Driving Organizational Change Initiatives Through Remote Learning: A Case Study

Today, one of the most important business needs for organizations is to create a sustainable and scalable learning ecosystem for the ever-evolving workplace. No longer can L&D departments afford to work in silos. The key job that L&D leaders have on their hands is to keep their (remote) workforce engaged by instituting learning in the flow of their work and to create measurable business impact through learning. All of this leads back to delivering the right content to the right person at the right time in the way they want it, to improve business outcomes.

As a 105-year-old privately-owned company, Midmark Corporation, a leading manufacturer of medical, dental, veterinary products and related services, has been through many transformations in its lifetime.  Sometime back, they decided to expand their focus from products to providing seamless solutions that improve the experience between the patient and the caregiver.  The Professional Education team at Midmark was tasked with the responsibility of accomplishing this organizational level change initiative through implementation of remote learning solutions. The team realized that to achieve the end goal, it was important to help Midmark teammates understand the clinical and patient experience and how their products help improve patient outcomes. To facilitate the required learning, Midmark strategized and selected multiple methodologies.

Details of the components used in their blended learning program are shared below.

  1. Introductory video

To begin with, the Professional Education team sent an introductory video by their Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tom Schwieterman, explaining that Midmark was going to focus on COPD and Spirometry. The reasons for this choice (listed below) were shared with learners via multiple mediums – posters, on stage with patients, through patient video, etc.

    • COPD is the 3rd leading disease cause of death in United States.
    • There are 160,000 COPD related deaths in the United States every year.
    • It is estimated there are 12-14 million people in the US with COPD that are undiagnosed.  And Spirometry is the most effective and common method for diagnosing COPD.
    • Only about half of Primary Care offices have spirometry test equipment, and if they do, they may not know how to get it into their workflow or interpret the results.
    • COVID-19 has left many people with permanent lung damage that moves them into the COPD realm of care.
    • Midmark believes they can help more clinicians learn how to incorporate spirometry testing into their daily practices and hopefully make a positive impact for patients with COPD.

2. eLearning module

The talking head video was followed with a “What is COPD?” eLearning module. This module provided an overview of what causes COPD, profiles of people with COPD, and Midmark’s solution set.

3. Live presentation

At their annual Commercial Summit, Dr. Tom gave a live presentation on the need to address COPD as a company. This was to reiterate the importance of addressing COPD. They also had posters on the walls around the presentation room with key facts about COPD.

In a remote learning setup, Dr. Tom’s presentation could have been handled via an interactive webinar.

4. Q&A session

And then Midmark brought on stage two patients with stage-4 COPD, to hold a Q&A session with the audience. The Professional Education team had also made a video of the patients telling their stories that was shown before bringing them on stage.

In a remote learning setup, the video could have been streamed remotely and the Q&A could have been held online.

5. Hands-on training session

The team then had the learners rotate through hands-on spirometry testing sessions where they learned to use the spirometry equipment and take tests on themselves.

In a remote learning setup, this could be done remotely via a webinar and through individual coaching as the key sales teammates have their own spirometry devices as part of their sales kit.

6. Gamification modules

Over the next few weeks, the team rolled out 4 ‘Day in the Life of a Patient with COPD’ gamification modules where the learner had to make decisions on how to deal with the impact of COPD in daily life activities. These modules, which were produced by Harbinger, comprised 4 topics

  1. Having a flare-up while doing normal activities
  2. The stigma of having COPD
  3. The responsibility to take care of yourself
  4. Options to keep healthy

Gamification elements such as scores and Patient Wellbeing Indicators were used to increase the engagement level of the modules and emphasize the importance of taking appropriate decisions at right time.

Outcomes

Mid-way through the program, Midmark surveyed a cross section of their sales and marketing teammates. Some of them have very little to do with COPD or selling spirometry products and services.

Here are some key insights

  • 91% of them found Dr. Tom’s overview video Very or Somewhat Useful
  • 97% found the “What is COPD” eLearning module Very or Somewhat Useful
  • 91% found the first Day in the Life gamification module Very or Somewhat Useful
  • No one found any of the above “not useful” even though they may not be involved with spirometry

What is interesting is that the videos and eLearning modules were rated higher than the hands-on spirometry workshops that only received an 80% useful score. The fact that the hands-on spirometry training received relatively less approval as compared to the other learning modalities, speaks about how remote/online learning, if planned and structured well, can get us the desired business results.

Learnings

Here are some key learnings that the Midmark team captured from their whole experience.

  • No matter how short a module is, learners like to know ahead of time how much time it will take them to complete the module
  • They found that allowing teammates to study topics remotely per their personal schedule allowed for more focused attention
  • Learners need to understand how the topic fits into their sales goals and corporate strategies
  • And, the learners’ managers need to understand how important it is for them to proactively support the learning

On June 18, 2020, Midmark Corporation and Harbinger Interactive Learning came together to deliver an insightful webinar touching upon all the above aspects. You may view the webinar recording here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW-IV7yblJs and hear it directly from Cleon Wellington, Professional Education Director at Midmark Corporation. For any further queries or to have a discussion, please reach out to info@harbingerelearning.com.

Moving to Online Classrooms – Getting Ready to Tackle the Coronavirus Pandemic

Enterprises and educational institutes are looking for ways to ensure business continuity in the face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Events are being cancelled, classes are being suspended, travel is being cut down, people are preferring to stay at home. There is no escaping the fact that the world has been hit hard. There is no signal of when life will get back to normal again. And if we go by predictions, the ill effects of this pandemic would continue for long. More cancellations, postponements, and lock-downs will follow.

In such a situation, as educators or enterprise learning stakeholders, how do you make sure business still runs as usual and learning is delivered even when people can’t meet face-to-face? How do you ensure learning is delivered to your students, even when they can’t make it to colleges or universities? How do you maintain employee communication and engagement, like on any regular day?

Well, moving online rapidly, is your best bet right now. Be it your classrooms or other physical training sessions, the need of the hour is to build a digital learning ecosystem that can help you deliver learning and maintain connect, under any circumstances, and without putting anyone’s life at risk.

Harbinger has been a dependable partner for many of its customers in such digital transformation journeys. Taking classrooms online, is not about just jumping on an online meeting tool and delivering the same PowerPoint presentation. It needs different tactics of learner engagement, ensuring the content is received well, performing case studies and other group activities differently, presenting differently, and more. Harbinger’s agile processes and frameworks can help in achieving this transformation rapidly.

Watch this webinar recording to know how Harbinger can help you rapidly take your classroom training online. To schedule an unconditional discussion with our team on this subject or to discuss your requirements, please drop a note to info@harbingerelearning.com.

 

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@harbingerelearning.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.

Five Ways to Instill an Active Safety Behavior at Workplaces

shutterstock_761907331

Dr. Heinrich, an American industrial safety pioneer from the 1930s, claimed that more than 90% of workplace injuries were caused by unsafe acts. In the current context, industry experts across the board are equivocal that workplace safety is imperative for a healthy and productive environment.

According to a concept known as behavior based safety, a major percentage of unsafe acts can be reduced by focusing on at-risk behaviors that can lead to injury. Going one step ahead, this behavior could be further segregated into active, neutral and passive categories. The focus of any organization should be inculcating an active safety behavior in employees. Employees need to know that the cost of not displaying an active safety behavior is as high as endangering their own and their co-workers’ lives.

Now, let’s look at how to go about inculcating this active safety behavior. Here are five simple, yet impactful strategies that could help:

•    Safety communication, everywhere, at all times
Visual safety communication is the most effective way to emphasize on the importance of safety to employees. Visual or digital signage displaying workplace safety content should be strategically deployed throughout your premises, specifically in corridors, cafeterias, common areas, lifts, bulletin boards, and meeting rooms. This ensures that safety constantly remains on top-of-mind for your employees at all times.

•    Recognition for doing the right thing
Recognition motivates employees to do more and better, for protecting them and their workplace’s safety. Leaders at every level in an organziation should promptly recognize employee contributions to incident prevention, and other process improvements that enhance workplace safety.  One of many ways could be, displaying videos and photos of individuals who have excelled at safety practices.

    Hire Safety Experts
You can onboard experienced workplace safety experts on your team. They can talk to employees on a varied range of topics, process improvements and identify training opportunities based on employee behavior pattern. Introduce these people to your employees and make them accessible. Being aware of this direct access can up the employees’ confidence and improve their safety behavior.

•    Impactful Safety Training
Impactful, and not more training, is what it takes to turn neutral or passive safety behavior into an active one. PowerPoints or page turner self-paced learning may be your go-to-medium to train employees on safety practices, but we should ensure that safety is just not about ticking a check box. Whether the training is in a classroom format, self-paced or blended, it should be about inculcating and reinforcing an active safety behavior. Not to forget, the millennials in today’s workforce appreciate training that is interactive and stimulating. This generation is smart, but they have shorter attention spans compared to others. Small bites of information work the best to train them.

Innovative instructional design is another important consideration to develop safety training that makes an impact. Make sure your training integrates videos, infographics, and scenarios that demonstrate safe work practices. Design common scenarios and help employee understand passive and active behaviors, allow the learners to experience scenarios tied with passive to active behavior indicators. Based on the learner’s response to specific scenarios, the indicators can display the learner’s current behavioral level. Immediate feedback can be provided for each scenario and partial or incorrect responses shall prompt the learner to review the safety rule and reattempt the scenario.

•    Leadership Support
Jackie Stewart said, ‘It takes leadership to improve safety’, and that’s totally true. The leadership at all levels in an organization should clearly lay out the expectations from employees. It not only helps highlight the importance of safety; but also strengthens employees’ relationship with the company.

What strategies do you employ at your workplace for instilling an active behavior towards safety and what results have you seen? We would love to know.

From Instructional Design to Experience Design – The Corporate Learning Paradigm Shift

Corporate Learning

The evolution of technology in corporate learning has been rapid yet transformative, giving more power to learners at each step. Today, organizations aim at bringing learning to where employees are. It could be on their smartphones, their tablets, laptops, and even on their smart watches. Giving a learner exactly what they want, and where they want, is the only way to win in this disruptive digital landscape. All this calls for solutions that are employee centric. To design such solutions, the focus needs to shift from instructional design to user experience design on a whole.

If you are thinking about what would constitute impactful user experience design, well, for starters, learning and information support systems should be extremely easy and intuitive to use. We are already so accustomed to the Google and YouTube experience in our lives. Say you are seeking a quick tutorial on how to apply an appliqué patch on your denims. Without even wanting to check with the person sitting next to you, you just type in your query on the Google toolbar or the YouTube app on your phone, and there are thousands of results available in a second. There are videos, infographics, articles, and much more. You choose to view based on your reading and watching preference. And if you don’t like what you see, you quickly move to the other results. So quick and easy, Right?

Consider another case, you need a cab, all you need to do is press a search button on your Uber app, and the app shares information on all cabs available nearby, with the estimated wait time as well. Who could have thought of such a technology sorted life, a decade back! Today, all information is available at your fingertips, and the user experience is constantly improving.

We need to design the same experience for corporate learning. But there is a small catch. The corporate learning experience, because of its formal nature, needs to be a lot more controlled; a lot more guided, whilst appearing as independent as it regularly is. Since there is an explosion of video and instructional content over the internet, it is really difficult to filter out the right information for your employees.

Here are some ideas on how to achieve this:

  • Personalize the experience

They key here is to track employees’ digital footprints at the workplace and based on them, guide the employee into an appropriate and personalized learning flow. Every employee’s learning needs and learning style varies from others. Automated systems powered by artificial intelligence can be used to detect what is best suited for an employee. They can be used to act as gatekeepers to filter the right information from the internet to the company intranet.

  • Categorize content

For easy searching, content can be categorized into multiple types   Informative Instructional, Advanced, Compliance Related, etc. These categories may totally depend on the workplace requirement and make it easier for employees to locate the right module or video depending upon their requirement. Uncategorized content will only lead to more confusion and less learning.

  • Specify learning format

Learning formats could be segregated into two types: Macro-learning and Micro-learning.

Micro-learning is just in time, delivered in small, very specific bursts. Two minute videos could be micro-learning. A short game could be micro-learning. Even a small eBook that takes ten minutes to read through could be micro-learning. We, as users, consume this kind of material all day. This could prove handy when an employee wants to learn a quick thing, or read up on a quick policy, Content curated distinctly as micro-learning lets a user know what to expect.

Macro-learning, on the other hand, is something that covers detailed information related to a topic. It comes in handy when an employee wants to learn an entirely new process or function. For instance, it could be all about social media marketing, or automation testing. Macro-learning can be instructor led, or a series of videos and podcasts, or an entire interactive eBook.

  • Enable ratings

When there is abundant information available to be consumed within an organization, it makes sense to learn from other’s experience too. Courses, videos, or other learning objects need to have a provision where employees can rate them. It makes more sense to view a video course with 5 stars on ‘Retargeting’ than a 1 star video. An ‘Effective Sales Strategy’ podcast liked by 50 employees stands a higher chance of being heard than a similar one liked by only 12.

  • Add pre-assessments

Assessments added prior to an important course or module make learning much more controlled and better guided. Such exercises can give a sense of what the employee already knows and what s(he) still needs to learn.

The above steps can ensure that employees can find the information they need wherever they are. Such a design replicates the massive YouTube or Google like learning experience into your corporate learning. The key is to step into the user’s shoes and focus on the user experience design.

Thoughts?

 

Note: This blog has been drafted based on inputs from the following members of Harbinger’s Industrial Advisory Board:

  • Patti Evanosky, Director of Training, Chicken Salad Chick
  • Paul Meek, Director, Solutions Training and Advisory Limited
  • Jayant Kulkarni, Chief of Sales, Harbinger Interactive Learning