Archive for the 'Learning' Category

09
Feb
16

Coming soon to association learning: gamified learning and microcredentials

Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele

Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele, co-founders of Tagoras

Tagoras recently released its much-anticipated 2016 Association Learning + Technology Report, which contains a wealth of information about associations’ efforts to incorporate technology into their educational programs and platforms.

We know the educational landscape is changing as associations adapt to their members’ learning needs and habits. In fact, almost 90 percent of the nearly 200 associations that responded to Tagoras’ survey reported offering technology-enabled or technology-enhanced education for their members.

How?

Webinars continue to be the No. 1 technological learning tool, followed by online learning programs, such as tutorials or presentations.

But some new types of learning are also emerging: massive open online courses, flipped classes, gamified learning, microcredentials and microlearning, which has the highest rate of adoption.

Other key takeaways from the report:

  • Social media – Not surprisingly, associations use YouTube for education. But Twitter ranks a close second followed by LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Mobile learning – About 41 percent of associations that use technology for learning provide a mobile version of their content. In addition, in the next year, 26 percent plan to go mobile.
  • Live streaming – Not many associations offer virtual conferences, but instead nearly 30 percent said they live stream events.
  • Learning Management Systems – A LMS is the second most popular technology platform. In fact, the percentage of LMS users increased from 51 percent in 2013 to 60 percent in 2015.
  • Data – Despite a growing use in technology, less than one-fifth of respondents said they always use data to decide which learning platforms to use for future educational opportunities.
  • Instructional design – More than 50 percent of associations employ instructional designers.
  • Chief Learning Officer – About 40 percent of respondents said someone within their organization holds a title that incorporates the word “learning.”
  • Knowledge transfer – More than 30 percent of associations reported using technology to sustain learning after the completion of an educational product or service.
  • Credentialing – Across the board, credentialing is becoming increasingly important for education. In fact, 68 percent of associations provide education to support a credential required in their field.

internet-315799_1280Blending technology and learning seems to make business sense for associations. More than half of those surveyed have seen an increase in revenue from their educational offerings. In addition, the associations that employ a Chief Learning Officer, or someone with a similar title, net more revenue from their educational offerings than those that don’t. Read: Credibility counts.

All this said, cost is still a top concern among associations. Just more than 50 percent of respondents said they’re satisfied with the cost of creating educational offerings and the cost of employing staff to develop and execute them.

Somewhat disappointing: Only 18 percent of associations that use technology think they’re successful.

“Technology has changed learning irrevocably, and the rate of change isn’t likely to slow,” Tagoras said. “This creates a clear opportunity for technology to transition into a more significant, more strategic part of the mix of education and professional development associations provide to members.”

As this happens, Tagoras predicts:

  • Growth in implementation of learning platforms and their integration with other key systems, like association management systems
  • A continued focus on professional instructional design to help ensure educational products are effective
  • An increase in competition that will, in turn, drive experimentation as associations look at how best to deliver more value
  • The professionalization of the education function overall and the growth of roles like chief learning officer

Aligning with Event Garde’s tagline, Learn.Network.Transfer, look for blog posts throughout the next few months that break down specific elements of Tagoras’ report.

02
Feb
16

Wilderness first aid: Lessons learned

12633666_10156400281170524_7967074684603308971_oLook closely at the picture at right. Yes, that’s a pig’s foot. And, yes, I’m pulling a fish hook out of it MacGyver-style with a piece of rope. (By the way, if you noticed the fake blood near my eye and cheek – bonus points.) But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Day 1 of Wilderness First Aid. I’m still alive. Introductions, lecture and hands-on activities indoors. The real work (i.e., fake blood, outdoor simulations and pigs feet) begins tomorrow.
It started like any other professional development experience. Participants were eager to learn what they’d be doing for the next three days. Our instructor (a client and a friend) provided context. And we considered our relevant prior knowledge before turning in for the evening.
Day 2 of Wilderness First Aid. Five outdoor simulations (think fake blood, cuttable clothing, first aid kits and chilly temps), responder/patient debriefs, lecture, copious note taking, trail mix snacking, Nalgene drinking, a flawless fish hook removable (from an honest-to-goodness pig’s foot), SOAP notes, bandage making and much, much more. All in a day’s work with the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) and Jeannette Stawski.
The course continued with a variety of instructional strategies, segmented content sequences and real-life facilitator tips and stories. Practice exercises and meaningful feedback were strategically peppered throughout the day to provide exposure and hands-on experience.
Day 3 of Wilderness First Aid. Countless memories and stories; endless fodder for presentations, blog posts and articles; and, of course, both the injection lab and graduation. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in recreating outdoors. #AORE
Mini-assessments throughout the course helped determine which skills were gained and where more work was needed. Moreover, retention and transfer were supported by a very detailed and user-friendly handbook (The Wilderness Medicine Handbook, Third Edition, by Paul Nicolazzo).
12496402_10156400281240524_4621355446685293082_oSo, the lessons learned?
  1. There’s a lot that could go wrong in the backcountry. It’s probably best not to leave your homes. (Kidding!)
  2. Interestingly enough, this course aligned with Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction, a systematic instructional design process (which I quite enjoy!) with a focus on learner outcomes.
  3. As learners (and leaders) it’s important to step away from our functional areas from time to time to gain professional development experiences from thought leaders and in content areas unfamiliar to us. This Wilderness First Aid course has absolutely made me a better learning strategist.
  4. Experiences like these, which allow us to better connect with our staff or clients, cannot be underestimated. The teambuilding opportunities and shared experiences are both memorable and invaluable.
  5. This investment (of both time and money) has already allowed me to better connect with my client’s members. My first-hand glimpse into their world allows me to better relate and collaborate.
What’s been your experience with out-of-the-box professional development opportunities? Leave a comment with your story (good, bad or otherwise).
31
Jan
16

Bonus Content – Event Garde e-news – February edition

 

Elyse

Elyse Kopietz, director of communications, marketing and events, Michigan Manufacturers Association

Q & A with Elyse Kopietz, director of communications, marketing and events, Michigan Manufacturers Association

Q:  It’s February…the month of love, candy hearts, chocolate and other sweet treats. So, if you could pick a special valentine, who would it be and why?

A: My children fill my life with love, sweetness and excitement. Greyson (age 8), Kinsley (age 7) and Arlo (age 5) have changed my world and make me a better person every day. I am sure there will come a time when they don’t draw me pictures and sing me songs, but for now, I’m going to hold tight to these moments and soak them up on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year.

Q: If your friends had to give you a nickname, what would it be, and why?
A: There has been more than a time or two that I’ve been called a “firecracker!” Full of energy, a spark for innovation and the courage to be bold and take risks are a few of my stand out characteristics that make me a firecracker!

Q: Learn: How do you learn best? In a coffee shop with lots of noise or in a quiet, library-like setting?
A: To learn, take in new information and consider its impact I need to have both. Headphones help me to tune out the noise, but an active atmosphere gives me the opportunity to sit back and people watch while taking a study break and reflecting. Anytime I am able to add a delicious caramel latte into my study routine it is a definite bonus!

Q: Network: Some people are wallflowers while others are natural networkers. Which are you (or are you in the middle)?
A: For those who don’t me, I come across incredibly outgoing and ready to pounce into any networking situation with a smile. Those who know me know that sometimes it takes effort to come across as outgoing and confident. Entering a group of unknown people can be intimidating and there are times when I have to prepare, get excited and think of engaging conversation starters.

Q: Transfer: Let’s say you just attended a certification course. What would be your first step in applying what you learned?
A: Currently, I am studying to take the Certified Association Executive (CAE) exam in May. What I am enjoying most about this process is finding opportunities to apply what I am learning as I go. I find learning new things incredibly exciting. For me, it is important to look at what I can apply right now, what should be part of a longer-term strategy and what I want to explore further.

12
Jan
16

What will 2016 bring for associations?

2016-vpisIt’s a new year. New predictions. New trends. New goals. New successes.

From memberships to learning to partnerships, software and services provider Abila just released its predictions for associations in 2016.

Of special interest? Learning and partnerships. (Note our new tagline – Learn. Network. Transfer.)

The demand for knowledge will continue to grow this year, specifically the focus on certification programs. In fact, Abila predicts certification revenue will surpass membership revenue in 2016.

“One of the most valuable resources you have is your association’s e-learning content,” Abila wrote in its whitepaper. “For many members, certification has greater perceived value and affords a significant career edge that mere membership can’t provide. This is particularly true for your millennial members who will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2020.”

As further evidence, according to Associations Trends’ TRENDS 2015 Report, about two-thirds of survey respondents receive less than half their revenue from dues.

partnershipAt the same time, Abila predicts an increase partnerships. As the association industry continues to evolve, community engagement and networking among industry leaders will be key to success, which could include sharing of resources. So, will there be an uptick in swapping of online materials and open source documents? Maybe.

“Your association should look closely at similarly aligned organizations – regionally, nationally and internationally – to forge alliances for greater visibility and awareness,” Abila wrote. “All avenues, channels and opportunities should be explored to connect with potential new members and customers and generate revenue.”

This could mean partnerships between nonprofits and forprofits. Why? Such partnerships could offer new revenue streams and raise an organization’s profile on social media and among professional and personal networks.

So we’ve covered learning and networking. What about transfer?

Let’s say your staff completes a certification program or engages in e-learning. Or it learns how to better network.

How do staff members apply this newfound knowledge?

It’s about rethinking association management systems, Abila says.

Chalkboard - Strategy

As 2016 progresses, associations will increasingly use AMS for strategy – not just tactics. Mining the system for specific member information will allow associations to personalize customer experiences, which could very well include new networking and learning platforms.

“2016 will be a year in which many associations will take a deeper look at membership and the entire membership experience to better understand when and how to engage,” said Amanda Myers, senior product marketing manager for Abila. “Many organizations will also look more closely at revenue channels and partnerships as hybrid membership models continue to emerge, revenue from certification programs grows and associations will form new and different partnerships. The AMS will also re-emerge as a key piece of technology and play a far more strategic role.”

Do you have predictions to share? Think new trends will surface this year? Share your comments below!

08
Dec
15

One slice is enough

info-overload-21-300x300Most moms are multitaskers. For example, we can cook dinner, help our kids with their homework and check our email….until dinner burns or the kids cry because while trying to reply to an email you forgot how to perform the “new” way of division.

Sound familiar? Yeah…maybe mom multitasking is a farce. Or least overrated.

And the kids? Why can they only do one thing at a time? Isn’t it possible to pick up their shoes while on their way to the shower?

Maybe not. Maybe it’s a case of brain overload.

There is a ton of research on how the brain works and how we learn. Some educational and training professionals tout the benefits of “chunking” information into small segments while others, like learning company Rapid Learning Institute, believe focusing on one concept may be the most effective learning strategy.

In a video that was recently pitched to me, Stephen Meyer, CEO of RLI, discusses single-concept learning.

Single-Concept Learning Online Training Technique_Page_1“We start small by isolating a single, compelling concept – we call it a thin slice – and we build a short module around that concept,” Meyer said.

“Thin slicing” is a psychological concept. It refers to the brain’s ability to digest thin slices of information in narrow windows of learning. By doing so, learners draw conclusions from this limited information and come away with a powerful learning experience.

Why?

Since learners have a specific learning objective, they’re less overwhelmed and therefore more enthusiastic about diving in.

Secondly, thin slicing avoids brain overload. So, remember that chaos in the kitchen I referenced above…yeah, that doesn’t happen. Meyer calls it “cognitive noise,” which sounds about right.

And finally, thin slicing only requires learners to remember just one idea – an idea that is well fleshed out, focused and specific.

“With thin slicing, learners are less likely to disengage because everything they encounter on their learning journey is directly related to one concept,” Meyer said. “So knowledge retention, which is the Holy Grail in training, is much more likely to be high as well.”

slice-of-pieThe thin-slice approach to learning can be a game-changer for managers, Meyer said. Like their pupils, managers are less likely to become overwhelmed and can focus solely on training.

So, the next time you’re planning a learning program, think about offering just a thin slice of the pie, rather than the whole pie.

Remember the Nov. 24 blog post about trimming the fat? Sounds like that theory aligns well with thin-slice learning.

 

 

03
Nov
15

Speaker coaching: The key to unlocking top-rated conference sessions

J5eu0When’s the last time your organization’s education committee was asked to identify the three to five greatest challenges currently inhibiting its industry speakers from reaching their fullest potential during the annual conference? I recently did this for a client and following were the responses that bubbled to the surface:

  • Attendee engagement within presentations is often minimal or formulaic.
  • Facilitators have difficulty reeling in discussion in the allotted time to cover all topics planned within their presentation outlines.
  • PowerPoint slides are overwhelmed by too much content.
  • Presentations often hit on the “This is what we do at…” but do not identify how the idea may be adapted within other contexts.

Do these sound familiar? What would comprise your organization’s “watch list”? Based upon these areas of focus, we then developed a one-page resource and shared it with all selected speakers, requesting they use this document in designing their conference presentation experiences. Specifically, we:

  • Provided 20 different brain-centric attendee engagement strategies ranging from “Write learning objectives into participant materials” to “Schedule post-session touch points.”
  • Encouraged speakers to limit their content and slide decks, plan appropriately for practice and feedback time, park unrelated topics and leave time at the end of their sessions for questions, feedback and evaluations.
  • Assembled 10 slide tips intended to help speakers overcome death by PowerPoint. Key insights ranged from “Limit bullet points and text” to “Use video or audio.”
  • Asked speakers to share with attendees not only their experiences, but also how their ideas might be adapted to other organizations with differing resources.

28ae5ecBut this is just the first step.

Next year we intend to offer a training webinar (or a series of shorter training webinars) that helps illuminate these and other strategies, and provide individualized coaching that allows for more robust reflection, planning, practice and feedback.

Additional ideas for investing in conference speakers might include one or more of the following:

  • Personal feedback from professional development/learning staff sitting in on conference presentations.
  • Key insights from an outside consultant conducting an education audit during the conference.
  • Aggregate feedback from attendee evaluations focused more on learning outcomes than on attendee reactions.
  • Self-evaluations conducted by speakers and peer-reviewed by staff/volunteers.
  • Online community devoted to questions, answers and other resources intended to support speaker development.

Growth in the delivery of conference presentations is an iterative process. Mastery does not occur overnight. Rather, repeat industry speakers should be provided ongoing learning guidance, opportunities to practice new knowledge and skills, meaningful feedback from seasoned colleagues and staff and job aids that enhance retention and transfer.

What strategies have you found most successful in mentoring your industry speakers in the design and delivery of top-rated conference sessions?

31
Oct
15

Bonus content – Event Garde e-news – November edition

Tracy King

Tracy King, chief learning strategist, InspirEd LLC

Editor’s Note: This is our Thanksgiving edition of Event Garde-ian of the Month!

Q & A with Tracy King, chief learning strategist, InspirEd LLC

Q: For what are you most thankful?
A: I am so thankful for my four beautiful children, family and friends – sharing love, laughter, good food and shenanigans!

Q: Are you a Black Friday shopper or sleeper?
A: Sleeper! I’m more of a Cyber Monday shopper.

Q: Which Thanksgiving dish do you most crave, and why?
A: Turkey, gravy and garlic smashed cheesy potatoes. I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family and incorporate their favorite sides. These are our fundamentals!

Q: Tell us about one of your holiday traditions.
A: Our family likes to put up our Christmas tree Thanksgiving weekend, pulling out all of our favorite ornaments and the stories they represent. I pick up an ornament whenever we travel someplace special and each year I tuck an individualized picture ornament in my kids’ stockings. Our tree has become a photo album of memories celebrating our family.

Q: Looking ahead, what do you hope for 2016?
A: I hope to complete the first draft of a book I’m working on and take a “real” vacation!




meet aaron

Association learning strategist & meetings coach. Founder & president of Event Garde. Passionate about cooking, running, blogging, old homes, unclehood & pet parenting (thanks to Lillie the pup).

meet kristen

Writer, editor, public relations professional. Digital content manager. Proud mom of three. Total word geek. Spartan for life.

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