Content Modernization Strategy: Need of the Hour

To adapt to technology disruptions and meet the modern-day learners’ demands, many organizations are looking at modernizing their existing learning material. But modernization is not only about repackaging an ‘old wine in a new bottle’, but it should ideally be looked at as a transformational strategy to deliver business results by creating new and unique experiences for the learners. In fact, it should be embraced as an opportunity:

  • For business leaders to align strategic objectives
  • For L&D heads to transition from a culture of training to a culture of learning
  • For HR as an ongoing upskilling initiative
  • For people leaders to provide learning in the flow of work

Having said the above, modernization comes with its fair share of challenges. In order to arrive at a robust and proven modernization framework that can be successfully implemented, it is absolutely essential to spend efforts on understanding the key factors that are driving the need for modernization. Here are a couple of factors that could be considered while designing a modernization strategy:

Technology disruptions

There are multiple technology disruptions that are happening all around us. Technology in itself has undergone numerous transformational processes impacting the way learning is delivered, perceived, and consumed. While organizations need to leverage technology to meet the need of the hour; the modernization strategy has to factor in this reality by future-proofing the content for new technological disruptions.

Skill Gaps

The Covid 19 pandemic has suddenly accelerated the need for new workforce skills. According to a new McKinsey Global Survey on future workforce needs, nearly nine in ten executives and managers say their organizations either face skill gaps already or expect gaps to develop within the next five years. Owing to the new generation of learners and needs of modern-day workplace, new skill areas are popping up regularly. Closing on the skills gap and enabling employee growth should be one of the strategic themes of the modernization initiative.

The Modern-day Learner

The profile, preference and habits of learners keep on changing because society, workplace, and technology continue to evolve. While the modernization initiative should account for the needs of the modern-day learner, it should not be limited just to millennials and Gen Z. It should be more holistic, starting right from the baby boomers.

Maintenance

As content owners, one of the key things is to ensure that we are able to maintain content that we are developing. For instance, a pharma company has to ensure that the content is updated as per latest FDA regulations. The other aspect of maintenance is the variety of technology infrastructure that is being used to deliver content. Today you might have a SCORM LMS in place and you design and develop content for it, but tomorrow, if an xAPI compliant LMS comes into picture, the requirement would be to pass data into the Learning Record Store (LRS) of the LMS. The modernization strategy should account for such technology changes and make content available in a format which could be easily transitioned.

Have you come across any other factors which might be driving the need for content modernization? You can write to us at info@harbingerlearning.com and we would be happy to have a conversation.

Cultivating a Learning Culture with an AI-powered Virtual Coach

Companies are increasingly putting themselves in the shoes of their employees to develop strategies that would result in a more committed and productive workforce. Cultivating a learning culture can be a constructive step in this direction. Prioritizing learning with a significant focus on upskilling and reskilling is the need of the hour.

Talent retention was never easy, and the global pandemic has made this all the more challenging. According to a study, 38% of employees are engaged and 13% are actively disengaged at work.

Transformation of a workplace culture into one that promotes continuous learning doesn’t happen overnight, but some steps can be taken to get started. To begin with, organizations should start focusing on delivering better learning experiences.

Unique learning experiences – The secret sauce

With a focus on making this cultural transformation successful, organizations are required to captivate learning into their core values and build a firm belief of leadership support among employees. The crucial part is to design a top-notch learning experience. It can be easily done by prioritizing the following key components.

  • Make learner-centered strategies a priority
  • Make learning available in the flow of work
  • Include rewards as a key component

AI is everywhere, and it has a lot of potential in the L&D world. We discussed the significant role of AI in ‘making learning an everyday work’, in full detail in one of our previous blogs. In case you missed that one, read here.

AI bots for close interactions

For quite some time now, many companies have been using AI bots to provide cutting-edge digital customer interactions. According to research, consumer retail spending via chatbots is expected to reach $142 billion by 2024. Chatbots encourage engaging dialogues, and AI allows the bot to be responsive, agile, and adaptable. Chatbots that are more advanced learn from each conversation, identifying preferences and providing recommendations based on previous requests. Chatbots enable collaborative working practices by facilitating information exchange, makes learning an everyday part of the workflow, and providing a training experience that is similar to conversing with a colleague…a few of the many ways chatbots make meaningful interactions by providing efficient learning support.

Furthermore, AI-based bots can readily adjust to each person’s learning demands and help them attain a more meaningful learning experience.

However, every organization has its own distinct and structured work ecosystem, which cannot be denied. The integration of AI-coach into an existing workplace ecosystem is what the L&D leaders are concerned about.

Integrating AI in an existing workplace learning ecosystem

AI is increasingly being adopted and implemented into businesses of all sizes, to increase revenue, lower operational costs, engage with customers, and automate day-to-day tasks. HR professionals are using AI to speed up the sorting and filtering of resumes, onboarding candidates, creating new roles and altering organizational structures. Also, HR leaders need to respond with effective and adaptive learning and development programs that will not only help train people but also lead to measurable payoffs.

AI integration into the workplace is surely going to unravel unexpected benefits. Organizations can make AI integration successful by taking the following four areas into their consideration.

    • Identifying the sweet spot inside an existing ecosystem where AI can be implemented. For instance, let us suppose a company adopts Microsoft Teams as a productivity tool. A layer of AI-enabled virtual coach could be introduced in the Microsoft Teams environment to assist the users.
    • Delivering content at the point of need with the help of an AI-enabled virtual coach. For content to be AI-ready, it must be searchable, accessible, integration-friendly, and include meta tags for media material to facilitate access. When a learner seeks an answer to a question without going through the complete learning material, an AI-enabled virtual coach can provide an answer within a matter of a second.
    • A virtual coach, by gauging numerous learner metrics and learning patterns, can measure the learning outcomes. The outcomes-based learning approach is an effective way to build specific competencies in a learner, to master several skills. This can increase employee motivation and can instill trust in employees.
    • AI-powered chatbots can double employee engagement by helping organizations to stay connected with their employees through continuous feedback capture and handling various aspects of an employee’s learning lifecycle.

What is it about this coach that makes it so effective? Undoubtedly, the ability to deliver personalized learning experiences. The image below depicts a high-level workflow of a virtual coach in the flow of work.


(AI-enabled Virtual Coach Workflow)

Perhaps AI is on its way to becoming the next technological advancement, and this has already started. By combining big data and other machine learning technologies, AI-powered virtual coaches can bring a multitude of benefits to the table.

Proactive support to the learners, understanding learning preferences, and keeping learners up to date are some of the benefits of the AI-powered Virtual coach. It also generates an ecosystem of nudges to boost learning and supports ongoing performance management.

Organizations are moving from a culture of training to a culture of learning. Technology has an important role to play here and AI is on its way to becoming the next remarkable thing in L&D.

Are you planning to incorporate AI into your workplace to improve learning and development?

Get in touch with us to discuss more!

Five Questions Every Gamification
Enthusiast Asks

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve heard about Gamification and want to include it into your training programs, or you have already implemented it, and want to do more with it. During my conversations with various customers, I realized that they all have few common questions while learning or implementing Gamification.

This blog addresses all those common questions that most Gamification enthusiasts usually come up with.

Question 1. Our eLearning training programs are not working; employees leave them halfway. Should we implement Gamification-based learning to bring employees back to the training?

Even before talking about implementing Gamified learning programs, we as consultants like to identify the reasons why training programs may not be working by asking the following questions:

  • What is the business problem the training program addresses?
  • What is the learner profile?
  • Is the quality of course content relevant, engaging, and up to date?
  • Has the program been pitched/communicated to the learners?
  • Has the course been designed as per the learner’s demographic?
  • Is there a lack of sense of progression and achievement?

To summarize, understand what your people need, design the course to engage them, and measure progress. Then gather feedback to find out what can be improved – because it always can!

Question 2. A majority of our workforce are millennials. Can gamification be the answer to make the eLearning programs effective?

Millennials are an immensely social and technologically savvy generation, yet they require continuous motivation and stimulation. Being natural gamers and digital natives, gamification appears to be an appropriate solution to attract and motivate millennials to work efficiently in the workplace. Simple game elements can be used in eLearning programs to redesign mundane courses and make them more interesting and engaging. They also help the learner perform better at work.

Question 3. Our workforce is adult learners and playing games is not what they like. Would you still recommend Gamification for this audience?

The terms “gamification” and “game-based learning” are frequently misunderstood. “Game-based” and “gamification” are two different eLearning strategies.

Game-based learning is where the learner plays games and, in the process, learns. For example, “Who wants to be a millionaire” is a game and we all learn in the process as we play that game.

Gamification, uses game mechanics such as leaderboards, points systems, badges, and up-leveling to tap a learner’s natural human drive for competition and achievement.

So, depending on the type of training topics such as marketing, sales, onboarding, financial training, compliance, money laundering, and others, the actual characters or structure of the course can be defined and designed.

Gamification as a learning strategy can definitely be considered for all age groups and for a variety of topics.

Question 4. Is implementing Gamification expensive and how can I justify the return on investment (ROI)?

This question should be valid not only for gamification but for any kind of newly launched learning program. All projects should be undertaken with a clear business goal in mind. For example, how has the training improved measurable business outcomes like improved customer ratings, successful handling of the number of support tickets, sales outcomes, better quality output, reduced number of customer escalations, and many more.

About cost – Gamification when implemented with the right technology solution is not expensive. Harbinger has designed a gamification framework that helps our customers implement the right gamification solution rapidly and in a cost-effective way.

Question 5. Can we implement Gamification to sustain for the long-term?

Gamification should not mask the symptoms of a broken system. Companies should implement it with a proper strategy on how it can sustain learner’s interest in the long term.

A study conducted by Karl Kapp over the course of three years demonstrates that a well-designed gamification strategy can sustain learner’s interest over time. In the sample study, he demonstrated that the impact of various game elements such as leaderboards and rewards continued to have a positive effect on its learners.

Therefore, Gamification as a strategy for eLearning programs is definitely effective if implemented with a thorough analysis of the business problem and learner’s profile.

What are your thoughts on gamification as an approach for content planning? Please comment below or drop us a note at info@harbingerlearning.com to discuss more.

How technology is solving L&D
problems in organizations today

Increasing employee engagement in the learning process is becoming a key challenge many organizations face with regards to eLearning in the workplace. The year 2020 toppled the way organizations worked, with the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown dictating an accelerated adoption of technology, to quickly realign with the new normal. As remote work picked up at a rapid pace, the Learning and Development (L&D) industry was faced with newer set of challenges.

In the changing environment, on the one hand, upskilling and reskilling are the need of the hour with additional requirement to make learning seamless and intuitive for employees in the workplace. On the other, organizations need to be proactive to identify these gaps while investing time, effort, and money to use the appropriate L&D strategies.

According to a LinkedIn survey report, 64% of L&D pros globally agree that L&D shifted from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” in 2021.

Yet another challenge revolves around millennials who have grown up during the changing face of technology. Labeled as a ‘distracted generation’, lengthy eLearning classroom training sessions pose a struggle for the employee who is juggling a work-life balance. Online programs need to be developed to tailor to modern needs and offer a learning motive for professionals with a shorter attention span. Organizations also face the difficulty of the creation of new courses with additional costs incurred to modernize legacy but instructionally sound content. Besides, long formats of content are often viewed as an “optional” activity by employees.

Driving Technology to Enhance Learning Methods

So, how can technology support to deliver content that addresses these issues? Let us find out!

AI-Powered Learning Systems

Learning experience platforms (LXP) powered by AI are a preferred solution when weighed against the traditional Learning Management System (LMS). LXPs support business firms to identify skill gaps, offer personalization, display analytics to determine human behaviors, preferences, and performance. As LXPs support predicting the learners’ style and patterns, it goes beyond the offerings of a traditional LMS. The flexibility of LXPs, thus powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), plays a vital role in changing the learning style.

Microlearning Formats

Employees often do not show preference to consuming lengthy training formats. Implementation of learning in the flow of work resolves the issue.

Adoption of microlearning formats such as text, images, short videos and audios, games, quizzes, and more are useful for bite-sized learning modules. Microlearning programs are cost-effective and cater to the busy employees of today by offering them engaging content without the weight of a lengthy course. This format may not be suitable for all types of certification programs that may include longer content formats. However, Harbinger’s xSmart framework supports organizations to identify the key learning areas and present lengthy content in a smarter framework within no time!

Responsive Learning Design

According to the eLearning industry, 70% of learners experience greater motivation to access training on a mobile device.

Responsive eLearning designs create an improved learning experience while generating higher engagement. As smartphones have taken over as a preferred platform for a majority of online activities, responsive learning designs that are mobile-friendly offer complete flexibility. Mobile learning thus gives access to education anytime.

Immersive Learning Experiences

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) offer highly immersive learning experiences to employees, supporting to retain attention in a remote-working age. Technology has evolved with VR headsets while simulating real-world scenarios in the digital space. The application of AR/VR technology breaks down the complexities of a subject to provide greater interaction while allowing employees to learn at their own pace.

Modern-day employees require the learning process to be tailored to their needs. Technology in itself has undergone multiple transformational processes to change the way learning is delivered, perceived, and consumed. Organizations need to leverage technology to meet the need of the hour. If you’re looking to scale up your digital programs and modernize content in no time, write to us at info@harbingerlearning.com to discuss more.

Gamification: An Effective Strategy to Enhance Learning Outcomes

Gamification is a great prospect to consider when searching for an approach to enhance the learning outcomes of a training program. It could be the most straightforward strategy to boost learner satisfaction and engagement. What is gamification, and how can it be leveraged for developing a forward-looking eLearning content strategy?  This must be on the top of the mind of any Learning & Development (L&D) or HR leader in today’s time.

Harbinger Interactive Learning had the privilege of hosting some of the world’s highly accomplished learning and development leaders for an engaging Interactive Learning Power Hour – an industry expert’s roundtable discussion. These experts had an in-depth and intriguing discussion on the various aspects of gamification – starting from the need, to the context, to the benefits as also from challenges to strategies. This session included Chris Bryant (CEO, Bryant Group Experience), Cleon Wellington (Director, Professional Education Midmark Corp), Smita Kanakula (Architect – User Experience, Harbinger Systems), and Anurag Biswas (Instructional Designer, Harbinger Interactive Learning). The discussion was led and facilitated by Dr. Vikas Joshi (CEO, Harbinger Group).

Check out this video to hear the whole discussion.

When people hear the word “gamification,” they immediately think of a computer game. They are right on the basic idea, but this is not quite what gamification in content development entails.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the addition of game mechanics to a user interface through the use of marketing or instructional content. It is a method of repurposing information that takes advantage of game motivations. Gamification, according to Dr. Joshi is the application of gaming aspects to a process that is otherwise mundane. The core purpose of gamification is to increase involvement and improve outcomes.

Gamification has gained a lot of traction as a result of the Internet and other new technologies.  And, learning & development leaders (L&D) have taken notice. Everyone is probably more familiar with gamification than they realize. Even if it isn’t immediately acknowledged, it is already a common practice. And here is why it should matter to any company whose primary goal is to improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

Why Should It Matter?

Some people find Gamification challenging and a tedious task to perform. But, according to Cleon, gamification is not at all complicated and it is going to be the next big thing in content production. It is more about the attitude of how to put the gamification elements together. The complete thought process compiled to create the gamified content is what makes gamification interesting and worth considering. Gamification is exciting and engaging not only for content designers but also for learners.

On their first game, Midmark received overwhelmingly positive feedback from their internal teams. Ninety one percent (91%) of them not only found the game beneficial to their learning but, most importantly, enjoyed participating. The drive to compete and beat one’s previous score is what motivates learners to keep going, said Cleon. Self-directed learning is at par, he added.

The motivational aspect of gamification is supported by numbers from a 2021 market share analysis report.

gamification_motivation_percentage_for_students_employees-statistics

Chris Bryant, on the other hand, considers gamification and the data that supports it to be critical. Gamification extends beyond the standard eLearning training model. It converts a commendable number of learners towards training by making it fun and engaging. It includes surprises, feedback, and numerous constituent opportunities for learners to try new things. Gamification, when done correctly, reduces the stigma associated with training. It shifts employee’s mindset from ‘I have to’ to ‘I want to’.  “It is undeniably the way of the future”, he continued, “and there is no way we are turning our back.”

Thus, there are numerous benefits of introducing gamification in the workplace. This is the reason why more and more businesses are turning to gamified content development as it boosts employees’ intrinsic motivation, increases learner’s engagement and competitiveness, influences behavioral change, incorporates the spirit of competition, sense of achievement, and leads to better employee retention.

Gamification Strategies

If you are not aware of how gamifying content works or what aspects need to be considered while creating gamified content, it is recommended that you listen to the recording of the Power Hour. The panelists discuss in detail how it is just a matter of coming up with the correct idea and getting it in front of your target audience. Start with the quick spots that are depicted in the diagram below, say the experts.

Gamification_strategies

While some of the games you may see are animated, it needn’t be as complicated or fancy everytime.  One can apply simple strategies and frameworks as a starting point. The beautiful thing about gamification is that it provides the creators varied approaches that can be adopted. Scores, Leaderboards, Quizzes, Badges, Levelling, Challenges, Progress bar, Rewards, Timer are some of the specialized and widely used gamification elements. Nike, Starbucks, Duolingo, Fitbit are some of the well-known brands that have made gamification an intrinsic part of their offerings.

Gamification isn’t just a fancy buzz word. It’s a glue that binds multiple aspects within an organization. The benefits of gamification in corporate training and learning cannot be overlooked.

What are your thoughts on gamification as an approach for content planning? Please comment below or drop us a note at info@harbingerlearning.com to discuss more.

gamification_power_hour_harbinger_learning

Gamification: Things to Consider as Part of Your Content Development Strategy