that wants that extra thing, they see that extra thing. But, for everybody else, they don’t see that extra thing because they don’t need it or want it. So, it’s always a balance between what’s required, what’s optional, what everyone would want, and what only certain people and certain countries, for instance, might only want to see. There are definitely a lot of extra US-based regulations that perhaps the user in another country wouldn’t care to know about. Steven: I guess people just simply have to work on whatever budget they come with, because it’s one of those things. I imagine you could put together a Cadillac-type program that has everything you could ever imagine if that’s what you want to do? Betsy: If that’s what you want to do and that’s what you have the money to do, that’s great, but you always need to bear in mind the infrequent user, like I was mentioning. There’s got to be levels. There has to be sort of an easy-to-use page, a more involved page, and then the ultimate page that somebody who really wants every bell and whistle. It has to be readily set up by an admin so that there can be different layers of users. I’m not sure that everybody pays attention to that enough in the software development world, and its key because you’re just not going to get that infrequent user who, as you said, is a little scared and just really only wants to know about four or five things. You’re just not going to lure them in to use the software if they have to deal with 50 things. But then there’s the person who wants the 50 things, so yeah, it’s always a balance. Steven: And one of the things you talk about a lot at EHSdesk is these various modules, and I want you to go through some of them if you would? First of all, the safety modules, and there’s a few there that are just set and really can go to affect almost anybody that has these issues. Betsy: Yes, the safety modules really tie almost directly to the regulations and they sort of cover a bunch of different subject matter expertises. There’s a few that revolve around equipment, like machinery, and that’s ensuring that you’ve done a detailed assessment to make sure that the machine is guarded properly and that there’s no way the operator’s fingers or limbs or anything else can get anywhere near the mechanics of the machine. A lock out/tag out – that’s when you’re going to shut down or start up the equipment, you have to make sure that you’re doing that safely. There is PIV, which is a powered industrial vehicles module – and anybody who’s in the manufacturing world knows there’s all sorts of little buggies and forklifts driving around – so that module is aimed at making sure that you are detailing how many of those vehicles you have, who’s driving them, who’s allowed to be driving them. There’s something called “confined space” and that’s to do with spaces that are not normally designed for human occupancy but that humans have to go into occasionally, for instance to clean. You have to make sure you address the hazards there, so that would be the safety portion. Steven: Then there’s the management systems modules, which take a different take, but yet everybody I know in things from risk assessment to corrective action requests and all of these kinds of things, that’s real important as well and that’s seen by maybe a different, possibly a different group of people. Betsy: Right, so we call them “management systems” because they are more along the lines of oversight, so in the safety world, you know, it’s something very specific that you are detailing. In the management systems modules, it’s things that occur that could occur in the office environment or they could occur out in the field or on the shop floor. For instance, it’s your audit program, really any company is going to have an audit program where they go through and they have various checklists and then they have findings and they issue corrective actions, so that’s sort of a typical example. As you mentioned “risk assessment” – that’s just a matter of going through and identifying “what are the hazards present?” and “what are you going to do to control those hazards and abate the risks?”. Incident tracking – that’s any sort of incident that comes up like an injury or a near miss or a spill. So, you have to document in detail all of that. So, some of the management systems modules are directly related to regulations like, for instance, the incidents would have to do with OSHA injury tracking, of course, but then others are just important pieces of anybody’s environment health and safety program – to ensure that they have identified the risks and that they are auditing on a regular basis and they’re correcting any issues. Steven: And then finally, we’ve got the environment modules – things like waste tracker and regulation manager and so forth, and that’s another thing that goes directly to those regulations that you are dealing with. Betsy: Yes, definitely directly to the regulations. So, any fairly large operation or even a small one is going to have emissions to the air, discharges of wastewater to the discharge points, hazardous waste, industrial waste, electronic waste. There is also a section on painting – many companies get involved in paint spray operations and those emissions to the air are very tightly controlled and permitted, usually by the state. And then there’s a section on fuel-burning, anybody who is burning a boiler, which is most companies. Believe it or not, you have to keep track of those emissions to the air and those are also tightly controlled by permits with the state. All of these things have to be measured, tracked, and many have to be directly reported to a governing agency, so it really is critical that you keep track of that data. Steven: Well finally, you’ve got this great interface and we’re going to tell people how to get more information on EHSdesk at the end of the show, but I do want to mention one that came up that kind of just attracted my attention, and that’s dealing with viruses, which of course in this day and age now is just so essential. Has there been a lot of interest in this? I guess the timing of this is just ideal. Betsy: Right, it’s actually brand-new. We’ve just released it, so it’s coming soon to the company near you. But it’s obviously what’s going on in the world and so we thought we would take advantage of the fact that we really already have the ability to track similar data and just mold it into what we can see is going on with Covid. So, it allows you to document anyone that has been diagnosed with Covid and gotten ill and is symptomatic, so that would be treated similar to a workplace injury. Then, it allows you to track all of your employees who have been tested – either negative or positive for Covid and are asymptomatic – so it’s not an actual illness, but it’s a test. And then the last piece is that it gives you some flexibility to document your daily checklist. Most companies that I know are having their employees answer a series of questions every day about whether they have a temperature, whether they’ve been near someone with Covid etc. So, this just allows you to detail those answers in a database and do some tracking and trending. Steven: You know, you mentioned flexibility, and I’m thinking that’s really the value of this kind of software – is you have the flexibility if something comes up like this and nobody could’ve ever envisioned, you can react to it fairly quickly. Betsy: Yes, we have the developing staff in-house so if we see a need that the software is not meeting, we can fairly quickly react and get that out to market. Steven: Well Betsy, it’s been really a pleasure to talk with you, but I have to before we leave want to ask you, you’ve been doing this for a long time, you’re on the cutting edge of it. We look down the road 5 to 10 years, what is the vision you see for these types of programs? Betsy: I think there will always be a need for these types of programs even if, let’s say, perhaps some of the regulations get walked back. I think as we discussed in the beginning, this is embedded in the culture and it’s just an expectation of an employee. They expect that they are going to be working in a safe environment and that their company is protecting the environment, that they are not becoming a polluter, so I see even more companies migrating toward software. I think that many companies are still doing it the old way, if you can believe it – Word documents, Excel spreadsheets – and I think it’s just going to become apparent to all that a portal is the way to go. I mean, that’s how we manage all of our day-to-day data in life, even having a patient portal for your medical information. I’ve seen software like EHSdesk that’s portal-like, where all you need is a browser to get to it. I think that’s the wave of the future and, believe it or not, there’s not as many companies as you would think that are there yet. And of course, mobile – everything is going to be pushing more and more to the tablets and the phones – we can see that as a trend. Steven: 21st-century answers to 21st-century problems. Betsy Cottle, thank you so much for being with us. I really enjoyed chatting with you today. Betsy: Thanks for having me. The post Managing Evolving Demands of EHS Compliance appeared first on Epsilon XR.
14 minutes | Sep 9, 2020
Bridging the Technology Gap in Skills Assessment
“If you think about how technology has aided education, what do we have? We have the LMS, which is very good at knowledge transfer and knowledge learning. It’s very good at knowledge assessment as well; you can build exams and if the exams are well built, the LMS can deliver them and dissect the data and all those kinds of things. And on the skill side we have simulations that are very good at teaching skills. We have emerging AR and VR that are very good for skills as well, in terms of teaching them. But what do we have in terms of technology to assist us with skill assessment? Well, nothing. I mean, if you think of it as a four-quadrant kind of matrix, there’s this big gap under skills and assessment. This, to me, is the last piece in terms of kind of the broad application of technology to learning, to training and assessment.” Murray Goldberg, CEO of Marine Learning Systems, is back with us to discuss his solution for the skills assessment gap. Murray Goldberg was a tenured faculty member conducting research on the effectiveness of web-based learning in the department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. In 1997, Murray founded WebCT, which grew to be the world’s leading LMS serving 14 million students in 80 countries at 4,000 universities and colleges. WebCT sold to Blackboard in 2006 for $200M. Since then, Murray has created a new company, Marine Learning Systems, to address learning in the maritime and other skill-oriented industries. Marine Learning Systems is experiencing rapid growth and now counts among its customers more than half of the world cruise segment, as well as ferries, workboats, coast guards and others. Goldberg has won numerous prizes including the UBC Killam University Teaching Prize, the 2000 National IWAY Award for outstanding contributions to information technology, and was named as the recipient of the New Media Hyperion award new media in IT. In 2004, Goldberg was granted an Honorary Ph.D. from Southern Cross University for pioneering work in advancing Ed Tech. globally. Also in 2004, Goldberg won the national Manning Awards foundation Principal Award, a $100,000 prize honoring the country’s most outstanding innovator. Most recently, Goldberg was named one of the top 15 Canadians in digital media by Backbone Magazine. Host – Steven Maggi: How do you assess the skill level of all of your employees? It’s a big question. Nobody knows quite the right way to do it. There’s been some efforts at it; however, we have a product now that can really do this about as well as you can, with more of an objective look as opposed to subjective. Anyway, to tell us all about this product today is Murray Goldberg. He’s the founder and CEO of Marine Learning Systems. He was with us last week, and we want to talk to him specifically about this new product. And one thing you came up with, which I want to talk about, is a thing called SkillGrader. Some of your people gave me a test run through of this, and I have been involved with safety programs in various industries all my life. I’ve never seen anything like this. It was a way of making everybody really accountable and really quantifying the type of skills that you acquire over time, which was fascinating. Are people afraid of it sometimes or do they love the idea because they know they’re taking away some of the subjectivity that’s involved in any kind of workplace? Murray Goldberg: So, it’s early to say for sure, because the SkillGrader is a fairly new initiative – and I’d love to tell you just a little bit about where it came from, because to me it’s very interesting. To answer your question specifically, it’s a fairly new initiative and so its use is limited so far. We really just built the commercial version of it, so we have some beta testing and some pilot testing. But the first anecdotal evidence is that it doesn’t make people afraid, in fact on the contrary. What we’ve been told is that in the previous scenario, where skills are typically graded by a sophisticated assessor; he or she has a form that they fill out on paper and they go through – a lot of it’s somewhat subjective, you can’t get away from that when it’s a paper-based kind of assessment. Whereas previously, at the end of the assessment, the trainees would have a discussion with the assessor and it was very easy for the trainees to disagree about how they were assessed, because there was a fairly high degree of subjectivity. And so, that was a problem – not just for the trainees, but for the assessors as well – because they were always in a position of having to defend how they assess these things. With the SkillGrader, so much of that subjectivity is taken out. It’s highly objective, at least compared to how it was done or how it’s still done in many cases, but how it will be done in the past, I’ll say optimistically. So, what happens now is at the end of an assessment, if a trainee is looking at the outcome of that assessment, there is very little room for argument – something either happened or it didn’t happen. And so, you might be able to argue, “Well, does what I did constitute a 3/5 versus a 4/5 on a paper-based form?” The SkillGrader is based on a more binary model, where you get very deep insights, but a more objective kind of assessment criteria. So those arguments go away. And reports, by the way, come out immediately and automatically, which is another advantage when you’re talking to trainees. Steven: Right, and it seems to me, for the employee there’s that sense of fairness. It really comes across there, where again, it isn’t “Well, this guy doesn’t like me, or she has a thing for me where she doesn’t want me to succeed”. This is pretty objective, and I thought that was really positive. Tell us how you came up with this in the first place? Where did the SkillGrader come from? Murray: Yes well, I wish I did come up with it. Just like so many things in life, it kind of came up, in some sense. If you think back just a little bit, it’s actually shocking to me that we didn’t come up with it or that somebody else hasn’t come up with it before, because if you think about how technology has aided education, what do we have? We have the LMS, which is very good at knowledge transfer and knowledge learning. It’s very good at knowledge assessment as well; you can build exams and if the exams are well built, the LMS can deliver them and dissect the data and all those kinds of things. And on the skill side – that’s the knowledge side – on the skill side, we have simulations that are very good at teaching skills. We have emerging AR and VR that are very good for skills as well, in terms of teaching them. But what do we have in terms of technology to assist us with skill assessment? Well, nothing. I mean, if you think of it as a four-quadrant kind of matrix, there’s this big gap under skills and assessment. This, to me, is the last piece in terms of kind of the broad application of technology to learning, to training and assessment. And so, how did we come up with this? So, what happened was, we have a huge cruise line customer. I’d be happy to say their name, but I probably would have needed permission to do so. They are fantastic and I certainly won’t say anything bad about them. They’re remarkable. They’re remarkable in terms of their dedication to safety. They have a very large simulation training center, maritime simulation training center in Europe, who is also a customer of ours because it’s owned by this large cruise line. Those people are expert assessors. First of all, they are expert skill teachers because that’s what they do, and they are expert assessors. They are really remarkable to watch in the simulation scenarios – how they guide them through and how they assess the outcomes of the teams and the individuals, in terms of how they contribute to the teams. They realized that there was a gap here, and they said “We want: 1. To be able to do more assessments” and by the way, assessments are limited by the availability of expert assessors, and so we want the level of expertise required by the assessor or the observer to be a little bit lower of the required level, a little bit lower, so that we can do more of these, that’s number one. We want them to be much more objective rather than subjective, and we want to be able to mine data out of them much more easily. Because they had the problem where everything was done on paper, where it was very hard – because of the subjectivity – to compare my assessment that I’ve done today versus one that I did a year ago; or, an assessment that you did today, Steve, versus one that I did today. This is all a problem. And because the data is all on paper, it’s very hard to mine. So, the result of course is that they needed some technical help in doing this. So, they – “we” as their vendor – and a German human factors performance group kind of got together and said, “What’s the best way to do this?”. We came up with what they actually refer to as “SEAS”, which was a specific assessment tool for simulators. And we built one for them, just as a prototype, just to kind of vet these ideas. Interestingly, the prototype was released to them, just for a little bit of testing, and before very long, it ended up being used 100% for every assessment – for every simulation assessment – they did throughout the organization. It was that much of a hit that it became used ubiquitously throughout the organization. The technology wasn’t really ready for that because it was built as kind of a prototype proof of concept; but nonetheless, they did, and it’s very positive. So now, what we’ve done is we’ve made a tremendous number of changes to make it much more general, in terms of the algorithm and the backend that’s used to assess the teams and the individual contributions of the teams. We’ve turned it into an app, so that you can take this app on a tablet and run it anywhere, and it applies to a much broader set of skills. Really, any observable skill that’s performed by either an individual or a team can be assessed by this. So, this app – you know, I started by saying the app is really just coming out right now, and so we don’t have a tremendous amount of data with it, aside from its use at this large simulation center – but we are very excited about it. Because number one, I think it’s going to be a big hit in maritime, but I think it will be a big hit in any safety critical kind of setting, especially where you are multi-sited and you want to really keep control of how assessment is done. You want to set those standards at the top of the organization and make sure they are followed down lower in day-to-day assessments. But, I also think it’ll be very interesting to see what the uptake is like in large distributed brand-focused organizations – even hotels or food and beverage – that really care that everything is done in exactly the same way to their high standard, regardless of where they are. I think it’s tools like this that will actually enable that kind of thing. Steven: So, we’ve got this exciting program, SkillGrader. You are fascinated by learning management systems, it’s your passion and so forth. So, it’s the perfect time to ask you the magic question, which is – take your crystal ball out – “In 5 to 10 years, where do you see LMS going at that point? Is there anything that you are particularly excited about?” Murray: You know, there is a lot that I am really excited about actually, and maybe that’s not a huge surprise, because you’re right, I really do care about this. Let me defend my excitement about learning technologies just briefly, and then I will actually answer your question. What do we have that has a greater opportunity to make a societally significant change than educating or training people better? Because that’s what we do as a culture to advance ourselves. Not only will better tools help us better educate our doctors, our lawyers, our mechanics, whatever; but, they will help us better educate and better train our teachers and our trainers as well, who will then go on to become better teachers and better trainers, and better educate the next generation and so on and so on. That’s why I’m excited about these technologies because I think fundamentally what they do is they have the opportunity to improve our society, to improve our culture, to improve our prospects as humans, effectively. So, that’s why I care about it. What do I think is really exciting right now? You know, on the LMS front, it’s really about data. Being able to slice and dice data, being able to use machine learning and AI approaches to examine in a fine-grained way how people learn, the path they take, the successes or the failures that they have, and who they are; and combine that all together to be able to present to somebody automatically – okay, based on who you are, this is how you are most likely to achieve success – and we’re going to walk you through that basically. So, on the LMS front, I think that’s very exciting. It’s a form of adaptive learning, and with machine learning, we now really have the tools at our disposal to take some of this and make it very exciting. We have a partnership – you know, because of my relationship with the University of British Columbia – there is a data science program there, and we are working with them on that to do some of the very earliest parts of this, so I’m very excited about that. I also think that within skills, there is a lot of very exciting stuff happening in AR and VR and simulation. I mean, we all know about that – that’s in some sense not new news, it’s slightly old news now, if you can call it old news – but, I think that’s going to be really fascinating, especially when you take it and you apply it to teams. I mean, we all have the experience now, or many of us will have the experience now, of working on a shared Google Doc; where I am typing here in Vancouver, and Steve, you – wherever you are – you can see me typing and you correct as I’m typing, so we are collaboratively doing something, but at a distance. I think as we extend AR and VR and extend it to teams who are desperate, who are located around the globe, and present to them scenarios that they can work together and learn as a team on the same shared simulation effectively, and by the way, have the accessor be a part of that and be able to replay it and be able to view it from any angle – I think we can take AR and VR and extend it, using some of the technologies that we have to really address this team-based skills aspect of training that’s very hard to otherwise address. So, those are the things that excite me the most right now. Steven: We are all excited about it, and I know Murray Goldberg, that when those are out there, you are going to be right in middle of it. We are excited. If we want to find out more about your company, Marine Learning Systems, where do we go online? Murray: Yes, so it’s not hard – www.MarineLS.com . Steven: Murray, if we want more information on SkillGrader, where can we go? Murray: You can find us online, Steve, at www.SkillGrader.com . Steven: We will check it out. Thanks so much for being with us today, Murray, we really appreciate it. Murray: Thank you, Steve. It’s been wonderful and I really appreciate you taking the time. The post Bridging the Technology Gap in Skills Assessment appeared first on Epsilon XR.
15 minutes | Sep 3, 2020
The Evolution of Training Technology
“We would take large groups of students and divide them into three groups: a web-based group, a face-to-face group, and a blended group; and we would look at outcomes. When we looked at the data, the group that did the least well was the group with face-to-face. The group that did by far the best was the blended group. So, after one round of experimentation, this got super interesting to us. All of a sudden, we could add this kind of electronic means of knowledge transfer and suddenly really change education.” Murray Goldberg, CEO of Marine Learning Systems, joins us to give insight on the evolution of learning technology. Murray Goldberg was a tenured faculty member conducting research on the effectiveness of web-based learning in the department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. In 1997, Murray founded WebCT, which grew to be the world’s leading LMS serving 14 million students in 80 countries at 4,000 universities and colleges. WebCT sold to Blackboard in 2006 for $200M. Since then, Murray has created a new company, Marine Learning Systems, to address learning in the maritime and other skill-oriented industries. Marine Learning Systems is experiencing rapid growth and now counts among its customers more than half of the world cruise segment, as well as ferries, workboats, coast guards and others. Goldberg has won numerous prizes including the UBC Killam University Teaching Prize, the 2000 National IWAY Award for outstanding contributions to information technology, and was named as the recipient of the New Media Hyperion award new media in IT. In 2004, Goldberg was granted an Honorary Ph.D. from Southern Cross University for pioneering work in advancing Ed Tech. globally. Also in 2004, Goldberg won the national Manning Awards foundation Principal Award, a $100,000 prize honoring the country’s most outstanding innovator. Most recently, Goldberg was named one of the top 15 Canadians in digital media by Backbone Magazine. Host – Steven Maggi: They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but apparently with technology, you can; and mainly in the maritime business – which I think of “Gorton’s Fisherman” statue and what have you. But actually, the maritime industry has learned a lot from our guest today, Murray Goldberg. Murray began his career in the academic world at the University of British Columbia. He got into technology – we are going to talk about all that today – and now heads up a company called “Marine Learning Systems”. Well, Murray, was it kind of a surprise to you? Murray Goldberg: I really thought I was going to be a faculty member for the rest of my life, because as you mentioned, I was a faculty member – I was a computer science faculty member in fact. My research area was online learning and web-based learning, looking at blended learning and effectiveness and student satisfaction. But, it was part of my teaching and I loved teaching. I never expected to ever leave that. Steven: But you enjoyed it so much that you actually developed some software. Talk a little about that, because that was back in the early part of these online courses and that kind of thing. Murray: It really was. So, I am old, and an old dog – as your introduction went – applies not just to the industry that I am working in now, but it applies to me equally well. We are talking way back in, I think 1995-1996, when I was starting this research. It was some of the earliest research on web-based learning and blended learning, because there really wasn’t much web-based learning or blended learning in existence at the time. The tools weren’t there, people weren’t doing it, but it was kind of an emerging thing. So, we did some experimentation. We would take large groups of students and divide them into three groups: a web-based group, a face-to-face group, and a blended group; and we would look at outcomes. It was really just something we could do with computing at the time. I didn’t have any huge designs or certainly didn’t have any predispositions about how I thought it was going to come out. But when we looked at the data in doing this experimentation, it was actually very surprising to me, because the group that did the least well was the group with face-to-face – the group that had me standing up in front of them teaching them – which was a little disheartening. The group that did by far the best was the blended group. So, after one round of experimentation, this got super interesting to us. All of a sudden, we could add this kind of electronic means of knowledge transfer and suddenly really change education. I mean, we’ve been teaching the same way for 1,000 years or more than 1,000 years, and all of a sudden, we had a tool which had the potential to really upend outcomes and effectiveness. Anyway, so we did that, and one thing led to another. We built some technology to facilitate the continued experimentation, and that technology ended up becoming one of the first learning management systems. So now, we are talking late 1996, early 1997, and so I left the university to start a company around this. The company was called “WebCT”. Now by this time, there actually was a lot of pressure in the community – especially in higher education – to look at putting courses online and implement blended learning, and so there was a tremendous built up demand. So, despite everything I think I inadvertently did to try and kill the company, we actually grew quite large. We grew and grew to the point where we had about 14 million users in 80 countries, and about 4,000 universities and colleges around the world using WebCT, and as I say, really just because it was the first commercially successful learning management system for higher education. It was a very exciting time. Steven: Coming from the world of traditional academia, it had to surprise you, but did you start to see as you got into it, “Wow! This can really take what I was doing before and bring it to a whole other level!”? Murray: Absolutely, and in a number of ways. One was just scale, effectively. We have a scale problem in training and education in general, if we are looking at traditional means, right? You need somebody standing up in front of a group, and the larger the group gets, kind of the less effective it becomes. An instructor can only be with one group at one time. So first of all, there is the potential advantage of scale, in that if you build these technologies and you build these course materials, the scale is more or less endless, certainly not for interaction, but at least for that initial phase of knowledge acquisition – you know, the first part of the blended learning – so that was very interesting. And I guess the other part of it was, what I mentioned before, which is really not that much had changed in education for a very long time. And so, this was the first evidence that we had that applying technology could actually change outcomes, and in a really meaningful way. So, I think it opened a lot of people’s eyes to “Wow! That’s interesting! That’s a fantastic first step! What’s next?”. Interestingly, not that much was next for probably the next five or eight years. Everybody was waiting for the next shoe to drop. Now this box of potential had been opened up, and everybody is thinking, “Wow, that’s fantastic! This is going to change everything, and the pace of change is going to be remarkable!”. Well, actually not that much happened. We refined what we did over the following 10 years, and it’s actually been up until maybe the last three or four years that we didn’t see much. Now, we’re starting to see some really new and interesting stuff come about. Steven: Do you find the reason for that is because maybe they were looking before just for technology to improve and “All right, we’ll wait for that and then we’ll figure out how to incorporate that into the program”, as opposed to “How can we work at this together? What does the end user really need?”; and then, “How do we make the new technology work for that?”? Murray: I think that was a big part of it, and it expanded a little bit, because it wasn’t just the end-user that we were really looking at. I mean, you have to remember that our institutions – just in the same way that our teaching hadn’t really changed for 1,000 years or more – our institutions hadn’t fundamentally changed for 1,000 years or more as well. Universities were universities. They were all built on the semester model or the trimester model. They all assumed classes were in person, and there was a little bit of a strut there. So, you had some people who were experimenting around the edges – you know, MOOCs started appearing, the massive online education stuff – others were looking at how to restructure course curriculum and credentialing in light of these new technologies. And so, yes, it was absolutely the case that people were struggling with “Ok, how do we now take this technology that we’ve developed and best apply it for the advantage of the student?” but also “How do we fit it into this world context that really hadn’t changed for a very long time?”. Steven: I know you did this whole thing with the British Columbia Ferry Services, and you came up with some interesting numbers and so forth. What did you learn and how did those numbers run out? Murray: Yes, that was really fascinating to me because my background, as you know we’ve described so far, was really in higher education. It wasn’t in the training – the corporate training world – it was in the universities and colleges. But you know, every bit of research that we did, and frankly all the subsequent research – and there’s been so much of it – attests to the fact that blended learning really works. It’s a huge advantage over just single model learning, and face-to-face in particular. One of the biggest outcomes of all that research was this effect is discipline agnostic. So, what works in higher education should work elsewhere, but it wasn’t really applied a lot elsewhere – certainly not in the first few years of its emergence. In 2006, what happened was – and I’m based in Vancouver here – we have a large ferry operator off the coast called BC Ferries. They unfortunately had a sinking, and as a result of that sinking, they really did a lot of self-examination and decided that they wanted to become a world-class training and safety organization, and by the way, it’s not like what they were doing before this time was bad in any way, it was actually quite standard for most maritime organizations. They were a good organization, but accidents do happen. Yet, they decided that they didn’t just want to be good, they wanted to be the best of the best of the best. And so, now of course we are into late 2006, early 2007, and a lot of the research around blended learning and its effectiveness has already been published. So, they decided that what they wanted to do was do a blended learning pilot, and it was meant to replace their typical training model, which was a lot of job shadowing. So, if you take somebody in a position of like a deckhand, let’s say, and they are new to the job. He or she will come on board in a job shadowing kind of training model, and they will spend three weeks, four weeks, five weeks, even six weeks following somebody around, somebody more experienced. They will learn the ropes that way. Now, we probably don’t have to go too deeply into the various pieces of that model that are flawed, I mean, obviously they are not getting a lot of standardized education – it is not a good way to measure that – there’s lots of problems with that. But, nonetheless, it was a pretty standard way to educate people in maritime. There’s lots of good reasons, by the way, that it should be a way to educate, because it may be that you and I as deckhands, we need a lot of the same fundamental information, but as soon as you step into your role on one vessel and I step into mine on another vessel, our jobs are very different. So, there’s lots of reasons why job shadowing was kind of a norm. Anyway, so what happened was BC Ferries hired me as a consultant, and hired a lot of other people as well – it certainly wasn’t just me – and we created a pilot, which was a blended learning replacement for that job shadowing model that I talked about before. The pilot worked out very well, and so they decided that what they needed to do was to roll it across the organization as part of a larger safety culture initiative called SailSafe. So, in order to do that, they needed technology, they needed a learning management system. And it turned out that upon investigation, there were no learning management systems that could really address the operational and training context of a safety-critical maritime operator like them. So, they turned to me and said, “Well, build us one”. So, okay, I spent about the next year or so building one for them. Once it was built, it got rolled across the organization step by step by step through the various roles, through the various departments. It took about six years, and what we did was we looked at how training was proceeding, and we looked at how accidents were affected, how insurance claims’ costs were affected, and these kinds of things. BC Ferries, because they had done this deep introspection, they decided that whatever they did to improve the situation, they were going to be very transparent about so others could learn from it. And the results were actually astounding. So, after six or seven years, when things were completely rolled out – and remember, this isn’t only the blended learning; this is blended learning together with other safety culture initiatives, because it was a combined effort – a few things happened. First of all, accidents went down by about 60%. Serious accidents went down by the same percentage. And that’s interesting, because those people who have been involved in similar situations before know that it’s often the case that minor accidents will go down through an initiative like this, but not serious accidents. Here at BC Ferries, serious accidents went down about 60% as well. Insurance claims’ costs went from about 3.5 million dollars a year, to about $800,000 a year; this was really shocking. Days lost due to accident, where a one-day loss is one employee not showing up for work once in a year because he or she has injured themselves on the job, went from about 12,000 a year – it’s a large organization – down to about 7,000 when the program was completely implemented. And, most interestingly, it didn’t stop going down after that, so even though the training and the safety program were completely implemented by that time, it seemed to have created kind of a positive feedback cycle that continued to drive down days lost due to accidents. The latest number that I have is now down to about 4,000 days lost due to accident in a year. And again, why is that happening even though everything was implemented and more or less finished being implemented a few years ago? Probably because when you change a safety culture like that, and you change a training culture like that, the people who are in the organization for whom that does not resonate slowly leave the organization, and that’s not a bad thing. And you create this reputation in the industry for really caring about professionalism and really developing your employees, and so for those who are looking for work in the industry, that reputation is known, and they are going to start applying to BC Ferries if that’s the kind of model that most resonates with them. So again, it creates this very nice positive feedback loop. So, that was a fantastic kind of experience, and in fact, it was the thing that took me in this surprising direction, which was starting a company around learning technologies for the maritime industry. Steven: Well Murray, you’ve got a product you’ve created, SkillGrader, that is a revolutionary product for the world of assessing skills. Can you come back with us and discuss this maybe in more detail? Murray: I’d love that. Anytime at all, Steve. The post The Evolution of Training Technology appeared first on Epsilon XR.
18 minutes | Aug 25, 2020
Turning Training into Profit
From on boarding and compliance training to safety and job-specific education, employee training is a universal necessity. While compliance and on boarding training courses are widely available, companies often have to make a bigger investment into industry specific training – but what if those custom trainings could be turned into a revenue stream? Troy Gorostiza, CEO and President of Knowledge Stream, Inc. specializes in helping companies turn training into profit. Troy is a startup founder and learning technology expert with 20+ years of hands‐on and management experience across multiple industries specializing in solution consulting, system selection and management, platform architecture, digital marketing and custom courseware development for ILT, eLearning, performance support, VR/AR and mobile. He has significant experience architecting extended enterprise and customer learning solutions that enable customers to realize new revenue streams and extend their digital strategy. In addition, he is adept at recognizing industry trends and counseling clients on the strategic direction for their learning, performance and talent initiatives. Host – Steven Maggi: In the world of business, training and learning are an everyday event. It happens all the time. It’s very important. It’s also important to your bottom line, and with us today is Troy Gorostiza. He is the CEO and President of Knowledge Stream, Inc., and the Cofounder of Course Container. Well Troy, learning is a part of everyday work, but it’s really important to stay up because there is so much competition out there. Troy Gorostiza: Steve, you’ve hit the nail on the head there with training. It’s something that’s been around since before obviously you and I were even around, but with any sort of organization, there’s always been a need to train people. And it’s mostly been focused internally with employees or any new hires and things of that sort. Steven: You’ve been doing this for a long time, and you’ve seen this and so forth, and you’ve been working with learning technology. I can imagine the changes you’ve seen just over the last 20 years are probably unbelievable. Troy: It’s amazing! I don’t want to date myself; I still consider myself relatively young, but I got my start in the late 90s in the space, and it was doing technical-based training up in the Silicon Valley. Actually, the Internet was completely in its infancy, so we were doing training on DVDs, laser disks, computer-based training. I remember my first job; we actually developed the technical-based training for some of your larger companies – Cisco, HP, Oracle. We had a dial-up modem – a 56K modem – that was our connection to the Internet, and there were 35 of us sharing that connection. Steven: Wow! And at the time, you were on the cutting edge, right? I mean, that was cool, the best! And I used to always hear in those days, “Oh! You’ll never need anything else!”, and of course we know that isn’t true. Troy: That’s true. I actually got to work on something called DHTML, and not getting too technical here, but that was the next evolution of HTML, the markup language for the Internet. I worked with what we call the “SME” in the industry – a subject matter expert. He was one of the engineers that helped write the algorithms and the specs for that, and I used him as my expert in writing these programs. So, when you talk about cutting edge, I absolutely felt like I was on the cutting edge. Now, we look at that and I don’t think that enters into anyone’s vocabulary these days. Steven: And it’s funny, because now we are all into virtual learning and whole different things, and again, the changes are every week. How important is it for somebody in the business world to really stay on top of this when they think of training and learning, because I think a lot of people think it’s just a bunch of books or CDs or tapes or what have you, and to really do this right, it has to constantly be evolving. Troy: It does, and what you were getting at earlier about the history of training and how long it’s been around and the advent of the Internet is if you look back 20+ years, there were very sophisticated training programs going on at that time, whether they were on the delivery format – as I mentioned, laser disks, computer-based training, CD-ROM – and then get into what we call a “client server” and ultimately the Internet. So, if you look back 20 years, there is a lot of valuable content that has been there and is in a domain trust, and that knowledge share needs to take place. So, if you correlate that and fast-forward, I’d say probably in the last 5 to 7 years is really where you’ve seen a lot of organizations – Fortune 500s down to small mom-and-pop shops – that have existing training or training is a component of their business today. They offer a face-to-face training. They do instructor-led training, some sort of regulatory or coaching. And those are very ripe organizations to kind of move into the next phase of moving that somewhat of an archaic way of offering that training, and moving into the 21st century with, whether it’s XR – which is virtual reality, mixed reality – or you get, obviously with the pandemic that we are all going through right now, everything has moved from instructor-led – that face-to-face training, because obviously we can’t conduct that nowadays – to the virtual training, the ZOOMs, the Go-to-meetings. You name the tools, everyone is migrating and getting to that. So, those are really what we kind of call is your training types and your training delivery mechanisms. Steven: And at Knowledge Stream, Troy, what are some of the things you offer to people, because it’s really important to associate yourself with some sort of a company that really has their finger on the pulse of what’s going on? Troy: It’s true, and honestly, it’s a bit difficult. Every organization that we work with, it’s really kind of a management consulting engagement that we start off with, and it’s really training/business consulting. Where we focus on – and I mentioned earlier, 5 to 7 years, but it’s probably been longer than that, maybe 10 years – is really turning the training content into revenue. One, you either have existing assets that you have been using to train your internal employees – maybe partners, retailers, new hires – or you are an organization that is an expert in an area and wants to build an online coaching program. So, we will work with them to one, identify what their business drivers are; two, any problems that they are having; three, identifying these training assets, whether they are new assets or they need to be revamped; and then four, ultimately looking at how do we create new revenue streams by turning this training into online solutions and selling it. Steven: Do you run across companies that sometimes haven’t looked at training and learning that way, and kind of give them “there’s a lot more to this and you can really see it as a way to turn those numbers around”? Troy: It’s huge, and I’ll give an example without naming names. In the job site safety space, in heavy equipment operator space – so you know boom lifts, forklifts, dirt diggers, things like that – there’s an organization that has 1500 locations across the US. They do rentals of these pieces of equipment, so they’re on job sites, they know the ins and outs. They are an industry leader on providing this equipment and doing maintenance on this equipment and doing what is called a kind of “walkaround tour”. So, it’s probably been 6, 7-8 years maybe, there was a thought leader that came in and saw this as a great opportunity to say “Listen, we can have a much better touchpoint, as well as we can effect change by – we want individuals that come to work, want to come home safe. We want them to come home the same way that they entered into work”. So, in working with that individual, we identified what the objectives were, the goals were, and then really it was building a new business. And that’s really where I have a lot of passion and work with the organizations because nowadays training is a business; it’s not just doing an internal training, a sexual-harassment training, it’s every component of this. You’ve got to look at it from a financial standpoint: What are your startup costs? What are your CapEx costs? What is my product? How am I going to deliver it? And then ultimately, what is the revenue stream for that? And so, going back to the earlier example, it took us quite a bit of time and we really leveraged. We took existing instructor-led training for certain types of operator equipment – boom lift and forklift -and through various partners, developed a very comprehensive blended learning program, where individuals would go through this very interactive 3-D, game-based prerequisite training. Then, they would have a comprehensive exam and would actually do a face-to-face, get on the piece of equipment and certification program. So, that ended up starting in 2004, and I think by 2008, that company’s line of business – they were doing about 20 million a year in revenue on about 20 to 25 courses that represented about 90% of that actual revenue stream. So, they had a big infrastructure. They were not a training business provider, but they leveraged assets and they leveraged their footprint throughout the US and Canada to turn this into somewhat of a significant revenue stream to them, but ultimately as a huge value proposition to their end customers. Steven: So as pa
18 minutes | Aug 17, 2020
Navigating the Instructor/Learner Partnership
Traditional teaching often postures the instructor as the ‘all-knowing person in power’. But in the words of John Wooden, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” In this episode, we explore the concept of a ‘knowledge economy’ and breaking the mold of the traditional roles of the teacher and student with Janette Williams IMBA, PhD, Senior Consultant at Maven Consulting LLC. Janette has over twenty-nine years of experience and extensive insight working in private, public, non-profit, and government sectors. She has a passion for system thinking to integrate the wholeness of individual, team and organizational effectiveness and development. She also teaches a variety of courses (business, leadership, and organizational psychology) at several colleges in SD. Host – Steven Maggi: We’d like to welcome Janette Williams today, senior consultant at Maven Consulting LLC. Janette is particularly the right person for this because she’s got a background in psychology that she applies to leadership development and training. How much does your psychology background, Janette, kind of get into everything you do? Janette Williams: That’s a great question, Steven. I would say that it’s a good part of it because when you think about learning, the unit of analysis is the person. It’s, in fact, everything that is between the ears. And so, I think a lot of it — a lot of the psychology part of it, but also the causative science of how the brain works and how it takes in information — I feel like those two components are extremely important frameworks to understand when someone is engaging a learner. Steven: Yea, and I think the fact that you’ve worked for over 29 years with, not only private companies, but public, nonprofit and government sectors; that kind of gives you the whole work industrial complex, right? So, you’ve seen everything from all different types of organizational structure? Janette: That’s correct, and what I’ve found across all of them is that people are people. When you start to think about the unit of analysis of a person and how do I help that person make meaning of the information, based on where they’re starting from — it’s a consistent theme that I’ve seen, regardless of whether they’re a novice or someone who’s an expert, whether they’re in one sector over the another, very technical, nontechnical. You know, I find it to be a theme about how do we engage the learner — not only from a cognitive perspective, but from a psychological perspective — that really allows them to take in information and immediately apply it to something that they want to do with it. Steven: Boy, and learning means a lot to you, I mean, you teach courses in several colleges but interestingly enough, 16 years in school, receiving six degrees – talk about an overachiever! How do you achieve six degrees? Janette: Yea, you know what? I’ve really enjoyed learning, and what I’ve learned through that journey is that there’s not a right or wrong way to do learning if you give someone the right exposure and experience with learning and make it fun. I think one of the things that I enjoyed through that time of doing so many different learning experiences or adventures of my own is that, you know, when I was having fun — the brain actually takes in more information and can do something useful with it — than if I thought I had to cram it in there for the sake of having it in my head. So, I think that was one of the big takeaways is making learning fun. There’s not a right or wrong way, because everybody uses it differently. Everybody will learn differently, take in information at different intervals, different chunks, different size of information. And so, it’s important that we think about learning as a mosaic of so many different ways that people can take information and make meaning. Steven: You can just hear your passion about this. When you look at an organization, how do you integrate all of this stuff, because isn’t that kind of the key — it’s not only the person themselves, but the team and the organization and what they want to accomplish as well? Janette: Yea, one of the things I find to be very challenging for organizations is — we all know there’s been research on so many different learning modalities — is there’s not a “one size fits all”; nonetheless, some of the learning that we’ve done has been one size. And so, I think it’s important to engage your learner, especially with different content. Some content is really easy to learn online — just-in-time learning, virtually-led training sessions — but some of it’s not, where someone has to be maybe physically in a room with someone working through the process. So, I think sometimes, based on funding and the number of people on a leadership and development team, it can get challenging to really think about the learner as an individual, and how multiple individuals make up the cohort of who they’re trying to teach. Steven: Janette, you talk a lot about partnership, and I found this fascinating. It’s not just the person bringing in the information, it’s also the person giving the information, and you kind of have to work as a team. Can you kind of expand on that a bit? Janette: I’d say that in the past philosophy, we’ve had so much understanding or thinking that the instructor was the guru in the room, of which would be passing on this information being the subject matter expert, which is to some degree true; however, when you come from that kind of approach, you’re creating an environment of more of a power, as opposed to this exploration of learning, where both the instructor and the learner should get something out of the interaction. Learning should always be beneficial for everyone. And so, as an instructor, sometimes I find that it’s the saying that John Wooden said, that “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” I feel like sometimes instructors kind of fundamentally stop learning, because they’re just pushing content, as opposed to learning in the moment with the person — the learners themselves — and allow for more of this holistic understanding of information being passed amongst everyone. Steve: Well, isn’t it important for the instructors too, because it’s not a one-time-only situation, so you are going to be doing this again and again. And this is the way, going back to that Wooden quote, this is the way we continue to improve, as opposed to just reaching a certain point and not being able to get past that. Janette: Definitely, definitely, because, you know, we’re working in a new era of employees; they’re more what we call a “knowledge economy” or “knowledge workers”, where a lot of what they do is not necessarily as a manual worker, where you could see the progression of what they do. A knowledge worker might be working a lot behind the scenes, and then have to come with a result. And so, that being said, as instructors, we have to understand what those knowledge workers — we have to actually investigate what those knowledge workers are doing. How do we help them to continue to progress in their skill, so that they can deliver that result? And that might be interpersonal skills, that might be working across teams, that might be learning about a particular technical skill. And so, that’s where it’s important that we have this partnership of learners with instructors, facilitators, or faculty; so that way, there’s more of an understanding of what’s needed, as opposed to thinking that we have the answers. Steven: And I think this is really where the 21st century learning comes in. You call it “force field” of this modern learning, and I love that expression because it really is that sort of thing. It’s not a one-way arrow — it’s arrows going back and forth, back and forth, and I guess, the more you have there, the better the whole learning experience is. Janette: Absolutely, you’re so right. You know, the modern learner is getting so much information about so many different things all the time. You think about, not only just their learning experience, but their whole life around them. And so, the more that we can identify factors that influence the situation — what’s creating friction or frictionless paths, and the way that they go about their learning goals — the easier it is for someone to transfer that knowledge or that information into something that’s useable. So, there’s a great quote, do not know who says it, but it’s “learning without action is entertainment”. And today, we don’t have time to be entertained at our jobs. There is so much pressure to get things done, be almost like the unicorn in many different ways. You know, there’s an 8-hour day that’s turned into a 12-hour day. And now, the demarcation lines between home and work are blurred since we’re practicing social distance and various things due to Covid-19. So, being able to do something with what they’ve learned is really how someone can achieve their goal, as opposed to maybe — that information is great — it’s true, but not useful. Steven: I love this philosophy, because it not only works in this whole consulting approach and in learning, but really in communication itself, right? Because if you have this kind of force field, this is the way we communicate through the highest effectiveness, so if you can learn these tactics, this will apply across — you know, once we leave the classroom — we’ll be doing this all the time. Janette: Absolutely, yeah, and this is transferrable beyond just the classroom experience. This is to your point of a new way of communicating and really have intentional interactions with people. Our time is valuable, that is the one resourc
23 minutes | Jul 31, 2020
Repurposing and Refreshing Course Materials
Change is inevitable and the need to revitalize a learning program comes for every company at some point in time. But there is no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater when updating training courses. In this episode, we hear from Barbara Greenstein, a Senior Instructional Designer, and Jerry Lake, a Senior Web Developer, on how to repurpose and refresh existing course materials. Barbara Greenstein is a performance improvement specialist providing proven and creative ways to improve human performance in the workplace. Highly regarded for her instructional design and facilitation skills, with over 30 years in the learning and development field, she helps clients put the systems in place to more effectively manage in today’s changing business environment while ensuring optimal performance and job satisfaction for all employees. She received her M.A. in Human Resource Development from Marymount University. Barbara is a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT), from ISPI. Jerry Lake has over 18 years professional programming experience. He holds expertise in trouble shooting, research/integration, and documentation. Jerry has developed interfaces and application templates for the production of large projects, has a broad understanding of cross-browser and cross-platform issues, and a strong affinity for web standards compliance. He develops training programs that are compliant with SCORM and Section 508 of the Federal Disabilities Act. Jerry has served as Web Developer programming courseware for the Internal Revenue Service’s Link & Learn Taxes and Understanding Taxes, The Department of Education, and the U.S. Navy’s Information Systems Technician Apprentice and the Journeyman Schools, and Volkswagen North America. Host – Steven Maggi: Change is often something we put off, but change is important, especially when it comes to business learning — how to do it efficiently and effectively. With us today are Barbara Greenstein — she is the Senior Instructional Designer at Epsilon Systems Solutions, and Jerry Lake is a Senior Web Developer for Epsilon Systems Solutions. Well Barbara, let’s start with you, it’s a big deal, right? When people want to make a change, but sometimes the way you’ve done training in the past may have to change. What are the first things that come up when you want to repurpose a class into something with more technology? Barbara Greenstein: Well, first of all, thanks so much for having us today. This is a privilege for me to talk to you and to share with you some information in regards to how you go about repurposing classes. One of the things that I will say is that frequently, we have an organization that comes to us and they say “I have this class – it’s been going on for the last 10 years and I really think it’s an important piece of our learning program, and we need to make sure that it doesn’t go away. We’re in the COVID environment and people can’t come face-to-face anymore. Is there any way we can take that and turn it into an e-learning program?” And the first thing I always want to know from them is — how effective was that course in its current state? If they’re talking about 10 years ago that they just did this course, when was the last time that they updated it? How is it perceived by current learners — the ones that are actually sitting in the class? What are they getting out of it? How is the return on investment? What are they getting out of that class? When somebody sits in that class, when they go back to the office, what do they see happen as a result of those individuals having sat, take that learning, and then what do they do with it? So, the first thing I want to know is — is it really meeting the objectives of the organization still, before we even consider taking what was originally, let’s say, a face-to-face learning and turning that into whether it be an e-learning or a virtual facilitated type of class? How well is that class doing, and does it need an upgrade? Do we need to sit and redesign it before we actually decide what platform would be best for it, because there’s not necessarily a singular platform that we would use in the virtual world, so that’s something that would be discussed too. Steven: Well, that makes sense. So, the first thing is to take a strong look at it and see if it’s even worth doing. Now, let’s say the answer is “yes” to that, then you want to look at, I’d imagine, what worked from the original class, right? So, we don’t lose that? Barbara: Yes, that is correct. We want to make sure that 100% what worked previously is going to work in the current state for whatever we put it into. We need to make sure that the objectives of the lessons are viable, that the reason why we are putting the class or keeping the class in place is because it stands still today, tried and true, to what the organization’s bottom line is trying to accomplish. I mean, the purpose of any learning program, whether it be one that, it could be one that is done self-paced by a book or by e-learning; or it could be something that in today’s world we’re talking about micro-learning, where somebody learns something on the phone. No matter what the type of learning is, we always want to make sure that what we’re teaching people, what they’re walking away with, is going to have some sort of an impact on the way they do their job. It’s going to have some sort of an impact that efficiently caused them to do their job better. Suddenly, they are able to complete a task quicker than they were before because we’ve given them some morsels, some gems that they can take and use in order to help them to get their work done in a more efficient way. So, we’re always looking at, we’re always asking the question “How are – the bottom line is the objectives – what are the objectives of the course and how do they tie into the organization’s goals?” Steven: So, Jerry, from a technical side, you’re looking at these things and saying, okay, the content like what Barbara is talking about – you don’t want to change a lot of those, right, if you don’t have to? The idea is to try to make this as seamless as possible. Jerry Lake: Yes, absolutely, and thank you Steven for having me on to address this from a little bit more of a technological standpoint. There exists a situation where there’s a lot of content that has been developed for organizations over time that is still very viable. The rules haven’t changed for this information. Things may be facing minor updates, but by and large, the core of the content is still very viable. The problem is, with the changing face of technology, is that there is no longer a good way to get this particular content to the end users that need to see it in the first place, and that’s where we’re up against a situation where we need to examine the technology that people are using and how to turn this content into something that can be used continually, based on current technological situations. Steven: In most of this e-learning, Jerry, it’s still through the web, isn’t it? Jerry: By and large, most of your e-learning is going to be delivered via a web browser. You can have other situations where things are just videos that are over the web, things that are forms and quizzes, and things of that nature, but by and large, you are going to be utilizing a web browser in order to engage with this content. To that end, for the last 10-15 years or so, Flash was a very predominant technology to deliver this content interaction, to make things more interesting and engaging to the end user. We’re at a position where Flash use has come to its end of life, and we have to figure out how to bridge that gap and get to a new day where the content, as I mentioned, that is still very viable, is actually usable. Steven: We’re going to talk about exactly how we’re going to do that transformation, but Barbara, one of the things I think people need to know, and you say, is that the resources to make these transitions from the face-to-face platform to the virtual platform, you’ve got to really think this thing through, right? Because it’s a different way of delivering this information. Barbara: Yeah, there is a need to ensure that some sort of a design is in place so that the content is delivered in a way that makes sense. So, whether we are delivering it, like you say, face-to-face, or through the Internet; or through, in the old days, we delivered e-learning on a disc, on a CD-ROM, and so now everything goes up to the learning management system or it’s being delivered on a platform through the cloud, so that we don’t have to worry about the content being delivered on a CD. The technology is certainly something that is part of this design. What Jerry is talking about is something that has to be considered in the design of whatever the learning is, and the reasons that I ask all those questions at the beginning with the client, is to make sure that we thought everything through before we sit down and develop our materials. Steven: Yes, so before you go to Jerry then, you’re going to be thinking ahead and thinking like “Ok, we can’t decide which way to present this until we know exactly what we’re going to need”? Barbara: Yea, because there’s often times in situations you might think, for myself as a designer, I go in and I think everybody has the latest and the greatest equipment. The reality is that not everybody has the latest and the greatest equipment, and I’ve been in situations before where I have to find an e-learning for people who are out in the field. The people out in the field have an old tablet. The old tablet doesn’t have the necessary requirements for v
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