Blended learning
Employee Engagement, L&D Approach, News

The Future of Work is now: are you prepared?

We can’t avoid it anymore. After talking about ‘the future of work’ for the past couple of years, it is finally here. Forced upon is in an unprecedented way, with a speed that none of us could have predicted.

But how ready are you and your employees for the ‘new normal’?

The situation worldwide is changing daily. None of us can really be sure of what the ‘new normal’ will look like yet. But there are a few things that we’ve been made certain of, especially when we consider training and engaging our increasingly remote workforce.

Traditional training and comms is no longer enough

  1. The need for speed: we can no longer afford 3-4 month content creation cycles. We need to get relevant information to our employees instantly, and at scale, especially when this information and regulations are continually changing.
  2. Reducing time away from our roles: face-2-face training and e-learning takes a lot of time to consume and takes our employees away from their roles. We need to streamline training so that it aligns with our busy days and can be digested “on-the-go” in short, effective bursts.
  3. We need to retain this knowledge: When training is concerned with important topics such as the health and welfare of our employees and customers, we need to make sure the knowledge sticks. 80% of the knowledge from traditional training is forgotten after 30 days. Our brains are simply not wired to focus for such a long time and retain so much information at once.
  4. Communicating with remote workforce: we need to reach our remote, sometimes multi-national, workforce quickly and consistently.
  5. It needs to be cost effective: In-person training and e-learning requires dedicated infrastructure, such as classrooms or desktops/laptops. Almost all employees have smartphones, but what about laptops? We often need to rent and maintain this equipment for our employees, which can come at high costs.
  6. Lack of engagement & difficult software: Creating simple, engaging training that can be followed by all employees, with different roles and backgrounds, can be a real challenge with traditional tools. Often those traditional tools are complex, targeted at HQ employees and desktop-focused

So what can we do?

The good news is that our current climate is encouraging us to foster innovation. With regulations changing daily, we have to accept that what may have worked pre-pandemic may no longer work. The future of work is now, and we need to find solutions that match.

One such solution is the inclusion of mobile microlearning, a trend that has been evolving rapidly prior to the pandemic, and is gathering even more relevance now.

By adding mobile microlearning into the mix, we can consume content remotely, intuitively and on demand. We transform the long classroom and e-learning training into bite-sized pieces of content that we can actually remember. We add gamification so that your employees are self-motivated to engage and learn.

If we do this the right way, we can see adoption rates increase to over 90%, engagement numbers which are 4x higher than traditional e-learning, and 50% higher retention rates.

The power of blended learning

But we don’t have to start again from scratch. Traditional training still has benefits, but these benefits are amplified by a blended learning approach that combines existing training with microlearning.

How can we do this?

  • As a standalone learning method for specific topics and user groups that are suited for this, especially non-desk employees who can only be reached on their mobiles.
  • Before in person training or e-learning, or while preparing those in order to make the traditional training more efficient, for example by identifying specific knowledge gaps. This way, we can optimise in person training or e-learning by length or volume.
  • After in-person training or e-learning. Continuous reinforcement significantly increases knowledge retention, and avoids the new information being forgotten soon after lessons.

Mobile microlearning can be adapted to tackle different challenges for different companies, depending on the industry, topic and target audience. Whether used as a standalone solution, or combined with existing programmes in a blended learning approach, we can use this technology to move quickly and ensure our employees are ready for the future of work.

transitions learning industry
L&D Approach, News

4 Transitions that shake up The Learning Industry

Since the moment that countries have gone in (semi-)lockdown due to COVID-19, I have seen many articles been published about how this will change the learning industry. People are forced to search for new ways to transfer knowledge. They discover technology which they didn’t know that existed a few week ago.

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Crisis and opportunities go hand in hand and John F. Kennedy summarized it: “When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

One of the biggest opportunities most likely is to rethink the way we educate our children as well as all people in their journey of continuous learning. Too often we don’t take the time to reflect and jump straight into short term solutions.

I spoke with business leaders of many organizations where currently the L&D departments are working over-time as they need to digitalize their learning offerings at high speed. This results, in many cases, to a solution in which classroom trainings get replaced by live webinars. So yes, we use technology to change the way we transfer knowledge. But, we miss a big opportunity. The opportunity to enhance the old learning experience into a new one. One that is much more engaging for the learner and with much better knowledge retention results.

That’s why I want to highlight 4 transitions in learning (covered by Danny Iny in his great book Leveraged Learning) which will truly disrupt the way we learn and teach:

1. From real-time to semi-synchronous

In the past, we experienced only one format in which the trainee knew perfectly up-front where to be at which time to get a class from a teacher or trainer. Due to the fact that we need much more knowledge than ever before and have less and less time to consume learnings, such traditional training methods are not sufficient anymore.

Nowadays we are familiar with blended learning approaches, although many are still struggling to turn 1 + 1 into 3.

2. From just-in-case to just-in-time

Learning used to be something that you did at the start of your career. But that just doesn’t work any longer in today’s world. It’s so much easier to access information and training when we need it, and conditions change so quickly that things you learned “just-in-case” are more likely to be outdated and irrelevant by the time you actually need them. Lawrence Summers, former president of Harvard University, went on record saying: “I think, increasingly, anything you learn is going to become obsolete within a decade, and so the morst important kind of learning is how to learn.”

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So, if not a mass of education at the start of our careers, then what? The answer is education in smaller increments, spread over our entire lives. The Stanford 2025 project of reimagining the future of education predicts that the current four years during the ages from 18 to 22 will be replaced by six years spread over a lifetime.

This transition to lifelong just-in-time education is underway. But in a context of lifelong learning, taking a full-time semester for skill development is impractical, let alone taking one or more years. So courses are shortened and designed to be done on the side, while the rest of our life continues to go on.

Rohit Bhargava calls it “light-speed learning” in his book Non-Obvious. In his words: “The road to mastery on any topic gets faster through the help of bite-sized learning modules that make education more time efficient, engaging, useful and fun.”

3. From information to transformation

Pure knowledge is fairly easy to absorb. All it takes is a good explanation and possibly a bit of repetition, and you’ve got it. Developing a competence or skill can start with a good explanation and repetition. But there is more needed.

You also need the input and experience of real-world application. You need feedback that tells you whether you’re on the right track or need to correct your course. You need the opportunity to make those adjustments and see the results.

For learning to be truly transformative, then, it has to be customized around the unique strengths and opportunities available to the learner in question. Which has the added benefit of being more engaging to the learner, at a time when just holding a person’s attention is getting harder and harder.

4. From mandatory to voluntarily

During nearly every HR conference there is at least one keynote highlighting the importance of empowering employees to make their own choices in their development. The role of the organizations is rather to create a menu of different learnings and let the learners choose. Also in education there is more and more freedom for students to chose which courses they want to take in which semester and as such to create their personalized curriculum. I tend to agree and disagree with the statements above.

In the early days of offering more freedom to the learners, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) were often created. But over time it became clear that those didn’t seem to work in a majority of the cases. A fair amount of investigation has shown that the completion rate of MOOCs across the board tends to max out at 15%.Why are MOOC completion rates so incredibly low? Do learners not want to learn? Are people fundamentally incapable of following through on ventures they set out to do?

Maybe the reason is a lot easier: perhaps MOOCs just offer too much freedom and choice. One thing is clear. We need a healthy balance between giving freedom and making some aspects of the journey mandatory.

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Sometimes people explain the low learning engagement rates due to the fact that our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. The statistic comes from the misreading of a 2015 study conducted by Microsoft. The study showed that it took about 8.5 seconds for the subjects’ attention to wander from whatever was put in front of them. What is really tells us is that it took 8.5 seconds for the participants’ minds to begin wondering if there might be something more interesting or worthy of their attention.

There are two approaches that course creators can take to overcome this challenge:

  1. Take away some choices: bring back start dates, end dates and deadlines that must be met to remain student/learner in good standing.
  2. Develop courses engaging enough for students to choose them over everything else vying for their attention.

The four transitions described above are all at work as we speak and will fundamentally change the way how we consume and deliver education.

I truly hope that all learning professionals as well as business leaders keep those transitions in mind and turn the current situation in an opportunity to get most out of those. Technology will play a vital role in supporting those transitions and enabling more people than ever in their continuous learning journey.

We will zoom in to each of the transitions in the next coming weeks and highlight how technology will play its role.

Guy Van Neck
Founder & CEO MobieTrain


Large group of people with Ideas
L&D Approach

The power of integration in HR Tech

Who are your employees? From millennial sales associates or remote salesmen to middle management and head office, we’re betting it’s quite a diverse group. Who all need to work, be motivated, trained and compensated in diverse ways.

That is why, when it comes to HR Tech- and technology in general, there is no one-size-fits all solution. For years now, there has been a shift away from the standalone app to an increased emphasis on ecosystems. Communication, connectivity and integration are key. 

If you want to go far, and fast, don’t compete: communicate. 

This is especially important when it comes to learning and employee engagement.

Why reinvent the wheel?

You know your business better than we do. You’ve built your brand, delighted your customers, and engaged your employees long before we have come along. So, if you want to maximise results in this mobile age, and amplify customer experience, don’t reinvent the wheel. Just add another cog. 

What exactly do we mean by that? 

Well, one of our longstanding clients, Azadea Group, already has a tried and tested means of reaching and engaging their employees- their in-house Azadea app. So, when they wanted to supercharge their L&D, we integrated our MobieTrain microlearning platform into their existing mobile app. 

This enabled us to work together to speed up launch, onboarding, communications and ultimately, increase employee engagement. They already knew how to reach their employees. So why re-invent a successful, existing channel?

Long-live the LMS

This may seem like a strange statement for a microlearning company to make. But, we are not looking to replace the traditional LMS, LXP or e-learning systems. We are looking to reinforce the existing knowledge taught by both LMS and classroom trainings, because it is proven that 80% of knowledge from traditional LMS & classroom learning is forgotten after 30 days.

Infact, leading author and L&D expert, Josh Bersin, predicts a new paradigm shift for corporate learning, in which LMS providers have been moving towards integration:

“LMS vendors found it harder to sell their standalone products, so they merged, were acquired, or built out performance management, competency management, and many other HR features.”

He coins this as ‘learning in the flow of work.’ Which is exactly what we are achieving through our microlearning platform, and continue to support through our HR Tech integrations, such as our recent one with SAP. 

Learning in the flow of work 

Through exciting collaborations with other leading HR Tech platforms, including Speakap and Spencer, we now offer workplaces a full suite of learning tools. This combines our existing microlearning and mobile expertise with social learning and communication, to empower employees to learn within their flow of work. And we have many more exciting collaborations in our pipeline. 

There’s no denying it. The future of work lies in collaboration, co-creation and integrating with other successful software, in order to achieve more, faster, together.

So, when you’re considering your next LMS or HR Tech provider, or are looking for an update, be sure to ask how open their infrastructure is and their ability to integrate. You don’t want to be left behind and outside of HR’s rapidly-growing ecosystem.

Vector flat illustration of gamification in business
Employee Engagement, L&D Approach

How to future-proof your business with Gamification

What do you count as success? High profit and turnover? A happy and motivated workforce? A well-known and respected brand?

Of course, any businessman worth their salt knows the importance of offsetting short term wins against longer-term strategy. We don’t want to just be successful this year. We want to build a brand, company and team that will weather the disruptive business climate for the foreseeable future and beyond.

So how does gamification achieve this? Should it be an important part of your internal Learning & Development program? Or is it just hype?

In the first article of our gamification series, we explore the science behind knowledge retention and how your business can build on this to achieve both short and long term goals.

Gamification in the modern workplace

Gamification expert Yu-kai Chou defines gamification as “the craft of deriving fun and engaging elements found typically in games and thoughtfully applying them to real-world or productive activities.”  So how does this apply to your workplace?

Believe it or not, our whole education system is built around gamification, with our grades working as ‘rewards.’ But the real high achievers were not simply driven by external recognition and a parrot-like memory for facts, but a real intrinsic passion to learn.

Move into the modern day workplace, and a lot of similar reward-based mechanisms are used- from salary packages to competitive incentives such as employee of the month schemes, bonuses and team trips. But, as with academia, if all that is motivating you is your salary packet, then there is no brand loyalty and your top employees may jump ship the second a better offer comes along.

So we’re already much more accustomed to gamification then we may realise. Which explains the astronomic rise of business tools and apps that integrate elements of fun and gamification into everyday business tasks.

But are these platforms really using the best scientifically-proven gamification techniques? Or are they just shooting for quick wins and short term goals?

The science of knowledge retention

We all know that the key to business success is motivated and knowledgeable employees and colleagues. They are the essence of your brand and customer experience.

So take a second to think about your current L&D process. Do you still employ traditional training practices such as offsite training days? Do you have an online system that encourages training via your intranet? Or have you gone digital and embraced the mobile-learning platforms available?

Whichever system you adopt, take a step back to think about how successfully your employees are retaining their training and onboarding knowledge. Are they motivated themselves to continual learning and improvement, or are they simply competing for more rewards, recognition and incentives?

According to gamification experts Scott Nicholson and Yu-kai Chou, reward-based training and gamification only works when focusing on short term goals. When focusing on long term goals, however, they recommend not just focusing on rewards to avoid the risk that the reward itself becomes the main goal, instead of wanting to learn and improve.

Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation

This is what is known as intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation. In order to successfully retain knowledge in the longer term, while also meeting short term goals, you need to carefully combine elements of the two.

External motivators such as rewards, incentives and leaderboards get employees off the starting block and inspire them to start training at a faster pace than they perhaps otherwise would. However, this needs to be combined with intrinsic motivation techniques that inspire them to continue learning and developing towards their own goals and not just for external recognition.

THIS is the key to successful gamification in the workplace, and a happy and motivated team that is dedicated to continual learning and meeting both short and longer term targets.

So how do you put this into force in your workplace? Where do you start, and how does gamification successfully come into this?

This is what we delve into in our next article, an essential read for any business looking to improve their short and longer term strategy.

future of L&D microlearning mobile learning
L&D Approach, Thought Leadership

The future of Learning & Development

Many organisations struggle to implement new hypes in learning development such as Social, Lean, 70-20-10, Blended or Flip learning. What to choose? Where to start? What is the cost of change? Is your organisation’s culture ready?

I have written blogs before on those different ideas that all involve learner empowerment, social tools and their impact on culture. This time I’d like to go back to one of my blogs on communication and collaboration tools used in organisations in order to answer those questions.

“Due to globalisation and corporate conversations evolving from top down broadcasting to collaborative multi-way inclusion, the need for platforms has grown. Employees become engaged in a new social thinking strategy to create a sustainable climate for personal and corporate growth.”

So how does this affect your organisations structure? What is the role of Human Resource, Learning and Development, Communication and IT? Can they still survive in their bunkered silos?

Social HR and Business Integration

The role of L&D is changing rapidly. But how can you change a department that is seen as a cost without a clear view on the positive effect this will have on balance sheets, competitive edge or an attractive company culture?

In his book ‘Socialized’, Mark Fidelman elaborates on the importance of culture and a “Digital Village”:

“The purpose of creating an internal social business is to help employees, customers, and suppliers collaborate, share and organize information“ – Mark Fidelman

Many successful businesses understand that the power of an organisation is in it’s human capital, creating an innovative culture powered by systems to support it. According to a study from McKinsey, these are the values of creating an internal Social Office

– 20% increase in customer satisfaction
– 20% of time it takes to bring products to market
– 30% cost reduction in talent management
– 30% reduction in the time it takes to find knowledge experts

Instead of trying to solve the puzzle of how to reorganise the L&D department, we should break down the walls between corporate departments and integrate Communication, L&D and HR into one social department powered by a strong ICT infrastructure.

Technology as a strategic driver of lean learning development

Let’s assume that an organisation wants to become a social enterprise, is ready for level 5 collaboration and ready to bridge their internal knowledge gaps. Thereby taking advantage of the collective expertise from their human capital and the extended community with partners, customers and even competitors. Those organisations understand that information needs to FLOW in the ecosystem as a critical factor for organisational processes and performance outcomes.

So why would we merge departments and how does that lead to Lean Learning Development- that is ”Eliminating all waste that is not adding value to the learner?”.

Take the test in your own organisation. Who is responsible for transferring news? Probably the communication/marketing department is sending and receiving relevant news to keep the business going. Maybe you even have a conversation manager or listening manager sharing the news over your Enterprise Social Network (ESN)?

So who is responsible for communicating learning to you and how do they do that? Perhaps it is your Learning Manager sending relevant learning material to you or pointing it out in the LMS? Or maybe you already have a social LMS with some social features for communication and social learning.

Let me ask, what is continuous learning and what if you don’t get all the relevant updates from your peers, partners and customers? Would you be able to perform your job in 5 years from now?

It is estimated that in Western Countries 75% of employees are knowledge workers relying on accurate information for successful performance. Therefore we can’t risk that relevant information is lost in noise or that learning content is not relevant to the receiver. News and learner content both depend on personalised and accurate information, fast transfer, easy search options and a safe environment.

Using social networks that are implemented company wide, without the barriers of old departmental authorities, are not only lean but they empower employees to take their own personal development in hand and thereby lift the organisation and its ecosystem to higher levels of performance.

The social office and the role for L&D

Coming back to the title of this blog. What can we do to secure our organisation for a sharing and learning culture ready to take the competitive advantage?

L&D professionals should be more social focused and understand the requirements and moments of need lean learners have. They should be aware of the danger of information overload and take advantage of people-centred performance management systems and learning eco-systems.

Reach out to colleagues from Communication, break down the departmental silo’s and build together a strong internal Social Office with ICT support.

“Capital is only one key resource of an organisation and is by no means the scarcest one. The scarcest resource in any organisation is performing people” – Peter Drucker

(This blog post was contributed by Katja Schipperheijn on our board of advisors)