woman quiet quitting
Employment Trends:
Quiet Quitting
How to harness the power of employee-driven learning and development (L&D)

Harness the power of employee-led L&D to combat 'quiet quitting'

The talent landscape is undergoing a seismic shift as organisations grapple with the aftermath of the Great Resignation. In an era where employee engagement has become the holy grail, we saw the emergence of quiet quitting. Coined by Brian Creely in 2022, the term relates to employees who only work to the job description. They don't go 'above and beyond', and won't put in even the slightest extra effort or time into their work above what's set out in the job spec.

 

Inspired by the shifting workplace attitudes and expectations post-pandemic, employees now favour remote and hybrid working. They're driven by a desire of greater work-life balance. A recent AT&T study found the hybrid work model is expected to grow from 42% in 2021 to 81% in 2024. Quiet quitting for many represents a disengagement from working life, and a drop in productivity and efficiency.

 

So how much of a problem is quiet quitting, and how can businesses address the trend?

man asleep at work
A study by Gallup found that 69% of employees born after 1989 have 'quietly quit' jobs. Big brands like Facebook are 'turning up the heat' to address the problem. Tech giants are introducing aggressive targets and limiting team growth to maximise output from its current talent pool. Whether these measures can be truly effective relies on multiple factors. That said, many brands are learning that it's more effective to meet their employees halfway.

Impact of quiet quitting on worker attitudes

To understand the post-pandemic trends in relation to training, we partnered with independent survey company Research Without Barriers. Finding out employee attitudes to training in 2023 gave us a clearer picture of the wider issue of employee disengagement in the workplace. 

 

 

We surveyed 2,000 UK workers, split between 1,000 managers and 1,000 non-managerial employees. The surveyed managers have over 15 years of work experience and work in companies of more than 15 employees. The surveyed non-managerial employees have a maximum of three years of experience, and work in companies with more than 15 employees. The goal of these sample requirements was to give us better insight into the attitudes held at different levels of seniority. In the context of a rise in quiet quitting, the results were surprising – and promising. 

Is 'quiet quitting' impacting wider employee engagement?

A common belief about quiet quitting is that employees are disengaging because they don't want to work hard or build careers. Our research actually suggests that there remains a strong desire for personal and professional growth among the UK workforce.

 

A staggering 86% of respondents expressed a willingness to stay longer with their employer – if the employer offers more L&D opportunities. Employees also aren't necessarily interested solely for what a company offers them. Almost all (94%) believed that the company would also benefit if they were given more training. In other words, workers are still willing and interested in engaging with their employers, supporting business goals, and building careers. But they are seeking fulfilment and a mutually beneficial relationship with their employer. This conclusion is reinforced by the social shifts we saw with the Great Resignation, where workers sought work that enhanced their lives.

 

Our findings underscore the pivotal role that learning & development plays in engaging employees. It provides them with fulfilling work lives – directly impacting their engagement with their roles and countering quiet quitting.

Managerial involvement in training

Managers play a crucial role in nurturing a culture of learning and development within their teams. The survey results revealed that 59% of managers recognise the importance of training in keeping employees engaged and motivated in their roles. In fact, 78% of managers also acknowledged that training had a positive impact on their own commitment and engagement. Generally, business leaders are aware that learning and development have a direct impact on employee engagement at all levels. Understanding this gives us a tool to address quiet quitting within an organisation – where employees are willing and able.

man leading employees

How to deliver employee-led L&D

Despite the awareness, many organisations are falling short in leveraging learning and development as a tool for employee engagement, retention and skills enhancement. Only 29% of managers actively involve employees in selecting and integrating training programmes for their professional development. And 42% of employees reported having no active involvement in training beyond participation. This suggests that many employers, while aware of the benefits of training, are missing out on the benefits that come from actively involving workers in their own development.

 

There are simple ways to harness the benefits of employee-driven learning and development. These include giving employees personal ownership of training through suggesting courses or subjects and assisting with the sourcing of learning content. But it may also extend to involving employees in learning KPIs or the development of learning pathways.

 

Russell Donders, Director of International Markets at imc Learning, notes that "we have worked closely with businesses to offer bespoke training and development pathways for a range of industries. Feedback from customers, and our research, is clear: training is a key contributor to employee engagement and business development. Each of us wants to fulfil our potential, and we see huge success in the businesses who understand how to implement that on a personal level.

 

Bespoke training packages, rolled out across all levels of operation, is a simple and effective tool to engage and retain talent. It even feeds into the recruitment process. In fact, 92 percent of job seekers now consider L&D opportunities to be a dealbreaker – so it makes sense this would also feed into engagement for existing talent. Empowering individual-driven learning and development pathways is a simple but effective solution to address changing priorities and reverse, or avoid, quiet quitting."

Quiet quitting can be addressed by employee-led L&D

Employee engagement has become of paramount importance given the challenges around talent scarcity. The trend of quiet quitting highlights the significance that employee satisfaction and fulfilment now play in modern-day workplaces. Businesses that are responsive to that will see real benefit to productivity and talent retention. By embracing employee-driven learning and development, organisations can align themselves with the evolving needs of their employees. The aim is to enhance retention rates and create a positive, growth-centred workplace in which productivity is a natural consequence of the environment.

Looking to implement an employee-led L&D programme?

We'd love to hear how your organisation aims to increase loyalty and engagement through employee-led L&D. Get in touch with us to see how imc can help you best reach your strategic goals.

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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.”

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

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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
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E-Learning Punk
Learning Campaigns

When an Awareness Week Is Not Enough – Engaged Learning Through Learning Campaigns

Using learning campaign portals to create immersive learning campaigns

Some things just can’t be learned in an hour. Or even a week. Things like organisational change management – where attention needs to be focused on a specific topic over a prolonged period. In these cases, sustained learning is key.

 

It’s a little bit like classic advertising. Coca-Cola’s annual advertising presence, for example, doesn’t hinge on a single one-week TV spot campaign. Instead, the company draws attention to its products over a sustained period using a strong, well-coordinated multi-channel campaign. It’s all carefully designed to ensure consumers reach for the red can the next time they open the chiller.

 

In the same way, a good learning campaign should bring about a mind shift – ideally one that leads to concrete action. Sounds good, but how exactly? The answer is portals. They can provide a highly effective entry point to learning campaigns. In this article, we outline the structure and use of learning campaign portals.

punk learning campaign portals breaker

Immersive user interfaces for specific topics

With organisation-wide learning and development (L&D) campaigns, the idea is to reach as many employees as possible. And for that, the content must be both learner-centric and accessible without any time or location constraints. Most importantly, it must boost learning motivation and generate successful, lasting learning outcomes.

 

These objectives can be achieved by using a learning campaign portal. Learning campaign portals are add-ons for learning management systems. They facilitate orientation in complex learning campaigns, providing learning environments that are so immersive, learners don’t even realise they’re learning.

imc-e-learning-punk-learning-campaign-portals-06

These interactive learning environments are custom developed for each client and brand. Learners can make their own way through the navigation structure and access different items of learning content through jump labels. The result is a digital journey of discovery that is almost limitless in scope. Chatbots, avatars, and dynamic environmental and special-effect sounds can be integrated to reinforce sustained learning effectiveness. Similarly, gamification elements can be added to further enhance learner motivation.

Some applications of learning campaign portals

  • Change campaigns: Change campaigns are a way of making lasting change to employee mindsets and corporate culture. The objective is to boost acceptance through learning. That way, employees are more amenable to the proposed changes and more willing to contribute to their success.

 

  • Events: Many organisations use action days to raise employee awareness of certain issues and communicate the organisation’s position on those issues.

 

  • Onboarding and upskilling: Effective onboarding gets new employees off to a good start with the company. It also creates a sense of belonging and instils an understanding of the company’s values and culture.

 

  • Comprehensive learning journeys: Learning journeys put the learner first and offer different learning formats for different topics and learning objectives.
imc-e-learning-punk-learning-campaign-portals-04

Gaming meets navigation system

The heart of a learning campaign portal is a 2D or 3D map. Alongside its orientation function, the map draws the learner into a fun, game-like journey of discovery. This gamification element is designed to appeal to the young and youthful. However, a good learning campaign portal will be readily accessible for learners of all backgrounds thanks to its intuitive navigation system and quality orientation features.

 

Example: A company wants to run a six-month sustainability and environmental campaign. The aim is to explain the company’s own position, raise employee awareness, and bring about a mind shift. In this example, the company could integrate a portal upstream of its LMS that guides employees through all learning content relevant to environmental protection.

 

There are no design limits to how this might be achieved. In the above example, the map through which learners journey could be a rainforest or ocean, for instance. Or perhaps the company wants to present a future vision of its own site or visualise the campaign by means of a custom campus. This level of creative freedom calls for good sparring partners who, for all their love of the product, are always mindful of functionality. This is where our experts come in. They provide comprehensive advice on all aspects and put successful learning front and centre.

imc navigation map

The facts:

  • Learning campaign portals are not ad hoc solutions – they require a planning and development phase.
  • The scope of learning campaigns should be limited either to specific content or specific timeframes.
  • A learning campaign portal is not a stand-alone product – it requires a learning system (LMS).
  • Independent exploration of a map will enhance motivation.
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How Tinder and Netflix are shaping the future of learning

In a 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.

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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
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”.

Störer Punk Readiness Check

“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.”

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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.”

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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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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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The Future
of Learning Platforms
Panel talk: Fosway Group, Learning Light and imc

Panel Talk: Fosway Group, Learning Light and imc

The Future of Learning Platforms

As businesses emerged from lockdown and social distancing measures in many parts of the world, elearning experts from imc, Fosway and Learning Light got together remotely to discuss the post-pandemic future of learning platforms in 2022 and beyond.

 

Key topics discussed include:

 

  • LMS, LXP, NGDLE, Suites…?
  • Headless LMS
  • Concrete Advice for the Learning Platform Buyer
  • Learning Designer to Performance Consultant

 

Hosted by Alison West, Pre-Sales Consultant of imc Learning in London, the panel of experts discussing these topics consisted of:

Fiona Leteney

Senior Analyst at Fosway Group, who has worked in the learning technology market for over two decades, and brings a wealth of insights from customers, vendors and the market.

David Patterson

Lead eLearning Consultant at Learning Light, who has been influential in the world of elearning and learning technologies for over a decade.

Sven Becker

Executive Board Member at imc, with over a decade’s experience from the vendor’s perspective.

LMS, LXP, NGDLE, Suites…?

Alison kicked off the discussion commenting that there is a large and growing list of terminology describing the learning platforms used for education and training today, so asked David to, for those uninitiated in some of these terms, to describe the differences between them.

 

David

The learning management system (LMS) has been around as a term for many many years, probably dating back to the late 1990s.

 

Recently we’ve seen the evolution of the term learning experience platform (LXP), which is interesting as people are trying to present a new take on digital learning. Part of the motivation is that a new such platform is not an LMS, which is more process-focused, whereas the LXP is more content-orientated.

 

However, in David’s view, we are now seeing these two types of platform on the market fuse together, with many LMS providers adding LXP functionality and vice-versa.

 

Does this matter? Well yes - I buyer of these learning technologies will want to have a clear understanding of what these terms mean. So it’s important, and a goal of this discussion, to explain and simplify some of the terms being used today.

 

 

Alison commented to Fiona that at Fosway, they seem to be moving away from terms such as LMS and LXP and using words such as Suites, asking why that is.

 

 

Fiona

Building on what David said, Fosway have also been seeing a merging of the ideas of LMS and LXP. In fact, before the concept of Suites, Fosway had been using the term Next Gen Learning Environment as a term, because they never really saw LXP as a valid term to describe what a system does.

 

In Fosway’s view, LXP is a marketing term, which was launched into the market and everyone latched onto it. This was because buyers wanted to be buying into the latest technology as opposed to a ‘legacy LMS’. At the same time, vendors didn’t want to be seen as a legacy LMS so adopted the term as well.

 

In reality, when talking to a corporate learning platform, when Fosway ask what they mean when they say they are looking for an LXP, the answer is always very different. So, it was a couple of years ago that Fosway started moving away from using the words LMS and LXP and started talking about Suites and ‘Specialists’.

 

For example, if you’re a smaller organisation and you only have budget for one system - that’s when you need a Suite, because that’s going to give you the broader range of functionality that you’re going to need. If you then have the opportunity to dig deeper into a particular area, you then might look at one of the Specialists.

 

Perhaps you’d look at a specialist tool for content curation, or one that focuses on Instructor-Led Training (ILT). Perhaps you’d add these in, and some vendors facilitate this, whitelisted, to add depth of specialism.

 

That’s why Fosway use the term Suite for not only learning systems, but across HR technology as well.

 

So, Suites for broad capability, with Specialists usually focusing on just one area.

 

 

Alison then put the same question to Sven to gain the platform provider’s perspective.

 

 

Sven

This difference these days is that there is no longer a clear orientation driven by the customer. imc traditionally built systems that were relatively process-driven as David had mentioned.

 

The idea of ‘Learning Experience’ was seen as a commodity - normal for imc’s solutions. Learning Experience is a concept, not a system, so to create a good learning experience, you need to look at the concepts from the learner’s perspective.

 

An important shift is to look ahead, years into the future, when creating an LMS, NGLP (Next Generation Learning Platform) or whatever you want to call it. It isn’t just about post-covid planning - that’s an obvious example, but it should have been part of the thinking long before that and must look beyond the immediacy of pandemic and post-pandemic requirements.

 

What is the user’s working environment? For many, it revolves around a mobile world and great systems are considering the needs of users who need a mobile-first learning system.

 

It’s not just about “does this look good on both a desktop and a mobile” - what is the environment of both types of user? Does the mobile user have different sound restrictions because they might be learning on a busy train for example?

 

To broaden the conceptual thinking even further on the part of the vendor, we need to think about the complete Employee Experience and how does learning dovetail with that. After all, learning experience is just part of the employee experience.

 

 

So, for those feeling overwhelmed by all the terminology still around and the level of choice and complexity involved in the buying process, how should the buyer deal with that overwhelm?

 

 

David

“Listen to someone like Fiona or myself!” People at the likes of Fosway and Learning Light spend their time listening to the business needs of organisations and developing an understanding of their learning requirements.

 

From that, a consultant can uncover the types of learning technology that the buyer will need. Sven made a good point that learning experience is really a concept, rather than a system, and that’s an important takeaway. There will, though, always be technology that facilitates that - and some doing it better than others.

 

Learning Suite is a useful term as well - and the best suites are getting bigger and more capable than ever before. Therefore, it’s important as the client to establish in advance what your learning outcomes are, what the learner journeys are, and what the data is that you’re going to need to understand to underpin your learning and bring back to the wider organisation.

Headless LMS

So, what is the headless LMS and how is it different from integration of deep content?

 

David

The concept of the headless LMS has emerged based on the world of content marketing. It springs from the idea of the headless CMS (content management system).

 

What those systems do is push content out across every channel. The ‘head’ used to be the website, but that has been kind of cut off. The CMS now is presenting content through social media channels, productivity suites, websites and even VR.

 

Several learning platform vendors have looked at this trend and said “Yes - this is a valid concept for learning as well”.

 

This is an evolution, not a revolution, as some companies such as imc have been pushing out highly evolved APIs and deep links into learning platforms and integrated content. The headless LMS is simply the next step on this journey, putting the player into the system.

 

So, the player will start to appear within Microsoft Teams, Slack, your CRM or your CMS, and the learning will then be instantly available to your learners at the very moment they need it. Incredibly rich data will then come back into the core learning platform / suite and really enhance your overall business analytics as well.

 

 

Fiona

There are two requirements that tend to focus corporate engagement with Fosway. Often, large organisations are managing multiple learning platforms and are looking for a single point of access to avoid or eliminate confusion.

 

On the other hand, some companies want to facilitate access to learning wherever the learners happen to be at any point in time, and to then feed back into the learning system.

 

This highlights the need for integration. Back at the start of the pandemic, 84% of business leaders were saying “Now more than ever, we need to integrate the learning systems with our business applications, such as MS Teams or Slack”.

 

Fosway brought together a dozen corporate leaders for a roundtable discussion of this issue, and found among them a lot of frustration with the complexity involved in making integration happen. Yes, APIs exist, but it’s rarely as simple an exercise as they were sold on.

 

Like David said, the headless LMS is an important concept that is starting to improve this, and learning systems like imc are helping in ensuring that data is flowing through the whole tech ecosystem. This includes the learning ecosystem of course, but also the HR systems and the wider business ecosystems out there.

 

The more we can get that data flowing through the whole ecosystem, the better our business decision making can be, and it’s that need for integration that’s coming through loud and clear from corporates.

 

 

Sven

It’s important to note that headless LMS is not just the next marketing term - headless is a complex monster!

 

Sometimes vendors say “it’s OK, we have open APIs, everything is easy” but then the customer finds that this isn’t true. API management is one of the most complex areas of IT. This is why we have to talk about things like RPA - Robotic Process Automation - to help with API management.

 

Again, headless is a concept, not a technology, and it’s about how we structure our learning ecosystem. The learning ecosystem is a culture thing, not a technology thing.

 

This is all about the flow of work - “how can we bring content to our people more easily?”.

 

For example, way back in 2009, Deloitte published a study where they had looked at the modern learner. They found that even then, on average people were looking at their smartphone 9 times per hour to check if there was a new message.

 

So we are driven by the ‘pull’ of information. The current standard learning management system is not ready for this - you have to log in, go to your course, open the right bit of learning etc - but that’s just not how we interact with information today.

 

If we know that people are checking their phones anyway, why don’t we push information in that direction, such as a reminder about key points from last week’s instructor-led training for example - when and where it might be helpful and appropriate.

 

Where this will become more important over the next 5 years is in the greater adoption of IoT - the Internet of Things.

 

We already have Internet enabled fridges. A fridge is able to ‘buy’ milk. In the same way, if we can see that a member of the team is on the train on their way to see a client, why not send them a push notification with three key points to remember about that client for example?

 

This is learning in the flow of work - it’s context-based and it’s what we mean by headless. If we think purely in ‘portal’ terms, whether it’s LMS, LXP or whatever, where you have to go and log in, we’re creating a specific access point for learning and that just won’t be the future.

 

Learning should be ubiquitous, around us all the time, and the culture should be driven by the learners themselves and how they work.

 

Sometimes, customers come to imc and say “give us all the APIs and let’s integrate everything” but we try to say “wait, let’s look at what we need, let’s look at the culture you are trying to create”.

Concrete Advice for the Learning Platform Buyer

So, for those looking to ensure their elearning system is future-ready and future-proof, what concrete advice can you give to a learning platform buyer in the post-covid world?

 

David

It really is about starting at and thinking through at the conceptual level. My own work is a lot about building conceptual models and looking at the information flows around that.

 

Worry first about how you want to structure your learning and keep the needs of your learners front of mind at all times. The choice of technology can then come after that and be based on how you want to deliver on those learner needs.

 

 

Fiona

Of course, Covid has meant that we’ve needed to move more of our training online. We’ve been talking a lot about bite size learning and microlearning for sometime, but the highest value training - onboarding and leadership - has traditionally been classroom-based.

 

That kind of training has very quickly been moved online - which was necessary and it’s great that it happened, but we now need to look very carefully from the corporate, vendor and learner perspectives at what that should really look like.

 

20 years ago, we went from classroom-based training to elearning for all the compliance stuff. This took the engagement piece out of the mix along with the trainer, and people started to hate the ‘click Next’ style elearning - rightly so.

 

The risk now is that learners could start to hate more areas of training now that more has been moved online if we don’t get it right. We need to create a safe place of learning where people can join their cohort to collaborate, do joint assignments etc.

 

We need to look carefully at how learning technology can best facilitate this and must not now sit back on our laurels and say - “we got all our training online so all is fine”.

 

 

Learning Designer to Performance Consultant

Sven built on the buyer tips from Fiona and David, offering advice on how L&D approaches elearning…

 

Sven

We might want to look at how learning is structured within the organisation and perhaps move some L&D roles away from just learning design and into being more of a ‘Performance Consultant’.

 

A learning designer always asks “what is the learning outcome of this programme?”. We need to ask ourselves ”What is the business outcome?”.

 

This is often the failure of learning design - we identify a learning outcome but it doesn’t feed into any business outcome.

 

When you move the Learning Designer to become more of a Performance Consultant, you start to create the best of both worlds - learning outcomes that are fully aligned with the business goals.

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Gijs Daemen
Gijs Daemen
Global Marketing Manager
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Training with a Difference
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.

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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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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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A Digital Transformation Mindset

A Digital Transformation Mindset for Your Learning Ecosystem

Here we look at the reality of what a digital transformation mindset is within an organisation and how your learning ecosystem is not just an aspect of it, but how it should be the central hub for change.

First of all, we need to clear up a myth. Digital Transformation is NOT about adding technology. It’s about cultural change across an organisation and a fundamental shift in how business is done.

 

Much like a hammer does not build a house - it’s simply a tool - technology does not make a digital transformation. If you want to take your organisation through a digital transformation programme, you need to shift how your managers and employees think and talk about work.

 

A digital-led organisation is one looking to find new levels of efficiency, profitability and future-proofing by being open to and adopting technologies that can make these happen. It’s a programme that is initially top-down but that requires buy-in at all levels and that has the goal of empowering employees and customers, so that the implementation is bottom-up.

 

Prominent IT industry expert Brian Solis defines digital transformation as:

“The realignment of or investment in new technology, business models, and processes to drive value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.”

 

Because digital transformation is a mindset not confined to tech, it is relevant to any sector - even those seen as traditional and steady, such as Law and Accountancy. In fact, it is those sectors that are traditionally slow-moving and that are seen to play it safe where there is often most to gain. Digital transformation can be a powerful competitive advantage where you can leap ahead.

Woman uses her digital traning

The components of digital transformation

For a large organisation looking at cultural change, where to start can be an overwhelming prospect. It’s important to achieve consensus among your leadership team. Like most IT projects that fail, the issue is rarely down to the technology but rather the communication and implementation process - the resistance that comes from new systems being forced upon a team that was not fully bought-in.

 

Back in 2018, Forbes estimated that $1.3 Trillion was spent on digital transformation initiatives, with 70% ($900 Billion) of that budget wasted.

 

Since then, business leaders have become increasingly aware that not what you implement but how you implement it is key to success.

Global technology giant Hitachi break digital transformation down into 6 key components:

 

  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Experience
  • Infrastructure Modernisation
  • Operational Excellence
  • Information and Insights

 

By keeping these 6 areas front of mind, you can help to ensure that your ideas for digital transformation amount to much more than buying the latest hardware and software - they’re about broader business goals.

 

The successful Olympic British Rowing team of the early 2000’s had the mantra:

“Will it make the boat go faster?”

 

When looking at digital projects, every stakeholder should be asking similar questions: “Will this improve collaboration?”, “Will this increase operational excellence?” etc. But you should also ask questions at the implementation stage, such as “Are we ensuring collaboration, operational excellence etc” before, during and after the roll out of new digital systems.

The Role of your Learning Ecosystem in Digital Transformation

When you think of Learning within the context of Digital Transformation, you might think put the face to face training online right? Use elearning instead of traditional training…

 

Well, going from face to face to elearning is part of a digital transformation yes, and many organisations were forced to accelerate this process in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020 and 2021 in particular.

 

However, the most powerful contribution that elearning can make within Digital Transformation is in creating the central hub where every area of an organisation can learn about the programme, how it affects their team and their role, and access the latest information about progress.

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What is the Learning Ecosystem?

The word ecosystem comes from biology and refers to a specific geography and the complex interactions of all the living things (from large animals to plants and microscopic organisms) between each other and their environment.

 

Therefore, a learning ecosystem refers to the components of People, Technology, Tools (including Data), Systems and Culture that affect Learning. Some definitions include Strategy as one of the components. However, if you are going to proactively create a learning ecosystem then the Strategy should sit above it and contain your guiding principles. It should define how you are going to create and shape the learning ecosystem.

 

A learning ecosystem will involve the L&D team of course, the Learning Suite (an LMS, LXP or even better - an integrated solution), and the way data on elearning is collected, processed and shared. Crucially, a learning ecosystem will every learner (ie every person) across the organisation and the collective attitude towards learning.

 

A digital learning ecosystem, if created and managed well, can embody the entire digital transformation. It involves using a digital-first approach to every aspect of learning and knowledge sharing.

 

At the centre of this digital learning ecosystem is the learning platform or ‘learning suite’ - the main L&D toolkit for managing and rolling out learning to every member of the organisation.

 

A modern, branded, engaging Learning Suite will perform two major functions:

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Push training out

Push training out to relevant parties as and when required at the time and speed of need. This is a common learning management system (LMS) functionality. It allows HR, L&D and other business leaders sight of training progress so that they can ensure their teams are up to speed with new systems and organisational processes.

Icon HR

Pull employees in

Pull employees into the digital transformation programme by being home to all the current thinking, planning and progress information. Done well, there will be background documents, company vision videos from leaders, cross-departmental data and more.

By making such information available 24/7, every employee can feel that they are on the digital transformation journey with the company, and that there is greater transparency than being told about a programme by email or a one-off memo.

Benefits of a Digital Learning Ecosystem

A great learning ecosystem will be much more than where you go to complete training when you are told to. It will be where employees and managers can go to learn about what their peers are doing in other departments and share ideas, fostering greater team spirit.

 

Ideas can be shared and found, leading to experience being harnessed and retained, even when talent inevitably leaves from time to time.

 

Such knowledge sharing can be a powerful tool in ensuring operational excellence, being a meeting place for collaboration and uncovering useful information and insights.

 

Rather than digital projects happening in silos, signposting them within your learning ecosystem will provide data and insights that enable other teams to learn about what has worked (or not) within the organisation, where integrations may be possible, and where people can communicate and help each other.

In Summary

Peter Drucker suggested that the greatest contribution of management in the 20th Century was the 50-fold increase in productivity among manual workers through managerial practices.

 

The term ‘digital transformation’ took hold around 2013-14 and although many companies have experienced hiccups and stumbles, it could well have similar impact in the 21st Century. In the knowledge economy, companies who do digital transformation well could bring massive increases in productivity among their knowledge workers.

 

By placing a well thought-through Learning Ecosystem at its heart, your Digital Transformation could be designed, developed, implemented and leveraged to make your organisation a 21st century leader.

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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
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.

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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.

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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.”

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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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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
Women is doing an Online Compliance Training
Online Compliance Training

How to Implement Compliance Training Online

Here we look at how to implement compliance training online using a learning suite to automate repetitive tasks, track learner progress and ensure that refresher courses and recertifications are completed successfully.

By leveraging the latest learning technology, your organisation can stay compliant while saving valuable time and money, as well as engaging employees with the training process.

 

A modern ‘learning suite’ will comprise capabilities as both a learning management system (LMS) and a learning experience platform (LXP). When it comes to mandatory training to stay compliant with legal or industry regulations, the former is most relevant.

 

So below we look at 5 key capabilities you need in a good LMS for compliance training. We then offer 5 quick tips for making compliance training engaging, as well as effective.

Women on a sofa is working on her Compliance Training

Automate Compliance Training

The imc Learning Suite enables you to define target groups for training courses and book them automatically. Progress is continuously documented from the time of booking, and learners can be reminded by automatic messages to complete these courses within the required period.

 

An automated refresher training mechanism ensures that the course is repeated regularly, so that the employee always meets all compliance requirements. All status changes are stored throughout the entire process, ensuring that all compliance-relevant activities can be tracked and monitored across the board.

 

By using personal profile data, new employees can also be automatically trained according to requirements during the onboarding process. The imc Learning Suite also supports maintenance through necessary repeat training and recertification.

 

All compliance-relevant activities are supported by the system, from the nomination of target groups to the tracking of course progress and the so-called “chasing“, right through to the reporting of training measures.

 

Keep the above info block but remove ‘the’ to read just ‘Reduce susceptibility to errors’.

Assign Training

The training assignment process describes the formation of target groups for defined compliance requirements and the selection of training measures that must be carried out to meet the requirements.

 

The imc Learning Suite provides support by defining and selecting target groups via inclusion and exclusion rules. Assignment criteria can for example be courses, user attributes, course types, learning paths, skills, group assignments or job profiles. Target groups can be generated automatically via batch jobs that can be configured as desired or after a manual start.

Learner Tracking

The learner tracking process describes the continuous monitoring of the learning progress of training measures. So you can be sure that you meet the compliance requirements. The imc Learning Suite makes the current status of training measures traceable at any time and facilitates progress control via reports, automatic notifications, and the course progress display.

 

The current status of the training activities can be graphically displayed in the imc Learning Suite on a reporting dashboard. The reports can be configured individually and offer filter options so that those responsible are always informed about the status and possible need for action. On request, the reports can also be sent to the compliance officers on a regular basis or triggered by predefined events.

Women is happy about responsive Options of her Training

Chasing

For training measures that must be carried out due to legal or internal company compliance requirements, there is often a fixed timeframe for successful completion. If such deadlines are not met, this can lead to the employees not being able to perform tasks due to a lack of professional qualifications or not being entitled to perform them due to legal requirements.

 

To support the successful completion of such training measures, employees are not only informed about the status of their mandatory measures, but are explicitly requested to complete them within the defined period. In the compliance environment, the term “chasing“ has become established for this task. Compliance officers can not only easily create compliance training courses in the Learning Suite user interface, they can also assign validated content to users of predefined target groups.

 

With just a few clicks, graphically appealing and meaningful reports on compliance status can be activated. In addition to the monitoring and chasing options available via the user interface, the notification module of the imc Learning Suite can be used to define the time intervals at which the distribution groups are to be informed by email about the compliance status of employees.

Refresher Training & Recertification

The recertification workflow controls the fulfilment of compliance requirements for the respective target groups on the basis of a dynamically calculated due date. It also triggers recertification processes either manually or automatically at the optimum time.

 

The efficient design of the recertification process creates a high level of up-to-date information, relieves those responsible for compliance,  and reduces sources of error.

 

!! See an error in this sentence on the original PDF!!

5 Tips for Engaging Compliance Training

Know your target group

Even though compliance today affects almost all work areas and employees, a training course should always be tailored to the target group for which it is intended. Does the target group need in-depth knowledge about compliance, or is it enough to sensitise them?

Development

Focus on performance and outcome instead of mere information transfer

In every area of compliance there are a multitude of problems and rules. But not every possible scenario is equally relevant. Awareness of specific risk areas and possible measures are more important to the learners than knowledge of all conceivable compliance scenarios. The focus should therefore be on the cases that the target group can actually encounter or that have occurred in the past.

knowledge icon

Focus on behaviour change

Simply learning rules by heart causes rejection by many people and rarely fulfils the goal of compliance training. After all, the learners should behave according to the compliance rules and not be able to give a lecture on these rules. The focus of a compliance training course should therefore be on changing behaviour.

Icon Training Laptop on the job

Use authentic content with consequences

Examples and concrete cases where the learners can test their knowledge in an application-oriented way are preferable to knowledge queries. It is important that these examples can also be encountered by the target group in everyday work. The more concrete a case study is and the sooner it fits into the target group’s working life, the more interesting it is for the learners. This is the only way to show credible consequences that convey the relevance of the content to the learners.

Icon Gamification

The format is crucial

Compliance as an often dry perceived topic must be brought to life. Even more than with other topics, an initially boring-looking compulsory training can become a learning experience by using scenario-based approaches and storytelling, gamification elements or interactive elements to bring more life into the training. In search of suitable content? Use our popular standard content or develop content perfectly tailored to your situation together with our content experts.

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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 me de-stress after a hard day's work, and I listen to rock music instead of jazz.
Gijs Daemen
Gijs Daemen
Global Marketing Manager