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

Degreed is proud to announce our partnership with IP Innovations.

Our partnership enables IP Innovations to offer Degreed to the commercial enterprise markets and makes Degreed the first skills-building learning platform in Japan.

As a country, Japan currently relies on traditional learning management systems (LMS) and formal learning processes and training programs. However, there is an appetite for informal, efficient learning platforms within the country. The forecast for the Japanese e-learning market in 2016 was 170 billion Yen ($1.7 billion USD).

Through the partnership with IP Innovations, Degreed will be the first informal learning platform offered within the country. Degreed allows Japanese companies to better and more efficiently build skills, track learning and measure mission-critical skills development.

“We’re thrilled to announce a partnership with IP Innovations,” said David Blake, CEO of Degreed. “IP Innovations’ brand equity in Japan uniquely positions us to reach thousands of businesses and offer them Degreed’s seamless learning platform. We believe the agreement is further validation of our mission, vision, and strategy and that informal learning has market appeal on a global basis.”

“We are really excited about partnering with Degreed,“ said Masashi Urayama, CEO of IP innovations. “Degreed is a learning platform that is based on the very different concept than the traditional LMS. While the LMS is a platform that supports formal learning, Degreed is a platform that supports the whole process of learning, including informal learning. In the future where the digital native generation accounts for more than half of the workforce, it is essential to have a platform like Degreed. Through our partnership with Degreed, we are going to foster the culture of learning and spread the method to support performance improvement in the Japanese workplace.”

About IP Innovations
IP innovations is a Japanese company where experts with long experience in the field of human resource development gather. We propose our customer’s distinctive approaches to help create innovative workforce and promote organization development. Founded in 2003, IP innovations is headquartered in Tokyo.

Learn more about IP innovations at their Website.

Interested in a partnership with Degreed? Please visit our partner page.

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide songs being sung by the choir …”

“Oh wait, hang on one sec, I just need to check in on work real quick.”

“Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow …”

“Oh, you know what, I should post this to Instagram. That mistletoe is just perfect.”

“Will find it hard to sleep tonight

The holidays are a special time filled with family, friends, old traditions and new memories. It is a special time filled with the opportunity to connect with one another, to share meals, to share conversation and laughs, to share gifts and the moments that matter.

Something is lost though. Something is lost when the flicker of a screen replaces the flicker of a fire. Something is lost when the bright red alert of a new email consumes our attention instead of the bright red noses of kids coming in from playing in the snow. Something is lost when instead of time spent with family making dinner, our attention is with work, with our technology. Something is lost when we are physically present but mentally remote and connected to our tech.

This isn’t news. We already know this. There are countless articles on the benefits of disconnecting from technology. We already feel the pang of guilt when we check in instead of focusing on our family and friends. We already know that social media detracts from our real-life social lives. We already know that the moments we spend checking in are moments stolen from our families, stolen from our friends, stolen from the memories we will one day wish we had.

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We have all sorts of excuses. It’ll be quick. I need to stay on top of it so I don’t have 100 emails when I get back to work. It’s just one short reply. My family likes it when I post photos. It won’t take that long. We all have our excuses and they are just that: excuses.

So this year, drop the excuses and celebrate yourself. You need a break from the totally connected life, we all do. You understand the value of turning off. And the end of the year is a perfect time to power down and to give yourself a mental break. It will do wonders for you. It will do wonders for your career. It will help you to recharge, to refresh your energy, to reignite your creativity and imagination, and help you start the new year inspired. 

The holidays are a special time. Or they can be. This year, unplug. Give yourself, give your family, give your friends something truly special: the unplugged version of yourself. The disconnected version. The full color, fully present, fully in the moment version of yourself. Give yourself time away from the screen. Give yourself permission to fully experience your holiday. In real-time. There is no better gift. There is no better time.

From all of us at Degreed, we wish you and yours a peaceful, relaxing holiday.

As the year draws to a close, I spend some time reflecting on how I spent the year.  With coffee in hand on a cold Minnesota morning, I consider various things: What did I accomplish this year?  What did I learn? What skills did I develop?

All of this thinking then leads to the anticipation for the new year.  What skills should I develop next year?

Maybe you’ve done something similar reflecting on your accomplishments.  But, why do we wait until the end of the year for introspection?

I suppose it’s because we’ve associated the end of the year with the annual performance review that organizations deploy: filling out forms, struggling to recall accomplishments and skills developed throughout the year and wondering how to put into words what you will accomplish 12 months from now.

Been there, done that.  It can feel frustrating.

Truthfully, the end-of-year annual performance process is an outdated process and many organizations have moved away from the annual review, but many have not.

If you’re lucky enough, you might be employed by a company that has evolved to ongoing feedback and regular development discussions with your manager.  Be thankful, if that’s you!  I hope you’re actively engaged in collaboratively building a skill development plan that aligns with your career goals and growth.

At Degreed, I used our Skill Development Plan feature to create a personal development plan where I’ve identified a few key skills I’d like to develop.  I’ve self-rated my level in each skill and set targets of where I’d like to be with each skill.  I’m beginning to work with my leadership team to coach me along the way.

But if continuous feedback and ongoing mentoring does not describe your current experience in your workplace, please keep reading!  The good news: there is hope. Sure, your manager should be there to help and coach you, but YOU are ultimately in control of developing your skills.

As you navigate through the annual review process and begin the new year with goal-setting, go into it with a new mindset. Initiate your learning and development plans with your manager.  Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Be proactive in building a development plan to improve your skills. This means thinking about and writing down your career goals, or the next role you are interested in pursuing, etc.
  • Think of areas that you want to grow your expertise or think of new skills you’d like to learn about and develop – it doesn’t have to be a long list.  Start with one skill.
  • Ask your manager to help you build a development plan with learning resources you can benefit from.
  • Find and ask a mentor for career development and guidance.
  • Seek and use learning resources you can find on Degreed or elsewhere.

Whatever the case, be proactive in making a personal development plan to build current or develop new skills.

I’ve been lucky to have worked for various organizations and managers who have implemented continuous feedback and development discussions in conjunction with a full year performance review.  The common thread was the honest and transparent discussions with my manager of where I would like to develop my skills.  Start with questions like “how am I doing in my role?” and have an answer for  “where and how do I want to progress in my career?”  The key: build a development plan collaboratively.

If you don’t have a way to begin to track and measure your skill development, consider signing up for a Degreed account.  It’s free! And if you have Degreed, add your skills to your profile and accurately rate your level of expertise.  Better yet, certify your skills through Degreed Skill Certification.

As you reflect on your accomplishments and your learning and development this year, ask yourself: What did I learn this year?…In what areas did I develop my skills? How do I want to grow my skills next year?  Take 5 minutes right now to put your development plan into action!

Degreed supports users around the world. Users come from more than 146 countries, and that grows every month. Degreed has many international and multinational organizations with offices across the globe. Degreed itself has offices in the US, Europe, and Australia and remote employees located in more than 7 countries. Degreed provides a seamless experience for our users regardless of language or location and complies with international laws for security and data privacy.

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Multi-Language Support

Degreed provides multi-language support for 26 languages, including right-to-left languages, with new languages added all the time. Degreed will automatically detect the user’s language based on the user’s browser settings, and display the platform in their preferred language. To see the complete list of supported languages visit our last post on the topic.

languages

Security and Privacy

Security and data privacy laws vary from country to country. The EU has some of the strictest guidelines. Degreed leverages the global network of Microsoft Azure data centers to comply with all of these international guidelines. Microsoft Azure includes more than one million servers in more than 100 data centers in countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, UK, India, Japan, China, Australia, and Brazil. Azure data centers in Germany are controlled by a German data trustee to comply with requirements in Germany.

EU Cookie and Data Privacy Laws

Cookies is a hot topic in the EU right now, so Degreed complies with the Cookie regulations by warning users in the EU of cookie use. For more information on how Degreed uses cookies, visit Cookies.

To comply with EU data privacy laws, Degreed will provide a customizable data privacy notification for users.

Takeaways

Regardless of where your employees are located, Degreed has your back.

Twelve years ago, my sister in law and I were sitting down for a family dinner and she leaned over and informed me she was training to run a marathon.  “I’m in the best shape of my life,” she exclaimed.  We had both just given birth to our second children and one of us (me) was NOT in the best shape of her (my) life.  My competitive genes kicked in and next thing you know, I’m signed up for a half marathon with only three months to train.  I was not a runner, had no desire to run, and to be honest, thought all runners were crazy.  However, anything she could do, I could do so – off to the races.

The next few weeks I spent purchasing new shoes, new headphones, downloading the best mixtape ever curated, and going to the gym a few times a week to run on a treadmill.    I figured that as long as I could run 10 miles on a treadmill, I could run a half marathon.  Right?  How hard could it be?  I honestly had no idea what I was doing, no training plan in place, but I knew that if I had shoes, music, and determination, I would be amazing.

Race day came. I was up at the crack of dawn with nerves.  When the gunshot rang out, I sprinted out with complete abandon.  Halfway through the course, I was in pain, my music player had died, and I was miserable.  I finished my race, took my expensive shoes off, drove home and threw them away.  I did not feel in the best shape of my life. In fact, I was sore from head to toe with three new blisters.

Fast-forward ten years. I have moved into a new home in a new neighborhood and know no one.  A friendly neighbor came by to introduce herself and asked if I’d be interested in meeting her and a few other girls in the morning to run.  “Run,” I laughed, “ah no thank you.”  She didn’t take no for an answer and I found myself waking up at 4:00 a.m the next morning to be picked up by my new friend to go run.

As we pulled into the dark parking lot, I saw a group of eight women waiting, and flashes of misery, doubt, and pure panic set in.  These people, however, welcomed me with open arms and encouraged me from beginning to end.  We ran five miles that day, stopping along the way to stretch and laugh.  I didn’t feel pain or misery, anger or shame.  I felt encouraged, strong, and accomplished.  Sure, I wasn’t running a four-minute mile, but I had just run five miles and it went by fast and I was actually having fun!  I was hooked.

You see, when others are in the trenches with you and there to support with encouragement, it means more.  You have more energy and more drive because the people surrounding you don’t want you to fail.  The same goes for learning.  Without a good support system around you, who will be there to continue to encourage you during your points of frustration?  Who will be your coach along the way when you don’t understand a concept or have the same question over and over again?  When looking to learn something new, 69% of people turn to a boss or mentor first to point them in the right direction.  I find that to be personally true because I am more likely to want to read, listen, watch something that has been recommended by someone who knows me.

Degreed has been my coach in the world of learning and development for the past year and a half.  Degreed gives me credit along the way for any learning activity that I do throughout my day.  I get recommendations from others who have like-minded interests on topics that really motivate me.  I’m challenged with ongoing development opportunities by being able to capture my skill level goals and get manager’s feedback along the way.  I receive suggestions for new and different modalities of learning that spark my creativity.  I get tangible results by seeing how much learning and development I am investing in my career.  Just like I see all the miles I run on my Garmin watch, Degreed shows me all the learning I’ve accomplished in my lifetime.

Since meeting those girls, I have run seven marathons, twelve half-marathons, and had more blisters than I care to count and I have loved every minute of it.  What made the difference?  Support, encouragement, feedback, and like-minded connections.  Do you get that with your learning and development coach?  If not, check out Degreed.

 

I was valedictorian of my high school class. One of five actually – in a graduating class of 44 students. Needless to say, it was a very competitive environment with perhaps a somewhat flawed measurement system. I fought for the achievement, though, and consider myself a strong learner still, priding myself on my curiosity, critical thinking, and capability to make connections between new and existing knowledge.

What I have never been is a very “social” learner. At least not in the sense that was measured in high school and college. I despised having to achieve that part of my grade based on class participation, because to me, the things that helped me to learn – curiosity, critical thinking, making connections – happened internally, and not by sharing my thoughts with others.

It’s a bit curious then that I’ve spent the last 10 years or so of my career tangled in the power of social learning. When I think about why, it comes down to this: being “social” while learning isn’t just about helping me learn, but rather helping those around me to learn, too. And I find it immensely fulfilling to help others to learn.

So what is the big fuss about social learning?

In a few words, it’s powerful and preferred. And really, just starting to take off.

From Degreed’s How the Workforce Learns report:
Workers have more options for development than ever before, but they still want guidance. When they need to learn something new, though, they are most likely to ask their boss or mentor (69%) or their colleagues (55%) for recommendations.

From the same report, we know that more mature learning organizations deliver 13% more learning via social interaction.

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Human behaviorists have their own body of research on why we learn with and from others. For many people, it is helpful to their own learning when they dialogue with others. If that describes you, you probably naturally gravitate to the social aspects of learning: sharing, recommending, adding comments, rating content, because those are the ways you improve your own skill.

Those of us who reflect internally in order to learn may not immediately see the value of recommending content, leaving comments on it, or providing ratings. Experiencing the value of social learning though, I would now recommend that we internal learners shift our paradigm a bit.

Consider that rather than helping the individual learn (whether the individual person or someone else), these social experiences help others learn, providing value beyond myself and instead to others. Think about it: when you are choosing articles to read, videos to watch, podcasts to subscribe to – do you look at the ratings? Do you read or skim comments from others before making your final selection? I do too.

We can contribute to the social ecosystem even more by creating original content with things like social posts, articles, videos, and podcasts that we upload and share with others. The value of sharing knowledge is great, and the need for perfectly produced products is decreasing, allowing everyone to have a voice.

So as you take the few moments to rate, comment, share or recommend, think about all of the value you’re driving to future content seekers, and the extra learning you may be gaining for yourself.

In high school, it seemed really hard to find that right moment to raise my hand and share my thoughts in front of the entire class. But with this mindset shift, sharing learning today is easy, and that is better than any participation points!

At Degreed, we know the skills gap doesn’t just affect Americans. People outside of the US also have the need for transparent, lifelong learning tools that can help effectively communicate skills, and better lives and careers. That is why we are so excited to partner with Alexander Forbes, on an exclusive basis in Africa.

Alexander Forbes is a pan-African diversified financial services firm operating in the Retirements, Wealth, Investments and Insurance markets. They provide thousands of clients with specialist financial advice and solutions and have recently launched Alexander Forbes’ Empower to enhance their financial well-being proposition. Through its partnership with Degreed, Alexander Forbes Empower now offers its corporate clients access to thousands of courses, videos, articles, books, podcasts and more. This makes it possible for employees to embrace lifelong learning as a daily habit – a massive employee benefit that boosts skills and experience and ultimately helps to secure financial well-being.

Africa is ripe for personal skills development and ongoing learning and the continent’s economy is predicted to boom over the next few years. Africa is also home to some of the most underdeveloped economies in the world, which provides an even greater need and reason to bring low-cost, scalable, individualized learning to the region.

“This is a momentous event for Degreed as we partner with one of the most innovative companies in Africa, Alexander Forbes,” said David Blake, CEO of Degreed. “Alexander Forbes’s vision to better the people and companies of Africa through learning perfectly aligns with the mission and purpose of Degreed. We’re excited to create the next generation of experts in Africa.”

Alexander Forbes Empower was created with a clear and distinctive mission to empower customers to achieve better outcomes, through developing a lifelong relationship with education and learning. At Degreed, we’re excited to be a part of this movement.

Globalization means that an increasing number of organizations are becoming multinational. Many of Degreed’s customers are multinational organizations with offices across the globe. Degreed itself has offices in the US, Europe, and Australia. We’re excited to announce that we now offer a seamless experience for our users regardless of language or location, staying true to our mission of giving people access to the best learning resources, no matter where they are. We’re adding new languages all the time, based on client need. Here is the current list:

Languages currently supported in Degreed:
  1. Arabic
  2. Chinese Traditional
  3. Chinese Simplified (Mainland China)
  4. Chinese Simplified
  5. Czech
  6. Dutch (Netherlands)
  7. English (British)
  8. English (US)
  9. French (France)
  10. French (Canadian)
  11. German
  12. Greek
  13. Hebrew
  14. Indonesian
  15. Italian
  16. Japanese
  17. Korean
  18. Polish
  19. Portuguese (Portugal)
  20. Portuguese (Brazil)
  21. Romanian
  22. Russian
  23. Spanish
  24. Thai
  25. Turkish
  26. Vietnamese
How internationalization works

Degreed will automatically detect the user’s language based on the user’s browser settings, which can be configured by the user. For example, if the user is running a browser set to German, Degreed will detect this browser setting, and will automatically display the Degreed platform in German without the user needing to update their profile settings in Degreed. Detecting language based on browser settings is an industry standard and provides the most user friendly experience. An organization can have users running Degreed in a variety of languages, and the experience will be personalized for each user.

Internationalization of Degreed applies to the platform and not the content itself. This means that the Degreed library will always display content based on the best matches whether we support that language or not. For example, if a company loads content in the Icelandic language, and I search in the library on an Icelandic search term, I will find Icelandic content even if Degreed doesn’t support the Icelandic language for the platform.

Plans for the future

To stay up to date with the evolving needs of today’s learners, we plan to add even more languages in more locations. We’re excited to offer one more way that Degreed can make learning better and easier, and drive engagement at your organization.

Degreed prides itself on quality – quality team, quality clients and most importantly, quality product. We have an agile development team and culture. When I started the Customer Support team at Degreed, I had to ask myself, ‘how does lean agile development affect customer support?’

What makes an agile development culture different? Product changes occur at an especially fast rate. These product changes need to be conveyed and understood by the client in order for the client to best utilize and realize the value of our product. For this to happen the changes also need to be fully understood by the customer support team.

At most organizations, the customer support team serves as the “front line” for end users – the main group supporting and delivering product updates and changes to clients. Therefore, the most important attribute I look for in my team members, in addition to someone that is customer focused, is someone who loves to learn. We need to continually learn and grow with the product in order to best support our end-users.

It’s no surprise that there are new things to learn about each product release. As a team, we need to understand what is being added or changed, with a deep knowledge of how everything works. One specific example comes to mind: when we changed the look and feel of our profile page. As a team, we had to understand more than just that the profile was getting a face lift. We had to understand the intricacies, and where popular (or not!) items may have shifted for an improved experience.  And it’s a good thing we took time to dig deep because the most popular questions over the following weeks started with “Where can I find…”

As a customer success team, we have to be ready for any and everything, which is why the desire to learn is such an important trait for us. Just the other day, I received a call from one of our end-users asking about the layout of Degreed pathways and if the style was flexible. In the couple years I have been at Degreed, that question had never been asked. But I’ve learned serving in a customer support function means being willing and eager to ask the tough questions, knowing our product inside and out because we can’t anticipate every question that is going to come our way.

Luckily, my team proves they are up to the task time and time again. We are available for clients daily while also showing dedication to individual skill development via our internal company leaderboard for most active learning teams. Number one every quarter so far, the customer service team at Degreed is proud to show commitment to both our product and our clients.

So what are some tactics the Degreed customer service team uses for helping the members of our team stay informed and continually learning about the product?

  • bi-weekly product review for the entire company
  • weekly Learning Forum held by the client experience team where we discuss learning topics and ask questions, so we can all stay up to date on messaging
  • weekly team meetings (for my team specifically) where we can ask questions or get help from each other
  • product release review meeting (for my team specifically) where we discuss the release in depth and how it could affect both our users and the team

We are also starting to review upcoming release items from the view of the end user so we can brainstorm what consumers might need and to increase our ability to be prepared.

As I go back to my question at the beginning ‘how does lean agile development affect customer support?’ The answer is simple: we have to value learning.

Vernon Howard said, “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.”  I firmly believe, and lead my team with the same mentality, that if we stop learning, we cannot help our users.

What are some things your customer support team does to continuously learn?

 

We spend hours on our phones each day – checking the news, sending texts, looking at social media, reading articles… the list goes on. In fact, over half of all digital activity now takes place on mobile devices.  As web browsing increasingly moves away from our desktops, powerful tools built specifically for mobile are becoming more valuable and more common.

That’s why we created the Degreed Mobile App – to help people be more productive with the increasing amount that we are consuming content on mobile devices! With the app, learning (and tracking!) is available whenever and wherever you want it.

Here are 5 things you can do right now with the Degreed Mobile App:

  1. Learn from your Feed, which populates personalized learning content specific to you.
  2. Search for content within the app.
  3. Track all the learning you do, both from formal and informal activities, like articles and videos from anywhere on your mobile device.
  4. Get notified, view and complete assigned, saved, and recommended items.
  5. Enroll in and learn from Pathways.

Need a jumpstart or some ideas to get started? Here are 5 ways everyday Degreed users/team members are using the Mobile App.

Maggie and tracking progress
“My family watches food documentaries on Youtube, and we share to the Degreed app from our Youtube history to get credit for what we’ve learned! I also track my progress on pathways through the mobile app, especially while commuting on the train.”

Alex and productive downtime
“I’m guilty of always pulling out my phone to fill downtime. I used to waste that time on social media, but now that I have the Degreed app, I can actually use those extra minutes here and there to learn. Typically, I will save items to Degreed during the work day and then on my commute or downtime pull out my mobile device to read my saved items. I’m also big on podcasts, so I love that once the Degreed app is installed, you can mark a podcast complete as you finish it without even having to leave the podcast app.”

Devin and centralizing multiple learning sources
“I use my iPad as my main device for work and learning, which means I use a variety of different apps for consuming learning content. I make good use of the Degreed share extension to mark content complete no matter which app and device I’m using. I also appreciate getting notifications for things I care about on Degreed, such as recommendations.”

Leslie and recommendations
“My favorite things about the Degreed App are my feed and recommendations. I love that I can pull up the app and go through my feed and see what has been specially curated for me on the go. This is especially handy when waiting for appointments! As I complete my learning I love being able to recommend it out to others if it is something that I think they would enjoy as well.”

Tim and multiple device access
“Every morning with a cup of coffee, either in front of the fireplace or on my deck, I like to read one or two recommended articles and watch a  video. When I run across one that’s especially interesting or relevant, I appreciate the ability to quickly share with my team or a co-worker. I also love that the app functions so closely to the browser version.  Moving between device types is seamless.

Ready? Let’s go. Download the Degreed Mobile App for iOS or Android now.

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