Corporate Training’s $70+ Billion Dirty Secret


According to analyst Josh Bersin, US companies spent well over $70 Billion for employee training in 2013. Analysts predict that amount is will be significantly greater in 2015.

These are the kinds of statistics one might expect C-suite executives to pay attention to. So it’s odd that they seem not to be paying much attention to the ROI for corporate training.

It’s abysmal.

PHOTO elephant in room

Leading experts have studied the subject at length; the statistics they provide differ. Some say there are too many variables to allow for “one-size-fits-all” statements about how much training is retained, and how quickly it is forgotten. They note the  variety of training goals and audiences receiving the training, as well as differences in training delivery methods.

Having said this, there is general agreement among experts in the field that that corporate training’s success rate is, shall I say, “poor.”

One of these experts is Dr. Art Kohn, who has done a great deal of work on “the forgetting curve” and its effect on training retention. He’s also the recipient of not one but two Fulbright Fellowships for work in Cognitive Psychology and Educational Technology. In a recent article in Learning Solutions, he wrote the following:

It is the dirty secret of corporate training: no matter how much you invest into training and development, nearly everything you teach to your employees will be forgotten…this investment is like pumping gas into a car that has a hole in the tank. All of your hard work simply drains away.

The fact is that this “dirty secret” is really not secret at all.

The research and resulting articles about this have been out there for years. Yet there’s not much evidence that corporae executives are acting upon it, despite its its obvious and critical importance to the bottom line.

Bersin’s research also shows an explosive growth in technology-driven training, including self-authored video, online communication channels, virtual learning, and MOOCs. Worldwide, formal classroom education, now accounts for less than half the total training “hours.”

According to Bersin, mobile devices are now used to deliver as much as 18% of all training among what he calls “highly advanced companies.”

Does this mean that employees are using their iPads to access Udemy courses? If so, is there a significant difference in retention rate for employees who have information presented by a live trainer while sitting in a room with 20 fellow workers… versus those who receive it on mobile phone the subway on the way home at night… compared to someone being trained via  iPad while sitting in the living room after the kids have been put to bed?

We won’t have statistics to provide answers to those questions for some time.

But corporations should be watching closely to see if new methods of delivering training result in a dramatic increase in retention among employees once they’re on the job — because if Kohn is right, even achieving a whopping 400% increase in retention will mean that after just one week, the average employee will still be retaining only about half of what is needed on-the-job.

That’s hardly a stunning success rate.

Research has made it abundantly clear that the basic premise that drives corporate training is fatally flawed.

It’s abundantly clear that the training corporations are currently providing to their employees  is not succeeding in providing them with the information they need to do their jobs properly the first time. So why does corporate America keep throwing good money after bad, trying to find a “patch” or download an “updated version”?

It’s as if a purple elephant with pink toenails is standing next to the coffee table and corporations are only willing to acknowledge that there’s an “unusual scent in the air.”

My next blog will give more compelling facts to show why a major change in corporate training is needed.

Food for Taught


Schoolteachers should have to pass a stringent exam – much like the bar exam for lawyers – before being allowed to enter the profession, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions said Monday.

This headline was from a recent news story about a proposal from the American Federation of Teachers calling for a new written test and stricter entrance requirements for teacher training programs.

“The proposal, released Monday as part of a broader report on elevating the teaching profession, calls for a new test to be developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The nonprofit group currently administers the National Board Certification program, an advanced, voluntary teaching credential that goes beyond state standards.

There is no single, national standard for teacher certification, although the federal government does ask states to meet certain criteria to be eligible for federal funding.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan commended the proposal, describing it as part of a broader push to raise the bar for teachers and enable schools to predict a teacher’s potential for success in the classroom.”

I read the story (link here) and sat backing wondering how many classroom teachers I had in the last 3 years. The answer? None. 37 courses, classes and webinars and all my teachers have been online. The classes were online, the study materials were online, the students were all online and the teachers were online.

I take notes every time I take an online course and have the habit of grading the teacher.

Here’s a graph of the grades:

Image

So I began to think that my online teachers were every bit as important to my learning as my classroom teachers yet there was no certification programs or advanced credentialing that I knew of and that might have saved me from experiencing some of the worst teaching I have ever experienced,

Now I know I’m not a voice crying out in the elearning wilderness since every person I know who has taken an online program gives very few of the teachers a A grade and most get a sub par D or F. Why? Why is online teaching not considered as professional and as important as onground in class teaching?

Just wondering if anyone out there had the same idea? Maybe it’s time for some real online teacher certification. Thoughts?

121 Blogs About Learning


Here’s my daily reading list from which I pick and chose every day. The represent the best minds in the area of learning and learning technology. Enjoy!

Aaron Silvers

Adventures in Corporate Education

aLearning

Allison Rossett

Assets

B Online Learning

Blogger in Middle-earth

Bottom-Line Performance

Bozarthzone

brave new org

Brian Dusablon

Challenge to Learn

Clark Quinn

Clive on Learning

Connect Thinking

Courseware Development

Daretoshare

Dawn of Learning

Designed for Learning

Designing Impact

Developer on Duty

Discovery Through eLearning

Dont Waste Your Time

e-bites

e-Learning Academy

E-Learning Provocateur

E-learning Uncovered

easygenerator

eCampus Blog

eLearning 24-7

eLearning Acupuncture

eLearning Blender

eLearning Brothers

eLearning Cyclops

eLearning TV

Electronic Papyrus

Element K Blog

Engaged Learning

Enspire Learning

Experiencing eLearning

Getting Down to Business

Good To Great

I Came, I Saw, I Learned

ICS Learning Group

ID Reflections

IDiot

Ignatia Webs

In the Middle of the Curve

Integrated Learnings

Interactyx Social Learning

Jay Cross

Jay Cross’s Informal Learning

Joitske Hulsebosch eLearning

Jonathan’s ID

Kapp Notes

KnowledgeStar

Lars is Learning

Latitude Learning Blog

Learn and Lead

Learnability Matters

Learnadoodledastic

Learnforever

Learning and Technology

Learning Cafe

Learning Conversations

Learning Developments

Learning in a Sandbox

Learning Journeys

Learning Next

Learning Putty

Learning Rocks

Learning Technology Learning

Learning Unbound Blog

Learning Visions

LearnNuggets

Leveraging Learning

Living in Learning

Managing eLearning

mLearning Trends

Moodle Journal

onehundredfortywords

Ontuitive

OutStart Knowledge Solutions

Performance Learning Productivity

Pragmatic eLearning

QuickThoughts

Rapid Intake

Redtray

Road to Learning

Rob Hubbard

SharePoint and Assessment

Simply Speaking

Skilful Minds

Social Enterprise Blog

Social Learning Blog

Spark Your Interest

Speak Out

Spicy Learning

Sticky Learning

Stoatly Different

Sudden Insight

Take an e-Learning Break

Tayloring it

The E-Learning Curve

The eLearning Coach

The Learned Man

The Learning Circuits Blog

The Learning Generalist

The Peformance Improvement Blog

The Writers Gateway

Thinking Cloud

Tony Karrer

Trina Rimmer

Twitterpated with Learning

Upside Learning Blog

Vikas Joshi on Interactive Learning

Web 2.0 and Learning

Wonderful Brain

Work 2.0 Blog

ZaidLearn

¿Su LMS habla español?






Why build a Spanish LMS?

First, more and more of the schools with whom I’ve spoken this past year, individually and at conferences and meetings, have told me they need one and need one now. So I did some research and that brings us to the second point. The surprising facts: 

Spanish is spoken by almost 400 million people worldwide. Even more compelling, when you realize that about half of the population in the Western Hemisphere speaks Spanish, it becomes the primary language for as many people as English in this region of the world.

Within the United States, Spanish is the second most widely spoken language after English, by a very wide margin, and the Spanish-speaking population within the U.S. is growing as a percentage of the total U.S. population every year.

· According to the U.S. Census, the number of Hispanics in the U.S. grew by 57.9% between 1990 and 2000 – from a total of 22.4 million people to a total of 35.3 million people. This figure means the United States has the fifth largest Hispanic population worldwide (trailing Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Argentina – just barely behind Spain and Argentina).

· Of this group of over 35 million people, well over 3 out of 4 say that Spanish is their primary language.

· Within the United States, a total of over 28 million people speak Spanish at some degree of fluency. A few states have a large percentage of these Spanish speakers – California has 5.5 million, Texas has 3.4 million, New York has 1.8 million, and Florida has 1.5 million.

· In the U.S., the 28 million people who speak Spanish at home is well over half of the approximately 47 million people who speak a language other than English at home. That means that Spanish is spoken by more people than all other languages combined within the U.S.

· The 35 million Hispanics in the U.S. as of 2000 was projected to be close to 40 million people as of 2003. Moreover, by 2050, the number of Hispanics in the U.S is projected to grow exponentially to over 100 million people. At that point Hispanics will be about one quarter of the total U.S. population. That’s over triple the 2000 figure in a 50-year span.

· In the New York City area, the newscast on the Spanish-language Noticias 41 and Noticiero Univision, often have higher ratings than ‘the big three’ network news shows on CBS, NBC and ABC.

· Approximately 5.8 percent of Internet users speak Spanish, making it the 4th most common language among the Internet community, trailing only English (about 50%), Japanese (about 8%), and German (about 6%).

· A recent study of 25 metro markets in the U.S. found that Spanish-language programming was the sixth most popular format.

· It’s increasingly difficult to ignore the spread of Spanish in the United States. Bank ATMs offer instructions in Spanish. The Yellow Pages in many cities adds a Spanish-language insert. And Spanish is working its way into everyday use. Is there an American left who can’t order fajitas with spicy jalapeños using the proper Spanish-accented flair? (Say the J like an H: fah-hee-tas …)

· Over the past decade, the demand for Spanish Language courses worldwide has just about doubled, and the demand is almost as close in the U.S.

According to Paula Winke and Cathy Stafford of The Center for Applied Linguistics rapid demographic changes and an increasing recognition of the critical need for professionals who are proficient in languages other than English (Brecht & Rivers, 2000; Carreira & Armengol, 2001) have led to an interest in developing language programs and classes for “heritage language learners”. These are students who are raised in a home where a non-English language is spoken and who speak or at least understand that language (Valdés, 2001).

The fastest growing heritage language population in the United States is Hispanic Americans (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2010), and the number of Spanish speakers studying Spanish is on the rise. As a result, language educators are developing programs, classes, and instructional strategies to address the needs of these students, which are different from those of native-English-speaking students studying Spanish as a foreign language.

Appropriate instructional materials are essential for these classes, which are often referred to as Spanish for Spanish speakers (SNS) classes. Although the development of SNS materials has a 30-year history, and many new SNS textbooks and materials continue to appear, developing a well-articulated sequence for SNS instruction continues to be a challenge (Peyton, Lewelling, & Winke, 2001).

So is anyone listening? Here is a tremendous opportunity for this large group to learn new career skills using their native Spanish language. Are we so Anglophile that we do not care? Let me know. I always value and look forward to your opinions on these important subjects

Brain Rules for Classes


One of the biggest reasons people like learning online, especially late at night,  is that it’s a great way to get to sleep.

Just joking. Not. The following interview was originally written as Brain Rules for Meetings. As I read it, I was struck by the realization that it applies even more so as Brain Rules for Classes. It is right to the point about the ways that we need to be Great Instructors in our classes (which after all is and done are not essentially different than a meeting). What I find amazing is how many Teachers – Instructors – Lecturers do not follow the rules.

For those of you pressed for time, here’s a quick summary of the 3 key rules or “Brain Gadgets” that guarantee a really good class presentation:

  1. Start with the meaning of what you’re talking about, not the details. Details are b o r i n g, meaning is everything
  2. You have 10 minutes before the brain checks out … that means a powerful start EVERY 10 minutes if you want to hold their attention
  3. Key in on the 6 Big Questions everyone asks in any meeting or class that you need to answer … especially Question 5 and 6. I won’t even try and sum those up, so read on ….
Molecular biologist John Medina, speaker and author of the best-selling book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, didn’t set out to become a media star. But he got so fed up with encountering myths about the brain – that you use only 10 percent of it, for example, or that there are right- and left- brain personalities – that he once threw a magazine across a seat on an airplane. (The flight, he notes, wasn’t full.) “So I decided to write Brain Rules,” Medina said, “as an attempt to say, ‘Look, here’s what we do know, here’s what we don’t know, here are a few things you can try that might have an application in the business world – and the meetings world as well.'”

Not that Brain Rules will tell you how the brain operates. “We don’t know squat about how the brain works,” said Medina, who has focused on brain research for nearly three decades. He added: “I don’t know how you know how to pick up a glass of water and drink it. But we do know the conditions that [the brain] operates best in, even if we don’t know all the ins and outs of that operation.”

Which of the 12 Brain Rules has the most impact on meetings?

Well, probably, the biggest one would have to be about attentional states. This rule is very simple: People don’t pay attention to boring things. So if you really want to have a lousy meeting, make sure it’s boring. If you want to have a lousy classroom, make sure it’s boring. And if you want to vaccinate against the types of things that really do bore the mind, we have some understanding of that.

So how do you design a good meeting?

Here are the top three “brain gadgets” that probably have a bearing on the question. First, the human brain processes meaning before it processes detail. Many people, when they put meetings together, actually don’t even think about the meaning of what it is they’re saying. They just go right to the detail. If you go to the detail, you’ve got yourself a bored audience. Congratulations.

Second, in terms of attentional states, we’re not sure if this is brain science or not, but certainly in the behavioral literature, you’ve got 10 minutes with an audience before you will absolutely bore them. And you’ve got 30 seconds before they start asking the question, “Am I going to pay attention to you or not?” The instant you open your mouth, you are on the verge of having your audience check out. And since most people have been in meetings – 90 percent of which have bored them silly – they already have an immune response against you, particularly if you’ve got a PowerPoint slide up there.

How do you then hold attention?

This is what you have to do in 10 minutes. You have to pulse what I just said – the meaning before detail – into it. I call it a hook. At nine minutes and 59 seconds, you’ve got to give your audience a break from what it is that you’ve been saying and pulse to them once again the meaning of what you’re saying.

What is the third “brain gadget”?

The brain cycles through six questions very, very quickly. Question No. 1 is “Will it eat me?” We pay tons of attention to threat. The second question is “Can I eat it?” I don’t know if you have ever watched a cooking show and have loved what they are cooking, but you pay tons of attention if you think there’s going to be an energy resource. Question No. 3 is highly Darwinian. The whole reason why you want to live in the first place is to project your genes to the next generation – that means sex. So Question No. 3 is “Can I mate with it?” And Question No. 4 is “Will it mate with me?”

It turns out we pay tons of attention to – it actually isn’t sex per se, it’s reproductive opportunity. [It is also] hooked up to the pleasure centers of your brain – the exact same centers you use when you laugh at something. Oddly enough, I think that’s one of the reasons why humor can work. If you can pop a joke or at least tell an interesting story, it’s actually inciting those areas of the brain that are otherwise devoted to sex. You don’t become aroused by listening to a joke. I’m saying those areas of the brain can be co-opted. You can utilize them, and a good speaker knows how to do that.

What are Questions 5 and 6?

“Have I seen it before?” and “Have I never seen it before?” We are terrific pattern matchers. There is an element of surprise that comes when patterns don’t match, but the reason why that happens is because we are trying to match patterns all the time.

Is there a Brain Rule that addresses whether you should try to control the use of laptops and phones during a meeting session?

I have this rule response, based on data, and then I have a visceral response, also based on data. In other words, I’m about ready to tell you a contradiction. Are you ready?

Yes, I am.

Alrighty. I do believe what you can show is that there are attentional blinks. The brain actually is a beautiful multitasker, but the attentional spotlight, which you use to pay attention to things, [is not]. You can’t listen to a speaker and type what they are saying at the same time.

What you can show in the laboratory is that you get staccato-like attentional blinks. Just like you come up for air: You look at the speaker, then when you’re writing, you cannot hear what the speaker is saying. Then you come up for air and hear the speaker again. So you’re flipping back and forth between those two, and your ability to be engaged to hear what a speaker is saying is necessarily fragmented.
At the same time, if your speaker is boring, you could have checked out anyway. So you see, in many ways it depends upon the speaker.

How so?

If the speaker is really compelling and is clear and is emotion- ally competent, and has gone through those six questions, letting you come up for air every 10 minutes, I’ve actually watched audiences put their laptops away just to pay attention.

I have a style that is purposely a little speedier. And the reason why is that it produces a tension that says, “I need to pay attention closely to him or I’m going to lose what he’s saying.” I don’t make it so fast that it’s unintelligible – at least I hope I don’t. But I do make it fast, and occasionally I see comments that say, “Great speaker, but you know, you were too freaking fast.”

This interview originally appeared in the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) magazine

A Brave New World of Learning


The following is from NPR and I wanted to share it to make a point. Learning is becoming decentralized. Instead of going to Stanford, Stanford came to over 160,000 students worldwide and they learned about Artificial Intelligence. Really learned it in a way that allowed for knowledge and know-how to be transferred, tested and even provide feedback to the professors to improve their course.

It’s no longer a brave new world of learning. It’s just the way it is and will be.

Stanford Engineering’s Online Introduction To Artificial Intelligence is made up of videos that teach lessons by drawing them out with pen and paper.

Last year, Stanford University computer science professor Sebastian Thrun — also known as the fellow who helped build Google’s self-driving car — got together with a small group of Stanford colleagues and they impulsively decided to open their classes to the world.

They would allow anyone, anywhere to attend online, take quizzes, ask questions and even get grades for free. They made the announcement with almost no fanfare by sending out a single email to a professional group.

“Within hours, we had 5,000 students signed up,” Thrun says. “That was on a Saturday morning. On Sunday night, we had 10,000 students. And Monday morning, Stanford — who we didn’t really inform — learned about this and we had a number of meetings.”

You can only imagine what those meetings must have been like, with professors telling the school they wanted to teach free, graded online classes for which students could receive a certificate of completion. And, oh by the way, tens of thousands have already signed up to participate.

For decades, technology has promised to remake education — and it may finally be about to deliver. Apple’s moving into the textbook market, startups and nonprofits are re-imaging what K-12 education could look like, and now some in Silicon Valley are eager for technology and the Internet to transform education’s more elite institutions.

Thrun’s colleague Andrew Ng taught a free, online machine learning class that ultimately attracted more than 100,000 students. When I ask Ng how Stanford’s administration reacted to their proposition, he’s silent for a second. “Oh boy,” he says, “I think there was a strong sense that we were all suddenly in a brave new world.”

Ng says there were long conversations about whether or not to give online students a certificate bearing the university’s name. But Stanford balked and ultimately the school settled on giving students a letter of accomplishment from the professors that did not mention the university’s name.

“We are still having conversations about that,” says James Plummer, dean of Stanford’s School of Engineering. “I think it will actually be a long time — maybe never — when actual Stanford degrees would be given for fully online work by anyone who wishes to register for the courses.”

‘Uncharted Territory’

Thrun’s online class on artificial intelligence or A.I., which he co-taught with Google’s Peter Norvig, eventually drew more than 160,000 students who received detailed grades and a class ranking.

“We reached many more students, Peter and I, with this one class than all other A.I. professors combined reached in the last year,” Thrun says.

Thrun believes a class that size creates a valuable credential — even if Stanford doesn’t recognize it. Students hailed from 190 different countries, including Australia, China, Ukraine and the U.S. They included high school students, women with disabilities, teachers and retirees — and they were all taking the same class Stanford students took, grades and all. But the online participants didn’t get credit.

“I think we all realized we were in uncharted territory,” Thrun says. “As we move forward, it is my real goal to invent an education platform that has high quality to it, [that] prevents cheating, that really enables students to go through it to be empowered to find better jobs.”

Widespread Impact

Stanford does award degrees for online work, but only to students who get through the admissions process and pay sometimes $40,000 or $50,000 for a master’s degree. Technology could push prices down.

Dean Plummer believes low-cost, high-quality online education will have a profound impact in high education, even at institutions as august as Stanford. He doesn’t think it will diminish demand for undergraduate degrees or Ph.D.s, but he says the impact on master’s programs could be profound.

“What it will look like in 10 years or 20 years or 30 years — your guess is as good as mine,” he says. “But I think the impact will be large and it will be widespread.”

Online education and distance learning have been going on at Stanford and other schools for years, but Plummer believes the technology has reached an inflection point.

Videos stored online let students build course work into their schedules anywhere in the world. Embedded quizzes let students monitor their own progress and give professors much richer data to improve their teaching.

Ng noticed that 5,000 students made the identical mistake in an online quiz. Within minutes, teachers were able to respond and clarify the issue that had led a large fraction of the class down a dead-end path.

Global Benefits

Daphne Koller is a computer science professor at Stanford, and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow. She has been working for years to make online education more engaging and interactive.

“On the long term, I think the potential for this to revolutionize education is just tremendous,” Koller says. “There are millions of people around the world that have access only to the poorest quality of education or sometimes nothing at all.”

Technology could change that by making it possible to teach classes with 100,000 students as easily and as cheaply as a class with just 100. And if you look around the world, demand for education in places like South Africa is enormous.

Almost two weeks ago, at the University of Johannesburg, more than 20 people were injured and one woman was killed trying register for a limited number of openings. Thousands had camped out overnight hoping to snag one of the few available places and when the gates opened, there was a stampede.

Koller hopes that in the future, technology will help prevent these kinds of tragedies.

Trying ‘Bold New Things’

Over the past six months, Thrun has spent roughly $200,000 of his own money and lined up venture capital to create Udacity, a new online institution of higher learning independent of Stanford. “We are committed to free online education for everybody.”

Udacity is announcing two new classes on Monday. One will teach students to build their own search engine and the other how to program a self-driving car. Eventually, the founders hope to offer a full slate of classes in computer science.

Thrun says Stanford’s mission is to attract the top 1 percent of students from all over in the world and bring them to campus, but Udacity’s mission is different. He’s striving for free, quality education for all, anywhere.

Koller agrees, but she says Stanford and its professors will adapt.

“How it all is going to pan out is something that I don’t think anyone has a very clear idea of,” she says. “But what I think is clear is that this change is coming and it’s coming whether we like it or not. So I think the right strategy is to embrace that change.”

Over the years, Stanford has launched dozens of disruptive technologies into the world, but now administrators and professors seem to agree that the school may be about to disrupt itself. This semester Stanford will put 17 interactive courses online for free.

“Stanford has always been a place where we were will to try bold new things,” Plummer says. “Even if we don’t know what the consequences would be.”