The Daily Mindflash

The Mindflash Knowledge Sharing and Online Training Blog

Bill Cushard

Recent Posts

Gear Up for Mobile Learning

Mobile is everywhere. We all know this intuitively as we walk down the street or at the mall or at the airport, and observe people looking down at their mobile devices. Mobile stats are staggering. For example, there are six billion (87% of the world's population) mobile subscribers, 300,000 apps developed over the past three years, and 1.2 billion people access the web using their mobiles. In fact, IDC research shows that by the year 2015 mobile access to the web will be more popular than accessing the web with laptop computers. There are mobile conferences (including one dedicated to mobile learning), heads of mobile job titles at various companies, and a growing number of scholarly research articles on mobile learning.

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Improve E-Learning Effectiveness: Track Duration

I cannot tell you how many times I have run reports in a learning management system that have shown learners who took five minutes and twenty seconds to complete an e-learning course that should have taken twenty minutes to complete. Obviously they just clicked "next" over and over until they got to the end. I've done it
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Learning Design Models Are Fine: But Are They Practical?

One of the most important things a learning experience (LX) designer can do is apply a sound, repeatable process to one's designs. The problem I have with design processes is that they are often too vague and do not actually tell you what to do in the moment. For example, take a look at the A in ADDIE. Analyze. The books on ADDIE will generally tell you that before you begin creating a learning experience, you will want to figure out what is needed. Of course this makes sense, but what I really want to know is how to actually determine those needs.

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How to Address Learning Wants

Like many learning and development professionals, I have received numerous and continuous requests throughout my career for training on topics that, with just a little motivation and creativity, people could learn on their own. Without being too scientific about it, the most popular among these requests seem to be Microsoft Excel, conflict resolution, time management, business writing, and general tips for how to be more efficient on a computer.

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Book Review: Leaving ADDIE for SAM

Many of my recent blog posts have been about learning experience (LX) design and how our designs can be improved through the proper application of action steps that keep the process as simple as possible. Some of my posts have even criticized existing, popular design models, like ADDIE. So, when I saw Leaving ADDIE for SAM: An Agile Model for Developing the Best Learning Experiences, by Michael Allen and Richard Sites, I knew I had to read it. I am always looking for ways to improve how I deliver learning experiences to my organization and reading books like this keeps my skills fresh. Here are a few things I took away from the book that I think you will find valuable.

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E-Learning Designs: Don't Underestimate Learner Overload

I am at the beginning of a long-term project to create an internal certification program for a specific job type in my organization. The method for the learning content will be primarily asynchronous, so that people can go through the program at their own pace. Moreover, a self-paced e-learning program has the added benefit of being a resource that can be referred to over and over again.

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Learning Design: When You Just Don't Know Where to Start

ADDIE is good, SAM is good. DMADDI is good. AGILE is good. Rapid instructional design is good. But sometimes a course design project can be overwhelming, and these design models are not specific enough to answer the question, "OK, so what do I write on the page right now?"

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Employee Development Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes

There has been much written about employee development lately. All of these articles say two things that I find important. First, employees value it when an organization provides opportunities to develop skills beyond just for the job they are doing today. Employees express this value by being more engaged in their work, are more likely to perform better in their jobs, and stay longer with the organization. Second, the employee development opportunities must by well-aligned between what employees value and what the organization needs.

Employee Training and College Credit
At a networking event and product demo luncheon I attended on Thursday, October 25, one of Cornerstone's clients, an HR leader at a well known satellite TV provider, told a story about how they were using on-line courses in their learning management system and partnerships with universities, to offer employees opportunities to learn valuable career skills, and also credit towards college degrees. This is an excellent way to show employees you care about their development and to align what employees value with what the company values.
Everyone knows employee development is important. The problem is that if you are a small to medium-sized business, you likely do not have the resources to either purchase a catalog of courses or hire a training staff large enough to create the opportunities your employees are beginning to expect. So, what to do?
Free or Flexible Options
If you do not quite have the budget to partner with universities or purchase a catalog of on-line courses, an alternative is to assemble a list of free college courses or other reasonably priced on-line courses that your employees can take. Coursera is a service that partners with universities to offer free on-line college courses. Although these courses do not count towards college credit, they do provide an opportunity for someone to learn new skills, if they apply themselves.
Alternatively, Opensesame offers on-line course on a variety of topics from Sexual Harassment to Microsoft Excel at reasonable prices for which you can pay as you go. This is an excellent alternative to purchasing an entire catalog of courses. You can set up an annual budget for each of your employees that they can spend on a service like Opensesame, and allow employees to choose whatever courses they want to take.
You do not necessarily have to spend a ton of money on employee development, but you do need to figure out ways in which employees believe they have opportunities to grow their careers. The secret to success here is to be creative about how to provide opportunities for your people to develop careers that matter to them but that also contribute to the success of your organization.
What employee development opportunities does your organization offer?
Bill Cushardauthorblogger, and head of learning at Allonhill, is a learning leader with extensive, in-the-trenches experience building learning organizations in start-up and hyper-growth organizations like E*TRADE, the Knowland Group, and Allonhill.
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Three Ideas for New Learning Experience (LX) Designers

Starting out in any new job is a challenge, but new instructional designers and learning experience (LX) designers have a particular challenge in that they must learn their own role and the tools associated with their job, and they must learn about the business they serve and the learners for which they will design training and learning experiences.  It is quite a challenge. In thinking about what advice could be valuable for new LX designers, I decided to turn to my personal learning network. I posed a few questions on Twitter and in Linkedin groups. I wanted to find perspectives from a variety of professionals who do this job every day. Surely they would have great advice for new designers.

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Three Ways to Build an Employee Development Culture

There is no doubt that in order to attract and retain a highly talented employee pool, organizations need to think seriously about  branding themselves as development cultures. At the very least, organizations need to structure themselves as a place in which employees can learn new skills and have opportunities to continuously grow careers. The problem with this perspective is that it assumes that the organization needs to provide all of these opportunities.

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