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A forum for research, evaluation, and considered comment on online training techniques that cause real behavioural change in organisations. For details on SkillGate's latest courses news please see [Infinity].





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EmbEd - The 'Holy Grail' of online training

Introduction

For almost 21 years SkillGate has been building online training courses for professional development. We have trained millions of delegates. Throughout this time we, like all our competitors, have been searching for what we call the 'Holy Grail'.


What is the 'Holy Grail'? It is delivering online learning that delegates ‘lap up’. i.e delivering training in a way that really works for delegates.


Today most people do not lap up online training. Completion rates in the industry as a whole are low; delegates typically complain that it is slow and boring and, despite the promise of individualised training, it is often offered as a generic 'one size fits all' - tick box - slide shows.


Why is this? Most training is designed for the company directors not its delegates. So long as the boxes are ticked the directors can sleep at night. There is nothing wrong with this – but the Holy Grail means training that works for delegate and director.


Some online learning already works well. Youtube videos and Wikipedia have proven to be popular ways of finding ‘just in time’ learning. Cockpit simulators are used to train pilots. We ourselves have many clients who achieve over 99% completion rates on their mandatory courses.


But online self-development training does not work well. We are looking for something more. We are looking to use better online techniques to embed behavioural activity in a way that makes our delegates better at what they do.

EmbEd Programmes

We are excited by the potential of EmbEd programmes. This new type of training delivery is unique, but it has been created by amalgamating a series of tried and tested existing methods. EmbEd is unique because it works in 4 dimensions:

What is an EmbEd programme? 

EmbEd programmes are simply short relevant, interactive ‘lessons’ delivered via email on an occasional basis to a delegate over a period of time (weeks or months). The lessons are interspersed with mandatory tests, exercises or assessments. The results of these are monitored by management (and or training admin). Intelligence at a macro and individual level is returned in the form of risk management reports.

Relevant 

  • Each lesson is a short exercise that is supported by further study where appropriate. Delegates can choose what and how deeply to study (given that they will tested at some point).
  • Lessons can be easily tailored to include items, case studies, policies etc relevant to a company.


Convenient

  • Delivered in daily lessons at a speed determined by the author and the delegate.
  • Exercises are short so that delegates can study easily.
  • Programmes are sent to delegates via email and can be completed on mobile and desktop devices.


Motivational

  • The best motivators are other people, in a corporate context this means managers. Managers have instant access to progress data for each delegate. Mandatory course results are provided via the Traffic Light system – leading to high completion rates.
  • Other reward systems such as CPD points and badges are also included as standard


Intelligent

  • Programme progress is visualised via the My Plan diary system. This makes it simple for delegates to view progress, re-visit each element, and for manages to review performance at any stage.
  • Intelligence is available via the Intelligence reports provided as standard.


An Example – Cyber Awareness EmbEd programme

SkillGate’s Cyber awareness programme consists of 24 short daily ‘lessons’ scheduled to be delivered over 3.5 months (approx. 1.5 per week on average).
It comprises:

  • 24 daily lessons including case studies and exercises
  • 2 ‘attitudes’ surveys
  • 6 online tutorials
  • 4 mandatory elements (reported to line managers via Traffic Light)
  • 1 phishing attack & 1 false website exercise


Key benefits:


Instead of having a single 30 minute ‘one size fits all’ course, this EmbEd programme embeds learning over a 15week period. Lessons are short and optional (apart from the mandatory elements,  which could test the delegate’s understanding on any of the previous elements).
The generic programme (supplied by SkillGate) is easily editable to incorporate company specific elements (e.g. policy documents) or time scales.
4 mandatory elements keep delegates focussed and compliance is reported to their line managers via the traffic light report.
At the end, in addition to an effective training programme, training administrators receive a risk analysis that highlights how their delegate performed, what their attitudes are and if they have changed, and a comparison of the statistics with similar organisations elsewhere.

Why does it matter?

I recently spent 20 minutes clicking through a 'Slips and Trips' course (It was impossible to cheat). It was a well-produced course. I passed the test but - I don't think I learnt anything from it, and I would be very reluctant to do it again – ever!
Frankly, I think I already knew all the content. I suppose it did provide a reminder to me to look out for risks – but a poster on the wall would have had a better effect and been a lot less expensive. Of course, our directors would not have known that I had seen a poster. 


I gave the course to one of our office juniors who had not done a similar course before, and he found it ‘quite useful’.


The problem is that 25 minute courses are expensive and generic. 
1. they often cost a lot to produce because buyers believe better production values mean better completion rates (which generally they don't)
2. companies find it hard to identify and direct the right online training to the right people, so they use a ‘one size fits all’ blanket to cover everyone.


The result is that this type of course drives delegates ‘up the wall’ and they tar all eLearning with the same brush – and this is not something we as educators should be encouraging.


For the same cost, EmbEd courses allow different people to learn to a depth appropriate to them, and prove their knowledge via the mandatory elements. EmbEd, programmes are also more convenient, more relevant and more efficient at sustaining learning.


Another problem with traditional training courses is that they normally only ‘train’. They don’t gather intelligence for risk assessment. Intelligence gathering is built into EmbEd courses. 


For example, you could ask a delegate if they have completed a risk assessment for Slips and Trips (you can add Further Study on how to write a risk assessment if you wish). By comparing the answers provided against job roles, administrators can create a risk assessment profile for an organisation from your training course.


Armed with the risk assessment, you can build algorithms to work out what and to whom you should target your next training development activity.

How does EmbEd fit in with SkillGate’s portfolio of products?

EmbEd fully integrates with all SkillGate products:

  • My Plan (v9) in the LMS allows delegates and managers the transparency to see what is happening with their EmbEd programmes (view past elements and schedule future courses).
  • The mandatory elements link into Traffic Light automatically.
  • WhizzAuthor makes it simple for authors to create new programmes from the huge library of existing learning objects in the Infinity Library or edit existing EmbEd programmes to include custom elements.
  • Coach! and BookaCourse can add ‘sign-off’ and ‘face to face’ elements to the whole EmbEd programme if required.
  • Perform allows managers to select EmbEd programmes for delegates as solutions to perceived development needs.
  • And finally, Enterprise allows training managers to quickly target delegates strategically and analyse activity and build algorithms to enhance delivery, based on the intelligence gathered.
     


Editor



If you would like to discuss any of these issues with SkillGate, or contribute any articles or white papers, please call 01730 815670 or email enquiries @skillgate.com.

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