Establishing a Habit of Learning

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Establishing a Habit of Learning

5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

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5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

The Best Career Advice

From 6 Self-Made Billionaires

The Best Career Advice

 

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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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. 

The age of big data has landed us in a world where we expect every online experience to be personalized to our unique interests and curated for our desires.

We take for granted the personal experience presented to us on Facebook and Linkedin, the recommendations on Netflix, and personalized playlists on Spotify and Pandora. We assume online retailers will only promote relevant products to us, and get frustrated when promotions aren’t relevant.

Perhaps the best example of personalization is what you experience when you log-in to Amazon. Amazon’s product recommendations seem to hint at telepathic abilities. I see recommendations for products I had no idea existed, but once seen, I must have.

Personalization is a movement with a lot of momentum among consumer websites, and the approach has been wildly successful. In 2012, Amazon reported a 29% increase in sales in its second fiscal quarter, largely due to the personalization strategy it incorporated into every part of the purchasing process. Amazon isn’t the only one- nearly 80% of all marketers say personalization has boosted revenue.

The personalization movement for consumer websites is now spreading to enterprise software. The trend to consumerize enterprise software – making enterprise software more engaging for the end-user – is only in its early stages, but it’s on the rise. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for enterprise software companies to gain traction in organizations without creating a great user experience.

Personalization is an especially critical issue in corporate learning. Traditional learning solutions have been corporate-centric, focused on mandatory training and compliance which has resulted in low employee engagement. Half of people surveyed said they use their LMS for voluntary development once a quarter or less. Workers are more likely to turn to a colleague or Google to satisfy their on-demand learning needs [Degreed].

Personalization and an employee-centric approach to learning is an often cited trend for 2016 [L&D Global Sentiment 2016]. Research from Bersin by Deloitte highlights that improving the user experience is a main buying criteria for new HR solutions for 67% of people surveyed.

Bersin by Deloitte has published several research reports about the overwhelmed worker. We’re all bogged down with too much information, meetings, and emails. Employees cited not having enough time as the most common obstacle to workplace learning, but at the same time we all know that learning is a critical competitive advantage – something we all need to be doing to compete in today’s market. The solution is a set of tools that can streamline the learning process – deliver the right content, to the right person, at the right time.

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Personalization and Corporate Learning
Personalization in corporate learning has the potential to revolutionize what companies can offer their employees in terms of tangible career growth. Similar to the product offerings you see on Amazon, what if you were offered courses, articles, and videos that perfectly aligned with your current and future career goals – saving you the time of searching online, subscribing to blogs, or hunting across various intranet sites at your company? So why aren’t more corporate learning solutions offering a personalized approach to learning tailored to each individual’s needs? A few are.

There are three main ways to accomplish the goal of a more personal approach to corporate learning:

1. Manual recommendations – the more traditional form of personalization, L&D directed suggestions based on employee’s roles and business units. An admin or learning professional sends course recommendations to groups or individuals in the organization. Perhaps marking certain courses as mandatory. Some platforms allow managers to create personal learning plans for their direct reports.

2. Social recommendations – from friends, colleagues, or managers.

3. System recommendations – based on data about the user.

Most traditional learning solutions can answer personalization using manual tools, where L&D professionals are assigning mandatory training based on roles and business units. But this type of personalization only covers the training that is happening periodically throughout the year.

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“Social” is another hot buzzword in corporate learning, and tools to facilitate social learning recommendations are on the rise. But most of these tools lack the ability to aggregate social trends, such as learning content that is popular in your network, or popular among people who are similar to you.

With the advent of big data and better algorithms for gaining insights, algorithmic or system generated recommendations will become more prevalent, streamlining L&D activities while allowing workers to take charge of their own learning.

The future of corporate learning will also need to include personalized recommendations for more than just the formal and mandatory courses traditionally offered in an LMS. If a personalization engine only makes suggestions for formal courses, this will only benefit the user periodically throughout the year. Based on our research, we know that when workers need to learn something new for their job they don’t go to their LMS first.
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Degreed’s Approach to Personalization

Degreed has taken a new approach to corporate learning – with a platform designed to enable and empower the learner. We are facilitating personal development, in the literal sense of the word, anywhere, anytime, from any device. To accomplish this, the experience is unique for each user by leveraging all three tools of personalization: manual, social, and system generated.

Like Amazon, Degreed is able to recommend learning content you may not know existed, but once seen you know you’re interested in.

1. Manual Recommendations
Degreed offers the ability to send recommendations to an entire group or an individual. An admin can request rules so employees are assigned to pertinent groups and enrolled in relevant Pathways. An admin can also request which organization Pathways are featured more prominently in the library.

2. Social Recommendations
Degreed offers social tools for viewing and following what others are learning, so you can learn from an expert or a colleague you admire. Degreed makes it easy to join groups with like-minded learners, rate content, and join conversations, and send and receive recommendations from friends, colleagues, and managers. Not sure who to follow? Degreed will offer suggestions for people with similar interests.

3. System Recommendations
The first thing a user sees when she logs into Degreed is a dashboard of system recommendations – five items of personalized learning content tailored for each user, and refreshed daily, called ‘Today’s Learning’. These recommendations can come from either external resources or internal content sources proprietary to the organization.

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Degreed also offers a browse experience in the library similar to Netflix. The first thing a user sees when navigating to the Degreed library of content isn’t just a blank search page, the user will be given system generated recommendations by default, with the option to search if you don’t see what you want right away.

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The result is a learning solution that employees actually want to use. The average LMS has a net-promoter-score of -31%, while the average net-promoter-score for Degreed is 70.

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Takeaways
There are only a few enterprise learning software providers that utilize personalization, but just as this trend has taken over the consumer market, expect it to revolutionize the world of enterprise software as well.

In the market for a new corporate learning solution? Look for a tool that takes an innovative approach to corporate learning by building more consumer-like features, such as personalized recommendations. Today, nearly half of all online shoppers search on Amazon before making a purchase. Imagine a future where your corporate learning solution beats out online search as the most popular place for learning in your organization.

Learn more about how you can offer personalized learning at your organization here. 

What do CLO’s really need to know about the learning ecosystem and how to best engage their employees? We’ve gathered 12 powerful stats about how workers truly learn and fuel their careers to help prepare you to meet the needs of the workforce. Click here to view our full research on how the workforce learns.

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Steph-Curry-Patt-Riley-Gradual-Change

 

The most intriguing part of the quote above is not that excellence comes from wanting to do better—that’s pretty obvious—but that excellence comes from consistently making gradual changes.

Merriam-Webster defines the word gradual \ˈgra-jə-wəl\ (adj) as moving, changing, or developing by fine or often imperceptible degrees.

Steph-Curry-Gradual Change

I know that’s the recipe for the opening line of every high school graduation speech ever, but it works here. And I’m a sucker for words.

What Mr. Riley is saying here is pretty remarkable when you ponder it. How is it that something gradual—seemingly undetectable—can create anything substantial?

This is an idea that I could dwell on forever and still not completely wrap my head around. You could take a grain of sand out of the desert, and no one would be the wiser. You could do the same with a drop of water from the ocean. As humans, we are only one in a sea of billions. We’re literally just fibers in the fabric of the world. All but imperceptible.

Yet, thinking that each little piece of the greater whole has no meaning is flawed. Each little piece matters. It builds on the other little pieces around it and eventually becomes something great. Try to watch a movie on a TV with a missing pixel and tell me every tiny piece doesn’t matter.

The Compound Effect

I recently read a book by Darren Hardy titled The Compound Effect. In the book, Hardy essentially tries to break down and explain exactly how small pieces add up over time and lead to monumental results.

One of the most common explanations of this is the example of the compounding penny.

If you don’t know what that is, here’s the synopsis: say someone offered you the choice between a million dollars right now or the final sum of a penny doubled every day for 30 days (.01, .02, .04 etc.), which would you take?

The knee-jerk reaction is to take the million dollars. It seems like a no brainer. However, if you double a penny every day for 30 days, you end up with 5.3 million dollars. More than five times the amount you would have had if you took the million up front.

At first, you don’t really see any change. On day five you only have $0.16. Big whoop. You’ve waited five days and you still don’t even have enough to get a gum ball. Even at day 15, the halfway mark, you only have $163.84. Compared to $5.3 million, that’s miniscule. If you stole $163.84 out of someone’s bank account who has $5.3 million, it would be almost imperceptible. But through the power of the compound effect, the final 15 days are astronomically more lucrative than the first 15.

This idea works because gradual change is powerful when paired with consistency . At day five, you’re probably pretty discouraged. But if you stop doubling, you lose out on a big payout. The penny example is a little misleading because we can do the math and find the exact final outcome. But if you don’t know what the end looks like (as is that case with most things in life) it’s hard to feel like you’re making any progress.

Have you ever started a new diet or exercise routine and got frustrated after a week when you stepped on the scale and saw little to no change? It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t see effort right away. That’s the poisonous nature of the human desire for instant gratification. But you have to keep at it. Every effort matters if you are consistent..

Going back to Hardy’s book, he says, “Your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily disciplines compounded over time.”

gradual-change-darren-hardy

 

There is no quick fix for success. The only way to the top is through gradual and consistent effort. There are no shortcuts. And you may not see the results you’re looking for until you’ve kept at it for years.

 

The Success of Steph Curry

As outsiders looking in, successful people may appear to have fallen into their results overnight. That’s because there’s nothing newsworthy about a small change. The only way gradual effort becomes newsworthy is when it is maintained consistently over time. And that’s when everyone takes notice.

Let’s take one of the best athletes in the world right now as an example. Even if you know nothing about basketball, you’ve probably heard of Steph Curry. You have surely seen his amazing athletic feats on videos in your Facebook and Twitter feeds. But it wasn’t like that even two or three years ago.

Hardy talks about this as well.

“Don’t try to fool yourself into believing that a mega-successful athlete didn’t live through regular bone-crushing drills and thousands of hours of practice. He got up early to practice—and kept practicing long after all others had stopped.”

Out of high school, Steph Curry was overlooked by schools in big conferences. All the critics said he was too small. But he kept pushing. By the time he decided to go pro, scouts had all but declared him worthless in the NBA. Those draft reports are laughable now. Especially while read by Curry in a video touting his 2015 MVP and championship honors (something CoachUP did recently).

Stephen_Curry_shooting

Image by Keith Allison, Hanover, MD, USA

But Curry kept at it. He kept perfecting his craft.

“He practiced like a demon, hyper-focused on his weaknesses.” – Washington Post

Curry worked tirelessly on fundamentals—and he still does—making sure he has mastered every monotonous movement that happens in a game. That consistent effort on the simple components of the game has paid off.

“…staying on top of that simple fundamental makes you a little bit faster, a little bit more creative, a little bit more efficient on the floor.” – Steph Curry via Sports Illustrated

It’s hard not to watch in awe as Curry has dominated the game this year. Next time you watch him play, try not to see him only as he is now, but, like Under Armour puts it, as the sum of all his training. And don’t discount the power of gradual change made consistently over time, instead, try putting them to work towards your own goals.

Today, the Degreed team is proud to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Gibbon, the European creator of a popular platform for curating “playlists” of learning content. The Gibbon team will join Degreed as we continue to work to make ALL learning count.

Wouter de Bres, Eric Sharp, Joeri Djojosoeparto, Kat Archibald, and David Blake.

Wouter de Bres, Eric Sharp, Joeri Djojosoeparto, Kat Archibald, and David Blake.

Degreed’s mission has always been to jailbreak the degree, and make all learning matter- regardless of the source. In order to accomplish that mission, we’ve built a way for companies, employees, and individuals to discover, share, track, and value their learning. This acquisition will give Chief Learning Officers, training managers and instructional designers a more powerful and cost-effective toolkit for curating both informal learning and structured training experiences.

“As we all continue to learn from more diverse sources, gain experience, and earn new credentials and micro-credentials, we need a way to make sense of ALL of our learning.” CEO David Blake said, “That is what jailbreaking the degree means- to redefine the idea of education and skills to include everything you have learned over the course of your entire life- not just the time you spent gaining formal education.” Degreed and Gibbon will now work together to unlock the power of lifelong learning.

Gibbon’s history is that of a team of largely self-taught developers and designers. Founders Wouter de bres, Petar Radošević, and Joeri Djojosoeparto faced the challenges of self-directed learning across a massive sea of resources, and set out to make tools to help you curate all of that learning, including creating playlists for your learning. The elegance of their solutions inspired us.

Gibbon has also built a community of learners that quickly attracted experts in product, design, and web development, among other topics. Their personal leadership in those communities and the quality of the playlists created by those communities of learners and experts was highly attractive to us. The Gibbon team made the decision to join Degreed to continue their mission of improving lifelong learning.

“Degreed and Gibbon are chasing the same mission.” said Wouter de Bres, Gibbon’s Co-Founder, “Joining forces enables our team to focus on what we are most passionate about: Building beautifully simple products that help people and organizations to learn and grow.” We couldn’t have said it better.

The acquisition will create our first international office in Leiden, The Netherlands. We’re excited to add the strength of the Gibbon team to Degreed as well as the elegance of their approach to the Degreed platform.

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