Nudge-Learning: The Starting Point

So where do we begin? Mark McCormack’s quote makes such an apt response to this question – ‘You don’t have to reinvent the wheel just attach it to a new wagon.’

A lot is already out there in the context of nudge which has been successfully practiced. You can simply build upon it. Just pick and choose what suits your situation best. It would be interesting to look at the variety and complexity of problems that are being solved by the nudge theory in application. Let’s look at a couple of examples. International institutions such as the World Bank and UN agencies have been trying to improve the basic standard of living for people across the globe. They have specific business units known as nudge units to deliver results. Another example is that of Richard Branson teaming up with economists to try and nudge Virgin Atlantic’s pilots to use less fuel, using a variety of behavioural interventions.

Possibly, by now, you have started getting a sense that not all of it is new exploration. There is already a starting point from where we could take it ahead. Now, let’s look at some important aspects which would help us in firming up our case for nudge-learning and give us a direction.

  1. The ‘Principle of Least Coercion’ can help us in establishing that nudging the learners is an optimal way to match their learning needs. Optimal nudging is all about preserving an individual’s freedom and in this case, it is all about giving our learners the freedom to consume content in a way best for them.
  2. The other important aspect is scalability. Nudging could be done at a varying scale, efficiently and without making it a very time consuming and costly affair.
  3. Another important aspect to consider is how to motivate learners for self-paced learning. Well, research on human motivation demonstrates that heavy-handed influencing methods can reduce an individual’s intrinsic motivation to behave in desired ways or even lead to oppositional defiance. Nudges are likely to avoid these adverse effects.
  4. We can also look upon the Behavioural Insights Team for more information. They had come up with a framework known as EAST (Easy, Accessible, Timely, Social) as a simple way to apply behavioural insights. This framework talks about making the learning accessible, as easy as possible, in a timely manner, and with the flexibility to collaborate socially.
Source- The Behavioural Insights Team

5. And eventually, it is about finding your organization’s sweet spot to implement nudge-learning – an area which can create substantial business impact and has measurable results. Let’s take the case of Virgin Atlantic and see where they found their sweet spot. They used nudges to steer pilots towards conserving fuel, and it produced results. Simply informing pilots that they were participating in a study of fuel usage was enough to save about 3 million pounds and also reduced carbon dioxide emissions significantly. The Virgin case demonstrates that people don’t need a shove to adopt desired behaviours. A nudge can be sufficient to achieve desired results.

We would love to know your thoughts on this topic. We would also be keen to know if you have a sweet spot where you would want to implement nudge-learning. In the next blog in this series, we shall focus on the various factors to be considered while designing an organization’s nudge-learning strategy. In case you would like to have a conversation, please feel free to drop us a line at info@harbingerlearning.com.

Nudge-Learning: The Theory and The Relevance

Sometimes what you need is a nudge to learn

Setting the context

As a CLO or an L&D stakeholder, do any of the following modern-day workplace issues bother you?

  • Creating & maintaining a diverse & inclusive culture
  • Making learning available in the flow of work
  • Catering to the situational salesforce’s learning needs
  • Instilling the brand culture in times of gig economy
  • Implementing safety 2.0

If your answer is yes to even one of the points above, it is time to start thinking of nudge-learning. We plan to write a series of blog posts on this methodology and its business effectiveness.

The theory behind nudge-learning

An early morning phone call from Sweden awakened Richard Thaler. The caller from Sweden told Thaler he had won the 2017 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research in behavioral economics.

Nudge primarily is a concept in behavioral science, political theory, and behavioral economics which proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behavior and decision making of groups or individuals.

Thaler has been very busy handling accolades and admiration since then; he has been surrounded in a career-defining victory, but his wake-up call from Sweden also potentially served as a wakeup call for the learning & development community to sit up and take notice of nudge.

 

The relevance of nudge for the L&D community

The nudge theory is highly relevant and useful for L&D professionals. How you ask? Below are three challenges that advocate the need for nudge-learning in the modern-day workplace.

  1. One of the key challenges that businesses are facing today is ensuring knowledge retention for a better ROI. You can spend hours in training and come out of it feeling you have learnt a lot but then suddenly the ‘Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve’ starts kicking in and even before you realize you do not recall majority of things learnt during the training. It is found that almost a whopping 60% of the knowledge is lost in less than an hour of learning it. One of the key reasons for this is lack of reinforcement. Nudging your learners with reinforcement training material on a periodic basis could be one of the potential ways to improve knowledge retention.
  2. The L&D community is gradually shifting from a culture of training to a culture of learning. Couple of key aspects driving this change are the demands of the modern-day workplace and the way learners want to consume content. The modern-day learner likes to be in control. Learning to them is more about a journey rather than a destination. Nudge without being intrusive is an excellent tool to make learners drive their own learning and be in-charge of it.
  3. Dwight Eisenhower was not the only one who encountered two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. This was; and is applicable to all of us. The urgent were not important and the important were never urgent. This situation arises out of a natural human tendency to seek pleasure in completing tasks, known as ‘completion syndrome’. The modern-day learners, in pursuit of satisfying the completion syndrome at their workplaces, are not able to find time for learning. And this is where L&D leaders have to bring learning in the flow of work rather than making it available outside work.

In the next blog in this series, we will focus on various factors to consider while formulating the nudge-learning strategy for your organization. We would love to know your thoughts, comments, or experience on nudge-learning and its relevance in the modern-day workplace. Please feel free to drop a comment below or connect with us at  info@harbingerlearning.com.

Nudge-Learning: Are You Missing it?

How many of us access the Facebook app whenever we get a notification? I am sure almost everyone. This notification alert arouses our curiosity to know more about the update. It is Facebook’s way to encourage our app usage and take us to relevant updates. Now imagine if the mobile app did not have this alert or nudge feature. Would we still access Facebook so frequently? Probably not as many times!

Come to think of it, this is the case with almost all mobile apps. In a busy day when we are multi-tasking, these app alerts try to get our attention and encourage us to use the apps. It is often said, ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ These alerts try and change our behavior on what we give priority to, by being in our sight.

Ironically, even though it is such a useful feature, we are missing it in our organizational learning systems. The learning management systems still follow the traditional approach where they wait for the learner to login to the system and show courses that one has to take and activities to be completed. They don’t nudge learner to take short nuggets of information at regular intervals.

Are you looking for a better and efficient way of learning and reinforcing content in your organizational systems? If yes, then nudge-learning is perhaps the most relevant solution. In this approach, the mobile app pushes content to learner based on learner preferences, checks knowledge retention through regular quizzes, reinforces content at regular intervals, and encourages right learner behavior through badges.

What is important to understand is, it doesn’t take a ground-up new strategy to implement nudge-learning in an organization. One can use existing content and assets to solve their organization’s learning pain points and instill an improved learning culture.

Do you think nudge-learning can help your organization achieve its learning goals? Reach out to us at info@harbingerlearning.com with your thoughts.

ILT Trainers– Are you leaving something on the table?

The way learning is delivered directly impacts performance and retention. Traditionally, it has been done through classroom-based, Instructor-led training (ILT) sessions which efficiently met relevant learning objectives. However, with rapid advancements in technology, increased geographic reach of organizations, changed learner profiles because of inclusion of millennials in the workforce and tech-savvy learners, there is a huge scope for ILT to be made more effective.  ILT will work best if it is part of a blended learning program that supplements ILT with eLearning, making it a more cost-effective, and hence, justified proposition.

The blended learning approach could follow the below format.

  • An introductory eLearning aid can be used to apprise learners of the basic concepts of the topic-in-picture. This would ensure that all learners are on the same page when it comes to the basics of the topic.
  • Pre-ILT practice sessions can then be used to gauge learner understanding of the topic so that the instructor could build on it during the actual session.
  • When the ILT is delivered, it could be used to build upon the topic knowledge and to clarify any doubts that the learners may have. The classroom time can also be used to discuss relevant case studies on the topic.
  • And then an eLearning assessment comes in to test learner understanding and knowledge. eLearning could also be used to nudge training concepts from time to time and act as a good refresher to the classroom sessions.

There are several benefits of the blended learning approach versus when you use only ILT. Let’s talk about some prominent ones.

Aids Self-Paced Learning

A study on “Interactive Multimedia-Based E-Learning: A Study of Effectiveness”[1] stated, “In a traditional classroom setting, learning is instructor-centered and is a sequential process. The instructor controls content and learning pace. Most students do not question or ask for repetition in the class even if they do not understand instructors. In addition, they do not have an opportunity to listen repeatedly to what instructors explained. An interactive multimedia e-learning environment enables learner-centered activities and provides necessary learner–content interaction.” eLearning puts the learners in control of the content, making it easier for everyone to learn at their own pace.

Cost-Effective and Easily Scalable

With increasing geographic scale and reach of organizations, training needs to be delivered to employees at multiple locations. But at the same time, travel budgets are continuously constrained. eLearning can be delivered anytime and at anyplace, thus making it easier to keep travel costs and time in control. It also gives an opportunity to trainers to scale up their training bandwidth and scope in a matter of seconds. Trainers could simply complement eLearning with synchronous online learning sessions or virtual ILT.

Performance Evaluation

ILT is linked with too many missed opportunities to evaluate everything right from training objectives to learner performance and satisfaction. Whereas eLearning ensures that you get to measure and evaluate learner performance and its impact on business, with the help of rich analytics. With learner experience design posed as the next big revolution for learning, performance analytics and evaluation will anyway need to be at the core of enterprise learning.

Supports Reinforcement

Traditional training, once delivered, is easily forgotten, because there is no system in place for regular reinforcement and retention. However, with eLearning, regular refreshers and reinforcement nuggets can be delivered based on learner performance or the likelihood of learner forgetting information after a certain time.

Needless to say, eLearning is not here to replace SMEs and trainers. They will still be the ones driving the whole game. eLearning can give them an opportunity to take their work a level higher, along with probably an added revenue source when their hands are full. Something as simple as a video of them teaching a particular concept in the classroom, coupled with eLearning could do the magic!

Are you a trainer looking to develop blended learning modules?  Reach out to us at info@harbingerlearning.com to discuss your requirements.

 

 

 

[1] (1) Zhang, D. (2005). Interactive Multimedia Based E-Learning: A Study of Effectiveness. The
American Journal of Distance Education (AJDE). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Mahwah,
NJ. 19(3), 149-162.

Four Effective Ways to Train Your Catering Staff

In some of my previous blogs, I touched upon the growing need for training in the catering industry. We also looked at certain skillsets and processes that catering managers need to be groomed and trained on. With millennials and Gen Z forming a huge chunk of the catering industry’s employee-base and the high turnover rate that is generally prevalent here, training has never been more relevant. This makes a good case to look at some of the most efficient ways to train your catering staff and enable them to provide outstanding guest experience.

  1. Micro-Learning

Micro-learning is now a pervasive trend, in almost all walks of our digital life. It goes without saying that it is an effective method to train your catering staff as well. Micro-learning is on-demand, delivered at the point-of-need, and highly relevant because the employee is concentering on one skill/learning objective at a time rather than worrying about the entire curriculum.  For example – Instead of a long course on how to serve food to the customer, your staff will enjoy consuming small micro-learning nuggets on how to set up the table or how to serve wine when they need to learn about them.

  1. Scenario-Based Learning

Use of scenarios based on real-life situations is a very useful training mechanism. Scenarios can help learners to understand the best way to handle a situation. Training can be made more interactive by the use of branching scenarios where there could be different results to a situation based on the learner’s response.  Scenario-based training is the ideal mechanism to train staff on soft skills. For example, a scenario on how to handle an irate customer or how to greet a customer can enable employees to be prepared with the relevant skills when the real-life instance occurs.

  1. Game-Based Learning

Use of game elements in learning enhances the learning experience, makes it fun, and also gives the learner a sense of challenge and achievement.  Leaderboards, time-based quizzes, time-driven missions are some of the common mechanisms used in game-based learning.  For example, a time-bound, game-based module that requires the learners to finish setting up 10 tables flawlessly, and get on the leaderboard, can be a great way to train your employees on relevant skills.

  1. Learning Reinforcement

Catering staff deals with customers on a regular basis and it is important to find ways to reinforce the training. Tools like learning enforcement apps, flash-cards, interim knowledge checks, and standup meetings are an effective method to reinforce training.

These different training modalities are an effective way to train your staff members and keep them motivated.  I would be keen to know of any other approaches that you use to ensure your staff is trained well. Share your comments below or drop a note to info@harbingerlearning.com