Why Do We Need a Content Modernization Strategy Now More than Ever Before?

To adapt to technology disruptions and meet the modern-day learners’ demands, many organizations are looking at modernizing their existing learning material. But sometimes, modernization could be mistaken purely as transformation from Flash to HTML5 and in an oversight; the bigger underlying opportunity could be overlooked. A broader definition of modernization and a bigger picture could help prevent this. Modernization should ideally be looked at as a transformational strategy to deliver business results by creating unique experiences for learners. It provides an opportunity for business leaders to align strategic objectives. L&D heads could use modernization to transition from a culture of training to a culture of learning and upskilling. And the modern-day learner could get required information in the flow of work.

Modernization can come with its fair share of challenges. A robust and proven modernization framework would help us sail towards successful implementation and logical conclusion of this initiative. We’ll talk about the framework in detail in an upcoming blog, for now, we’ll focus on the key factors which are driving the need for modernization in the modern-day workplace.

Technology Disruptions

In 1991, a web legend named Sir Tim Berners-Lee created HTML5. The WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group) continued evolving it. One of the key objectives of developing HTML5 was to have a better alternative to Flash. More than two and a half decades, a plethora of devices, operating systems, and multiple browser combinations later, we have actually come to a point wherein Adobe is officially closing curtains on Flash. By December 2020, Adobe will stop supporting Flash; In fact, browsers like Chrome and Firefox have announced that they would stop supporting Flash from as early as July 2019.

This is just one example of technology disruption, there are multiple happening around us. The modernization strategy to counter this needs to be two fold; firstly, come abreast with major disruptions that have happened till now and secondly, have a mechanism to future-proof content. Today we live in the era of HTML5; a lot is being built around it. But tomorrow when HTML6 comes out, it shouldn’t call for a distinct modernization initiative. The strategy right now should account for future-proofing.

Skills Gap

The ‘skills gap’ across the globe, including the United States, is pretty serious. As per McKinsey’s reports, almost 40 percent of American employers say they cannot find people with the skills they need, even for entry-level jobs. As L&D stakeholders, we are tasked with the responsibility of making learning available for the modern-day learner to close on the skills gap and in turn, help our organization and employees grow together.

We also have to account for things which were not in our list till late. Owing to the new generation of learners and needs of modern-day workplace, new skill areas are popping up regularly. Diversity and inclusivity as soft-skills or block chain as a technical skill are appropriate examples of such new learning areas. The modernization strategy needs to account for all such needs. Closing on the skills gap and enabling employee growth should be one of the strategic themes of the modernization initiative.

The Modern-Day Learner

There is so much that has been written about the modern-day learner. Without being overtly critical about their learning habits, let’s acknowledge the fact that the evolution of the modern-day learner is happening because society, workplace, and technology, almost everything is evolving. The modern-day learner is just trying to keep pace with the ever increasing demands. We know their attention spans have reduced, they get distracted, and overwhelmed easily. They want learning to be made available in a timely manner, and in a format which is easy for them to consume. But the good news is that they have made their expectations loud and clear. It makes it so much easier for us to plan and deliver accordingly.

While we talk about the modern-day learner, we need to be mindful of the fact that 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

Brian Marick once quoted, ‘Development is maintenance’. This sounds so apt in our discussion for the need of a modernization strategy. 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.

Business Re-Alignment

Enterprises are going through digital transformation. The manufacturing industry is talking about Industrial revolution 4.0. L&D stakeholders want to transform from a culture of training to a culture of learning. All this will eventually culminate into a new ecosystem. And a key component of that ecosystem would be the way people are learning or consuming content. It seems improbable that Boyle’s Law would get replaced but the way people would want to know about Boyle’s Law is definitely going to change.

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.

Six Factors to Consider before Formulating Your Nudge-Learning Strategy

In the modern-day workplace, L&D stakeholders have a greater & bigger responsibility than ever before . The need of the hour is to help employees by providing them effective learning solutions that cut through the noise. Nudge-learning, indeed, has the potential of solving some key modern-day workplace issues. But before you get into formulating your nudge-learning strategy, it is imperative to consider some key aspects listed below.

  1. Differentiate the sound from the noise very early in the game

At times it is very easy to get buoyed by trending fad words. Simply because the sound of nudge sounds interesting, doesn’t imply that you have to jump on the band wagon. Nudge-learning could be a good way to solve challenges but it is important to identify if it fits in your organization’s overall learning strategy. The question to ask is, ‘Is it good enough to solve a specific challenge for you, your team, and your organization?’

  1. Tie it with your organizational goals

Ensure that you have identified the sweet spot for implementing nudge-learning in your organization. Some questions to ask here would be; Is it solving a particular business challenge? Can the outcome of nudge-learning be tied to any organizational goal(s)?

One such case that exemplifies this is of Google, wherein they nudged their managers with bite-sized content to foster a psychologically-safe team culture. They called it the ‘Whisper’ courses.

  1. Don’t overlook change management

If nudge is something new which you are planning to implement in your organization, then the last thing you want to do is overlook change management. In principle, majority would recognize that change is necessary.  They might support it theoretically.  But once it comes to the implementation stage, you can expect to hit a wall of resistance. So, before you go down this path, it is important to strategize about how you aim to bring about this change with a majority buy-in.

  1. Leverage the EAST framework

You need to look for ways that help you successfully leverage the EAST framework. It literally has to be as simple as it sounds –  easy, accessible, social, and timely. We’ll delve deep into this framework at the right time, but for now we can focus on what Michael Jordan quoted about frameworks “I want people to understand, gambling is not a bad thing if you do it within the framework of what it’s meant to be, which is fun and entertaining.”

  1. Define the end goals and key performance indicators

Since you have already contemplated about what you want to achieve with nudge-learning, set the strategy up for success by clearly defining these goals. Relevant, specific, and well-defined goals will take you one step closer to achieving them. Goals are also an important component of monitoring success. The right performance indicators defined at the onset will help you determine how you are performing on your goals.

  1. Do not overdo it

An important principle around which nudge-learning pivots, is the principle of least coercion. Remember that the success of nudge-learning lays in the fact that it is not intrusive. It allows the modern-day learner to learn in the flow of work. We should respect this and ensure we do not overdo it.

Feel free to share your thoughts, suggestions, or any other factors which you might want to point out. You can reach out to us at info@harbingerlearning.com.

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.