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E-Learning Punk
Learning Together Beats going it Alone

Cohort-based Learning: Learning Together Beats going it Alone

What cohort-based learning is all about, and why learning online and learning together are not mutually exclusive.

Doing e-learning from the comfort of your home PC has many benefits. But it’s very much a solitary experience: no interaction, and no peers to keep you motivated and spur you on.

 

But thanks to cohort-based learning, it doesn’t have to be that way. With cohort-based learning, you can combine the benefits of group dynamics with PC-based self-learning.

elearning punk cohort based learning

Definition: What is cohort-based learning?

“Cohort-based learning” is a complicated-sounding name for something that more or less means learning as a group.

DEFINITION
Cohort-based learning creates an environment that enables active, collaborative and learner-centric learning.

It is a model of education that puts learners into groups so that they learn together, share ideas and support each other. Unlike one-on-one tuition and self-study, cohort-based learning is inherently collaborative and interactive.

 

As the name suggests, it is done in cohorts: groups of learners who typically have similar interests, objectives or backgrounds. The cohort members progress together through a structured curriculum or course that can include both online and in-person elements. The learners have regular opportunities to meet up, either in person or by means of virtual communication platforms. This motivates them to deepen their knowledge and discuss topics in more detail. It also enables them to work on joint projects.

cohort based learning punk article

Group dynamics at its best: Demonstrably higher success rates

A key advantage of cohort-based learning is that learners benefit from the different perspectives, experiences and skills of their peers. The regular interaction fosters a strong sense of community and cohesion, which can be very motivating and supportive. What’s more, the cohort members can learn from and help each other and grow through ongoing feedback.

 

Cohort-based learning is more than just a nice-to-have for injecting a bit of variety into the learning process. It actually delivers significantly higher success and completion rates than achievable through solo learning.

 

 

Cohort-based learning in action in enterprise practice

Cohort-based learning can be used in all areas of education. And it’s not a new concept per se. It’s as old as school classrooms, where everyone learns together and in person.

 

What’s new is that it can also be used in corporate settings – and it’s not limited to in-person learning. As part of a blended-learning strategy, cohort-based learning can comprise both online and in-person models.

 

So, how might that look in practice? imc instructional designer Benjamin Fillisch explains using a few concrete customer examples:

“At Vodafone, we developed a digital yet highly effective and motivating onboarding programme. The solution needed to cater to three distinct user groups: in-house and external customer service representatives and retail store staff. So, we developed a blended-learning journey that included cohort-based learning.”

cohort based learning concept

The spirit of learning at Jägermeister: Don’t bother showing up if you haven’t done your homework!

Even the drinks industry needs learning. In this case, employees at Jägermeister needed to learn how to implement the brand’s new e-commerce strategy. The learners spanned four distinct, globally distributed groups, including sales staff and C-Level executives.

They were put into country and learning-specific cohorts. Collaborating via Miro , they had to define which stakeholders needed to be on board in order for the strategy to be rolled out successfully.

 

After the first virtual classroom, each cohort was given an assignment and told exactly what to prepare for next time. They were told they needn’t join the next session if they hadn’t done their homework. Why should everyone be forced to repeat a session just because someone hasn’t prepared?

 

Jägermeister learning imc

In essence, the message to the participants was this: Your time and ours is valuable, so it’s only worth meeting if we are prepared. Otherwise, we can’t hope to produce outcomes that are any use to anyone.

 

That may sound harsh, but it was very well received. The participants, especially the C-level personnel, valued the clear expectations and certain knowledge that their time would be used productively. Firm deadlines and mutual accountability gave the participants certainty that their learning sessions would have a meaningful outcome. The result: increased acceptance of the learning by all concerned. This is one of the key benefits of cohort-based learning.

Quick guide to cohort-based learning

Here are some of the key points for getting the most out of cohort-based learning:

 

  • Careful analysis of requirements and target group
  • Good mix of in-person and digital learning
  • Clear communication about rules, expectations and outcomes
  • Generate added interest through gamification
  • Present time-sensitive information in virtual classrooms

 

Above all, don’t forget the fun factor! Whatever the learning, we’re more likely to retain it if it’s entertaining and fun. And that’s true whether we’re learning alone or in cohorts.

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AI in Corporate Learning

There are many fears about the topic of artificial intelligence (AI). But especially in corporate learning, AI can be a great help.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach, Communications Manager, imc AG
Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
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E-Learning Punk
Leadership Training Courses

Leadership Training: When the Boss Takes the Learner’s Seat

Improving leadership ability through effective training

Our perceptions and expectations of leadership personnel have changed a lot in recent years. Today’s managers are expected to have both subject expertise and good people skills. Subject expertise can be learned, obviously, but what about the people stuff – the soft skills?

 

Managers are expected to be able to see things from the employee’s perspective and respond appropriately. The requirements go far beyond merely delegating projects and issuing instructions. The usual hard skills need to be tempered with empathy and judgement in dealings with staff. And that’s where our experts can help – by designing leadership training courses.

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Kathrin Heidler imc

Kathrin Heidler, Instructional Designer at imc

Kathrin Heidler has a degree in education, with a major in digital learning. Since 2020 she’s been an educational designer at imc, designing digital learning formats, blended learning strategies and web-based training courses. And she has a strong focus on leadership training. “For me, leadership means empathy for staff, backing your team – both internally and externally – and having technical expertise,” she says. “These are all things you can train for – the hard skills, obviously, but the social skills too. What I find exciting is to dive deep into the ‘how’ of that.”

“Leadership training” is not the same thing as “management training”

Heidler explains that at imc, leadership training means focusing on and learning the core competencies of effective leadership. It relates exclusively to non-technical skills, like communication, empathy, organisational and methodological competencies, and other soft skills.

 

Management training, on the other hand, relates to learning about new products, specific processes or strategies. It’s about acquiring knowledge and technical – or “hard” – skills.

 

Both types of training can be combined, of course, but they are generally intended for two different target groups:

  • Employees new to leadership roles who need to learn the necessary people skills and understand their company’s mission.

 

  • Employees already in leadership roles who need to learn new strategies or acquire new technical knowledge at the managerial level.
punk graphic culture

However, in both cases, the leaders concerned are generally time poor when it comes to learning. “Leadership personnel are always on a tight schedule, and time is always a big challenge for them,” Heider explains. “That’s why it’s vital to be efficient and find out in advance exactly who needs to do what training. This is especially true for management training courses.

 

In these cases, I like to work with our KPI-based Readiness Check. It allows me to gauge each learner’s existing knowledge level so that I can suggest appropriate content and learning options. That saves a lot of time and frustration.”

 

Success hinges on having clear parameters and expectations heading into these courses. “Both parties must have a realistic understanding of the basic requirements and constraints. And by both parties, I mean the company seeking leadership training, and us as their strategic partner,” Heidler explains. “What’s to be learned, and how? Realistically, how much time is available for the leadership training? Only by having clear objectives can we achieve successful training outcomes.”

punk graphic success

“Effective course design is about getting from the aspirational to the factual”

Katrin Heidler has already supported numerous customers as a strategic sparring partner for the design of leadership training courses.

 

“Given all the hype around leadership and management training, I make a point of focusing the client on the basics,” she explains. “So, at the start, we stay very analytical and nail down things like exactly who the target group is. What defines the group? What is the learning objective? What specific actions and behaviours is the course supposed to teach?

 

“It’s not enough to simply say, I want to make the managers more agile. I have to be able to specify exactly what actions constitute agile behaviour. Breaking it down to specific actions enables the courses we design to achieve the desired outcome of better leadership ability.”

Expert tip
Expert Tip:

When designing leadership training, start by writing a list of core competencies and mapping those to specific types of action. This will provide clarity around what’s expected of the training because it provides a bridge from aspiration to facts and actions.

Choosing the right learning formats

Modular learning nuggets:
learners can complete a training session in just 10-15 minutes

Performance cards as digital flashcards:
Learning content can be presented in a short and punchy way

Virtual classrooms:
Time is blocked out directly in the learner’s calendar; this format does, however, require a trainer

Hot curriculum picks for leadership training

In closing, we asked Kathrin Heidler to give us her picks for learning objectives for leadership training in 2023:

 

“Leaders need to be aware that we’re in a time of economic and demographic change. And they need to be confident and sure – not fearful – in dealing with this change. They should continue to work on their own technical skills. Last but not least, they need to see their staff as people, with all the needs that being human entails. That would be my learning recommendation.”

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Can Germany afford its current AI scepticism?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is often viewed sceptically in Germany, but often without justification. In this interview with Kristian Schalter, we talk about how future technologies will change our working world.

AI in Corporate Learning

There are many fears about the topic of artificial intelligence (AI). But especially in corporate learning, AI can be a great help.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach, Communications Manager, imc AG
Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
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E-Learning Punk
Potential Applications of ChatGPT in Corporate Learning

Hype or future: Will ChatGPT revolutionise corporate learning?

AI and chatbots have the potential to transform employee training and development – Our experts check out the possibilities

ChatGPT is a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence (AI). “GPT” stands for “Generative Pretrained Transformer” – meaning the chatbot has been trained up on countless texts. ChatGPT can write content, evaluate compositions, translate, and write screenplays, job applications, emails, entire essays and even song lyrics.

 

Interacting with ChatGPT is as simple as typing an instruction into its chat window. So that’s what I did:

screenshot chatGPT

So far, so good. I probably would have put it differently myself, but it’s certainly not wrong. ChatGPT has many potential applications, that’s for sure. But how exactly might we use it in corporate learning and to create training content? I teamed up with an expert to take a closer look.

chatgpt punk ai

Diving right in: Making friends with ChatGPT

Faced with the unknown, most people are initially defensive and sceptical. That’s certainly true with new technology. Twenty years ago, we were up in arms about Google, but now we wonder how we ever lived without it.

 

All the more reason, then, for Arne Benoist to put ChatGPT through its paces. “I was very keen to try ChatGPT for myself – and I was surprised how well it works,” he says.

arne benoist

Arne Benoist, Instructional Designer at imc

Instructional designers convert material and topics into learning content and didactic concepts. They select the learning formats to match the target group, learning goals and corporate objectives. And finally, they create learning environments to make it all happen.

To test the AI, the instructional designer used an old training project that had already been completed. “The tasks I gave ChatGPT were repeats of ones I’d completed myself when I designed the training.”

 

Summarising long texts:

ChatGPT does a very good job here. It can trim long, complex texts down to any word count and unpack jargon, producing short, easy-to-understand-prose.

 

Translating:

Here, ChatGPT is similar to DeepL, except that you can specify style. For instance, you can tell it to translate into simple or age-appropriate English.

 

Brainstorming:

Here, ChatGPT can come up with good initial ideas that you can build on in the later design process.

 

Arne Benoist did, of course, encounter a few limitations. “For summaries and translations, we can only use public domain content, as OpenAI is an open, online platform. You should never upload company data or confidential information. Currently that would fall foul of most companies’ data protection and privacy rules.”

Punk AI Robot

But: Can ChatGPT creatively design training content?

Designing modern e-learning content is an intensely creative process. It seems strange to think a hunk of AI might make a good job of it. So, Arne Benoist gave it a try:

 

“For many of our designs we use stories, complete with scenarios, characters and plots. Hence, I asked ChatGPT to create a scenario for a web-based training course on cybersecurity. Well, the chatbot did pretty well, actually, but after a few repeat requests I kept getting similar scenarios. I’m sure I could have got better drafts if I’d fiddled around a bit more and given more specific instructions. But the first stories were too smooth and lacking in dramatic tension for my liking.”

Punk ChatGPT Creativity

While ChatGPT is thorough and produces solid texts, it appears to output an average of all the knowledge at its disposal. Consequently, for creative work, we’ll be needing the brains and experience of our human experts for a while yet. (Note from author: Phew!)

Still some way off: ChatGPT integration into training courses

Learning with chatbots and IT-powered applications is already a thing in many areas of corporate learning, including with imc Express. But integration of ChatGPT itself? Arne Benoist thinks that’s still some way off. “In most cases we’re working with highly detailed, specific content. So, to use AI in our training courses, we’d have to build the AI ourselves – so we could control it. I’m referring here mainly to data protection, but also to verifying sources.”

 

Nevertheless, Arne Benoist will be keeping a very close eye on ChatGPT and similar developments. “I’m very much aware ChatGPT is the start of something big, and it has quickly garnered a lot of fans. But I think we still have a way to go before it will truly revolutionize employee training and development. While I can imagine integrating ChatGPT or similar applications in the future, we’re not quite there yet for the kinds of projects we look after.”

punk chatgpt AI robot

Big things are happening

ChatGPT is certainly not short of ideas on how it can enrich corporate learning:

catgpt screenshot

You never know. As Arne Benoist says: “Perhaps we’ll read this article again in a year’s time and laugh at how it has all turned out differently to how we thought.” OK, it’s a date! Let’s check in again in January 2024 and see how far ChatGPT and AI have come.

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Can Germany afford its current AI scepticism?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is often viewed sceptically in Germany, but often without justification. In this interview with Kristian Schalter, we talk about how future technologies will change our working world.

AI in Corporate Learning

There are many fears about the topic of artificial intelligence (AI). But especially in corporate learning, AI can be a great help.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach, Communications Manager, imc AG
Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Hero Image Punk Readiness Check
Are you ready?
Leveraging the Readiness Check to make learning experiences more customised

How Tinder and Netflix are shaping the future of learning

The media consumption patterns of Gen Zers call for completely new learning formats – Here’s one we’ve come up with

The media consumption habits of people currently moving into the corporate workforce are very different to those of previous generations. And they are playing a major role in shaping employee expectations around work and professional development. In this challenging environment, corporate learning will remain effective only if it is learner-centric and offers formats that are in keeping with learners’ other everyday digital experiences. This is important because learning providers are no longer competing just with other learning providers; they are also competing with dating apps, streaming services and social media.

 

One key way of staying competitive in this sense is to develop individualised learning experiences and adaptive learning content. And we have a new tool that can help with that. Introducing the “Readiness Check”.

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“We want to be the Tinder or Netflix of learning”

Gen Z has integrated digitalisation into all aspects of daily life, as Dr Robert Lohmann, product manager for learning content at imc, knows full well. “These days, you’re not going to get engagement from anyone by throwing content at them in the form of outmoded training courses,” he says. “These sorts of courses were all well and good at the time, but now they are no longer enough. And that’s why we’re increasingly working with elements and features that are familiar from other digital domains, such as chat bots, swiping in dating aps, and content recommendations of the kind used by streaming services.”

 

Companies, including their learners, want customisation, but they don’t want to pay the earth for it. Hence the growing demand for off-the-shelf learning content.

 

But even with off-the shelf content, adaptive learning and individualised learning experiences are an absolute must if you want to engage with the new generation of learners. “That was the big challenge here: to create off-the-shelf training content that is generic enough to be useful to a wide range of users while still offering individualised learning,” Lohmann explains. “And that’s what we achieved with our Readiness Check in the case of our awareness game Cyber Crime Time.”

cyber crime time readiness check

Using the Readiness Check to make learning experiences more customised

The Readiness Check enables companies to build up a highly granular picture of their learners’ current level of knowledge so they can tailor an appropriate response. In all likelihood no two users will ever receive exactly the same feedback when working with the Readiness Check. So, how does it work?

 

Timo Paul, a senior frontend developer in our content department who played a major role in developing the Readiness Check, explains: “It works by assigning a numeric value to each of various defined learning categories. The numeric values themselves are variable, so they can be specific to the learner. The response yielded by the Check is thus highly customised and can comprise anything from simple feedback to activity or content recommendations all the way through to further training courses or learning nuggets. There are no limitations, and that’s what makes this tool an attractive option for creating customised learning experiences.”

punk readiness check cyber crime time

The tool can even be used with very broad learning domains simply by aggregating multiple Readiness Checks into one overall Check, as Timo Paul explains: “It’s a bit like a general knowledge quiz, where you poll the subject’s knowledge in multiple categories and hence arrive at an individual result for each category. The technology behind the system then compiles the results of the individual categories to arrive at an assessment of the subject’s general knowledge.”

It’s all in the weightings

By now, some of you have probably concluded that the Readiness Check uses some form of AI. And you’d be wrong. It uses something even better than AI: humans. The people who configure the Check specify the weightings that lead to the final result. In other words, they determine the numeric values of the individual answers or categories within the Readiness Check, which enables them to make a qualitative assessment of the learner’s existing knowledge.

 

The overall result is not based solely on the number of correct answers, but also on the weightings that have been assigned in the background. “That’s what’s new about the Check,” Timo Paul explains. “We supply the tool, and then the person responsible for training content works with us to set the tool up so that it meets their needs.”

punk readiness check

Cost savings through individualised assignment of learning content

Last year, imc wowed the market with its award-winning “Cyber Crime Time” cyber security awareness game. So, it made sense for the company to integrate this new learning format into its own in-house premium training. And it did this using the Readiness Check. “The development work we did for the Cyber Crime Time Readiness Check was a valuable learning experience for us,” Dr Lohmann says.  “It involved developing something in-house and then testing it over and over until we were happy with the result. And that result is the Readiness Check. It’s been a big help for us, and our clients can now benefit from it too. A lot of blood, sweat, tears and time has gone into getting this tool just right, and now it’s ready to go.”

punk readiness check

Ready to go!

But the two categories can also be combined to leverage their strengths, Härle explains: “There really are no limits! With an individual learning journey, off-the-shelf content might, for example, be included as learning nuggets. Our objective is to create off-the-shelf content that feels nothing like off-the-shelf. Cyber Crime Time, the Journey, is a prime example for this.”

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Off-the-shelf content has come a long way from being an uncomfortable compromise

Costum or off-the-shelf training content - which should you choose? You should first ask yourself: Is the training need or problem I have very specific? Or is it something that many different people in different industries need training on?

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Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach, Communications Manager, imc AG
Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Training Digitisation
Leveraging the knowledge of your people

Training Digitisation – Leverage knowledge sharing among your people

Here we look at the important topics of knowledge sharing and training digitisation, with tips on how to leverage the experience of your employees to improve performance and future-proof your business.

 

For many businesses, especially those within the knowledge-based economy, existing employees are their greatest asset. Staff turnover is expensive for any business. Studies show that the direct cost of replacement is over £30,000 on average to replace an employee earning over £25,000 per annum. However, more detrimental is often the indirect cost that comes with losing valuable knowledge and experience - something that is far harder to measure.

 

Facilitating and encouraging knowledge sharing across your organisation can be an extremely effective way to both enhance productivity within your existing teams and mitigate the brain drain that comes with staff turnover.

 

While your L&D department can roll out training programmes in a planned and centralised manner, a culture of knowledge sharing and a toolkit that makes it easy means that information can be shared at the speed of need (‘Just in Time Learning’) and when it’s convenient for subject matter experts to do so.

Knowledge Sharing Definition

Knowledge sharing is the exchange of information, skills and experience between individuals or across groups. When expertise is shared by an experienced person, it allows further people to benefit from that experience in order to boost their own performance and that of their peers, potentially strengthening an entire organisation.

 

Much knowledge sharing occurs naturally and accidentally through day to day interactions and conversations - those ‘water-cooler’ moments that characterise informal learning or tacit knowledge. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused (or at least accelerated) the transition to a hybrid or fully-remote work environment, making the accidental water-cooler conversation much less likely for many.

 

That informal kind of knowledge transfer is a social activity that is often hard to describe and organise - it comes with nuance, intuition and the free-flow of ideas.

 

However, explicit knowledge is something that can be more planned for and organised, so that specific information can be codified and made available to others.

 

The main attributes of explicit knowledge sharing are:

 

  • Describable - the subject matter expert must be able to clearly articulate the information and experience they want to share
  • Visible - the recipient must be made aware that the learning materials exist
  • Accessible - the recipient must be able to open and consume the content where and when they need it
  • Organised - the recipient must be able to navigate learning materials so that they can be consumed in a structured manner without confusion or information overload
  • Complete - the education or training content should fit into a wider organisational context, signpost further related information where needed, and clarify any distinction between self-published, employee-generated content and the more top-down learning materials created by an L&D team.

 

Knowledge Sharing Benefits

When you have in-house expertise, you’ll want existing and future employees to be able to access it and enhance their own performance as a result. Knowledge sharing benefits can grow exponentially across a large organisation, spawning new ideas and strengthening the collective brain.

 

With a culture of knowledge sharing and providing the tools for digitising content, along with the structures to support it, a company can gain a great deal of competitive advantage. Some of the many benefits of knowledge sharing include:

 

GUARDING AGAINST 'BRAIN-DRAIN'

If important knowledge is shared frequently and in a well-organised manner, the loss and disruption caused by a key employee leaving is greatly reduced.

 

Information shared by the leaver can be made available to their peers and / or successor, in addition to the general onboarding and training materials.

SUCCESSION PLANNING

While guarding against brain drain is about making the organisation resilient to employee departures by being agile in a reactive situation, succession planning is about looking ahead to (perhaps even scheduling) departures and promotions. This includes the process of knowledge transfer that will need to take place during that transition.

 

Starting in Spring 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic, employees voluntarily leaving their jobs en-masse in many countries - most notably the US - was a trend dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’ by organisational psychologist Dr Anthony Klotz.

 

The pandemic caused employees in many countries to rethink their work-life balance and many countries, including the likes of the UK, Australia and Canada as well as the US, saw resignations increase, in addition to the millions of forced redundancies.

 

Regardless of Covid-19, millions of ‘baby boomers’ - those born between 1946 and 1964 - are now hitting retirement age. This large cohort of the population holds vast amounts of information and experience to share with their Generation X, Millennial and Gen Z successors.

INTRA AND INTER-GROUP COMMUNICATION & COORDINATION

Two of the great frustrations among business leaders are duplication of effort across teams that wastes resources and a lack of communication that prevents learning from previous mistakes.

 

With greater insight into what other groups are doing or have done in the past - good and bad, knowledge sharing helps time and resources to be used more effectively.

TRUST BUILDING

When individuals hoard information (albeit unintentionally most of the time), trust among peers is diminished.

 

Providing employees with knowledge building tools, such as the ability to quickly and easily create and share digital training materials, more employees will feel supported by each other and that they are working collaboratively as part of a genuine team.

MANAGEMENT SUPPORT

Employees often feel that they are not being listened to, which can lead to discontent and potentially resignations as a result. Rather than only experience top-down training that can feel disconnected from their real-like working environment, knowledge sharing tools and processes can help employees at every level to create learning materials that help to provide management support and information gathering.

 

This can then influence subsequent onboarding and training materials created by management and L&D teams, making them more contextually relevant.

70:20:10 LEARNING

The 70:20:10 learning methodology proposes that, on average, 70% of workplace learning is done ‘on the job’, while 20% is done through the sharing of knowledge between peers and only 10% is through formal, top-down onboarding and training.

 

That 20% part in the middle goes both ways - not only does the recipient benefit from information shared by the expert (making the 70% on the job part feel better supported) but the action of sharing knowledge can actually strengthen even the expert’s understanding of a subject.

 

Studies such as this one detailed in the Applied Cognitive Psychology journal show that learning by teaching others is extremely effective because it enhances the pathways of knowledge retrieval.

Training Digitisation & Knowledge Sharing Tools

Digitising training makes it possible to store and share information with an unlimited number of employees, even across territories, virtually instantly. A good, modern elearning content authoring tool makes it easy for any of your employees - regardless of their technical skills - to share knowledge digitally.

 

Such an authoring tool, like imc Express, can immediately benefit colleagues in any location via the cloud, while this form of training digitisation makes more knowledge available for future recruits too.

 

This is about employee-generated training content, and each person will have their own preferences around the style and media they feel most comfortable using for knowledge sharing.

 

Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your authoring tool enables content creation and sharing though any combination of:

 

  • Text
  • Audio
  • Video (including subtitling)
  • Images
  • Interactive elements

 

There should be little to no learning curve when it comes to an elearning authoring tool for employee-generated training software. It should be easy to access on any device, easy to use, and make the sharing of materials a fast and simple process.

 

It should also provide visual elements out of the box to make that training eye-catching and engaging by default so that your people can be proud of the materials they create - without needing to work at it.

 

For over 20 years, we’ve worked with some of the world’s leading brands, such as Audi, BASF, Sky, Deloitte and Vodafone, supporting their training needs with elearning solutions.

 

This experience has enabled us to create an elearning toolkit that makes it easy for them to digitise training content and make it accessible across multiple locations, countries and even languages.

 

If you’d like to learn more about how our solutions could enhance training digitisation and knowledge sharing within your organisation, feel free to contact us for an informal chat about your needs and goals.

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Improv Theatre as a Teaching Method

Using Improvisational Theatre for Corporate Learning

Interview with Marlene Konrad, a consultant and trainer specialising in communication, collaboration and change

The curtain is just about to go up. The actors are calming their nerves as  the excitement in the audience builds. Just another “normal” day at the theatre. Except there’s no script: anything goes. This is improvisational theatre, and spontaneity is the name of the game.

 

Improv actors need to be constantly on their toes, ready to pivot and respond to ever-evolving situations. Working together, they juggle ideas, developing the scene as they go along. If one idea falls flat, they move on to a new one without any break in the flow of action.

 

The skills used by improv actors seem to align closely with what’s expected of a lot of teams in today’s corporate world. In both cases, it’s about navigating uncertainty, constantly adapting to new challenges, trusting in one’s teammates, and working together spontaneously.

 

If this is true, then surely it’s not too much of a stretch to use improvisational theatre techniques in corporate learning? To find out how this might work, we spoke to Marlene Konrad, a consultant and trainer specialising in communication, collaboration and change.

breaker punk improv theatre

Change requires a willingness to learn

“For me, learning and change are two inseparable parts of the same thing,” Marlene Konrad explains. “Change in an organisation can succeed only if all employees learn something new and if they learn how to grow and develop. That’s why learning is such a key part of my work.”

Konrad studied theatre and media studies and English language and literature. She completed her practical training at Commha Consulting, where she continues to work as a consultant and trainer.

Marlene Konrad

Marlene Konrad

In her work, Konrad likes to switch things up and try out-of-the ordinary approaches. She is passionate about improv theatre, for example. “Using improvisational theatre, or at least elements of it, as a training method is nothing new. It’s called applied improvisation, and it’s been around for quite a while. But I’ve developed my own personal approach because I’ve been doing improvisational theatre for a long time and have led several improv groups.” Alongside a whole range of improv-inspired projects, Konrad uses improvisational theatre techniques in two main areas.

Agile teams

The salient point here is that improvisational theatre is a team sport. “Improv theatre teams have many characteristics and skills in common with effective teams in work contexts. Hence, we can adapt a lot of improv techniques for team development and collaboration. Improv teams have to remain unfazed by extreme situations. They need to be able to navigate complete uncertainty, for example. And that’s also something that is expected of agile teams in work contexts.”

 

Reflection

Another key aspect of improv theatre is that it sheds light on things that would otherwise remain hidden: “Improvisation makes intangible things real. That’s why I like to use it as a tool for reflection. Improvised roleplays bring into the open things that are normally difficult to explore, such as communication, conflict, feelings and interpersonal relationships. This is hugely important in feedback training and leadership seminars, for example.”

punk improv theatre, actors playing, role play

New Work – new challenges: Tomorrow’s teams need more certainty

For Marlene Konrad, one of the greatest challenges in organisational transformation processes is to embrace flexible thinking. She explains this in terms of companies weaning themselves off rigid processes and workflows while still ensuring that their employees feel safe and secure. “Perhaps you’ve heard of ‘psychological safety’. This is where I foster in a team a sense of safety that comes from the team itself, from the interrelationships and responsibilities between the members of the team,” Konrad explains. “It’s important that this feeling of safety no longer derives from processes because processes can quickly change. So, as well as being flexible, the team needs to work on relationship building.”

 

Improving this sense of safety within teams is another area where improv theatre techniques can help. To be able to function as a member of an improv team, you have to be open to what’s going on around you and willing to put yourself out there as a person. “You’re thrown into a situation where you need to swing into action quickly because there’s no time to think about ‘what if’. In that situation, you need to have the confidence that you won’t make a fool of yourself if you react spontaneously. That it’s okay to mess up and fail. The art is to ‘fail well’. And that’s something that can be practised using improvisation methods.”

collaboration

The “Yes, and...” thinking as an innovation booster

Ever been in a meeting and heard an idea dismissed with “yes, but...”? How might that meeting have gone differently if everyone had said, “yes, and...” and simply taken the idea and run with it?

 

“Yes, and ....” thinking is a key part of improv theatre, and it’s a highly effective technique in innovation processes, as Konrad knows from personal experience: “By saying ‘yes’, I start by accepting what my conversation partner is saying. I consciously avoid following that with ‘but’ because a ‘but’ can close the door to a lot of potentially good ideas. You need to keep that door open and start out by saying yes to everything. Spontaneous improvisation is a good way of explaining this principle.”

 

Of course, after all those yeses, the team needs to make an intelligent selection and close the meeting. “That’s another aspect that improvisational theatre is great at teaching,” Konrad explains. “When doing a scene, if you keep bouncing from idea to idea to idea, then sooner or later the audience will get bored. Hence the actors need to focus, build coherence and bring the scene to some kind of logical conclusion. By training in that, too, you can learn how to conduct brainstorming sessions and manage innovation processes successfully using the ‘yes, and...’ principle.”

whiteboard with yes on it

Improv techniques can also be used in digital learning journeys

While taking an entire improvisational theatre performance digital might be a bit of a challenge, the learning methods involved are actually highly transferable to digital learning journeys. The only prerequisite is that all participants meet in an online session with their cameras and microphones on.

 

Marlene Konrad has already run numerous remote training courses and speed learning sessions using improv theatre methods. “They work really well online. The improv exercises often give rise to a certain synchronicity, or presence, between the participants that enhances the training. And that’s true online, too.”

actors learning together

Examples of learning with the impro method

  • Role reflection
  • Feedback training
  • Innovation/design sprints

Konrad has now developed her improv training technique to the point where she can hold online sessions with more than 20 learners. “It actually works surprisingly well in large groups. For individual roleplays or improv scenes, you can work really effectively in breakout sessions and then reconvene the whole group to reflect and share the learnings.”

Multi-participant digital sessions can be incorporated alongside web-based training and self-learning phases into most learning journeys. That is why our experts recommend that designers consider all format options when creating digital learning journeys. It’s all about having a mix of formats because different learning formats work best with different types of content and offer different advantages. And now: Curtain up!

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Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

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Nina Wamsbach, Communications Manager, imc AG
Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
standard vs custom content
Two categories – One goal
Custom vs. off-the-shelf training content: Which best suits your needs?

“Off-the-shelf training content is no longer an uncomfortable compromise”

When is a custom training course money well spent? And when does an off-the-shelf training course make sense?

Digital training solutions continue to gain ground. With the objective of placing learners at the core and inspiring them with real learning experiences, decisions have long been based on factors other than just time and cost.

 

Yet, to design individual learning paths, you don’t necessarily need custom training content. We spoke to two learning experts, who explain the differences between custom and off-the-shelf training content, and describe what content is best suited for a custom or an off-the-shelf training course design.

street ball game

Custom vs. off-the-shelf training content – the differences

Custom training content – specifically and exclusively designed to meet a company’s e-learning requirements – is generally created from scratch. Its starting point is a specific need or task, for which a special solution is designed, and an entirely new training course is created.

 

These solutions are a great choice for companies seeking to cover specialised topics, such as training for their own production areas – where it can be safely assumed that no standardised solution suitable for their needs exists.

jaegermeister meister academy

Custom Content: Jägermeister Meister Academy

Meanwhile, off-the-shelf training content describes training courses or learning content created independently from any specific customer enquiry which can be used by different companies in a generic form. Thus, this content addresses tasks of a general nature rather than a specific issue or need.

 

Typical topics almost every company needs to deal with would include information security and data protection. These can be perfectly covered with off-the-shelf training courses, as they reflect regulations and laws applicable to all, rather than company-specific issues.

 

A clear preference for off-the-shelf training content also exists for compliance trainings, given that the fundamental principles are based on the applicable laws. However, if a company wants to convey their corporate policy in their training course, things get trickier. Stephan Härle, Instructional Designer at imc explains: “Off-the-shelf trainings provide information of a general nature: You must be careful with gifts and may have to contact your Compliance department. Meanwhile, custom training content can offer more detail: In our company, gifts worth X or more must be approved by our Compliance department. It is impossible to include this in off-the-shelf training content because guidelines differ in every organisation.”

cyber crime time

Standard Content: Cyber Crime Time

“This should really be the first question to ask from a customer perspective – before deciding whether to use off-the-shelf training content or arrange for custom content design,” Philipp Schossau, also Instructional Designer at imc, explains. “Are my training requirements or issues very specific? Or is this type of training utilised by many different people in various sectors?”

How unique is custom training content?

“First of all, we get together with the customer and carry out a major needs assessment,” Stephan Härle says. “If the right conclusions are drawn at this stage, the training can be designed to fit the target group perfectly. But we can only do that with a custom training. Defining the target group very precisely enables us to find the right approach, make the training exciting for a greater number of learners, and increase the completion rate. Custom really means customised for a specific requirement and tailored to the learners’ needs.”

 

“It’s like buying an outfit,” Philipp Schossau continues: “If you were to attend a gala dinner, it would be rather difficult to find a suitable mass-produced smoking that fits perfectly. However, if I’m only going out for a nice dinner, without it being a special occasion, then I can buy and wear off-the-shelf outfits that I enjoy wearing.”

Still, even the best store-bought suit cannot compete with a tailored fit, and the same applies to e-learning content for certain target groups.  “I understand this issue all too well. I have very short arms, and many things will simply not fit straight off-the-shelf,” Schossau jokes.

We raise the bar for off-the-shelf training content

In the past, off-the-shelf content often seemed somewhat stale. That is changing. This past year, imc has been developing and expanding its off-the-shelf content. The specialist department researches relevant topics in its market. Ideally, the solutions are a match for all customers and across countries. But above all, the latest off-the-shelf training courses aim to feel good, cutting edge and highly motivating.

two basketball players

INFO

  • At imc, off-the-shelf training content meets the same high requirements for design and user experience as custom training content.
  • T off-the-shelf training courses recently designed by imc are fully responsive, and the relevant training courses can be completed from mobile devices.
  • Both categories can be integrated into a learning management system (LMS) or be utilised without an LMS.

Stephan Härle: “We want off-the-shelf content to break free from its poor image. While many reasons speak for custom content, off-the-shelf content need not be an uncomfortable compromise. On the contrary, it can be a perfectly suitable and useful solution that is also enjoyable.”

 

Naturally, resource investments are significantly lower, given that no further input is needed for the content design. Moreover, ready-made training content is available much faster than a custom solution that needs to be designed first. Of course, costs can play a role in this decision, too. Off-the-shelf content is usually cheaper.

But the two categories can also be combined to leverage their strengths, Härle explains: “There really are no limits! With an individual learning journey, off-the-shelf content might, for example, be included as learning nuggets. Our objective is to create off-the-shelf content that feels nothing like off-the-shelf. Cyber Crime Time, the Journey, is a prime example for this.”

Cyber Crime Time e-learning content header

Cyber Crime Time

The Grimme Online Award nomination adds to a long line of awards recognising the serious game Cyber Crime Time. With the Cyber Crime Time learning journey, the creators respond to current developments, and offer extensions like the Phishing Detection Booster.

 

Companies can purchase Cyber Crime Time as off-the-shelf content. A trial version is available for anyone wanting to play the role of a hacker.

The questions companies should be asking themselves, when deciding whether off-the-shelf content could meet their needs:

Infographic standard vs custom content
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Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach, Communications Manager, imc AG
Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Fun at the office
Forget boring compliance training

Compliance Training Doesn't Have to be Boring - How to Make it Engaging

Mandatory compliance training has a bad reputation - it’s seen as boring and often nothing more than a tick-box exercise to sit through in a lecture or click next through in static elearning. Such training is often delivered as part of an employee onboarding process.

There are two major problems for an organisation when this is the case:

 

  • When the emphasis is on just getting through the material and gaining the Pass, the learner may not have been mentally engaged in a way that will ensure retention and truly impact their behaviour long-term, helping to manage personal and business risk.

 

  • It sets a scene for training in general to be boring and ‘unimportant’ to the individual, so when a learner has access to learning that can boost their performance and benefit the whole company, they lack the enthusiasm to jump in and engage.

 

To avoid creating a culture of disinterest when it comes to learning, here we look at how to make compliance training engaging through the use of effective elearning content and a learning platform that makes it easy and enjoyable to access.

worker happy with his role

Make it Relevant to the Learner’s Role

Information instantly becomes more boring when you feel that it will never relate to your life. While some training content will be relevant to the entire workforce, try to minimise the use of generic content throughout, where it has limited relevance to certain roles.

 

The use of branching scenarios means that you can deliver globally relevant training at the outset, but which then forks down role-specific paths. For example certain modules may be signposted for frontline workers, while managers / supervisors can be taken down a different path.

 

The greater appreciation of context will mean that the learner sees relevance within their day to day role.

women has easy access on her phone

Make it Accessible

If you want compliance training to not only get completed, but absorbed and really assimilated into working practice, then it’s important to enable learners to access it in a manner, at a time and in a place that suits them.

 

Unless the training needs to be consumed at a desk on day 1, then mobile-friendly elearning enables anytime, anywhere learning. Might your learners want or need to access the materials on the go? A good learning platform will make it easy for learners to access training anywhere, and for HR or L&D teams to track progress across individuals and groups.

brief information

Make it Brief

Bite-size learning or microlearning enables them to access training in chunks that allow for consolidation between sessions.

 

Numerous studies over the last century, notably Miller’s Law that originated back in the 1950s, have shown that a small number of items (5 to 9) can be held in your short term memory before new information starts to crowd those items out.

 

Deliver training in small chunks that enable consolidation into long term memory between sessions, and create a level of testing and repetition to really help training stick.

training looks amazing

Make it Visually Appealing

Some colour and vibrance will help draw learners into training content and create a better vibe than just black and white text. Even the driest and most technical of subjects can be brought to life with some colour and movement.

Women enjoys audio training

Make it Multimedia

Everyone consumes, absorbs and retains information differently. Some people are drawn to reading text, while others struggle - regardless of proficiency in their work. Some find that they enjoy or learn faster with the audio and visual combination of videos while for some it’s annoying or they are unable to have the sound on at their desk.

 

Where possible, provide options within an elearning course so that every type of learner is catered for.

two women playing games

Make it Fun - Gamify

Even those who display zero signs of competitiveness enjoy games, or at least rewards, now and again. Either games-based learning or the introduction of game-playing elements within a traditional system (gamification) is shown to improve learning outcomes. In fact, gamification has been shown to enhance motivation and improve psychological and behavioural outcomes in multiple arenas.

 

Some modern LMS solutions make it easy for you to create gamification elements within the platform, such as badges or other awards for achievements and learning milestones. You can even create a level of competition between individuals or departments to further increase motivation.

Here at imc, we created, elearning content on the subject of cyber security, which we made available for free to individual users in the form of a game:

Cyber Crime Time e-learning content screen

Cyber Crime Time is a highly interactive game where you the learner get to take on the role of a hacker.

Here at imc, we created, elearning content on the subject of cyber security, which we made available for free to individual users in the form of a game:

Chatbot Cyber Crime Time

A normally dry compliance topic is brought to life by allowing the learner to learn about the risks of cyber crime and how to protect data in a novel way.

In Summary

By following the above steps to making compliance training more engaging, you can help to ensure that the content is really absorbed in order to manage risk.

 

You’ll also help to make learning part of the culture within your organisation, leading to employees being happy to - even seeking - personal and professional development opportunities.

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Contact person

I wanted to be a fiction writer when I was a child but became a marketing person after graduating from university. Instead of a slick person in a suit, I'm a beardy nerd in unironed t-shirts who like to creatively solve problem, analyse data and reach out to the right people.
Running will help de-stress me after a hard day's work, and I listen to rock music instead of jazz.
Gijs Daemen
Gijs Daemen
Global Marketing Manager
imc brand training
Brand Training:
Understanding a Brand Means Experiencing It

The Power of Emotionally Intelligent Brand Training

How brand training can enhance employee brand loyalty

It takes a lot to build a strong brand. You need fresh and appealing brand visuals, a corporate design that’s modern and to the point, and an identity that’s bold and a little out of the ordinary. And, not least, you need employees who are engaged and totally on board.

 

Your employees influence your brand, both directly and indirectly, and help shape its external impact across all touchpoints, from initial customer contact to the actual product. Ideally, you want each and every employee to be a multiplier, positively representing your brand in dealings with friends and relatives, when out at a restaurant or at a party and, most importantly, on social media.

 

This all sounds nice, but how to achieve it? The answer is brand training. Many of our customers have been asking us about it, so we’ve decided to take a closer look, using ourselves as guinea pigs. In this article, we describe our own new brand training course, the rules we followed in devising it, and why we believe it is a worthwhile investment.

imc brand training welcome

Rule #1: Brand Engagement + Education = Brandification

When it comes to the values behind a company’s brand, the first step is for everyone in the company to get back to the basics. What are the brand’s origins? What are the principles that underpin it? What is the company’s purpose? By learning about these things, learners become aware that everyone in the company can play a part in realizing the values and goals of their brand. And because brands change over time, the learning needs to be ongoing.

 

imc is no exception. We have changed a lot over the years – and will continue to do so. As well as relaunching our brand, we want to achieve greater momentum on issues like new work, diversity and inclusion, and our own transformation. Consequently, the objective of our new brand training course is to communicate this culture shift and the underlying values in a way that is readily accessible so that we can instil in our employees a strong emotional attachment to our brand.

 

Learning objectives set out the areas and levels where change is to happen (understanding, thinking, action, etc), so it is important to define them right at the start of the brand training process.

imc brand training welcome tablet

imc Brand Training

Rule #2: Genuine attachment transforms initial attraction into a full-blown relationship

A company’s fundamental values and culture are reflected in virtually everything it does and therefore need to be understood and actively supported by its employees. New hires, in particular, must be able to rapidly internalise what their new employer’s brand means and stands for. They applied for the job out of an initial attraction to the brand, and it is now up to the company to build that attraction into a genuine relationship.

 

A successful onboarding journey is vital to this because onboarding is the first step towards brand loyalty. For this reason, companies should proactively offer onboarding experiences that are consistent with and support their brand promises.

 

That’s why the completed brand training course at imc was specifically developed for our new onboarding journey and designed to fit into our onboarding storytelling. It also works as a stand-alone training course for established imc employees.

imc brand training

imc Brand Training

To ensure that new employees find it easy to get started and engage with our brand training, we have made it an integral part of our onboarding process. We have also incorporated it into our learning management system (LMS). To reach as many learners as possible, brand training must be easy to engage with, not take up too much time, and be accessible from any location and device.

Rule #3: Turn likes into love with emotional branding

Emotional branding is very powerful. It’s the art of connecting with people by tapping into their feelings. But how do you translate this emotional aspect into online training? One very effective approach is to use elements of branding that have high recognition – such as logos, brand visuals or mascots. You can generate very strong emotional appeal by incorporating these elements into storytelling as a way of communicating your brand message.

 

We (almost) always follow our own advice, so we chose storytelling for our own brand training course. The narrator is our mascot, Max.

storytelling icon

Storytelling:

Storytelling is a communication method that uses narratives to convey information. It is widely used in knowledge management, child and adult education, journalism, psychotherapy, marketing, PR and advertising.

Max looks a little like a ghost and emerges from the dot on the “i” of imc. He starts out very pale but gradually takes on more colour as the learner progresses through the course and learns more about the imc brand.

imc mascot max

imc Mascot Max

Max features in every module of the imc brand training course. For example, in one module, he reads from a book telling the story of the company’s founder, Professor August-Wilhelm Scheer. As the course progresses, the mascot pops up to provide background on various points or quizzes the learner on content they have just covered.

Rule #4: The right implementation is everything

In our case, the right tool for creating the brand training course was Articulate Rise. It allowed the team to get involved and help shape the course right from the outset. The necessary expertise in didactics and form was provided by our inhouse instructional designer Oliver Steinhilber. “Brand training courses are very much in demand from our customers at the moment,” he says. “Everyone’s looking at learning on topics like onboarding, change and new work, and the people responsible for it in HR, marketing and internal communications want to make sure their learning content is authentic and has emotional appeal.”

authoring tools imc Express and content studio

The Right Tool:

To be sure you’re using the right tool for creating your training course, it’s best to talk to an instructional designer first. Articulate Rise is a sophisticated software application that has a reasonably steep learning curve. For less experienced users, authoring tools like imc Express provide a quicker and easier way of getting started on generating content.

Why invest in emotionally intelligent brand training?

Simple: because brand training content with emotional appeal makes it easier for employees to identify with the brand. This sense of identification improves employee motivation and therefore has a direct effect on their day-to-day work. By using brand training content that has emotional appeal, a company can also create brand ambassadors from among its own ranks – employees who will champion the company brand to both internal and external audiences.

 

Deep understanding of shared company values and genuine buy-in to the company culture lead to better communication and collaboration, as imc Director of Brand Strategy Kerstin Steffen explains: “Brand training is effective if afterwards everyone feels confident they have chosen the right employer, and all learners feel positive and excited. Effective brand training turns employees into role models who are happy to be ambassadors for the company spirit and brand message.”

 

 

Photo of Kerstin Steffen
Everyone should finish the course understanding what makes us who we are here at imc and what values we identify with – as well as what kind of cooperation and collaboration we embody and expect.
Kerstin Steffen
Director Brand Strategy
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Ilse Henne about role models: "If we feel seen, supported, connected and feel proud of other women in our community, then we can be happier and being happier is the best way starting to learn and develop yourself!"

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Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach, Communications Manager, imc AG
Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
diversity in e-learning
Diversity Has to Be Learned
Diversity in e-learning content

Corporate Learning is a Window into Your Organisation’s D&I Soul

Three golden rules for companies seeking to put diversity on their training agenda

Let’s say a company comes to us for help with incorporating diversity and inclusion (D&I) into the learning experience of its employees. Up until fairly recently, the first question we would ask would be, are you looking for training content that appeals to a diverse target audience, or training content that deals with the subject of diversity?

 

But things have changed over the past couple of years, as Philipp Schossau, Senior Instructional Designer here at imc, explains: “Making training courses diverse in terms of both content and visual appearance is now a standard requirement, irrespective of the subject matter. Diversity training, on the other hand, has its own special requirements – most notably a clear stance on the part of the client.”

 

Diversity in e-learning is clearly growing in importance. So, in this article, we have put together a summary of key recommendations for companies seeking to incorporate diversity into their learning experience.

diversity, colors, festival

All a matter of perspective? Tips for implementing diversity in training content

Prospective employees want to be able to see what a company’s position on D&I is, and how the company is championing the D&I cause. So, whatever the subject matter, company training courses should be diverse and gender-neutral in design. Here are three golden rules for making training courses diverse and inclusive:

Culturally diverse characters:

Whenever human personas or mentors feature in a training course they should reflect a certain degree of cultural diversity. If there are not enough personas to demonstrate sufficient diversity, then it is possible to use fictional characters – avatars – that have no particular cultural background.

imc Biz Quiz

Diverse gender identities:

Needless to say, learning content should aim to reflect and include all gender identities. It’s not enough to merely employ terms like “male”, “female”, and “gender-diverse”. The aim, rather, should also be to break down conventional gender roles and gender stereotypes. Our learning experts therefore always endeavour to keep their design concepts free of these outdated roles and clichés.

diversity, avatar

INFO:

We’re currently working on a diversity avatar creator. Before taking part in a training course, each user will be able to build an avatar that looks however they want it to, regardless of cultural background or gender role.

Gender-neutral language:

This often depends on the requirements articulated by the company in question. However, we strongly recommend the consistent use of inclusive language across all training content.

in German you can use "*" to create gender-neutral language

imc express bot with level up icons

GOOD TO KNOW

Authoring tools like imc Express automatically offer a range of output options and simplify the process of creating diverse and inclusive training content. With imcExpress, this process is controlled in the background via AI.

Attitude is a prerequisite for special diversity trainings

The role that D&I management plays in a company is rooted in the corporate culture. This has a direct impact on a company's learning culture. Those who want to implement special diversity and inclusion training into the learning experience of their employees must have a clear stance on it. For this reason, companies should always be clear about the goal of a training before designing the content.

To sensitise the learning audience to diversity issues and communicate facts about D&I, we recommend scenario-based learning. Scenario-based learning uses real-life examples and situations. The closer the learning scenarios are to real-life situations, the more relatable the taught (behaviour) rules will be for the learners. Sensitisation can be further improved by using diverse personas to make learners aware of different or new perspectives.

Ready when you are

Things are changing, and organisations are already taking steps to make their training courses more diverse and to raise awareness of D&I. But many companies are still holding back for fear of doing something wrong. That’s why it’s critical to support D&I with effective corporate communication and drive genuine cultural change. In other words, when it comes to D&I, companies need to be bold and have courage of their convictions.

long way to go, goal in sight

“The more global the company, the more likely that it’s already sensitised to diversity issues and will take the initiative and articulate diversity requirements for our projects,” said imc project management officer Kenneth Littlepage, Project Management Officer Business Consulting at imc in a previous interview on D&I. “Locally focused companies, on the other hand, tend not to be so sensitised, so it’s up to us to ask questions.”

 

However a company might choose to approach it, diversity is a topic that’s here to stay, especially for today’s younger generation. Warm fuzzy words in the corporate vision statement are all well and good, but they won’t carry much weight if the company is a monoculture of white men in suits or hides behind disclaimers to the effect that “the use of he and his is solely for ease of reading and refers to all genders equally”. If you want diverse people in your company, you actually have to make them feel included.

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I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach, Communications Manager, imc AG
Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager