Create Positive Disruption in the Workforce

Three Takeaways from Learning 2015

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The team at Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) recently attended The Masie Center’s Learning 2015 event in Orlando, Florida. The energy was high as we immersed ourselves in all things learning through sessions, activities, labs and discussions. Keynote speaker, Steve “Woz” Wozniak, Silicon Valley icon and inventor of Apple’s first line of products, set the tone of the event calling for every organization to adopt a CDO — Chief Disruption Officer. The CDO is a newly created thought leadership role in the C-Suite aimed at strategic thinking and utilizing new technologies and learning models to positively disrupt the organization and promote innovation. The theme of disruption, and need for constant innovation, started here but was continued in conversations throughout the event. For those not able to attend this year, here are our top three takeaways from the event.

Drive a new way of measuring competency
Companies like Sears stressed the importance of measuring expertise rather than focusing purely on the completion of courses. Frank Nguyen, vice president, integrated learning and performance at Sears Holdings Corporation weighed in on the advantages of the Experience API (xAPI) as a new way to assess the capabilities and learning needs of the workforce, and provide them with the right information and learning nuggets when and where they need it. The data collected will also allow them to track and improve the accuracy and effectiveness of their learning. API stands for “application programming interface” and serves as a framework to help learning professionals develop and improve the applicability of training courses based on how employees like to learn — including mobile applications, videos, games, social media and simulated environments. By encouraging micro-learning through short, easily digestible learning units–that are low on time commitment– learning leaders are able to more effectively maintain the attention span of learners.

Humanize your learning content
The importance of humanizing learning content to improve engagement was discussed in multiple sessions this year. Strategies and topics included:

  • Gamification of content and courses
  • Utilizing short videos
  • Demonstrating thought processes in animations or video
  • Alternating voices used in video
  • Adding more casual forms of narration
  • Embedding coaching in your training
  • Offering a buddy or an avatar throughout the learning program
  • Embracing technology like text messaging to push safety reminders or a link to a short learning segment, etc.

It was clear from the discussion that when humanizing content, it is important to aim to reach all of the four generations that are currently in the workforce. Sal Khan, CEO of Khan Academy made a powerful statement that rings true when designing learning interventions, “We are all equals, you just have not learned it yet.” He also added that we shouldn’t forget to empower learners with not only the “what and how” in training efforts, but also the “why.” It is always best to address how the learner’s performance will affect the big picture and “greater good,” to further humanize the importance of their efforts.

Explore and develop toward the future
As learning professionals, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day planning of learning programs however, at the same time, it is imperative that we keep our focus on what is ahead. “Woz” also stressed this point, explaining the importance of constantly exploring and developing your team towards the future. In order to be well prepared for whatever comes your way, training is always a best practice. Businesses will find themselves in a much better positon to effectively manage opportunities and disruptions, if they develop the training programs to plan for and address potential developments before they happen. We see this diligent future planning often, especially with our customers that operate in high consequence environments. Whether they are preparing for a healthcare epidemic, a cyber-attack or a weather related incident, they must have one foot in the future to prepare for events and situations that can cause major disruptions if not fully explored in advance.

Did you attend Masie’s Learning 2015? What were your biggest takeaways from the conference? We welcome you to share your thoughts with us on LinkedIn or on Twitter. Finally, as you are planning your future learning programs for 2016 and beyond, don’t forget, what the “Woz” said in his keynote, “whatever you do in life, you should build in some fun.”