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Category Archives: L&D

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The Benefits of Adopting Digital Learning

If your business hasn’t entered the rapidly-growing world of digital learning yet, there are plenty of reasons why it should. At CDSM, we are passionate about delivering high quality e-learning and digital solutions that improve performance and enable businesses to stay ahead of the competition. In this blog post, we’ll be looking at how you can harness the power of digital learning to build on your success.

Learning is key not only to economic success, but to achieving our full potential as human beings. There’s no denying it: learning matters. Moreover, digital learning is the way to go. The US Department of Education reviewed previous research into the effectiveness of online learning, with two key findings:

  • Learners in online study conditions performed slightly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction
  • Learners in blended learning conditions performed much better than those receiving face-to-face instruction

We summarised the other important points to come out of the study in an infographic: e-Learning Paints a Pretty Picture. Most notably, it found that giving learners control over their learning has a positive impact. Enabling learners to self-monitor their understanding, giving them additional learning time, and putting them in control of their own interactions with media, all led to greater success.

businesswoman using computer - digital learning

If you’re still tentative about taking the leap, you should also consider the extent to which digital learning plays a key part in business productivity, and how this trend is set to continue in the future. We’ve previously highlighted the cost savings, and according to a Brandon Hall study (1995), digital learning in contrast to traditional classroom instruction:

  • Is quicker to deliver than traditional, classroom-based instruction
  • Increases learner retention
  • Boosts productivity
  • Improves the ability to introduce new products and services
  • Is quicker to update
  • Decreases skills gaps

According to a recent report – Modernising Learning: Delivering Results – over 90% of L&D leaders would like learning technology to enable a quicker response to changing business conditions and organisational change. In spite of all this, a massive 60% of organisations cannot implement a technology-enabled learning strategy due to lack of skills.

How Can CDSM Help?

With award-winning e-learning and digital learning solutions at the heart of what we do, CDSM can provide you with the tools you need for a more productive business, a more knowledgeable and skilled workforce, and a more positive working environment. The proof is in the performance.

There’s never been a better time to go digital.

You can stay up to date with CDSM by following us on Twitter, or by subscribing to our monthly e-zine.

Sources:

Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies Service, Revised 2010

Modernising Learning: Delivering Results, Towards Maturity, November 2014

Return-on-Investment and Multimedia Training: a Research Study. Sunnyvale, CA:, Multimedia Training Newsletter, Brandon Hall, 1995a

Multimedia Training’s Return on Investment,Workforce Training News, Brandon Hall, 1995b, July/August

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International E-Learning Part 1: 5 Challenges When Rolling Out E-Learning Across Different Countries

When rolling out a new e-learning programme across multiple countries, you will undoubtedly need to overcome a variety of different challenges. At CDSM, we have experienced these challenges first-hand, and have decided to relay our experiences in a three-part blog series on ‘International E-Learning’. In this first part, we’re going to look at the 5 challenges we think you need to consider, and how they can impact on the success of the rollout.

International E-Learning

  1.       Production Preferences

How do you actually produce content that’s going to work across different countries? Each country is different, and the people you deal with from each country will have a variety of specific likes and dislikes – so how far do you let them pick and choose what they want?

Before you begin working on an international e-learning rollout, you need to decide how accommodating you are prepared (and able) to be. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re creating bespoke content for each individual country, as this will not be practical or cost effective.

However, that’s not to say you don’t want to consider a country’s preferences and cultural differences, but it’s about finding a balance that won’t put pressure on production.   

  1.       Cultural Differences

You need to distinguish between objections that arise from personal preferences, and objections that are linked to cultural differences. Vague objections such as “it’s not like that in our market” will need to be explored to gain a better understanding of what is appropriate.

Again, decisions will need to be made about how accommodating you can be. For example, some countries will be adamant that their end users prefer video in their own language, rather than subtitles, but this could mean that production costs spiral out of control.

Demonstrating the benefits of a one-size-fits-all approach will help to ease tension – with an emphasis placed on the way that a centralised process ensures consistent, high-quality content. But remember, failing to recognise the importance of differences in culture between countries may mean that your end users feel disengaged, so make sure that every country-specific objection is carefully considered.

  1.       Translation

Translation can be a major challenge. For example, German text is typically 35% longer than English text, which can pose a problem if your content needs to fit in a set amount of space. So creating a consistent production process for translating e-learning into different languages is crucial.

Ultimately, all translations will be proofed by the country of origin, and then these checks themselves will need to be evaluated – are they asking for terminology changes or preferential changes? The more leeway that’s given, the more processes there are to undertake.

We previously explored the importance of consistency in production in our blog post: ‘Why Developing Standards is Critical’.

  1.       Technologies

Rolling out e-learning to multiple countries means catering for a diverse user base, not just in terms of language and culture, but technology too. How do you ensure that you are catering for users accessing the e-learning in different geographical locations with different setups? (e.g. different browsers, internet speeds, etc.)

For example, if the e-learning has sizeable media content, this will cause problems for users with low bandwidths. There may be an opportunity to create a ‘no-frills’ version of the e-learning for this type of user, with text summaries of video content and animations. Sizeable media content could then be placed in a separate repository within the UI for them to view if they wish.

However, creating branched versions for different user types can drive up costs, and so it may be more effective to perform an evaluation of potential content prior to production, making decisions about what content is absolutely necessary for the end user.

  1.       Administration

Rolling out a new e-learning programme across multiple countries will require a substantial amount of administration. This could range from setting up the e-learning on the LMS, to tracking and reporting the progress of end users.

Administration may also extend to promoting the completion of the programme, and synchronising the learning with other training.

This amount of administration will undoubtedly be time-consuming should you decide to take it on yourself. And if your e-learning is a compliance box-tick, then you may not have time to remedy any problems experienced by users, or gain a deeper understanding of the actual effectiveness of the e-learning.

These are the five main challenges you will come up against when rolling out a new e-learning programme across multiple countries. They may make an international rollout seem daunting, but don’t feel apprehensive…in Part 2, we’ll explore how to overcome these challenges to achieve an easy and successful roll out across multiple countries.

Got to International E-Learning Part 2 >

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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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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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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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Why Developing Standards is Critical

If you haven’t developed standards for your e-learning yet, then you should be doing it now!

Developing standards is criticalHaving standards means you have an agreed way of doing things, which helps to streamline processes. This could be a set of guidelines, or a code of practice captured to ensure the excellent performance of your product or service.

Not having a set of standards in place affects relationships with your people, your customers and your suppliers, and can also affect your revenue. Our experience with Honda proved just how important it is to develop standards.

The Challenge at Honda

Honda has been driving standards across all its European dealerships, so no matter whether a customer uses a dealership in Warsaw or Edinburgh, they receive the same high quality Honda experience. A recent EU ruling – ‘Block Exemption Regulation’, which allows new car owners to have their vehicles serviced at other manufacturer’s dealerships without affecting their warranty – meant that raising existing standards became critical for Honda to maintain a competitive advantage.

Honda already had the same look and feel in all their dealerships – from the lighting to the displays to the floors – but what about customer service? They knew that providing a consistent customer service would have a dramatic effect – so why didn’t they provide it?

Ensuring consistency in the look and feel of a dealership is one thing, but how do you ensure consistency in the training and behaviour of all your staff across 14 different languages?

The challenge was that several departments were handling different sections of training –each one using a different supplier in a different location, with different authoring tools, different templates, different navigation, and also different pedagogy.

The risks associated with inconsistent strategies for learning

  • Inconsistent standards of training across different staff roles
  • Varying quality of content, creating disengagement in some areas
  • Diverse look and feel across modules, steepening the learning curve
  • Disproportionate costs acquired across departments
  • Inconsistency for the learner, creating confusion and poor learning outcomes

Open notepad with concept of right and wrong strategy  on white
Consistency takes away the barriers to learning

Creating a universal standard of effective training for Honda meant that their learners received the same look and feel and, importantly, the same pedagogic rules.

CDSM had the challenge of unifying departments, and creating consistent and effective e-learning, across different languages and different elements of system integration. We didn’t guess what learners were going to like though – we piloted and used tactics to make the audience more receptive. It meant we could effectively align their learning experience and deliver the same consistent experience for Honda staff that they provided for their dealership customers.

Using Standards to Avoid Guess Work

Standards allow a company to not only have consistency, but also create an expectation across the organisation.

They provide receptiveness from learners, promoting engagement, as well as aiding a consistent and predictable cost level across departments.

If a department hasn’t previously used e-learning, having standards in place will allow them to foresee a measureable and predictable outcome. The same applies when you ask a new supplier to come on board – if you have a set standard, the supplier can get up and running for you as quickly as possible.

So, develop your standards now, and reap the benefits for both your staff and customers, as well as protecting that all-important bottom line.

If you would like to find out more about this project, download the Honda Case Study.

You can also stay up to date with what’s happening by following CDSM on the social media websites below, or by subscribing to our monthly e-zine.

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Learning Theory and Practice with Contemporary Web Technologies

In this blog post our CEO, Dan Sivak, explains the thinking behind CDSM’s combination of learning theory and practice with contemporary web technologies.

“Pigeonholing a person upon introduction is a strange and limiting behaviour that surely can’t serve us very well… but we all do it. This ‘snapshot’ way of making sense of the world must have its roots in the old adage: ‘we are what we do’. So when networking and meeting people I always try to remember that being a butcher, a baker or a candlestick-maker comes with baggage. People make judgements based on what you do and there is very little you can do about it. Working for an SME often means your company is relatively unknown. You have to regularly introduce yourself, your company and what it is that your company does. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve responded with, ‘CDSM is a learning technology company…’, only to be met with a puzzled smile and a shrug of the shoulders. Therefore, this blog post is an attempt to be clear about who we are and what we do.”

We asked our COO and our CTO to describe what they and their teams focus on at CDSM.

Brain C2a
Cathy Sivak, COO at CDSM Interactive Solutions

What do we do and how do we do it?

CDSM was founded by teachers with a passion for designing and delivering effective and engaging teaching and learning practice. As teachers in the classroom, we wanted to make a difference. There are not many professions that give you a better opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives. Although at CDSM we don’t often teach face-to-face any more, we still believe that what we do is making a difference and having a profound effect on the future, whether this is for the people we are involved in teaching or training, or the companies we are facilitating learning for.

As a teacher ‘by trade’, my priority is to base our solutions on sound pedagogical principles. We understand and exploit learning and development theory, and we design, build and support web technologies to engage with and develop thousands of learners every day.

We work in the UK public education and commercial corporate sectors, but to a large extent, the sector doesn’t matter because the science and the practice of learning and development doesn’t discriminate against the GCSE student or the industry employee. What matters is that we aim to help each and every end-user succeed, and to do so we think long and hard about how best to help them achieve that success. That may involve delivering anytime-anywhere bite-sized learning episodes, a blend of online and face-to-face interactions, simulation or scenario-based activities, or something in-between. Alternatively, it may involve providing intuitive and user-friendly tools to facilitate teaching and learning. Our solutions are varied and depend on customer requirements and purpose, but they are always based on our experience of what makes learning work.

Darren Wallace, CTO at CDSM Interactive Solutions

How have web technologies impacted learning theory?

Let’s make no mistake: CDSM would be nothing without its innovative technologies. Our technologies enable teaching and learning, build and manage identities, and make simple the development of groups and communities.

There is no denying the impact web technologies have had on all of our lives over the last 15 years or so. The internet has given us all unprecedented access to information, from the trivial to the revolutionary, and we now access this information 24/7 via a bewildering array of devices. It’s hard to imagine a set of technologies with a greater potential to empower its users, and for me at least, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting or rewarding application for web technologies than enabling people to improve their lives through learning.

We’ve seen several false dawns in e-learning over the last 15 years: from bloated one-size-fits-all learning platforms, to marketing companies parading design-heavy presentation tools as learning content. But the web has matured and, at CDSM, we understand the importance of web standards and interoperability. We’ve backed the web as a standard and a platform for learning and development since the turn of the millennium. The joy of my job has been to steer the company through the stand-out innovations and disruptions that have affected so many of us over the last 15 years.

We know that the devices people use to access their online lives are changing the way we live and work together.  We’re undoubtedly excited by contemporary web technology, and the reach and opportunities it affords us. But we’re not interested in technology for technology’s sake. Everything we do is guided by a passion for learning and the belief that equal access to information plays a vital role in all our futures. We want to build the tools that empower our users. And we’ll never stop learning.

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E-Learning Will Improve Your Bottom Line

At CDSM, we’ve done a fair bit of investigation into the ROI of e-learning. In fact, it’s one of the first things potential customers ask us about: “Will e-learning improve our bottom line?”

In case you were wondering, the answer is “yes!”

In the automotive sector, improving the bottom line is crucial to a company’s success. We know this is the case, having seen the hugely positive results of our award-winning work with Honda Motors Europe. Thanks to this successful partnership with Honda, we were invited to tender with another automotive manufacturer: Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi2Sales are rocketing at Mitsubishi, and the pressure is on at dealerships to get staff trained up to their high standards. After reviewing contemporary approaches to L&D challenges, Mitsubishi looked to e-learning and digital technologies to scale up operations.

That’s where CDSM came in.

Up until now, Mitsubishi had a limited experience of e-learning but, with our help, they now understand the benefits that e-learning and blended learning solutions can bring to their people and, crucially, their business.

They now know what studies have proved – that blended learning is the most effective learning method – and are looking forward to realising the full potential of their sales staff quicker than previously expected.

We’re currently working with Mitsubishi to replace a number of their classroom-based courses with bespoke e-learning and a blended solution. Using cutting-edge learning design and theory, we will deliver e-learning that Mitsubishi staff really want to do, and can also use to obtain real-life, measureable results.

Find out what we can do for your business today – contact us now for a free demoMits

 

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