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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016 #4

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #4

Let us introduce Anna, the fourth participant in our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

Anna-Marie Rakic - Office Administrator at CDSM

Anna-Marie Rakic, Office Administrator at CDSM

Anna is the Office Administrator at CDSM. Her role encompasses everything from being the first point of contact for our customers / public, to general office duties such as taking meeting minutes.

“I love my role, as my priority is other people, and assisting others where I can. As a Welsh speaker I help out on a number of different projects if any Welsh work is needed, meaning I get to work with almost everyone in the office!”

We asked Anna – what did you learn at work this week?

“Due to being a fluent Welsh speaker, I have had the privilege of recording voice overs for help videos for our Welsh projects. I have thoroughly enjoyed this, however I have had to re-master the Welsh language in order to correctly and fluently deliver the voice overs. Having not corrected my Welsh since secondary school, it has been a challenge to rebuild my confidence in speaking and writing in the Welsh language.”

“To help me out with this project, members of the Welsh Government kindly sent across some tips, and these were fantastic aids. I also had the opportunity to work closely with a colleague here at CDSM who had some previous experience in voice overs! We sat together and worked through the material until I was completely comfortable with it. I even went back to some of the voice techniques I had learnt as an A-Level Drama student.”

“Not only has this dramatically improved my confidence in speaking Welsh, but I also feel more confident in my own abilities. When I was first asked to help with the voice overs, I was very excited but obviously quite nervous at the same time, but I have learnt that with the right advice and guidance, you can succeed. This is a lesson that I can take with me in everything I do here at CDSM.”

Check back tomorrow for the final instalment of our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

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

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016 #3

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #3

Let us introduce Darren, the third participant in our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

Darren Wallace - Chief Technology Officer at CDSM

Darren Wallace, Chief Technology Officer at CDSM

Darren is the Chief Technology Officer at CDSM. In his role, Darren sets the strategic, technical roadmap for the business. “My primary goal is to monitor and understand the latest and greatest developments in web application development on behalf of the business and to evaluate how we can apply these technologies to further our ambitions to be the greatest learning technology company in the world!”

“I regularly liaise with all our product stakeholders, both engineers and muggles alike, often acting as a translator between the two. With varying success.”

We asked Darren – what did you learn at work week this week?

“I’m currently learning to use Docker (www.docker.com) which allows me to run multiple, isolated development environments on a single machine, non-destructively.”

“More and more often, YouTube is my first stop when learning a new skill. There are a lot of very clever people out there documenting their experiences, and I find video content really easy to absorb. Of course, I always have the documentation open in one browser, and StackOverflow.com in another, which is a fantastic resource.”

“I’m often required to evaluate a new technology, development tool or technique. So I’m constantly installing / uninstalling software or tinkering with my system configuration. I’m using Docker so I can make these changes in an isolated, virtual environment without the risk of turning my main development environment into a very expensive aluminium brick.”

Check back tomorrow for the next instalment of our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

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

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016 #2

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #2

Let us introduce Rebecca, the second participant in our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

Rebecca Picton-James - Project Manager at CDSM

Rebecca Picton-James, Project Manager at CDSM

Rebecca is a Project Manager at CDSM. As Project Manager, Rebecca’s role entails managing a project team, resource and schedule planning, customer relations and communications, reporting project progress to senior management and identifying and resolving project risks. Rebecca is currently working on the Mitsubishi and Boots projects, which involves producing e-learning content for the retail divisions of the respective companies.

We asked Rebecca – what did you learn at work this week?

“I am currently working towards a level 5 qualification in Management and Leadership. I’ve been given two different text books in work which describe how to be a good project manager in an agile project environment.  I also have weekly 1:1s with my line manager to ensure I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses each week, to allow me to continue improving.”

“Being a young project manager, I had little experience when starting my job. As time goes, I am learning more about the day to day management of a project, from project initiation to final delivery.”

“My training course is encouraging me to do more independent research and in turn, improving my understanding around areas such as strategic and operational management, which is something I had little knowledge of a few months ago. As well as this, it has given me more confidence when communicating with my team and customers.”

Check back tomorrow for the next instalment of our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

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

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016 #1

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #1

Let us introduce Natalie, the first participant in our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

Natalie Ann Holborow - Instructional Designer at CDSM

Natalie Ann Holborow, Instructional Designer at CDSM

Natalie is an Instructional Designer at CDSM. Her role is to create the content for the e-learning programmes and work closely with the graphics designers to get the design right for the customer. At the moment, Natalie’s current focus is the Honda PLCC project, which allows her the opportunity to work very closely with the customer, a very helpful and rewarding experience.

We asked Natalie – what did you learn at work this week?

“At the moment I am learning to use Honda’s PLCC system, a program which allows the user to manage appointments and contacts throughout the Sales and Aftersales processes. Though challenging, this project has allowed me to build a good rapport with the customer and help me to get to grips with a system in exactly the same way the user would be experiencing it which has helped me to work out exactly how to structure the module in a way which is most engaging and accessible for a new user.”

“I was lucky enough to go and complete the training at a Honda training centre in Belgium with the customer and my project manager and am now writing an instructional module on how to use it. I regularly have phone calls or the occasional meeting to plan out the structure and work through any difficulties quickly to allow for efficient completion of the project and it’s allowed me to work in a way which is more ‘hands on’ than previous projects, where often I’ve simply worked from the source material in text format.”

“I thoroughly enjoy working with customers – to me, building good rapport ensures that the key messages are captured and understood in a way that can often be clearer than just through email or a third person. Getting to grips with an unfamiliar and complex system from the end user’s perspective has allowed me to experience things first-hand as a learner, and has helped me to shape the content in a way I can certainly take with me into future projects.”

Check back tomorrow for the next instalment of our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

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

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016

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Learning at Work Week 2016

Next week from 16th to 22nd May 2016 is Learning at Work Week, this is an annual awareness campaign organised by the Campaign for Learning since 1999 [1]. The campaign aims to spotlight the importance and benefits of learning and development for staff and organisations. It is out to promote an inclusive approach to opportunities for all to learn, upskill and develop to lead highly rewarding careers.

At CDSM, we are participating in Learning at Work Week and we are encouraging staff members to look at what learning and development opportunities they have been undertaking and how this will benefit them and the company. As an award-winning digital learning services agency, learning and development opportunities are at the core of CDSM’s pedagogy, which is to create and deliver industry-leading education technology products and services for the private and public sectors [2].

Training and development opportunities are available to all staff at CDSM, ranging from apprenticeships and level 4-7 leadership and management qualifications with the Institute of Leadership and Management to PRINCE 2 project management training. A learning and development opportunity does not essentially have to be formal training or lead to a qualification. They can range from practical experience in obtaining a new skill, working with a client at their premises or developing product knowledge ready for a launch. Each member of staff has regular 1-to-1s and performance development reviews with their line manager to create a plan of action to allow them to capitalise on the learning and development opportunities available to them.

Each day next week, a new post will appear on the CDSM blog interviewing a member of the CDSM family on a current learning and development opportunity. Regular updates will also be posted on social media; you might even catch a blog in your email inbox!

The first blog post will be live at 9AM on Monday morning.

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

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

Sources:

[1] Learning at Work Week 2016 – Essential Facts

[2] CDSM – Who We Are – Our Story

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CDSM E-learning Insights Learning Pedagogy

E-Learning Design Part 1: Structure, Repetition and Reinforcement

In the competitive market of digital learning solutions, it’s easy for providers to fall into the trap of ignoring the sound theories of the past and only give their users a taste of the flavour of the month. Here at CDSM, however, we draw on a range of theories – from the past and the present – to form the method and practice behind our e-learning. In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of posts looking at the various learning theories that make up our ‘pedagogy’. First up: Behaviourism.

What is Behaviourism?

Have you ever heard of Pavlov’s Dogs, Skinner’s Rats or Thorndike’s Cats? All of these theorists focused on how animals learned to behave in certain ways as a result of changes to their environments.

Behaviourism

Emerging in the early part of the 20th century, behaviourism quickly became the main theory relating to how learning takes place. The theory is largely based on the results of experiments in which animals (including humans) learnt to display new behaviour patterns encouraged by repetition, reward and/or punishment.

For behaviourists, repetition is very important. John Watson, the father of behaviourism, suggested that the “more frequent a stimulus and response occur in association with each other, the stronger the habit will become.”

So how do reward and punishment reinforce behaviour, and motivate people to learn? Think back to when you were in school and the teacher set you homework. Your motivation to complete this work was probably influenced by at least one of the following:

  • To achieve a good mark or praise from the teacher
  • To avoid being shouted at by the teacher
  • To avoid receiving detention
  • To avoid having privileges taken away

These are all examples of reinforcement and punishment.

How Behaviourism Informs CDSM’s Pedagogy

Punishment is less helpful when it comes to adult learning – although it is still possible to use it effectively, you must be careful not to make your learner feel frustrated or undermined. However, reinforcement – in the form of positive feedback – can be just as rewarding for adult learners as it is for children. In our e-learning, we use reinforcement in the form of frequent feedback and praise:

Learning Assessment

Behaviourists place an emphasis on structured learning with observable and measurable outcomes, and this is something which is particularly important for users who complete e-learning in insolation. At CDSM, we add ‘signposts’ at regular intervals to help our users to find their way. These signposts take the form of learning outcomes, easily-accessible menus and section introductions. We also structure content into small, bite-sized chunks to help with this. Repetition then comes in the form of regular activities and summaries, reinforcing what the user has covered so far.

Learning Outcomes

Almost a century after it first emerged, the theory of behaviourism may seem a little ‘old school’ by today’s standards. At CDSM, we don’t believe that our users are simply empty vessels, ready to be filled to the brim with knowledge (as behaviourists do). But we also recognise that it’s important not to throw out the baby with the bathwater – which is why you’ll find some of the essential aspects of behaviourism in our pedagogy.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll take a closer look at the behaviourist approach of having observable and measurable outcomes for learning, and explain why we ask our learners to ‘identify’, ‘summarise’ or ‘recognise’, rather than to simply ‘understand’.

Take Me To Part 2 >

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CDSM Learning

Never Stop Learning

Our CEO, Dan Sivak, explains the thinking behind CDSM’s new strapline ‘never stop learning’…

CDSM’s previous company strapline was ‘our solutions your success’. It worked…well sort of – it was a catch-all phrase, flexible enough for us to get away with. However, as the business grew, we often acknowledged the need to change it. Seriously, you shouldn’t so much ‘get away with’  your company strapline, but more stand by it, be proud of it – after all, it acts as your motto, so it should mean something!

A company strapline conveys a message that reflects upon your core business values and activities. It should resonate positively with clients and related audiences alike. So this year, we put our heads together and re-imagined our strapline.

Never Stop Learning CDSM Strapline

‘Never Stop Learning’ has been enthusiastically received by colleagues and clients alike. Some felt that it clearly associated CDSM with our core business activities (i.e. the design and development of learning technologies), whilst others simply remarked that it “felt like us.”

For the purpose of this blog post, I revisited some of the notes we made during the re-imagining process. Interestingly, as well as considering what ‘never stop learning’ meant as a whole, we also chose to break the phrase down into its three parts:

Never

This word describes our commitment – to learning and development, to our customers and their end users, to the development of digital learning technologies and to our positive effect on those we come into contact with.

Stop

At CDSM, we simply don’t stop! There is always a discussion happening, an idea being developed upon, or some conceptual debate taking place about how we can improve something. We never stop, there’s just too much to do!

Learning

We live and love to learn. CDSM is a culture that nurtures insight, innovation and wisdom. It’s a rich and rewarding place to be if you actively seek to learn and to develop, and we like to think that this extends to those who partner with us too.

Each word on its own had a pertinent meaning, and together they created a phrase that offered more than the sum of its parts. That’s why we felt that, with these three simple words, we had successfully captured the essence of CDSM.

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EdTech Education Hwb Hwbdysgu Software Wales

HwbMeets World

Meet Hwb.B_5dAjHWAAEHzKy (1)

If you haven’t already met it at your school or office, you can meet Hwb, like many others already have, at HwbMeets.

(Available in Welsh here)

For those of you that don’t already know, Hwb is the national database of digital teaching and learning resources. It’s also the gateway to CDSM’s latest range of tools, quality articles and images from Encyclopaedia Britannica and a brilliantly engaging package for primary phase learners – Just2easy.

Right now, I go everywhere with Hwb. We’re like best buddies, inseparable. Hwb even gets me in to all these great events, where I get to meet all the brilliant teachers and public servants who work so diligently to help raise attainment in our schools. I’m basically Hwb’s plus one, which is great because Hwb’s never happier than when it’s the centre of attention, showing off all its new tricks and introducing people to its wide range of tools and resources.

You see, Hwb’s been reinvented in the last 12 months. It’s the new kid on the block again and it’s really starting to turn some heads. Seven thousand new people logged into Hwb in February alone – a big number, and one that’s increasing month on month.  In addition to being an incredible resource, Hwb’s ambitious, and it won’t stop until all of the five hundred thousand+ users in Wales have logged in. So to that end, Hwb and I find ourselves out there at HwbMeets doing the educational equivalent of speed dating, trying to capture the hearts and minds of teachers, local authority leaders and school improvement agencies in Wales.

HwbMeets are 2 hour sessions which start with a couple of keynote presentations from outstanding practitioners. These insightful demonstrations are a great example of the work put in by teachers to make the best use of technology in their classrooms. After this, the audience of school teachers and leaders work their way, eight at a time, around a series of numbered tables, on a quest to find the next best ‘tech’ thing with which to inspire and challenge their kids.

I get ten minutes with each group to convince them of Hwb’s charms. The hard part is speaking for eighty minutes without pause, telling the Hwb story to eight different groups.

Convincing them is easier. After all, I’m able to tell them that Hwb is free, that all teachers and learners in Wales have an account and that this provides Single Sign On access to: MS Office 365, Learning Posibilities’ Hwb+ and SWGFL’s 360° safe Cymru tool – not to mention all CDSM’s new tools, designed by teachers for teachers.

Last month Hwb had eight hundred and twenty two thousand page views and sixty seven thousand logins. Of course, we want those numbers to double by the end of the academic year: this way, we’ll know that Hwb is reaching the teachers and leaders it was designed and commissioned to help.

To do this, Hwb is improving and developing all the time. Its tool set is expanding, and its relevance to teachers and classroom practitioners is growing. By the middle of April, Hwb will have released 5 new features, including Playlists & Hwb Networks. It’s innovations like these that will form the foundations of the legacy we’re building in Wales. It’s these features that Hwb and I have been demonstrating at the HwbMeets.

The reaction from teachers has been very positive, even from the groups that get my final presentation of the day. Teachers immediately see the benefits of the tools and appreciate the ease and simplicity of the implementation. The most common response I get is a question: “And all this is available for free on Hwb?!” The second is “So where can I get my logon details again?”

If you’re yet to meet Hwb, then make sure you attend a HwbMeet. You can find a list of upcoming events on Hwb – and hopefully the two of us will see you there.

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