Monday, September 8, 2014

The Future of Training: Moving from Learner Centric to Business Centric Model

The future of Learning and Development is moving away from Learner Centric, or employee needs model, and moving more towards Business Centric, or business needs model.  The reason behind this trend is that the business needs of the company should be considered when developing a training program.  To have a measureable effect on productivity moving to a Business Centric model is a must.

According to David Grebow, in his article The Future of L&D: Business-Centric Learning, “Before the learners ever see the content, it needs to pass the test of alignment with the business needs.”  

As an example: If one of the goals of the business is to increase and measure customer service; in the Business Centric model, the Learning and Development team would design training to address this goal of the business.  Courses might include: Customer Service Essentials, Retaining Customers, Improving your Customer Service Skills.

In a recent article in Training Industry Magazine, Key Trends 2014; Shifting to Business Centric Learning, Doug Haward stated that the Learner Centric model “missed the mark on the most fundamental principle for success: ensuring that training is aligned to the needs of the business first.”

Learning and Development has been focusing on the skills gaps for some time now.  The trend is to continue to evaluate what your staff knows and what they need to know to align with the business needs of the company.  An important trend to this model is consistency. 

In a rapidly changing industry, training is in fast forward: mobile devices, video integration, digital content, open source and flipped classroom.  Sometimes it’s hard to decipher what content can be used or applied to a specific training program.

Many businesses seeking to maximize performance are using the Business Centric model with a virtual component.  Moving to E-Learning allows companies to create a training program that is across the board for all employees and yet can give that element of Learner Centric while still meeting the Business Centric model.

Training is made more efficient and effective by online education companies like, that can create custom training paths designed to choose courses for each employee’s skill level and job responsibilities—courses that are most relevant to the work they do or need to be able to do to reach the business goals set by the company.

KnowledgeCity uses a proprietary algorithm and training advisors to choose the best courses, and the employee’s own manager approves or modifies the user’s final course list. By enrolling in the KnowledgeCity Training Need Analysis program, a company ensures that their employees receive the best training for their position in line with the company goals.

Friday, August 22, 2014

How well is your training transferring to the workplace?

As companies rely more and more on their team’s knowledge, skills and abilities; we have to ask: How well is your training transferring to the workplace?

Here is the scenario:  You have just spent $1200 per employee for learning and development training.  Your company spent time to develop the course, somewhere between 40-80 hours, for one hour of instructor-led training.  

Your team spent time away from their jobs to obtain the training; factoring in employee wages and productivity losses. You send them off into the workplace hoping they learned something they can use in their day to day activities as part of your team.  Was it worth it?

How do you measure the success of the training?  Your employees have a certificate proving they attended the training, a nice addition to their employee file, but did they walk away with new knowledge that they can use?  Did they retain anything that was covered in the training?

The time it takes to develop a training program is often an overlooked factor in training budgets.  However, developing a course and training structure that will enable employees to utilize what they learned in the workplace to increase their productivity, is profoundly important.

With the advent of E-Learning, Social Learning, and MOOCs, training seems to have gone mobile and organizations are using this method at an increasing rate.  According to a report by the Association for Talent Development, technology-based training methods accounted for 39 percent of the training methods employed for learning and development.

The great feature of E-Learning, and a well-developed training program, is the ability to deliver the training anywhere, anytime, and in smaller bite-sized chunks.  The key to retention is delivering engaging training, in smaller segments that can be accessed anytime allowing for repeatability and reference.

When your team is able to go back and repeat a difficult segment of the training or reference that section at a later date during the workday, the retention and utilization of the training is transferred to the workplace. is an online education company that specializes in helping businesses stay ahead of the curve by offering online training courses. Our courses are designed with training retention in mind. Take a look at our Business, Computer Software, and Safety courses.  Try the first lesson in any course for free.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Avoiding Training Tune Out

You have never heard of “Training Tune Out”? It’s a real thing.  At least, we think it is.  We have all been there.  Sitting in a training meeting, the instructor is lecturing on some topic that could be important to your career, but you’re not quite sure because the voice in your head is going over your important laundry list of life—and there you have it—Training Tune Out.

Or perhaps you are the instructor, you look out in the audience and see blank stares, yawns and maybe even a brave soul napping in the very back.  Yup, that’s Training Tune Out; and yes, you may be the one to blame.  Do not get discouraged.  If you want to keep your audience from tuning out, keep them engaged.

Involve your team in the training.  Ask them what challenges they are facing, and what expectations they have.  Tailor your training to answer their questions, and brainstorm with them on how the training they are receiving can facilitate their challenges and meet their expectations.  Show them how the training is relevant to their current situation.

Get creative.  Tell a joke, offer a funny scenario, break the ice and the tension with something creative and relevant.  Make a competition out of the training.  Nothing engages people more than a little friendly competition.  Plan activities that help facilitate team building.  Give them something to compete for, anything can be a prize from a company logo t-shirt to a day off with pay.

Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic are different ways that people learn and feel more engaged.  Use or develop a variety of training tools that meet each of these needs and you will be able to reach the majority of your audience.  Here is where getting creative will benefit your training.  Have team members act out a scenario, develop a cheer for an important point to remember, your motto is: Keep them active in the learning process.  These simple tips may help avoid losing groups of your audience to training tune out and the enthusiasm and engagement created may carry over into their productivity.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Team Building is an Art

Team building takes some human relation skills such as: Motivation, Leadership, and Communications; all of which boost Morale. In addition to an astute understanding of people and your team in particular; here are five tools that you can use to inspire and build your team:
  1. Clearly define goals, roles, and responsibilities: To get your team to become a more cohesive unit, it is important to communicate not only the reason the team is in place, but also to clearly define what roles each team member plays in the bigger picture.  When we all know our place, it is easier to contribute to the shared goals of the team.

  2. Be a cheerleader: Motivating a team is often a difficult task.  Why? Because you must first build interdependence, respect and trust.  When you take the time to listen to your team, such as through group brainstorming, you show them that their opinions and knowledge are important to the group as a whole and the end goal.  When you take the time to build up your team through encouragement and celebrating accomplishments, you build self-esteem and loyalty.

  3. Build the team you need: Leadership is a skill that is learned and there is always room for improvement.  How is this accomplished?  Teach leadership skills and provide leadership opportunities, mentor and give support, provide training in areas your team members need development.  When you invest in your team members; your team members become invested as well. 

  4. Build a community: A community is like a well-oiled machine.  Each team member has a place and a function that contributes to the united whole.  The community works as a whole to accomplish more than either could alone; toward a shared vision or goal.  Establish the community rules or code of conduct.  Encourage team members to participate in the community building process.  When the going gets tough, you will be glad you created a community. 

  5. Become a mediator not a judge: Conflicts are inevitable within a community and a team.  How you manage the conflicts will make or break what you are trying to build.  Create a plan that encourages and respects the diversity of the members and their opinions, views or ideas.  Clearly define it to your team.  People matter and finding a middle ground during conflict will help your team weather any storm.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Importance of Brand Management

How your customer perceives you is very important.  A brand is not just your company logo but everything your company is and does.  From the logo to the website to how your team members react and respond to your customers; a brand is all encompassing and it is critical to be prepared.  In the age of social media, what are customers sharing about your brand?
What does a brand do?  According to Functional Marketing, “Branding is defining what you want people to think, feel, experience and believe about your company.”  It gives your company or product recognition.  It sets you apart from your competition.

Depending on how you manage your brand, this can be a good thing or a bad thing.  It can turn employees into a team and lead your company in a positive direction.  A brand gives your business value.

Managing your brand requires some foresight.
Establishing a brand, planning and marketing the brand, measuring performance, and growing and sustaining your brand’s reputation are crucial to success.  Where do you get started?

KnowledgeCity’s Strategic Brand Management course provides an extensive and comprehensive overview of the branding process.  What is a brand? Why is it important? What research do I need to do? How do I build a strategy to get my brand recognition?  These are all questions that are answered in this course.

If you want to get your company noticed and make a good impression in the process, Strategic Brand Management is the course for you.  Entrepreneurs can learn the ins and outs of branding, marketing, and managing brand awareness.  

Instructor Lindsey Baker, a Professor at the Art Institute of California, San Diego whose courses include: Branding, Corporate Communication and Strategic Brand Management, will navigate you through this course and teach you how to put these theories into practice.

Branding is an ongoing process. It requires planning.  KnowledgeCity’s Strategic Brand Management course is designed to give you the tools you need to be successful in your branding campaign.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

E-Learning: A Solution to the Skills Gap Dilemma

Results from ManpowerGroup's Talent Shortage Survey, conducted last year among 40,000 employers worldwide, revealed that employers find that a lack of available skilled talent and the persistent need to fill vacancies has a negative impact on the performance of their businesses.

Employers cited lack of essential job skills, the technical or hard skills and workplace or soft skills, as reasons for vacancies.  These are skill deficits that have increased since the last survey.  A hard skills deficit increased by eight percent since 2012, to 48 percent in 2013.  The soft skills deficit increased by seven percent since 2012, to 33 percent in 2013.

More than half of employers surveyed reported that skills gaps impact their ability to serve clients to a medium (35 percent) or high (19 percent) degree. Employers also believe these shortages reduce the company’s competitiveness and productivity.  With 39 percent of employers citing a reduced ability to serve client’s needs and 34 percent reporting a reduction in competitiveness and productivity, what are employers doing about it?

According to the survey, 23 percent of employers are developing their existing team by providing training and development.  It makes sense that with the lack of a skilled work force, employers are turning to training, and e-learning is quickly becoming the way to go.

In a recent report, The Value of E-Learning, IBM estimated that 40 percent of traditional training costs were spent on travel and lodging.  Other considerations include: employee salary and business losses from downtime.  The report cites some important benefits of e-learning which are: reduced training costs and impact on business, the ability to provide training to multiple students in multiple locations, exposure to expert knowledge and top instructors, and the accountability provided through e-learning tracking.

If you are facing these challenges, perhaps it is time to consider the e-learning solution.  KnowledgeCity has training courses in Business, Computer Software and Safety Compliance.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

5 Appealing Reasons to Try Distance Learning

Distance Learning has revolutionized the way we train and educate.  According to a report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., Global E-Learning is expected to reach $107 billion by 2015.  The reasons for this are advancements in technology, as well as, corporations recognizing the need to expand employee training opportunities.  But what makes this method so appealing?
  1.  Convenience: E-Learning offers students the flexibility and convenience of training at any time, location and on almost any device.  Students no longer have to try to fit a course into their already burdened schedules. Education is now mobile with 24/7 access.
  2. Relevant: Adult learners have already experienced a variety of education.  They want training and education that is relevant to their personal or professional development.  In a report published by the Johns Hopkins School of Education, 83 percent of adult learners cited the need to transition successfully from change as a reason for seeking education.  Whether a job change or a life change, distance learning provides relevant training and education opportunities.
  3. Higher retention rates: According to ­­­the report: Corporate E-Learning: exploring a new frontier by W.R. Hambrecht and Co., e-learning has a 60% faster learning curve, compared to instructor-led training.  The reason for this is that e-learning allows more room for individual learning styles.  Students learn at their own pace and can review course material as often as needed, giving students more control over their learning process. This helps students better understand the material, thereby enhancing the retention rate.
  4. Cost Effective: Not only does distance learning make life-long learning possible, but it removes barriers that would normally prevent some students from seeking education or training.  Technology has made distance learning more convenient and more accessible.  The higher retention of the course material alone puts a higher value on every dollar spent.
  5. Environmentally friendly: Key findings in a study conducted by Britain’s Open University found that distance learning courses consumed 90 percent less energy than conventional courses taught in a classroom setting. The study also showed a decrease of 85 percent in CO2 emissions. If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, try distance learning.