My Experience at The Colossal – #SHRM2018 in The Windy City

The Stage was Set

SHRM 2018 annual conference & exposition was the largest in terms of attendance and footfall in its 70 year history. Reports claim that the turnout was anywhere between 20,000 – 25,000 attendees. The massive setting was apt for this grand event with the venue being the McCormick place in Chicago, the largest convention center in North America. The city stayed true to its nick name the windy city with gutsy winds blowing throughout the area but the good part was that it was pretty sunny and warm atleast for a major portion of the four day event.

The Energy, Enthusiasm and the Spotlight

The venue was abuzz with activities throughout its entire duration and the level of enthusiasm and energy was at its peak. The sheer number of people attending this event is a great indicator that there is a continued spotlight on the Human Resources (HR) function. Movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and events like Starbucks Diversity Training Day have played their role in ensuring this.

I personally had the opportunity to speak to quite a few training providers and understand their digital solutions around compliance training. There seems to be a lot of focus and emphasis on making sure that the new age compliance digital learning is not just a check box, it is instead designed to create a culture of learning instead of training. It also ensures a continued reinforcement of the learning through multiple innovative ways and delivery models.

Some other prominent things to watch out for in the coming days would be:

  • Focus on building workplace culture with civility at the forefront and openness to diverse perspectives
  • Human Resources’ contribution to workforce development essentials, meeting the shortage of skilled workforce to fulfill the needs created by industrial revolution 4.0
  • Managing employee relations in the times of gig economy

 

The Famed Chicago Style Hot Dog

Before I end this blog, I have to mention this, when you are in Chicago you have to try the famous Chicago style hot dog also known as “dragged through the garden” due to the numerous toppings. There was ample supply of the same at the venue, so it kept people full and satiated.  And yes, I did learn that when you are in Chicago you don’t put the red ketchup on your hot dogs.

 

Overall it was a great event, lot of learning and great networking opportunities. I am now eagerly looking forward to SHRM 2019. Did you participate in this year’s event? How was your experience? Share through comments below.

Legacy Content Modernization Journey – Getting the Right Start

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The time is always right to do what is right

You must be wondering how these words from Martin Luther King Jr. are relevant to our discussion today. Well, with Flash officially slated for sunset in 2020, should you really wait on the sidelines and hope to jump on the last bus that would take you out of this situation? I think the answer would be no from majority of us. This is an important business decision, and all perspectives need to be analyzed before taking it, but the time to take this decision is now. In this blog, let’s explore various situations playing on your mind while making the right choice about modernization.

The first thing would be to identify the courses that need to go through the modernization process. Your organization may have a huge library of flash courses and not every course needs to be modernized. The decision on retiring or retaining a course needs to be framed on the basis of the following factors:

  1. Relevance of the course content today
  2. Current market requirement for each course
  3. User enrollment analysis for each course
  4. Feedback given by users after taking the course

Most of these factors will eventually boil down to adding to the bottom line. If a course performs adversely on the above parameters, consider retiring it.

Once the course inventory is shortlisted, the other piece of puzzle is to decide who is going to do this job. Is it your internal development team, should you bring in a third party vendor or should it be a combination of both? Some guiding factors that would help you make this decision are:

  1. What is more important for your existing internal teams, working on new product development and servicing existing customers or modernizing legacy courses?
  2. Do you have the relevant skill-set in your in-house team for this job?
  3. Are you willing to ramp up your internal team temporarily for this task?
  4. Should you bring in a third-party supplier with the appropriate skill-set to help you with modernization?
  5. If you intend to bring in a third-party supplier, what should be criteria to bring them onboard? Of course a supplier housing a team with the right technical skill-set is the one you should shortlist, but you also need to give some emphasis on what values this supplier brings on the table. Do you want to onboard just a vendor or you need a partner who is with you in this important business decision? Read this blog – “You need a partner not a vendor”, that shares information on the ideal behaviors to notice while partner selection.

Well, the fact is that you might get lucky in hopping on the last bus when it comes to planning the modernization project, but is it worth the risk? The time is now to make the right decision, so it is ideal to plan things right away. To know more about some of these guiding factors, drop us a line at info@harbingerlearning.com. We would be happy to share our experiences with you.

Five Reasons Why You Should Go Digital for Compliance Training

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In the modern-day workplace learning, there is nothing trickier than dealing with sensitive subject matter. This subject matter could range from topics like sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, cultural competence, to, information breach and security. These topics come under the compliance training mandate in most industries.

Traditional classroom sessions are often insufficient to deal with such topics, and do not necessarily convey the required information in the best possible way. Digital learning has an edge over classroom sessions when it comes to presenting sensitive topics as a compliance mandate. Here is why:

  • Standardized Format

It is very important that sensitive compliance training matter conveys exactly what it is intended to, to all learners alike. Traditional training largely misses this significant requirement. Since traditional training involves different instructors, the style and essence of the delivered content varies depending on the instructor. It could even be hampered by an instructor’s mood and surrounding factors.

Digital learning removes all the above mentioned roadblocks. The content is built in a way the management intends to, and is delivered alike to all learners. This standardized content and delivery ensures the absence of any personal bias that an instructor might induce in a classroom session.

  • More Controlled

There are instances when an organization consults specific subject matter experts to develop/make amends to the training content. Such situations demand compliance training programs to be easily customizable and in control of the organization. In traditional classroom sessions, it is up to the instructor to make note and accept the amendments coming from the subject matter experts.

Digital learning ensures that the amendments are in place before the content reaches the learners. Things are more in-control of the organization and easily customizable when it comes to digital learning.

  • Cost Effective

Certain industries like aviation and healthcare demand that compliance training content be updated very frequently, based on the changing industry regulations. In traditional training, these updates are an expensive affair since an instructor needs to be hired frequently to make changes to the content. It could also have some repercussions in terms of timely delivery since an instructor might not be available when you need them.

If digital learning is used, then the organization’s in-house team or their digital training supplier can easily make updates to the content as and when required, without incurring additional costs. You also do away with any kind of time dependencies since all can be done at the organization have will.

  • Quantitative Evaluation

In traditional learning, it is difficult to gauge the accurate knowledge levels of employees. You can have scored assessments in place after the classroom sessions, but only those might not give the actual idea of what the employee has learnt. These assessments are not even capable of giving immediate feedback to learners, when required.

Digital learning ensures that assessments and evaluation of learner’s knowledge levels is more quantitative.  Since you can track data through a Learning Management System (LMS), you have the accurate insights into every employee’s knowledge levels and can guide them further accordingly. You could even reinforce content and provide immediate feedback whenever required.

  • More Flexible

Traditional learning is quite rigid in terms of delivery. It is quite overwhelming for a learner to sit through long hours of a compliance training course, delivered by an instructor over couple of days.

But the same course, when delivered digitally, gives learners the flexibility and freedom to complete it at their own pace. The learners feel more in-control of the learning, and can also revisit the course whenever required.

 

Now that you know how sensitive topics can be broached more effectively through digital learning, you may want to make way for it in your organization.  Employ the right mix of classroom sessions and digital learning in your training. This would help your employees feel both comfortable and confident in their understanding of the rules. We shall shortly do a blog incorporating tips on effectively delivering sensitive subject matter through digital learning. Stay tuned!

Can Flipped eLearning be Effective for Continuing Medical Education?

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Are you a Continuing Medical Education (CME) provider constantly on the lookout for ways to create value for medical practitioners through your education programs? Since these are already practicing physicians with long and unpredictable working hours, it is quite challenging to cater to their learning requirements. In this blog, we shall look at the flipped eLearning model as a potential way to make the CME experience more appealing for the medical community. This model is being effectively used by some of our customers for quite some time now. It prioritizes assessments over content unlike the typical eLearning model where content comes before assessments. Since these providers are dealing with learners who are practicing physicians and already know their stuff, the idea is to focus on reinforcement and not introducing new content. Hence the flipped eLearning model could help.

 

The flipped eLearning model thrives on the belief that assessments are more reflective of what the physicians are doing in practice, and can incentivize them to learn new things. In this model, short assessment nuggets can be used as the first point to engage the practitioners. These nuggets that can typically be completed in 2-5 minutes can be aimed at assessing their knowledge on particular subjects. Once the practitioners attempt them, the nugget can then teach them the required lessons through feedback. This enables practitioners to be more receptive of the learning module. In case they have answered the assessment question correctly, they are keen to explore further on the subject. In case the answer is wrong, they are keen to know the right option. In both the cases, they are more receptive to learning. And since this learning doesn’t demand much time out of their busy schedules, they are happy to undertake it.

 

The use of assessments to gauge actual knowledge and then enhance it, also calls for using advanced methods to evaluate, rather than just multiple choice questions. Explorative and immersive assessments, simulated operations on virtual patients, allow for more in-depth exploration of the assessment questions. Automated scoring and tracking could make this flipped eLearning model more useful, since the providers can assess the physician progress from time to time and direct the learning modules as per individual needs.

 

What are your thoughts on using this flipped eLearning model? Do you think it could have a positive impact on their engagement and reception levels? We would love to hear from you.

Five Crucial Aspects to Address While Repurposing Your Legacy Courses

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Modernizing legacy courses is the need of the hour for organizations that have been into the course development business since long. While making the decision to repurpose legacy content, what are some aspects one should consider? It is not about simply converting Flash or old technology courses to HTML5 but meeting the current and future business needs as well. We, at team Harbinger, have been involved with various organizations to help them repurpose their legacy courses.  Based on our experience of working with these organizations, here are top five aspects people look into, while defining their modernization strategy:

1. Impact on Customer Experience

Since some; or all your legacy courses are still part of your course catalog, and learners are subscribing to it, modernizing would have an impact your current customer experience. Learners would need to spend quite some time figuring out aspects like which browser to use, how to enable flash player in a browser, and go back and forth with the support desks hoping to start viewing the course. This means that the number of support tickets at your service desk will be on the rise and there is every possibility that your support teams will be overworked in order to improve the customer satisfaction score.

2. Strategic Alignment of Goals

Aligning the repurposed legacy courses to the business strategy is crucial. For e.g. if your business is dependent on millennial learners, then micro-learning enabled courses would be an important consideration during redesign. If you are looking to comply with federal government laws, then WCAG compliance would be significant, or if you are thinking of white-labeling courses for your customers then having that kind of flexibility at design level would take precedence over other factors.

3. Future-Ready Enhancements

Another important aspect is to ensure that you are thinking ahead of time and making these courses future-ready. Since you are investing so much time and efforts today to fall in-line with the latest technology and trends, it shouldn’t be the case that several years down the line, you are forced to think about making more changes to them, which means, more investment.

Features like metadata tagging, content chunking into logical micro-nuggets, make the content easily reusable and give you the flexibility for easy updates.

4. Resource Management

As leaders of the content development team, you could also be in a dilemma about managing the whole spectrum of your resources for this specific spike in volume. This would be a tricky situation as you might need to ramp up your content development team size for very specific periods to meet the volume demands and the go-to-market strategies.

5. Weighing all pros and cons against the bottom line

Eventually when it is time to take a decision, you will have to weigh the pros and cons on what will be the impact on your bottom line. If you have a huge catalog of courses, instead of a blanket implementation, you could bucket the courses and select a different approach for each bucket. For example, for top performing courses, you could do a complete revamp. For courses which are not being sold or used a lot, may be a simple cost-effective solution with small fixes to ensure they work on latest browsers could do the job.

Do these aspects sound familiar, have they popped up during your strategy meetings too? If you have been working around some of these, we would happy to hear from you and share our thoughts.