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Category Archives: e-learning

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Interactive Digital Content Designed to Develop Capability – Part 2

Like in most other walks of life there is a pecking order in terms of dominant content forms. There are it seems more popular, more preferred, forms of content. User-generated video, animation, and audio (podcast) are used to stimulate ‘gazillions’ of learning experiences every day.

Each form has its genres, and sub-genres building on learners’ pre-existing experience and knowledge of said form. Like any type of established cuisine, each form has its range of intrinsic ingredients that once blended and processed by expert hands will result in a rewarding experience.

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Digital instructional designers that are expert and literate in specific forms of multimedia will be able to enrichen the end-user’s digital learning experiences. Similarly, learners who want to learn by doing, demonstrate a new skill acquired or simply give voice to their opinions in a socially collaborative learning context can do so by other means than simply writing or typing their contribution. This generates really interesting dynamics for collaboration. For collectively working to understand something, to discuss and discover together and then to collaboratively create a response that highlights or exemplifies the very thing that the group has been learning about. The multimedia tools and the creative process involved to make such a sophisticated learner response possible are often collaborative by their very nature. So a number of outcomes are possible from such approaches:

blog_graphic_skills_collaboration_01

For example, if using film (audio and video):

The concept or skill that is demonstrated on film is more iconic, more realistic than that of any other type of representation. More ‘realistic’ than a teacher’s verbal description at the front of the classroom or an artist’s impression in a flat 2D graphic in a traditional digital learning object.

The technical form (film) enables the learner to repeat the experience repeatedly. The learner can rewind to view and listen to the content as many times as is required.

As a learning response:

The form (film) enables learners to work together to create a video response that demonstrates they have the skill or understand the concept

The form (film) requires learners develops or at the very least appreciates other valuable important skills for example, scripting, acting, lighting, direction, sound, editing etc.

The execution of the form (film) and its genre will ensure an intrinsic experience of the new concept or skill the learners are being exposed to

At CDSM we seek to understand the mechanics of each interactive content form to enable us to utilise it effectively to create high quality learning and development content for client organisations and their targeted learning audiences.

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Authored by Dan Sivak, Managing Director, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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The Importance of Removing Unnecessary Barriers to Online Learning

It’s an obvious thought but it’s worth sharing…without learners there can be no learning!

Obvious, right? Yet talk to many designers and developers and you might be surprised to learn that very few consider how their work is being accessed. At CDSM, we make it our business to remove barriers to learning opportunities. In working with our customers to identify barriers we uncover a number of repetitive examples that never fail to frustrate and surprise us.

It seems that many agencies fail to understand that for the end-user, a ‘stodgy’ on-boarding process, or a poorly rendered homepage, is a demotivating sign of things to come. It’s a bit like booking that good restaurant, arriving that evening and seeing dirty cutlery on the table. Alarm bells start ringing immediately!

So in no particular order here are four cardinal sins that e-learning agencies still persist with when trying to deliver online learning for their clients:

  • Failure to get e-learning content to present across a good range of current browsers. This is unforgivable and rapidly reduces the number of learners able to access your content
  • Failure to get the same content to render well across formats: PCs, MACs, Tablets and Smartphones. No excuse for this in 2016. There are now standard, responsive design patterns that are in the public domain for all to exploit and benefit from
  • Those e-learning companies that continue to sell and build content that requires 3rd party plug-ins and re no longer supported by majority of modern browsers
  • Those cynical companies who still fail to realise their legal responsibilities to learners who use adaptive and assistive technologies to access their online digital learning

So why and how does this poor practice persist? Unfortunately some companies see providing good practice as an additional extra, a nice-to-have that the client should pay more for.  It is not, the examples above are nothing more than issues that should be resolved as a matter of standard practice and it is unprofessional to suggest or deliver otherwise.

Of course there are always opportunities for improvement and all organisations make mistakes but poor practice should be the exception not the rule. Our industry develops itself by ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’. We pride ourselves on our respective innovations but we have also used innovation as an excuse in justifying not doing the simple things well. Thankfully, our industry is growing up, and with open source techniques we have efficient and elegant ways of distributing practice-worth-sharing. This will result in a better deal for our clients and better, more productive experiences for our learners.

At CDSM, we seek to continuously improve access to our services and technologies. We try to fully understand our customers’ learning contexts.  We do this by working closely with our end-users. By describing an extensive range of learner-personas and learning scenarios. We then design and develop for and test against these in order to ensure that access to our work is for the majority not just a few.

Don’t forget to check out our infographic on digital onboarding too!

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Authored by Dan Sivak, Managing Director, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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E-Learning Design Part 7: Models of Memory

Have you ever found yourself unable to recall the name of a place you’ve visited, wondered how you manage to remember all the words of a song, or experienced having someone’s name ‘on the tip of your tongue’? It will come as no surprise that our memory is responsible for all of these things. In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts looking at how memory works. We’ll also be looking at how we use this theory to inform our e-learning practice.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that researchers started to develop models of memory. The multi-store model suggests that memory is divided up into stores. Many cognitive psychologists suggest that we have a short-term memory store and a separate long-term store. The short-term store is believed to have a limited capacity and can only retain information for a short period of time. By contrast, the long-term store has an unlimited capacity and can retain information indefinitely.

Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968), expanded upon this basic model, adding a third store called the sensory register. The three parts can be summarised as follows:

  • The sensory register receives sensory information – such as things we see or hear – and retains that information for a very short period of time
  • Short-term memory is a temporary store, holding information passed to it from the sensory register, and also information retrieved from the long-term store, for use when needed
  • The long-term store holds unlimited information indefinitely

Multi-store-model

Atkinson and Shiffrin suggested that information can be held in the short-term store for approximately 30 seconds. However, if rehearsed it can be held indefinitely. Transfer to the long-term store from the short-term store happens whilst information is held and rehearsed in the short-term store. This is commonly referred to as maintenance rehearsal.

There’s much evidence that supports the idea of separate memory stores. People with anterograde amnesia have the ability to recall distant, past events prior to the onset of the amnesia but cannot create new memories. There’s also empirical evidence to support the notion of separate stores. Presented with a list of items to remember, people tend to recall more of the items from the beginning and end of the list, and fewer from the middle. This is because the items at the beginning of the list are better rehearsed and are believed to have entered into long-term memory (the primacy effect), while items at the end of the list are retained in short-term memory and haven’t yet been transferred to long-term memory (the recency effect).

In contrast to the aforementioned theories, others have focussed more on what we do with the information we receive and the impact of this activity on retention. According to Craik and Lockhart (1972), it’s the depth of mental processing that influences what we remember and what we forget. They made the distinction between two types of processing:

  • The first is shallow processing, which involves considering the structure or appearance of information. An example of this would be to consider if a word was in capital letters or sounded like another word
  • The second is deep processing, and involves applying meaning, and making links to other information

As you might expect, the deeper the processing, the better the retention.

Baddeley and Hitch (1974) argued that the multi-store model was too simplistic and came up with an alternative. In their opinion, the short-term store does more than simply receive and transfer information. What they referred to as ‘working memory’ consisted of three different systems designed to work together to store, process and filter information as indicated below:

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Research by Baddeley and Hitch (1976) indicates that the different systems can process information at the same time, but that one system can only deal with limited information at any given time.

Theories of memory such as those outlined above have an impact on educational practice. In the next blog in this series, we’ll be exploring how the theories we’ve outlined can help teachers, trainers and instructional designers to engage their learners and help them to remember.

To make sure you don’t miss it, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our monthly e-zine.

References

Atkinson, R.C.; Shiffrin, R.M. (1968). Chapter: Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes. In Spence, K.W.; Spence, J.T. The psychology of learning and motivation (Volume 2). New York: Academic Press. pp. 89–195.

Craik, F. I. M., & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal behavior, 11, 671-684.

Baddeley, A. D., & Hitch, G. (1974). Working memory. In G.H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 8, pp. 47–89). New York: Academic Press.

Baddeley AD, Hitch GJ. (1976). Verbal reasoning and working memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 28:603–621.

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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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Facts about neuroscience that you need to know… [Infographic]

Neuroscience… it’s the hot topic in Learning & Development at the moment. But what exactly is it, and what should it mean to you?

At CDSM, we’ve been busy picking through the research, and we’ve created a nifty infographic to highlight the facts about neuroscience that you need to know.

And if you’re wondering what impact neuroscience has on L&D, we look at four ways to integrate rapidly-evolving neuroscience into your e-learning.

So what are you waiting for? Take a look at the infographic now to find out more:

[View Text Only Version]

Neuroscience

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A Useful Business Management Exercise?

mission header

Is developing a clear definition of your organisation’s mission, vision and values a useful business management exercise?

Dan Sivak, CEO of CDSM Interactive Solutions Ltd, gives his thoughts…

At CDSM, we see ourselves as a tight-knit community. Moreover, this is an idea from which we take great pride. We like the fact that we offer friendship and support to one another, creating a productive and positive working environment. In fact, we extend this hand of friendship to our customers, building long-lasting relationships of a professional and personal nature. But what is it that creates this sense of community? Do we have a set of shared traits and values that connect us or does CDSM just work by chance?

Recently, we spent some time revisiting who we are, re-examining our vision, mission and value statements. During the process, we came to the conclusion that we do have a strong, healthy community, which shares a common agenda and works very well together. This is what we came up with:

Our Vision

  • Building a world where learning and development matters.

Our Mission

  • We never stop learning and neither should you.
  • Our mission is to harness contemporary technologies to create learning opportunities for people and their organisations. Learn to succeed!

Our Values

  • Curiosity – values critical thinking and drives discovery and innovation.
  • Integrity – defines a respect for those that you affect in providing a solution, product or service.
  • Reward – provides the necessary motivation and engagement to realise your objectives.
  • Collaboration – harnesses collective experience and intelligence to realise the best way.
  • Passion – gives you strength and enables application at those moments when you and your team need it most.
  • Inclusion – values diversity and difference, providing a richer ecology of perspectives, skills and opportunities to work and play with.

Our sense of community should not be ignored as a factor in our success at CDSM. Like many communities, at its heart there is a home, an office, a city, and even a region, South Wales. CDSM is rich in its ability to be both familiar and different, share aspirations, build better leaning technologies and strive to continually improve. Consequently, dealing with challenges such as disruptive and emergent technologies and changes in learning theory and practice is all part of the landscape of our shared experience.  In fact, we came to understand that we are a community of learners. What we recognise is that it’s our vision, mission and values that underpin and reinforce our community, our shared enthusiasm for work and for each other.

My advice to other leaders is when you decide to consider your vision, mission and values, do so in an open and honest way. Be prepared for and welcome feedback. You need to ask the fundamental questions, and invite responses from across the organisation. I’m not suggesting that the experience is akin to splitting the atom or breaking the four minute mile, but it is a mechanism to check, validate, decide and move on – and in business that is extremely valuable.

Our vision, mission and values ensure we do things well. This ensures we do things with integrity and honesty. This ensures we focus on both our customer and our end-users. This ensures we succeed!

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Stop, Collaborate, and E-Learn – Infographic

Don’t miss out, we’re all doing it!

To savour our precious time and money, collaborating with other L & D departments is becoming ever necessary. In fact, it’s becoming the norm in whichever industry you are in, and that’s because of the awesome benefits.

If you want to plug that dawning skills gap, widen your network, or just share your valuable experiences to make the market flourish further, clubbing together can make your projects even more exciting, and your customers even happier!

So, go on…share our infographic today and a beautiful partnership could develop tomorrow!

Click here to access the text only version of the Infographic

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Club Together Infographic

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Boost Your Training with the Neuroscience of Education – Infographic

Eureka! In recent years, neuroscience research has made findings that could transform training and education. We’ve popped the results into our infographic-o-whizz-9000. Out came this handy piece brimming with tips for your next L&D project, and the lessons are spot on for both companies and schools.

One of the more interesting findings is that while many know neuroscience can improve training, few are applying its findings. That means this infographic shows how you can impress your boss with widely accepted ideas, but still leap ahead of your professional peers.

So, make your learners recall more for longer, boost their motor skills, and see their comprehension soar.

Click here to access the text only version of the Infographic

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