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CDSM Interactive Solutions wins Brandon Hall Award for ‘Best Advance in Creating a Learning Strategy’

Swansea, 18th September 2015: CDSM Interactive Solutions Ltd, a leader in innovative digital learning solutions, recently won a coveted Brandon Hall Group bronze award for excellence in the ‘Best Advance in Creating a Learning Strategy’ category.

Now entering its 21st year, the Brandon Hall Group awards programme recognises outstanding achievements in Learning and Development. Entries are judged upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the programme, functionality, innovation, and overall measureable benefits. CDSM’s win was announced on 10th September 2015, and a complete list of Brandon Hall Group Learning and Development Awards winners can be found on the Brand Hall Group website, here.
CDSM Interactive Solutions Award
CDSM’s Entry: Honda Motor Europe – Common Core Curriculum Project

The Common Core Curriculum Project was created to establish standards across all of Honda’s European dealerships, after a recent EU legal ruling increased competition for car servicing. With this ruling – ‘Block Exemption Regulation’ – in mind, and a desire to ensure that all of its customers receive the same high-quality experience, Honda identified the need to make its European dealerships compliant.

“We had a requirement to train nearly 10,000 customer-facing dealer staff in a short space of time, in order to comply with European Block Exemption Regulations,” said David Edwards, Manager of Honda’s European Training Delivery, “The most important aspect for us to consider was the ease and enjoyment for the end user in completing their learning task. I am happy that the time and effort CDSM and Honda took to make this compliance a positive learning experience for all has been recognised in this way!”

CDSM’s rollout of Honda’s Core Curriculum Minimum Project has enjoyed first-rate feedback from end users across Europe, many of whom noted its appealing and engaging nature. The course is currently recording much higher pass rates than the target of 25% per country, with an average pass rate of nearly 62%. With some countries even hitting the 90–100% mark, it’s clear that Honda have a successful e-learning rollout on their hands.

“We’re delighted to have received this award for our work with Honda,” said Cathy Sivak, CDSM’s Chief Operating Officer, “It reflects the good work we do each and every day. We’re proud of the talented and innovative team of people here at CDSM, all of whom make a difference and deserve recognition.”

“The high quality of work and commitment to driving business results among our award winners never fails to amaze me,” said Rachel Cooke, Chief Operating Officer of the Brandon Hall Group and head of the awards programme. “All of these winning programs deliver meaningful business results to their organizations. Winning an Excellence Award is a great honor, but the real winners are the organizations themselves and their customers and clients because of the innovation and customer focus they demonstrate.”

Excellence Awards winners will be honored at Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence Conference at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on 27th–29th January 2016.

CDSM will be present at this year’s World of Learning Conference & Exhibition, held at the NEC Birmingham on the 29th and 30th September 2015. Now in its 23rd year, World of Learning has established itself as the most comprehensive event for all aspects of Learning and Development, featuring the latest ideas, technology and services. At this year’s event, CDSM will be running a competition for the chance to win a customised 30-minute e-learning module, similar to the e-learning modules that saw them win the Brandon Hall Award.

About CDSM

CDSM Interactive Solutions (cdsm.co.uk) is a digital learning solutions provider, offering bespoke e-learning content and a contemporary learning platform. Founded by further education lecturers, their dedication to cutting-edge learning science and best practice allows them to deliver effective and engaging learning to their customers. The company’s collective experience and imagination has enabled them to work on major projects internationally, most recently with Welsh Government and Honda Motor Europe.

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Business CDSM E-learning Infographic Insights L&D Learning Software

Want New Employees to Stick Around? Use Digital Onboarding! [Infographic]

Onboarding is a challenge for every L&D manager, no matter what your strategy is!

Training for new employees is a mandatory need – and there is no escaping it – so you want onboarding that is quick, creates a cultural expectation, and provides a rapid enlightenment of your business values.

But what many don’t realise is that onboarding doesn’t have to be a time-consuming chore, completed just so you and your new employees can tick a box.

If anything, you can use onboarding to your advantage!

At CDSM, we recently looked at:

  • Why an onboarding program is important
  • How companies are currently training new employees; and
  • What you should expect from digital onboarding

To see what we found out, take a look at our latest infographic:

[View Text Only Version]

Digital Onboarding

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Business CDSM E-learning Infographic Insights Learning Skills Gap

Want New Employees to Stick Around? Use Digital Onboarding! [Text Version]

[View Infographic]

Why is conducting an onboarding program so important?

Only 52% of people join a company with an official onboarding program.

More than 37% said their employer had no program, and just over 11% said they weren’t sure if a program existed or not.

Organisations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity and 50% greater new hire retention.

Nearly 4% of new employees leave their new jobs after a disastrous first day, and 33% decide within the first 30 days.

Companies lose 25% of all new employees within 12 months.

New employees who attended a well-structured onboarding orientation program were 69% more likely to remain at a company for up to 3 years.

25% of companies admitted that their onboarding program does not include any form of training, which can lead to a loss of 60% of a company’s entire workforce.

Organisations with structured onboarding programs enjoy a 60% year-over-year improvement in revenue per full-time employee, and a 63% year-over-year improvement in customer satisfaction.

A combined 71% of companies surveyed are currently in the process of updating their onboarding programs.

Currently, less than 40% of onboarding is completed through technology-based solutions.

The 16% who deliver more than 61% of their onboarding programs through technology-based solutions use either company-wide intranet or e-learning. Hiring employees takes time and money – on average 23 days and over £5000 to fill an open position.

Return on investment from technology onboarding:

Higher staff retention rate – decrease in skills gap
New employees contribute to the bottom line faster
Save employers time training
Reduce travelling time and costs to training

What’s CDSM’s onboarding approach? Proven contemporary learning science!

Typically, the time a worker must spend being trained is reduced by about 40% using e-learning.

However, there is e-learning… and then there is CDSM e-learning! By using best practice, contemporary learning strategies and effective pedagogy, organisations can rapidly improve their onboarding even further…

Scenario-based training can often reduce new hire training time by 25-50%

92% say video helps teach more effectively, and improves learning by 56%

Learning science can be incorporated to empower new starters with skills they wouldn’t usually get from e-learning, and this takes away some of the pressure of a new role.

To understand the difference that learning science can make, get in contact with CDSM now for a demo…

Sources:

http://www.impactinstruction.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013-Onboarding-Report_FINAL-REPORT.pdf
http://www.globoforce.com/gfblog/2014/five-ways-to-keep-your-new-hires-from-failing/
http://www.lesson.ly/blog/9-surprising-employee-onboarding-statistics/
http://www.rootinc.com/white_papers/new-hire-onboarding-overlooked-element-sustaining-successful-strategy-execution/
http://thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2014/12/24/onboarding-methods-produce-roi/
http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/human-resources/2014/09/how-to-help-your-new-hires-first-day-great.html?page=all
http://www.icmi.com/Resources/People-Management/2013/06/Boost-Performance-With-Scenario-Based-Training
http://www.syberworks.com/articles/e-learningROI.htm

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E-learning Infographic Knowledge Tree L&D Learning Software

Facts about neuroscience that you need to know… [Text Only Version]

[View Infographic]

“Our brains build our learning, learning builds our brains.” – CIPD

  • Human attention span – 8.25 seconds
  • Goldfish attention span – 9 seconds
  • Humans handle approx. 40,000,000 pieces of information every second, but only 40 of those make it to our conscious brains.
  • The speed that the brain can be process information is as slowly as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec(that’s about 431 km/hr).
  • You can commit about 3-4 things to short term memory. After 20 seconds they will disappear from memory unless you repeat them over and over.
  • The human mind wanders 30% of the time.

Based on these facts alone, you can see why 25% of L&D professionals are integrating neuroscience.

Neuroscience helps us to explore the question: What makes L&D effective?

Neuroscience enables:

  • More engagement for learners
  • Cost savings
  • Higher staff retention
  • Increased credibility as a practitioner

But two thirds of those who want to integrate neuroscience haven’t done it yet…

At CDSM, we have considered neuroscience in the development of our tools

4 Ways to Integrate Rapidly-Evolving Neuroscience into Your E-Learning:

The Challenge
E-learning should encourage curiosity and help people move towards an accepting state.
Our Solution
At CDSM, we’ve found that a visually-attractive and engaging user experience can immediately translate into high levels of acceptance and uptake amongst users.

The Challenge
People find it easier to retain information if it’s presented in small chunks.
Our Solution
Our Playlists curation tool allows learners to intake small, ‘bite-sized’ chunks of information, and all from one place!

The Challenge
People are better able to understand complex data if they have time to reflect.
Our Solution
CDSM’s Knowledge Tree gives learners the ability to view relevant content in their own time and at their own pace, helping them to achieve a better understanding of the subject matter.

The Challenge
E-learning needs to be challenging, but not threatening.
Our Solution
Our Networks function allows learners to become part of a ‘knowledge community’ – a place where they can share, reflect and discuss their new understanding of a subject with their peers.

Source:
http://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/neuroscience-action_2014-applying-insight-LD-practice.pdf
Read more:
http://www.businessinsider.com/100-things-you-should-know-about-people-2010-11?op=1#ixzz3ejUKGyqo
http://www.nursingassistantcentral.com/blog/2008/100-fascinating-facts-you-never-knew-about-the-human-brain/
http://www.businessinsider.com/100-things-you-should-know-about-people-2010-11?op=1&IR=T
http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics
See more at:
http://cdsmteamblog.co.uk/wpmu/?p=1621#sthash.IWmr4oMn.dpuf
http://www.cipd.co.uk/blogs/cipdbloggers/b/leading-in-learning/archive/2014/12/11/applying-neuroscience-to-l-amp-d-initiatives.aspx

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Awards CDSM E-learning Events News

CDSM Win Brandon Hall Group Bronze Award

CDSM Awards

Last night the Brandon Hall Group announced their 2015 Excellence Award winners, and we were delighted to find out that CDSM won Bronze for Best Advance in Creating a Learning Strategy.

Best Advance in Creating a Learning Strategy
Common Core Curriculum Project

Brandon Hall Group Bronze Award

“The high quality of work and commitment to driving business results among our award winners never fails to amaze me,” said Rachel Cooke, Chief Operating Officer of Brandon Hall Group and head of the awards program. “All of these winning programs deliver meaningful business results to their organizations. Winning an Excellence Award is a great honor, but the real winners are the organizations themselves and their customers and clients because of the innovation and customer focus they demonstrate.”

About Brandon Hall Group

Brandon Hall Group is a HCM research and advisory services firm that provides insights around key performance areas, including Learning and Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Management.

With more than 10,000 clients globally and 20 years of delivering world-class research and advisory services, Brandon Hall Group is focused on developing research that drives performance in emerging and large organizations, and provides strategic insights for executives and practitioners responsible for growth and business results. (www.brandonhall.com)

Tonight, we are also excited about attending the South Wales Business Awards 2015, where CDSM are nominated for Technological & Innovative Business of the Year.

Check out our Honda Case Study, and to keep updated with our news, follow us on Twitter.

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CDSM E-learning Insights Instructional Design

So, you want to be an Instructional Designer?

Our Senior Instructional Designer, Rhys Williams, gives us an insight into how someone becomes an instructional designer, and explains what the varied role entails…

There’s a scene in the television sitcom Friends where Rachel and Monica are desperately trying to remember what Chandler – one of their best pals  – does for a living. It’s the final question in a high-stakes trivia game and if the girls can’t remember, they lose their apartment. Pressured into coming up with an answer, Rachel shouts out: “He’s a transpons…transponster!” Of course, she’s wrong – there’s no such thing as a transponster – and Chandler (an IT procurement manager) and Joey win the game and the bigger apartment.

You’re probably wondering – what does this have to do with instructional design? Well, I’ll tell you.  Outside of the e-learning industry, it seems that very few people know what an instructional designer is. Although my own group of friends (we don’t have our own television show, you’ll be saddened to hear) could all tell you, if asked, that I work in e-learning, or that my employers are CDSM Interactive Solutions, I’d bet that very few would be able to offer up ‘instructional designer’ as my job title. Some might even end up saying that I’m a transponster.  

Drawing design using pencils and ipad - Instructional Designer

It’s not their fault. Even though its origins stretch as far back as the 1940s, ‘instructional design’ isn’t a phrase you hear too often when you work outside the world of e-learning. Apparently, it’s not even that well known by those who work in it. The Internet is awash with blog posts about accidental instructional designers – writers, teachers and/or trainers by trade who suddenly realise that their work turning traditional teaching or training resources into digital learning material has a name and that name is ‘instructional design’. It’s a nice story (albeit one that’s quickly getting old), but it’s not my experience.

Back in 2011, CDSM advertised that they wanted a new instructional designer and I successfully applied, acknowledging that I had many of the essential skills listed in the job description:

  • A strong background in creative and technical writing
  • An existing knowledge of contemporary design
  • Experience in proofreading and editing (with excellent attention to detail)
  • A practical knowledge of the correct use of spelling, grammar, syntax, etc.
  • Good communication and organisational skills
  • A willingness to learn

As with any role, there are always certain skills that you’ll need to learn ‘on-the-job’, and so in the years that have followed I’ve had to add an extensive knowledge of contemporary technology and learning theory to my skill set – additions that have come from a mix of mentoring, reading and assimilation. But what exactly, you might be asking, am I using these skills for?

What Does an Instructional Designer Do?

Lady smiling at the computer - Instructional Design 2

Ultimately, an instructional designer’s main objective is to create engaging and effective learning experiences. You could call this our ‘bread and butter’. However, the role is actually a lot more varied than you might imagine. Despite some of the online horror stories about instructional design jobs, CDSM don’t chain me to my desk until I’ve turned a customer’s 495-page training manual into an hour-long e-learning module. For example, in the past few months I have:

  • Held meetings with customers to discuss requirements and scope
  • Worked closely with our developers and other designers to come up with new digital solutions
  • Written and directed a series of situation-based e-learning videos at an off-site location
  • Met with a teacher on secondment to Welsh Government to discuss the creation of new learning materials for Welsh schools
  • Attended a series of seminars on accessibility
  • Researched and co-written a six-part blog series on e-learning design

My regular desk-based work is just as diverse. One week I might be working on assessment questions for a blue-chip company’s international compliance course, and the next I’m creating new PISA resources for schools across Wales. It certainly keeps me on my toes!

What Do Instructional Designers Need to Know?

For an instructional designer, theory is everything. It’s easy for poor instruction to hide behind good design initially but, just like the Emperor and his new clothes, eventually everything’s going to become embarrassingly clear. It makes sense, if you think about it, because how can you create good e-learning if you don’t first understand how we learn?

Before taking up the role at CDSM, I had no formal training in teaching practice, but thanks to a programme of mentoring, training and on-the-job experience, I was soon able to begin creating engaging digital learning solutions.

Two men talking over what's on a computer - Instructional Design 3

Extensive reference materials and an informed reading list (containing books and articles on topics such as Skinner’s rats, Bloom’s taxonomy and Vygotsky’s disagreement with Piaget) were essential aspects of my training at CDSM, allowing me to become well-versed in learning theory. However, an instructional designer has to always be open to new ideas and research. Six months after I had first read about Bloom’s taxonomy, Shelly Wright of the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) published an article on ‘flipping it’. This is the type of fresh impetus that it’s important to keep a look out for, as it can change the way you approach solutions for certain types of learners.

It’s also important to know the possibilities and limitations of your technology, as what you create in storyboard format has to translate well to the screen. I’m lucky at CDSM because I’m able to work with a team of excellent developers and designers, all of whom are sympathetic and responsive to issues such as accessibility, usability and readability. This makes the e-learning we produce a truly collaborative effort, with the written, visual and technological aspects working in harmony so the learner can efficiently and effectively acquire the knowledge and/or skills they need.

So, if you still want to be an instructional designer, brushing up on your learning theory is an essential first step (you could even use our series on e-learning design as a starting point). Then once you begin working with a company, you can familiarise yourself with their technology – as well as the requirements and scope of their customers – and you’ll be away.

And it might also be an idea to prepare a response to the question “What’s that, then?”, for when you tell your friends your new job title.

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CDSM E-learning Insights Learning Pedagogy Software

E-Learning Design Part 6: CDSM’s Active Learning Model™

Throughout this series on e-learning design, we have looked at some of the learning theories that help to form the method and practice behind our award-winning e-learning. This is known as our ‘pedagogy’. In this final post in the series, we’re going to reveal how we ensure that sound theory is turned into exemplary practice, by giving you an insight into the formula we use for producing successful e-learning content for our customers – a formula we call our Active Learning Model™

What is CDSM’s Active Learning Model™?

CDSM’s Active Learning Model™

CDSM is a commercial e-learning company. This means that we are one of a number of national brands that claim expertise and excellence in designing and developing e-learning courses. So it’s important for us to distinguish our skills, expertise and service from other providers in the marketplace. One of the ways we do this is through the use of CDSM’s Active Learning Model™ – our formula for producing successful e-learning content derived from many years of professional teaching and learning experience.

At CDSM, we draw from a wide range of classical learning and contemporary memory theories – as varied as behaviourism, constructivism and social constructivism. With fundamentally differing views on how people learn, no one would blame you for assuming that these theories are mutually exclusive. However, in order to achieve the best-fit pedagogic approach, we carefully select the bits that work and can be practically applied for the relevant context, always using the best strategies to help people embed and recall knowledge or skills. We also consider learning styles and how we can cater for different learners, constructing an experience that will interest and challenge each and every user.

CDSM E-Learning Award Winners

How CDSM’s Active Learning Model™ Works for Everyone

Making sure that e-learning suits the circumstances of the end user it is intended for is very important if an e-learning course is to be a success. That’s why our Active Learning Model™ subscribes to leading thought on user experience, accessibility and usability, and why we spurn off-the-shelf products in favour of bespoke solutions that exactly fit our customers’ needs.  

Let’s take Bloom’s taxonomy as an example of a theory we utilise differently depending on circumstances. Learners working entirely independently may benefit from structured outcomes using Bloom’s taxonomy (i.e. outcomes that indicate precisely what is expected of them). In instances where this is the case, we may focus on outcomes that ensure that learners are able to understand and retain knowledge. However, for learners who benefit from having the scaffolding provided by a teacher, trainer or a community of peers, we may advise flipping Bloom’s, loosening the outcomes and offering a solution that enables learners to discover, create and share knowledge.

In order to ensure that our Active Learning Model™ achieves the results required, we give careful consideration to the nature and frequency of activities and assessments, choosing effective formative activities that help learners to check their own progress as they work their way through a unit of study. We also employ summative assessments at the end of a section or unit of study that others can use to assess learners’ achievements.

CDSM’s Active Learning Model™

The Future of CDSM’s Active Learning Model™

Our Active Learning Model™ has been expertly constructed, but it is not something that we consider to be sealed shut. It is a model that is interested and open to new ideas, research and fresh impetus from learning professionals from all over the world. Whatever solution we agree on, rest assured that we’ve considered the options and will deliver e-learning that not only engages your learners, but that responds to everyone’s needs based on our extensive knowledge and experience.

If you’ve enjoyed this series on e-learning design, or if you want to open a discussion about any of the points raised, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via our website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+. We’d love to hear from you. And to make sure you don’t miss out on further news, blog posts and insights from CDSM, follow us and subscribe.

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CDSM E-learning Insights Learning Pedagogy Software

E-Learning Design Part 5: Learning through Creating (Blooms 21)

At CDSM, we draw on a range of theories – from the past and the present – to form the method and practice behind our award-winning e-learning. This is known as our ‘pedagogy’. In an earlier post in this series (E-Learning Design Part 2: Observable and Measurable Outcomes), we looked at the influence of Bloom’s taxonomy (1956) on our e-learning. This time, we’re going to take a look at how this taxonomy can be ‘flipped’, so that learners are actively involved in knowledge construction from the outset.

What is Blooms 21?

Conceived between 1949 and 1953 by a committee of educators, the original Bloom’s taxonomy identified a number of cognitive levels at which humans can function. These levels range from the basic function of understanding and recalling new information, to the more complex function of evaluating new information and connecting it with other knowledge. They are commonly displayed as a step pyramid, with the lower-level functions located at the bottom.

step-pyramid structure - Blooms 21

The step-pyramid structure is often interpreted as suggesting that the higher-level functions can only be reached if the levels below them have been achieved, and that not all learners will be able to reach the top level. Some educators strongly disagree with this structure, most notably Shelley Wright of the Buck Institute for Education (BIE):

“The presentation of the taxonomy as a pyramid suggests that one cannot effectively begin to address higher levels of thinking until those below them have been thoroughly addressed. Consequently, Blooms becomes a ‘step pyramid’ that one must arduously try to climb with your learners. Only the most academically adept are likely to reach the pinnacle.”

– Shelley Wright

5-2-aThough this taxonomy of the cognitive domain was revised by Anderson and Krathwohl in 2001, the visual metaphor of the step pyramid was still prevalent. In 2012, Wright suggested that the revised taxonomy should be flipped on its head, so that learners begin with an introduction to a subject through creating, rather than being bombarded with facts they need to remember.

Blooms 21

We would suggest that this flipped taxonomy, also referred to as ‘Blooms 21′, is more in keeping with a constructivist approach to learning due to its emphasis on learner contribution to the building of knowledge.

How CDSM’s Users Learn Through Creating

When used in the context of learning, the word ‘creating’ often conjures up images of early-years students fingerpainting, pritt-sticking and making lopsided ceramic bowls that only a parent or guardian could love. This is because ‘creating’ (alongside words like ‘create’, ‘creative’, ‘creativity’, etc.) has come to be more associated with producing something physical – like a painting or a piece of writing – than it has with the equally correct definition of “evolving from one’s own thought or imagination.”

Like Shelly Wright, CDSM believe that learners of any age can benefit from ‘getting creative’. We particularly like activities that ask the user to contribute their own ideas – ‘starter activities’ at the beginning of a unit of study, for example, enable the user to consider an idea before being told more about it.

Starter Activities

‘Suggested response’ activities are very useful in this context too, getting users to respond to a question or idea with the opportunity to see some of our suggestions if they wish (i.e. offering scaffolding when required). Open-ended questions are also a useful device, enabling users to reflect upon what they have just learnt.

As Wright asserts, “the more churn a brain experiences, the more likely it’s going to retain information,” and so asking a learner to begin with creating is a really effective way of getting those cerebral juices flowing. Learners are engaged with the process of learning from the start and therefore, by the time they reach the end of the unit of study, are more likely to have understood, interpreted and curated the essential knowledge they need.

Next time, in the concluding part of this series on e-learning design, we’ll be introducing CDSM’s Active Learning Model™ – our trademark formula for producing successful e-learning for our customers, based on our extensive knowledge, experience and application of the learning theories we have explored throughout this series.

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