4 Reasons Why You Should Adopt Blended Training

The following article is by Robin Singh, Technical Support Executive. Robin is an expert in various LMS and employee training Currently, he is a resident learning management expert at ProProfs.

Every student is different. In recognizing that, educators not only accentuate the differences that exist between students of various ages or intellectual abilities, but also the fact that two persons can be at the same phase of physical and cognitive development and still have different needs, preferences, and approaches to learning.

Some acquire knowledge by listening, others thrive on visual cues. From these highly individual affinities stem different learning styles. Auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and reading/writing approaches to learning are only a few of them. Others are more hybrid and suggest combinations of learning techniques that vary from one person to another. Read more

Why Transparent Leadership is Clearly Important Now
June 22, 2020
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ARTICLE BY: Michelle Moss, Director of Assessments – Signium Africa | First Published: 17 MAY 2020 |theHRDirector

If we’re learning anything from the current crisis, it’s that legacy authoritarian-style leadership has no place in businesses constrained by the covid-19 virus.

hands-on-or-heads-off

Even before the pandemic, the world was demanding a more collaborative and consultative style of leadership based on transparency. Today, transparency is so much more critical to an organisation’s survival, as an attribute of both those who lead it and the creative culture that drives it forward.

The most obvious requirement is open communication. This is especially true when it comes to allaying the fears of employees and suppliers who are uncertain about the company’s ability to pay them. Or clients who are unsure of the business’s ongoing satisfaction of their needs. It’s essential to keep these parties informed. Yet, relaying every little fact to stakeholders can create confusion about what is actually being said, inevitably hampering transparency. So communication should be structured to deliver only relevant facts in a timely manner.

If the new way of leading people is by collaborating with them, then collecting and considering their ideas becomes a natural part of the process of developing business solutions. This is another area in which transparency is vital. Employees who feel they are involved in their company’s future will often contribute their suggestions and time enthusiastically. But if the final decision appears to exclude their input, they may feel undervalued and withhold further participation.

Why should employers care? One 2017 study suggests that the more transparent leaders are, the more creative their employees will be. Further, in times of uncertainty, like the current period, companies that are creative are more able to survive a crisis and emerge stronger afterwards. So it benefits leaders to be open about how they arrived at their decision and how each idea helped, even if it wasn’t incorporated into the solution.

True transparency calls for emotional intelligence (EQ), not just in considering employee concerns but also in the courage to face one’s own limitations and accept assistance. When leaders admit that they don’t know what will happen and what the impact of COVID-19 will be, they can build rapport with their workers and gain their support. Those who “stay strong”, ignore input and stonewall employees will not enjoy the trust they need to push forward.

High EQ leaders show integrity by not pretending to have all the answers and embracing the strengths of the entire organisation to find creative solutions. They’re consistently open about their policies for managing people and evaluating performance, choosing suppliers impartially, communicating with staff and stakeholders, and much more.

The most important outcome of transparency in leadership is a culture of transparency in the workplace, physical or virtual. This means that people can express themselves without fear of judgment or reprisal, because a confident leader uses even conflicting opinions to ignite creativity and uncover new business opportunities.

However, employee transparency must be offered and not demanded. Employers should respect that, especially under work-from-home conditions, staff have other roles to fulfil and should not have to sacrifice their privacy or private information. By recognising this, and even developing policies to protect employee privacy, transparent leaders show they care and will enjoy respect and loyalty in return.

Neuroscience: Techniques to Help People Learn More Effectively

This article by Professor Patricia Riddell Consultant Neuroscientist may be of help to you if you have concerns about entering a learning environment.   

By understanding more about how the brain works, we can create the optimal conditions for learning – and ensure we retain what we’ve learned more effectively. Discover here why we are ‘BLESSED’ in our ability to learn (and some tips that come with the acronym!)

As someone that has the privilege of spending my days reading the latest neuroscience and then working out how to apply these to real life situations, I have been lucky to have developed techniques that help me learn effectively.  

Many of the strategies that I use to learn have come directly from my reading, and so I would like to share some of these here.

The first thing that I’ve found really helpful is the knowledge that my brain is a learning machine that has evolved to acquire and store new information that might be useful to me.

Believe you can learn

Research has demonstrated that we store new knowledge and skills in networks of cells (neurons) in the brain.

It is not just the individual neurons that are important to learning but also the connections between them. Each of the billion neurons in your brain can make connections with as many as several thousand other neurons. Importantly, these connections are not fixed.  As many as one in ten of these are lost and replaced on a daily basis.

This means that, each day, our brains have the capacity to partially rewire our neural networks in order to store new information. If you always do what you have always done, the network will remain the same and the capacity to learn will be wasted.

Since I believe I can learn, I think about what I will learn each day in order to use the capacity of my amazing brain for learning.

Learning systems

The second trick I bring to my learning is knowing that there are many systems in the brain for learning, and so I don’t always have to learn the same way.

Knowing that there are many learning systems makes it more interesting, since I can vary how I learn. This also allows me to celebrate confusion, since this is the first step in understanding. Before confusion, there is only ignorance.

StateNeural systemFunctionHow to?
CuriosityReward systemReward in anticipation of knowing moreAsk questions, take tests
CelebrationArousal systemIncreases motivation to learnFind ways to celebrate new learning
ConfusionStress systemIndicates confusion and need to learnTake time to pinpoint areas of confusion then ask
ConfidenceSense of selfIncreases self-esteem so willingness to try harderTeach someone else and notice your understanding 
CalmReflective systemReflecting on learning makes it stickierSit quietly away from books and reflect on new learning

Emotional intensity

The area of the brain that stores the addresses of our memories (the hippocampus) is closely linked to an area of the brain that is important in remembering our emotional states (the amygdala).

We remember events that had high emotional intensity (both positive and negative) because these are important to learning what to do in the future.

We repeat the events that were intensely positive and avoid the events that were negative.

I use this by adding humour, disgust, surprise or other emotions to my learning, so that it becomes more sticky.

Space your learning

If an event is not emotionally intense, we remember it better if it is repeated.  

There is, however, a right and a wrong time to repeat learning – we have to space our learning.

If we wait to repeat the learning at a time when it is almost forgotten, we basically have to learn everything again from scratch. If, however, we revise the learning before it is forgotten, we can increase the strength of the learning.  

Learning a little and often is better than learning a lot then forgetting it all. To make use of this, I look over notes for a new course well before I forget the content.

The self-referential effect

If you reflect on what you remember easily, you might find that these are often events from your own life, or facts about you.  

The ease at which we remember information about ourselves is called the self-referential effect.  

I tap into this memory aid by making learning personal to me. What does this mean for me or someone I am close to?

Encoding

So far, these tips are about how to code memory well, but we also need to be able to retrieve our memories.

I know that the more senses I use when I am coding, the more likely it is that I will see, hear, feel something that reminds me of the learning and so helps me to retrieve the information.  

Encoding our memories well makes them easier to recall.

Deep processing

I have often watched people ‘studying’ by highlighting parts of a passage that they think might be important to learn.  

This is not a great way to learn since it does not provide a reason for remembering.  

Instead, when I want to learn something, I start with a question – what might be useful about knowing this? How might I want to use this learning in the future? What, precisely, do I want to know?

By reading with a question in mind, it is easier to process the information in a way that will make it more memorable. This is a form of deep processing.

To summarise my tips for learning, I learn better when I use my:

  • Belief that I can learn
  • Learning systems
  • Emotional intensity
  • Spaced learning
  • Self-referential effect
  • Encode with many senses
  • Deep processing

Through this, I am ‘blessed’ with the ability to learn (oh – and the odd acronym helps my memory too).

What Motivates Adults to Learn? A Report by Nesta
September 5, 2019
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The labour market is changing fast. Fifty-four per cent of all employees will require extensive upskilling or reskilling by 2022 (World Economic Forum, 2018) and eighty-five per cent of jobs in the European Union now require at least a basic level of digital skills (Cedefop, 2018). 

To meet the evolving needs of the job market, workers, business and governments need to adapt to a culture of lifelong learning by providing citizens with high-quality training opportunities.

However, a well-designed skills policy or training service doesn’t always translate into uptake. Workers also need to feel motivated to learn new skills and those who are most vulnerable to labour market changes are not always receptive or willing to reskill. So uncovering what drives motivation to learn is a priority.

Using evidence from a rapid evidence assessment (REA), carried out by CFE Research, this report by Nesta’s Digital Frontrunners identifies what motivates working adults to take part in and complete training in digital and digital-complementary skills.

Key findings
Motivation to learn is complex

Many factors drive people to learn. On the one hand, learners are motivated by external rewards, such as financial incentives, improved job opportunities or approval from a manager. However, learning also needs to be personally rewarding to feel worthwhile. Regardless of the external rewards like accreditation or incentives, it must be enjoyable, challenging and interesting (Kantar, 2018).

Without both these internal and external motivators, people are unlikely to take up or complete training. Therefore, skills policies and training services which consider both are the most likely to succeed.

Behaviour change models can help policymakers understand how external and internal factors interact to drive motivation to learn and design accordingly. The report outlines how the COM-B model (Michie et al, 2011) could be particularly useful in this respect.

Drivers to learn are personal

It’s tempting to give policymakers a list of general barriers and enablers to learning for them to consider when designing training services. However, in reality the choice to start training is complex and personal. For each adult, the decision to participate in learning comes at a tipping point where ‘personal benefits outweigh personal costs’ (Kantar, 2018). For some people the balance might be tipped when the financial costs of training are reduced. For others, it might be when they have access to childcare.

There is also some evidence that demographic factors like age, gender and education level affect motivation to learn. Across Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, women tend to participate in training slightly less than men (OECD, 2019). Younger adults, those with higher education levels and higher socioeconomic groups are most likely to be learning (Kantar 2018). However, we need more granular research to understand the motivators and barriers for different groups when it comes to learning digital and digital-complementary skills specifically.

Self-reflection and goal setting increase motivation to learn

One of the most effective methods for helping learners to stay motivated is by pairing the learner with a trusted advisor who knows them personally, and knows the job or training course the learner is interested in (Kantar, 2018). The advisor can help the learner navigate their own personal barriers and enablers to training.

Some studies suggest that careers guidance techniques that promote self-reflection and goal setting successfully encourage workers to learn new skills (Stauffer et al, 2014; Eisele et al, 2013).

We need to test and learn to find out what works

Crucially, our rapid evidence assessment highlights a lack of evidence about what works to motivate workers to learn digital or digital-complementary skills. Although Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) are being rolled out in several countries, there isn’t yet much strong evidence that they work – although a forthcoming OECD report is expected to conclude that ILAs can be an important, emerging approach to training interventions which help structure learning over a career. We believe it is critical that governments invest in evaluating what works and identifying best practice.

Currently, there is no shared framework to measure the success of training services, which makes it hard to compare and contrast approaches. There would be value in creating a shared set of measures for effectiveness that could be used across the skills system.

What next?

There is more to be done to understand what policies can effectively increase workers’ motivation to learn digital and digital-complementary skills. Throughout 2019 and 2020, Nesta’s Digital Frontrunners will test training and learning interventions to help policymakers understand what works for lifelong learning. Digital Fronrunners will also use evidence from the REA as a foundation for primary research, and to inform discussions and practical projects in the future.

Digital Frontrunners is a programme led by Nesta that aims to find solutions to the challenges of digital transformation.

You can download the full report following the link below.

https://bit.ly/2Hy89s0

Report authors:
Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE
Alex Beard
Alex Stutz
John Higton
Dr Guy Birkin
Andrew Corley
Chris Milner

8 Psychology-Backed TED Talks That’ll Help You Understand Why You Do What You Do
February 25, 2019
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8 TED Talks to Understand Your Co-workers and You