5 Trends That Will Drive the Transformation of EdTech in 2021

Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of technology across various sectors, but the speed at which EdTech advanced is remarkable. Millions of schools switched to remote learning, almost overnight. And it looks like the changes that EdTech has enabled, will continue to influence education even as educational institutes prepare for a full return to classrooms. EdTech is here to stay. With that, let’s look at the 5 trends that will possibly guide the growth of EdTech this year.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

2020 has been a roller coaster ride for all of us, and this has thrown up a lot of opportunities and imperatives. One such imperative is leveraging AI to build skills for the future. There is a lot of buzz around how workplaces of the future need new skillsets. McKinsey released a report a couple of years back, which states that by 2030, 65% of today’s grade school kids will end up at jobs that haven’t been invented yet, which means they would be entering the job market with a competency gap. AI will play a significant role in this transition. Designing study assistants to identify skill gaps and appropriately recommending the right content to fill those gaps would help. To make this possible, EdTech companies would have to look at both tech and content in new ways to design such solutions.

2. Educator Support

The pace at which educators have had to adapt to tech-driven delivery methodologies in 2020 has been unprecedented. And this is likely to continue with newer technologies coming in. Professional development for online instruction would also help educators to develop online teaching skills. It is also imperative that educators not only have a say in the EdTech product design but also get help through technology support tools. Another consideration is that these tools should be user-friendly; educators should spend more time delivering education than figuring out technology. Quillionz and Raptivity are two good examples of such useful tools. Quillionz helps educators get question ideas and reinforcement points from content (both text and videos), and Raptivity helps educators build pre-class, in-class, and post-class engagement.

3. Digital Transformation

The year 2021 would be a watershed year for this digital transformation for educational institutes. The level of digital transformation might vary from K-12 to higher-ed to skilling platforms. But there is no denying that digital transformation is much more than just providing a Zoom license to get virtual sessions delivered. In addition to using AI and providing educator support, it will also involve creating the entire end-to-end hybrid learning ecosystem to bring about this transformation. 

4. Integrations

Education systems have mostly been working in silos till now. Be it student information systems, learning management systems, student engagement platforms, CRM, attendance systems, or alike, most of these systems operate in isolation. The data that resides in these various systems could help design new experiences if allowed to integrate. For example, suppose a student takes a zoom class. In that case, the attendance system marks their presence automatically, or if the student undertakes an online course, the recommendation engine suggests appropriate learning pathways based on the student’s performance. EdTech products would have to ensure how they seamlessly fit into this ecosystem without adding more administrative work for their customers.

5. Equity in Education

The pandemic has widened the already significant social disparities, and as education and training have shifted online, fears about the ‘digital divide’ have intensified. We are talking about ‘digital inclusion’ and bridging the ‘digital divide.’ Institutions need to find ways to support students as well as educators. Creating asynchronous and offline learning opportunities and not trying to replicate the whole school day online are some strategies that will surely help. Technology will undoubtedly play a significant role in providing ways to do this, but in practicality, all stakeholders need to do their bit to bring equity in education. At Harbinger, we are trying to play our part in bringing equity in education through one of our flagship products – Offline Player. This player allows students to access learning data without internet connectivity. 

Team Harbinger recently hosted a ‘Point of View’ on this topic. The session captures some of the above points in detail. Click here to view the recording of the session.

EdTech tools and technologies have enabled educational institutions to rise to the occasion and make a smooth transition from classrooms to remote learning in 2020. If anything, 2021 will only see it getting bigger and better. As an EdTech provider, are you equipped to handle this enormous growth? What challenges and opportunities do you foresee? Please drop us a note at info@harbingerelearning.com. We would be happy to discuss.  

Rapidly Transforming Organizational Content to Learning Experiences

Imagine taking a customer visit report and creating a case study for sales staff; a video recording of a new product demo meeting converted to product learning nuggets; or a zoom meeting recording converted to best practices of handling challenging situations. These all are examples of organizational content or user-generated content (UGC) which we can transform and use to create unique learning experiences. This content is unique to an organization and apart from just content, it captures an organization’s experiences, preferences, beliefs, and values.

The Need to Create Learning Experiences Rapidly

Learning and development function is today focusing not only on technical skills, but even other critical skills such as leadership development, change management, and more. Learning is no more a bunch of classroom training programs. It is a broader construct encompassing a range of experiences employees encounter in a day’s work. HR and L&D are therefore increasingly concerned with creating learning experiences for content which is unique to their organizations. Today’s organizations capture a swathe of content in information systems, and that too at lightning speed.

The key question then is how can one convert this rapidly generating content into learning experiences? How to create learning experiences at the same speed as content generation? How can we use technology and automation, so that there is minimum lag between the time, say, a new product literature shows up and the time product training is rolled out? Learning technology has evolved to enable L&D to systematically harness and transform content to learning experiences and keep up with the velocity of content generation. Then why is this not happening already?  Where are we falling short? The issue is with the process of content conversion that we have been following traditionally.

Traditional Process of Content Transformation

The below image captures step by step phases of the traditional process of content conversion.

Content Conversion Traditional Process

The traditional process is painfully slow,  due to to some or all of the following reasons:

  • Dependency on subject matter experts for sourcing content
  • No discovery process for newly generated useful content
  • Long time cycles of eLearning production
  • The need for repeated and time-consuming reviews by subject matter experts
  • Time gap between release and consumption of learning content

New High Velocity Process of Content Transformation

If we replace this traditional process, with a new process that for high velocity content transformation, tables will turn.  Here’s how the new process looks like.

Content Conversion Modern Process

The conversion timeline for this new process would be less than a week for the same content that would take 4-6 weeks through the traditional route. Impressive? Isn’t it?

Real-Life Demo of Rapid Content Transformation

We, at Harbinger, have a real-life demo of high velocity content transformation. We have implemented this new process to convert an internal leadership meeting discussion into nudge-learning content. Write to us at info@harbingerelearning.com if you would like to see a demo of that.

Online work is generating a lot of UGC that needs to rapidly reach employees through learning experiences. UGC is an opportunity for L&D to facilitate the curation and transformation of content, as well as the distribution of learning experiences. These experiences, if enabled in the flow of work, can motivate employees to learn something new, perform better, and up-skill themselves, which is what all L&D leaders strive to achieve at the end of the day. Technology, when used effectively, can help transform a lot of this useful content and deliver it in the flow of work, saving time and resources.

Have you been struggling to keep up with the velocity of content generation? Do you have some insights to share? Comment below.

Successful Transition to Remote Learning: Decoding the New Normal

The world might be grappling with multiple slowdowns today, but if there is one area that the COVID-19 crisis has fast-tracked, it is the adoption of remote work and remote learning.  As organizations try and decode the new normal, there is a complete paradigm shift underway. The huge momentum towards remote work has led L&D leaders to fall back on technology to deliver remote learning. They are leveraging technology to move the needle in a variety of training contexts – skill building, leadership development, sales training, compliance, and education. Remote learning technology is also witnessing a lot of investor interest.

As a corporate L&D leader, you are in a very sweet but tricky spot. You are expected to drive this whole transition to remote learning successfully. But for that, you need to have a sound strategy in place. Do you understand the potential and boundaries of remote learning in organizations? Do you know what are the drivers of successful transition beyond giving zoom accounts instructors and trainers?  Is your business model in-sync with your transition plan?

Harbinger had the privilege of hosting 3 highly accomplished learning and development leaders recently, for a virtual Power Hour, on the topic ‘Successful Transition to Remote Learning: Decoding the New Normal.’ The guests were Christopher McLaverty (Senior HR Business Partner and Organization Development Practitioner), Ganesh Natarajan (Co-Founder of 5F World and Kalzoom), and Walter Davis (Head of Talent and Learning Technology at Aggreko). The discussion was led and facilitated by Dr. Vikas Joshi (CEO at Harbinger Group).

Key Challenges and Drivers of Remote Learning

Vikas opened the session with some fascinating statistics indicating the increased investor interest in remote learning and then moved on to talk about the key challenges that organizations face when moving to remote learning. Some of them being,

  • Engaging learners
  • Managing stakeholder expectations ​– Internal customer, executive leadership, and learner
  • Creating classroom-like experiences
  • Selecting technology​
  • Internet connectivity

The panelists talked about how they addressed these challenges at their workplaces and managed a successful transition.

There was a lot of interesting discussion around the drivers of a successful transition to remote learning​, which includes, right early wins, careful revision of metrics and measurement, and most importantly, the use of the right technology across the whole learning experience.

Tips for Transitioning to Remote Learning

After a detailed and insightful discussion with the panelists, Vikas shared some useful tips for organizations to plan their transition to remote learning. As an L&D leader, for a successful transition, you need to

  • Align training programs with business strategy​
  • Make internal customers and L&D co-owners of the transition​
  • Assess new capability gaps and focus on them​
  • Design it as a learning journey instead of discrete sessions​
  • Pilot a training session and then scale-up​
  • Define KPIs and measure impact​
  • Integrate L&D in the flow of work​
  • Invest into systems and technology

Remote learning is here to stay. The sooner you adapt to it, quicker you can reap the benefits.  L&D leaders need to sensitize executives and customers about the boundaries and potential of remote learning. They also need to educate instructors, curriculum designers, and learners on how they should prepare for remote learning​. And yes, not to forget, technology is a key driver in this whole transition​.

Here is the link to the Power Hour session recording.

Have you been struggling with transitioning to remote learning? Or have you successfully navigated this challenge? What success stories, experiences, or tips do you have to share? Please comment below or drop us a note at info@harbingerelearning.com.

P.E.S.E. – A Framework to Support Remote Learning

In my last blog, I touched upon the P.E.S.E. (Prepare. Engage. Support. Evaluate.) framework that Harbinger uses for building and implementing remote learning programs for its clients. Today, we will understand this framework in detail.

P.E.S.E. basically breaks down the successful implementation process of remote learning solutions into 4 distinct phases.

Remote Learning Framework

Prepare

This is the starting point, the first pillar of this framework. This is where we lay the foundation of the success of the remote learning program.

There are multiple considerations you need to evaluate and decide on, at this stage

  • Business challenge that you are solving
  • Knowing your audience in terms of who they are, where they are, and how they are
  • Learning modality to be used for the program – VILT or eLearning, Game-based or videos
  • Role and choice of technology
  • Skillset of existing instructors – Assessing if they require any upskilling or reskilling

Engage

This is the second pillar of the framework. Learner engagement is of paramount importance in remote learning, when you know they can be distracted easily. There are three distinct stages at which you need to take care of learner engagement, in remote learning.

  • Pre-event
  • During the event
  • Post-event

To understand this better, let’s take the example of a virtual instructor-led training (VILT) session and understand how we could engage learners at each stage.

  • Pre-event: Creating a teaser animation video and rolling it out to the audience on the topic of the VILT session. This can generate curiosity and motivate learners to participate in the session.
  • During the event – Using group activities where learners can participate and brainstorm with their group members and compete with others. Sleek and modern visual learning design is also a great hook to ensure engagement from the learners during the event.
  • Post-event – It is very important to indulge in engaging learners post the event to enable better retention and to overcome the forgetting curve. Some ways this could be done for a VILT session are through nudging learners with small learning bytes after the event or sharing job-aids after the session.

Support

The third pillar of this framework is aimed at supporting learners throughout the life cycle of remote learning. The key is to integrate this support in the flow of work. You can consider options like having an AI-enabled virtual coach integrated in an office productivity tool like Slack or Microsoft teams to support your remote learners.

Evaluate

The fourth and the last pillar of this framework is aimed at evaluating the results of the remote learning program against the success parameters that were set. And based on the findings, if there is a need to make course corrections in the program, they can be implemented, and the program can be re-launched.

All the pillars of this framework play an equally important role in ensuring the success of any remote learning program. P.E.S.E. is a scalable and robust model. To know more about it, please drop us a line at info@harbingerelearning.com.

 

Pivoting a Business Model to Support Remote Learning Needs

COVID- 19 has created unprecedented humanitarian economic and psychological demands on our society. Nothing has been left untouched. One of the important business needs for organizations during these times has been to quickly figure out new ways of doing business and identifying potential opportunities. Dr. Anil Lamba, Director Lamcon Finance & Management Services Pvt. Ltd., shared his business model transformation story, in a webinar recently. His institute provides financial training programs. Dr. Lamba has successfully pivoted his business model to cater to emerging market needs of remote learning.

In the webinar, Dr. Anil Lamba talked about what it takes for a business owner to pivot around a business model and adapt to the changed market scenarios. He was accompanied by Utkarsh Mahajan from Harbinger Interactive Learning who spoke about a model to create engaging remote training programs. Here are some highlights.

Early Days of Lamcon and their Foray into eLearning
Dr. Lamba, who is a renowned corporate trainer now, used to be a full time practicing chartered accountant early in his career. From there, he moved to pursue his passion for teaching finance and gradually Lamcon was born. Today, Lamcon trains over 3000 companies across the world.

During the early days of Lamcon, Dr. Lamba decided that he will be the only trainer in the company to provide consistency in service. And that’s when he started to build an ecosystem around himself to meet the needs of their increasing clients. They started developing supporting products. They created a series of videos and that was the company’s foray into eLearning. They also created books. The common figure across all these products was Dr. Lamba. It helped maintain consistency in the entire ecosystem.

Business Model – Pre-Pandemic and Post-Pandemic

Lamcon had a business model where they trained in two ways.

  • In-company programs, conducted on invitation for employees of any company
  • Open programs, which are available for anyone to join

Dr. Lamba used to travel to company chosen venues to deliver these programs before the COVID- 19 pandemic hit. Live training videos were recorded at company locations and were utilized to train the larger employee set who could not make it for face to face training. Open programs were also delivered live. But Dr. Lamba, who has always believed that finance is a subject that everyone should know, always had a lurking thought at the back of his mind. He always wondered why he was training only 20-30 people in a room when this topic was relevant to almost everyone across the globe.

But early this year, due to COVID- 19, all physical training came to a halt and that is when Lamcon shifted to virtual training as the new mode of delivery to address their clients’ training needs. Dr. Lamba feels that it was a blessing in disguise for Lamcon because there is no limit to how many people he can train now. He is not confined by the four walls of a room. As an organization, Lamcon has decided to almost stop all face to face open training programs going forward, even beyond COVID- 19. They will also we will give an option to companies to opt for virtual training.

Lamcon uses Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), accompanied by eLearning modules. To support higher enrollments, they have shrunk the prices of the training by about 40%.

Productizing a Service

Training is a form of service and if you’re providing a service, you can only grow up to a certain point, beyond which there is a ceiling. Dr. Lamba always wanted to productize the service he provided – the books, videos, and the eLearning they created, was an attempt at the same. This made their service mass producible and there was no fear of hitting the ceiling.

Harbinger’s P.E.S.E. Framework for Remote Learning

Remote Learning Framework

Lamcon worked with Harbinger Interactive Learning to create their remote learning assets. With over 30 years of experience, Harbinger boasts of developing various innovative learning solutions for its clients. And the recent times have been no different. Harbinger has been actively supporting its clients in creating remote learning solutions using the P.E.S.E. (Prepare. Engage. Support. Evaluate.) framework. We will cover more about this framework in our next blog. Until then, stay tuned.

For any queries, please reach out to us at info@harbingerelearning.com.