Well-trained employees ensure your business success, as such, it’s crucial that any gaps in potential and actual skill levels of the employees are identified and bridged quickly to maximize their potential. Once you identify the employee skills gap in light of business potential, you can decide what kind of training is needed or who should be trained in your organization. Ravinder Tulsiani, a Learning Consultant with Training EDGE, the Canadian based performance consulting firm explains the importance of evaluating any such training needs within the organization.
Effective staff training sets the pace of your business expansion and proves extremely beneficial to the organization. Any areas of your business, including customer service, current operations, morale, motivation and overall productivity of the employees can be improved through training that might otherwise hold or drag the growth of the entire organization. Analyzing the need for training and selecting the right type of training is the basic step in effective staff training.
The following suggestions can help you in accessing whether any developments have created gaps in the potential and actual skill levels of your employees that should be bridged by implementing appropriate training modules:
- Analyze Business Plans, Policies and Procedures: Your business will tell you everything you if you analyze the recent changes. For example, training will facilitate a smooth transition for both the customers as well as the employees if you have implemented point-of-sale program or upgraded system management software. The employees will be willing and capable of handling changes on being adequately trained. The training will also strengthen their loyalty towards the organization by infusing the sense of being valued and supported.
- Analyze the Demographic Profile of Your Customers: The changes in the demographic profile of your customers can create new opportunities and business potentials that require you to prepare your organization to utilize the available potential for business expansion. For example, if the new generation is showing trends for an increase in online services, you may need to train your employees according to the requirements for effectively handling the online demand.
- Analyze the Feedbacks: The feedbacks from the customers, employees or even the managers can reflect the need for training in your organization. The surveys and forums create communication opportunities between the management and employees providing simple and effective methods of accessing hidden training needs. The feedbacks not only serve as effective grievances Redressal system, but also provide avenues of business expansion by highlighting staff training requirements.
- Analyze Complaints and Frequent Problems: The recurring problems within the system or complaints might indicate the need for employee training. Many issues can be easily resolved by training the staff rather than considering them as the lost, dumb or inefficient workers to be fired. Therefore, the complaints and frequent problems should be analyzed whether training is required to solve the problem
- Analyze the Training Needs of New Staff: The new employees might need advanced skills required to work as front-line employees and understand the organizational culture and structure of your organization. The training needs of new hires are extremely crucial and should be promptly addressed. Lack of training can affect the quality of service and thus prospects of your business.
- Analyze the Training Needs for Retaining Employees: High employee turnovers can negatively affect your business prospects. You should implement sufficient opportunities to improve the skill levels of your employees and create avenues of their career growth within the organization or industry in order to retain skilled workers.
However, Ravinder cautions that training cannot be seen as one solution to all your problems. Training the employees doesn’t guarantee that recurring problems will be completely addressed. For example, unsatisfied employees may still decide to quit the organization after being trained, and you have to train your new employees again. Similarly, you may find that training doesn’t reduce the customer complaints against any front-line employee who needs to be shifted to another position or functional line. Accessing the training needs within your organization also requires your attention, and you have to prioritize your time for evaluating the training needs and overall benefits of such training. Developing and implementing right training modules also require planning to take care of the training needs of specific workers or functional divisions.
Once you analyze staff training in the right perspective, it allows you to reap the full potential of your employees by boosting their morale, motivation and efficiency through constant proactive support. The high morale, motivation and efficiency are the key factors that contribute to the growth and prosperity of your business. The assessment of training needs within your organization will provide great insight to improve your customer experience and create avenues of business expansion.
Just how important is a return on investment (or ROI)? Well, it’s so important that many organizations are gradually more concerned in measuring the return on investment than the typically used training and organizational change programs, which can be quite costly. Return On Investment: What Is It and Why Is It Considered So Important
According to Ravinder Tulsiani, an ROI is basically a calculation that looks at an organization’s gained benefits compared to the company’s expenditure. The four key trends that dictate the ROI (accountability needs and evaluation in-training and development) include:
What Is The Return On Investment Method
- Saving money and time using ROIs over costly training programs, which often means conducting a detailed investigation of their impact to the company’s performance.
- More organizations are executing other measures to evaluate a company’s success and its progress. Training must be accurately gauged, watched and assessed, and should be included in the trend.
- Accountability is important if an organization is to meet its strategic goals. Therefore, training to meet those objectives is important.
- Upper-level management ensures that training and development processes are looked at even closer and more in-depth, ensuring accountability for important training expenses.
Ravinder said the basic idea behind the method is to figure out – in percentages – a development’s return by taking away the activity’s costs from its complete benefits. The key problem behind this is that not every benefit can be numerically measured – leadership, confidence level, etc. There are five steps to determine what the ROI process is:1. Gather Supportive Program Information
Before anything else is done, it’s imperative to collect baseline and follow-up information about a company’s performance, said Ravinder. There are numerous data collection techniques available – examinations, tests, survey sheets, etc. Questionnaires are seen as the most common method of following up, as they provide a good deal of information about how much knowledge was put forth in what they learned and the successes they attained.
Now, the data should only be collected from folks who have been through the training experience because this ensures there is an unbiased process and there are little chances for mistakes.
Ravinder said timing is also an issue that must be dealt with in data collection. The trick with ROI calculations is they’re typically done at random. Still the training benefits are often felt way after an event. Some programs were created so there was a long-term impact. However, identifying certain kinds of improvements from the programs can be difficult if they’re evaluated years after the completion of a program.
Despite the existing connection between performance and training, it’s hard for employees to understand the connection between training and improvements happening months or years after training has commenced. 2. Division Of Training Effects
In all businesses, there are factors that affect the company’s output measures. It’s tricky to determine if training by itself was effective, as it’s just one of the multitudes of influences that drive a certain measure such as:
- Measureable decline in absences
- Rise in productivity
- Improvement in product and service quality
- Improvement in employee satisfaction
- Improvement in employee turnover
- Improvement in company’s bottom line
Some techniques that may be used in the assessment process of the training include:
- Forecasting models
- Trend lines
- Control groups
Of course, at least one strategy (more, if you want) should be used to determine the training’s effect. 3. Calculate Your Costs
A very important step in getting the program costs to find out what the whole investment is. Every cost about the training programs needs to be taken into consideration:
4. Determine The ROI
- Intervention development
- Training needs investigation
- Participant benefits and salaries
- Program materials
The return on investment is figured out and shown as a percentage with net benefits divided by the whole investment in a training program. This ensures, Ravinder said, that the ROI formula is similar to ROI calculations for other kinds of investments, typically seen in the net earnings that is divided by the usual investment.
The formula below is what is used to determine the precise value:
Net Programme Benefits - Total Cost of Training Programme
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x 100% = ROI
It can be difficult to find out what a training program’s ROI is. Therefore, the precise value is never known. Still, the above formula is widely used for gauging training programs. 5. Recognize The Incorporeal Remunerations
Incorporeal remunerations, which are benefits that have no monetary value attached to them or where there is a questionable assigned value, are extremely important; however, they’re not turned into monetary values for the company’s profits.
The ROI calculation does not use them; but, when it comes to the organization’s goal, they are extremely important and much more relevant than performance. Ravinder said some incorporeal remunerations include:
4 Useful Concepts To Attain A Better Return On Investment
- Less stress
- Reduction in customer complaints due to better customer service
- Improvement in teamwork
- Rise in the commitment to the organization
- Rise in the fulfillment of the profession
- Fewer to no conflicts
According to Ravinder, there are four useful concepts business can apply to get a better ROI for their company. These concepts include:
- Improve the end of course sheets so that it includes questions like what can the company do different because of the training.
- Carry out additional training with the company to learn what was implemented and how the performance was bettered because of the information.
- Send out samples to people questioning them about previous incidents and the skills used to handle them and how they got them.
- Talk with the company before and after the training, taking a look at the people’s behaviors that were before the training and what they were after the training.
You can have the best training material and delivery method, but if I don’t like the training environment or am not motivated to learn; chances are that I will walk out of that training room with very little new knowledge or skill.
“Creating a positive learning environment is the key to building strong connection with your learners and ensure learning takes place” says Ravinder Tulsiani, a Learning Consultant with Training EDGE.
Ravinder explains that “a learning environment conducive to learning is no accident, it must be planned”. He suggests a few simple things you can do before and during the training session to create a positive and stimulating environment.
Here are measures that should be taken before the session begins:
~ Eliminate every possible clutter from the environment.
- Prepare the participants by sending them an email to explain how they are going to benefit from the session and provide positive suggestions.
- Choose a training room with lots of lights (ideally sunlight). Bright natural lights will significantly improve the learning ambiance and help in sustaining the motivation level of the participants by maintaining good concentration and energy levels. Insufficient light breeds the sense of fatigue and negatively influences the participants' mood. Therefore, make sure that natural sunlight reaches the training room or use the table and floor lamps to light the room when natural light is not available. The floor or table lamps provide natural and warmer light as compared with strip lights.
- The individual or row sitting arrangement of traditional class-room environment builds up pressure. Create a more positive atmosphere by clustered sitting arrangements that create a sense of participation among the trainees.
- Reinforce the positive atmosphere of the training room and motivation of the trainees by presenting the positive feedback from the trainees who have already benefited from the training.
- Sustain the motivation level of the trainees and create curiosity among them by presenting key points and objectives of the training through colorful flip-charts around the room.
- Create a relaxing ambiance by redesigning the training room using the theme of comfortable environments such as the restaurants, garden and even the beach. Use the following approach to create a learning environment that is completely distinct from their working environment:
~ Decorate the learning room with flowers and plants.
~ Divert the phone calls.
~ Let the participants refresh when they need.
~ Use background music. Baroque music is considered very stimulating and favorable in promoting learning due to its easy and familiar rhythms.
Ravinder cautions that stimulating background themes or the perfect learning ambiance should not be taken as an end in itself. “No single technique can ensure learner transfer occurs”, creating a positive learning environment using the above techniques must be a part of the overall training strategy. Another key determinant is the skills and proficiency of the trainer; a good trainer can significantly accelerate the learning process. Ravinder suggests the following measures for sustaining the right learning environment during the session:
Here are measures that should be taken during the session:
The training should start smoothly with a pace that doesn't create discomfort to any learner.
- A trainer should ensure that participants feel relaxed and comfortable during the session. The use of authority, force or even satire on the late-comers hardly contributes anything to accelerate learning except breeding anxiety, embarrassment and pressure on the trainee.
- The participants should be involved in group activities in order to promote cordial learning environment.
- The mutual support and understanding among the participants should be encouraged so that they can pair up with other participants after the session to discuss and excel in their training.
- A trainer should effectively use icebreakers to eliminate the participant’s hesitation in sharing their views and encourage them to engage with other participants. The following points should be considered while using the icebreakers:
~ The trainer
shouldn't force any participant to engage in any activity regardless of the intention to eliminate hesitation.
~ The trainer should only use icebreakers to eliminate hesitation and not for bringing any perceptible change in learning results.
~ The trainer should foster confidence that the personal information of the participants will never be misused and remain personal.
~ The trainer shouldn't force any participant to engage in any activity regardless of the intention to eliminate hesitation.
~ The trainer should only use icebreakers to eliminate hesitation and not for bringing any perceptible change in learning results.
~ The trainer should foster confidence that the personal information of the participants will never be misused and remain personal.
Informal learning accounts for almost 80 percent of all the learning activities within the organization, then why do most companies focus all their efforts on formal training. “Most organizations don’t utilize the full potential of informal learning” says Ravinder Tulsiani, a Learning Consultant with Training EDGE. Ravinder advocates that “organizations should incorporate informal learning as an important approach to employee education and training”, and explains the factors that can enhance the effectiveness of the informal learning process within the organization.
Research has shown that informal group behavior within the organization exerts tremendous influence on the overall performance of the organization. These informal groups within the organizations also impart right skills to their group members and surprisingly account for as high as 80 percent of all the learning activities within the organization. The formal managers or education and training department of the organization have no role in this informal learning process and therefore, the informal learning may not serve as a very effective and desired training process from the manager’s perspective.
Management cannot control the informal learning process within the organization, but they can influence the quality and effectiveness of informal learning by considering it as an important approach to employee education and training. The managers should facilitate the informal learning process and ensure that their employees have access to the right information when they look for it. The training or human resource department should include the following guidelines for taking full advantage of informal channels of training within the organization:
1. Understand the informal learning process within the organization
It becomes highly imperative to understand the information learning process within the organization to effectively support and facilitate informal learning so that it actually aligns with the formal education and training within the organization. The managers should find out how their employees learn at the workplace in order to understand the informal learning process. The analysis of the worker's learning process at the workplace can be carried out by using any combinations of the following approaches:
Conducting a Survey:
The managers can conduct surveys by drafting a questionnaire to collect important information as to how the employees improved their skills. The surveys are better than focus groups or interviews in quickly and efficiently obtaining the information but may require further clarification or follow-up questions to get a more comprehensive understanding of the informal learning process.
The managers can suitably categorize the employees into focus groups and engage in personal conversation with them to find out the source of their information and how they perform their routine jobs. During the personal interactions, the managers can specifically ask how the employees improved their efficiency, what they do when face any work-related problems and what resources are more useful in solving their problems. This will allow the managers to understand the resources that are more important to the workers.
The observation during the actual work is the most important approach to understand the informal learning process because the informal group code may prevent the employees to share information with the managers as to how they work and coordinate with each other in solving problems. Although observation is the most revealing method of understanding informal learning process, it’s equally time-consuming process. The workers may coordinate with each other in the following manners to resolve their work-related issues:
- Consult with senior colleagues through email, phone or personal interaction.
- Search the Internet for answers to their problem.
- Look for past references and information from hard copy records or shared computer-based records.
- Consult with subject matter experts in question.
The close observation and monitoring of such activities will reveal the true picture of the informal learning process taking place in any group or functional departments within the organization.
The analysis and understanding of the informal learning process will reveal the secrets of close informal groups as far the informal learning process is concerned, and the education and training department of the organization can have a clear picture as to what resources are utilized and which one are neglected by the employees. This understanding of the informal learning process will enable them to plan accordingly and improve the correct resource utilization for education and training.
2. Encourage and Support informal learning within the organization
The informal learning in the most natural process without any need of formal interference, but the informal learning process can be significantly improved. The managers can incorporate training modules on the following skills and activities in the formal training to encourage and support the informal learning process within the organization:
- Improving the information sourcing skills of the employees such as the methods of finding accurate information on the Internet.
- Improving the learning skills of the employees by making them proficient in mind mapping, taking notes, and personal reflection, etc.
- Motivating and encouraging the workers to become more responsible and dedicated in achieving personal learning goals.
- Encouraging employee’s access to an expansive personal network so that they can quickly find a solution to any work-related problems.
The role of education and training department of the organization lies in imparting formal learning opportunities to the employees for improving their working proficiency and thus increasing the overall organizational efficiency. The incorporation of these skills will provide additional advantages of smooth informal learning at the same time enhancing work efficiency of the employees through formal training. The encouragement and support to informal learning process by formal training certainly lead to dual advantages.
3. Provide access to authentic and quality resources for informal learning
The most important aspect of informal learning is that it provides support to the employee in the form of right information whenever they face problems. The informal learning can be improved by supporting the employee’s access to quality and authentic information sources. The organizations can use intranet to provide cost-effective and easily accessible authentic information to the employees. The easy access to quality information will naturally improve the informal learning once the usage and availability of information is promoted by using formal learning opportunities.
The organization should use the services of only those providers who can effectively deliver right knowledge base and meet the information requirements of the workforce.
4. Support employee’s access to subject matter experts
Generally, the senior colleagues with expertise on the concerned subject matters serve as informal advisors and provide a very instrumental role in the informal learning process. Virtually, the entire informal learning process within the organization revolves around their mentoring skills. The organizations can identify and develop the mentoring skills of these senior subject specific experts within the organization to encourage and facilitate the informal learning throughout the organization. The development of subject matter experts within the organization will encourage informal learning and improvements in their skills will ensure that they don’t act as the answering machine but actively encourage the employees to develop self-learning capabilities.
5. Develop Knowledge base and Information resources that can be easily updated
The employees within the organization persistently seek the right and updated information, and research has revealed that on an average 15-30 percent working hours of the employee is lost in seeking the most authentic information (IDC Information Worker Survey April 2003). This waste of time can be significantly reduced by incorporating an information management system where the information can be easily edited, stored and shared by the employees. The organization should incorporate the information management system but allow the employees to manage and develop the information resources. The extent of workforce ownership and sharing of the knowledge base will encourage informal learning by providing quick access to authentic and updated information. The monitoring and management of the knowledge base by the subject-specific experts will significantly enhance the potential advantages of using information management systems.
6. Encourage opportunities of informal learning
The cordial working environment conductive to informal group interactions enhances the effectiveness of informal learning as the employees can easily interact and share ideas and solutions. The organization should encourage and promote employee interaction through cordial working environment by incorporating the following aspects in the organizational culture:
- Creation of an informal working platform where workers can feel comfortable is the first step in promoting informal learning. The employees are more likely to engage in informal interactions when they are assured that their activities are not going to create any negative implications.
- Encouraging informal relationship between the formal training professionals and the employees create additional avenues of informal learning. The formal education and training department of the organization is concerned with the formal training to the employees, but the behavioral aspects in the organization cannot be neglected and if an informal relationship develops between the trainers and the employees, it creates additional avenues of informal learning.
- Encouraging team work and coordination across the functional divisions within the organization in any project creates additional avenues of personal interactions with employees from different teams and departments, significantly increasing the scope of potential informal network. The cordial working environment across the functional divisions of the organization can infuse totally new perspective among the various stakeholders of the organization.
7. Monitoring, Evaluation and corrective measures
The adaptation to the behavioral challenges of the organization is an ongoing process, and the avenues of informal learning have to be constantly explored. The evaluation of the supportive measures becomes very important for encouraging informal learning process. All the policy measures that don’t bring desired changes have to be refined. The technical advancements such as sophisticated software, monitoring systems, the Internet, etc. create additional opportunities that can be incorporated within the organizational culture to increase the effectiveness of informal learning. The workforce participation in finding the most appropriate technological improvements conductive to informal learning is another very crucial factor for promoting informal learning within the organization.
Most companies want training programs that efficiently deliver the new knowledge in the least amount of time as possible to minimize disruption to their normal day-to-day operations.
Resulting from the need for efficiency, most trainers have focused almost exclusively on creating a training session or series of training sessions, in fact, trainers spend over 85% of their efforts on designing and developing the training event; this enables trainers to ensure that the material is delivered in the most compact way as possible and ensure the knowledge transfer occurs inside the classroom efficiently.
The problem with focusing on event almost exclusively is the long-term retention. Studies prove that less than half of the skills and information learned is transferred to the job immediately after the training session. Within 6 months, three-quarters of the information or skill is forgotten, and after one year employees retain as little as 10 to 15% of what they learned in the training session.
If you’re looking for better return from your training investment dollars, then consider breaking the event mindset and start thinking about the entire learning process.
he training event is only a part of the learning process. You should allocated no more than 60% of your efforts in the event itself; to increase the effectiveness and return on training investment, focus your remaining 40% of your time in developing post-training re-enforcement and follow up.
Post-training re-enforcement and follow up strategy can include providing resources to answer questions, additional reinforcement training sessions / stand ups, job aids, online resource, follow up on actions learners indicated they would take; any effort taken to reinforce the skill. You can also give employees who have successfully implemented new skill the opportunity to provide training.
Engage the immediate managers prior to training and encourage them to hold learners accountable for the new skills learned and recommend that they put in place rewards and incentives to encourage the new behavior. Encourage them to measure and monitor performance, because “what gets measured gets done.”
By having a solid post-training plan, you will exponentially increase the return on your training investment dollars. In fact, studies show that training combined with follow up and coaching increases effectiveness by over 80%.
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Top Ten reasons why learners do not apply what they learn to the job in their organization?
1. Learners are not evaluated on their use of newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job.
2. Learners are not rewarded for using newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job.
3. There is not enough time during learning for sufficient practice and rehearsal of the newly trained skills.
4. Lack of time for learners to use the knowledge and skills acquired in learning.
5. Learners are not motivated to use new knowledge and skills on the job.
6. Learners’ immediate manager does not support the use of the knowledge and skills on the job.
7. Lack of resources the learners require to use newly acquired knowledge and skills.
8. The learners’ work group or co-workers do not support the use of the knowledge and skills on the job.
9. Lack of opportunity for learners to use the knowledge and skills on the job.
10. Upper management does not support learners’ use of new knowledge and skills on the job.
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Who are the Intended Readers? Members of the higher education academic and research communities, K-12 educators and technologists and workplace technology integrators.
- 65 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your e-Learning Budget
This eBook on maximizing your e-Learning development budget demonstrates the ingenuity of our industry and our commitment to learn all-ways. You will find tips on enduring themes such as where to begin your e-Learning programs, getting the most from subject matter experts, lending your skills to other departments, and lessons learned the hard way.
- 144 Tips on Synchronous e-Learning Strategy + Research
The eLearning Guild conducted a survey of its members, asking for their favorite tips relating to strategies for effectively creating, managing, and using synchronous e-Learning. These tips will be useful to any designer or developer looking for best practices to incorporate into their own processes. This eBook is sponsored by Adobe Systems, Inc.
- Improving the Odds of Effective Collaborative Work in Online Courses by Joanna C. Dunlap
- 239 Tips for Producing and Managing Flash-based e-Learning Content
In February and March, 2008, The eLearning Guild conducted a survey of its members, asking for their favorite tips for producing and managing Flash-based e-Learning. Members could submit tips relating to any or all of 19 different tools (plus an “other” category) that either produce Flash output or that can incorporate Flash content.
- The Instructional Use of Learning Objects
This is the online version of The Instructional Use of Learning Objects, a new book that tries to go beyond the technological hype and connect learning objects to instruction and learning. You can read the full text of the book here for free. The chapters presented here are © their respective authors and are licensed under the Open Publication License, meaning that you are free to copy and redistribute them in any electronic or non-commercial print form. For-profit print rights are held by AIT/AECT. The book was edited by David Wiley, and printed versions of the book are published by the Association for Instructional Technology and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. If you find the online book useful, please consider purchasing a printed copy.
- 162 Tips and Tricks for Working with e-Learning Tools
In October and November 2007, The eLearning Guild conducted a survey of its members, asking for their favorite tips for using software to create e-Learning. Members could submit tips in any or all of these five categories: Courseware authoring and e-Learning development tools, rapid e-Learning tools, simulation tools, media tools, and combining and deploying authoring tools.
- The eLearning Guild's Handbook of e-Learning Strategy
This FREE Digital Handbook will help you make a broad, fundamental connection between learning, e-Learning, and your organization's mission, business objectives, and the bottom line. Chapters address everything from crafting a focused strategy, to keeping your strategy focused, to change management. This eBook is sponsored by Adobe Systems, Inc.
- The eLearning Guild's Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning
This FREE Digital Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning is intended for anyone and everyone who wants to produce, lead, or promote live, interactive learning events on the Web. It's packed with job aids, references, examples, and information to significantly reduce the amount of time required to produce online learning events. This eBook is sponsored by WebEx Communications, Inc.
- Learning Leaders Fieldbook - The MASIE Center
- 382 Tips on the SELECTION of an LMS or LCMS
This FREE Digital Book is an awesome collection of tips from hundreds of your professional colleagues. These tips will help you navigate the LMS minefield, streamline your selection process, and help you save money! Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive set of tips that you can use to improve your LMS and LCMS selection efforts.
- My Most Memorable Teacher - The MASIE Center
- 339 Tips on the IMPLEMENTATION of an LMS or LCMS
This FREE Digital Book is an amazing collection of tips from hundreds of your professional colleagues. Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive set of tips that you can use to improve your LMS and LCMS implementation efforts.
- What Keeps You Up At Night - The MASIE Center
- 311 Tips on the MANAGEMENT of an LMS or LCMS
This FREE Digital Book is an incredible collection of tips from hundreds of your professional colleagues. Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from these tips on the management of your LMS or LCMS system! Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive set of tips that you can use to improve your LMS and LCMS management efforts.
- 834 Tips for Successful Online Instruction
This FREE Digital Book is a wonderful collection of tips from 336 of your professional colleagues. Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive set of tips that you can use to improve your knowledge and skills in online instruction. This eBook is sponsored by WebEx Communications, Inc.
- In Search of Learning Agility
This publication deviates from the typical eLearning Guild eBook. We’re publishing it here because we believe that it contains a powerful and insightful view of the role educational technology plays in organizations. The central premise is that enduring competitive advantage must be built on organizational learning agility. This is a “must read” for managers and executives who are interested in aligning learning and training efforts and investments with larger business objectives.
- e-Learning Practices - Editor: Prof. Dr. Ugur Demiray
- e-Learning Survival Guide by e-Learning Queen (a.k.a Susan Smith Nash)
Everything you need to succeed in the wild world of mobile learning, e-learning, and hybrid college, K-12, and career courses.
- Web Teaching by David Brooks, Diane Nolan, and Susan Gallaghe
Uses PowerPoint as the main development environment and overlays interactions, audio and Flash media over the top. Then, it exports it out into a handy, single .SWF file for distribution on the web. It has a nice wrapper that creates a nice, contained package for navigation and user controls.
If lots of your training is already in PPT, then maybe Articulate is a good be: Import your PPT, add some audio and a couple questions and after export, you are good to go.
It uses PPT as the basic development platform and plugs in over the top. Your training looks like a glorified PPT.
Uses itself as a development platform and does screen recordings and your desktop. It adds interactions and demonstration pop ups, while also allowing for a degree of branching, quizzes and the new version has great audio controls. Then, when you are done, it exports out to a handy, single .swf file for distribution. It also has a nice wrapper that has great navigation and user controls.
Captivate is great for capturing mouse movements and screen shots. If you are developing training on a new computer system or software Captivate is really, really good.
Not suitable for more advance e-learning.
Is its own development platform specifically designed for eLearning creation. It allows for the most flexibility, and the pro package has screen capture, audio capture and PPT import as well. It has lots of interaction templates, learning templates and other features that allow you to jump right in and start programming great eLearning.
Lectora is great for everything. Everything Articulate and Captivate does, you can do it in Lectora. Plus, the flexibility of Lectora allows you to go beyond and really do some creative eLearning. If you want to build training distributed over the web, and you have a team of creative designers who want no limits, try Lectora.
Not as intuitive. There is a learning curve.
So which e-learning software is best? Depends on your skill level and type of material you are creating. My advice to you is don’t spend a lot of time looking for a "One Size Fits All" solution instead consider using a combination of software and integrating them to achieve the best results for your targeted audience.
Created by professor and author Dr. Paul Hersey and author Ken Blanchard, the Situational Leadership Model is a theory of business leadership that promotes the benefits of combining a range of managerial styles to cater to different people within the same organization. This is opposed to the more traditional view of the executive manager who may employ the same leadership tactics across an entire organization, more than likely passing directives down through subordinates and other intermediaries.
But by employing the strategies put forth in the Situational Leadership Model, a manager would potentially have the capabilities to deal with a wide range of people and thereby create a more employee-centric and innovative organization through the level of direct contact he or she has with members at all levels. Further, the leader would be free to place more or less emphasis on a particular task as well as more or less emphasis on relationships with employees – enabling them to focus on the component most needed to get the task accomplished successfully.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
The core foundation of the Situational Leadership Model is the belief that there is no single “best” approach to leadership. Instead, effective leadership is viewed as task-relevant. Therefore, the most successful leaders are the ones who are able to adapt their leadership styles across a broad range of varying maturity levels readily present within the average organization. Also factoring into the choice for leadership style are the individual employees’ willingness and ability to take responsibility for the task as well as their applicable education and experience.
Given the wide level of variance in these factors, choices surrounding leadership are highly subjective in regard to the person or work group that is being influenced as well as the specific job or function that has been assigned – a situation some say lends itself perfectly to the Situational Leadership Model.
The Four Styles of Situational Leadership
Though it’s meant to provide extreme adaptability, there are four basic styles when it comes to the Situational Leadership Model, each custom tailored to elicit the highest productivity from each employee or group.
As you’ll see, there is a clear distinction between productivity and employee-development, with the first two styles (telling and selling) focused on accomplishing the task while styles three and four (participating and delegating) are more concerned with the personal development of team members.
Telling – Within this style, a leader will specifically instruct subordinates what to do and how to do it. This style is used at length within the law enforcement and military communities as well as on manufacturing assembly lines, providing a means of managing a diverse group of people that span a wide range of experience and maturity levels.
Selling – Information and direction will still be provided by the manger in this style of leadership but there’s also more two-way communication with subordinates. Within this role, leaders “sell” their message to get employees on board, persuading them to work toward the common goal. A perfect example of this type of leadership is often found in an internship situation, with the success of this approach dependent upon whether the student or apprentice learner is excited and self-motivated to be on the job.
Participating – With participation, leaders can focus more on relationships and less on direction. In doing so, the Situational Leadership manager works closely with the team and shares decision-making responsibilities. This style is often used by corporate leaders who are attempting to influence a board of directors toward developing a new policy for which there is no proven history or established practice.
Delegating – Although the leader will still monitor task- and organizational-progress, he or she will pass much of the responsibility for the execution and completion of the established goals onto the individual subordinates or dedicated work groups. By delegating, the leader is usually less involved with decisions and is therefore able to focus on the work and achievements of subordinates, as seen commonly in the freedom given to tenured professors who are allowed to teach in the manner they believe is most effective while being monitored by a dean or department head.
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to use your emotions in a positive and constructive way in relationships with others. It's about engaging with others in a way that brings people towards you, not away from you. Emotional Intelligence is about recognizing your own emotional state and the emotional states of others and being “choiceful” about how you interact and engage with them. It is about choosing to engage people in a positive and constructive manner, and it can help tremendously in the workplace.
Emotional Intelligence is divided into 4 basic competencies. Each competency has several skills or personality traits.
1. Self Awareness
This is recognizing how emotions affect one's performance. It requires an accurate self assessment, a candid sense of one's personal strengths and limits and then being able to accurately identify one's own areas of improvement. Self-aware individuals are reflective and learn from experience. They are open to candid feedback, new perspectives and self-development.
2. Self Management
This is the ability to manage one's internal states, impulses, and resources. It means being choiceful in interactions with others and the ability to manage or control reactions to difficult situations. Personality traits include self control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability, innovation and optimism.
3. Awareness of Others (Social Awareness)
This is the awareness of other people's feelings, needs, and concerns. It means having empathy, seeking to understand others and being able to read and tune in to the emotional state of others. Social awareness skills include understanding others, developing others, service orientation, leveraging diversity and having political awareness.
4. Relationship Management
This competency is about successfully engaging with others. It includes the ability to communicate, relate and listen well to others and to induce desirable responses in them. People with this ability understand that emotions are contagious. They can adapt their communication styles to people and situations.
EI in the Workplace
Emotional Intelligence is extremely useful at work. Most workplaces rely on different people working together to create a product or service. The workplace is not “all business.” It is a social network and, as such, it is a hotbed of emotions, egos, stress and conflict. Emotional Intelligence can help you develop robust relationships, solve problems using both logic and feelings, maintain an optimistic and positive outlook, cultivate flexibility in stressful situations, help others express their needs, respond to difficult people and situations calmly and thoughtfully and respond to change with grace and calm.
Many people assume that a high IQ is more important than high EI skills. While both are important, many studies show that EI is a much more accurate determinant for success and career growth than technical skills or a high IQ. Today's workplaces are fast moving and full of change. The ability to roll with the punches is huge. You'll get the best out of your employees if you create an emotionally intelligent workplace and you'll be a better employer or leader if you use your EI.
Emotional Intelligence really comes into play when it comes to managing and dealing with difficult people, including customers, employees, colleagues, and bosses. Your ability to understand and empathize goes a long way. EI is important for managing change, understanding the political landscape for a new project, dealing well with setbacks or workplace obstacles, motivating and influencing others and working with or for a team with different personalities.
Some people are born with natural EI sills. In certain fields, EI goes hand in hand with success, like sales. Some people are natural born salesmen. Many companies actually use EI competency testing as criteria for selection into highly engaging positions like sales. A recent survey showed that companies that selected their sales people by using EI competency criteria decreased their first year turnover rate by a whopping 63 percent.
But EI can also be taught and many companies hire consultants like me to host workshops to train employees on emotional intelligence. If companies are truly committed to creating a positive workplace, this can be a great way to start.
EI works on the self-employed as well. First of all, very few people actually work “alone.” Even if you are a sole task producer you still have to create something for a customer and client, so your ability to manage your relationships, even if it is just one or two, is pretty important. And you still have to manage yourself. Your state of mind will absolutely affect your work product. Being able to manage your own emotional landscape will definitely help improve your work product and process.
How Employers Can Use EI
Employers and managers should think about what kind of climate will get the best out of their employees. It always makes me cringe when I see leaders use oppressive tactics to drive performance. It really isn't a successful long-term strategy, especially if you hit hard economic times. A person's relationship with their employer is and has always been a leading factor in an employee's decision to stay or go, and contributes greatly to their productivity.
So if you want to improve your image as a leader, get feedback and be willing to make improvements in yourself and your management style. And remember, being emotionally intelligent is not about “being soft” or forgoing the bottom line. It's about creating and maintaining constructive and generative relationships and environments, and that helps your bottom line.
EI is critical for top leaders. In fact, the higher your position in a company, the more important emotional intelligence becomes. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, the biggest reason that managers fail is because of poor interpersonal skills. Another survey showed that 85 percent of the difference between a good leader and an excellent leader is emotional intelligence.
You can easily see this when you ask people what qualities they think make a great leader or boss. Eighty-five percent of the qualities they name are usually EI qualities while only a handful turns out to be technical skills. EI is critical for a good leader.
Employers are always looking for people who are not only book smart, but are also charismatic, optimistic and resilient. They want people who are not afraid to use emotional intelligence to get ahead. Find out where you stand so you can use your EI to get ahead. Whether you are an employee, a boss, a manager or are self-employed, EI is a critical component of your success.
To find out more about EI and how to measure it, take a look at http://www.eiconsortium.org/reports/technical_report.html