Monday, February 28, 2011

How will younger generations want to learn?

The abundance of research overwhelmingly supports the Learning Explosion’s influence in the move to the virtual classroom and other online learning platforms.

Consider, for a moment, the number of people with access to the Internet. In 2010, the number of Internet users surpassed the 2 billion mark, of which 1.2 billion are in developing countries. According to ITU World Telecommunication, usage has actually doubled between 2005 and 2010. Plus, worldwide Wi-Fi coverage has grown over 155% since 2006, according to the JiWire Mobile Audience Insights Report.

As younger generations enter the workforce, we will see a widespread shift in the way workers want to learn. In a 2010 report, the U.S. Department of Education estimated that more than one million students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 were enrolled in online courses in 2007. The study also found that students in an online learning format actually tended to outperform students learning in a classroom environment...earned higher grades and displayed an overall greater understanding of the course materials.

In just a few years, these students will be filling the offices of your organization. Are you ready for them? If not, be proactive and find out how you can be prepared.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Learning Explosion - Puerto Rican Style

This week the Learning Explosion has reached the culturally rich island of Puerto Rico. Although this island is tiny, compared to many other land masses, it is among the most wired in the Caribbean.

Quite often we think how difficult it is getting from point A to point B to attend training. Imagine if those points were islands separated by a sea? Sure, it would be an amazing commute, but what a hassle! This is what makes elearning so powerful! You can reach people no matter where they live... whether they're on a continent or in the Caribbean.

We look forward to our work here!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are you a Learning Explorer?

Think, for a moment, about the way learning has changed. How much have you learned this week while sitting in a physical classroom listening to an instructor? Probably nothing. Whatever you learned this week was probably done informally—either online or by speaking with a friend. And of those two sources, we bet you unearthed your answers by yourself—online.

Technological advances are taking the traditional learning model and breaking it into billions and billions of pieces of information that we call Learning Fragments.

To prove this point, keep track each time you search for something on Google—your digital shovel. We can absolutely guarantee you have discovered at least one Learning Fragment today: in fact you’re reading it now! These fragments are being created and discovered every minute of every hour—turning us all into Learning Explorers.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Have we found the Fountain of Youth?

Recently, a seasoned online learning facilitator told us she found that age discrimination does not exist in the virtual world.

“Nobody knows how old I am online,” she said with a smile. “Virtual classrooms have extended my career by years!”

Can virtual classrooms restore your youth? Perhaps.

If only Ponce de León were alive today.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Moving From Traditional Training To Virtual Classrooms, Part 4

In this fourth, and last installment of series taken from our book, The Learning eXPLOSION: 9 Rules to Ignite Your Virtual Classrooms, we address the delivery of a virtual classroom session.

The number one concern we hear from new virtual classroom instructors is how to engage learners. The guidance we give these instructors is to start by understanding the virtual learning environment and then working on their delivery technique.

While there are distinct differences between Instructor-led Training (ILT) and virtual classrooms, there are also many similarities. Like preparing your physical learning environment. In your ILT classroom you take time to set up the projector, flip charts, tables, and chairs. Some of you also check the temperature of the training room, and even provide “toys” for people to use during the training.

Since this same principle applies to the virtual classroom, you should pay just as much attention to getting your virtual learning environment ready for the instructor and learners.

Proven Methods of Preparing Your Virtual Learning Environment

1. Learner Preparation

  • Before attending the event check to see that you have all the right equipment and strong network connection.
  • Print out any necessary materials.
  • Warn your coworkers and boss beforehand that you will be busy during that time.
  • Place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door (or somewhere conspicuous in your cubicle).
  • Turn your cell phone off, not just on vibrate.
  • Eliminate all sources of noise or interruptions.
  • Shut down all other programs on your computer—especially email.
  • Have a bottle of water and snack on hand.
  • Visit the restroom beforehand.

2. Instructor Preparation

  • Apply all of the same practices you are asking your learners to follow.
  • Since your computer is your training room, take precautionary steps to ensure that it is functioning properly.
  • If you facilitate many virtual classroom events it’s advisable to have a second computer as a back up. While this may seem extreme, the first time your computer dies, you will thank us.
  • The same could be said of your network connection. A higher-end, more reliable connection is always safer and faster than the opposite, plus your learners will thank you for a better quality experience.
  • Never facilitate a virtual classroom event form a hotel room unless you have tested the reliability of the connection. Most hotels claim to have a good connection, but very few can back up that statement.
  • Warm up your voice and get energized. Our friend Dave actually puts on his favorite rock song and sings along to before going “on stage.”
In summary, to successfully transfer your corporate training to the virtual classroom requires you to change your approach when it comes to what content to include, how long your sessions should be, how best to teach that content, and how to effectively deliver that content. Just understanding that a virtual classroom requires these different approaches is a great start.