Archive for August 2014

cowedwomanThe Wall Street Journal recently ran an article ostensibly designed to be of help to job seekers who might be facing discrimination. As a middle-aged female IT professional who has been participating in social media sites since they were called “bulletin-board systems,” I can’t help but observe that the illustration chosen for the article, which shows us a middle-aged, gray-haired woman looking cowed in a maelstrom of social media logos and mobile digital devices, is a strong expression of certain prejudices held by WSJ Editorial staff!

This notion, that young people are naturally adept with technology, and older folks less so, really needs to die.

The reality is that almost all of us can and do learn to use the technology we need to accomplish the tasks we want to get done.  The woman featured in the article sought a job in public relations.  I happen to know more than a few middle-aged women in public relations, and they are all  up to speed on social media and the hardware used to create for it.  Because, you know, they need to be, in order to be effective in their jobs!

Meanwhile, we do our young colleagues a disservice when we assume that their facility with Facebook and Twitter should automatically translate into adeptness with our corporate systems for customer relations management.

It probably would not be a bad idea to test on intake new employees’ facility with tools like Word and Excel.  We might want to include checking their facility with Sharepoint, Salesforce and other commonly used corporate cloud applications.  Taking a baseline and then filling in gaps would help us get our new folks up and running quickly, and avoid wasting their time, and ours, with training they don’t actually need.

But we should probably assume complete unfamiliarity with all of our proprietary systems, and make effective training available to all newcomers to these technologies. And possibly keep our eyes open wide to who catches on quickly, and who needs more time. Because age is not now, and has never been, a particularly good predictor of facility with tools needed to get the job done.


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The Changing eLearning Landscape

elearningmediaThe Elearning Media Group recently released its Research Advisory Group Report on the Corporate Segment. It’s a fascinating snapshot, indicating where 268 non-public-sector respondents see things going. It’s worth noting that although most respondents indicated they had a role in tool selection, 51% are trainer/teacher/educators, which is to say they are authoring and delivering training, but likely not sitting in on organizational strategy meetings.

The largest chunk, 22%, were in the healthcare/pharmaceutical industries. I wish the writers of this study would not have lumped those two together, as training challenges are very different. In healthcare, much of the critical training is outsourced to professional schools, and to the organizations which provide continuing medical education. In Pharma, there’s a great deal of internal training on products.

Nevertheless, I find it very interesting that 21% of respondents plan to add social networks to their training mix in the next year. It leaves me wishing I knew more about how these folks perceive the role of the social network in training, and whether they plan to track what happens there. 68% of respondents listed employee engagement as their top business objective for investing in learning.   Improving engagement is likely to be tricky in an environment in which compliance training, not known for its engaging qualities, still leads the list of training priorities!

The study asks the percentage of training hours devoted to

  • Social Learning
  • Self-paced
  • Mobile Learning
  • Blended Learning
  • Virtual Classroom
  • Instructor Led
  • E-learning or online

I found this breakdown frustrating, since of course, there are major overlaps. Instructor-led could be in the virtual classroom, though I think most people think of these as separate. (Instructor led was reported to be where the largest chunk of training hours were spent, at 39%) Self-paced is likely online, and may well be consumed via mobile.

What I’m dying to know is what sort of activities comprise that which the respondents call “social learning.” A couple of years ago we were all buzzing about adopting social learning strategies, but we all know that things happen in transition to actual practice. What do these look like as adopted in the organizations who are using them? Are the respondents, like  our customers, creating Internal social networks using microblogs and hosting forum discussions around training topics? Something else entirely?

At Q2, our platform supports all of these modalities, because we understand that whatever the optimal mix is for your organization, you’d rather spend the time developing and delivering top-quality training experiences than chasing down the data on who has successfully completed which activities across several platforms. We’d love to talk to you about how we can help you create, deliver, and report on first quality training for your colleagues. Please, drop us a line at!


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