Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hands-On #5: Are You Ready for Micro-Learning Jobs? Check Out Your Skills

The push for Micro-Learning has established a firm footing among companies, consultants, suppliers and vendors. In the process they have began recognizing that Micro-Learning jobs are actually needed now and the talent supply is scarce.

A certain number of these jobs are being done now. However, many new skills are required to hone the necessary craft. How do you pivot to acclimatize and adapt to these new jobs? What path should you follow? How do you know you've arrived?

Download the PDF on "Micro-Learning Emerging Job Functions"

The "Micro-Learning Emerging Job Functions" article covers the following below. Check out the details.
  • WorkFlow Consultant
  • "River of News" Writer
  • eCosystems Architect
  • Trust Manager
  • Mobile Creator




Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Friday, May 19, 2017

Micro-Learning Leads to Rapid Skill Acquisition - Tip #134



Do we have a skills crisis? Some economists and academics reject the idea of a skills crisis, but survey findings say otherwise.

We Have a Skills Gap

Most (or 61% of) employees who responded to this Udemy survey think there is a skills gap; 54% report that they lack needed knowledge to do their current jobs.

And this isn’t all in the employees’ imagination; HR and C-suite execs think so too. A survey of the Career Advisory Board found that nearly 60% of respondents said that interviewees for tech roles lack the necessary skills.

It’s important to acknowledge these findings because skills gap can manifest as concrete consequences. For managers, skills gap can impact productivity and customer satisfaction, while workers who lack the necessary skills are afraid of possibly being displaced.

Quickly Learn New Skills Through Micro-Learning

To survive in a technology-driven environment, workers must learn new skills quickly and efficiently. They need to be able to fix and change things fast by looking for answers and solutions from their own experiences, working with others, through formal and informal sources of knowledge, and tools.
4 Strategies to Acquire New Skills Fast


How long does it take someone to learn a new skill? Josh Kaufman says it only takes 20 hours (45 minutes in a day for a month), not 10,000 hours. Below are 4 strategies to learn new skills fast.

Fix it, change it
What skills do workers need to learn? Why do they need to learn these new skills?
To fix and change things, learners need to break down the skill that is needed to be learned into sub-skills or smaller units. This makes it easily digestible. Learning in small chunks and inter-spaces makes learning easier, faster, and more memorable.

Solutions
Where can learners find solutions? How do they find the answers? Here are a couple of ideas:

Learn by connections
Let learners connect the unfamiliar with the familiar by using metaphors. As Brian Clark said: “Metaphors allow you to make the complex simple and the controversial palatable.” A complex idea becomes not only comprehensible but also memorable.

Get the right help
Someone who wants to learn how to create graphics would most probably do some research by reading books, watching YouTube videos or asking a demonstration from a friend who knows how.

Standards
Now that workers understand the problem and have several options on how to fix it, it’s time to let them focus on the standards that will guide them through the change process. What action or solution requires the least effort, is the easiest, fastest, quickest to apply and the most useful?

Then, break down any barriers and allow them to focus on doing what they need to learn. Give them enough time to practice deliberately.

Results
Lastly, give learners time to reflect. Let them ask themselves: “What results have I accomplished so far? Did these add any value?” When we allow learners to reflect, we give them time to absorb information and to allow that information to stick to their memories.

Conclusion

To stay afloat in a rapidly evolving technology-driven environment, we need to recognize gaps and see them as opportunities for workers to learn new skills. Applying micro-learning principles is an effective way of achieving this goal.

References

James Bessen. Workers Don’t Have the Skills They Need - and They Know It. Harvard Business Review. September 17, 2014
The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte. The skills gap in U.S. manufacturing: 2015 and beyond. 2015
Victoria Turk. How to learn a new skill in 20 hours. Wired. December 23, 2013



Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hands-On #4: Download your Micro-Learning Flashcards Demo Source Files

In the context of Micro-Learning, instant learning happens. Remember your parents or grade school teacher flashing cards and instantly asking you the right answer? I love this a lot in route learning - 10 x  5 (card one), then the back of the card shows the correct answer 50.

Flashcards work well in Micro-Learning in the memorization of basic key ideas. Although it serves its purpose for building recall and memory, it does nothing for the worker when solving a problem.

The biggest benefit of Micro-Learning Flashcards is in the fundamental format of making a small bite of idea or concept repeatedly memorized.

Download the source files for the FlashCards

Preview two examples of Flashcards. Then download the Storyline source file. You can own the files for your in-house reference.




Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Hands-On #3: Download Your Copy of the Micro-Learning Chatbot (Emulation)

The worlds of Learning Machines and Deep Learning are now vocabularies borrowed from the cognitive sciences and now applied in technology. IBM touts its Watson to be a learning machine capable of deep learning and more capabilities. Amazon's Alexa promises the same Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations. Iphone has SIRI as an advance learning machine. There are many more illustrations.

From a learning view, we all wonder how this really works. Click here to view a SIMULATED CHATBOT - Talk with Tobias.

Why are chatbots micro-learning tools?

When trying to solve problems or finding solutions or just following one's curiosity, workers can dive into historical data or scenarios. In the backend, the chatbots are powered by tremendous volume of data which are organized, stored and then served to the worker when he/she is in the inquiry mode. Talk with Tobias is an emulation. We developed this to share with you what a chatbot might look like and how it behaves.
A conversation keeps context

Large systems like IBM's Watson and Amazon's Alexa try to mimic people's experiences like conversations. This is pretty similar to what SIRI says - "How can I help you?" or "I can't understand your question."

Talk with Tobias is our own illustration. Of course, this is very short because it is only an emulation.
Download you copy of Talk with Tobias





Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Hands-On #2: Download Your Copy of the Story Development Template

When I saw the videos from the University of Western Florida, I thought the way they do "Mistory" is fascinating. The videos educate while entertaining the viewers and learners. Please see the website with several videos.

This hands-on guide is a template that you can use to study and prepare story structures for your videos. For this exercise I took the Lions in the Water: the Impact of the Environment on the Gulf video. In the YouTube version you can see the Transcript which I included with time markers in the explanations.

Watch the video while you also check out the Lionfish PDF large format (11x17 page.) In the PDF layout I also added some comments on key ideas to help you write your proposed script for your project.
Download the Lionfish PDF file and have fun with your learning.

Let me know of your thoughts.




Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Hands-On #1: Technique on Combining Factual Content with Stories

How do you make sure that when using stories in your lesson, you still drill down to the details of the content?

One of the most challenging tasks in Story-Based Learning Design is combining facts within the story.

This WOW series explains an actual demo on a technical production content and how characters have a conversation.

Video by Ray to explain the demo

Demo is Downtime

Key ideas to remember:
  1. Use an event with characters having conversations.
  2. Discuss the factual content, like statistics and data, that are relevant to the story.
  3. Never insert a fact if it is not within the context of the story.
  4. Add more facts as references to support the information used within the story.

See related Tips:




Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Are You Breaking Learners’ Trust? - Tip #133

Trust is a basic instinct. We are born with a propensity for it. Even 18-month-old children know who they can or can’t trust. When we trust someone, we are willing to take risks. Even if we aren’t good swimmers, we’re willing to dive from a cliff into the sea with someone we trust.

Why is Trust Important?

Trust is the essence of relationships which in turn define the essence of success.

As educators, it is very important that we ask the questions: Do learners trust us? Are they not skeptical about our lessons?

Learners’ trust is essential because “If they don’t trust you, your ideas are just dead in the water”.

Trust and eLearning

In elearning, it is assumed that content is accurate. However, many learners who are burned out by lecture-type and meaningless lessons become skeptical.

In a meta-analysis of 225 studies of undergraduate STEM teaching methods, Freeman and colleagues concluded that teaching approaches which engaged learners as active participants rather than passive listeners “reduced failure rates and boosted scores on exams by almost one-half a standard deviation.”

Learners are also critical of content that is unexciting, difficult to understand or irrelevant and meaningless.

The skepticism may not be apparent, but it is manifested in their lack of enthusiasm and interest, and an unwillingness to push further to find answers; instead, they are in a hurry to complete the lessons.

As learning professionals, we have a contract with our learners. We want to help them be better at what they do.

How Do We Build Trust?

Be honest, sincere and caring

When we are honest, we gain credibility and integrity. When we are genuinely sincere, we do what we promise to do.

“Do they care about me?”

When you truly care for somebody, you put your ego aside and focus on the other person. According to Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years spent trying to get people interested in you.”


Entrust
In a learning environment—and in fact, any relationship—there needs to be a two-way trust. Learners trust learning professionals to share with them something valuable and useful. On the other hand, learning professionals entrust their learners to absorb the lessons and bring their learning back to their workplace to improve themselves and their work.

Entrusting employees could mean making them feel free to disagree with others and learning from mistakes, as well as an assurance that they would not be punished for failure. This creates an environment where learners are engaged. This makes them feel empowered and motivated to learn and ask questions.

UX UI

In the digital world, where security breaches are common, it is important to create designs and interfaces that can be trusted by users. They should be clear, transparent, credible, understandable and easy to use.

A survey of 1,358 consumers found that trust eroded when designs do not offer services relevant to their needs.

Tribes

Humans have a fundamentally tribal nature. In the past, tribal communities were held together by kinship and shared history. Today, a tribe’s critical bond goes beyond biology, demography or faith.

Because of a shared interest or purpose, tribe members find it easier to trust each other than individuals or groups outside the tribe. For instance, parents will trust advice from other parents more than they would accept suggestions from their single workmate.

Conclusion

Trust is vital in the learning process. It is therefore imperative that as learning professionals we build learners’ perception of our trustworthiness.

References

Amy Cuddy. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. Huffington Post. Updated March 13, 2013
Dale Carnegie. How to Build Trust and Relationships. Learning Heroes. December 12, 2014
Charles H. Green. The Trusted Advisor. Touchstone. October 9, 2011
Bruce Beairsto and Pekka Ruohotie. Empowering Professionals as Lifelong Learners. Professional learning and leadership. 2003
Carrie Cousins. How to Create a UI That Users Can Trustk. Design Shack. April 18, 2016
Ilana Westerman. Designing to Build Trust. UX Magazine. October 31, 2012
Joel Kotkin. Tribes and Trust. Forbes. July 21, 2010




Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Thursday, May 4, 2017

“Keep This A Secret...” - Tip #132



What happens when you tell someone to keep a secret?

“Okay I'll tell you something, but keep it a secret.”

They will likely tell someone else who will tell other people as well.

This is because our minds want to fill in certain a gaps.

In lesson development, we want to pique learners' curiosity. Why?

Curiosity is an inherent “passion for learning,” as the brilliant Roman lawyer Cicero once said. When this passion for learning is roused, brain activities take place that prepare us to learn. Activities in the hippocampus, which is involved in memories, also increase. These were findings of researchers at the University of California.

So, how can we excite this innate capacity to wonder? Think of the artichoke analogy. We need to peel off the layers of the artichoke to get to the heart.

How To Do This

Ask reflection questions

Reflection questions provoke learners to examine their experiences and values. Allow learners to fill in the gap from their own memories. Asking reflection questions is getting to the heart.

After the controversial 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, some discussion questions were raised. Three of these questions were:
  • If you were a guard, what type of guard would you have become? How sure are you?
  • What prevented "good guards" from objecting or countermanding the orders from tough or bad guards?
  • If you were a prisoner, would you have been able to endure the experience? What would you have done differently than those subjects did? If you were imprisoned in a "real" prison for five years or more, could you take it?
When asked these questions, learners begin to wonder, reflect, and look deeper into their hearts. When they do, they ask more questions and learn more.

Differentiate expectations from reality

Every day we perceive patterns around us. Based on these perceptions, we make assumptions and expectations. Our brains automatically translates our perceptions into a model of reality. When we observe similar patterns, we tend to connect dots and expect to reach the same results. If something breaks that pattern, we become curious.

A lab technician has successfully done hundreds of similar tests using the same method and gets the same results. He does a similar test, expects the same result but turns out to be different. He begins to wonder and mentally replays over and over again the sequence of events.

Definitive answer vs. preview

Giving definitive answers is pushing learners to a dead end. Inquiry comes a standstill. Show learners a preview instead. It stimulates the person's mind to anticipate.

“I wonder what would happen in the end?”

This is why movie trailers work.

When using a story ending, the character (Peter) can say “I realize my error and I learned that….”

Then you can write a preview: "In the next lesson, see how Peter made the mistake which almost cost his life….” Works just like teasers of soap operas or your favorite TV show.

Conclusion

We are innately curious. Consistently, we ask probing questions, validate our impressions and avoid definitive answers to  nourish our sense of wonder.

References

Daisy Yuhas. Curiosity prepares the brain for learning. Scientific American. October 2, 2014
Philip Zimbardo. Discussions questions. Stanford Prison Experiment
Paul King. Is perception reality?. Quora. July 27. 2015
Shraddha Chakradhar. The case for curiosity. Harvard Medical School. August 10, 2012




Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Is Your Lesson Like the Sinking Titanic? - Tip #131

Are we still capable of human wisdom? “But of course!” Most of us will probably give such an emphatic answer. But scientists fear that in an increasingly digital environment, our capacity for “human wisdom—empathy, compassion, altruism, tolerance and emotional stability” is in great peril. We are colliding with an overload of data that is forming into an iceberg. If we don’t do something about it, we could sink like the Titanic.

As knowledge experts, how can we help learners navigate through the flood of information? How can we help learners cut through blocks of statistical information in intellectually and emotionally engaging ways?

Ideas to Try

Start with a short conclusion

Give learners what they need to learn or start with shocking statistics. Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., cited an example of how a vice president of sales for America’s leading healthcare IT company starts her presentations:
The said vice president of sales is known to have successfully sold software solutions to hospitals.

Map the data
Image courtesy of MFA+T Bootcamp 2012


Mapping data enables learners to look beyond the numbers and statistics. Because good data visualization tells a story, the learners are able to understand the enlightening message conveyed (Waisberg).

Visualize the data using a metaphor
We can think of data flowing in one direction like streams. While this approach allows us to access information quickly, pulling out the most valuable insights can be difficult because of the rapid flow of streams.

Or we can present data as sunbursts exploding in different directions. Sunbursts show data in hierarchical order. These may not be apropos for making comparisons of elements of precise size but they allow learners to identify notable segments of a complex, multi-layered hierarchy to guide further action.

We can also present data as a traveling timeline.

Click here for the enlarged view.


Stories Simplify Large Data

Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, so data also tells a story. But because data is information that is “raw” or unorganized, educators need to analyze and make sense of data first before presenting it to learners.

How can we simplify data? Here are some suggestions:

  • Extract patterns in data
  • Convey the meaning and significance of these patterns in the form of a compelling story
  • Weave data and narrative so that it is tailored to learners
  • Consider your learners: Tell the right story and ask the right set of questions
We must remember that humans are naturally inclined to consume stories, not data. So simplifying data and incorporating it in a story that people/learners can relate to, would help learners assimilate information faster. A compelling story based on or supported by data would help learners gain actionable insights.

Take a look at this example. What insights can you gather? What’s the story behind the data?
Credit: Podio

Click here for the enlarged view.

Conclusion

Knowledge experts can prevent learners from drowning in the deluge of data by helping them see the meaningful and valuable message in numbers and statistics. We may have only several seconds to captivate their attention. Shocking statistics and interactive, well-designed and understandable data visualization are some of the effective approaches.

References

John Naish. Warning: brain overload. The Times. June 9, 2009
Jacquelyn Smith, Business Insider. 7 excellent ways to start a presentation and capture your audience’s attention. Financial Post. July 7, 2014
Daniel Waisberg. Tell a meaningful story with data. Think with Google. March 2014
Lisa Morgan. Data Storytelling: What It Is, Why It Matters. InformationWeek. May 30, 2016




Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Friday, April 21, 2017

What We Learned from the United Airlines Incident - Tip #130

Sad things happened to some people, a United Airline passenger and its employees and management. This breaks my heart and makes me sad.
Trainers and leaders are supposedly guardians of right or wrong behaviors. We are messengers and caretakers of what people ought to do. Yet somehow, in the United Airlines incident, we the guardians and caretakers allow incidents like this to slip into the cracks.

I am of course being too harsh on ourselves. However, think about how these incidents do happen in our midst in some form or another, small or big.

Time for Candor

Let’s not hide from the ugly truths of errors and mistakes our learners are exposed to or likely to make. Our trainings are usually sanitized, spic and span and do not the show dirt and ugliness of blunders. In real life, we ought to confront lapses head-on and not shy away from them.

I just read Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott.
Kim Scott says, we are too politically correct and we tiptoe on giving observations. We end up not giving truthful feedback when needed.

Click on the image to play the video.

War of Stories

Values and cultural beliefs are powerful igniters of right or wrong behaviors. If the environment encourages intimidation or compassion, employees take this as a signal for the boundaries of behaviors.
We are constantly under threat. Our investments in training and learning cannot win against cultures that are counter to what we teach.

I recall a story on Values.com. This is a video on Civility.

United Airlines “Incident” Videos as Viral Learning 

I’m almost done reading “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger. The stories that became so viral from the United Airlines incident are phenomenal, but expected. There were multiple people in the plane taking videos. They retold and passed around (virally) their own stories.
We, as trainers and learning professionals would prefer “a best practice – someone doing the right thing” video to be viral. Yet, we know people are attracted to incidents. This is not because we are negative or want to gossip, but because the United Airlines incident hit us in our hearts and minds – the incident moved us. We cannot help but empathize with the passenger, employees and leaders of United Airlines.

Conclusion

I am truly sad. Yet, deep in my heart I know that these incidents make better people out of us. Remember the BP Horizon explosion and Volkswagen tampering anti-pollution software in thousands of cars? These are stories that we will not forget so soon.
Please share your thoughts. Post a comment.
Contact Ray for a 45-minute webinar for your LT&D professionals and leaders – complimentary.
I want to share with you how the likes of United Airlines can serve as a good lesson.

References

Radical Candor - Improve your in person, impromptu feedback | Candor, Inc.




Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"