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Sonia Wadhwa & Arun Prakash InfoPro Learning, Inc. Engaging Learners Beyond the Classroom Collaborating to Learn : Learning to Collaborate

Engaging learners beyond the classroom

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Sonia Wadhwa & Arun PrakashInfoPro Learning, Inc.Engaging Learners Beyond the ClassroomCollaborating to Learn : Learning to Collaborate

1Who are LearnersMultimedia Workflow

2Why Engage

3Engagement: Structure

4Platforms for Engagement

5Challenges in Engagement

Who is a Learner?Adult



Adept at managing his / her learning and growth - ?

How do we treat the learner when we are in a classroom (teacher) mode?

Many of us have been in a learning / training role for several years in our careers. Lets take a moment to reflect on who our learners have been, esp in the context of a corporate setup.

A typical learner is an adult, has a certain level of education, is a professional concerned about his or her professional growth and the need to learn to maintain or grow in their job.

But, how do we treat our learners? Lets see3

How do we treat the learner when we are in a classroom (teacher) mode? Force them to learn

Track the learning

Evaluate the impact of learning

Try to engage learners - ?

What exactly is an engaged learner?

We force them to learnfor example, in Elearning programs, sometimes we go as far as not letting them move to the next screen before they listen to the complete audio.

We also track their learningby tracking what all slides they have seen, how much time they have spent, etc.

Its important to evaluate the impact of learning of courseso we give them tests and quizzes to see how much they have learnt.4

What exactly is an engaged learner? Collaborative

Some words to describe an engaged learneron other words, a Collaborative learner5

Why Engage? Why Collaborate to Engage?

Because this is the way we have learned and worked

An engaged learner is collaborativebut what makes them collaborative?6

The New WorkscapeNeed for engagement

Today more than 85% of a typical S&Ps 500 companys market value is a result of its intangible assets. For many of these companies, a bulk of these intangible assets is its people. It is no longer what you own that counts, but what you know

Craig Symons (Forrestor Research)

While we have all been engaging for years, the current workscape makes this engagement even more relevant.7

Engagement: Does it need a structure?

Engagement beyond the classroom or offices is as old a concept as learning and teaching itself. Such an engagement is for the most part an informal process. The challenge, however, lies in giving this engagement a structure that allows people to collaborate and connect productively, thereby bridging the gap between formal and informal learning.


Engagement: Why structure?A structure that connects formal & informal learning, without compromising on the quality of engagement

What makes it so important to have a structure around something that we have been doing for so many years?

Most organizations have dispersed and virtual teamsthe workforce is becoming more and more diverse and global. As a result, companies are creating formal processes and systems to enable these diverse set of people to work with each other. On the other hand, company structures are changing from formal hierarchies to networked organizations.

All of these factors combined together make it imperative to have a structure around how all these people collaborate with each other.


Does your company promote a culture of open sharing and decentralized decision making?Does your L&D department recommend on-the-job employee development?Do you have a significant number of millennials generation (and outgoing baby-boomers)?Does your industry demand constant innovation and experimentation?Most importantly what is the senior managements conviction?

Are you ready for a structured engagement?

When you try to implement a new strategy that counters the corporate culturethe corporate culture will push back and almost always win. This type of challenge is often identified when leaders and employees say, Weve never done it that way. This attitude represents a fear of something new. Cultures may be more resistant to adoption if they are less technologically-dependent, or if the organizations are more hierarchical. Demographics, such as generational differences, may also play a role in this dynamic.

These systems compromise classified or private information. Social media is effective, but primarily for socializing, which could lead to lawsuits (e.g., sexual harassment). 10

The Mayo Clinic is the first and largest not-for-profit medical practice in the world, employing 57,000 physicians, scientists, researchers, allied health professionals, and residents.

The worldclass staffs aim is to create a culture of collaboration with social media. The idea came about when a radiologist saw something on an x-ray that he had never seen before and asked, via the Mayo Clinics internal microsharing network, how microsharing could be used clinically. His question led to the formation of a three-person teamall colleagues whod never met beforethat collaborated to write a proposal to study how to do microsharing well, and never met in person until the project was approved and funded.

The entire scope of the project planningfrom inception to launchwas done via microsharing. There were no face-to-face meetings, no email, no phone calls, texts, or file attachments. And all of it was accomplished in three weeks.

** ASTD case studyIn the Real World:Micro-Blogging Case Study

Corporate Hierarchy based communications to Quality of Thought based communication

Extension of formal training

Connects the knowledge from formal training with real-life situations

Knowledge that is contextual and relevant to the organizationWhat can you expect from an Engagement / Collaborative system?

Basically state conditions conducive to collaboration in a disperse, diverse, virtual corporate environment. 12

More expectationsCreates a social structure for engagement wherein technology puts power into communities, not institutions

Web2.0 is often taken to be built up of technology components, however is it important that we first attempt to look at it within the discourse of learning and engagement.

Web 2.0 technology, with its social paradigm, provides the tools to create collaborative learning platforms. This can serve as a vehicle for learners to share further insights, get their questions answered, and connect with their peers and mentors to further enhance learning based on real-life experiences. Web 2.0 allows for social computing, and creates a social structure for engagement wherein technology puts power into communities, not institutions.


Applying CollaborationCreating engagement parameters


ChallengesArghh.But achieving this Aint

Sounds great..


The Brave New Connected World

What do you think are the key challenges towards implementing a collaborative system in the workplace?


ChallengesThe bump before the freeway

Organizational risks: Cultures may be more resistant to adoption if they are less technologically-dependent, or if the organizations are more hierarchical. Demographics, such as generational differences, may also play a role in this dynamic.17

Do not be in a hurryconsider a phased approachIdentify the departments or businesses that are good candidatesTake IT into confidence Let momentum build up naturallyWhile you govern subtlyMitigating the ChallengesMaking engagement a reality


Creating Organizational Value with EngagementCase StudiesNeedCollaboration Method and How it WorkedLearner BenefitOrganizational BenefitDeveloping Leadership Cohort learning in which a team of people came together for a sustained learning experience beyond courses and sessionsSustained relationships with learning partners and senior leadersMeaningful networking and long-term loyaltySharing among companies in a consortiumPlatform for continued sharing of creative ideas beyond brainstorming sessions Leveraging across geographies Idea repository

A client in the logistics space for whom we created some leadership development programs are implementing a system that connects the people taking these programs in the form of a team that has a means to sustain the learning in the programs beyond just the courses administered thru the LMS.Another client in the advertising space has made a very unique use of an engagement platform wherein they are using it to conduct brainstorming sessions on creative ideas for adverts. As they are a consortium of geographically dispersed advertising companies that work together, they are using features that allow some ideas to be shared by all companies and employees across all locations; whereas some idea communities are restricted to only one particular company. Overall, the idea is to also create a huge repository that can be cross-leveraged.19

Creating Organizational Value with EngagementCase StudiesNeedEngagement Method and How it WorkedLearner BenefitOrganizational BenefitNew Product Launches

Used by teams to collaborate during development of new productsCritical and creative thinkingFaster and superior product ideasMaximizing use of large talent poolCommunities of practice in which internal and external scientific brains coordinate to exchange knowledge and practices around shared interestsAccess to specialized, often tacit, knowledgeEffective way of engaging special interest groups that minimizes risk and variance with diversity of talent pool. Creation of organic knowledge repositories.

A client that is into development of medical devices has started using a system for collaboration during development of new product ideas or design changes to existing products. They have created communities focused on specific products and people from different departments product development, design, marketing, sales all are contributing to ideas. The intangible benefit seen is faster ideassuperiority is somewhat ambiguous to measure as of nowtrying to link it to product changes and recalls later.Another client a pharma company is implementing a system to engage their large talent pool both internal and external. The aim is to create knowledge repositories by tapping into their large talent pool.20

Replacement for formal / traditional learningOvernight culture changeQuantification similar to formal training

What not to expect

A social learning model will not replace traditional formal learning. Companies will still need to create, deliver, manage, and report on certification and compliance initiatives. Physical classrooms, virtual classrooms, and web-based training (WBT) will all still be appropriate vehicles for content delivery, and instructional designers will still need to determine which approach to use.

Once you implement a system, do not expect the culture to change next Mondaypeople will continue to collaborate and engage the way they have been used toit will take a lot of management support, conviction from the learning team, from entities like HR to ensure that the collaboration actually happens to create a tangible benefit for the organization.

Also, it may not be fair to expect quantification or measurement of collaboration similar to formal trainingfor instance, the way we have been used to tracking learning parameters thru LMSs.21


GNOSISTap Into Knowledge; Derive Wisdom

Enterprise 2.0The vision for future