Corporate Learning

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Self Guided Learning

Self-guided learning’s emergence as opposed to corporate training stemmed from the following trends: millennial workers preferring autonomous self-led learning, the rise in technological innovations led to on-demand knowledge sessions, schedules are more managed, increased suitability to adult learning styles, better relevance to knowledge requirement, access to more resources, greater means of acquiring knowledge, and other benefits. A few of the statistics supporting this trend include: 79% prefer online knowledge search vs. 37% on company training, 70% learning from online sources as opposed to 23% from corporate sessions, 14 hours self-directed learning against just three hours on employer-provided sessions.

SELF-GUIDED LEARNING vs. CORPORATE TRAINING EMERGING TRENDS

With many emerging trends impacting the work environment, the way employees acquire knowledge has also changed with the times. Employees now prefer training solutions that can better suit their needs for autonomy, allow them to better manage their schedules, enable them to retain knowledge more, promote continuous learning habits, and be given access to a wider range of quality resources.
All of this is supported by several findings from various workplace survey results. In one survey, it was found that 79% of the employees found it more advantageous to search online when they need to look for knowledge that they need in order to complete their tasks. This is a significant number vs. just 37% stating that they prefer company training to get the learning that they need.
Another workplace survey shows that 70% have acquired new useful knowledge from various online resources like videos, e-books, and other online content in the last 24 hours, that they can already use in their work. Based on that same survey, only 23% stated that they have completed training in the last two years, with no mention if they have acquired new useful information. This is coupled by the fact that employees have spent an average of 14 hours per month on self-directed learning on their own initiative against just three hours spent on employer-provided sessions. There’s also another finding that 61% would invest more time if professional credit will be given for their self-directed learning effort.
Understandably, the majority of the learning, which is around 85%, still happens at work. However, 67% of the employees accomplish this knowledge acquisition during their personal time, with 18% doing so while commuting. With the rise in mobile phone use, around three-quarters of employees do some of these learning sessions on a mobile device while on the road. This is in conjunction with the finding that 91% of smartphone users will turn to their devices for ideas while completing a task.
Contributing to these anytime, anywhere learning preference is the rise in the number of millennial workers entering the corporate world. Millennials aspire for more flexibility and autonomy in doing their work thus opting for participant-initiated training rather than being directed to attend set training.

This gave rise to a “pull” type of self-directed learning where employees just pull the topic that they want to know more about from various online sources anytime they need it. This pull type of learning is more beneficial and suitable for most adult learning styles as research shows that knowledge is better retained if applied immediately. Compare this to attending training that are “pushed” to employees, most of the topics cannot be used immediately as these are just the standard, one-size fits all corporate training. Employees also just spend 1% of their working week on training so there are fewer chances of employees attending these corporate training sessions. Compare this to the times spent on self-directed learning at 104 hours each that North American adults spent on an average of eight self-directed learning projects a year.
With this movement towards a more flexible learning environment through self-directed learning, knowledge sessions now become more enjoyable and just centered on learning. Instead of worrying about strict test evaluations after most corporate training, the pressure is off and this can lead to a better learning experience.

Adding to this holistic knowledge experience is the limitless possibility that anything can be learned due to the vast number of resources available online. In fact, search results for how to" videos on YouTube are growing at a rate of 70% each year.
Furthermore, self-directed learning has been steadily gaining support in the workplace as employers are aiming for better employee engagement and faster skills' acquisition. Employees who are avid self-directing learners have more competitive advantage and this can address common workplace concerns like knowledge gap, diversity, and openness to new ideas. The challenge now for HR is to ensure that evidence-based training is integrated with self-directed learning and is still tied to the purpose of providing the right skills and results to the business.

SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING CHALLENGES

As with other types of learning method, self-directed learning has its challenges. As most of the burden of learning transfers to the employee, they will need to avoid pitfalls such as procrastination and lack of self-motivation. It will still require hard work to keep learning even with all the autonomy involved in order to gain the right knowledge. Workplace managers can help employees in this area by being available to motivate employees and share in their self-directed learning journey.

OTHER SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING FUTURE TRENDS

The corporate world is now embracing the mantra, ”Learning curve is the new earning curve. With the employees continuing clamor for better flexibility and robust learning opportunities that are customized for their individual requirements, employers now need to address this need to retain them.
Based on Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report, 70% of the corporate world now see learning as the primary driver of employee engagement and employees are now taking more responsibility in this area.
Given these findings, employers need to abandon the traditional method of structured training employees. They should now focus on ensuring that employees have access to various online digital assets, resources and information to facilitate self-directed learning.

CONCLUSION

Self-guided learning’s emergence as opposed to corporate training stemmed from the following trends: entry of millennial workers preferring autonomous self-led learning, the prevalence of technological innovations, need for more balanced work schedule, preference for more effective learning styles, and other significant factors. Key indicators are now illustrating the preference for more flexible and autonomous self-directed type of learning experience for better employee engagement and competitive advantage.

Part
02
of three
Part
02

Crowdsource Learning

With the increased use of online learning communities such as online programs, crowdsourcing programs, and online discussion forums, the methods by which individuals gather and use information has developed substantially. These platforms allow users and students to gain an overall better understanding of the material and put it to use in their day-to-day lives. However, just like with a traditional classroom setting, there are both conveniences and detriments to online learning communities. Below you will find a breakdown of the different advantages and disadvantages of online learning communities, and how they have affected the learning process as a whole.

Positive Impacts of Online Learning Communities

The positive aspects of online learning communities are endless. From making new connections to integrating knowledge into real-world events, online communities permit users the opportunity to develop their skills and prepare themselves for a strong future. Below is a list of some of the most meaningful aspects of online communities, and how they affect learners.

MEMBERSHIP & FRIENDSHIPS

Through online learning communities, users have the opportunity to develop bonds between other community members. Through studying and online activities, the act of contributing information to others will enhance the community vibe, as well as provide leads for collaboration, and even potential business contacts.

IMPROVED RETENTION RATES

Many online learning communities offer a "self-paced, "self-regulated" option that allows students to learn at their own pace. This aids in making students feel safe in asking for help, as well as being a support system for others. When students can move at their own speed, they are more compelled to learn, and will continue working at it until the end. Online discussions also help to commit information to long-term memory, helping students to perform better and remain motivated to learn.

INTEGRATIVE LEARNING

A major component of online learning communities is the relationship between peers. In a traditional learning environment, peers may be seen as competitors. But in online communities, peers are allies, there to help you learn. Through online programs, students can discuss assignments, share personal experiences and perspectives, and reflect on other's opinions. These practices will help to put information into relevant contexts, as well as encourage peer-to-peer learning. These programs can be used not only for gaining knowledge, but also as tutoring and support groups, and accountability sources for learning.

HIGH-QUALITY LEARNING

Because online learning communities are online, access to knowledge and opportunities are limitless. Users can benefit not only from study material, but also from peers and teachers. Help from teachers is literally at an individual's fingertips, which can increase their overall learning performance, and thus their course satisfaction. Greater appreciation for knowledge is also known to decrease dropout rates.

COLLABORATIVE KNOWLEDGE

As previously noted, online communities permit large amounts of collaboration between peers and teachers. When one student succeeds, all others have the opportunity to do well, too. With complete access to public discussions on topics, students can read thoughts and opinions of others and exchange intellectual conversations. This not only widens their grasp on the material, but also improves simple reading and writing skills. In addition, community conversations can help to develop and refine ideas, motivating students to learn more about topics.

RELEVANT SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE

Online learning and discussion forums alike both present the opportunity for users to learn about relevant topics that they can use in the real world. For example, the act of conversing about a topic is a skill that people need to succeed in everyday life. Communication and personal interaction habits are strengthened through online communities. This can not only help to draw shy students out from their shells, but can also increase participation over time. Such online locations can also be helpful for learning about current events and business opportunities, as people share their thoughts and experiences about what is going on outside of the online classroom.

PRACTICE-BASED LEARNING

In a traditional learning environment, information may generally be presented in a lecture format. However, in order to monitor and ensure participation in online communities, discussion and peer-participation are used to regulate the growth of knowledge. Constant discussions are helpful to integrate presented information into the mind in useful and meaningful ways. It can also allow information to be applied to individual and professional lives through questioning and peer responses. The act of allowing students to facilitate discussions also allows them to gain perspective on how group discussions are helpful. The sharing of knowledge by people that are all working towards a common goal increases the connectivity of students while enhancing their skill sets.

CROWDSOURCING BENEFITS

Specifically, on crowdsourcing platforms, online communities are provided with incentives to learn and complete activities. This provides the same benefits of traditional learning, but with increased control and flexibility. Users can still work at their own pace, but are enticed to do more. These platforms and online communities alike also both offer geographically distributed crowds to connect. In a traditional setting, individuals are confined by location. However, a larger group of people can be reached through such platforms, and can interact to get information processed more quickly. This not only diversifies the crowd, but also sharpens skill sets and available knowledge.

Negative Impacts of Online Learning Communities

With any system, there are always going to be flaws and issues that need adjustment. Some of the major issues with online learning communities fall around responsibility and motivation. Below you will find an overview of the disadvantages of online platforms, and how they affect the learning process.

MONITORING ISSUES

Because online programs are not taking place in-person, it can sometimes be more difficult to monitor a student's progress on offline activities. This can cause issues when assignments have strict due-dates, or whenever a teacher is unsure of how a student is performing on the platform in general.

RESPONSIBILITY

One of the most common issues with online learning communities is the potential loss of individual responsibility. In hopes of maintaining a sense of community, many assignments take place in groups. This can sometimes make students feel as though they do not have to do as much work, and they can become lazy. This is often common among adult learners, as they may be tired or busy from work. Sometimes, such users will attempt to use knowledge provided by other users through discussions as their own. This mindset can rub off on others, and negatively affect the outcome of the student's learning.

CROWDSOURCING DISADVANTAGES

Although crowdsourcing often offers incentives for work, the work that needs to be done may sometimes require information to be taught and learned. While this is not a negative attribute, it can be difficult to overcome. On crowdsourcing platforms, users are financially motivated. If unable to complete work due to lack of knowledge, users can become distraught. To overcome this, users need to be given fair opportunities to learn, as well as compensated for meaningful work.

Conclusion

The growth of online learning communities has greatly contributed to changes in learning processes for the better. The opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and collaborative knowledge motivates individuals to work harder, even though they may not be required to by time constraints. Although there are flaws with this system, as there are with any, they can be overcome with thought, effort, and time.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

E-Learning Contests

Gamification exercises that include contests, enable e-learning through the following: providing opportunities to learn and play in a safe environment, taking advantage of people’s natural tendency for risk and competition, and making available better learning options to retain information. Because of these advantages, 80% feels that gamification improves productive learning and 82% now prefers multi-level and robust gaming content. This growing preference for gamification enable the market to grow from $1.5 billion in 2012 to $2.3 billion in 2017 for game-based learning, and an increase from $2.5 billion in 2012 to $6.6 billion in 2017 for corporate training games.

LEARNING EFFECTIVENESS IN A SAFE AND FUN ENVIRONMENT

Holding gamification events or contests to facilitate learning allows participants to exercise their mind in a simulated environment without fear of failure or impact to business-critical measures. In this kind of environment, participants can enjoy learning, knowing that there are no repercussions to their actions and they can just repeat everything if they were not able to achieve their goals the first time.

UTILIZING PEOPLE’S PENCHANT FOR RISK, REWARDS AND COMPETITION

People are naturally competitive and will take risks if they can see that the reward is worth it. Prizes, points, scoreboard statistics, titles, can motivate people to compete against each other with a sense of fun. The sense of exhilaration felt when winning will make people more likely to complete their lessons, study harder, repeat what they have missed, and seek other creative ways to learn in order to gain advantage over their competitors. Scientists also released several findings stating that competitive elements in games has been known to release pleasure hormones like dopamine, testosterone, and endorphins, and enable further brain growth.

These competitive community learning games can also encourage group learning and continuous feedback for a more holistic learning experience. Getting regular feedback from the community can also help drive target behavioral change that can further improve the way people accept knowledge and apply those learning into their work.
With the rise in mobile phone use and increasing availability of mobile games, especially multi-player competitive apps, people are also increasing their gaming frequencies. Researchers and trainers are now starting to look for ways to convert e-learning topics into portable game apps or into consoles that can give people more options to take their lessons. In a report, 67% of users now utilize their mobiles for learning so this will be a big driver.

GAMIFICATION METHOD FOR a BETTER E-LEARNING EXPERIENCE

Lessons are better retained if learners can commit the knowledge to their long-term memory. Rather than passively taking in information from traditional training, people can best imbibe the learning if they are actively processing the information, like what they do when participating in challenging games.
Games that are best designed for learning to let people take charge of the outcome by awakening in them the sense of competing with themselves to improve their scores. Those learners involved in well-crafted games that will make them take control of the outcome, level-up, and make strategic choices, will become more motivated for their self-fulfillment.

KEY STATISTICS ON GAMIFICATION AND E-LEARNING

Because of these attractive features, gamification is looking to be the preferred method of learning as 80% of trainees surveyed in a report stated that gamification improves productive learning, and 82% now prefers multi-level and robust gaming content.
It is also a big driver of e-learning judging from these market statistics: game-based learning market has grown from $1.5 billion in 2012 to $2.3 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, the market for corporate training games is expected to jump from $2.5 billion in 2012 to $6.6 billion in 2017.
Globally, the future forecast is for the gamification market to increase from $1.65 billion in 2015 to $11.10 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 46.3%. One factor that can greatly contribute to this growth is the increasing adoption of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) inside corporate offices. Asia-Pacific (APAC) is seen as one of the major adopters of gamification techniques in business e-learning by 2020.

INNOVATVE COMPANIES GAMIFYING E-LEARNING

In order to close the skill gap, engage employees, enhance knowledge retention, and produce better results, companies are turning more and more into gamification methods to improve their e-learning corporate programs.
Deloitte was known to be one of the corporate pioneers that brought gamification into their corporate training. It’s Deloitte Leadership Academy (DLA), an online training program, incorporates gaming elements like missions, levels, badges, public scorecards, recognition and other motivating factors. Deloitte has since reported a 37% weekly increase of return trainees with a total of 20,000 users since being launched.
Exact Target is a software marketing company that has also launched a training game platform that makes it enjoyable to learn to target lessons while scaling mountains that represent lessons, and delivering artifact rewards to gurus. Score are displayed in public leader boards. Trainees are actually eagerly awaiting the next training game solution instead of trainers pushing the training to them.
For Kaggle, the largest community of data scientists, regular contests motivate them to learn and solve complex data science problems using the most advanced machine learning applications. By continuously gaining knowledge through these competitions, they were able to solve several real-world problems across industries.

DISADVANTAGES OF GAMIFICATION TO LEARNING

As previously stated, there are many benefits of incorporating gamification to e-learning. However, it was just worth mentioning that there are still educators who are clinging to traditional methods of learning.
Some arguments against gamification emphasizes the lack of solid findings on the long-term benefits of gamification, lack of real understanding of the gamification method, and the shortage of knowledge on how gamification can be incorporated within the academic context.

CONCLUSION

Contests can help drive the adoption of e-learning through the use of gamification elements that will enable learning in a fun environment, harness the learner’s innate competitiveness for better knowledge acquisition, and making available innovative ways to retain information. Key statistics showing significant preference for gamification and huge leaps in the gamification market growth reflect this growing preference.

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