How the Metaverse is Changing Learning and Education

‘Metaverse’ and the buzz around the word! You can’t deny the fact that in the year 2022 the metaverse made the most buzz and quite a headway in eLearning. Are you curious about the buzz and willing to dive deep into the world of the metaverse? Then, this blog post is for you!

Humans can’t imagine their lives without technology today. Moreover, the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the scale, implementation, and adoption of several emerging technologies, resulting in the digital revolution.

Several industries, including gaming, entertainment, FinTech, and even education, are making forays into the metaverse. They are using the metaverse to not just engage with their players or customers but also as an emerging technology for training, onboarding, and other aspects. Digital transformation is no more a luxury but has become a necessity to survive in today’s digital world.

Before understanding how the metaverse will transform digital education, let’s first answer the basic question.

What is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is defined as a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on a social connection. The digitally stimulated, interactive virtual world is facilitated using VR and AR headsets, also known as meta-quest devices. The VR/AR headsets have stereoscopic viewports that give a 360-degree or realistic3D experience, while hand-held controllers help one interact with the virtual environment. The metaverse is a rapidly evolving technology that is both immersive and synchronous.

A recent report by J.P. Morgan estimated the market opportunity for the metaverse at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues. According to Markets and Markets, the global metaverse market is expected to grow at 47.2% CAGR during the forecast period 2022-2027 and reach a $426.9 billion valuation by 2027. Digital platforms and tech giants are already gearing up the metaverse, an economy predicted to expand to $13 trillion with 5 billion users by 2030, as per a new Citi GPS report.

Metaverse: The Future of eLearning

The metaverse is already revolutionizing the areas of training and onboarding. With its engaging experience, we can reduce the time taken compared to traditional methods. Several studies have shown that learning through experience increases learning quality and improves retention.

Experts have predicted that the metaverse is likely to change the face of online learning. As eLearning evolves, we can expect it to become a far more digital experience. With the advent of the metaverse, there is an opportunity for the eLearning industry to elevate the learning experience further.

Metaverse: The Future of eLearning through experience increases learning quality and improves retention

Every day, experts are working on developing innovative ways of learning by creating content using the metaverse. These learning materials provide more engaging learning experiences embodied using real-world scenarios. In conjunction with the traditional pen-paper syllabus, these are likely to herald big changes in L&D and education.

The metaverse can potentially enable students to virtually teleport to any place, at any time. So, with the help of meta-quest devices, a person’s metaverse avatar could visit ancient Rome, walk around the streets, visit the markets, and learn first-hand, albeit virtually, how people lived nearly 2000 years ago.

It could also help students enact real-life scenarios and learn with role-playing techniques. One great example could be in soft skills. For example, a mock meeting in the metaverse can be a good training ground to learn techniques to deal with bullying at the workplace.

Thus, the metaverse holds a lot of potential for learning and teaching, as it helps learners to visualize the textbook syllabus outside the classroom using VR. As a result, the metaverse undoubtedly makes learning both unforgettable and fun.

Let’s dive deeper in the different ways the metaverse positively impacts learning and education.

1. Bringing online environments to life

Virtual classrooms and campuses can be created as per learners’ needs and requirements. Further, they will be able to create their own avatars making the learning curve easy and flexible. Through the avatars, learners can visit libraries, sit in different lecture halls or classrooms, hang out with peers from different parts of the world.

Experts believe that such simulated environments that offer a range of digital experiences to learners will democratize the education sector. This enables the coming together of learners belonging to varied economic backgrounds from across the world.

2. Improving real-world skilling

Well-designed, curated content combined with spatial design and data science helps improve engagement. The immersive experience will help learners with the 6Cs – Collaboration, Communication, Content, Critical thinking, Creative innovation, and Confidence.

A metaverse avatar can learn various skills and tasks that could be further useful in real life. As a result, the learner has more freedom to learn and practice new skills without any fear of making mistakes or any related consequences.

Immersive Learning Experience puts into action the 6c's of how learners learn

3. Promoting interpersonal communication/interaction

Interpersonal communication or interaction is not easy in the online mode of learning. However, the metaverse allows virtual characters to interact. Thus, learners’ avatars on the metaverse will be able to not just socialize with their peers, but also study together, collaborate on projects, and connect with their teachers – all of which enhances the learning experience.

4. Enriching gamification

There are a lot of benefits to the gamification of learning. Apart from improving the problem-solving capabilities of learners, it is known to make learning fun and memorable. In the metaverse, gamification is taken to the next level. Lessons can be converted into game-based activities that will engage learners with realistic environment focused to increase their knowledge and skills, making learning both engaging and experiential.

5. Insights into the learner’s behavior

By creating immersive learning environments, content developers and organizations, like Meta, will get an insight into learners’ behavior. The data that they collect can be used to not just track learners’ progress, but also to identify gaps to improve upon the learning experience by developing more engaging content.

The Metaverse gives learners an immersive environment that is engaging and experiential

Embracing the Metaverse

The metaverse is an emerging technology that can become the next big thing. The technology is still in the nascent stage, though several sectors have started to exploit it. The metaverse holds the promise to be a game-changer in the eLearning sector, as it gives learners an immersive environment that is engaging and experiential. As eLearning evolves and embraces new technologies, the potential is limitless.

To learn more about how immersive learning experiences can enhance the quality of your eLearning, write to us now.

Future of Learning and Automation for Environmental Health and Safety

Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) are like the three stands of a tripod that supports and maintains the stability of an object placed on it. Industries such as manufacturing and consumer goods on EHS support serve as a wonderful example of this analogy.

It is known that those working in the manufacturing industry are directly exposed to various industrial hazards like:

  • Accidents due to unsafe conditions and unsafe work practices
  • Occupational health diseases due to polluted environments
  • Stress from technology/process change resulting in skill dilution or knowledge gaps

The cost of workforce lost due to accidents or sickness, the cost of equipment downtime, or underutilization due to any of these factors are also not unknown to employers.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 2.3 million men and women across the globe succumb to work-related diseases or accidents each year. This corresponds to 6,000+ deaths each day. Annually, there are some 160 million victims of work-related illnesses and 340 million occupational accidents worldwide.

Hence, it is but natural that employers would take certain measures to implement a system for monitoring and controlling these adverse factors. For example, employers would look for their in-house inventory of knowledge or many a times, age-old manual techniques which include heavy use of paper/standard operation procedures (SOPs)/rule books.

Considering the digitization of the same, leveraging in-house computer literates would rather be a tall ask. Furthermore, considering that EHS is a multidisciplinary function, professionals come from diverse backgrounds. Such backgrounds majorly lack digital, data or statistics-intensive skills, such as IT or finance. Hence, the problem statement always remains the same.

Through this blog post, I would like to highlight why it is preferable to go online (i.e., digital) through tailor-made software programmed by professionals in the field, rather than taking a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach.

When the whole world is going digital from wishing “Good Morning” to “Good Night,” then why not go digital for more serious business like EHS and product/equipment training?

Presented below is a compilation of a few major accident-specific case studies as illustrations:

1. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire | March 25, 1911 (Saturday)

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory situated in New York City caught fire on the 8th floor packed with cloth and sewing workers. The fire left 146 people dead – charred by flames, suffocated by fumes, or jumped down from windows in panic.

This ghastly workplace accident in the United States redefined the American industrial workforce by giving birth to modern safety regulations. According to shocking revelations from the investigation,

  • It had been a practice to keep the entry and exit doors closed to prevent workers from sneaking out
  • Water hoses were dry
  • Water sprinklers were defunct
  • The only fire exit was too narrow for the rush
  • The only elevator’s capacity was inadequate to handle evacuation

Had a single factor out of these mentioned been all right, a calamity of such enormous magnitude could have been averted or the severity could have been reduced.

A realization that ‘incidence of any disaster which was avoidable amounts to manmade disaster’ formed the basis of ‘Industrial Safety’ – to which ‘Environment’ and ‘Health’ got integrated later and adapted by countries where the process of industrialization was followed.

100 years later…

2. The Tazreen Fashion Factory Fire | November 24, 2012 (Saturday)

The Tazreen Fashion Factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh caught fire on the ground floor warehouse packed with fabric, and flames leaped up to the 9th floor, leaving 117 dead. Revelations from the investigation here too were no different. This tragedy immediately came under the global spotlight because the factory mass produced T-shirts bearing internationally reputed labels for many big banner retailers.

As a reaction to the fires in garment factories, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on casualty in textile factory fires. The resolution called on governments to effectively implement ILO Core Labor Standards and highlights ILO health and safety conventions, in particular No. 187 and No. 155. The ILO Office strongly welcomed this resolution.

This is just a case in point. Despite this, such incidents take place all over the world.

3. The Lac-Mégantic Train Disaster | July 6, 2013 (Saturday)

A huge freight train containing 72 tanker cars loaded with crude and driven by five engines broke away from the securement applied on it for night parking on uphill track. It slowly started rolling backward down the slope and finally got derailed on a level crossing while nearing the Lac-Mégantic town (Quebec, Canada). The tankers smashed into a chaotic jumble.

Six million gallons of spilt oil formed a ‘burning river’ sweeping through the sleeping town, consuming 47 people in flames, and destroying most of the buildings. Investigations revealed the reasons behind such a calamity to be pretty simple, like:

  • Lack of training
  • Violation of safety norms
  • Non-adherence to SOPs
  • Bad repairs, and so on

Human error resulted in total disaster which was otherwise avoidable if aided by shared knowledge that comes through digitization.

The above case of devastation exemplifies what can happen when computerized information stays compartmentalized in individual sections. Seamless collaborative learning on the job breaks this wall towards always ensuring employee safety standards – even when everyone is sleeping!

Though incidences of industrial accidents are numerous, most of them point out to the fact that accidents do not come without a warning. Taking cues from them, one must take timely actions. It is also said that “only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.”

An organization needs to make sure that the workplace is safe if they are to stay in the business. An unsafe condition or potential threat that can cause an accident is noticeable to the grassroot-level worker. A smart system that converts their observations to common knowledge is always a good preventive measure.

Accident prevention through a smart system leveraging such actionable insights can also align well to the wise saying

Accident prevention through a smart system leveraging such actionable insights can also align well to the wise saying – “Prevention is better than cure.”

Though benefits derived from digitization have been illustrated in the context of Safety (one leg in the tripod stand analogy), on the same premise, they relate to the other two legs (Environment and Health) as well.

Check out how Harbinger helped a wind turbine manufacturer with the digitization of their classroom-based safety training program. We enabled many business benefits for our client, such as increased outreach of their important safety program for the transport personnel – one of their key business stakeholders and contributors, reduction of logistic and operational costs, and availability of a standardized training program in multiple languages.

Read the success story

Digitalization in Monitoring Industrial Wastewater Management

The purpose of digitally connecting industrial production plants with wastewater treatment plants is demand-oriented, and the dynamic operation of wastewater treatment plants is based on real-time data. This data, together with online measurement data, is used by a digital twin to model the kinetics of wastewater treatment and derive the optimum wastewater treatment operation mode.

Digitalization in Monitoring Industrial Emission (Air Pollution)

The purpose of digitally connecting different sampling and analyzing stations (either using conventional chemical apparatus or IoT-based sensors) is analyzing trends and mapping the source of air pollutants beyond immediate surroundings. For example: the occurrence of acid rain at remote locations from the source and the prevention thereafter.

Digitalization in Monitoring Waste Generation (Soil Contamination)

The purpose is to create a digital platform connecting recyclers, collectors, and waste producers to facilitate traceable material flows and create digital marketplaces. Customers are also enabled for data-driven decision-making and optimization of trash collection routes, frequencies, and vehicle loads as done by operations research technique.

Digitalization in Monitoring Occupational Health

The purpose of placing occupational health on the digital platform is health surveillance through periodic health checkups, recording, retrieving, and reporting health parameters. This helps with digitally enabling prompt detection of ailments and treatment in the mutual interest of the employer as well as the employee. Remember, a happy and healthy staff is more productive, loyal, and less likely to take time away from work.

Besides, health surveillance can be made mandatory by law, especially for organizations where employees are exposed to occupational hazards like solvents, fumes, dust, vibration, noise, biological agents, and ionizing radiation, giving rise to a host of occupational health diseases.

Considering all the above observations, the panacea for global EHS problems is seamless, collaborative, and effective digital learning. Such learning can be undertaken in any form like instructor-led training (ILT), virtual instructor-led training (vILT), blended learning, nudge-based learning, or gamified learning.

Harbinger: Your Thought Partner

If you need a thought partner to help co-create a new and proven digital transformation and automation strategy to meet all your EHS compliance objectives, Harbinger’s learning design and technology consultants are your best bet. Our experts come with over three decades of eLearning product engineering and content services experience and have served 250+ global clients.

Success Story

Here’s an interesting case study I would like to share.

Client Profile

  • Our esteemed client provides biosecurity and biosafety training to local biopharma companies to apply best practices within their organizations
  • They support an online library to easily access the training courses

Digitization Need

  • To build a nudge-learning web app for the SOPs and leverage it to reinforce learning for employees of enterprise end customers (B2B)
  • The web app should send one or more assessment questions as nudges on a periodical basis, along with microlearning content to provide more insights
  • Provide multilingual support (Spanish and French)

Proposed Solution Summary

Based on the above requirements, Harbinger proposed SprinkleZone (our nudge-learning platform). Further customization of SprinkleZone was proposed to meet the specific requirements of the client.

The nudges were decided to be company specific. We proposed the target system/nudge-learning app to have the capability to randomly select the question for each nudge from the selected topic. We decided to use multiple-choice questions. It was also proposed to provide an assessment and scoring capability at the end of each course.

User-Specific/Functional View (Supporting “n” Level Hierarchy)

User-Specific/Functional View (Supporting “n” Level Hierarchy)

Solution Benefits

  • Produce significant learning benefits for employees of the companies through quick and everyday nudge assessments, which will be specific to their SOPs
  • Prevent employees from reading bulky SOPs that can distract them from the content they need not to be engaging with
  • Periodically nudging employees with reinforcement training material will help:
    • Drive their own learning
    • Improve knowledge retention
    • Increase completion rates
    • Achieve learning objectives
  • Holistic compliance in terms of safety and security standards: All the above points will prepare the workforce with continuous reinforcement and learning

A Final Word

It’s time for HR and L&D departments of enterprises to start thinking about designing the new learning to handle the ever-growing sustainability needs in terms of EHS and prevention of occupational hazards. While you design and bring this change to your organization, you need a partner that has already done this successfully and can guide you in recommending the most suitable solution.

If you would like to know more about forward-looking and future-ready eLearning practices and tools, or how to develop effective learning solutions, feel free to reach out to us at contact@harbingergroup.com.

Is Your Learning Effective? Strategies to Make Learning Effective

According to Statista, the global market share of workplace L&D was over $357 billion in 2020. Furthermore, a report by Allied Market Research shows the global eLearning market is expected to reach a value of over $840 billion by 2030 while growing at a CAGR of 17.5% between 2021 and 2030.

Another interesting report reveals that the average annual spend on L&D per employee in the U.S. is $1,472 – up from 42% in 2019. Moreover, a new Capterra survey shows 49% of organizations increased their L&D spend in 2022 – up from 41% in 2021.

But is this really worth it?

Here are some statistics to look at:

  • A Brandon Hall Group study on upskilling and reskilling employees shows 54% of employees feel that learning has weak positive outcomes as they don’t get opportunities to practice/apply knowledge.
  • 45% of learners feel that their technology ecosystem for learning is inadequate.
  • Even with so much spent on eLearning, a report by World Economic Forum says 50% of all employees in the U.S. will need to be reskilled by 2025.
  • A survey by LinkedIn shares that only 24% of HR leaders say their L&D approach prepares them for the future of work.

Why this discrepancy? Is there a solution

The above statistics indicate that not only most of the training in today’s companies is ineffective, but also the purpose, timing, type of content, or method of delivering learning may be flawed. There could be multiple reasons for this. Here are a few which we think could be some of the common reasons and ways to overcome these challenges.

The Forgetting Curve

We quickly forget what we’ve learned. German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus pioneered the experimental study of memory in the 18th Century, along with his discovery of “The Forgetting Curve.” He found that if new information isn’t applied, we’ll forget about 75% of it after just six days.

Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve

Our brains quickly forget what we don’t use. Incorporating new learning into your work is one way to retain knowledge.

Another strategy to improve learning retention is spaced repetition. Originally proposed by psychologist Cecil Alec Mace in 1932, it refers to spreading learning out over time (learning material should be reviewed in gradually increasing intervals of roughly one day, two days, four days, eight days, and so on). Studies show that by using spaced repetition, we can remember about 80% of what we learn after 60 days — a significant improvement from what you saw in the forgetting curve.

Harbinger’s SprinkleZone is a lightweight, nudge-based, reinforcement learning platform. It is used by learning leaders or function heads to create and deliver short bites of learning at specific times. It allows bites of learning to be distributed across multiple channels such as email, LMS, MS Teams, and other apps at specified duration. It supports the following content formats: text, image, video, and quiz. It tracks learner progress with the completion status and quiz scores. It is a standalone application or can be used as an add-on to LMS.

Contact us to know more.

Learning at the Moment of Need

Learn when it impacts the most. One should relook at the way the learning is delivered. Learning has the maximum impact at the moment of need or when one can apply the knowledge which is recently learned in the real world.

Have you ever learned a cooking recipe just while cooking it with the help of a YouTube video? Why did it work? Because you learned it at the moment of need.

In most cases, employees are asked to go through a learning schedule which has been set up long back by the L&D team. Also, in most cases, the learning schedule can’t be immediately applied to day-to-day work or doesn’t have any relevance to their immediate work. L&D should check if their employees are learning wrong things. Are the courses being taken by learners aligned to their needs? If not, the learning impact will suffer.

Track the Right Metrics

Track the Right Metrics

Are people learning for effectiveness or promotion? Employees, to make a case for promotion, get continuous professional education (CPE) credits rather than using CPE as a way to improve their skills. And to discourage such practices, it is critical to track the right metrics.

L&D should reflect on their KPIs to see if they are tracking the right metrics. Is it about CPE credits that employees earn, number of certifications done by them, or number of hours of learning in the organization?

Instead, if L&D starts focusing on KPIs which measure business results, impact, or learning outcomes, the right training programs would be designed. Moreover, only the employees who need to be upskilled for those skills can go through it, so that the learning can be immediately applied on the job.

Focus on Improving Learner Competencies

Competency-based learning is a learning approach where learners move from one learning level to a higher level based on their demonstration of knowledge rather than the time spent on a specific course. This learning approach ensures learners learn at their own pace and focus more on mastery of knowledge and valuable skills.

Once the competencies are clearly mapped to job roles in an organization, they can be used to design the right learning experiences. It benefits an individual by increasing their self-awareness and aiding in career management. It also has many more benefits for an organization at various levels, such as succession planning, performance management, skills gap analysis, and reskilling individuals for new business demands.

Design Personalized Learning Programs Rather than One-Size-Fits-All

Learning programs being designed can be mapped to competencies, and assessment engines can be designed to test learners on various competencies to plot the gaps. Based on the identified gaps, only selected learning modules can be assigned to learners. This helps personalize training that adapts content based on employee performance and tailors it to every single employee’s needs.

Competency-based learning is not easy to implement as there is limited support from traditional LMS’s. Moreover, implementing a new system can involve a higher cost. To overcome this, Harbinger has implemented a Competency-Based Learning Framework which could help in identifying competency gaps and delivering appropriate learning content to close those gaps.

The framework includes the following benefits:

  • Identifying competency gaps through pre-test and post-test
  • Delivery of personalized individual learning experience based on his/her competency level
  • Detailed competency level analytics at an individual and organizational level
  • Easy mapping of learning content to various competencies

Contact us to know more.

Concluding thoughts

Does your L&D team have similar challenges? Does any of these solutions resonate with you? Harbinger has helped multiple enterprise customers design solutions that enable them to implement customized learning solutions as per their business needs. Feel free to write to us at info@harbingergroup.com to know more stories around how we have helped companies like yours to make L&D effective and deliver business results.

How to Revive Aging eLearning Content with Tech Debt Strategies

Sometimes the best ideas come from outside your industry.

Innovation is incredible. At times, it’s totally unbelievable as it doesn’t have a prescribed formula.

What if I told you, looking beyond your own industry can unexpectedly solve the biggest problems in a jiffy?

I know it can be a little difficult to agree in the beginning. However, it is interesting to know how industries often get ideas from other industries, sometimes from completely unrelated ones.

A very famous Harvard case study is a perfect example. It explains how 3M, a highly innovative company, got their breakthrough from theatrical makeup specialists, amid figuring out a bandage material to prevent infections associated with surgery. They turned the innovation into a multi-billion-dollar business.

Revive Aging eLearning Content with Proven Techniques from Technology Teams

Recently, Harbinger conducted a Power Hour titled “Revive Aging eLearning Content with Proven Techniques from Technology Teams.” This webinar focused on combating aging learning content concerns with powerful techniques and fundamentals deployed to resolve tech debt issues.

Hosted by Dr. Vikas Joshi, CEO, Harbinger Group, the panelists included Apratim Purakayastha (fondly known as AP), CPTO, Skillsoft and Poonam Jaypuriya, VP – eLearning, Harbinger Group.

To set the context, the topic of the webinar was extremely curious, unique, and never touched upon in the past.

Content Aging: The Reality Check

Facing rapid digital transformation and a seismic shift to remote work, companies are more focused on keeping their workforce updated, motivated, and in sync with what’s happening in their industry.

With evolving technology and knowledge, it has become highly imperative for businesses to revamp, redesign, and revive training courses to make them relevant.

Today, old, and obsolete learning content is not only ineffective, but flawed training courses can also prove to be extremely detrimental as it can:

  • Pass on incorrect information
  • Reduce training effectiveness
  • Increase unnecessary cost and workload
  • Aggravate user frustration
  • And more.

Addressing Content Aging from a Tech Debt Resolution Angle

eLearning producers are constantly occupied and worried about updating courses that have started to look old, failing to engage the learner, or are not delivering value as expected.

It’s time to understand if such kinds of issues have been dealt with in the past by other industries, and if these industries could solve similar issues, it’s possible to overcome content aging with a tech debt resolution strategy. One extreme example here is the obsolescence of code in tech firms. And therefore, our first stop in today’s journey is focused on understanding the concept of tech debt.

The Game Plan

  • Understanding tech debt
  • Understanding content aging and its indicators
  • Strategies to reduce content debt
  • Strategies to avoid and manage content debt

Understanding Tech Debt from Experts

Dr. Vikas Joshi asked our panelists a well-rounded question to clear the air on the topic.

How do technology teams manage obsolescence of code? What lessons can we draw to manage aging content?

AP: On the professional front, I face technology debt almost all the time. And at the same time, since I am now also responsible for content production at Skillsoft, we produce thousands of hours of content every year.

Talking about the life of content, the learning material that we produce at Skillsoft has a shelf life of sometimes roughly less than 12 months and for some the shelf life is less than 36 months. Therefore, understanding content debt and how tech debt principles can be used to reduce content debt is extremely intriguing.

There is tech debt because your code stack is old, or you are using an older language. Tech debt can also be related to performance, time, age, security, and so on. Similarly, the type of content debt varies too.

Tech debt, indeed, is a complicated topic. Also, it’s important to understand that debt is not always bad. Primarily, tech debt is a fundamental conflict between time to market and solid technical foundations. Sometimes, you are lucky to have all the time for a solid technical foundation, but often engineers have to take a few shortcuts. This is exactly how content debt also gets accumulated at times.

Poonam: While I design eLearning solutions for our customers, it’s definitely an extremely satisfying journey to create and launch them in the market. But interestingly, the job doesn’t end there. This is because information gets dated pretty quickly – not just on the content front, but also from the design standpoint.

As learners, we have consumed content in different forms, and even if the look and feel of the content are not up to the mark, one almost feels that the content is of no-good use either. However, from a content producer perspective, it’s essential to think about updating courses from different aspects in order to reduce content debt and make training more effective.

Understanding Content Aging and its Indicators: Early Signs to Identify

Understanding Content Aging and its Indicators: Early Signs to Identif

Unlike fine wine, content barely ages well. When training programs age or get outdated, they can accumulate a lot of debt and prove extremely unfavorable for several aspects of a business. Outdated learning content can lead to obsolescence, inconsistency, irrelevancy, additional costs, and unproductive employees within no time.

However, before your business falls into this uncertainty, it is essential to identify the red flags that indicate your content is aging (it could also be on the design front).

Here is a list of warning signs to beware of:

  • Reduction in usage of courses
  • Consistent reduction in course ratings
  • A support desk loaded with issues in older content
  • Content not accessible on latest devices or browsers
  • Inadequacy of content to serve your users and the inability to inform or guide them to take actions
  • And more…

L&D often gets a bad reputation if learning consumes a lot of time of employees and money and yet delivers ineffective business results. As training programs are essential investments toward building product quality, company culture, and a safe work environment, content owners should keep a watch on these warning signs.

Strategies to Reduce Content Debt

Content debt can have several repercussions on business operations as mentioned in the point above. However, certain strategies to manage content debt can be put in place to smartly deal with the issue.

Use Data

Attack the place where the maximum impact is. This is where data plays a crucial role by helping with primary identification.

Moving ahead, businesses can find courses which are most frequently updated or the ones which are the most used by their learners. Maintaining these courses and doing it right the first-time matters, because right there you may have solved a big part of your content debt problem.

Set Up Dedicated Teams

While setting up a dedicated team, it is vital to have the right focus of the workforce on new development and at the same time, a focus on updates.

Here is an example that explains the concept better.

One of Harbinger’s customers based out of San Diego, have a large health content library, and an internal team completely dedicated to new course development. As they are in contact with the doctors, it is easier for them to create new content to maintain the courses, to keep them fresh and relevant.

However, to make sure they do not accumulate any content debt, they have team Harbinger focusing on updates to strike the right balance.

Design Master Templates

This step is more from a development standpoint, where it is essential to have in place a certain development standard for the team. And the one that we follow at Harbinger is designing the master template which helps save the pain of making any change screen by screen. This practice only demands making a change at the template level, making life easy.

Use Automation

At Harbinger, we engage in a lot of automation to help customers fix things at scale. It is extremely useful in executing large content migration projects and reducing manual errors along the way. To give you an example, if a company has several courses in an old format like Flash or PPTs; and the customer decides to go with an LCMS like Xyleme or dominKnow. The biggest challenge for this change would be to migrate old content in the new format rapidly and in the right way. This is where automation becomes an integral part of the solution.

Set Up Systems

Setting up the right system is an element that needs to be looked at from a long-term perspective. One of the common systems that Harbinger has helped customers set up for content management is an LCMS.

Customers should consider this especially if there is a huge library of content which can be reused, needed in various formats, or go through frequent changes. As an example, one of the Harbinger customers in the US had a huge library of Instructor-Led training content spread across hundreds of PPT’s and some part of their content was common and used across multiple courses. On the solution front we worked on setting up Xyleme templates to create nugget-based courses and migrated learning content. So, now if they want to make any change it can be done at one place and can be reflected across multiple courses.

Technology

There can be creative and interesting ways of using technology.

For example, one of Harbinger’s customers had a huge library of eLearning courses in Articulate Storyline. They wanted the courses to be available in multiple languages. Harbinger recommended that instead of creating multiple Storyline files with translated content, we switched them to a custom HTML 5 solution and migrated the content into JSON files. The benefit of this was that only JSON files needed to be translated at the backend and the same HTML course could be played in different languages.

End Note

In this Power Hour, the panelists shared a bunch of insights and explained strategies to avoid and manage content debt. Not just this, but the interactive session has some great examples that set the context right, help demystify several concepts, and answer questions related to implementing tech debt principles to resolving content aging issues.

So, are you interested in getting to the depth of resolving content aging with proven techniques from technology teams? Watch the Power Hour recording available on demand. You can also write to us at info@harbingergroup.com to get a consultation from our eLearning expert.

Future of Learning Led by Immersive Experiences with AR/VR

In the last couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital communication. It also boosted popularity of technologies such as Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) due to their ability to offer lifelike or immersive experiences. The AR and VR market is expected to reach a valuation of $114.5 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 25.3% during the forecast period 2022-2027, according to MarketsandMarkets.

In our earlier blog post How 3D Technology Makes Learning More Effective, we talked about how the eLearning industry have evolved towards the adoption of 3D-model-based learning for greater effectiveness. In the future, we can certainly expect augmented reality and virtual reality to enhance the learning experience greatly.

Studies show that immersive environments cause our brains to react in the same way as they would in the real world. Therefore, immersive environments can be a real game changer in the world of eLearning.

AR/VR can not only help learners to grasp abstract concepts far more effectively, but they also enable an environment that allows for practical experiences in simulated environment. For instance, think about corporate employees being virtually transported to the company’s headquarters or R&D Center for a walkabout with holographic 3D design models.

AR/VR technologies have extensive potential in several areas of learning. VR can help block or override distractions, thereby greatly enhancing learning outcomes since the experience is truly immersive. Here are a few examples:

Future of Learning Led by Immersive Experiences with AR/VR

Learning mechanical or physical processes

Let’s say a group of mechanical engineers need to familiarize themselves with the workings of the gearbox of a car. While traditional learning techniques can provide limited perspectives, a VR based experience can allow the learners to study the mechanics of the gearbox at close quarters. Learners can also observe the device from a variety of angles that would not be possible even in an actual physical environment.

Learners can try to virtually change gears and study the outcome as seen in the real world. Also, in the case of complex processes that might take time to understand, AR/VR tools offer unlimited opportunities to ‘practice’ processes virtually as many times as they wish.

This is especially important in instances where the physical location or product may not be easily accessible for training. It is also true for environments or use cases that can be potentially life-threatening. For example, consider a hydro-electric power station located at a remote location or a telecom tower with potentially hazardous radiation.

Another great example is in the area of medical education. The human body is highly complex. The ability to virtually observe the workings on organs and perform procedures in immersive simulated experiences can greatly enhance the quality of learning.

Learners can get immediate feedback from superiors and peers, allowing them to enhance their understanding and build confidence.

You can catch a demo for a meeting room in 3D to help evaluate information and data security risks.
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Simulating real-life environments

AR/VR environments can also be very effective when it comes to replicating real-life situations and environments. They allow learners to practice and learn new skills in a safe space without fear of judgement. One great example is soft skills training. People often find it intimidating to interact with colleagues in a work environment. Effective communication lies at the heart of great team building. So, practicing these skills in a simulated environment can help hone these skills and also develop much-needed confidence to carry this forward in real-world situations.

The same also holds true in the case of training in areas such as health, safety, and environment. For instance, think about training related to fire safety or handling of dangerous goods and chemicals, which are critically important but difficult to replicate in a real-life environment.

AR experiences can help train teams about products, services, or concepts in a highly engaging manner because they can help create ‘real’ experiences. For instance, VR headgear such as Oculus Rift can allow participants to learn using techniques such as role playing.

Man in VR glasses explaining biggest advantages that virtual environments offer

Discovering opportunities for remote collaboration

One of the biggest advantages that virtual environments offer is the opportunity for people to collaborate seamlessly in a virtual environment irrespective of their physical location. This is bound to become even more valuable in the world of distributed and remote workplaces where teams are still expected to work together as a team and execute tasks collaboratively despite physical distances.

Here’s an example of immersive learning experience for the workforce to learn about bullying and how to avoid it.
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Both AR/VR provide an opportunity for trainers to better engage their students through immersive experiences that make learning much more practical, effective, and enjoyable. And considering the growth of both AR and VR industries, it’s no wonder the educational sector will take advantage of both.

End Note

As AR/VR continues to evolve, we are likely to see it become more mainstream across a variety of learning requirements. With advances in technology, we could also see learning getting into the Metaverse. Watch this space to learn more about how immersive learning experiences can enhance the quality of your eLearning modules. You can also directly contact us if you have any queries.