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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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Business CDSM e-learning E-learning Infographic Insights L&D

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

Click image to launch full size version.

Club Together Infographic

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e-learning Infographic Insights Study

Text version of Infographic – e-Learning Paints a Pretty Picture

We put a Department of Education report through our infographic-o-whizz 9000. Out popped the most important points to power up your training, from a big review of all the studies done on e-learning.

Scope:

In the studies on e-learning effectiveness:

Learner groups ranged 16 to 1,857 people.

5 studies had 400+ learners.

Average learner age: 13 to 44.

Roughly half of the learning was academic. The remainder included professional development.

Most common subject area: Medical.

Other subjects: computer science, teacher training, social science, mathematics, languages, science and business.

At least 29 studies lasted more than a month.

Effects:

50 independent effects were scrutinised.

Of these, 11 were significantly positive for online or blended learning (using both online and face-to-face training).

Effects Boosting Learning Results:

Letting learners control their own interactions with media

Prompting learner reflection

Learners self-monitoring understanding

More collaborative opportunities

Extra learning materials

Additional learning time*

*Online learning tends to expand time spent on learning more than face-to-face training.

2 Big Lessons

On average:

Learners in online learning did slightly better than those with face-to-face instruction.

Learners using blended learning out-performed those with face-to-face instruction alone.

Sources:

https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf

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