Webinar Q&A | In a Learning 3.0 World, Context Is King

By on March 1st, 2017 in Managed Learning Services

In a world where access to online content, training, MOOCs, and “friends and experts” is unprecedented, traditional approaches to fostering role growth and development are no longer enough. Learning organizations must reevaluate how they equip and develop today’s modern learner.

New technologies, curation approaches, and content providers are fostering newfound interest in the corporate learning space. But are new technologies and interest enough? Are you connecting employees with the right content in a dynamic and efficient way?

During a recent Training Industry-hosted webinar, Daniel McKelvey from EdCast and I shared how organizations can facilitate a learning experience that is contextual and engaging for employees. If you missed the webinar, a recording is now available for you to watch online. However, if you are looking for the abbreviated version, I wanted to offer a quick look at some of the key takeaways:

  • The Learning and Performance Arc: contextualization of the learner experience:
    • The modern learner experience guarantees quick access to multitudes of information sources and content. Without context, the possibility of information overload is real. Providing content in context is a must to allow true personalized learning that suits goals for both learners and organizations. Context comes in the form of pertinent information based not only on the moment of need, but also on the learners’ experience in their roles. The necessary learning shifts as learners gain experience—learning must build on what has already been learned, reinforce key contextual objectives, and enable the path toward expertise.
  • Content aggregation and how to provide seamless access to ALL learning:
    • Without fail, one of the most infuriating scenarios for learners is where to find pertinent content. Not only must the discovery and recommendations of content be contextual, it must also be simple for the learner to access. Seamless access to all internal and external sources and all modalities (when, where, and how the learner chooses to learn) is a vital parameter for the Learning 3.0 environment.
  • User-generated learning from across the extended enterprise, easily shared within the value chain:
    • Mostly, when we envision the modern learning environment, we are focused internally on our own employees. However, we all know the value chain for our business extends well beyond our own enterprise. The better we can empower those value chains and even connect them, as we are suggesting to connect internal employees, the better we can serve our connected business model.

During the presentation, several great questions came up from the audience, and I wanted to share them with you. Below are those questions and my best answers. This is an ongoing conversation, and I encourage you to keep the questions coming in via the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Q: What kind of investment is required to begin the process of tapping into the ecosystem and offering agile learning solutions?

A: Investment may take into account several factors. There is the curation of content and the deployment or embracing of technology, but the shift in culture for an organization to embrace Learning 3.0 is often the investment that warrants scrutiny. Culturally, organizations that thrive on openness and connectedness are further on the path toward the more modern learning ecosystem. In any case, it is always recommended to find a great use case that will assist a real business challenge. Having an audience that already supports or is willing to embrace the shift is an ideal target to get started. 

Q: Do you have learner motivators in place for learners who lose the drive? It’s been my experience that learners are excited in the beginning but lose steam along the way … how do you gauge that and motivate them?

A: This is the brutal reality and we all see it in all modes of learning and throughout initiatives in general. The Learning 3.0 transformation started with learners seeking and solving their own learning needs, so part of the Learning 3.0 discussion is the accountability learners must have for their own engagement and the organizational need to hold them accountable. That said, we know all audiences and individuals are not motivated or engaged on their own. The concepts of rewards, recognition, gamification, and leaderboards can help some learners (and potentially push some away), but immediate supervisor encouragement seems to be the failsafe approach. Investing in that dialogue to have supervisors truly vested in the learning experience is never a losing proposition.

Q: Do you find companies suppress content to certain groups (e.g., executive) or keep content open for all to see and learn from?

A: More and more openness and transparency is the norm. There is always content that may not be optimum for an entire audience for various reasons, but this is where the real shift is occurring in most organizations and industries—this is Learning 3.0. The demand is on “social” and on “search” to meet the learning needs of our modern learners. 

Q: What are the first three steps in getting buy-in for the technology that supports this journey?

A: First, do some benchmarking within and outside your industry and reach out to analyst firms to get data on the trends associated with this journey: Is there a quantifiable resource your organization values that suggests this is a worthy endeavor? Secondly, survey your audience: What does your organization want? What do your business leaders need? Leverage any and all data within your organization that suggests there are gaps in the learning and performance paradigm. A pilot with a targeted use case and audience is always something that can be used to build momentum—find vendors willing to support this and build a winning case study.

Q: What type of tools/software can be suggested to clients that support this type of effort?

A: Our co-presenter, EdCast, is obviously one. For others, look internally at what may be available already as that investment and business case and support infrastructure should already be in place.

Q: Would the brain learn better if you placed it outside of the commercial interface? A brain removed from its comfortable zone is often more open to learning. If so, doesn’t this suggest learning should be very different from the daily, commercial experience?

A: We’ve all seen creative environments for learning and there is no doubt that the brain responds differently in different settings and with different stimuli, so there may be merit to the thought. However, I think a key element is sustainability of the learning environment—determine the environment that can meet the many requirements and that can be efficiently scaled.

Eric Bruner

Eric Bruner is the Chief Technologist for GP Strategies' Performance Readiness Group and is currently leading research and development efforts concentrating on enterprise-wide collaboration, innovation management, and agile learning. Eric has been in the enterprise information management field for 20+ years where his roles have ranged from project manager, community of practice leader, Director of R&D, and Director of Corporate Operations. Eric has worked with Fortune 500 customers implementing ERP applications and other large scale transformations to integrate learning technologies into the overall initiative with emphasis on workforce readiness and organizational impact.

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