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

The Best Career Advice

From 6 Self-Made Billionaires

The Best Career Advice

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It’s not a groundbreaking revelation to say that the world of corporate learning has changed. Information is everywhere: Google, YouTube, blogs, podcasts, Meetup groups, 1000+ eLearning providers, over 600 million websites with more options appearing everyday. All these options have changed how people learn, but traditional L&D tools haven’t evolved to meet those changing needs. 37% of enterprise learning applications are at least seven years old. 64% are at least four years old. [Bersin by Deloitte]. A lot has happened in the last 7 years- the very first iPad was released just 6 years ago in 2010.

If you’re running a corporate learning program, there’s a good chance you’re considering making a change. 38% of enterprise learning leaders are, according to Brandon Hall Group. Over 50% according to Adobe / Frost & Sullivan.

You may know you want to step into the world of digital learning, but without a roadmap, this can feel daunting.

Change in any company is risky. Only 25% of change management initiatives are successful over the long term [Towers Watson]. In all large organizations, the implementation of new technology moves at a snail’s pace. You might be lucky to get a new tool up and running in 8-9 months, or longer if you want a solution that integrates multiple technologies. Making changes to your corporate learning infrastructure means launching change initiatives for user-adoption, re-education, integrations, migrations, configurations, testing, and more.

You need a strategy that will reduce risk, be seen as a positive change in the organization, and cut costs for re-education, integrations, and migrations.

Degreed is changing the way organizations approach corporate learning investments by creating a unified learner experience that extends across all of your learning systems.

Degreed’s unified search streamlines the L&D experience by integrating internal systems (such as  LMSs, TMSs and document sharing and collaboration portals) and external training content solutions with the world’s largest collection of free, open and low-cost learning tools (250,000+ courses and 3+ million articles, videos, books, podcasts, webinars and other resources from over 1,300 sources). Degreed personalizes the learning experience for  your employees based on their individual roles, requirements, goals and preferences.

By simplifying the user experience, and connecting people to the right tools and resources at the right time – any format, from any system – Degreed helps to drive meaningful increases in everyday learning activity, from any source.

Degreed doesn’t replace your classrooms or your LMS; L&D-led training is still an essential part of how workers learn. But it isn’t the only way people learn, either. Learning happens all over the place. And Degreed connects it all – the systems, the content and the people – so it can all work together.

As the front-end interface for all learning, Degreed can simplify the change management process for future corporate learning initiatives in six important ways:

  1. Simplify the end-user experience. Degreed is the front-end portal for all learning. Implementing Degreed allows you to continue to make changes on the back-end (new or upgraded LMS, new content vendors, consolidating SharePoint sites, etc.) without impacting the end user experience.
  2. Reduce training costs. You won’t need to train users on a new LMS or other learning system because Degreed is the front-end solution that integrates with your LMS and other content providers. Degreed has a simple, intuitive UI that doesn’t require special training.
  3. Streamline vendor management. Degreed already has integrations with most of the top content providers, streamlining the implementation hurdles of incorporating new content vendors into your organization’s learning ecosystem, while reducing the burden on your IT staff. Degreed’s ongoing monitoring of content usage can assist you in future licensing decisions.
  4. Improve user adoption. Employees view Degreed as a benefit, which facilitates user adoption. The learner is in control, with all the options at their fingertips. Improved user adoption means more consumption of content, both the external content found in Degreed and internal LMS content.
  5. Reduce implementation time. The RFP and implementation process for an LMS is lengthy, which leaves employees without an engaging learning experience for at least 18 months. Degreed can be up and running in as little as 3 months and provide that learning experience right out of the gate, giving you time to complete your LMS implementation on the backend.
  6. Provide better information for your content buying decisions. Because Degreed tracks all learning (formal and informal), the solution can provide you with data around what content, vendors, and modalities your employees are utilizing so you know where you should (and should not) make content investments. Degreed can also help find lower cost or free resources.

Takeaways:

The world of modern learning has evolved since traditional tools were designed. Degreed is built for the complex world of modern learners, and connects all the existing pieces of the learning infrastructure, including the LMS, to the informal and social learning worlds – with a single user-friendly, learner centric point of access.

Implementing Degreed will take your corporate learning into the future, and reduce the risk and cost for future changes.

For more information visit get.degreed.com

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Do you know Harry Truman’s middle name? What about the number of the last manned Apollo mission? In the scheme of things, these facts may seem irrelevant, even useless to know. After all, how would knowing the name of the president’s dog make you better off? Well, that all depends on what your definition of ‘better off’ is.

I love this piece of the Degreed manifesto: “There is no single path to expertise. And our success in solving our unique problems depends not upon uniformity, but on our diversity, because our differences and uniqueness make us powerful. Everyone deserves recognition for their expertise, no matter how they got there.”

To some it may be trivial knowledge, but if you are an expert on something as unique as 18th century fashion, you deserve recognition. Who knows when that knowledge may solve a unique problem. In previous articles, I’ve focused mainly on learning that is isn’t super unique. For example, a lot of the focus of learning today is based on the most widely marketable skills like foreign languages, communication, or computer science. However, there is another kind of learning that doesn’t get the same love and attention. It’s a type of learning that admittedly isn’t as marketable as other skills, but can still be relevant.

This other kind of learning produces what can be described as “know-it-all knowledge.” Ken Jennings is the poster child for this kind of knowledge. If you are a fan of the TV game show, Jeopardy!, you know the name Ken Jennings. In 2004, Jennings won Jeopardy! a record 74 times in a row. That takes a ridiculous amount of dedication to know-it-all knowledge.

Don’t Forget

In a TED talk given by Jennings in 2013, he described his style of learning as being “curious about everything” or “universally interested in the world around [him].” It’s almost as if he sees random facts as unique LEGO pieces that he can use to build an imaginary LEGO kingdom of knowledge in his brain. Every new subject is an opportunity to add more pieces to his masterpiece.

To keep all that information accessible, Jennings uses his memory constantly. In fact, he’s the kind of guy who longs for the days when everyone knew phone numbers by memory instead of relying on phones to keep track of them. That’s because he understands that when we stop using our brains to remember things and instead outsource our memory to digital devices, parts of our brain can literally shrink. One of the parts that is most vulnerable to this is the hippocampus.

The main function of the hippocampus in the brain is memory and spatial awareness. Studies have been done that suggest the hippocampus actually shrinks in people who use GPS in their car instead of navigating by memory. One of those studies by the Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging looked at brain scans of taxi drivers and bus drivers. The taxi drivers had more gray matter (that’s a good thing) in the hippocampus than the bus drivers. The difference was that bus drivers follow the same route, while taxi drivers are constantly challenged to know every corner of a city. Substituting brain power for digital crutches can be detrimental to your mental capacities. 

Super Computers

In 1997, a computer developed by IBM named Deep Blue beat a world champion chess player at chess. Not content to stop there, IBM searched for a new challenge that would push further the limits of computer vs. human. In 2004, Ken Jennings’ domination of Jeopardy! piqued the interest of IBM. For the next seven years IBM developed a question answering (QA) computer system aimed at beating Jennings at his own game. They named the computer Watson. In 2011, Watson faced off against Jennings and another elite Jeopardy! contender. Watson defeated them both.

After his defeat, Jennings had the following thought:

What happens when computers are better at knowing and remembering stuff than we are? 

In essence, what’s the point of putting the effort into learning if we have Google on our phones? In answer to that quandary, Jennings arrived at the conclusion that humans still have two advantages over “those who can just Google something.” The advantage of volume and the advantage of time. 

Advantage of Volume

The world is incredibly complex. As Jennings says in his talk, “…the scope of human information is now doubling every 18 months or so.” That is way too much information to have to continually look up. One example he gives to illustrate the importance of learning vs Googling is how we make informed decisions on who to vote for, which is a decision that requires correct judgement in relation to all kinds of different facts and information. As proof, a 2006 National Geographic Literacy Study said that roughly 63% of young adults who vote in presidential elections—a time when it’s obviously very important to understand foreign policy— couldn’t actually find Iraq on a map. In addition, 75% had no idea Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world.

In Jennings’ own words “If you can’t do that first step, are you really going to look up the other thousand facts you need to know to make an informed decision on foreign policy? At some point you will give up and just make a less-informed decision.”

Advantage of Time

In 2004, a ten-year-old girl by the name of Tilly Smith was on vacation with her family in Thailand. While they were out enjoying the beach, Smith noticed troubling patterns in the ocean and told her parents that they needed to get off the beach. Only a month prior to their vacation, Smith learned about tsunamis in her geography class. She recognized the signs and informed her family and the lifeguard who was then able to quickly get everyone off the beach.

The advantage of time won’t always be that dramatic. Most of the time it will be something simple like a social situation. Something where you meet someone new or you’re in a job interview and a topic comes up that where you can connect with the other person. Those are the situations where asking someone to wait while you Google facts about their hometown doesn’t really work.

In your pursuit of learning, don’t shy away from learning what you may feel are seemingly useless facts about the world around you. Gather up some know-it-all knowledge. Be curious about everything. And while you’re at it, try turning your GPS off every once in awhile. Your brain will thank you.

Bersin by Deloitte recently reported that better analytics is one of the main buying criteria for new HR solutions, with good reason. The data about what your employees are learning and what they know can add huge value when making decisions for the business. This trend is only gaining more momentum as HR analytics are being used more to make business and talent decisions.

Traditional corporate learning solutions provide metrics for mandatory training, compliance, and courses offered by the LMS. You likely have insights into course enrollment and completion rates, but this is a limited view into the actual learning happening within your organization. Based on the 70:20:10 framework, the metrics offered by your traditional corporate learning solution provide insights into only 10% of the learning happening within the organization. Just imagine what you could accomplish with insights into all the learning happening at your organization.

90% of learning is happening outside of L&D, with no insight into this learning.

Workers are learning all the time and they spend the majority of this time on self-directed learning. Traditional solutions gather metrics for the once-in-while learning happening at the organization, but not the learning happening every day, week, and month.

Learning-in

There are few tools that promise the ability to provide insights into all the knowledge and learning happening in the organization.

The Experience API (xAPI), an open source API in its early stages, promises the ability to track any kind of learning experience [ADL]. API stands for Application Program Interface. It allows one piece of software to talk to another software application. People are moving from SCORM to xAPI because xAPI allows you to collect more data about course usage. xAPI is a buzzword in the industry because of what it promises to offer in the way of insights into learning.

xAPI enabled courses provide more data on courses, but courses are still only a small percentage of the learning happening in your organization. One major hurdle to leveraging xAPI for all the learning happening in your organization is the IT undertaking needed to xAPI enable all of these sources. xAPI depends on other systems to track and send learning experiences to a Learning Record Store (LRS). That means every system in your organization (LMS, wiki, knowledge base, document center, helpdesk system, etc) would need to be xAPI enabled in order to gather data around employee activities in these systems, and you need to maintain an LRS system to collect all that data – a huge IT undertaking.

Another solution, a Saas offering with a turn-key implementation process that requires low IT investment, is Degreed. Degreed is xAPI enabled. It can receive xAPI actions from other systems, and we are continuing to expand support for both outgoing as well as incoming xAPI events. Degreed also offers a variety of other tools that provide line of sight into all kinds of learning happening all across your organization, whether those sources are xAPI enabled or not.

Degreed provides insights for all the learning happening in your organization

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Degreed simplifies the management and reporting of all the learning happening at your organization – regardless of source. This gives you insight into everything your employees are learning, every day – both employer-directed and self-directed learning. The reporting of articles, videos, podcasts, books, events, online courses, instructor-led-training, and more can all be compiled in one beautiful dashboard.


reporting

Degreed offers organization-level and group-level reports, and an individual insights page for each employee.

Traditional corporate learning solutions use hours, or seat time, as a unit of measurement for employee learning – stemming from the traditional classroom-based learning approach. But this unit of measurement doesn’t quantify the actual learning happening today. We know from our research  that classroom based training occurs infrequently throughout the year, but employees are learning constantly via online searches, peers, podcasts, books, and other sources.

Degreed is the only enterprise learning solution that can normalize and summarize all learning happening in your organization using the Point System. The science behind the scoring was informed by expert Larry Rosenberger, former CEO of FICO and the man behind the science of the FICO credit score, and David Wiley PhD., a global leader in instructional design and open education.

Interested in gaining real insights into all the learning happening in your organization? Visit get.degreed.com

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by Beth Loeb Davies

What goes up…must come down.

We’ve all heard this before. In fact, you probably could have finished the sentence on your own. A basic lesson in gravity.

Luckily, this isn’t true for personal performance. You work hard to reach a professional peak, struggle along the way, perhaps even have moments when you feel like giving up, but don’t. Then, at some point, you realize you’ve achieved something you didn’t think you could. You’ve challenged yourself and met the challenge. How rewarding and exhilarating this can be. Now what? A fall? No way.

Reaching a peak gives you a new vantage point, showing you new places you can go, new challenges you can take on, new peaks you can strive for. Your potential and what you can achieve look different. Your confidence and self-esteem are boosted by your success. New peaks look possible. Keep climbing.

So, how do you reach a peak? It doesn’t happen by accident.

First, set a goal that you’re truly motivated to achieve. Motivation will carry you through the bumps you’re likely to encounter.

Then, expand your thinking and stretch your skills so you can reach the goal. Take advantage of the abundance of learning tools available. Read articles, watch videos, complete courses and get advice from a mentor. (Notice I said “and” rather than “or”. Take in as much information as you can from all the resources available to you.) Adopt or adapt the ideas that work for you.

Seek out people who can support you. Find a coach to guide you along the way. It’s easier and more enjoyable to climb with others.

Most importantly, take lots of steps large and small. With each step, hone your skills and let experience be your teacher.

Working hard to reach new peaks can be exhausting. It’s also what makes success taste so good.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn, by Beth Loeb Davies and has been republished here with permission from the author.

 

bb_TrumanAs sad as it is, being snubbed is part of life. But we can’t let that derail us from doing our best work. What if Dicaprio would have given up after one of his many Oscar snubs? Recognition is nice, but it shouldn’t be the reason you do something. You should do things because you love to do them, because it brings you joy. Otherwise, you’ll inevitably find yourself snubbed one day, and have nothing to measure your success on. Success shouldn’t be measured on awards anyway.

Rosalind Franklin was a scientist who got snubbed in the 50’s—pretty significantly might I add—and not many people know about her as a result. So I’d like to tell you a little bit about her story and what we can learn from it.

A Future in Science

Rosalind Franklin was always a bright girl. She excelled in science, math and language from a young age. Her parents were also pretty well off so she never had to worry about finances. She was always able to pursue a good education, and she was determined to excel. In the words of her mother, “Rosalind knew exactly where she was going, and at sixteen, she took science for her subject.”

Rosalind Franklin

In college, Franklin majored in physical chemistry. By the time she finished her undergraduate studies in 1942, World War II was still raging on so she decided to focus her PhD work in an area that would be helpful to the war efforts. She spent the next four years studying coal and carbons. In her research on the subject, she identified micro structures within coal and learned how to utilize that knowledge to more accurately predict the performance of different coals. Her findings were considerable.

After the war ended, Franklin began learning x-ray crystallography, which is the process of taking x-ray photos of crystallized structures. Some of her first work using that method yielded discoveries that would form the basis of carbon fibers.

Later on, Franklin was given a research scholarship at King’s College to improve their crystallography efforts in the study of DNA. Maurice Wilkins, her colleague, was already working with crystallography, but he arrogantly assumed that Franklin was just his assistant. The rift in their relationship would ultimately lead to Franklin’s greatest snub.

 

The Mystery of DNA

Franklin wasn’t just any crystallographer, she was exceptional at it—one of the best in the business. She was able to get some of the highest resolution photos that had ever been taken of crystallized DNA.

In fact, it was because of her images that the well-known duo of James Watson and Francis Crick were able to definitively prove their answer to the DNA mystery. They had theorized that DNA was a double helix, but were missing the piece of the puzzle that would confirm their theory. Wilkins, who knew Watson and Crick, leaked Franklin’s images to the duo. In addition to the images, Watson and Crick also benefitted from some of Franklin’s unpublished research. With those pieces of the puzzle in place, they finally had the evidence they needed. Their published announcement of their discovery gave no direct mention of Franklin or her images.

 

Precision and Patience

It is believed that Franklin probably understood the implications of her photos and that she had her own theories about the double helical shape of DNA. From her research, she photographed two forms of DNA, wet and dry.

Franklin was careful and precise as a scientist. Though she had evidence of a helical structure from her images of wet DNA, She didn’t want to publish her theory until she had worked out the math for dry DNA. She wasn’t going to rush things and risk missing a vital piece of information. She wanted to be absolutely sure. She was diligent and cautious by nature. By 1953, she was finally able to conclude that both forms were double helices. However, that’s exactly when Watson and Crick’s announcement was published.

After her work in DNA, Franklin made substantial discoveries as she shifted her studies to viruses. She published 19 papers on viruses and helped lay the foundation of structural virology. Franklin would have likely made more strides in science, but she died from ovarian cancer only a few years later at the age of 37.

Franklin’s contribution to the mysteries of DNA was only made public in later years. However, that wasn’t until after Watson, Crick and Wilkins has been awarded the Nobel Prize for their work in DNA in 1962—with no mention of Franklin’s contribution.

Though Rosalind Franklin had her share of snubs and controversy, she loved what she did. Her belief was that by doing her best, she “would come nearer to success, and that [her] definition of success (the improvement of the lot of mankind, present and future) is worth attaining.” So she always did her best, even after she was denied the recognition she deserved.

And so should we.

According to Brandon Hall Group, 61% of corporate learning and development (L&D) leaders think workers should connect with learning resources at least once-a-week to be effective in their jobs. Yet in a poll we conducted with Chief Learning Officer, barely one in four L&D leaders said their employees do that.

To help L&D teams better engage employees, Degreed recently surveyed 512 people to understand how today’s workforce really builds their skills and fuels their careers. The findings, which are summarized in a new report titled, “How the Workforce Learns in 2016”, might make you rethink three common myths about workplace learning.

Myth #1:  Workers don’t have time for learning.

Truth: They will make time to learn, if it fuels their career growth or enriches their lives.

Bersin by Deloitte has reported that 88% of L&D leaders believe employees don’t have (or make) the time to engage with corporate learning. But that’s not quite the whole story. While our survey respondents spend, on average, just 37 minutes per week on their employers’ training, they put in another 3.3 hours per week learning on their own.

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Nearly two-thirds of them say they would put in even more time if they received some kind of credit or recognition they could leverage for professional growth. Perhaps more tellingly, nearly three out of every four told us they have invested their own money in career-related development over the last 12 months – an average of $339 a year.

That all tells us that most people will readily invest in learning – if it fuels their careers or enriches their lives. So don’t just train workers to comply. Help them grow and transform.

Myth #2: Traditional training methods are obsolete.

Truth: Traditional methods are not obsolete. They’re just incomplete.

A lot of people are saying L&D is now “wildly out-of-sync” with how people learn and “the only real remedy is a revolution”. Microlearning, many believe, is the future. Well, not so fast. It is clear that bite-sized content dominates learning habits now. In any given week, 85% learn something for work through search, 69% by reading articles or blogs and 53% from videos.

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But formal training is still essential. Around 70% of people we surveyed take live, virtual or e-learning courses from their employers at least once a year. Many do so every few months.

In either case, development is no longer confined to the workplace. Almost 80% now spend at least some time learning on mobile devices and 67% learn on personal time. The truth is, today’s workers learn sometimes and all the time, and from L&D as well as on their own. Make their curiosity count by blending microlearning with macrolearning.

Myth #3: The L&D function knows learning best

Truth: Responsibility for learning is shared between L&D, managers and employees.

According to CEB, L&D leaders think 4 in 5 workers are “bad at learning” – that they don’t know when to ask for help or share what they know, how to seek out relevant knowledge, or how to extract value from information. We’re not so sure.

Just 21% of people told us they rely on their L&D department when they need to learn something new for work, and only 28% said they search their employers’ learning systems. They look to their boss or mentor (69%), their colleagues (55%) or search online (47%) much more frequently when they need recommendations or answers.

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That doesn’t mean people don’t need help from L&D. In fact, those who said they have adequate guidance are more satisfied with their employer’s learning opportunities than those who don’t. What it does mean is that L&D teams have two roles now: Direct (creating, buying and delivering training) and indirect (giving self-serve L&D meaning by building an environment and culture that guides workers to the right people, experiences and resources).

What you can do

Many teams are already on their way to embracing these roles. In fact, 60% of respondents to our Chief Learning Officer webinar poll said they’re rethinking their L&D strategy in order to adapt to today’s learners. Almost half (48%) are looking to invest in new tools or technologies.

Get the research that reveals the truth about workplace learning and how today’s workforce really learns and fuels their careers. Click here to access Degreed’s full report with all the data and insights you need to empower your learners and create a thriving learning culture. Welcome to the future.

 

Here’s the thing: at Degreed we’ve created an awesome learning platform that gives people the power to track, validate and find learning from any source. We wouldn’t be able to do a really good job at building that without being obsessed with learning ourselves. We were thinking, what if we gave you a clear picture of how real people actually learn at Degreed? Last month we started doing just that- by diving into our own habits and learning goals with a profile of a Degreed team member each month.

Before we start with our next profile- you should know that at Degreed each employee receives $100 a month to learn whatever they want, and unlimited additional dollars if the learning is job related. This benefit is called FlexED, you’ll hear more about that below. Without further ado,  let’s meet Grace.

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Grace Harrington has been a sales development rep at Degreed for almost 6 months. She lives in Salt Lake, but her heart will forever reside on the east coast. Grace is typically either getting involved in discussions concerning global politics (especially involving the Middle East and human rights issues), planning her next chance to break out her passport, or binge-watching documentaries on Netflix. This is how Grace learns:

What topics or skills are you interested in learning about?

International politics, sales, holistic health, human rights issues, feminism, religions of the world, and startups.

What’s your favorite way to learn? 

Conferences and live events

As a Degreed employee, you receive $100 a month for learning as FlexED, how do you like to use your FlexED? 

Books, classes (I just signed up for a ballroom class using FlexED!), community events- especially Impact Hub and AAISP.

Favorite Expert:

My favorite expert is Richard Falk. He is an international law professor at Princeton and former UN Special Reporter on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories”. He’s put out dozens of books on human rights, terrorism, globalization, etc. and published hundreds of articles on his research.

What are the biggest takeaways from what you’ve learned in the last 6 months? 

At a holistic luncheon back in August, I learned that cutting processed sugars and upping water intake is better for weight loss than cutting fats. I’ve lost 20lbs since then just from cutting soda, minimizing processed sugar intake, and drinking at least a gallon of water a day.

I attended a lecture at the Saudi Arabia Cultural Center in Farifax, VA in December on women’s health issues in Saudi and it was really eye-opening to some pressing issues on women’s health in the kingdom. I realized that while the country has definitely progressed in women’s rights issues the last few years, there is still a very long way for them to go!

I am reading “Do Cool Sh*t”, and it is a fun book with similar principles to “The Lean Startup”.  I have an idea that I know can revolutionize the healthcare world in the USA, and this book is giving me great ideas on how to go from a conceptualized to a mobilized idea.

How have your learning habits changed since joining Degreed? 

I find myself looking for more learning opportunities now that I am with Degreed. I like seeing how my knowledge in certain areas have grown, and being able to track and go back to learning I’ve done is really nice! It’s cool having all of my learning searchable in the system by topics that I’ve tagged.

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

One of the most useful skills I’ve ever learned was Arabic. Aside from the obvious uses for travel and business, it also helped me meet my soon-to-be fiancée when I heard him tell his friend in Arabic that he thought I was pretty. He was shocked when I told him I understood the language!

What are your learning goals for 2016?

My goals for 2016 are to read 2 books a month: one to expand my knowledge of a targeted topic, and one that is more for fun. I want to really expand my knowledge about the presidential candidates, because none of them are really exciting me at this point. I also plan to write an original article bi-weekly and share it on LinkedIn for others to learn as well!

Grace’s Degreed Stats:

40 courses

163 books

164 articles

39 videos

Most active skills: marketing, leadership, teamwork, sales.

Check out Grace on Degreed here. You can also get credit for reading this article by clicking the button below. Throughout this “How We Learn” blog series we’ll be giving you a closer look at how we learn at Degreed, but we also want to know how you learn- so tweet us at @degreed and tell us what works best for you!

Taylor-navy
At Degreed, each team member is encouraged to spend time learning anything they want, in any way they like to learn. We use Degreed to capture, curate, share and save all of that learning. Here are the Degreed features our team obsesses over. These are a few of our favorite things:

 

Create a Pathway 
AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOUAAAAJDBiOTg5ODEyLWIzZmEtNDI5NS1iYzgwLTNmMWJhM2RiMjkzMw“My favorite feature is how easy it is to create a pathway. It’s so simple to be able to create  a structured learning plan for myself, or to package a set of resources into a bite-sized  lesson plan for anyone to see. Coupled with the chrome extension, it makes it blazing fast  to take a bunch of different learning material into a comprehensive path for learning.” – Jeff Okita, Marketing

 

The Degreed Button
20160312_183954The Degreed button has basically taken over my previous bookmark habit. I can tag articles I like and search for them later in the app if I need to reference them again.  Being able to recommend/share bits of content on the fly is super useful as well.” -Becky Hamm, Engineering

 

See what others learn 
AndyEarl_degreed1_2613“I love seeing other people’s learning activity in the daily email. It’s fun seeing that the executives of the company are always learning new things. It makes me feel more confident in questioning how we do things or bringing up new ideas, because I know the people I work with are open to new ways of thinking. Occasionally others on the team will mention that they read something that I had initially learned, and share how that helped; it’s cool to think that they benefited from something I read.” -Taylor Blake, Product

 

Recommendations
Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 9.03.03 PM“I love the recommendations feature.  When content comes to me from my peers it helps me sift through the myriad of articles and Ted talks and spend my time on items that apply directly to my job, which saves me so much time.  It doesn’t take long to learn which colleagues enjoy similar learning and then I prioritize.  When recommendations come from my exec team I learn what their priorities are for me and am able to develop those skills and stay aligned.” -Bambi Buckles, Sales

 

Tracking
“My favorite feature is the orange + button. For me this represents my small learning achievements and goals. Each time I click that button I feel like I am conquering some of the things which have been life road blocks.” -Michelle Stevens, Support

 

See what I’ve learned
sonja“I like the ability to track everything I learn, and find it later in my profile with the ability to filter by category or format. What books did I read last year? What was that article about content marketing that I liked so much called again? Today’s Learning is another gold mine. I love seeing popular articles on subjects I’m interested in, helping me find the content that I wouldn’t normally find on my own.”
 -Sonja Schurig, Marketing

 

 

 

How do you use Degreed? Click below to share this article and tweet us your favorite features.

 

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I have two great weaknesses: gas stations and bookstores.

You know that feeling you get when you turn in your final assignment for the semester and you walk outside and suddenly all the plans you made for summer vacation are unobstructed from the roadblocks of stress and you feel like you have the whole world at your disposal? That’s how I feel when I walk into a gas station or a bookstore. While I won’t discuss it in this post, just know that I have a special place in my heart for taquitos and sugary beverages, both of which are plentiful in the American gas station. That place in my heart my be an actual hole caused by the crap I’ve consumed from said gas stations, but it’s still there, and it’s still special.

But bookstores? Those places are magical. Literally anything you want to know is within arm’s reach. There are thousands of things you have no idea you want to know about within arm’s reach, and I think that’s what gets me. There’s so much potential knowledge, so many stories I’ve never heard.

I remember when the book fair would come to my school as a kid. They would give you that colorful paper brochure so you could order your books. I’ll tell you what, I could have negotiated my way out of North Korea with a pair of Kim Jong Il’s sneakers the way I convinced my mom to add JUST ONE MORE book to my order. Even today I have to give myself a pep talk when I walk into a Barnes & Noble, otherwise I leave with a stack of books and an empty bank account. Books are great, but not sans food and shelter.

I’m not sure I could quantify the knowledge I have gained from reading. It’s like trying to quantify infinity: there is no way to know where it begins or where it ends. So instead of doing that, I’d just like to talk a little bit about how much there is to gain from reading. I submit the following as evidence that we all can and should read more.

 

The Cool Kids Are Doing It

A few years back I read Tony Hsieh’s (pronounced shay) book, Delivering Happiness. Hsieh is the brilliant mind behind the culture-driven Internet store, Zappos. In the book, he goes into detail about why Zappos is so unique and successful. Hint, it’s all about the culture. If you don’t know what that means, just Google “Zappos offices” and scroll through the images. Zappos people are pretty cool. And Hsieh’s book was interesting from beginning to end.

Like many companies, Zappos has developed core values that guide how the company runs. One of the coolest (in my opinion) is Core Value #5: Pursue Growth and Learning. Hsieh is a major proponent of reading as a means of growing as a human. His belief is that if a person is not learning and growing on her own, she won’t be as productive as she can be as an employee. So to foster this idea and help his employees along, Hseih has a dedicated Zappos library.

Zappos Lobby Library

Zappos Lobby Library

Team members can rent books for free and are encouraged to read often. You can see the books in their library here.

 

Readers Are Winners

Abraham Lincoln successfully led the country through its darkest days during the Civil War. So it’s safe to say that he needed to be pretty knowledgable to accomplish that. In his early years, Lincoln was entirely self educated. He had only been to school for what only amounted to less than a year total by the time he was 21. However, because of his desire to learn, he was able to stay highly educated. Lincoln learned a lot from reading on his own. He loved books. In fact, his best friend once said, “I never saw Abe after he was 12, that he didn’t have a book in his hand or in his pocket.”

Image via Britannica

Image via Britannica

That love of reading followed him all through his life. In an article published in the New York Times in 1887, a man told a story about his friend who experienced Lincoln’s love of reading firsthand. The friend had the opportunity to meet Lincoln in the lobby of his hotel one morning. As he approached Lincoln, the man noticed that he was reading Homer’s Illiad. After the two got to talking, Lincoln said, “You know a man might as well be out of the world as not read Homer’s Illiad.”

For context, this was during the time of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The man was quite impressed that Lincoln, in the middle of a very crucial time of his life, still found the time to read for personal enjoyment and growth. Lincoln won the presidency two years later.

 

Reading With Your Ears

I’ve shared a few examples about “why” you should read, but now I’d like to address the “how.” Finding spare time is a major issue for most of us. It’s hard to find the time to eat breakfast before work, let alone the time to read a few chapters of a book. A few years back I thought I was doomed to live my life without books because I could never find the time to sit down and read. But that’s when my father taught me the ancient art of reading with your ears.

All of a sudden, the time that I usually wasted listening to sub-par morning radio stations could be used to expand my knowledge base. My very first audiobook was Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell got my brain making all kinds of connections, going a million miles a minute. I was reading a book a week just by listening every time I got in the car.

What I learned from that experience is that we can make time for things we value. After I got a few audiobooks under my belt, my desire to read only grew. I began making time to read physical books in between the time I spent reading audiobooks. My priorities had shifted, and I grew immensely as a result.

Podcasts 4

And the thing is, reading doesn’t even have to be done with an audiobook. You can listen to TED talks or podcasts and still get the same brain-powering results. It all just depends on how dedicated you are to learning. With summer just around the corner, I’m beyond excited to get back outside with my hammock and a cold beverage and dive into some good books. Plus, you know what that means: more visits to gas stations and bookstores.

What books are on your summer reading list? What books should I put on mine? You can leave a comment or hit me with a tweet. And don’t forget, you can track all your reading on Degreed! Podcasts and all!

“Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.” – John Wooden

computer

You and I are victims of content overload. There is more information available to us than ever before, to the tune of 4 million inquires on Google and 2.5 million posts on Facebook every minute.

Additionally, we seem to be rushing most of the time – to work, to pick up the kids, to finish that project on schedule. It only makes sense that we would also rush our learning. In fact, new Degreed research shows that learning happens everywhere- at work, during our commutes, and personal time.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 3.53.45 PM

So how do we make the most of our ultimate limited resource – time?

Curation and aggregation are two words often heard around the subject of content. There are thousands of learning options and systems, and these are two common methods of organizing the chaos.

But which is better and probably more importantly, which is going to save me time?

First, let’s examine them individually.

Aggregation is defined as “collection into an unorganized whole.” As a learning professional or someone searching for content, if “unorganized whole” doesn’t make you shudder, I don’t know what would. In perhaps more relatable terms, aggregation is selecting the certain pieces of content and then adding or grouping them into a concept. This is usually automated and based off of keyword matching.

Curation is a similar concept but typically takes it further by adding context, making sure each piece is quality and relevant. As defined by Degreed’s own curation expert, Caroline Soares, “Curation is about getting the right content to the right people at the right time. The art and science of curation is the ability to find, assemble and filter the best quality resources into a relevant learning experience.”

Curation, it would seem, is the more valuable of the two. It goes deeper than content aggregation to help sow the seeds for continuous learning by making it quick, easy and personal. The key to successful curation is having the ability to aggregate content from the many multiple, different sources available. Step two is to refine this list of content down to the highest quality gems.

When it comes to  learning, curation not only allows you the ability to produce more diverse learning options and modalities, but also save money by reducing the need for costly formal training.

Within the Degreed platform, a Pathway is a curated collection of content focusing on a particular topic or skill that can include a mix of content in any format, from any source. Pathways can be a collection of micro-learning experiences such as articles and videos, and can also include courses, books, or assessments.

The key to productive learning curation is to deliver the right content to the right people by designing pathways which are tailored to the needs of the target audience. You can do this in 6 ways:

  1. Utilize a healthy variety of different formats of content from different experts.
  2. Allow users to recommend items that are highly valuable to them and others.
  3. Empower learners to participate in the curation of content they personally want to consume.
  4. To stay on the cutting edge, include subject-matter experts from across the organization to collaborate on Pathways.
  5. Creating a clear path of progression within the learning pathway.
  6. Make it easy for the learner to find the content, an important part of curation is delivering the content at the right time.

Bonus: Track and reward progress as people begin and move through a pathway.

Click here to learn more about how you can start maximizing your learning resource with curation. 

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