My Life at Harbinger

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A career is an ongoing journey of self-discovery and growth. When this journey is adorned with learning, recognition and fun—it becomes truly satisfying and rewarding. In a nutshell, that’s my life at Harbinger.

With the hope of advancing my career and maturing as a professional, I embarked on a new expedition and entered into a partnership with the Harbinger Group early this year. I joined this organization as a Lead Instructional Designer and my experience so far has been fantastic and extremely rewarding. In this blog-post, I’m capturing a few experiences from my journey at Harbinger.

The Company Culture

As a new entrant, I was inspired to see so many women leaders here. I’m really excited about being part of an organization that strongly believes in developing its people and promoting inclusivity. Every employee in this company is valued as a ‘partner’ and is provided with an equal opportunity to explore their talents, interests and goals. By policy design, every employee frequently connects with their manager via one-on-one meetings. This facilitates an open communication to understand how everything is going and enables both the manager and the employee to uncover ways to progress towards success. The organization’s architecture is such that it provides employees with a clear understanding of their work and guides them in the right direction. So, each one of us exactly knows what it takes to do a great job and advance in our career mission. All that matters is our passion for work and vision for future. I feel a strong sense of belonging here, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why you’ll spot a lot of happy professionals here!

On-boarding at Harbinger

I must admit that I was fairly impressed with the entire on-boarding process. In my 7 year journey in the corporate world, this is the first organization that formally welcomed me with a well planned on-boarding itinerary. All credit goes to the Talent Management team that is purely engaged in enriching an employee’s experience at Harbinger. I was very anxious as I was stepping into my new workplace but thankfully, the experts from this team made all the paperwork, people and processes fairly easy.

My Team

It feels great to be part of this amazing group of people who work towards developing innovative digital learning solutions for customers. Harbinger Interactive Learning Private Limited is a mixed bag of people with competency in marketing and sales, project management, instructional design, multimedia design, program design and quality assurance. In this lot, I am a part of the Instructional Design team, a bunch of creative and visionary writers. We work closely with both customers as well as internal stakeholders to capture project requirements and formulate a solution that best addresses their training needs. I am proud to be working with a team of Instructional Designers who are thought leaders in their own way. My work becomes more enriching because of the continuous learning largely facilitated by my manager and with the ongoing interactions with my peers.

Transparency and Trust

Transparency and trust are the core values that the leadership at Harbinger radiates. Right from people at the top till your immediate supervisor—these values are seen across all levels of the leadership chain at Harbinger, and are passed on to everyone else too. These values make employees more compassionate and relatable; and in turn; gives them the confidence to overcome challenges coming their way. That’s one of the key reasons why you see a lot of innovation and ideas coming from people here.

Celebrating Synergy

Synergy is not just limited to the intense brainstorming meetings that we have—it goes beyond that. Even with the crazy deadlines, we ensure we get together as a team and have a great time at work. ‘Quick Talks’ by colleagues keep us abreast with the latest developments and varied experiences within the group. The ‘Creative Hours’, ‘Happy Hours’ and the ‘Between Minds’ sessions help us connect as a team and indulge in some fun and relaxing activities. Celebrations are an integral part of our work life, and are a hallmark of the Harbinger work culture. Right from welcoming new joiners to celebrating important milestones of employees and projects, acknowledging ‘Distinguished Contributors’ and ringing in the festivities—we do it all and that’s the best part of being at Harbinger. Employees are engaged in an environment that promotes learning, professional growth and fun.

A Dream Come True Moment

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One of the happiest and most significant moments in my career will always be the felicitation ceremony when I received the ‘Distinguished Contributor’ award for my work at Harbinger. It is a pleasant surprise to have your efforts and work acknowledged so early in your association with an organization. But, that’s Harbinger! This has just motivated me to achieve more at work. I just hope that in my association with Harbinger, I address each opportunity to the best of my potential and build many more golden moments to be cherished for this lifetime.

One final message for you—the reader of this blog, Harbinger is a great place to work. Life at Harbinger is an interesting mix of work, learning and fun. If you want to innovate, partner and excel—do explore the work opportunities at Harbinger.

 

7 Things to Keep in Mind While Designing Digital Learning for Millennials

For eLearning course designers, learners have always been the central focus. In the recent times, it has been felt that the way learners learn and consume eLearning has been changing and one of the primary reasons is the emergence of the millennial learner on the stage.

So, who’s the millennial, and what’s so different about their learning style?

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Millennials are the digital generation of today (mainly, the people born in the 1980s or 1990s) who are married to technology to an extent that it’s almost an extension of their own selves. Research indicates that they:

  • Are global citizens
  • Have an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Come from diverse backgrounds
  • Have a limited attention span

So how do you align your development strategy to meet the specific learning needs of millennials?

  1. Make it platform and device agnostic: Do not bind the learner to a specific device or environment; make the digital learning available anywhere, anytime. Preferably, adopt a ‘mobile first’ approach.
  1. Keep it short: Keep the eLearning bite-sized and make it available in micro-learning formats to suit the diversified visual, auditory, and kinetic learning needs. A rigid framework might put off the learner.
  2. Learning goal should be visible: Make the end goal visible to the learner to tie the learning to their work life. This will bring in their active participation and will also encourage them to use the learning in real-world scenarios. This serves their need to be practical and result-oriented.
  3. Make it challenging and fun: Millennials would prefer to solve challenges, so create scenarios close to their day-to-day work and throw in some gamification elements to make it a challenging and fun experience at the same time.
  4. Enable the learner: Keep the design fluid, and enable them to be in control, to take risks, and to multitask. For example, teach a sales call through a branching scenario where learners select the choices they will make while talking to a prospective customer that could result into a successful closure or lost opportunity.
  5. Make it social: Bring in the social and collaborative learning components such as discussion forums, chats, badges, etc. Millennials prefer collaborative experiences and tend to share anything they like. This allows them to enhance their learning experience and also helps the learner community.
  6. Keep it diverse: Various research studies show that millennials are the most diverse of the lot. They consider themselves global citizens. Aim to capture this element in your design for an enhanced learning experience. This could be achieved by using ethnically diverse photographs, globally applicable examples, and using “youth speak.”

This is definitely not a secret sauce or the only seven things which need to be considered while creating a digital learning experience for millennials; but something basic, yet important.

I would like to hear both from eLearning designers and millennial learners about their experiences and views on this.

eLearning for Medical Education

The Medical Industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with new research, technologies, and techniques being developed almost daily. However, along with the development of new medical technology, the industry of medical education is being hard-pressed to keep up. Traditionally, medical education has relied on experienced faculty training, student-patient interactions, and internships. However, considering the pace of development of medical technology, it’s only a matter of time before direct physical learning and interaction may become prohibitively difficult to employ.This isn’t exactly comforting for the patients, or even for the students themselves. However, interactive clinical case studies and surgical simulations in eLearning, are quickly gaining popularity as an efficient and cost-effective means of imparting education on new medical technologies.

As a matter of fact, medical students are themselves more interested in virtual systems and interactive case studies than in traditional methods of medical education. Case in point, systems such as the Dental Anatomy Software allow a dental student to explore accurate tooth anatomy and detail at their own pace of understanding, instead of having to look at 2-dimensional drawings and imagine it in 3 dimensions! This saves a lot of time and energy for both the student and the teacher, and also results in the student gaining a much more solid base of fundamental understanding. Virtual surgery simulations and virtual patients are helping to provide the same understanding-through-experience at a more advanced level of medical education as well.

That isn’t to say that medical technology is best learned through virtual experimentation alone. Hardly! The importance of watching a star surgeon performing a difficult operation is invaluable. However, with eLearning, the student can watch a video of the surgery being performed anytime they want to rather than having to depend upon the luck of the draw to be picked as an assistant for that surgery in real life. Every student gets an equal opportunity to watch the operation, learn from it, and if needed, watch again – as opposed to waiting for an almost exactly similar surgery to be performed again!

Watching videos of a surgery can only help so much, and cannot match the experience of performing the procedure yourself. Let’s face it – nobody’s that perfect! Like most humans, even medical students sometimes have to learn from mistakes. However, medical students have no margin for error in real life. With interactive virtual patients and virtual surgeries come the inevitable new trend of the eLearning industry – gamification! The instructional technique may be called ‘gamification’, but don’t be fooled! It has been proven that with the proper controls and environment, this technique results in an exponentially higher assimilation of content and performance as against application of the instruction learned through traditional methods.

To summarize, the medical industry is one of the few industries in the world with many bleeding-edge technologies being developed. Instructing students about these technologies needs to be done in a bleeding-edge manner as well – and that is what eLearning and ‘gamification’ accomplishes with ease!

Many medical schools and healthcare centers are now more than willing to adopt these modern educational techniques. Some of these early adopters of eLearning are now refurbishing themselves by moving the learning modules on mobiles devices like tablets and smart-phones. Harbinger has been working with several medical centers to transform conventional medical courses into interactive online modules.

Please mail us to setup an online meeting with Harbinger and experience the advances in medical education.

Designing a “Dual-Mode” Course!

When dealing with K12 providers, one of the common issues we need to address is the need to have teaching aids in the course. Most of the time, we create two versions of the course – one for the learner, without the teaching aids, and one with the aids, for the teacher. We recently completed a course for a K12 provider who needed to teach kids a chapter of history using World War II photographs as a medium.

We used a neat trick in this course that helped us to identify exactly what features needed to be stripped off for the student version of the course – We simply created a dual-mode course! All the teaching aids for the course were accessible through a button, so the student version simply had that button disabled!

We didn’t need to create the same course twice, and we could easily identify what information needed to be given as teaching aids. This also allowed the teacher to concentrate on going through the course using the teaching aids alone, while the students focused on the content that was being taught. You may ask, how can the teacher ignore the content being taught? They don’t!

Curious to learn more? Write to info@harbingergroup.com.

Using Course Interface as an Engagement Tool!

Course interfaces tend to become a bit monotonous these days. This has become even more common with the use of rapid interaction authoring tools, where the Graphical User Interface (GUI) is only customizable as far as their colors. The form, the shape, and method of interaction are all features that still need to be individually programmed and created from the ground up when they are needed.

We recently completed a course for a K12 provider who wanted to teach kids a chapter of history through the use of World War 2 photographs. Most of the solutions available had interfaces featuring Back and Next buttons, maybe fancy page number panels, or perhaps a spin-wheel with the various pages on them. There was nothing that could be used to blend into a story and give a more environmental connection to the content that was to be taught in the course.

Then it hit me! I remembered the old View-Masters we used to have and how we used to spend so much time as kids looking at various places or photographs through them, and thought to myself “Why can’t kids today experience the same thing?” Right there was the interface we were looking for! What better way to have attention focused on the photographs that were to be used as a medium for teaching this chapter on history? We created the course with this vision, if you’ll pardon the pun, and needless to say, the kids loved it!

We created a GUI that made it look like the learner was viewing the photographs on a View-Master, with the tip of the circular view-disk peeking out from the top. Clicking buttons on either side of the disk allowed the learner to move ahead. The content to be taught is accessed through push-buttons built onto the View-Master frame, allowing the learner to view the story behind the photograph as well as the things to be discussed regarding the photograph.

Want to share any such “WOW” moment in your course design? Post your comment here or write to info@harbingerknowledge.com.