Mobile Learning – No Pedagogy Required

By Brent Schlenker

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/EFvk/~3/36w41MG6lMg/mobile-learning-no-pedagogy-required.html

I’ve published a few blog posts at Litmos.com/blog over the last 3 months. Most of the conversations around those posts occur in other places other than the blog, like Twitter, or Google+, or LinkedIn, etc. I started responding to someone in the comments today and realized it was getting very long and it would be better to share this thought as a blog post.

The following is in response to my blog post The Two Paths to Mobile Learning:

I love academic journals…at times. But after 20+ years in the corporate world I’ve learned to take it in with a healthy dose of skepticism. Actually, that’s not true. I’m not skeptical of the research or the authors, but I do question the practical applications of these learning theories, models, and frameworks. And it bothers me that we put the technology as the focus point.

Despite the technology being the catalyst for changing everything, 21st Century Learning is about People, NOT technology. It’s about the shift in power and control.

Pedagogy is defined (according to a quick Googling) as a method or practice of teaching. Mobile learning is not about teaching. Mobile learning is about…well…learning. What’s the word for “a method or practice of learning”? Most of what the world learns via mobile devices is not created by people who studied pedagogical theories of mobile learning. It’s just common citizens sharing their knowledge with others. Do we have a fancy word for that?

It may be important for some people to understand pedagogy, but in the corporate world employees and customers just want convenient access to the information they need to be productive: No pedagogy required.

And in my experiences what you end up with then are two options: 1) existing content capable of being delivered via mobile devices, and 2) Specific learning content/experiences created with mobile device delivery in mind. In either case, no academic understanding of pedagogy is required…despite our best efforts to make it so.

Remember: Social media is a conversation. Give it a try.
View on Web

Use Technology to Learn About Technology

I read an article (online, of course) that reflected on how cumbersome it was to do research on any topic.  What library?  Inter-campus sharing of textbooks?  Snail mail?  How 2005.  Now there might be too many ways to find the information you are looking for so, essentially, you have to select your technology in a way that makes you not only efficient and effective but, also, comfortable.  Reduce the anxiety of technology overload.

For me, the answer is two-fold.  Evernote is my overall storage locker, so to speak.  Every time i find something of interest, I send it to my Evernote account.  To date, I have almost 800 “articles” from which I can sort, slice, and dice my way through to get what I need.  How long does it take to do that?  About as long as it takes to type in a Google search.

The other option is Flipboard.  This is a curation of content that I have selected (similar to my Evernote activity) but it is presented is such a more user-friendly way.  I can’t sort like Evernote but what I can do is share it with you.  Why?  Selfishly, it helps build my brand but it also gives me easy access to content.  Here is the link to my magazine “Learning 4 Tomorrow.”

So, both technologies work for me.  Both have similar yet different purposes.  What technologies are you using to integrate your learning?

Can Things Really Be Simple?

Those that know me can attest to an intolerance of things that are not intuitive.  In other words, patience is not my thing in certain areas.  This would explain by preference for all things Apple.  Their stuff simply works without a lot of effort.

But, Apple is not without fault with their software.  As an intense user of technology to learn stuff, it’s hard to find that balance of simplicity and effectiveness when in comes to technology. Using these devices in a business context makes things even more interesting.

Let’s not even discusses Blackberry or Windows.

With my iPhone and iPad, I was able to conduct myself at work with relative ease, save the few limitations of Apple’s software. But that was with two devices.

So, here’s the experiment. I’ve secured a Samsung Note 3 (you know, that honker of a thing that might be referred to as a “phablet”).  It runs the latest Android software and does a lot more than the current version of iOS7 that is currently running my Apple devices.

Now, in the true spirit if transparency, I’m not an Android fan.  But, here’s the deal… For a month, I’m going to from using two, simple-to-use devices that almost do everything to one device that should be able to do everything.  Keep in mind that this is not a PC replacement experiment but, rather, an experiment to see if I can combine the needs of two devices into one and keep doing what I normally do.  In fact, this blog post was done on the Note 3.

Again, I love all things Apple and am frustrated by Android so I’ve stated my biases pretty clearly.  But the literature shows a trend towards a one-device strategy. As long as it can fit in my pocket, I’m good with this possible reality.

Let’s see what happens.   I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

Sometimes You Just Have to Ask It

I’ve been a student and practitioner of instructional design for quite some time.  In fact, during my professional career, I’ve often been “accused” of being too theoretical and not providing a solution that was practical.  In reality, however, I thought my solutions were practical but in the context of a proper theoretical framework.

I still advocate that approach but I modified it.  I’ve further reduced any reference to any theoretical construct.  Even more, I simply ask the question…”What do you want this person to do tomorrow that they cannot do today?”  Whether that “person” is a sales person, manager, or senior executive it seems like an appropriate question and one that you would assume would generate a relatively clear response.

Not so much.

Imagine this…your organization is about to launch a new product and they have requested training for all of the reasons we in the industry have heard before.  The product is not revolutionary and is simply an evolution of today’s offering.  “We’ve got to have training for everyone!” says the product manager who has the dubious honor of moving this product from the manufacturer through product management through finance through supply chain through merchandising through sales and then…finally…to the customer.

But wait, there’s more.

The training has to have all of the specs including its weight, resolution, tech specs, etc., etc.   Of course, there will have to be role plays to show how to sell it and, to close it all, a 10-question test to prove they know everything possible.

I think there’s a better way.

The instructional designer simply needs to ask “What do you want this person to do tomorrow that they do not do today?”  Knowing that the product is evolutionary (as compared to revolutionary), I would bet this would be a difficult question to answer.  I bet all of the tech specs are on Google and the sales process and behaviors are already being performed.  So, if this question cannot be answered with specifics, the argument to create training is, therefore, weak.

But, let’s assume the question can be answered and we take the high road.  Two elements are required…some of which I believe training professionals don’t spend enough time on.  First, state an objective of the training that is specific to the behavior you want to be demonstrated based on the question that was answered (“What do you want this person to do tomorrow that they do not do today?”).  Then, state three to five expectations that answer the question using action verbs that start each statement.

What you’ve created is a statement of purpose (why the training is needed) along with expectations of what the learner should accomplish.  Clear, simple, obvious…and it gives managers of those being trained a target from which they can coach.

So, don’t assume what the training should be…ask the difficult, yet obvious, question.

att globe

AT&T: The Marriage of Business and Learning

att globeFrom Chief Learning Officer magazine (May 20, 2013)

AT&T stays on top of the latest tools, technologies and methodologies to deliver learning to its global workforce while remaining in sync with business strategy. Contributing to its success is the company’s learning and development function, which works in close collaboration with the business to understand its needs and drive results. Meshing the learning strategy with the business helped propel AT&T to the No. 1 ranking in Chief Learning Officer magazine’s 2013 LearningElite.

From the start, AT&T’s learning strategy is in direct alignment with the company’s core business objectives. Before implementing its learning curriculum, key business groups get together, including AT&T’s corporate strategy and development group as well as its CEO. The learning and development organization is at the table from the get-go, working to ensure that its programs are in direct alignment with the corporate strategy.

“Once we find out what the five-year plans, three-year plans and next year’s plans are, then the CEO team [has] its offsite and they decide our company’s direction: [They say] ‘OK, what are we going to do over the next three to five years?’ They make their long-term planning,” said Ken Fenoglio, vice president of AT&T University. “Then they go to the board to get approval, and we’re right there with them in that planning process. We’re building our learning courses along the way so that we’re right in sync with the business planning process.”

Each business unit gets an action plan from the strategy team; the learning function then builds plans within the business units based on the annual three- and five-year planning process.

“It’s critical that we have people at the table working closely with leaders and others to help define our business objectives,” said Lew Walker, vice president of learning services at AT&T, “and then wrap our learning initiatives around those objectives so we can help the business meet and exceed their expectations, and ultimately deliver value back to our shareowners.”

In other words, no learning event is undertaken unless it has an impact on the bottom line.

“We don’t do the ‘sure would be nice’ training,” Fenoglio said.

Instead the company does pilot courses and administers test content to calibrate the planned training. Then there is a process of fine-tuning until the final product is ready and leadership approves. Then things are scaled and introduced to the masses.

After learning delivery the company uses Net Promoter Score, a metric to gauge customers’ willingness to recommend a product. Learners are asked if they’re willing to recommend the instructor or curriculum to co-workers.

Leadership commitment is another reason AT&T is the top LearningElite organization. Executives actively support a culture of learning at AT&T. In fact, senior leaders are involved in setting the agenda and shaping courses at AT&T University. Starting with the chairman and CEO on down through the ranks, leaders serve as instructors at the university.

“We believe totally in leaders as teachers,” Fenoglio said. “You don’t know your subject matter, you don’t know your business until you actually teach something. We have a nice blend of external and internal [instructors] that we have teaching [and] we really feel like that has gotten us a long way.”

AT&T University also has an advisory board made up of 14 senior leaders from across the company. These leaders make certain every program or course is aligned to business strategies. Fenoglio said nothing is done without their advice and counsel. “They tell us where the points of need are [and] where the business is driving,” he said. “They also make sure that we’re funded properly.”

More than half of AT&T University’s funding comes from the business units, which contributes significantly to buy-in, because if the business units don’t want or find value in something, they won’t pay for it. “And if they want more … they’re paying with their own checkbook,” Fenoglio said.

The learning services team, which is responsible for skills training, partners with the business to provide real-time training to employees on a daily basis. For instance, the team offers programs to help retail store representatives explain the seemingly endless features on wireless devices, TV services and platforms.

“The majority of my budget for learning services is funded by the clients, so they’ve got vested interest to ensure a great return on investment for the curriculum and deliver that content to people that work in their organization,” Walker said.

Meanwhile, AT&T has made efforts to ensure its use of technology in learning remains cutting-edge. Walker said the company is doing a lot of work related to mobile platforms and looking at gaming, even augmented reality. “We’re a technology company, and what we provide from a learning perspective needs to reflect the technology that we are taking out to our customers,” he said. “So all of those sexy things that everybody is talking about, we make it a reality.”

Some employees in AT&T’s retail stores and those who install AT&T U-verse — the company’s television service — now use iPads on the job. “They’ve got iPads and our training needs to reflect what they’re going to see when they get on the job, and so there’s a lot of work around that,” Walker said.

To that end, the learning team has created an effort under the leadership of Delia Hernandez, associate director of learning services at AT&T, to explore advanced learning technology. For instance, Walker anticipates augmented reality — a 3-D version of Web-based training that is still in its infancy — to gain steam in a few years.

“We can’t just be standing still and expecting that leader-led is going to have the impact that it had years ago,” Walker said, “but rather, [we use] technology to be more efficient in our training and hopefully stimulate a better learning experience.”

Even though AT&T keeps up with the latest technology in an effort to stay ahead of the curve, the company’s learning leaders know tools become moot if they don’t impact the business.

“While it’s great to say, ‘I’ve got gaming or I’ve got this,’ if it doesn’t impact the business and move the business forward and make our people better in terms of the jobs that they have to do, then there’s probably no reason to make that investment and make any of the changes that might be required by putting in some of these technologies,” Walker said.

That’s why the team evaluates the impact of any technology or training before rolling it out. At the end of the day, business impact comes first.

“We’re continually looking at how we can be more efficient with our training and make our end users as proficient as possible, so that when they go through our training they can do their jobs successfully and take care of their families and take care of their customers and make a good living,” Walker said. “We [consider] that very, very important within this organization.”

learningelite_logo

AT&T No. 1: Chief Learning Officer magazine names best companies for workforce development

learningelite_logo

Frank Kalman –  March 18, 2013

AT&T tops the list of companies recognized as the 2013 LearningElite at a gala dinner at the Spring Chief Learning Officer Symposium in Austin, Texas.

AT&T walked away with the honor as the best company for employee learning and development at Sunday night’s LearningElite Gala, Chief Learning Officer magazine’s annual recognition of leading companies for learning and development.

In total, 52 organizations were named to the LearningElite at the gala and dinner at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa just outside of Austin, Texas.

Now in its third year, the LearningElite awards are Chief Learning Officer’s annual recognition of excellence in the learning and development field. Developed under the guidance of a group of chief learning officers and senior L&D practitioners, the LearningElite is a peer-based benchmarking initiative that recognizes excellence using five key L&D performance indicators: learning strategy, learning execution, learning impact, business performance results and leadership commitment.

The 2013 result marks a return to the top spot for AT&T, which was No. 2 last year after being named to the top spot in 2011. McDonald’s USA LLC edged up from the fifth spot to No. 2, UPS moved from No. 6 to the third spot and Procter & Gamble Distributing took over the fifth spot after being named No. 10 last year. New entrants to the top 10 included Jiffy Lube International and Coldwell Banker Real Estate

In order, the top 10 are:

  1. AT&T
  2. McDonald’s USA LLC
  3. UPS
  4. Jiffy Lube International
  5. Procter & Gamble Distributing LLC
  6. IBM
  7. Defense Acquisition University
  8. Accenture PLC
  9. General Mills
  10. Coldwell Banker Real Estate

“These organizations demonstrated superior alignment of the learning function with the goals and strategy of their organizations,” said Sarah Kimmel, director of research and advisory services for Human Capital Media Group, the research arm of MediaTec Publishing, which publishes Chief Learning Officer magazine. “They also provided rigorous evidence of the impact of training on the business, even though that measurement was achieved through many different metrics and methods.”

In addition to the LearningElite recognition, the editors of Chief Learning Officer magazine recognized the following companies for separate Editor’s Choice awards:

  • General Mills for Learning Strategy
  • Qualcomm Inc. for Leadership Commitment
  • Defense Acquisition University for Learning Impact
  • Accenture PLC for Learning Execution
  • Coldwell Banker Real Estate for Business Performance Results
  • Vi as the Best Small Company

“The continued innovation that companies are showing in the learning and development space is simply remarkable,” said Norm Kamikow, president and editor in chief of MediaTec Publishing. “Each year I am blown away by how far the industry has come.”

The 2013 LearningElite organizations will also be featured in the June 2013 issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine. For more information, go to CLOmedia.com/elite.

The complete list of 2013 LearningElite honorees is as follows:

1. AT&T
2. McDonald’s USA LLC
3. UPS
4. Jiffy Lube International
5. Procter & Gamble Distributing LLC
6. IBM
7. Defense Acquisition University
8. Accenture PLC
9. General Mills
10. Coldwell Banker Real Estate
11. EMC Corp.
12. Qualcomm Inc.
13. Cerner Corp.
14. Vi
15. CarMax
16. KPMG LLP
17. United Services Automobile Association
18. InterContinental Hotels Group
19. AlliedBarton Security Services
20. BJC HealthCare
21. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
22. Deloitte LLP
23. Emory University
24. FDIC Corporate University
25. DaVita Inc.
26. Sidley Austin LLP
27. Amdocs
28. Automatic Data Processing Inc.
29. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
30. First Data
31. ConAgra Foods Inc.
32. American Heart Association, American Heart University
33. State Farm Insurance
34. Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy
35. SAP
36. TIC – The Industrial Co.
37. University Health System
38. CA Technologies
39. The Department of Veterans Affairs, Learning University
40. OptumRx
41. UnitingCare Community
42. Essar Group
43. RBS Citizens Business Services Learning and Development
44. HD Supply Power Solutions
45. Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market
46. Banner Health
47. Berkshire Health Systems
48. Rogers Communications Inc.
49. New York Life Insurance Co.
50. Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores
51. Oasis Outsourcing Inc.
52. Spectra Energy

learning map

Theory v. Reality: There’s Room for Both

learning mapThis is a post from a Boise State student (I am an alum) in response to a webinar I participated in during 2010.  I welcome the conversation and have inserted my comments in blue.

“I feel like I should preface my write-up below by explaining that while I was listening to the webinar and reviewing the transcripts, I really was looking for an aha moment when I could apply what I had learned in class with what was being done in the field. While I had “my aha moment”, in that I was able to make this connection, it was not in the manner I was expecting. I hope I don’t seem like I am being too critical, as there was a lot of good information presented in the webinar. I am choosing to share this as my “aha” moment, because I think it makes a good correlation between the material learned in class and how it may be applied in the field. Also, not sure if I needed to add references, but since I can use the practice, I made an attempt. 

Elliot Rosenberg touched on several topics during his webinar with Dr. Steve Villachica on October 11, 2010. These topics included discussions on cross generational trainings and the fact that in 2020 there will be five generations in the workplace. However, the part that captured my attention was his discussion on training evaluations. Typically I find it nice to see how class material applies to the everyday world, but I was really confused and disappointed in what Rosenberg had to say about training evaluations. Here is the excerpt I am referring to in which Rosenberg describes the use of training evaluations (as copied from the webinar transcript): 

If Level Ones is a measure, I’m right there. Even Level Twos—but honestly, I don’t really care about level ones and twos—you have to understand it to see that if your project is at least on target, what really matters is the level threes and fours. And let’s not put all the stock into Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluation; it’s possible lots of variable could impact it. The bottom line is, for me, are we making more sales? Are we reducing our employee turnover, and are we increasing customer satisfaction? Those are the three measures that guide the success of our efforts. It has nothing to do with levels, quite frankly—it’s all about the business. 

I feel like on one hand he is explaining how he uses training evaluations in his organization which follow Kirkpatrick’s theory, but then he makes statements like, “I don’t really care about level ones and twos..” “Let’s not put all the stock into Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation…” He identifies three questions he wants to answer at the end of a training session, but then follows up with the statement that they have nothing to do with levels. This is where I disagree. Rosenberg describes his bottom line as answering the following 3 questions: 

  1. Are we making more sales? 
  2. Are we reducing employee turnover? 
  3. Are we increasing customer satisfaction? 

I would argue that by answering the three questions above he is in fact completing a Level 4 results evaluation. Chyung (2008) describes a Level 4 evaluation as a look at results on the organization and examines if the training resulted in a behavior change that positively affected the organization. If the training allowed the sales managers to make more sales, reduced employee turnover and increased customer satisfaction, I would think that the training positively affected the organization. On the other hand if you had “No” answers to any of the questions – you might think there was a negative impact on the organization. Either way, the results from these three questions still represent a Level 4 Results evaluation since they identified how the organization was impacted by the training.”

Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluation provide the framework from which ISD professionals can measure their work and, hopefully, impact.  However, without context for those measurements, they will mean nothing for your client.  

Now, in my case, my department is not funded by HR but, rather, by the sales organization.  While HR might find it OK to say that participants liked the training (L1) and they were able to pass a knowledge test after the class (L2), for a sales organization there is no link to their objective which is to make more sales.  And, if the learning organization can’t impact those results, why have them around?

If the implication is that I actually achieve a L4 result if I can impact all three questions, that might not work with someone who is skilled in ISD.  A nearly impossible task of isolating all of the variables that could impact L4 results is critical.  However, if I could imply that training had something to do with increased sales, reduced turnover, and improved customer satisfaction then we could have that discussion.  If you believe the 70/20/10 rule for formal vs informal learning (only 10% of learning is accomplished via a formal setting (ILT, for example), then it is only reasonable to assume that the other 90% is accomplished outside of the formal setting (20% from coaching and observations and the other 70% from simply gaining experience by doing the job), then you can see the diminished role that Kirkpatrick’s concepts have on learning, over the long term.  Even if you applied this line of thinking to the academic world, you should draw the same conclusions (IMHO).  

You have to start with Kirkpatrick but you must not end there.  Thoughts?

images

Balancing between keeping up and checking out

imagesI’ve been at this blog for almost two years and looking back, it’s interesting to see the progression I’ve made from “Look at me! I’m on Twitter! I’m hip!” to “ohmygoodness what am I doing with all these apps?” to finally trying to find a balance that works between my personal life and the life that as become so interdependent (or tied to) technology.

  1. I’ve learned that I can’t do it all, and there is no app that can do it all either.
  2. I try to find what works and stick with it, while staying engaged with the evolution of your interests.
  3. There is always someone who knows more than I do or can do it better than I can.

Technology will continue to evolve, and we will always find ourselves trying to keep up, while still asking questions about what’s ahead:

What’s the newest network to belong to? How are we communicating today? Or tomorrow? How will our job descriptions change (or will they) to meet/keep up with technology? What will be the expectations the next generation of workers will have or us and what will be our expectations of them? How will technology affect learning more so than it has already?

And that’s change, along with the excitement of what lies ahead, is what keeps me going.

ISPI Atlanta logo

Why I Became a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT)

ISPI Atlanta logoWhy did you decide to become a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT)?

When the CPT designation was introduced, it offered practitioners an opportunity to meet new standards of professional performance and expectations.  It also offered me instant credibility in the industry and with those with whom I work.  I guess you could equate the CPT designation with similar designation from the accounting profession (CPA), financial planning (CFP), along with a host of others.

What does the certification offer you?  

Certification offers peer recognition along with a commitment to continuously learn.  It implies to the industry that I’ve met specific standards and am “certified” in my level of skill and knowledge.  It does not get you more money but, via enhanced credibility, it most certainly can.

Have you seen any results because of your certification? What are they/or why not?

My peers understand the process and, therefore, it established a benchmark of knowledge.  I haven’t received any financial benefit from the certification but continue to maintain it as part of my professional development and industry insight.

Would you become certified again?

I’ve renewed my certification several times, each by meeting the established criteria.  Further renewals will be determined at the time that it is due.  There is a financial cost to renew, and it must be weighed with the benefits.

What do you see as the difference between the ISPI certification and the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) certification?

To me, ISPI is more of a practical application.  It gets to the heart of the comparison between the two organizations.  ISPI is focused on performance improvement, while ASTD is more generic in its focus on training.

Still not sure if CPT is right for you? Read ISPI’s frequently asked questions.

gen y

“Crash Course for Understanding Gen Y” — Still Relevant

In such a fast paced society, there are few things that still stand the test of time, albeit less than two years.  Take a look at this and see if you agree.

  1. Hear me out.  Young adults have had a say in how things go since they were five.  They expect to express themselves, to upload, vote, blog, or update and they believe they will be heard.
  2. Keep it real.  The only thing worse than being uncool is being unreal.  They demand authenticity.  Anything that smells “plastic” is a turn-off.  They value genuine people and leaders.
  3. Let’s have fun.  They believe work and fun can be combined; they don’t want to separate the two.  In fact, they may stop working midday to have fun and work again at midnight.  It’s a continuum.
  4. My way now.  They have not heard the word “no” very often growing up.  As a student or new employee, they expect to get their way and don’t see why adults can’t understand their perspective.
  5. Make it count.  They want to do things that matter.  Meaning is a important as money at work.  They don’t think small.  They like projects that are very important almost impossible.
  6. Let me know.  They are used to constant feedback.  They got trophies on teams just for showing up.  They got lots of kudos from parents for years, and today want it instantly from their leaders.
  7. Plug me in.  You already know this.  They are a connected generation.  They can’t imagine a day without constant connection with friends.  Technology is an appendage of their bodies.
  8. Just do it.  Words that describe their world are immediacy and convenience.  They’re not prone to waste a lot of time with committee red tape or protocol.  Stuff should just happen fast.

- Adapted from Elmore, T. (2011, February 2).  A Crash Course in Understanding Generation Y  http://www.growingleaders.com