When Depressed, DISRUPT!

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If you Google Neovation, you’ll find our mission statement—we're obsessed with unleashing human potential and increasing organization intelligence—so until recently, we’ve been quite depressed about the state of organizational training.

I (as in me, Dan) bet you’re asking - WHY? Here’s the thing. We are living in the age of infinite knowledge and infinite learning opportunities. The time gap between wanting to know something, and knowing it is trivial - as fast as Google can provide results.

Many educational initiatives within the workplace absolutely fail! Tell me how much you love corporate training! This is a serious problem because it limits the opportunities for success for both the organization and the people within it. The purpose of training is to change behavior, not just check a box that says training was delivered and hopefully consumed.

The Cognitive Science Behind OttoLearn - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningThe Cognitive Science Behind OttoLearn - OttoLearn Microlearning

Hi Josh,

About a week before I began getting my Ottolearn Mastery Moments, I had a popup window from Adobe appear on my screen as I was working on another project, prompting me to update my version of Flash. We do use Flash, so like an idiot, I clicked on the popup and asked it to start the update—and only then noticed that the url was not an adobe address. Of course, I closed the popup window using the X in the upper corner, which didn’t solve anything. Our IT guys did the best they could for me, but my computer is still compromised, and is being replaced.

Fast forward to Ottolearn and your Online Security for Employees course. After completing several mastery moments, I have now learned what to do with popups like that. This morning, as I restarted my computer again, that same Adobe popup appeared and this time I was ready! I opened task manager and killed that little $%^&^ dead in its tracks.

I know the point of letting us try out OttoLearn as participants was for us to experience the power of this platform from the learner’s point of view. I can tell you that I personally am very grateful for the training you provided to me, and the fact that I was able to let others in my company know how to kill off those nasty virus-carrying popups. Yes, it works. Yes, it’s fun! And yes, I have a true feeling of accomplishment.

I can’t wait for the point at which we can talk more about developing courses for our clients.

Thank you!

When Depressed, DISRUPT! - OttoLearn Microlearning

Here’s a scenario that shows the contrast between how we learn every day versus workplace learning.

Let’s say Susan, Philip, and I are going on vacation to Mexico and want to learn some Spanish.

Susan Googles “common Spanish words”, and reads a 2-minute blog post. HOLA!

Philip watches a 5-minute YouTube video. BUENO!

And me, well I sign up for a DuoLingo course that’s adaptive - as I do practice exercises, it will adapt to what I know, to fill in my areas of weakness. DONE ESTA EL BANO?

Each of us has control over how we're learning - we have determined the depth of our individual learning experience.

But back at work, there is only one path. So much workplace training starts off with a big block of time - that ubiquitous 1-hour training module. That PowerPoint style course that gets loaded up with graphics, video, narration, etc.

Everyone gets put through the same course - regardless of the level of prior knowledge or experience they have. Start here and end there. Done. Yawn.

So, what’s the problem? Learners are disengaged and they don’t learn. Big Problem. Bad Investment.

At Neovation, we’ve been in eLearning for a decade, so we’ve heard all the stories for how learners “get around” traditional eLearning. They hire their kids to click the “next” button, they walk away while video is playing. True Story.

No items found.

Experience

Exp.

High

New accounting rules

Workplace violence & harassment prevention

Low

Framing a basement

Changing a tire

High

Low

Perceived Relevance

Option

Pros

Cons

Seats

  • Super easy to understand
  • Very predictable cost, if you have a specific number of users (eg: employees)
  • Doesn’t differentiate between users that have different volumes.
  • Have to purchase seats for your maximum number of users.‍

Active Users
(Typically the number of users that log in during a month)

  • You don’t need a license for every specific user, you can often only license half of your users (since perhaps only half ever log in during a month)
  • Typically there is a large cost for going over your licensed number of users, which can be incredibly expensive (eg: 5-10x more than your licensed cost)
  • You often have to “play games” as an administrator, not wanting to do a mass course enrollment if you have only have your users licensed in a month

For workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention, you have High Experience & Low Relevance.

  • ‍Why? You’ve worked in an office setting for years, so you’ve been through a number of workplace compliance courses.  You have a lot of experience in this area, and you really aren’t excited about it.  
  • What is going to motivate you?  Not much.  It won’t matter if there is a slick expensive video, you’re going to click through the material to get the quiz as quickly as possible, so make the material as short as possible or provide a pre-assessment to skip past the content.

For new Accounting Rules you have High Experience & High Relevance.

  • Why? This is directly related to your job, and builds on your existing knowledge.  You’re going to want to absorb the information efficiently, since you process related information every day.
  • What is going to motivate you?  Efficiently written information.  Just the facts, in as little a time as possible.  Video takes too much time, text is perfect.

For changing  a Tire, you have Low Experience & Low Relevance.  

  • Why? You don’t own a car or drive. You don’t feel that you need to know this, and you also know you can find the information on demand, if and when you actually need it.  
  • What is going to motivate you? Very little, this is the most difficult category. For learners in this category, it’s best to try to engage them through story telling techniques to create a sense of relevance. This could be through text and/or video.

For framing a Basement you have Low Experience & High Relevance.

  • Why?  You don’t know much about it, but you’re highly motivated to learn!  
  • What is going to motivate your? You’ll pretty much consume any form of training, but you’re most likely to seek out rich media experiences, to understand the topic from multiple angles. This is the only category for which video is a perfect fit.

Seats

Pros

  • Super easy to understand
  • Very predictable cost, if you have a specific number of users (eg: employees)

Cons

  • Doesn’t differentiate between users that have different volumes.
  • Have to purchase seats for your maximum number of users.

Active Users
(Typically the number of users that log in during a month)

Pros

  • You don’t need a license for every specific user, you can often only license half of your users (since perhaps only half ever log in during a month)

Cons

  • Typically there is a large cost for going over your licensed number of users, which can be incredibly expensive (eg: 5-10x more than your licensed cost)
  • You often have to “play games” as an administrator, not wanting to do a mass course enrollment if you have only have your users licensed in a month
When Depressed, DISRUPT! - OttoLearn Personalized Learning
No items found.

Here’s what we know. Organizations must deliver training to their employees. They are investing in the hope of behavioral change.

We decided to fix this model. We believe the answer is “adaptive microlearning”. It’s actually a simple idea. Instead of monolithic 1-hour modules, why not break those down big rambling ideas into their core concepts? And then deliver them when the learner is ready to learn?

Next, use some artificial intelligence to automatically determine the level of knowledge for each learner on a concept by concept basis. With that info, we know exactly what training to deliver to each learner, when they’re likely to forget it, and when they’ve mastered it over time.

Intelligent repetition will engage the learner and ensure retention - it’s like a video game where you beat your own score. Who doesn't love to do better, and move up that leaderboard?

Coming back to our Mexican vacation preparations - If Susan has already taken high-school Spanish, let’s measure her current knowledge and stop trying to teach her what she already knows. We can just refresh her vocabulary, and introduce some new terms. ENCANTA LA PLAYA! (she loves the beach!)

Philip can navigate a Mexican restaurant menu, but that’s about it. So to bridge that knowledge gap, microlearning software should automatically deliver tiny bits of daily training, and validate it to ensure that Philip is retaining this new info. MAS VINO POR FAVOR! (more wine for me too please!)

And my DuoLingo adaptive microlearning training course is delivered to my phone, tablet, or laptop. Adaptive microlearning should be as portable—dare I say as “travel-ready” as we are! VAMOS A BAILAR! (yes, we should be dancing!)

Adaptive microlearning means that every learner receives exactly the training they need, at the depth they need it, when they can best access it. This is what we do in real life, so let’s bring this to the workplace.

At Neovation, we see huge potential for adaptive microlearning to stand alone or supplement traditional online training. It doesn't have to be either/or.

Online training using adaptive microlearning technology, like OttoLearn, now has the potential to be fully personalized, fully portable, and to fully engage each learner based on where they are in their individual journey to reach the promised land of completed corporate training objectives. 

Engagement Factors

Experience

Exp.

High

  • Best possible quadrant for engagement 
  • Will overcome learning obstacles
  • Will find a way to learn, even if materials are poor  
  • Won’t need nudging or incentives
  • Text is great
  • Can easily learn something
  • May need to work up the energy to engage in low quality materials  
  • May procrastinate, so incentives can help motivate.
  • Text is great

Low

  • Wants to learn
  • Has little experience so can benefit from more instructional quality
  • Greatest benefit of video and other rich media
  • Worst possible quadrant  
  • May not have experience in the topic
  • May not really care about it
  • Will require a lot of motivation to see engagement
  • Video can help

High

Low

Perceived Relevance

Option

Pros

Cons

User-based
(Seats)

  • Cost predictability. Each seat costs you $x/month
  • Typically more expensive than a usage-based license

Usage-based

  • Typically less expensive than a seats license
  • Cost variability tempered by pre-purchasing usage credits that never expire and consume them over time

User-based (Seats)

Pros

  • Cost predictability. Each seat costs you $x/month

Cons

  • Typically more expensive than a usage-based license

Usage-based

Pros

  • Typically less expensive than a seats license

Cons

  • Cost variability tempered by pre-purchasing usage credits that never expire and consume them over time

This post was delivered as a microKeynote at the ICTAM DistruptED conference on Feb. 1, 2018 in Winnipeg Manitoba. Dan loves to wave his arms and evangelize about microlearning - invite him to speak at your event.

Training Engagement, Retention, and Microlearning - OttoLearn MicrolearningNeovation Learning Solutions Team - OttoLearn Microlearning is a product of Neovation Learning Solutions

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