Lori Explains: The Syzygy Achieve. Do. Learn. Framework

Problem: Lots of unnecessary crud in many learning/upskilling/onboarding programs. Unimportant and waste of time & resources for businesses. Cognitive overload and low engagement for learners.

Solution: A learning design expert that’s worked with many Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies—Lori Figueiredo will teach you her proven framework to “cut through the crap” (in her own words).

Evidence: She has developed solutions for Standard Chartered, Adobe, Symantec, Cisco and many others, with her framework as a core component. She’s saved these companies millions of dollars and plenty of confusion.

Outcome: Learn about the Syzygy Framework and some examples of it’s applications. For business managers, make better decisions in choosing programs; for trainers/L&D, design/structure results-oriented programs.

Audience: Business unit leaders, L&D managers, trainers.

Price: Free. Only 10 slots available per timing.

When (Malaysia/Singapore Time):

  1. 3 September 2015 (Thursday), 2.00pm to 3.00pm (GMT +8)
  2. 3 September 2015 (Thursday), 8.00pm to 9.00pm (GMT +8)

We’ll send out more information about how to access the webinar a few days before the webinar.

Sign up for the webinar here





Syzygy Framework Webinar September


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Why workplace learning sucks :( and how we’re fixing it

Do you know, 59% of companies still use paper files and Excel sheets to manage training?

Everyone knows that if you rely on manual methods, people doing the data entry are bound to forget, prone to mistakes, and resources can go missing.

Yet why? Why in this day and age, are people still doing this?LMS BuyerView 2015 Charts watermarked.001

It’s not like there’s nothing out there to help with this. There are tons of Learning Management Systems (LMS) available in the market, each with their own strength/weakness/features.

These are the top-requested functionality for LMS. Most just want storage, tracking, and reporting. This is almost universally provided by any LMS out there.

LMS BuyerView 2015 Charts watermarked.003

Fundamentally there must be something wrong if there’s supply and demand but there’s no activity.

While working and discussing with our clients and partners, we found that the obstacle was really simple.

No one likes to do more work.

Especially if it doesn’t directly impact their bottom line.

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In many organizations, existing systems are not fully dysfunctional. To many managers, the effort to change the entire system seems colossal, and outweighs the benefit that comes with it.

They have train the team on the new system, come up and enforce compliance with new processes, engage learning designers to update the content, etc…

Many LMS out there are simply not able to provide an end-to-end experience that enables better learning management without overwhelming and hassling the people involved in this change.

Understanding this, we realize we cannot simply reach out to organizations as just a tech platform.

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Thus, we are now working with Syzygy! to provide an end-to-end mobile learning journey for management and learners alike.

  1. To start off, we will guide you through Syzygy!’s framework that identifies core behaviors and people to train, with a world-class learning consultant.
  2. Then, we upgrade your existing content to bite-sized, activity-based mobile learning.
  3. On the techy side of things, we will help organizations set up, launch, maintain their own training platform with their own smartphone app based on the Coursepad platform.
  4. To implement everything, we will help you through the launching, distribution, feedback gathering, and scaling it.
  5. All that, and we also train managers and team, to learn and apply the Syzygy! framework and Coursepad platform.

This is the future of learning, and we’re looking for early adopters to work closely with us to lead the way.

We are also looking for more partners to work with. We believe that we can help you scale more reliably with a smart and beautiful platform.

Wishing you well,

Chia Wei

Chia Wei & Team Coursepad

P.S. All the wonderful graphs are provided by Software Advice, a buyer resource for learning management systems, recently released a report on the top LMS buyer trends in 2015.

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Doing what you already know

“In 2004, nine hospitals in Michigan began implementing a new procedure in their intensive care units (I.C.U.)… Three months after it began, the procedure had cut the infection rate of I.C.U. patients by sixty-six percent. Within 18 months, this one method had saved 75 million dollars in healthcare expenses… This medical miracle was also simpler that you could ever imagine. It was a checklist.”

James Clear, Do More of What Already Works

The reason for it’s effectiveness was: Doctors were supposed to follow particular hygiene routine to prevent infection. Although these steps were known for years, some doctors occasionally skipped steps.

Thus, implementing the checklist reminded and kept doctors responsible for their hygiene, and it worked tremendously well.


This insight can easily be applied to many of our personal and business lives.

Sometimes we’re preoccupied with matters, or we think to ourselves, “It’s alright, this time it won’t matter.”

Skipping certain steps, especially steps that we think are mundane and carries little significance, seem like no big deal to us.

  • Think about your stack of business cards, of the people you’ve met a recent event. Have you followed with an email or a short message to them?
  • How about your team that you’re managing? Do you sit down at least monthly to have a short chat with how they’re doing, and make plans with them?
  • Do you sleep on time, drink water throughout the day, floss your teeth, and exercise regularly?

These are fundamental things that take a small part of our lives. Everyone knows that they’re necessary, yet many don’t follow through.

Actionable steps

Using technology, we can easily remind and hold ourselves accountable. Some people like to use Reminders, or set recurring tasks in Wunderlist.

A few of us in Coursepad use Coach.me and join a community of people trying to build certain habits.

In terms of fitness and diet, some people use MyFitnessPal.

Regardless of what you use, the point is to use external systems that are unbiased and not prone to our human whims.

Let us know what YOU use on a regular basis to build habits and keep yourself accountable!


P.S. We’re not affiliated with any of the above products. We just find it super useful.

P.P.S. Our next step: we’re building a learning system that uses AI to prompt, encourage, and adapt to individual learner profiles + business needs. We too want to make learning a habit for you and your team!

Contact me if you know a learning manager from an organization with more than 500 people, and are actively doing internal training.

Wishing you well,

Chia Wei

Chia Wei & Team Coursepad

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HR in Asia: Being Lifetime Learners Together with Coursepad

We’re proud and so thankful to be featured in HR in Asia!

Read the full article at HR in Asia.

Both leaders and employees need to be continuously learning, especially in this fast-changing and competitive industry. HR professionals must aim to create lifetime learners on their company.

Workplace learning has been around since forever, yet it’s not progressed. According to Kevin Chan, CEO of Coursepad, “Close to 90% of workplace learning is done via face-to-face classroom courses with only 10% of that being served as e-learning right now.”

As manpower costs rise and work environments require increasing knowledge capital, learning and development departments are being pressured to deliver solutions that deliver an optimal cost-benefit. Luckily, there’s a tool to help HR professionals for people development area.

Continue reading at HR in Asia: Being Lifetime Learners Together with Coursepad

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3 Methods to Blend Your Learning

At the end of this post there’s a bonus method that has increased our client’s learner engagement by up to 90%. Read on and find out!

Most training are done in real life workshops. Some skills require in-person training, and have the best effect when there’s some visceral interaction between trainer and learner.

For many learners, workshops are amazing learning experiences. You have a trainer/mentor who’s there in person and dedicated time away to learn (instead of trying to juggle it with work). However, once this workshop is over, much of the knowledge and training is lost!

Some organizations keep only a few copies of every workshop material with HR as reference… that doesn’t get touched for months or years. All that is wasted resources, learning, and ultimately wasted potential performance and value for the organization.

Question: How can we harvest the learning experience of workshops and reinforce this learning longer?
Answer: Use digital coaches to help structure, assess, reinforce, and track learning with workshops through a blended learning approach.

Blended Learning

willitblend
Will it blend? by Blendtec

Blended learning is a simple concept: Most learners go to workshops to learn skills and knowledge. To reinforce that, we supplement their learning with a platform that needs to do these:

  • Be readily accessible, offline/online, phone/tablet/computer
  • Be able to give helpful and interesting bite-sized content
  • Be able to do assessments and track progress
  • Be able to discuss and learn from each other

Being advocates for blended and social learning, the Coursepad platform covers all these in an easy-to-use package 🙂

Beyond the platform, you need to structure and use it in such a way that’s effective. The best tool is only as good as its user. However fret not, as we’ll share with you some battle-tested methods from our experience working with clients (mix and match these to your needs):

Method 1: Workshop + Supplementary Learning Content

Process

  1. Participants attend workshop
  2. Set up lessons in Coursepad that mimics workshop content structure
  3. In each lesson, add in supplementary information such as PDF documents, slides, video instruction
  4. Participants can thus access content during and after workshop

Works best

  • To reinforce and supplement workshop learning, and provide reference material that won’t get lost
  • In workshops that do assessments in-person (e.g. technical skills)

Method 2: Workshop + Discussion/Social Learning Platform

Process

  1. Participants attend workshop
  2. Set up lessons in Coursepad that mimics content structure
  3. In each lesson, add in Assignments, and add in “Discussion” type questions
    Discussion Question
  4. Typically, the best discussion questions are phrased starting with “Share your…”, “Tell us about…”
  5. Ask about experiences, stories and ideas
  6. Moderate/facilitate as you see fit
  7. Highlight the most discussed or most liked post!

Works best

  • To get participants to further process context and situations for application of learning content
  • In workshops for soft skills training (e.g. customer service, critical thinking, communication)

Method 3: Workshop + Followup Assessment and Track-over-time

Process

  1. Participants attend workshop
  2. Set up lessons in Coursepad that mimics content structure
  3. Add in lessons that are scheduled after the workshops (3 weeks, 6 weeks and so on)
  4. In each lesson, add in Assignments and Questions. Depending on your needs, questions can prompt learners to feedback their experiences on applying what they learnt; or questions can be technical knowledge to remind them to refresh their memory on the learnt material.
  5. Grade their answers, and track their progress over time!
  6. This is very similar to what we shared last week in “#6 Help Your Learners Remember Everything

Works best

  • To track learner retention and application over time (essentially your training ROI!)
  • With a planned learning strategy/solution (ideally not just a single workshop)

Method 4: (This awesome method helped us and our clients hit over 90% learner engagement.)

Email me at chiawei@coursepad.com about what you plan to do with it and I’ll send it to you free!

That’s all for this week!

Wishing you well,

Chia Wei

Chia Wei and Team Coursepad

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Coursepad Office Shifted!

Hey there!

The Coursepad Team has been busy over the past week shifting offices! Now we have more capacity to prep for the incoming hoard of awesome people (we’re still hiring btw!)

Lovely Panorama taken by Shun Yuan who just joined us as an Android Developer!

pano_20141204_160344

This is our new address:

Coursepad Pte Ltd
124 Lorong 23 Geylang
#08-01 Arcsphere
Singapore 388405

Phone: +65 8482 3992

Email: learndoshare@coursepad.com

Come drop by and say hi!

Wishing you well,

Chia Wei

Chia Wei

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Make your lesson takeaway immediately actionable

One often seen issue with content (not only E-Learning content but everywhere else), is that it does not provide an immediate action or takeaway for learners. After watching a video, or reading some material, learners will ask, “So what now?”

Provide a takeaway for each lesson

Give your learners the key point to takeaway from the lesson. If you have kept your lessons short, to 10 minutes or so, then you should only have one main point from each lesson. If you have multiple points (you should be splitting them up!), pick one that carries the highest weight.

Don’t worry about learners forgetting the other points from your lesson. Our memory works like a web of nodes of information. If learners are able to relate or recall a single piece, other related pieces of information are more easily recollected.

Get learners to do ONE 5-minute action

This is separate from a post-lesson assessment. Give learners a script, or a behavior that is easy and immediately actionable. Ask learners to apply ONE (1) thing they learnt. For example, ask customer service officers to repeat a customer’s name while addressing them; or ask sales executive to repeat a minor detail that their clients mention in previous meetings.

People are usually resistant to large changes. Instead of asking learners to immediately replace or modify their behaviors completely, it is easier to make incremental changes that bring minor but immediate rewards. Ultimately, through multiple short lessons and simple actions that are easy and reinforced within a complete plan and structure, you are able to teach and change the way they work.

Takeaways: For every lesson, provide a takeaway point. Give learners a script, or a behavior modification that’s easy and immediately actionable.

Immediate action: Take a look at your most engaging course/lesson. Try adding a takeaway and immediate action. Get feedback from your learners.

Hope this is useful for you! See you next week!

Wishing you well,

Chia Wei

Chia Wei & Team Coursepad

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Elearning Content Checklist that will help organizations engage their learners 150% more

reading learning at work

If you have had issues in engaging your learners to complete certain elearning programs, we’d just like to share how we have managed to help several industry leaders improve their programs.

If you implement these 9 key things, you should be able to improve your engagement from the average of 15% to about 40% (that’s about a 150% increase!) 1, 2, 3.

In today’s workplace, there simply is no room for hour-long elearning programs that force you to sit through an entire lecture-like video. That’s literally the same old one-way teaching pedagogy crammed online. It is not effective when it was conducted in a workshop setting, neither will it be effective just because it’s now online with a few clicks or taps here and there.

Regardless of what LMS you use, here’s what we found works. We’ve compiled a list of pointers you can and should use immediately to evaluate your learning material. It’s split into 3 sections: the headline to draw in learners, the structure to facilitate learning, and the content itself.

At the end, we provide a downloadable/printable version you can keep reusing for free for all your material. Here we go:


1. Your title of the training should be crystal clear and purposeful

Most elearning systems rely on the initiative of learners to sign up and learn. If learners do not get drawn in by the titles or description of the learning program, they will just ignore it.

There are many guides out there that talk about writing better headlines and titles for articles spread on the Internet. You may have seen many of these “10 things” lists that get shared like the flu. Let’s take a look at what makes them tick, and how to use them for your learning program.

Specificity and purposefulness cuts through all the noise

Headlines which have higher specificity — using numbers and addressing readers4, perform better than other headlines. Instead of saying “A learning program for inbound customer service calls”, say “12 ways you can make someone smile over the phone”, or “5 phone call tips to make even the shyest operators sound confident”.

Tell them what’s in it for them

Make it very clear what’s the objective and purpose of the program. What are the outcomes that learners can envision if they complete the course?

In the title, or in the summary of the learning program, do this: Quote statistics. Even better, quote an example within your organization that are highly relevant, for example if you want to get your sales team to attend a workshop, describe in a byline that “Our department’s top sales leader increased his sales closing rate to 50% using these tips”.

2. Split your content down into bite-sized chunks

Science has consistently showed that people are not very good at paying attention to things for a long time. The average attentional span of most people is only 10 minutes5.

However many elearning programs go up to an hour. It wastes the time of the learner, and creates a high barrier of entry for future learning attempts. Thus, simply restructure your large lessons into bite-sized lessons of between 5 to 15 minutes.

Lower the psychological barrier

The psychological barrier that learners feel when they look at a 2-hour course is immense compared to just a 10 minute session. Most people at work don’t have the luxury of an hour or two to read material or watch videos. What they need is immediate action-based tips to help them at work.

If they want more substantial materials, you can always add it as an extra which is optional. Not all learners will find it useful, and certainly they won’t appreciate if you force all of them to sit through tedious material.

Let your learners feel rewarded each step of the way

You may have heard that splitting goals into smaller steps make them easier to achieve. Similarly, making your lessons a lot smaller creates a lot more opportunities for your learners to feel rewarded that they have actually learnt something.

Splitting up your large lesson into smaller ones also lets you clarify your lesson objectives. In a 5 to 10 minute lesson, it will be immediately obvious to learners if there are extra training “fluff” that serves no purpose.

Also, if you have assessments at the end of your lessons, they can be changed to become more engaging and meaningful, yet short and sweet. We’ll leave the details of that for our next article ☺

Ties in with specific headlines

Splitting your content also ties in really well in creating your attractive headline. If you split your 2 hour training program on say Inbound Phone Etiquette to twelve 10 minute sessions, you can easily create a headline that says “12 lessons…” or “12 tips…”.

Easily transition to mobile learning Smaller lessons also make it consumable on the go. If you have a mobile learning system like Coursepad, you can easily just upload existing bite-sized content that your learners can access anywhere and complete in 10 minutes. No longer will your learners feel like elearning programs as a drudgery, but instead little tips that help them with their day to day work.

3. Use examples and stories to supplement your messages

In terms of the actual training content, nothing helps learners better than stories. Our brains are wired in such a way that resonates, synchronizes well with other people when they are telling a story6.

Storytelling makes lessons and details relatable

For learners, instead of boring slides or reading material, learning programs that are presented in a story-like manner can help these lessons become more relatable and easy to recall. When storytellers tell stories, these messages carry with them a lot more emotion and meaning, which listeners (learners) will try and immediately relate with personal experiences.

When we hear someone else tell a story about their colleagues, immediately we think about our colleagues, and we’re likelier to share about our experiences as well. This naturally goes on day to day as the “watercooler chat” or gossip around the office; in our daily lives we tell stories all the time as its a natural way to communicate. We seem to be able to easily remember the “juicy details”, without having to think and process it over and over again…

It also naturally engages people to want to know what’s happening next. It’s like a TV drama series — you want to know what happens next automatically, because its all part of a story.

How do we “convert” your lessons into stories then? Breaking it down, this is what we found in terms of making your lessons more story-like.

  1. Use an example or case study that is familiar
    Weave a backstory into your whole lesson. In our example of customer service calls, we can mention that our colleague Tim has always been a timid guy, and he absolutely hates picking the phone for fear of getting yelled at. Immediately learners can identify somewhat with such a person.
  2. Use emotional and rich description of things
    When we tell stories, it might be filled with slightly exaggerated information that provide context and humor. Mix in little trivia like “Tim had to repeat ‘yeah’ almost 25 times… his co-workers nodding along every time he said ‘yeah’”.
  3. Use multimedia content to relate better7
    Make short video, or even record audio instead of having your learners read the text. More than just accessibility, we bond and relate better when it is another person talking to us rather than mere reading. It won’t replace face-to-face interaction, but at least it’s a lot better and more engaging than just a wall of text.

Get the PDF printable version here

 

Wishing you well,

Chia Wei

Chia Wei & Team Coursepad


 

1 58% of learners are more likely to use get into learning if lessons are split up into smaller, shorter ones — http://www.softwareadvice.com/hr/industryview/lms-features-report-2014/

2 92% of viewers prefer stories to plain messages — https://www.onespot.com/blog/infographic-the-science-of-storytelling/

3 57% of readers are likely to engage in material that has a title using specific numbers and are addressing them — http://blog.bufferapp.com/headline-strategies-psychology

4 http://moz.com/blog/5-data-insights-into-the-headlines-readers-click

5 http://www.brainrules.net/attention/?scene=1

6 http://blog.bufferapp.com/science-of-storytelling-why-telling-a-story-is-the-most-powerful-way-to-activate-our-brains

7 http://www.cyberpsychology.eu/view.php?cisloclanku=2013071101

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The one thing that supercharges learning but trainers struggle with

One to many

Dear trainers and talent consultants,

Do you wish you could spend less time emailing and coordinating your learners?

Do you want to update your content and get it out to your learners as quick and in as little hassle as possible?

Do you want less hassle in managing different groups of talents your portfolio of clients?

Do you want a snapshot of learning progress and retention, and report tangible results to your clients?

What is your main way of engaging your learners and making sure they are applying what they learn?

How do other trainers do these things?

In the past one year, we have been working closely with a wide range of trainers and consultants in the area of talent management and development. Many trainers have lamented to us that engaging multiple groups of learners, keeping track of progress, delivering content, and reporting progress is a huge administrative hassle.

For coordinating and engaging learners, some trainers use the traditional email and response system. Some trainers use multiple chat groups in WhatsApp, Facebook, Google to discuss and get response from learners. More conventional trainers might still rely on voice calls to learners.

Trainers who work with larger corporate clients might have to use proprietary systems that these corporate clients have already implemented. They are usually very comprehensive, but therein also lies its complexity and rigidity.

These are all systems poorly shoehorned into doing what is most important to a trainer – engaging learners.

Most trainers know that by engaging learners, trainers are able to elicit effective and better learning.

  • Higher interaction involves deeper levels of processing of the subject matter, which can help retain information and be more likely used by learners.
  • Trainers can also do constant quick assessments of progress to see where your learners are and if they are having difficulty with a particular subject matter.
  • Engagement also naturally motivates learners to want to find out a particular topic more than being spoon-fed information.

Many trainers and organizations we’ve been working with over the last 2 years have complained to us about the inability to continuously engage learners. In many cases, learning management solutions that are put in place only get between 15 to 25% of engagement. What this means is that they’re wasting 75% of the cost of setting up the LMS and designing the content. Worse, it means that the learners are not actually learning anything.

For trainers relying on conventional ways of reaching to learners such as emails, messaging and calls, the response is usually slow and hard to keep track. Consultants or program managers handling multiple trainers and learning groups have it worse – come crunch time for reporting they would have to arduously search through emails and compile all the data for their clients.

Ultimately, it means that you are delivering less ROI and value to your client.

Understanding your frustrations, we have developed a platform for you to actively engage, and motivate your learners to learn independently.

Our vision to is to turn trainers into mobile coaches for learners. Imagine being able to continuously train, engage, and assess learners wherever they are, through bite-sized content, quick assessments, and rewarded social learning.

These are our highlights:

  • Easy to use content system for trainers to upload existing training material, and push it out to learners quickly and seamlessly.
  • Engage your learners over time with a discussion platform that encourages continuous social learning which can be 500% more effective compared to lecture style, paper-pen based learning.
  • Personally engage learners through bite-sized content and assessments
  • Give each of your
  • Learners get motivated to continuously learn and engage each other through a built-in store that rewards learners for activities and discussions.
  • Track all of your learner’s progress and performance, and identify cases which need help, or patterns in your client’s talents.
  • All of this will be accessible everywhere via smartphones and the web.

We are now offering it free-of-charge to you to test and run a pilot project. Share the word out to fellow trainers and consultants. In return, we will give you a 3-month free pass. How cool is that?

Get Free Trial Here

We really hope this will be useful to you. Contact us if you have any questions or ideas at all!

See you next week!

Chia Wei

Chia Wei & Team Coursepad

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