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Active Learning Is Essential to Your Online Training Courses

Active Learning Is Essential to Your Online Training Courses

Imagine two different classes. In the first, the teacher leads debates, asks intriguing questions, and assigns collaborative group projects. In the second, you are expected to sit, listen, take notes, and take tests. Which class would you rather enroll in?

For many people, the first class wouldn’t just be a more engaging experience. It would tap into the power of “active learning” to help them retain more information in the long run.

An active learning environment pushes students to analyze and actively practice what they are learning as they are learning it. When you design an online training course for your organization, it is essential to consider how you can incorporate active learning techniques to help your employees better understand key concepts.

Peer Discussion

Setting up an online discussion group as part of your online training courses will improve your company is two key ways. First, it will encourage employees to share their knowledge and fully engage with the current training topic. Second, it will promote a friendly, helpful organizational culture.

eLearning Games

eLearning games are where work and play combine. Employees can have fun and earn rewards while practicing essential training concepts. The more employees win (and learn!), the more accomplished they will feel.

Reality-Based Scenarios

Answer the common question “Why do I need to know this?” by directly linking your training courses to the real world. A reality-based scenario asks what an employee would do in a specific situation, such as interacting with an unhappy customer. Then, it explains whether their choices will lead to the best outcome.

Encourage Urgency with a Timer

In the real world, we can’t sit and mull over the answers to everyday questions. For certain exams and roleplay scenarios, it may help to set a timer. Employees will stay more focused and practice making choices under pressure. If you do choose a timed method, then don’t penalize employees for making mistakes. Use each mistake as a learning opportunity.

Start Designing Your Online Training Courses Today!

At LearningZen, we have built our easy-to-use learning management system with active learning in mind. Our clients can incorporate a wide variety of interactive learning methods into their cloud-based courses.

To find out how you can promote more successful employee training with LearningZen, please contact us today!

 

Using Technology So We Can Put Down Technology

Using Technology So We Can Put Down Technology

Technology and all the ways we use it has made us all impatient and left suffering from technology deficit disorder, TDD. Is that even a thing? Technology allows us to no longer have idle time. You see it at stop lights, waiting in line to order lunch, before a movie starts, waiting for the bus…it’s everywhere. It’s also while people are driving, walking, riding a bike, on a skateboard and I’m sure soon when you’re surfing. I guess doing one thing just isn’t enough. Sometimes I am watching TV while sending texts, checking my Instagram feed, checking my email and playing a brain game. At the same time. We need to let our brains rest and recharge. People are on their devices everywhere and all the time. I hope this doesn’t come off like old school curmudgeon, technophobe Luddite but seriously, we need to look up and see the world, because it’s amazing and most people are missing it.

Today, why not try taking 5 minutes to put down your phone and just watch the world go by? I bet it’s harder than it sounds and feels a lot longer than 5 minutes.

Using technology while you are on the move is dangerous. Using it all the time is likely not only bad for your health, but it allows us to be brain lazy. You never have to strain your brain to think up the answer to anything you just google it. I do it too. Heck I run a software company. Please try and understand the irony in writing a blog post about using more technology to use less technology. I try to see the humor in everything.

The average American Spends 5 hours per day on their mobile devices. Shouldn’t we at least try to maximize that time? Let’s talk about using technology to get away from it. One of the main reasons we built LearningZen was to improve consistency but also to greatly improve efficiency. We wanted customer to be able to train but in a way that your audience wants and expects it to be delivered. Electronically and utilizing video.  I love technology and for online training and lot’s of other things I think it’s brilliant. If you’re between 18 and 30 years old, chances are, if you don’t know how to do something you are going to go to YouTube and watch a video and learn how to do it, then try to do it. I just did this 3 weeks ago because I bought a new bike rack. I took one look at the directions then went to YouTube and brought up a video of someone installing the exact same bike rack. After I watched the video I installed the bike rack in all of 5 minutes. The best part is I knew I did it right the first time because I saw someone do it correct the first time and they gave me tips and tricks in the video. It gave me peace of mind when I headed on a 500 mile journey with my daughters bike and mine both brand new. I was confident the bike rack would do its job because I didn’t have the self-doubt that maybe I interpreted the instructions wrong. Anyone whose put together a piece of IKEA furniture recently is likely nodding.

Back to my point, let’s use technology to put down technology and see the world and get engaged in all of life’s beauty. Yeah I get it, it’s a weird scary political climate right now, but thankfully this isn’t a political blog and I don’t have the kind of time to attempt to explain the kind of batshit crazy town going on today. I’m talking about seeing the world because of the incredible access we have to it.  We no longer are limited to just reading about other countries and cultures, we can submerse ourselves in them. All because of the power of technology and the internet. Let’s be the people that go out into the world and truly experience it firsthand. We need to look up to experience it. Your neck and back will thank you.

Generations before ours did not have the luxury of being able to book their own travel. Think about this for a second. We have access to some incredible travel sites. Everything you’ve ever read in a book or magazine, anything you’ve seen on television or in a movie you can visit in person and you can book it yourself using crazy cool technology. If you need a flight to anywhere in the world, on any day, from and to any city in the world, you can find in seconds.  And get this. You can also do it from your phone. I could be bone fishing in Belize tomorrow. I could go see the Taj Mahal next weekend. I could play golf on St Andrews next month. Yikes, technology is amazing. If you want to visit something the world is literally at your fingertips. BOOM! My parents didn’t have this and neither did their parents and neither did yours.

This brings up something we talk about at work a lot. Smart money. Spending smart money on smarter technology buys us time to look up from that technology and see firsthand what our parents and their parents couldn’t see, the world and all its beauty.

Our philosophy at LearningZen is that spending smart money on smart technology purchases helps you simplify your life and other people’s lives. We all can learn from watching videos. Think of something right now that you don’t already know how to do. Then think to yourself, do you suppose there’s a video out there that could show me how to do this? I’m guessing almost anyone who just actually tried that little exercise would agree with this. A video that can teach you how to do almost anything is out there and you can pull it up from your phone. In minutes. Let’s just try to use technology for good.

The reason I love using my phone for travel is it’s super easy to launch an app rather than pulling out my laptop. I think everyone should have a travel reservation service installed on your phone. I personally love Sky Scanner. It’s an aggregate site like Orbitz that I find has more airlines and a more enjoyable interface. It’s still the easiest game in town. Find a flight from and to anywhere on almost any airline and sort it however you want. By number of stops, price, non-stop only, by time, by carrier…it’s free and easy to use. Even their car rental service just recently bailed me out of jam when I landed and had forgot to rent a car. All of my other services including the rental companies direct sites showed no availability but sky scanner came to me rescue. I’ve also had some good experience using Hopper. With hopper you can plan a future flight and they’ll tell you using some algorithms likely acquired with some advanced degrees that I can’t even pretend to explain. The site can tell you whether it’s a good time to buy now, or wait, to purchase your tickets later. Math is fun.

This year alone I went to Iceland and saw where Game of Thrones does some filming while I hunted the northern lights. I was reading the Hunchback of Notre Dame and then went to Paris and proceeded to eat the most wonderful food you can imagine. I walked down the same streets that George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt were walking in Oceans 12 in Amsterdam. Reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar? Go to New England.

The world is amazing, but you need to take some time to look up and experience it. Technology has made travel to almost anywhere attainable. I don’t need another laptop, gaming system, a fancy car or a nicer house. What I want to do is see the world and experience it. Let’s use technology to use less technology so we can visit and immerse ourselves in the world. It’s gorgeous and ugly, its pungent yet fragrant, like this blog post its many things to many people but seeing it in person is so much better than watching it on TV, in a movie or reading about it. We live in a time where it’s all at our fingertips. Let’s use technology so we can put down technology and see the world, talk to people in person, eat what the locals eat, float down a river like Huck and Finn And Jim. Bring on the adventures!

Why Your Online Training Programs Should Focus on Developing “Soft Skills”

Why Your Online Training Programs Should Focus on Developing “Soft Skills”

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills allow us to connect with other people. For example, communication is a crucial soft skill. This ability may not be as easy to test as “hard skills” like mathematics or programming, but communication is essential to a functioning workplace.

When you bring an employee in for an interview, your company is often evaluating their soft skills. Can they stay positive during a stressful situation? Can they arrive on-time and fully prepared? Do they respond well to unexpected changes? Are they friendly and confident?

Improve Employee Soft Skills In Your Workplace

As you design an online training program for your business with LearningZen, you should consider how your courses can help employees hone their soft skills. Here are a few abilities that are worth emphasizing:

Communication

Experienced communicators can resolve conflicts, empathize with their peers, and ensure that customers feel heard and respected. They understand when to listen and when to speak. To foster better communication in your workplace, use online training courses with branching scenarios where employees can practice responding to different situations.

Teamwork

It is essential that your employees are can get along with each other and work together to achieve a common goal. They must be ready to lead or to follow, as the situation demands. You can cultivate better teamwork with online group projects.

Problem-Solving

To solve problems, we must unpack a situation, find the underlying causes, experiment with different solutions, and remain calm until the right answer is found. Your employees can develop stronger problem-solving skills through “serious games,” which teach via immersive storylines, compelling characters, and point systems.

Ownership

Employees cannot learn from their mistakes unless they take ownership of them, and a hidden mistake can lead to a more significant problem down the road. Still, it is difficult to be transparent and possibly face blame. One way to improve ownership in your workplace is to ask employees to point out the mistakes that a character makes in a scenario.

Time Management

Job productivity is largely determined by your employees’ abilities to meet deadlines, stay on-task, and set priorities. To improve these time management skills, encourage them to create a plan for their online training process, with clear deadlines for reaching important milestones.

Which Soft Skills Do You Want to Emphasize?

Squeezing every soft skill into one training course will lead to lackluster results. Instead, you should put together smaller, more targeted courses to help employees better retain what they’ve learned. To start designing your online soft skills training courses with LearningZen, please contact us today!

 

5 Tips for Successful Employee Training for Small to Mid-Sized Businesses

5 Tips for Successful Employee Training for Small to Mid-Sized Businesses

Regular training sessions offer incredible benefits for businesses and individual employees. A strong training program can improve worker performance, boost employee satisfaction, and provide a better experience for customers. If you own a business that is small or mid-sized, then you need well-trained employees to support your goals. Check out our new infographic for a few tips to help you launch a successful training program:

0818_LearningZen_Infographic_revised

At LearningZen, we help our clients design their own easy, intuitive, and engaging company training courses with our learning management system. To find out more about how LearningZen can help businesses of all sizes, contact us today!

Traditional eLearning is Dead

Traditional eLearning is Dead

I’m here to talk to you about a serious topic. It’s a passing, a final resting, the long sleep…But it’s not a day for mourning, it’s a day for celebration! Let’s take a minute to think about how we learn and then a moment to reflect on how the people we are struggling to train also absorb training information.  I bet it’s very different. What are you to do when you realize your method of training isn’t getting through to your audience? I’m here to talk about the death of traditional e-learning.

Let’s be frank, the days of 4-hour training modules has long been over.  eLearning moved to 2-hour courses, then came an hour, a half an hour, 15 minutes and it’s landed on micro courses. Micro courses are courses you can typically complete in 5 minutes or less. Roughly the same amount of time Neymar rolls around after he dives is “tackled”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgc5ipQ9bFE

The internet world that we live in moves at tremendous speeds and young minds absorb materials faster than previous generations ever could because they have instant access to seeing exactly how almost anything in the world is done. They have instant video access and gratification. I have no idea what the average age is of the person who is watching this video or reading this blog but for a just a second think back how hard it would have been 30 year ago to instantly learn how to change your own oil in your car. Was this part of the car manual? Maybe you had a handy mom or dad that taught you, but this is something literally almost anyone in the world can now learn to do in the span of 5 minutes. By watching a video. https://youtu.be/rYWcL76WMRg How cool is that?

I watched that video and now I feel like I know how to change my own oil. I didn’t before I watched it. Actually, I didn’t have a clue. I have no idea who recorded this video and if I didn’t like it, there were lots of other oil change videos to choose from. I have zero affiliation with that video but it more than proved my point. With just a little bit of on demand training, almost anyone can change their own oil.

Time is money. We make choices on what is more important every day and we often choose time over money. Time may very well be the most valuable currency in the world. Have fun mining for crypto I’m moving full speed ahead with a time machine, Doc Brown was right.

Now that I’ve seen the changing your own oil video I know in a pinch I could learn how and re-watch it, reviewing the information every step of the way. Pause when I want, confirm that step then continue. Micro learning and videos work. In today’s rapid paced world where time is money it’s just a lot easier and more convenient to stop into your local lube-o-rama and move on with your life.

The younger generation absorbs material at such a rapid pace. This generation will have endless access to information and it’s just keeps getter faster and easier to see how to do anything. They are watching the “how” while hearing the “why” and they hunger to learn both. We must show and explain, not order and expect. In minutes they’ve mastered what took other generations weeks and hours to comprehend. We need to be teaching our young hires using methods they want and expect. We put those teaching methods like video’s into a Learning Management System (LMS) so we can track and validate learning has taken place.

If you take one thing away from this try and remember we are not training ourselves. Don’t forget who your audience is. No one has the time, desire and willingness to go through a 60-minute course that tells you how to greet a customer. Show them in minutes. Traditional e-learning is dead, RIP old fella.

Tips To Engage Your Employees in Online Training

Tips To Engage Your Employees in Online Training

Always emphasize the benefits and on-the-job applications of the online training session. Employees simply aren’t going to be motivated to learn if they aren’t aware of the real world value and benefits of the subject matter. If you give them real world applications or reasons on why they should perform their online training sessions, it helps to set the stage for their personal and professional growth in their specific job roles. They can then see the direct benefit; like how to upsell on a new desert item or add on bottle of wine sale will directly affect their overall tips and put more money in their paycheck at the end of the night. This will keep their motivation up and their attention focused on the task at hand, which is absorbing the key takeaways from the online training.
Encourage an online training culture within your company. Online training should be more than a mandatory activity. It should be part of the culture of your company. Most of your younger staff members are probably expecting some form of online training. Your employees should also realize how greatly they can benefit professionally from their online training, and must be well aware of how much your company values their true devotion and participation. While mandatory online training can be boring and frustrating for employees, if you make it your mission to embrace online training and to encourage your employees to get on board, then you can put a positive spin on the overall online training experience and motivate them. Send out newsletters and emails that stress the benefits of an online training module or event, and get them excited about improving their skills and mastering new tasks.
Give them a variety of interactive opportunities. Knowing your audience and understanding that there is a variety of Learning styles and tailoring your Training to those different learning styles will help tremendously in the adoption and usage of an Online Training program. Using videos for the younger generation is highly recommended for this group. They are used to pulling up videos online to learn how to perform a certain task or method of operation. Also, interactive games or gamification is a great tool to create further enhance the engagement of the Online training. It just makes it more fun to play a game then read a bunch of black and white text. This will help motivate your employees because they will actively participate and gain that knowledge as it becomes more fun for the employees to actively participate in the process.
Set up a reward or incentive program. One of the most powerful ways to motivate employees in online training is to offer them rewards or incentives. If they are performing well and passing all of their assessments with flying colors, offer them some form of praise or create an incentive system that allows them to earn credits or points for their hard work. While learning skills and acquiring new knowledge should be its own reward, there are times when employees need that extra boost to complete online training modules or attend online training events. You can also gamify your online training in order to integrate rewards, such as allowing them to advance to the next level once they’ve finished a module.
If you’re looking for ways to engage your employees and to achieve the maximum job performance boost out of your online training, then it’s all about motivation. Each of these tips to motivate your employees can help you to get them excited and inspired, so that they can become active participants in the online training process.