Establishing a Habit of Learning

In 5 Steps

Establishing a Habit of Learning

5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

to Empower Your Learners

5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

6 Ways to Learn When Your Interests Are Always Changing

6 Ways to Learn When Your Interests Are Always Changing

In-demand skills come and go, but this one will stay for life.

The only constant is change. Your degree will only carry you so far. Your current skill in a certain field will only be relevant for so long. After all, many jobs that exist now were unheard of a decade ago.

The only way to survive and get ahead in this ever-changing world is to sharpen the skill of learning.

In a world that is constantly changing, there is no subject or set of subjects that will serve you for the foreseeable future, let alone for the rest of your life. The most important skill to acquire now is learning how to learn. — John Naisbitt

It’s no coincidence that the Learning How to Learn class from Coursera is the world’s most popular online course, with students from over 200 countries learning the mental framework to overcome any difficult topic. Personally, it’s also no coincidence that I was able to consistently pick up new skills and accelerate my career through monthly learning challenges.

If it’s essential to be a lifelong learner, then it makes sense to invest time in strengthening this meta-skill. As Abraham Lincoln once said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” The more you understand how to study effectively, the better you’ll be able to apply these concepts, the more equipped you’ll be to acquire skills. Win-win-win.

Here are 3 things you can do to study smarter:

Degreed_Campaign_1_2

1. Make a connection between the new and old.

Our brains are made of neurons which transmit information between each other across synapses. When you learn something new, your brain literally makes a connection between the neurons.

The more synapses made, the more interconnected your knowledge and deepen your understanding becomes. Thus, it’s helpful to generate metaphors or link an abstract concept to something concrete that you already know.

For example, making the analogy that your mind is like a library. Within a library, there are existing categories like History or Psychology to file books away under. Similarly, with new incoming information, your mind also files those away according to current labels. Thus, it’s much easier to understand something if a) you have already had an existing category for it, and b) you have examples within the category to help you integrate the information.

Knowledge is strengthened through use and meaning. Which brings us to chunking:

Chunking is the act of grouping concepts into compact packages of information that are easier for the mind to access.

Because short-term memory can only hold about four things at any given time, if you group the different pieces of information together into one larger whole, you can use just one of the four available slots. For example, if you’ve ever needed to memorize colors of the rainbow, chances are that you used the acronym “ROY G BIV”, or if you played music, you used “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” to read treble notes.

When you make a connection with something you already know, you learn and remember it better.

2. Do it yourself.

The best way to learn something is through experience because it bridges the gap between knowledge and skills.

There’s a difference between passive and active learning. Just because you highlight or underline something, doesn’t mean that you’ve learned it — and personally, the worst way to learn that is during an exam (I’m speaking from experience☺).

Also applicable to the working world, if you watched video tutorials or read guides, it only means that you are aware of the instructions on how to do it, and not necessarily the ability to carry it out. Pure regurgitation or recognition is easy but recalling it or teaching it to someone is not. If you’ve ever gotten into a situation where everything went well during studying, but when the crucial time came you realized that you didn’t actually know the material, this my friend, is the illusion of competence.

The roadblocks and obstacles we run into when we’re learning something new is what helps us store it in long-term memory. This is why companies emphasize working experience, and why side projects are helpful if you’re trying to really learn something well.

The trick is to just start. Sometimes all those open tabs to do more research are just forms of procrastination. Your brain likes pleasant things, so when it encounters something that it thinks will be difficult, it tries to switch your attention to easier things, like watching Netflix. However, researchers have discovered that not long after people actually start working on a task, the perceived discomfort soon disappeared. It’s like when you get to the gym, you realize it’s not too bad after all, and when you’re all sweaty after your workout, it feels great and you’re happy that you went.

The more you practice something, the better you’ll get, and the more enjoyable it becomes. And then you’re off to the races towards mastery! To make sure you constantly progress, you can use deliberate practice, in which you intentionally focus on weak parts of your performance and use measurement and feedback to systematically improve.

It’s only through experience that you can improve and learn what to improve.

3. Rest to get stronger.

Learning is like a mental workout for your brain. Just like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. And just like a physical workout, when you give it time to rest and recuperate, you get stronger.

When you sleep, the brain actually uses that time to clear out harmful toxins from the day, updates the cells, and integrates new information. So when you only get a couple of hours of sleep, it’s similar to only 50% of the new files getting downloaded into your brain storage system. Additionally, studies have shown that it’s actually best to sleep right after you learn something new so that the information is super fresh for the brain to consolidate into memory.

When we’re resting, we enter the diffused thinking mode, in which your brain relaxes and your thoughts are free to wander. This is also the mode that allows your thinking to get stronger, specifically your creative thinking. When you take a break from focused mode, it creates space and freedom for your subconscious to marinate on it. This is why people often make unexpected connections and breakthroughs in the shower or while taking a walk.

Another reason why it’s important to take breaks between learning is that according to the spacing effect, learning is more effective when studying is spread out over time, rather than all in one session.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that there’s scientific evidence that cramming is ineffective.

While it was passable to cram for exams and forget everything the day after, the real world doesn’t test on word-for-word answers, but rather application and skill. Thus, you actually want to learn and incorporate the information into your knowledge toolkit rather than restudying it every time. Enter spaced repetition.

Because we operate on a learning forgetting curve, in which we forget about 50% of what we learned within an hour of learning it (thanks for the tip Ebbinghaus), research has shown that spaced repetition, or repeating things after a couple of days, is the best way to reinforce learning. The language flashcard app Anki does a great job of using an algorithm to bring up words on days that you’re most likely to forget them so that your memory is constantly refreshed. Experiential projects also help keep new concepts on top of mind, by you directly working with what you’re trying to learn.

Education Corner

Thus, make sure to let your brain rest between learning sessions to become more creative and effective at learning.


Learning is hard. But we can make it easier by tying new information to something we already know, getting hands-on experience and making the best use of resting periods to turn fleeting concepts to long-term skillsets.

When we learn to learn more effectively, it opens up countless doors and a world of possibilities. If we don’t know something, we can find out about it. If we don’t have a skill, we can acquire it.

“When we are confident in our ability to learn, we can plunge into the life we imagined, like a child at play.”

Which one of the tips from above will you start incorporating to get better at learning? Tell us in the comments and start learning at Degreed.


This post was authored by a Degreed power user, Yunzhe Zhou, who founded One Month Projects to coach driven professionals in acquiring a meaningful skill in 30 days. We thank Yunzhe for her insights!

Did you know the average person spends a little over four hours commuting to and from work every week? That adds up to 9 days a year. Wow. So how can we help make that time useful for building skills?

Hot off the press: You now have the ability to make that time worthwhile, with the new Podcast feature in Degreed. As an admin, you can now enrich their library with audio content by adding it to their catalog. Track the Podcasts you are learning from and listening to and…

Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 11.54.25 PM

…add Podcasts to your Organization’s catalog for your team to learn from, share with others and build their skills.Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 11.54.03 PM

Why this matters: Degreed believes you should be able to track all your learning, no matter what it is or where you are. So join us by listening and sharing your favorite Podcasts to Hack your Learning (and commute).

 

 

Learn (and Track!) Podcasts and More Anytime, Anywhere at

www.Degreed.com

Part one of our 2-part xAPI series taught us the basics of Experience API (xAPI) including the definition and how it works between systems. This post will explore getting started with xAPI and the data that comes with it!

Do I need to build it myself? How do I get started?

Good news! If you’re an L&D professional (not a vendor), you have many options in getting xAPI enabled in your organization without doing much, if any, coding work. First, you’ll have to make sure you have a Learning Record Store where your data can be stored. There are many free and paid versions with varying capabilities.

You’ll also need to choose the tools you want to use or evaluate your existing learning tools’ capabilities. There are currently hundreds of tools, such as an LMS, social learning platforms, authoring tools, and more that are already equipped with xAPI. You simply need to ask your vendor if and how they support xAPI. In the case of existing systems that don’t support xAPI yet, you can still bring that data into an LRS using a data converter or third-party connectors.

What am I supposed to do with all this new data?

More and more organizations are using xAPI to connect learning technology products to build the learning ecosystems they need. When applications already support xAPI, integrations can be as simple as plug and play.

Once your learning systems are integrated and all your learning records are stored in one place, your data is perfectly primed for learning analytics. You can start exploring your data to get a clear picture of what’s happening in your organization. Evaluate learning programs and explore the reasons behind the most popular or successful training. And, once you’re armed with a better understanding of these programs, you can begin to positively shape and enhance your learners’ future experiences.

To learn more about xAPI, access helpful resources, and explore how other L&D practitioners are using it, visit xAPIxAPRIL.com.


Lizelle_Holstein

About the Author: Lizelle Holstein, Director of Marketing at Watershed

A huge thanks to Lizelle and our friends at Watershed for part 1 of this 2-part guest series.

What do you hope to accomplish here and beyond? Right now, my here is “Degreed.”

When I was prompted with this question, it was a month after I joined Degreed. Founder, David Blake, led with his curiosity that day and asked us about our hopes and dreams. It’s the kind of question some of us dread (enter: Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation). But oh boy do I ever love this kind of stuff. I have Leslie Knope levels of enthusiasm about it.

One of the reasons I embrace this question is because I ponder similar questions often. Such as: What are my core and peripheral gifts? Which ones are needed for whom and when? The answers to these questions are how I make sure that I’m aligned with my “Why.” The more I understand why I join, serve, labor, or otherwise share my gifts, the more I can bring my full self to whatever I do.

I framed my answer to David’s question with three goals:

1) what I hope to accomplish here (at Degreed),
2) what I hope to accomplish next,
3) what I hope to accomplish before death.

Responses are italicized below:

  1. Hope to accomplish here: Reframe learning for individuals and organizations.
  2. Hope to accomplish next: Untether and experience the world as a digital nomad. City hop and country hop while working remotely until marriage or health forces me to re-anchor.
  3. Hope to accomplish before death (key theme for eulogy):
    • Friend to the forgotten (someone who upheld dignity in the final stages of life for hospice patients).
    • Storyteller-in-residence for my daughter. (someone who coached more than dictated, who inspired more than proscribed. We read together a lot and share a love of stories. I want her to remember me as a guide and not a warden).
    • Hacker of expertise (Real estate broker. Architect. Doctor. And whatever else I reach for next. I want to demystify the cult of hidden titles and inspire others to be boldly curious).
    • Creator of beautiful experiences(Delightful architecture. Global Excursions, Walking Classrooms).
    • A fulfilled Legacy (someone that brings pride to my tribe, here in the states and in my father’s country of Eritrea).

My core gift is to be a herald. Some characterize their gifts by identifying it as a spirit animal, MBTI type, mythical assignment, or divine purpose. After exploring the many paths to self-discovery and being described as a foxy ENTP that might be a “3rd-grade teacher with a secret life,” I simplified mine to herald. I’ll explain.

Goal #1 (Hope to accomplish here) Explained: Each day, I serve to reframe learning for individuals and organizations by heralding the promise of this brave new world of learner-led experiences. I have many assignments in my current role, but I thrive most in those face-to-face or virtual modalities where I can show and share the path. It flows naturally and I could do it for hours on end with unwavering delight. My core gift provides the fuel to perform not from a place of obligation, but from a place of joy.

Goal #2 (Hope to accomplish next) Explained: As much as I enjoy sharing my gifts through my work, I enjoy recharging and soaking up the beauty of the world. Before using the Degreed mobile app, I was missing some visibility into my own curiosities and personal growth. Meticulous as I am, I tried to close this gap by journaling my ideas and learning into a Google form that fed into a Gsheet, complete with quantitative and qualitative questions. The problem with that is…I would only use it once a month or so. Now, when I’m riding in a cab in NYC I can kill time by reading articles in my feed or capture the hours of learning spent listening to an audiobook while on a flight. And the app captures it all for me, making it easy to track and cultivate that habit of learning. Given my love of data, seeing what I’ve learned tracked in one place along with my trending topics and interests offers me exciting insights.

Goal #3 (Hope to accomplish before death) Explained: This is the long view. It answers the question “How do I hope to be remembered?” Without expanding on all the bullets, I’ll end with a story. I received a text a few weeks ago from the volunteer manager at an organization where I normally serve as a hospice patient care volunteer. She needed help with an event. I checked my calendar and responded with “Yes.” I arrived at my post at 7:55am on a Saturday and was charged with directing cars at the lower level of the parking deck until 9:15am. She mentioned that she was disappointed because the other volunteer was a no-show. I was instructed to guide arriving guests to park and go to the lobby where they will wait to be escorted to the rooftop restaurant venue. Not only was I unbothered the other volunteer was a no-show, I was excited. Why? I would have the privilege of being the first person they encountered–to wield the power to set the tone for the guest experience.

What the volunteer manager did not know was that I had been hired to greet visitors and deliver presentations at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, VMworld in Barcelona, CES in Las Vegas, CES in Shanghai, Bett Show in London,  to name a few. I was about to show up in that parking deck in the most magical way for these people– for free and with a huge smile! What you learn from working with industry titans at events on that scale is that your message is bigger than your talking points. My mission was not to give the arriving guests a list of instructions on how to get to the lobby. My mission was to surround them with warmth and confirm that “Hear Ye, Hear Ye: We’ve been waiting for you! Welcome!”

Most of the guests who arrived were kinda sorta sure they were in the right parking deck. Each time they tentatively drove in and rolled down the window, I knew why they were there. No one else was hosting an early morning event. But I still let the experience unfold for each person by asking “Hi there, are you here for Missing our Mothers?” Each time, they would answer “Yes.” And each time I would start their journey with “You’re in the right place! And we’re so glad you’re here!” Each time they would smile. Then I would tell them next steps.

That wasn’t on my list of talking points. That was the core gift of knowing the difference between reciting instructions and heralding good news. Each of those women were at this event to celebrate the memory of their mother– mothers they do not have when others are with their mommies on Mother’s Day. No matter whether the volunteer post was to be an emcee (that job was taken by a famous journalist) or to play a medley on a violin or to park a car, every moment of the guest experience at that event was meaningful. We all made sure of it. What an honor it was for me to be their first smile.

Truth be told, 9:15am came all too quickly. Most unexpectedly, when I finished my shift I enjoyed a front-row seat at a reserved table to enjoy the program. All because I said “Yes” and I showed up. That other volunteer really missed out– maybe she thought it was just about parking cars.

So I leave you with this question: What are your core and peripheral gifts?

Consider how you practice using them and what you hope to accomplish with them wherever you are. Continue to build your collection of learning and tag them with skills to look for patterns. And remember that the more you understand about your gifts, the more you can unlock experiences that help you bring a fullness, a purpose, and an enthusiasm to all that you do!

DEgreed+PG_5

We chose the mission of creating a better way to develop and communicate skills not because it was easy but because we believe everyone deserves earning and career potential, regardless of their formal credentials.

We’re pleased with our progress, but there’s clearly more to do. Which is why today, we are excited to announce we have combined forces with Pathgather.

The acquisition immediately increases our ability to deliver our industry-leading learning experience in technology and services, and more importantly, to help you build and measure the skills of both your employees and your organization.

A force to be reckoned with

Founded in 2012, Pathgather is a fast-growing and highly-respected innovator in learning experience platforms. The company, which is based in New York City, brings another 30 smart, creative and dedicated people onto our team starting today. That means we’ve now got the largest team in the industry – more than 230 people – dedicated exclusively to improving people’s learning experiences, and linking career growth to business priorities.

Together, we’re a force to be reckoned with. This acquisition brings together the two real innovators in learning experience platforms – our two organizations literally created this market. It also solidifies Degreed’s lead in the fast-growing learning experience platforms market, with a combined client base of more than 200 organizations, over 4 million licensed users, and nearly $100 million in funding.

“Pathgather has always been dedicated to our customers’ success, and this merger ensures that our users and clients will now enjoy an even better product and experience, with the same level of continued dedication,” said Eric Duffy, CEO of Pathgather. “Joining forces with Degreed plugs us into the biggest and most vibrant community of innovative learning and HR executives in the world. We’re excited to tap into Degreed’s experience, insights and resources.”

The future

This is an exciting time for Degreed; it’s been just four months since we raised $42 million in our Series C, and appointed our new CEO. More importantly, though, this is exciting news for our clients, partners, and users. Degreed has always been committed to innovation, ever since our start in 2012, and our creativity and drive have been a key attraction for many clients.

“This combination makes us the unequivocal leader in learning experience platforms,” said Chris McCarthy, CEO of Degreed. “Corporate learning budgets are shifting fast, and LXPs have emerged as the new operating system for employees’ training and development. Pathgather and Degreed defined this market. Now, together, we have the products, expertise, relationships and war chest we need to accelerate innovation, and dramatically accelerate our growth.”

With our expanded set of resources and capabilities, we are now planning to expand our functionality to further enhance both our clients’ and users’ experiences. To start, that will include:

  • Sustaining our lead with the best-in-class learner experience
  • Expanding access to more and better learning content
  • Improving administration, content management, and reporting capabilities
  • Accelerating our use of data science and machine learning
  • Continued investment in our proprietary skill rating and certification technologies

Obviously, we’re really excited about this. But we’d love to hear your feedback and ideas. So if you have any questions or thoughts to share, we’ve got a variety of ways. Read our press release, get in touch with your Degreed or Pathgather contact person, visit the Pathgather blog, or email me directly at chris@degreed.com.

The future is certain. It’s volatile and ever-changing. It will require all of us, working together to solve these challenges head-on. Degreed and Pathgather are, together, reinforcing our commitment to making skill development accessible for everyone and we’re looking forward to the future with you.

D+P

For many learning teams, getting engagement in technology is tough. We hear things like, “not another system,” and “I don’t have time.” So how can we overcome those common challenges?

Leading by example can help.

JF

Meet Justin Finkelstein, a Senior Vice President of Data Analytics. Not only does he prefer audio so he can walk and learn at the same time, he is a power-user of Degreed.

Managing a global team and being an active father, how does he make time to learn? And not just an article here and there – he completed over 120 items in May! Justin shared a few things about his learning journey in a recent interview with Degreed.

Q: What’s your favorite way to learn or biggest take away from what you have learned in the past?
A:  My learning process looks something like this:

  1. Get inspired by somebody else and have the thought.  I can do that or I want to do that.
  2. Figure out how to model their process/rapidly
  3. Do a lot of repetitions
  4. Decide if it is a topic that I am still passionate about or if it was just a good idea.

An example: I wanted to get comfortable speaking in front of people and I was a new dad.  Since I was a new dad and had very little time, I did not want to invest the time in going a traditional route (Toastmasters, etc.). Somebody suggested I just make a lot of videos.  Although not exactly the same as speaking in front of people, this would allow me to do a lot of repetitions without having to depend on scheduling, etc.  I went home and created 80 videos in 12 hours which quickly got me over the fear of speaking.

Q: What’s the most useful skill you’ve ever learned?

A: Committed to a win/win world.  Not a skill as much as an operating principle.  If somebody loses in an interaction then everybody loses in the end.

Q: Favorite expert and why?

A: Tough to pick one so I won’t. 🙂

Q: How have your learning habits changed since you started using Degreed?

A: I learn best in micro doses. The problem in the past is that I would go through so many daily micro doses that it was hard to remember what I had learned.

With Degreed, I can learn my natural way and piece the learnings together to produce results.  Plus, I now have easier access to find out who has interests that are similar to mine and to also learn how they are learning.

Q: So what are you learning about right now?

A: “Modeling of Experts – how can we take somebody from novice to expert rapidly and in an enjoyable, collaborative way?  I am obsessed with that moment when somebody gets passionate about a topic and realizes that they have to be great.

His current interests include – making education enjoyable for his 8 and 5 year old, developing Alexa Skills, eating clean and becoming a martial artist.

Ready to start your learning journey? Create your Degreed account today!

 

Having trouble creating a habit of learning in your organization? Not sure what else you can do? You’re not alone.

66% of enterprise L&D leaders have trouble getting employees to engage with their training programs [Bersin by Deloitte].

Here’s the good news.

Degreed has a team dedicated to helping drive engagement and we have some proven tactics we can share that have improved the metrics at client organizations.

But first, the right mindset.

As the old saying goes, “takes one to know one.” So, let’s think about your personal online habits. You might notice there are certain things that drive you back to the same websites and apps day after day. In many cases, this repeated behavior is encouraged by way of a reminder in the form of an email or pop-up. These notifications provide a one-click option to visiting the site like you have probably received from sites like Amazon and Facebook.

Without having to think twice, a habit is born.

As it turns out, this notification tactic works for learning too. You can get in front of your audience on a regular basis by Degreed’s system generated engagement emails.

Degreed’s emails notifications notify your team of important learning events and suggested learning, making it easy to create a daily habit of learning.


Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 10.36.59 PM

*MailChimp 2017

Need more than just metrics? Degreed client, Xilinx, has driven much of their adoption success through email communication.

Here’s a play by play of their strategy.

  1. The Xilinx team made marketing and communicating to their learners a top priority from day one of their launch in November 2016.
  2. They implemented a cascading communication roll out approach – beginning with executives and their staff, then introducing it to the rest of the organization with live briefings, demos, and videos.
  3. The communications strategy also included a message from the CEO prior to the official launch.
  4. These were followed by an email from the Senior Vice President of HR, and supporting collateral materials including posters, table tents, demos, videos and several webinars to ensure employees understood their new strategy, Learn to the Power of X (LearnX) and what it would mean for each employee’s professional and technical development.
  5. Based on pilot user feedback, they enabled daily reminders at launch, automatically generated by Degreed to provide a reminder to their team to encourage learning daily – and it’s working.  Over 43% of employees have logged in more than 5 times and 88% have visited. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 6.33.13 PM

Even though their metrics say a lot, feedback from the Xilinx team says even more:

“For us, the Daily Email has been a key part of our implementation success. Employees appreciate the personalized preview and the daily nudge to engage in learning.”

Start driving learner engagement today with Degreed!

habitat

My nephew is a big fan of nature. He regularly pulls out odd facts about animals I’ve never heard of. Admittedly, I’m a much better-informed auntie. Its probably because of these conversations that I’ve been paying more attention to articles about biomimicry, (taking design hints from nature to solve problems humans have). and thinking about how learning occurs in nature.

 Learning organisms and habitat

In March, I wrote about learning organisms. To summarize, in more evolved organizations, learning has pretty much taken on a life of its own. These organizations have in essence become organisms that learn, grow, and develop based on their habitat and their ability to make use of it. The more cohesive the habitat is, the more quickly learning organisms are able to react to environmental change, take calculated risks, and evolve as necessary.

More recently, as I’ve planned for a couple of Degreed Focus events, learning habitat has continued to surface as an important point. More evolved organizations react to the external environment by carefully crafting the internal habitat. Most of the things they do to create habitat fall within four major areas:

  • Consciousness. Learning organisms carefully craft messages and actions around the importance of employee development. They clearly define what it means to be developed in the organization, and they have a collective consciousness about how it will be done. Shared consciousness in an organization sets the tone for how important employee development will be taken. Leena Nair, CHRO of Unilever, makes this point with a recent tweet & LinkedIn discussion.
  • Use of work. As it turns out, no other animal in the animal kingdom, besides humans, gets classroom lessons on how to do their job. Learning most often happens in the flow of work, as recent research from Bersin and Bersin ideas from thinkers like Harold Jarche tell us. Learning organisms default first to the work for development.
  • Infrastructures. Infrastructures, including systems and processes, are the pathways by which learning organisms share information and do work. They are crucial because they can either encourage or greatly discourage progress and performance. Learning organisms are conscious of how their infrastructures, either encourage or discourage progress and performance and continuously make necessary adjustments.
  • Space. Physical and virtual space also affect how individuals learn. (I owe a conversation I had with Frank Graziano at Steelcase for sparking thinking on this topic; Read here for more.) While most L&D professionals understand the importance of the setup of a classroom, the idea of space in habitat goes beyond that. Learning organisms focus on ensuring the alignment and cohesiveness of physical and virtual spaces with work goals and employee development goals.

What habitats mean for L&D

The sole responsibility of L&D function is to ensure a skilled workforce. Hard stop. Habitat plays a large role in that. And focusing on habitat changes the job of the L&D function to a great extent. Aside from the obvious things, like a lesser focus on facilitation and content creation, establishing a deliberate learning habitat also requires several skills and capabilities that are likely unfamiliar to many L&D professionals.

Last week in Denver, around 50 L&D professionals joined together to figure out what some of those capabilities should be and how to use the idea of habitat to develop them in their L&D teams. We heard things like “ability to influence”, “marketing and communications”, “analytics and measurement,” and “virtual space design.”

We also talked about adapting more common L&D skills – facilitation, content creation, instructional design to broader tasks that help to create habitat. For example, could instructional design theory be applied to helping organizations design workflows in a way to help employees learn, and can skills that make a good facilitator be adapted to influence and build relationships with key stakeholders?

As we focus on habitats and their importance for the learning organization in the coming months, we’re going to continue to pick the brains of smart people. We want to find out not just what skills they need, but how they’re developing them.

Incidentally, this concept was presented at two Degreed Focus workshops on Learning Habitats and L&D capabilities in Denver and Dallas. You can access the materials used in this Degreed pathway.

This post, titled “Bees, Trees, Termites, Learning Habitats, and L&D Capabilities” was originally featured on the RedThread blog.

For most of us, the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems sudden, out of the blue.

Just a few years ago, your friends weren’t automatically tagged in images you posted on social media.  You couldn’t talk to Siri or Alexa.  And pedestrians weren’t getting struck by self-driving cars.  The speed with which AI has begun to transform our digital and physical worlds has been breathtaking.

Like most disruptive forces, we’re not yet sure what to make of AI.  Does it herald the end of human drudgery or the beginning of human obsolescence?  Will AI create more jobs than it destroys over the next 10-20 years?  Is Elon Musk right that the uncontrolled advance of AI represents an existential threat to humanity?

Before we assign sinister or benevolent traits to AI, we should take a moment to dig a little deeper and perhaps uncover AI’s true value.

AI has the equivalent of a large ‘family tree’, with many branches.  There’s been a great deal of investment in some technically very sophisticated branches, such as machine learning.  But when it comes to human learning, I’d argue that there’s a less-appreciated branch of AI with tremendous, immediate potential to improve the way people learn.  It’s called Natural Language Generation, or NLG for short.  Simply put, NLG is computers writing stuff.  It’s the branch of AI that automatically turns data into written language that humans can read, understand, and even enjoy.

Since the printing press was invented, we’ve found ever-better, ever-cheaper ways to get the written word to large numbers of people.  But there have always been two major limitations.  First, humans have always written everything, and writing takes a lot of time.  Second, the words published are uniformly the same, even though the individuals reading those words are uniquely different.  For centuries, it’s been this:  A person spends a lot of time crafting a single set of words, then a great variety of individuals – who may differ wildly from one another – reads those words, and the writer hopes it resonates with each individual.

But thanks to NLG, we can now dramatically speed up the writing process – as in, writing hundreds of pages per second – and we can now vary the words written in each case.  NLG allows us to tailor written language depending upon certain variables, so that not every person reads the exact same thing.  This means the more we know about someone, the more we can tailor written content so that it’s hyper-personalized and relevant to that particular individual.

My company, CredSpark, is an interactive assessment platform enabling learning companies, marketers and media firms to ask questions of their learners and readers, in order to generate insights and catalyze action.  CredSpark is a proud partner of Degreed, and we’re also among the first companies use to NLG in a new way:  To generate personalized recommendations to individuals based upon what they’ve told us about their knowledge and interests.

Our initial work with NLG personalization has been around professional conferences: how to make a large trade show ‘feel small’ by asking an attendee a few questions and then generating a written recommendation of the sessions, exhibitors, and products most relevant to that person.  The response among attendees has been extremely positive.

But we’re equally excited by the possibilities around personalized recommendations for professional learning.  Imagine you’ve arrived at a website with a long list of learning resources: articles, videos, webinars, etc.  Instead of having to spend lots of time filtering and scrolling, what if you could simply answer a few questions and have a ‘short list’ of the most relevant resources tailored exactly to your knowledge and needs?  Even better, what if it wasn’t a list, but a narrative, providing you with context around why these particular resources are relevant to you, thereby giving those recommendations real meaning?  That’s what NLG + assessment can deliver.

We think this is the true power of AI in learning:  The ability to deliver individually-tailored learning guides containing only the most relevant resources, wrapped in a narrative that conveys meaning and value to the learner.  People learn best when highly engaged, and there’s no better way to engage learners than with learning plans which reflect their unique identity and needs.  Further, such personalization can support learning among people with varying levels of prior familiarity, and who learn at different paces.

It’s our hope that Natural Language Generation, combined with interactive assessment, will be widely adopted to scale the delivery of personalized learning journeys, thereby making each learner the hero in the narrative of her own advancement.

As many of you know, data handling standards continue to evolve around the world. With that comes big responsibility. Degreed is committed to being worthy of your confidence in that your information is safe with us.

In the business of learning, we’d like to shed some light on the state of data protection.

As of May 25th, 2018, all organizations that are a part of, or process the personal data of EU citizens, are required to comply with the updated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation that is intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals in the EU. This regulation gives more control to EU citizens over their personal data and becomes enforceable on May 25, 2018. The requirements are too lengthy to go into great detail, but in short, it allows users to explicitly opt-out of having their information gathered, sets stipulations regarding timely notification of data breaches, ensures right of access and erasure, data portability and a few other items. We are working with our Dutch counsel to understand the GDPR requirements and ensure Degreed remains on target to meet the compliance date.

What does this mean for our clients, prospects and colleagues?

Degreed is pleased to announce that it has obtained EU-US and Swiss-US Privacy Shield certifications effective March 6, 2018. This certification shows that Degreed adheres to the principles of both Privacy Shield frameworks, commitment to data protection and privacy for all users. Degreed also remains committed to reaching GDPR compliance in advance of the May 25, 2018 enforcement date.

We are committed to supporting the enterprise with GDPR requirements including:

  • notification of any security incident/data breach involving their users’ data,
  • ensuring safe transfer of data,
  • supporting enterprise with user requests to remove data, and
  • supporting enterprise user requests for portability/export data in cases

Degreed’s responsibility is to support the enterprise’s need to meet the requests of their users. Additionally, Degreed has entered into Data Processing Agreements which outline roles and responsibilities as well as shared obligations between Degreed and the Enterprise. It’s important to note that client organizations are still obligated to adhere to GDPR guidelines as the Data Controller, and Degreed has less direct obligations as the Data Processor.

Please reach out to your organization’s Information Security team for specific details to your organization and you can find more information here: https://gdpr-info.eu.

 

 

Page 1 of 23123451020...Last »
Menu