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 May’s “Putting Learners First” Webinar VP of Product Marketing Todd Tauber presented on the current issues with L&D approaches and how to make the shift to put learners first. In this final recap post we’ll explore reimagining L&D for learners. For the first two sections of this Webinar checkout Webinar Recap I: Why It’s Time to Rethink L&D Approaches, and Webinar Recap II: How To Make The Shift. 

Rewire L&D infrastructure to reinvent learning for learners
The hard part is doing the work to actually reinvent workplace learning. Transforming how L&D works all at once can be a huge, complicated job. It often takes months or years, depending on how complicated the organization is.

The key is not cost cutting and reorganizing, though. It’s investing time and money differently. L&D organizations only really invest in 3 things: people, content and tools.

Companies who are making this shift are approaching their content and programs very differently.
– They still do programs and classes and online courses, but they’re tilting the balance much more heavily toward experiential, social and on-demand learning experiences, with more modern formats like short videos, simulations and apps.

These companies are able to do that in large part because they’re changing their people and processes.
– Some are cleaning house and starting over, looking for new kinds of learning consultants and instructional designers who “get” the business and audiences better.
– Others are evolving, re-training their existing staff, adding new kinds of people into the mix alongside their or even creating entirely new roles.
– Several companies – for example Bank of America, EY, LinkedIn, Macy’s and Nike – now have product managers instead of (or in addition to) their LMS administrators.

The problem with different people trying to do different things is that it’s creating some new problems, those problems demand new and different kinds of technology to work better. Very few authoring tools or LMSs, for example, make it easy to create, find, access or track informal learning content or social and on-the-job learning experiences.

Make it simpler to create (and curate) learning
Most authoring tools and LMSs were designed and built for an era of one-to-many learning – the broadcast model. Now, people do a lot more than just consume; they’re also crowdsourcing and collaborating. Learning is no longer one-to-many, it’s many-to-many.

A lot of learners (and L&D teams) now need better tools for creating, curating and sharing learning.

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– Almost 90% of workers say that sharing knowledge is an important or essential part of learning what they need for their jobs.
-Only around ⅓ of employers have invested in dedicated social learning systems.

Make it faster to find learning
Creating learning is only the first step, though. Learners also need better tools for finding the right things at the right time. We are all overwhelmed by information. We are also all impatient. Especially online- if we can’t find what we want – fast – we move on.

Learning content is so easy to make, and so cheap to buy now that it’s become almost too available. Making sense of all the learning clutter out there is a growing problem.

Make it easier to access learning
Finding the right content isn’t much use if people can’t access it. One word: Mobile.
More than half of workers now say they would like to be able to access learning on mobile devices. They may not all need it to do their jobs, but they want it.

Most companies are barely scratching the surface when it comes to mobile learning. Sure, it’s encouraging that more than 70% of organizations now say they’re doing something with mobile learning. However, only 12% of learning content is actually mobile-ready.

Make it possible to track all learning
Companies that do that are just trying to stuff the toothpaste back in the tube, though. It’s become clear that both L&D organizations and individual employees need better ways to track, measure and value all of their learning.

Almost every CLO says they feel the need and urgency to demonstrate the value of their organization’s investment in L&D. In spite of that need and urgency, less than 30% of big companies capture much data on their informal learning activity. It’s hard to manage L&D when you can’t see the whole picture.

It’s also hard for individuals to act on that data. Even if they did collect it, it’s rare for employers to provide workers with easy access to information about their development beyond basic LMS transcripts.
Almost ⅔ of working professionals that we’ve surveyed say they would spend more time on informal learning if it was tracked and given professional credit of some kind.

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Takeaway 3

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Putting learners first requires new, different and better tools:
– For creating and curating learning.
– For discovering and finding learning.
– For accessing learning.
– And for valuing learning.

That means ALL kinds of learning – not just formal training. For more information on how Degreed makes it easy for organizations and their people to discover, curate, and track ALL their learning check out get.degreed.com

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The Battle of Gettysburg is widely considered to be the turning point that enabled the Union to defeat the Confederates in the Civil War. Had the war gone the other way, America would be very different today. While no single person can take all the credit for the victory at Gettysburg, a man by the name of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was definitely an integral piece of the puzzle.Valor_JoshuaChamberlain_640x400

Rough Beginnings

“I have always been interested in military matters, and what I do not know in that line, I know how to learn.” –Joshua Chamberlain

Chamberlain was a professor of modern languages at Bowdoin College in Maine. But as the Civil War progressed, he began to feel a sense of urgency to enlist in the military. His determination and desire to serve the Union eventually opened the door for him to command the 20th Maine, a hodgepodge unit made up of other regiment’s extra men. While other units were given a flag and sent off with the support of their cities, Chamberlain’s men went to war without fanfare or farewell.

If leading an unsupported unit of men into battle wasn’t hard enough, Chamberlain was also given orders to absorb 120 three-year enlistees from the 2nd Maine Infantry into his regiment.

The 2nd Maine men were veterans in the war. They had all served for two years. However, the men were in a state of mutiny. They refused to fight because their unit had been disbanded and the majority of their regiment had been discharged and sent home. While the bulk of the 2nd Maine had signed two-year enlistments, the 120 remaining men had signed three-year enlistments and still had a year left.

Chamberlain was told to shoot the mutinous men who refused duty. Luckily for those men, Chamberlain took compassion on them and worked to fix the situation before it became an issue. He distributed the experienced men of the disbanded 2nd Maine evenly into the ranks of the inexperienced 20th Maine.

Little Round Top

The Battle of Little Round Top was a significant victory that helped make the victory at Gettysburg possible. It was at the Battle of Little Round Top that Chamberlain earned the Medal of Honor for valiantly leading his men in the face of danger.

Geographically, Little Round Top was the far left line of the Union’s defense and a strategic stronghold for anyone who could hold it. If the Confederate troops took the hill, it is not a stretch to assume they would have been able to pick apart the rest of the Union troops, which would have made a significant impact on the outcome at Gettysburg.

To emphasize the strategic importance of Chamberlain’s position on the hill, Colonel Strong Vincent left him with the following order.

“This is the left of the Union line. You are to hold this ground at all costs!”

All or Nothing

Leading up to the Battle of Little Round Top, Chamberlain made a crucial move to band his regiment together. He elevated former 2nd Maine solider, Andrew J. Tozier, to Color Sergeant. As Color Sergeant was usually reserved for the bravest soldier in the unit, Chamberlain was able to instill loyalty and pride in the men who were still feeling mutinous. They began to feel that Chamberlain trusted and respected them. They were ready to go to battle with him.

Once the fighting had begun, Tozier stood his ground in a flurry of gunfire and kept a vulnerable part of the Union line from being overtaken. This act of bravery instilled strength into the rest of the unit, and Tozier was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

Though the hill still belonged to the Union, the 20th Maine was weakening. Chamberlain’s men were running dangerously low on ammunition, and many men who had advanced on the Confederates were wounded and close to the enemy. One of Chamberlain’s lieutenants, Holman Melcher, wanted to advance and retrieve the wounded men. Chamberlain agreed and decided not only to retrieve the wounded, but also to mount a bayonet charge on the enemy in a final, all-or-nothing attempt to defend the hill. If death was his fate, he was going to die knowing he had done everything he could.

In the heat of the battle, Chamberlain ordered the bayonet charge. Melcher responded quickly and lead the way into the enemy troops, which were only 30 yards away.

The order was a success. The Confederates had no idea how to respond to such a charge and, in the midst of confusion and fear, were captured. The hill did not fall.

Living With Valor

Chamberlain was a man deeply rooted in academics, but in serving a cause greater than himself, he became an exemplar of valor.

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While most of us will never be in Chamberlain’s situation, we all will have opportunities to be courageous and face our fears. Things that are trying to overtake us may come from the outside, or they may come from the inside. Whatever battles we are facing, it is important that we face our enemies with valor. Doing so will ultimately lead us to the most fulfilling experiences of our lives.

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I invite you to look for and take opportunities that will help you grow—no matter how daunting the task may seem. You won’t regret it if you do.

In today’s work environment, what you know isn’t nearly as important as how fast you can learn. With new technology emerging at an unprecedented pace, your job security depends upon the speed at which you can adapt and develop the skills your company needs to compete in the global marketplace. The good news is there are proven methods for accelerating your learning. Here are our tried techniques to get you started.

1. Increase Your Reading Speed

Well duh, you might be thinking. Reading faster would obviously accelerate anyone’s ability to learn. But as adults can we really expect to improve enough to notice a difference? According to one of the world’s leading experts on elite human performance, Tim Ferris, the answer is an emphatic YES! On his blog Ferris details how anyone can learn to read 300% faster in only 20 minutes by training their eyes to eliminate inefficient movements and avoid rereading. A few years ago I followed the method and was astonished by how much faster I began to read.

For a slightly different perspective on how to increase reading speed, check out Scott Young’s blog post from earlier this year. Being the voracious learner that he is, Young extensively researched the topic with a critical eye and concluded that training to speed-read is still worth the effort.

Several speed reading apps are also available if you do a lot of reading on a smartphone. I’ve tried nearly all of them, but the two that I’ve found most effective are ReadQuick ($9.99) and Acceleread (Free). If you use these tools as a part of your overall speed reading plan, you’ll see dramatics results in how quickly you can consume new information.

 

2. Focus on the First 20 Hours

Getting off to a good start is crucial for rapid skill acquisition. If you can push through the early stages of frustration that come with learning something new, you will usually hit your stride. In his book “The First 20 Hours,” entrepreneur Josh Kaufman provides a practical guide on how to navigate this beginning phase, and claims that you can learn the basics of any new skill in approximately 20 hours of deliberate, focused effort.

Kaufman does a great job explaining how to deconstruct a complex skill into smaller subskills that are more manageable. He urges the learner to attack the most important subskills first, using a practice regimen built around intense 15 to 20-minute study bursts. Do this 40 minutes a day for a month and you’ll pick up the fundamentals of any new skill. For more insight into these ideas, check out Kaufman’s popular TedTalk:

 

3. Optimize your Environment

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Another basic way to accelerate learning is to optimize your environment. This means turning off distractions and avoiding multitasking, which can be damaging to both your brain and your career. It means mastering your learning tools and making sure everything you need is within reach before you start a study session. It means paying attention to details like room temperature, lighting, and noise levels. It means tapping into your flow state as much as possible when you practice.

And that’s the ultimate goal, really. Getting into the flow. The sooner you get there the faster you will learn any skill.

Here’s a simple way to remember the 3 hacks you need to speed up your learning:

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As always, keep tracking everything you learn through your Degreed profile to give yourself a clear picture of all your skills and knowledge.

You can catch Jedd McFatter on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

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During my morning Twitter session, I noticed Quartz published this article in response to a new report by ZenithOptimedia on how much media we consume daily. The study throws down the numbers on how much time we’re consuming media in some form of internet browsing, television, magazine, or newspaper. It revealing that apparently we all have full-time jobs as Media Consumption Specialists (Mom is so proud).

That’s right, we’re spending 8 hours a day taking in the wonders of the internet, television, and the occasional magazine . I can’t say I’m shocked by that number, although I would never want to see a running counter of exactly how much time I spend on the internet- the thought makes me a bit sick.

When it comes to consuming 8 hours a day of media, one must wonder: So what? Does it count for anything? We’re consuming all of this information and entertainment a day, but are you tracking what you’re consuming?

Take 5.7 seconds to think about the last week and everything you watched or read. My guess is it was a week comprised of podcast episodes, documentaries, YouTube videos, some Wired and Quartz articles, and binge watching Silicon Valley. Was it all a waste?

No way. I’d throw down a pretty penny to bet that you learned something from most pieces of media you consumed (as far as for the educational value of animal Vines, I can’t vouch for that). The point is, media can teach us- and we should be measuring and tracking all of that learning.

Here’s the thing: If you’re spending even a fraction of those 8 hours a day, 56 hours a week consuming articles that may help you with your job, or teach you something about personal finance, or leadership, or even fixing a broken faucet in your house- ALL of that learning matters. You’re progressing and it should count for something.

The beauty of the internet is the vast amount of information at our disposal, and letting all that learning happen without recognition is a shame. I believe in a world where a future job interview would consist in part of talking about what you learned from the most recent 6 months of your media consumption, and how you applied said learning to your life and work.

Degreed also believes in that future, and offers all of us the ability to track and score everything we’re learning. Formal and informal, YouTube and classroom, articles and textbooks– you can score and measure all your learning to get a full picture of what you know.

Think of it this way: you wouldn’t clock in 40 hours a week without getting a paycheck for your efforts, why would you learn for even a portion of 40 hours a week and not have a way to track, measure, and validate what you know. For those of us that aren’t engaged in formal learning, those hours add up, and it’s eye-opening to discover the different topics you’re learning the most about.

Degreed profiles are free, and if you’re in the business of media consumption -and according to the data, we all are- I suggest you get a profile and start tracking what you’re consuming. It’s time to make ALL learning count.

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What are your thoughts on media consumption and education? What do you see for the future of how much media we view a day? Tweet your thoughts @Degreed

Quartz article with data on the ZenithOptimedia report can be found here

Being only a few years removed from college, I have a lot of friends who are currently going through the process of graduating and choosing their next step in life. I also have a couple close friends who made that decision a few years ago and are now struggling with the fact that, in their view, they may have chosen unwisely. Charting a career course is difficult and confusing for almost everyone. As often as not, asking the right questions is as difficult as finding the right answers (if not more so).

Most of us have some idea that career success comes from some combination of ability (What am I good at?), passion (What do I love doing?), and pay (How can I make the most money?). In my experience the most pivotal is ability. Passion and money are great, but if you want to know what career path will make you both happy and wealthy, you need to start by asking yourself “What am I really good at?” This may seem intuitive, but in my experience it is anything but. Indeed, I came to my own fork in the road a couple years ago, and came very close to making the wrong choice.

My Experience

In college, I studied communication sciences with the intention of becoming an audiologist. Audiology is a secure field with plenty of high-paying jobs. However, between my junior and senior year I had taken a summer job working in social strategy for a large fitness company. I immediately realized that I was good at it. As time went on, I started to realize that I was very good at it. I started to think I could make a career out of it.

But when I graduated, I seriously considered going back to get my masters in audiology and reverting back to that career path. It had been my plan all throughout college; could I really just abandon it? Especially for a career track in social media that, at the time, seemed like it might be a dead end. I asked one of my good friends what I should do and he gave me some great advice:

“Jeremy,” he said, “you have a gift for social. Don’t let that go to waste.”

Despite a number of concerns, I decided to continue in social media. Two years in, I view that decision as a financial, personal, and career success: My employer truly values my work, I’m enjoying it more than ever, and I’m making good money.

Ability Leads to Passion

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Choosing a career you are passionate about is very important. What I have found is that people who choose to do what they excel at are almost always the most passionate about their work.  The truth is that interests wax and wane. I know people who have dream jobs working for their favorite sports teams who sometimes get burned out on those interests for a little while. That’s something that happens to everyone. At those times, it can be very difficult to keep the passion alive.

The passion that comes from being good at your job is different than interest. It stems from being able to take pride in what you do, and from being frequently recognized. It comes from winning. We are biologically hard-wired to love winning. You don’t have to be successful for very long before you find yourself very passionate about that thing. I’ve noticed that my friends are much more likely to be passionate about basketball if they’re tall. I doubt that’s a coincidence. Think about your own passions. Are you particularly good or knowledgeable at those things that you are passionate about? You probably are.

How to find what you’re good at

Many people want to choose a career in an area where they excel, but have trouble figuring out what that is when it comes to actually choosing a career. I have found one question to be the most helpful in figuring that out. Ask yourself, “What is the most successful I have ever been in my life?” Look for particular accomplishments, not general abilities. A good answer would be “I won the spelling bee in 4th grade”, “I was elected student body president in high school” or “I was able to talk my friend down from committing suicide and help him turn around his life.” Bad answers would be “I’m a good studier” or “I’m a people person.”

After you have identified moments of accomplishment, try to think of ways that you could recreate similar circumstance in your work life. Too often, I see people thrashing around with their own self-image of who they are supposed to be, rather than objectively evaluating their past results. They get an idea in their head and it’s difficult to let go. For example, I have a friend who insisted that his greatest strength was his creativity. I asked him what led him to believe that and he was unable to name a significant creative idea or project that he had produced. You will be able to avoid this type of self-deception by finding concrete moments of accomplishment in your past.

In identifying your career options, past performance is the best indicator of future results that you have. If you can figure out what you have been good at, you will discover what you will be good at. And once you start down that path, you’ll be on your way toward more passion, more money, more recognition, and ultimately more happiness.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn, read it here. Check out Jeremy Nef on Twitter or LinkedIn

In the ‘Putting Learners First’ Webinar, VP of Product Marketing, Todd Tauber dived into the problems with L&D approaches, what it’ll take to start putting learners first, and how to start rewiring L&D to provide what people and employers need. In Part II of the Webinar Recap: ‘Putting Learners First’ we’ll dive into what it takes to start putting learners first. Read Part I: Why It’s Time to Rethink L&D Approaches here.

1. Start putting learners first
We think that the most important shift to make here is about mindsets; it’s putting learners not just at the center, but at the beginning. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Pretty much everyone in L&D recognizes that most learning doesn’t happen inside classrooms or learning management systems (LMSs).
– The 70:20:10 learning framework – which says only 10% of learning comes from formal training, 20% from other people and 70% from experiences on-the-job – is almost 20 years old. It’s amazing, then, to see how far away most corporate L&D teams are.

The first step toward recovery is recognizing that you have a problem. When CLOs and their teams acknowledge that this is, in fact, a problem, then they start approaching a lot of things differently. They also start investing their time and budget money very differently.

2. Stop trying to command and control, and start empowering

A big one is the role and definition of L&D itself.

If you believe, for example, that the role of the organization’s learning team is to manage training and development, then you make some very different choices about some very basic questions:

Who’s responsible for driving L&D activity – HR and L&D or employees and their managers?
When and where does learning happen – on a schedule at work or anytime, anywhere?
What and why do people learn – for operational efficiency and compliance or to build strategic capabilities and performance?
How do they learn – mainly through formal classes and online courses or in the flow of their work?

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Janice Burns, the CLO at MasterCard, believes her team’s jobs are to be, “motivators and facilitators more than anything else.” And as a result, they prioritize providing people with the tools, resources and access they need to do their jobs better.

3. Stop making learning one-size-fits-all, and start offering choices
Thinking that way has prompted MasterCard to experiment with all kinds of new, unconventional approaches to learning, development and performance improvement.

Examples include:
– Creating animated role plays and games to teach new hires – especially recent college grads – compliance.
– Pairing short videos with quizzes to get new, external IT hires up to speed on the payments industry so they can do their jobs better.
– Invitations for 5-minute tutorials on people management skills directly into leaders’ calendars.
– Producing scheduled, 3 to 6-week blended learning journeys to get product managers up to speed on innovation and entrepreneurship techniques, and to diffuse infuse their marketing managers with up-to-date digital skills.

MasterCard still has an LMS and course catalog, but now they’re also acknowledging that they have an incredibly diverse workforce spread around the world – who all want and need different things. MasterCard segments those people into logical groups and then they design, develop and deliver differentiated solutions based on what makes sense for them.

By doing that, they’re giving learners as well as L&D professionals choices. Guess what? It’s working.

4. Stop making learners have to, and start making them want to.

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Something else happens when you approach L&D from the learners’ perspectives: You tend to focus more effort on the things they care about – like leadership, soft-skills and sales. Coincidentally, these are also the things that enable strategy and drive business performance.

That doesn’t mean you don’t do the operational and compliance stuff – for example on desktop applications or proprietary processes or generic training for industry certifications. Of course you still do those things, they are still important. Higher-performing L&D organizations – the ones who are better aligned with business priorities and who deliver more effective learning more efficiently – make it a point to do them smarter.

Takeaway 2
Modernizing workplace learning demands some big shifts in how we think about L&D. And those shifts start with putting learners first.

 

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Here’s the full Webinar: Putting Learners First

 

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On May 12 in our Webinar titled “Putting Learners First” VP of Product Marketing Todd Tauber discussed how the balance of power in learning and development is shifting from HR and L&D to employees and managers. Here’s why we think its finally time to start rethinking L&D approaches and priorities.

1. L&D teams are struggling to connect with learners
People’s #1 job concern is obsolescence. 60% of workers – Millennials and non-Millennials alike – think the skills they have now will NOT be what they need in 3 years (Oxford Economics / SAP, 2020 Workforce). Learning and development are essential. However, in survey after survey, those same workers say the education and training they’re getting at work is not preparing them for whatever’s next.

What’s happening? There are two things are going on here:
– A lot of people simply don’t have access to training; less than half of college grads got any formal training in their first jobs, for example.
-The bigger issue is that a lot of the opportunities people do have are not well connected to their jobs, career plans or work habits.

2. Conventional L&D is too slow to keep-up with learning needs
The proof of that is in the data. Up and down the career path, organizations say they don’t have enough people with the right knowledge and skills.
– Almost 60% of employers think new college graduates are not adequately prepared for the workforce, and many of those kids agree!
– That skills gap balloons as people move into management and leadership roles. 74% of companies report persistent shortages of talented managers.
– 51% of organizations say they don’t have a strong bench of executives.

Why is this happening? The nature of work is changing:
– Routine tasks are being automated. More and more jobs require primarily creative thinking and problem solving skills, not just the ability to follow directions. As an example, think about machine operators. They’re not just pulling levers and pushing buttons anymore- they’re programming and monitoring robots.
-Everything is changing constantly. The half-life of many skills these days is just 2.5 to 5 years. Sales and marketing is another prime example. Data, software, social media and e-commerce have fundamentally changed how people buy everything from books and clothes to enterprise software and jet engines. Those changes and the effects are still unfolding.

Products, competition and regulations can all change in a matter of weeks. Yet, it still takes 5 to 12 weeks to create just one hour of interactive e-learning. Multiply that across a typical company with dozens of job roles at multiple levels, and it’s clear that L&D can’t keep up.

3. Traditional L&D is out of sync with how people really learn
What people learn is only half the equation, though. The other half is how they keep their skills sharp. Traditional L&D practices are stuck, stubbornly, in the past.
– More than 75% of what L&D teams do is still formal training, mostly in classrooms, with instructors. While a growing portion of that is virtual classrooms and self-paced online courses, that misses the point.

-Less than ¼ of workers say they’ve completed an entire course – of any kind – in the last 24 months.

Meanwhile, more than 70% of people say they’ve learned something work-related from an article, video or book this week.

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As BP’s director of learning innovation and technology, Nick Shackleton-Jones, puts it: Most L&D organizations are only beginning to think about shifting from courses to performance support. Meanwhile, employees already rely on their networks and Google to get most of what they need informally, in the moment. And they’re starting to integrate apps into the way they work, too.

4. Learners are now empowered to take control of their own learning
The above disconnects are turning into a big problem for a lot of L&D teams because employees and their managers are increasingly empowered – largely through the Internet – to take control of their own development. If they don’t get what they need and want from their L&D or HR business partners, they’ll just go get it themselves. Many already do that. Technology training is probably the best example:
– Over the last 5 years, Chief Learning Officers have cut IT training nearly in half — from 9% of their spending to 5%. At the time when technology has become more critical to business than ever before!
– In response, Chief Technology Officers have almost doubled training, from 3% of their budgets to 5%. Keep in mind IT budgets are generally much bigger than L&D budgets.
– And on top of that, almost ⅔ of IT workers dug into their own pockets for training and certifications.

This is not limited to IT, though.
– 43% of workers say they look for learning opportunities outside their company at least half the time.

Takeaway

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The big takeaway in all this is that conventional L&D methods just aren’t responsive enough to keep up with today’s learners. So it’s time to try some new approaches. That starts with changing some pretty fundamental attitudes about the role and priorities of L&D organizations. You know the issues, and in Part II of the webinar recap we’ll make you ready to be part of the solution.

 

Here’s the full Webinar: Putting Learners First

 

I imagine if Ernest Shackleton had a business card, it would read something like the title of this article. Allow me to explain.

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Antarctic Explorer

Ernest Shackleton was a master mariner whose goal in life was to adventure into the unknown. He literally wanted to go where no man had gone before: the South Pole.

In 1901, he put his money where his mouth was and joined an expedition bound for the Antarctic. To his great disappointment, Shackleton became seriously ill on the voyage. His dream would have to wait.

He tried again in 1907, but extreme weather forced him to cut his journey short again. In what can only be described as a supreme bummer, another explorer beat him to the punch only a few years later. Just like that, his dream of over ten years was dashed.

Devoted Dreamer

Down but not out, Shackleton was determined to up the ante on his previous goal. He wasn’t just going to reach the South Pole; he was going to cross the entire continent of Antarctica.

Shackleton knew this expedition was going to be far more dangerous than any of the previous. In fact, there are stories told of him placing an ad in the newspaper with the following copy:

“Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success.”

While most historians agree that Shackleton never did place the ad, the expedition went exactly as advertised.

Buckle up. It’s about to get real.

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Shackleton and his crew departed from South Georgia toward Antarctica aboard the ship Endurance on December 5, 1914. That was the last time they would set foot on land for the next 497 days.

Only a month into the voyage, the Endurance became wedged between miles of thick, floating ice. Knowing the ship would eventually succumb to the pressures of the ice, Shackleton and his crew abandoned ship and set up camp atop the floating ice. 497 long, cold days later, they made it to Elephant Island, which wasn’t exactly a paradise.

Frank Hurley, the official photographer of the expedition, gave his two cents about the island:

“Our wintry environment embodies the most inhospitable and desperate prospect imaginable.”

On a freezing island covered in ridiculous amounts of penguin crap, the men suffered from toothaches, frostbite, gangrene, infections, and mental and physical exhaustion.

Eventually, in an all-or-nothing, 16-day voyage on a small lifeboat, Shackleton and five of his men made it back to South Georgia. However, the crew’s problems were far from over. It wasn’t until August 30, 1916, after four attempts over more than three-months’ time, that Shackleton was finally able to return and rescue the 22 men stranded on Elephant Island.

Every one of the 28 men on the voyage survived the ordeal.

Shackleton may not have realized his dream, but his determination to overcome failure, his passion for exploring the unknown, and his devotion to the lives of his crew is something we can all learn from. Shackleton lived painfully true to the motto of his family: Fortitudine vincimus, which means, “By endurance we conquer.” The events of Shackleton’s voyage provide a solid source of hope for anyone who must endure any kind of hardship.

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As you can imagine, this short post comes nowhere close to describing the magnitude of the story. I highly encourage you to pick up Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing or South by Ernest Shackleton.

 

Story facts were pulled from the following sources:

http://www.biography.com/people/ernest-shackleton-9480091#later-years

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

When it comes to Learning and Development approaches, it’s time to put the Learner first. Here’s a quick recap if you missed our May Webinar, catch up and tweet us any questions or comments @degreed.

Let’s start with why. You may notice some problems or feel a need for change within your processes. Here’s why we think it’s time to rethink L&D priorities:

First, L&D teams are struggling to form connections with their learners. Here are the numbers: 60% of workers think the skills they have now will not be what they need in 3 years. Learning and development are clearly essential, however, 85% of employees do not feel like the training they get at work is preparing them for their next position.


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Second, the landscape of work has changed- and most current L&D systems can’t keep up with what people need to know or how people like to learn and search out information. Skills are quickly changing, more jobs require primarily creative thinking and problem solving skills- not just the ability to follow directions. What learners need to know can change in a matter of weeks, but it takes 5-12 weeks to create just one hour of interactive learning.

Learners get work-related information from articles, videos, and books weekly while traditional L&D’s are still doing mostly formal training- classroom and instructor style.

These disconnects all result in learners taking control of their own learning. Conventional L&D methods aren’t working for today’s learners- it’s time to try new approaches.

Here are 4 helpful ways to make the shift in mindset and provide learners with the information and tools they need.

1. Start putting learners first. This is a big mindshift, it means to put learners not just at the center, but at the beginning. Where they learn from others and from experiences more than they do in formal training. When you acknowledge there’s a problem in the current process, you can start working towards a solution- and investing resources differently.

2. Stop trying to command and control- start empowering. After making the shift to put learners at the beginning you’ll start to answer these questions differently about the role of the L&D department:

-Who’s responsible for driving L&D activity – HR and L&D or employees and their managers?
– When and where does learning happen – on a schedule at work or anytime, anywhere?
– What and why do people learn – for operational efficiency and compliance or to build strategic capabilities and performance?
– How do they learn – mainly through formal classes and online courses or in the flow of their work?

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3. Stop making learning one-size-fits-all, and start offering choices.

Give learners choices on the types of content they can consume. Create different options- think short videos and quizzes, 5-minute tutorials on management skills, animated role plays, etc.

4. Stop Making Learners Have To- Start Making Them Want To.

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Focus more effort on things learners care about-leadership, soft-skills and sales.  These are also the things that enable strategy and drive business performance. This doesn’t mean you need to stop operational and compliance stuff, it just means you need to make it a point to do them smarter.

Now that you’ve accessed the problem and had the mind-shift, it’s time to talk rewiring and getting to work.

The hard part: Doing the work to actually reinvent workplace learning. Transforming how L&D works all at once can be a huge job. It can take months and years, the key is not cost cutting and reorganizing, it’s investing time and money differently. Here are 4 tips for reinventing L&D.

1. Make it simpler to create (and curate) learning. Learning has shifted, it’s no longer broadcasted format, one-to-many. People are learning from crowdsourcing and collaborating, they’re learning many-to-many. A lot of learners need better tools for creating, curating, and sharing learning. Almost 90% of workers say sharing knowledge is an important or essential part of learning what they need for their jobs, yet only 1/3 of employers have invested in dedicated social learning systems.

2. Make it Faster to Find Learning. We’re all overwhelmed by how much information is out there, and we’re all impatient. If we don’t find what we need- and fast- we’ll move on. With so much learning content out there, it can add up to a lot of clutter.

3. Make it easier to access learning. Because making it faster to find the right content isn’t much use if your learner’s can’t access it. Make it mobile. More than half of workers say they would like to be able to access learning on mobile devices. While they may not all need it to do their jobs, they want it.

4. Make it possible to track all learning. Both L&D organizations and individual employees need better ways to track, measure, and value all of their learning. CLO’s feel the need and urgency to demonstrate the value of an organizations investment in L&D, but less than 30% of big companies capture much data on their informal learning activity. It’s awfully hard to manage L&D when you can’t see the whole picture.

It’s time to make a shift and take actions to empower learners with the right content and the right tools to learn, apply, and track it.  Here are the final 3 takeaways.

1. Conventional L&D methods just aren’t responsive enough to keep up with today’s learners or work landscape. It’s time to take new approaches

2. Modernizing workplace learning demands big shift in how we think about L&D- it starts with putting the learners first.

3. Putting learners first requires new, different, and better tools for:

-Creating and curating learning.
-Discovering and finding learning.
-Accessing learning.
-valuing learning.

And that means all kinds of learning- not just formal training. 

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What do you see in the future of L&D methods within organizations?

Degreed’s mission is to make all learning count, that’s why we make it easy for organizations and their people to discover, curate and track ALL their learning. For more information on how we do this check out get.degreed.com 

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This week hundreds of thousands of college grads will toss their caps and throw the gowns into storage boxes as they head towards the next stage of life: True Adulthood. A much needed break from years of classes, late night studying, and exams is well-earned, but what happens when the weeks slip into months and learning has abruptly ended?

After graduating, I experienced a stage of what felt like a great loss. I stepped into the shoes of my new full-time gig, I was learning there, but I was missing the push of learning and studying. This lack of learning stage left me feeling sad, and bored. Eventually I felt mentally stuck.

Growing our personal skills and understanding after graduation shouldn’t be limited to the training and learning we do in our new jobs (if we receive an offer post-graduation). We should be poised to set and stick to personal goals to keep improving ourselves, even if the work doesn’t result in a grade or final exam. Here are some ideas on how to grow after graduation.

1. Set the schedule. As a graduate, you are forever free of 7am Geology class, but you’ll find the best use of your individual time if it’s structured. Figure out what time of the day you’re the most productive and focused. Set 30 minutes to 1 hour a day during that time that you can use to experience learning.

2. Learn something that may seem irrelevant. Here’s a crazy idea: having the freedom to literally learn about anything you want. Consider topics that may not help fuel your career right now. Study something that makes you excited. Remember the lecture in English that peaked your interest? Read more from that author. Study watercolor, search out a new coding or design skill (you can find tons of open courses online if you want more structured learning, get more info on that here).

3. Measure it and be accountable. It’s hard to be motivated to finish a goal if you’re not going to measure it. Gone are the days of finals, but all the learning you do should count for something. Sign up for degreed.com and start tracking what you know and what you’re learning. Set goals on the platform for weekly articles, videos, or books to keep you on track. Grab a friend and take a community class or start a book together- having someone else to keep you accountable will make habits stick.

4. Passion Projects. Find a way to apply your learning and integrate it with other passions. Designing a website, selling your product on Etsy, writing blog posts about the books you’re reading. Whatever activities you’re passionate about doing- apply what you’re learning to those. You’ll be excited to do it and it’ll help you retain what you’re learning.

Learning doesn’t have to stop after the graduation ceremony. There are many different ways to continue pursuing education post-graduation, the key is to tap into your desire to learn and fuel that desire in the right way.

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