Learner Identity and Motivation: Connections to Aspiration

SusanSmithNashGuest post by Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.

(e-Learning Queen) Learning can be a risky business, especially when it has to do with a learner’s sense of self and their identity.  For example, how might a person who is learning a language for the purpose of becoming part of a group comes to realize that the act of learning is modifying who and how she is? Is the change in one’s identity a good thing? If so, how and why? What impact does it have on learner motivation?


A good example is the case of learning a language. While learning a language may be for the purposes of assimilating in a society (or, in a broader sense, fitting into a group or workplace) it is important to keep in mind that assimilation should not go too far, and seek to efface or obliterate the identities of the learners.

Learning involves socialization processes, and the degree to which one can both maintain autonomy and feel a part of a group is an important influencer in student satisfaction and motivation. In other words, a balance must be maintained.

An over-emphasis on testing, assessment, and individual achievement (rather than group dynamics) can destroy motivation.

Individual autonomy can be effectively instilled by giving learners the ability to critique texts and instructional materials, have choices with respect to their topics of study, and choose ways in which they are assessed.

It is useful to incorporate aspirational elements in motivation, especially in learning a language, or a skill set / knowledge base that gains entrance to a group (especially a highly desirable group).

Reflective learner journals can be helpful, not only in developing meta-cognitive skills but also in the ways in which instructors can learn to tailor their instructional strategies in order to be more effective.


Perhaps the most surprising insight is that in order to encourage the mediation of identity that occurs when learning a language (whether a formal language or the informal “language” of a workplace or community of interest), it is useful to look at aspirational elements of the learner’s identity framework.

In other works, what’s the learner’s dream?  What is the learner striving to be or become?

By appealing to the learner’s dream identity, or aspirations, you as an educator or instructional designer, will make it easier for the learner to tolerate the ambiguity and/or frustration that he/ she may feel when learning a language (and hence tending to give up her own identity).

In order to increase a sense of autonomy (and comfort with the process), it is helpful to give the learner the ability to influence his / her own methods of interacting and being assessed.


Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior.  New York: NY: Plenum Press.

Lamb, M. (2011).  Future selves, motivation and autonomy in long-term EFL learning trajectories . in G. Murray, X. Gao, & T. Lamb (eds). Identity, Motivation, and Autonomy in Language Learning. (pp. 177-194). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Lamb, T. E. (2011). Fragile identities: Exploring learner identity, learner autonomy and motivation through young learners’ voices.  The Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Special Issue. 14:2, 68-85.




5 Considerations Before Proposing An Employee Training Program  

Hugh McCullenGuest post by Hugh McCullen, president of MicroTek. He is responsible for expanding the customer services portfolio and global presence while accelerating the company’s ability to provide best-in-class training and meeting room facilities designed to enhance the learner experience. He strives to position the company as a trusted partner.

A 2014 Brandon Hall Group benchmark study showed that many companies did not make significant changes to employee training within the previous five years. According to the study, the majority of companies reviewed and revised training strategies less than twice in half a decade. In a world where technology becomes obsolete almost as fast as it hits the market, employee training programs should be constantly reviewed and updated. Before you propose a new program or changes to existing programs, consider these five questions:

  1. Do You Need Outsourced Trainers?

The Small Business Administration notes that while some organizations are able to fulfill training needs in-house, more companies are choosing to outsource instructors as a means of saving costs, increasing operational efficiencies, and reducing risk to their training programs. Outsourcing allows you to concentrate on your core competencies and management of the learning program itself.

  1. Can Online Training Meet Educational Needs?

When time and/or money is at a premium, online learning (or e-learning) may be the best option to deliver training. E-learning is convenient, cost-effective and flexible, allowing you to educate a geographically dispersed audience without costly travel and lodging. Online tools allow you to divide training into learning modules, making it possible to deliver training in smaller chunks and update learning segments more easily. Organizations can create training programs that launch via a custom portal so employees can learn on-demand, at their own pace or during downtimes.

  1. What Schedule Works Best for Instructors and Learners?

Developing an appropriate learning schedule is essential for a successful training program. First, consider the length of time learners can sit in a classroom before they start losing focus or become distracted. Having students sit in a classroom for an entire day without frequent breaks can interfere with knowledge transfer. For longer training sessions, consider breaking the courseware into smaller chunks, work in frequent breaks, provide healthy snacks, and allow students to get up and move around so that students remain engaged in the learning.

Additionally, consider the company’s needs when scheduling training. It’s probably not wise to schedule employee training programs at peak production times. For example, a retail organization should never conduct training on Black Friday and a call center shouldn’t schedule training sessions during times with historically high call volumes.

  1. What is the Best Environment for Training?

While onsite training is logistically convenient, it’s often not the best environment for learning. Training offsite can increase learners’ ability to absorb information. Offsite training facilities offer a distraction-free environment. Also, a “change in scenery” stimulates the brain for learning. Consider nearby facilities that are equipped with the appropriate technology, amenities, and environment for a quality learning experience. Comfortable furniture, hospitality staff, food and beverage and technological conveniences are a must for optimal learning.

  1. How Will You Track Progress?

Finally, ensure that your training program has a system of evaluation. Evaluations should not only cover the skills learned, but the effectiveness of the instructor and the satisfaction of the learning environment. Evaluations ensure accountability—did the training fill competency gaps? They also allow training managers to measure their learning programs in order to improve upon them.



Keys to engage learners in e-learning: bringing education from schools to homes

Guest post by Jessie Yarrow, a passionate blogger from India. She writes articles on various topics such as Education, gadgets, travel… As of now she is focusing on Univariety (, which provides career counselling for college students. The organization also helps school students in career exploration and planning.

Since the time internet took over the world and became the fourth most required thing after air, water and food; the world has gone through massive changes and transformations. Education, which was limited to schools and institutions, became much more accessible as it broke the chains of conventionality.

E-learning is the process in which an education portal provides learning material to students and people can access the material from anywhere, anytime through the World Wide Web. The best thing about e-learning is that it encourages self learning and makes it very easy. For one, it brings education not only to their doorsteps, but their finger tips.

E-learning is the best method of learning as it has no restrictions of time. It literally stores the very process of teaching and lets learners access it at their will. Factors like geographical distances and age also do not affect the e-learning process.

The Internet is virtually an open field and it’s easy for learners to get lost or diverted because of the content present in it.

Naturally, the most important thing in e-learning is access to the internet. In order to make e-learning effective, the Internet should be made available and accessible to everyone. Following are some tips which can help in keeping students and learners engaged.

  1. Easy to use tools

In order to keep learners engaged, it is very important that the tools required to access the study material are easy to use and navigate. Learners should be able to navigate the portal without any confusion and difficulty.

  1. Keep it interesting but not diverting

The portal should be designed in such a way that it arouses interest among the readers and they remain glued. However it should be ensured that it’s not diverting in nature.

  1. Specificity matters

E-learners usually want to study and get educated about specific subjects or courses. The portal should have pathways to direct them to the required courses or subjects they want to study. The more diversified and course specific material is provided, the better it will be to keep the learners engaged as it will give them the chance to pursue subjects they are interested in.

  1. Provide more than education

Apart from the material provided for the required subject or courses, portals should also provide other tools or resources which might be beneficial for the learners. For example, if a portal provides a psychometric test for students apart from the study material on various subjects, then more students are bound to visit the portal as they will be interested to take the test.

E-learning is the best way to spread education. Unlike the conventional methods of learning, there are no bars in e-learning like age, distance etc. It can be accessed by anyone as long as they are interested to learn and educate themselves. It’s also unique because it motivates the learners to come forwards and gain education rather than pushing education on them.


The new Learning Journey – Part 1: Steps to address micro learning moments

by Alfredo Leone, Izzui / QuickLessons CEO

alfredo.leoneThere has been a lot of buzz in the learning industry about micro learning and about shorter learning experiences having a better impact with learners. Several companies are implementing learning production and distribution models based on targeted content nuggets or pills that let learners control their learning time and ensure that learning occurs at the time of need.

In a recent post on Think with Google, Google focused on the opportunity for brands to connect with consumers by focusing on the hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro moments that make today’s mobile driven customer journey. I believe the same concepts apply to the eLearning industry, as companies and organizations develop new learning strategies that engage learners along a new real-time and intent-driven learning journey made of micro learning moments.

While the hype around micro learning is very much deserved, all the discussion focuses mainly on how to replicate technologies and formats of generic content platforms like Facebook and YouTube that arguably deal with micro content well. Vendors are rushing to provide enhanced features to create, edit, enhance, and package such micro content, primarily video. What is missing is the proper contextualization of the learning experience that makes micro learning applicable and effective. For example, it is not enough to deliver to learners short videos as alternative to traditional online learning courses just for the sake of addressing shorter attention spans.

Taking a step back, the surveys powered by Google in their work on micro moments highlighted consumer behaviors that apply to learners as well in our understanding of how to develop learning strategies and platforms that effectively address micro learning moments. Some of them:

  • 62% of smartphone users are more inclined to take immediate action to solve an unexpected problem or a new task.
  • 90% have used their smartphone to move towards achieving a long-term goal or multi-step process through small steps (i.e., people pursue big goals in small moments).
  • 91% said they are looking for new ideas on mobile devices while performing routine tasks.
  • 91% of smartphone users seek ideas through these devices at the same time they perform other tasks.
  • This year users have seen on YouTube 100m+ hours of “how-to-do” content.

Google has categorized these new mobile-driven behaviors into 4 micro moments that consumers face on a daily basis along the customer journey: Want-to-know, want-to-do, want-to-go, and want-to-buy (4 New Moments Every Marketer Should Know). Learners today exhibit the same behaviors that need to be addressed when implementing effective micro learning solutions.

How? Following on Google’s initial thinking on the consumer journey, we can define 5 key steps to consider when addressing micro moments linked to learning experiences.

Here is how to create micro learning moments:

1. Map. Map learning moments by identifying instances in which students of a training process need to connect with knowledge required for the performance of their learning activities. To start, focus on the moments you cannot miss and move from there.

2. Understand. Understand learners’ needs in the micro moment in which they need access to knowledge, evaluating how to make the learning experience better; or evaluating what content would be most helpful to that particular instant. Put yourself in their shoes!

3. Contextualize. Contextualize the learning experience by analyzing the context like location and time of the micro moment to deliver a customized eLearning experience. Match the content to the when and where of your learners.

4. Optimize. Optimize your eLearning experience along the learning journey of your learners across all channels, independent of what organization or department owns the channel. The learner is your focus for improving.

5. Measure. Measure every moment when possible and use best estimates when an exact measure is not available. Don’t let measurement gaps get in the way of monitoring the entire eLearning journey.

These steps are the just the beginning. Shifting to a learner centric eLearning strategy that fits today’s micro moment driven learning environments requires a dedicated effort. Experimenting using micro learning platforms and formats is a good starting point as long as properly contextualized for the learning journey that learners face.

NOTE: This is Part 1 of a series of articles on the learning journey I hope to continue publishing.


Initially published in eLearning Industry with the following title: ‘5 Steps To Address Micro Learning Moments: The New Learning Journey – Part 1‘.

Tags: , , ,

QuickLessons & Riverside Business Technology partner to help Latin American companies develop e-learning content

ql-river-150QuickLessons, the Collaborative Platform for creating engaging and effective online courses, and Riverside Business Technology, a company dedicated to creating innovative and effective organizational management experiences in the area of interactive learning, announced their partnership in Latin America. The partnership aims to strengthen and optimize training projects for Latin American companies.

QuickLessons is a cloud based collaborative platform for creating engaging and effective online courses in HTML5 and FLASH. The platform offers templates, interactive games, exercises and an extensive library of characters to develop quickly and easily online courses. It also provides PPT conversion to Flash or HTML5, collaborative review for users and experts, multiple export options (offline, online, including SCORM and AICC compatibility) and a digital repository to manage media files, learning objects and courses.

Riverside Business Technology is a company located in Costa Rica and Spain (will soon open offices in Panama), with over 9 years of experience in learning project development for United States, Europe and Latin America.

“We are proud to be exclusive representatives of QuickLessons, one of the most robust and effective platforms to develop e-learning online courses. This platform allows to work collaboratively and to update the material at anytime from anywhere,” said Jose Luis Arce, Director at Riverside Business Technology.

“QuickLessons is great solution for any company that works or is considering working with e-learning content. It allows them to accelerate development, improve the user experience and keep up to date with the latest technologies without the need to know programming or coding. With this partnership, QuickLessons clients in the region can access the consulting and customer service that Riverside provides, to achieve their learning objectives and make them sustainable in the long term” said Jose Luis Arce.

Alfredo Leone, QuickLessons CEO, added “we are excited to join forces with Riverside Business Technology to meet the training and development needs of companies in the region. QuickLessons customers reported on average reductions by 40% of the time spent on content creation and reductions by 60% in the cost of production. We trust Riverside Business Technology is the right partner to bring these benefits and more to local companies leveraging their outstanding services”.

QuickLessons is already used successfully by global companies including GOL, Electrolux, Natura, Lojas Americanas, Hospital Albert Einstein, Atento, SKY y Universidade Positivo, among others.


Stay informed on QuickLessons social platforms:


Tags: ,

QuickLessons y Riverside Business Technology se aliaron para apoyar a las empresas latinoamericanas en el desarrollo de contenidos de e-learning

ql.river.150QuickLessons, la plataforma colaborativa 100% en línea para la creación rápida y sencilla de cursos online interactivos, eficaces y con gran impacto visual, y Riverside Business Technology, una compañía dedicada a crear innovadoras y efectivas experiencias de gestión organizacional en el área del aprendizaje interactivo; anunciaron una alianza para América Latina. El objetivo del acuerdo es potenciar y optimizar los proyectos formativos en las empresas latinoamericanas.

Read the rest of this entry…

Nuevos trayectos para el aprendizaje – 1º Parte: Pasos para desarrollar micro momentos de capacitación en las empresas

alfredo.leonepor Alfredo Leone, CEO de Izzui / QuickLessons

En un post recientemente publicado en Think with Google, Google se focalizó en la oportunidad que tienen actualmente las marcas para conectarse con los consumidores, a través de cientos de micro momentos que ocurren en tiempo real y que hoy forman parte de los trayectos de información y comunicación que propone la movilidad. Creo que los mismos conceptos aplican a la industria del aprendizaje, ya que las empresas y organizaciones desarrollan constantemente nuevas estrategias de capacitación, con el objetivo de involucrar y comprometer a sus colaboradores en relación a los nuevos trayectos de aprendizaje, que suceden en tiempo real y se constituyen a partir de micro-momentos.

Read the rest of this entry…

Gamification, the Fall of Pharaohs

valeraWe share a chapter of the e-book ‘HR Focus Issues 2015’ published bybluebottlebiz with the participation as co-authors of experts in Human Resources, from corporate directors to consultants and academics.

by Juan J. F. Valera Mariscal, gamification and management expert

The Digital Empire: from papyrus to the bit

If we look back through history at organization management we can notice that  revolutions have started and empires have been built as a result of important  changes in the processes and the technologies by which people have been led, organized and managed.

If we consider the example of the Egyptian Empire we see how innovation happened in the fertile and rich Lower Nile. The abundance of resources attracted several small tribes, but it wasn’t really enough to trigger the growth of a civilization. The decisive factor, or the reason why this human cell came to stay together and stand out, was the development of the communication technologies. On one hand the control of a great conductor of materials and ideas — the Nile, and on the other hand the expansion of writing, with a new code — the hieroglyph, on a new format — the papyrus, and with this the appearance of specialized experts — the scribes. This all made easier the transmission of ideas, values and data to improve the management of people and projects. What followed this basic, but evolved organization of a group of primitive and isolated people was a world-powerful empire full of prosperity throughout centuries of expansion.

As far as we can see, at the base of organizational development there is a strategic project that cannot be realized if it’s not possible to communicate it in a way that can be shared, meditated on and supported by the rest of the people involved. There is real power in having a communication strategy, and in having the knowledge and use of the right resources and technology.

Nowadays in people management, their coordination, orientation and motivation can be stored in electronic formats, but just like with the papyrus, by itself this information brings us no closer to growth if it’s not used in an effective and efficient way. The staff in charge of managing people and the Human Resources professionals must be prepared to get the most benefit from the new systems and tools available today. For this reason it’s fundamental to be aware of the new trends in innovation and technology to get maximum results.

Now we have a new Nile, the internet, and our new papyrus, the bits.

Big Data: From static to dynamic information, from the painting to the video

From the beginning of the 21st century, the expansion of computerized online solutions started to add speed to the processes, for example in recruitment with the jobsites, in skills evaluation with e-testing and e-assessment tools, in internal communication with a company’s intranet, and in competencies management with the different HR modules included in ERP software. These solutions are designed for a traditional, centralized and horizontal structure in the model of earlier organizations of the previous centuries to automate and accelerate the operations and processes. Their primary purpose, their original design is neither to share, nor to add more support or contribution. Fortunately, for those people who are interested and know how to use them properly, those  tools are an efficient and easy source of information, quick enough to allow more than a static report of the situation in a concrete moment, and useful enough to provide a dynamic vision of the data in a continuous evolution.

I argue that we can have better management and more valuable information, leveraging this easy access to the data provided by the technology. To use a metaphor, we can switch from the picture of a moment to the video of what’s going on.

It’s a decent idea, but it implies that we have the knowledge necessary to manage the amount of data presented by these systems. The bottle neck of information is caused by the limits of our own human perception and our inability to process the data. To the rescue comes the new wave of integrated solutions in two concepts: Business Intelligence (BI) and more recently, Big Data.

Nowadays, the massive use of data is truly working in fields such as marketing and social research. Its entrance into people management is imminent and HR professionals must be aware of the technology trends and they must have the skills to use the technology. They must be informed as well about the ethical and legal implications, so as not to become “Big Brother” instead of just the consumers and analysts of Big Data. The boundaries of privacy, personal freedom, and autonomy must be respected.

HR 2.0: From the pyramid to the Net

Since the first administrative Egyptian organization, it has been a gradual evolution through five thousand years of history with mostly subtle changes. Not so much the case in the last two centuries — from the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, to the cultural spread of the 20th century, and now, most of all, with the arrival of the digital revolution at the end of that century. This last revolution introduced us to a new context of unprecedented innovation since the invention of writing. Right now the changes are happening at full speed, in less than a generation span and it’s urgent to be conscious of the new trends and their importance.

If we have to select a symbolic shape to represent the organizational structure model prevalent for the last five thousand years it would be for sure the pyramid. Until the 20th century the dominant model was horizontal, where all the power, control and data processing came from the peak of the organization.

The maximum organizational intelligence was that of one person, or a small group in charge. The base of the structure was supposed to take care of the operational part and the people assumed the slogan “I am not paid for thinking,” therefore damaging the innovation and the organizational development.

Nowadays computerization allows most of those operational procedures to be done by mechanical or digital systems, and not by employees in the base of the  organization, as it used to be.

With the arrival of concepts such as Web 2.0 and social networks, the (relatively easy) access to data, and the globalization of knowledge, it is now possible to count quickly on the contribution of the multiple intelligences of the company, if they have the will to do it. To take advantage of new opportunities, the dominant structure should be more decentralized, ubiquitous, and mobile, a network. The intelligence should be well-distributed and each element should be able to add value and ideas from any device or any place.

This includes the challenge of delegating functions, to give empowerment and maintain the loyalty of the people towards the organization and its success. The agile and flexible organizations, with a great capacity to innovate and adapt quickly to change, should know how to take advantage of the internal social network of connected intelligences.

The responsibility of talent management must be shared by the entire organization. All managers should be people managers, and each person should be proactive when it comes to managing his or her own talent. The new department of Human Resources is transformed into a facilitator and a promoter of the new trends. It is there to guide towards the strategic goals and to conduct the energy with shared responsibility. The initiatives start more often from the right place, with more customized and quicker actions in the network management model, than they ever could in the model of top-down -management.

In Human Resources it’s essential that the professionals know the technology, and at the same time they must remember that the human being is the center, because without this center, the model cannot work.

Gamification, from effort to fun

In this new technological and human context, if we want to develop a Project we need to go from imposition models to engagement ones. It’s not enough to share the objectives and interests of the organization; we should also understand the personal interests of the people. And if we analyze the motivation studies, the economic behaviorism, the positive psychology and the testimonies of several people with their personal experiences, we will find some common interests in the people engaged with their work:

  • Meaning: people search for a meaning in their acts. This can be  circumstantial, personal, transcendental or epic, but there will be no commitment if the only reason is perceived as an imposition.
  • Autonomy: people want to be the masters of their destiny. Professionals are where they are after studying so many years and accumulating in the meantime a lot of experience. They want to put into practice their ideas, to have the power to take their own risks and participate. They want to feel ownership over their projects, to be part of the success or the failure, all of which is part of the learning process.
  • Development: people need to feel that they are growing, that our activities let us grow as a person. Nevertheless, in some cases the professional experience is very frustrating. Some people feel that despite the effort they make every single day, at the end they are always in the same place. We need to break that Sisyphus Syndrome and realize that our effort makes us progress and improve.
  • Social Interaction: finally, we need to value the social interaction with  other people.

These are intrinsic motivators, and they are what make it possible for employees to feel engaged. These motivators are summarized in the acronym coined by Daniel Pinkin — RAMP: Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

This implies a new approach to how to do things and changes the design of the processes and the activity itself. When we look around we find again a new trend in management that can help us, and the inspiration comes from the videogames industry. The videogames industry surpasses the cinematographic sector and is one of the fields with the most growth in the last years. There are more than 1.2 billion users and the sales exceed 74 billion dollars. Videogames have the capability to generate the engagement and motivation that the companies need in their employees.

The new trend inspired by the videogames is Gamification, applying the elements and thought models of videogame design to other environments, in our case applied to the management of people, also called “Internal Gamification” in the enterprise.

Analyzing the application of Gamification in recent years, we can already see qualitative and quantitative benefits. Among the qualitative benefits we can find a better experience at work. Gamification, as do videogames, focuses the attention on the positive aspects, in the advance more than in the effort. We are interested in the process, and not just the results.

For example, during a sporting match, the plays, the relationship between the team members, and the joy of playing are valued more than the suffering, the pain, the effort or injures. During the work day, usually the negative aspects are most present in our thoughts: boredom, and monotony. Gamification breaks the boundary between work and fun because it considers that the design of the activity is what makes it pleasant or not, and not the activity itself. Therefore in gamified contexts we can find a better user experience, an important fact that can have the following advantages:

  • Increased the engagement with the project, the company or the activity.
  • More motivation, participation and autonomy.
  • Better organizational alignment and participation.
  • Faster rate of learning in training.
  • Immediate access to the information about individual progress and achievements.
  • More opportunities to express success in several versions and generate collaboration among the participants.
  • Promotion of best practices.

From a quantitative point of view we can simply say that we can achieve an improvement in results. In fact, the first thing we must consider in designing a successful gamification project is the business goals. From here, we can analyze the behaviors required to succeed, which type of design we need, and the right tools to promote this.

A couple of examples:

1. Liveops Case

  • Objective: convert the call center agents into brand ambassadors, measured by shorter call times and improved customer satisfaction rate
  • Achievements: onboarding time was reduced from 160 hours to 14 hours and participating agents out-performed peers by 23% in average callhandle time and boosted customer satisfaction by 9%.



  • Objective: improve the relationship between the bank and the clients through the Web and at the same time improve the financial culture using informative corporate videos.
  • Achievements: in the first year there was a fifteen-fold increase in the fans of the social network and a thirty-fold increase in the displaying of the videos. The time people stayed on the Web was doubled.

(Source: BBVA)

Gamification is successfully applied today in several different fields: recruiting, hiring, internal communication, training and development and change management, just to name a few.

Gamification is inspired by games but with a great scientific component based on years of psychological research. It’s the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration: designers, psychologists and technicians, among others. Today we are already a big group of professionals devoted to designing gamified environments and tools that can help companies to better know their people, promote their motivation and encourage their professional progress. At the same time, we will have a richer work experience, with better business results.

The future is encouraging the new leaders and HR professionals to understand the basis and applications of gamification and ideally, think as a game designer in both personal and professional life.

We are living a historical moment, key to people and organization management. This is a landmark that implies a paradigm shift, a new vision of the world and of management, with some cultural and intellectual changes. Those changes demand some effort but they constitute an advantage, bringing both tangible and emotional benefits. As it happened after the Neolithic revolution with the birth of writing and the appearance of agriculture, nothing will be the same afterwards. Let’s look towards the future, rather than end up like professional salt statues, left behind in the middle of the way.

We have a new empire with a net of interconnected “Niles” where we all can be scribes or high priests. Things are not anymore as the Pharaoh said. In fact, the Pharaoh is dead in the organizations, and the pyramid rests in the desert as a  symbol of the past.


Free access to ‘HR Focus Issues 2015′


Juan J. F. Valera Mariscal is a Gamification and management expert and Author of “Gamificación en la Empresa,” the first book of its kind in Spanish specializing in HR and internal Gamification. It has quickly become a reference for the Spanish speaking population worldwide, for those who want to have a comprehensive introduction of how Gamification is applied in companies. A consultant, executive trainer, and professional coach, he has a degree in SocialPsychology and a Masters in Human Resources Management. He has trained over 4000 professionals for some of Spain’s most important enterprises, including Airbus, Telefonica, Vodafone, IBM, BBVA, Renault, and Philip Morris.

Classic Motivation Theories Compared and Re-Evaluated

SusanSmithNashGuest post by Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.

(e-Learning Queen) Research by cognitive psychologists has suggested that motivation is often based on fundamental human needs, and that all are critical in factors in everyday life, such as job satisfaction, effective reward systems, team performance, and goal persistence.

Audio file:

However, not every theory covers the same territory, and it’s useful to take a look at some of the most influential theories and compare them, as well as relate them. The theories examined are the following:

•    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
•    Herzberg’s Motivation / Hygiene (two-factor) Theory
•    McClelland’s Need for Achievement Theory

Because motivation is so highly individualistic, and it can vary so dramatically between people, it is important to consider a wide range of explanations and mechanisms. The results are important not only for optimizing satisfaction (and performance) in the workplace, but also in developing a dynamic organization that emphasizes constant, continual, and outcome-focused learning and skills development. It then follows that there can be a predictive relationship in performance.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1954) posits that there are five ascending levels of needs, and if a lower-level need is not met, then the individual will essentially stay “stuck” there and be unable to ascend to the highest levels (Ego and Self-Actualization).

1.    Physiological needs. Food, water, shelter, and sex are survival needs and all humans must possess them. If they do not, all their waking moments will be obsessed with obtaining them, which will preclude the ability to achieve higher order levels of existence.

2.    Safety needs:  Humans need to feel protected against danger, threats and deprivation. This applies not only to physical needs, but also job security.

3.    Social needs:  Humans need to give and receive love, friendship, and affection. They need to feel they are a part of an accepting group.  If the first two levels of needs are being satisfied, then an individual will start to be aware of a lack of friends or associates.

4.    Ego needs:  If the other needs are being met, humans will turn to their ego needs and will seek achievement, status, recognition from society and associates / peers.

5.    Self-actualization needs:  These are the highest levels of needs and they occur if the previous four levels are satisfied. Self-actualization relates to the individual’s own quest to realize what he or she perceives as his or her potential.

Although it’s true that one cannot really focus on self-actualization without meeting the lower-order needs, not everyone will ever be interested in the higher level needs. It really depends on their level of aspiration and attitudes / beliefs.

Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory. 

According to Herzberg’s findings, motivation to accomplish work is a factor of satisfiers and dissatisfiers.

•    Satisfiers include achievement, recognition, the work itself, advancement, growth, responsibility.

•    Dissatisfiers include company policy, supervision, working conditions, interpersonal relations, salary, status, job security, and personal life.

For Herzberg, an organization can do a great deal to improve the “hygiene” which is to say that “hygiene” refers to removing as many negative elements as possible. So, Herzberg devised a process:

1.    Identify the type of hygiene to use and eliminate toxic elements (often are extrinsic factors)
2.    Enhance the meaningfulness of the job itself, make people feel responsible for the outcomes, and give feedback (often are intrinsic factors)

McClelland’s Need for Achievement Theory

According to McClelland’s research, people are motivated in the workplace by a need to achieve and also to receive recognition for their work.

Important factors in the need to achieve include the ability to define what it means to achieve, and that achievement is meaningful, perceived, and recognized by people whose opinions are meaningful to the individual.

1.    Achievement involves personal responsibility (and thus, clear credit for work done)

2.    Successful and continuous achievers know how to set goals that are not too high, but which are achievable (and tend to be moderate). They also take “calculated risks” and thus their risk-taking behavior is carefully modulated

3.    It is important to give concrete feedback in order to reinforce the fact that the achievement has been realized, and also to improve processes in the future (to assure continuing achievement).

Relating the Theories

When one takes a look at the three main theories, it’s clear that they involve many of the same concerns; namely, achievement and also the perception of how and when achievement is accomplished.

Maslow and Herzberg’s theories work well together to discuss and explain the conditions that must be present in order to motivate individuals and also to set the stage for learning and performance.

Both Herzberg and McClelland include the need for achievement and they look at them as basically intrinsic motivators, which means that in order to motivate, efforts have to be expended that will create feedback loops as well as reinforcement and self-perpetuating dynamics that tie to achievement, recognition of achievement, and eagerness to achieve again (and thus repeat the positive experience).


Herzberg, F. (1966).  Work and the Nature of Man. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co.

Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper and Brothers,.

McClelland, D. C. and Johnson, E. W. (1984). Learning to Achieve. Glenview, IL: Scott, Forsman, & Co.

Pardee, R. L. (1990). Motivation Theories of Maslow, Herzberg, McGregor, and McClelland. ERIC

Blog post authored by: Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.


Source: e-Learning Queen

Training Delivery: To Push or to Pull?

Brian WashburnGuest post by Brian Washburn*

Learning should be self-directed. L&D departments should provide resources for people to access and then get out of the way. Allow your employees to access the resources they need, whenever they need them. Heck, most people find what they need just by doing a quick Google search.

The L&D department of the future is less about an army of instructional designers pushing training out to the masses and more about being nimble, responsive to needs, curating resources and putting them where people can find them, while providing on-demand performance support.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles and engaging in a lot of conversations with other learning professionals lately, and this seems to be the prevailing attitude.

It makes sense. A McKinsey study I like to cite from time to time says companies spend $100 billion (with a “b”!!!) each year on training initiatives around the world and only 25% of those initiatives actually show measurable results. With numbers like that,pushing training out is definitely wasteful. Professional development is something that should be “pulled” by employees, when they need it.

“Learning Zealot” Mark Britz shared his organization’s experience creating more of a “pull” learning culture last week in an article entitled Money Talks, Bullsh*t Walks. Author and all-around learning revolutionary Clark Quinn expanded upon the idea yesterday in a short post on his blog.

I like the idea of training and professional development that should be pulled. Mostly.

On the other hand, training and professional development programs aren’t necessarily all about the return on investment. They’re not always about whether people walk away immediately being able to do something new or differently or better.

Sometimes pushing a training program is necessary. Sometimes supervisors should require their employees to attend certain training programs. While the employees may not do anything right away with what they’ve learned, sometimes a seed is planted. Sometimes a new idea that a self-directed learner may never have thought to expose him or herself to will be presented.

Diversity training is a prime example of this. Sending employees to an industry conference or association’s annual meeting to gain exposure to new trends and technologies is another example. I could go on.

Self-aware, self-directed learners with an enlightened L&D department of the future and an effective manager is great. Maybe it’s even the ideal situation. Yet even the most self-aware, self-directed learner needs to be nudged into new and challenging directions in order to continue to grow. And pushing learning onto them from time to time can be a key piece of their development.


Source: Train like a champion


Improving the user experience in e-learning projects

How important is the integration of social learning, mobile learning and game-based learning? Premises that instructional designers should consider today. Recommendations to increase students engagement levels.

Interview with Julie Dirksen (, a consultant and instructional designer with more than 20 years’ experience creating interactive e-learning experiences for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to technology startups to grant-funded research initiatives. She loves brains, and games and evidence-based practice. Her MS degree is in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University and she’s been an adjunct faculty member at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She wrote the book ‘Design For How People Learn and she’s happiest whenever she gets to learn something new’.

Julie participated in the ATD 2015 Science of Learning session with David Rock (Director at NeuroLeadership Institute) and Karl Kapp (Professor at Bloomsburg University).

Which premises should consider an instructional designer to do his/her job effectively today?

Julie Dirksen: I think the biggest challenge facing our field is that a lot of our current work is content delivery. Much of what we do in L&D is to collect and package up content in an easily digestable format for learners, but in the long term that work is going to be replaced by content strategy and intelligent content that resides in content management systems. L&D will still have value, but it will be in areas like performance support, behavior change and social learning environments. Those are the areas Learning & Development should be focusing on.

What are the main keys to improve the user experience in e-learning projects?

The simplest tool is basic user testing. I frequently ask groups of elearning people about how many of them are doing user testing of their courses and digital tools. It’s always less than half the people in the room, and often just one or two people. With remote meeting tools, user testing has gotten incredibly easy too! You can just have your user share their screen and watch them go through the course. It’s amazing what you learn that way. Besides that, I would say Contextual Inquiry (otherwise known as job shadowing) and prototyping are the other key skills. UX practitioners are also doing some interesting work in visually mapping the users’ experience as well.

What recommendations can you do to increase students’ engagement levels in instances of online learning?

Usually the best tool is to give them an interesting problem to solve or a challenge scenario to respond. Then people have a reason to learn your content — it’s in service of solving the problem. There’s a curriculum designer who creates whole math lessons for kids (around single questions like “Should people with bigger feet pay more for shoes?” Basically, as long as there’s a immediate question or need for the learner, then it’s much easier for them to pay attention.

How important is the integration of social learning, mobile learning and  game-based learning in e-learning projects?

I’m really interested in game-based learning, but not for the obvious reasons. I love good learning games, but I’m also interested in game design because game designers know an incredible amount about developing the skills of their players. I think game designers approach skill development at an incredibly sophisticated level, and there’s a lot we could learn from that as instructional designers.

Social learning, and growing good learning communities is going to become a critical skill for instructional designers, because the speed of change is too fast for any single individual to keep up. Frequently, SOPs and Manuals are out of date before we can even finish the proofreading.  There will still be a place for formal documentation, but if people need up-to-the-minute answers on how to get work done, they are going to need access to a strong community.



LINGOs and PM4NGOs Announce Over 10,000 Development Workers Have Completed a Project Management Certification

lingos.100(LINGOs) Results and impact from the first 5 years of the application of the PMD Pro certification in the international humanitarian and development sector show the need for a common project management approach that is specifically designed for NGOs and their systems and processes. PMD Pro is already receiving widespread adoption from notable organizations like Mercy Corps and World Vision. The milestone of 10,000 certifications is being marked with the release of PMD Pro Forward, Making the World Better, One Project at a Time.

LINGOs, a non-profit organization focused on certified project management training for international aid and nongovernment organization (NGO) workers, today announced that 10,000 workers across 70 countries have completed the NGO sector’s leading Project management certification, PMD Pro.

In recognition of this milestone, LINGOs released a report detailing both the challenges humanitarian and development workers face when managing complex projects around the world as well as how PMD Pro has empowered them with a much-needed common and accesible approach to project management. Benefits of PMDPro include improved Project design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

The end of 2015 will mark a watershed moment for the global development community. NGOs, donors, governments and international organizations are set to plot a new course for sustainable development beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

With ambitious new goals, there will be an even greater need for transparency and accountability, creating demand for new project management tools. Without these tools, it is increasingly difficult to manage in a more complex environment, with many partners and collaborators, and ensure Project milestone and completion dates are met, resources are mobilized effectively, and risks are identified and managed.

With NGOs managing projects in places where nobody else will go, LINGOs convened a working group of several international NGOs and private sector experts such as the Project Management Institute to create PMD Pro, a Project management capacity certification specifically designed by international NGOs for all development workers to provide tools to better monitor and evaluate projects, goals and outcomes. The certification is owned and managed by the non-profit PM4NGOs with an express vision to maintain an open and accesible body of knowledge and certification with which any organization can design its own training materials. For example, LINGOs has created open and free online learning modules, available to anyone, and offered in five languages.

“International development requires funders, NGOs, and governments to work together to not only offer funding, but to equip knowledgeable and capable aid workers with the skills they need to realize our goals of creating a world where access to education, life-saving medicines and clean water and food are the norm,” said Chris Proulx, President and CEO of LINGOs. “By providing our sector’s professionals with a common language of project management through the PMD Pro certification, we are helping to foster more responsiveness and collaboration both within an NGO and among international, national, and local organizations. By implementing these standards we are helping to reduce the complexity that is commonly inherent in international development projects to allow NGO professionals to do their jobs more effectively.”

The recently released report, PMD Pro Forward Making the World Better One Project at a Time, further highlights the many challenges international development and NGO workers face when managing various projects is available at The report stated that in the absence of a common framework, project planning, implementation, monitoring, change management and project closure were common challenges.

Craig Redmond, Senior Vice President of Programs at Mercy Corps said, “Project Management represents a fundamental set of skills. If we don’t do project management right, nothing else is possible. PMD Pro and our own Program Management at Mercy Corps Initiative are finally giving us a common language that has been missing for many years.”

In response to these challenges, the report further highlighted the significant impact that the PMD Pro certification has provided, including delivering improved project outcomes, promoting local partnerships to assist with Project implementation, increasing the accessibility of training in the hardest to reach places, and fostering even stronger control over project costs.

The report concluded with a powerful call-to-action. “We will continue to build on the success of PMD Pro by setting new standards for project management in international development. This will be achieved as multiple development actors—NGOs, civil society organizations and governments—come on board, and through sustained local capacity building, effective partnerships with donors and further translation of the course into other languages.”

LINGOs, a non-profit organization, is the international NGO sector’s largest membership-based consortium dedicated solely to training and capacity building. It has a membership of over 80 international humanitarian relief, development, conservation and social justice organizations. LINGOs has been a leader in curating, developing, and disseminating appropriate learning and development tools, technology and content to over 50,000 NGO staff in developing countries since 2004. The PMD Pro certification, in particular, provides project managers and team members working in the international development sector with training on the skills and tools need to successfully manage their projects.




Note to the eLearning industry: HTML5 now or bust!

 alfredo.leoneby Alfredo Leone, QuickLessons CEO

Mobility, ubiquity and portability are key requirements for any type of learning as the market fully embraces to the demand of learners to access knowledge when and where is needed. Learners today expect access to relevant and useful information on various types of mobile devices connected via networks of ever cheaper and faster bandwidth.

This trend toward multi-device and multi-access learning is solidifying day after day, making responsive content design one of the most critical components of any production process for online training material. The premise today is for learning to “follow” the person and not the other way around.

In this dynamic online learning scenario, HTML5 is finally going mainstream as the leading technology to structure and present learning content online. Here are some powerful reasons to adopt HTML5 today even when legacy constrains seem to favor a “wait and see” approach:

  1. HTML5 provides content adaptability to all screen sizes. While this alone is not sufficient to address the complexity of developing learning content for different form factors, developing in one single responsive language is a significant value in terms of both productivity and efficiency.
  2. HTML5 is truly cross platform because it does not require any proprietary player to run. Even considering that only the latest versions of the most popular web browsers are capable of properly rendering HTML5, the advantage of “running everywhere” in today’s BYOD corporate world is too big to miss.
  3. HTML5 is a universal working standard. There is an inevitability in the industry that HTML5 is already the worldwide reference for content creation that will drive and unify learning content production and the associated platforms to create and manage it. The fact that Facebook, YouTube, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung and Apple all have been endorsing HTML5 should be an indication of such inevitability… anyone missing from this list?
  4. Supply and demand! As companies continue to experiment and ultimately launch HTML5 based learning projects, the demand for a new wave of service providers, technologies and skills will continue to grow. With this demand, more and more skills will be developed on HTML5 making it the language to use to attract new and creative talent. You just need to ask students across any campus on what they think you should use when developing content online.
  5. On a slightly more technical front, HTML5 builds on the simplicity of its web development origins to create a flexible and clean way to program while also providing a robust, flexible and high performance framework ideally suited to more demanding online learning experiences.
  6. HTML5 takes video to the next level (audio too!). While older platforms for content development consider video as a “black box” content element and limit access to it within their proprietary players, HTML5 makes video central to the content experience, searchable and available without restrictions.
  7. As HTML5 becomes better defined, more and more platforms are available to develop content in HTML5. The vendor community is finally showing up at the table with products that deliver a great learning experience with all the benefits mentioned above.

As mentioned above, HTML5 adoption is already an established reality and leading technology companies are giving strong signals to the market to get on the right bandwagon. In January 2015, YouTube announced the abandonment of Flash to start using HTML5. Accompanying this action, Google launched the initiative, a portal that provides articles and tutorials on the new version of the programming language of the Web. Meanwhile Apple confirmed repeatedly they would not support Flash on its iPhones and iPads, favoring HTML5. And Facebook launched its HTML5 Resource Center. The list continues to include more traditional technology vendors: from 2013 SAP is committed to HTML5 for its mobile application platform, and Microsoft also boosts HTML5 as one of its core technologies.

The measurements mentioned by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the article ‘The recommendation of HTML5, a milestone for the Open Web Platform’, clearly reflect the trend. A survey by Vision Mobile (2014) revealed that 42% of the 10,000 developers approached use the combination of HTML, CSS and JavaScript for all or part of their mobile applications. Gartner identified HTML5 as one of the top 10 mobile technologies for 2015 & 2016, asserting that the HTML5 “is an essential technology for organizations that develop applications across multiple platforms.”

Undoubtedly, the current market evidence shows that it is time to leave behind the “wait and see” approach taken by many learning professionals and leaders and finally adopt HTML5 as a core element of their e-learning projects. Indeed, it is HTML5 now or bust!


Initially published in eLearning Industry with the following title: ‘7 Powerful Reminders To Finally Adopt HTML5 In Corporate eLearning


Finding Inspiration for eLearning

elearningbrothers.findingGuest post by Brother Sean (eLearning Brothers)

Here are some great ways to find inspiration for your eLearning:

Find a Role Model

You can’t take a shot at something without something to aim for. Is there a creative or intellectual person you really look up to? Think how your hero might solve the problem and try that out. If they are accessible, maybe even pick their brain a little. I’m not saying you need to become a complete mirror of this person and their body of work, but use them as a jumping off point and figure out how they do the amazing things they do. After all, no creation exists in isolation. You have to draw from what you know.

Throw Stuff at the Wall and See What Sticks

Brainstorm your socks off! No matter how stupid it sounds, treat every idea like it’s the one. When you allow each idea to either blossom or wilt, you’ll get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t.

Step Away for a Moment

Every creative type knows that ideas can strike when you least expect them to. If your brain has hit a wall and you’re having trouble trying to force something good out of it, get up, walk away and do something mindless. Take a walk, play a video game, wrestle with your dog. A little downtime will take the away the pressure and allows the brain to subconsciously work something out in the background.

Pounce on an Idea When it Happens

When an idea finally does come, write it down immediately and put the rubber to the road as soon as you can. If you keep telling yourself that you’ll get to it tomorrow, tomorrow will always be conveniently in the future, and you will never accomplish a thing. On the same note, if you consistently have ideas that you don’t act on, you’ll lose faith in your own skills, fast, and nothing drains creativity quite like low self-esteem.

Look in Unusual Places

Inspiration can come from the oddest places. Look at something you appreciate artistically, whether it be Picasso, Dr. Seuss, the Beatles or even your Saturday morning cartoons. Whatever source you draw from, figure out which elements of their piece you enjoy and how have they been executed so successfully. Try to incorporate what you’ve learned into your course.

Stretch Yourself and Your Ideas

Try taking your ideas as far as they can possibly go. Stretch them to their breaking point and test their limits. Do what you can to really get a feel for the potential scope of your ideas.

Don’t bee uh perffekshonist

Not every written word or line drawn needs to be a priceless work of art worth dipping in gold. It’s better to have things done and ready to edit and polish than it is to polish each individual piece one by one as you put it in. Setting a standard for yourself does not mean rejecting anything short of absolute excellence. As a mere mortal, perfection is impossible, so when you make it the standard, expect to become much less productive.

Know When You’re Done

Nineteenth century French novelist Honoré de Balzac was notorious for making his own manuscripts bleed red ink. So much so, in fact, that he would sometimes make significant changes to his books while they were being published at a great cost to himself and his publisher. The urge to keep adding more gets to the best of us. Knowing when you need to step away and hand over your work is a fine art in itself. It takes practice, but you should give yourself enough time to work on your course and have the judgement to know when to let your “babies” leave the nest.




Adaptive Learning: Will we reach its potential in 2015?

(Guest post by James J. Goldsmith, Learning Architect/ Business Advisor at Accenture – Chicago, IL)

The Year 2015 will bring many new opportunities for learning specialists to contribute to their profession. But, given such market forces as the convergence of new technologies, advances in neurobiology, changing learner demographics, and escalating client expectation (to name a few), it will also provide a number of new challenges.

Drilling down a bit, several specific challenges come to mind, including the appropriate use of:  collaborative work environments, serious games and gamification, Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) systems, mLearning application, BYOD integration, MOOCs, VUCA, etc. They are all interesting topics (and, doubtless, there will be many articles and blogs devoted to them), but I would like to focus on one area that I think is particularly challenging and one that also offers great rewards if its challenges can be met: Adaptive Learning.

Adaptive Learning seeks to achieve the same level of flexibility and real-time support found in the relationship between an engaged learner and an active learning mentor. In Adaptive Learning, the learner can dynamically adjust the form and/or content of the instruction to personalize the learning experience. Importantly, the learner can tailor the event to focus on unique learning needs and, also, the learner’s questions are addressed specifically and in real-time.  While often associated with computer-based instruction, Adaptive Learning can be applied more broadly to any learning delivery format but, unfortunately, not without difficulty.

Among its benefits, Adaptive Learning can (when integrated successfully into a learning event):

  • Increase learner motivation and engagement
  • Decrease learner time to mastery
  • Decrease the time (and, therefore, the cost) needed to run a learning event
  • Reduce the time learning mentors  need to spend on routine, repeated issues (giving them more time to work on important things)
  • Make effective learning truly scalable at a reasonable cost

Adaptive learning is not a new idea (with initial attempts starting in the 1970’s), but achieving its goals has been elusive. Let’s examine why…

As mentioned, it can be said that Adaptive Learning seeks to emulate the virtues of a successful mentor/learner relationship. Though labor-intensive and expensive (sometimes extremely so), when done well, the mentor/learner model has several advantages, including:

  • The learning approach is holistic, involving cognitive, social and emotional elements. Under the right circumstances, the relationship between the mentor and learner provides the structure, resources and motivation to accelerate high-quality learning.  This relationship is a key (if not THE key) component in this learning model.
  • The mentor is able to continually respond to the learner’s needs, adjusting the learning approach and/or content shared to the right level. Of course, the learner is also an active participant in this process and can request or make adjustments, as needed.
  • Elaborating on the point above, the mentor can draw on an unlimited number of examples (often using a story format) to make points in context that will help the learner achieve targeted learning goals quickly and efficiently.
  • Further elaborating, the learner can ask questions about anything at any time, and can expect to get helpful, real-time responses.

Because the direction that human communication can take is infinite and unpredictable, this is a very complex model – one not easy duplicated when the live mentor / learner relationship is removed or modified. When compared against this model, computer-based learning/eLearning has been most successful in addressing learners’ cognitive needs but has been less successful in addressing their social and emotional needs. Though attempts have been made to:

1) anticipate different responses through branching and

2) provide a human presence using a recorded on-line coach, etc., the results sometimes are too basic or too artificial to be effective and, ultimately, disappoint. Also, computers today continue to perform faster and faster but their application in a learning context is restricted. Anyone who has flummoxed Siri with a question easily answered by a five year-old would probably agree that there is room for improvement. Having said this, advances in “cognitive scaffolding” (i.e., a system’s ability to assess cognitive status and adjust to address gaps rather than areas already mastered) show great promise and merit further study.

So, how can we, in 2015, address our current challenge to maximize the potential of Adaptive Learning? There are many possible actions but I’d like to offer one short-term and one long-term suggestion:

  • Short Term: Blended Learning. As is true for many learning design problem, a viable approach could be the synergistic blending of a variety of learning design and delivery approaches. For example, on a project that I recently completed, we chose to cover the program’s general awareness-type material using an online self-study format.  This approach enabled us to develop (and ensure) the realization of basic core competencies for all participants. It also helped us to prepare them for meaningful participation in the program’s more advanced studies.  For these studies (case-based requiring critical thinking), we provided opportunities (both live and virtual) for real-time dialog between the participants and the course facilitators, as well as peer-to-peer discussions.  While not as seamless or dynamic as a comparable live mentor/learner model (which offers continuous opportunities for dialog in real time), this approach did provide opportunities for meaningful discussions with experts and, combined with the self-study segment, was a cost-effective solution.
  • Long Term: Employ a computer system that is both smart AND compassionate (a combination of HAL-9000 and Wall-E, as it were).   Of course, the goal is to develop an intelligent system that closely mimics the dynamic relationship of a live mentor/learner and which provides balanced support for the cognitive, social and emotional needs of the learner.  In addition, this system needs to be safe, affordable and reliable.  Achieving this in 2015 is, well, a stretch goal.

Currently, segments of the learning industry have embraced achieving Adaptive Learning as a worthwhile goal.  Academic studies continue and several vendor products designed to contribute to Adaptive Learning outcomes are currently available. Examples include Carnegie Learning’s Cognitive Tutor, Desire2Learn’s Knowillage LeaP, Sherston Software’s PlanetSherston, and 30 or so more.  Likely, they will be joined by competing products as the underlying technologies improve and more business opportunities emerge. Though these products are promising, for now a well-conceived blended solution that includes live mentors as well as online adaptive learning systems may continue to be the most prudent path for many learning challenges.

Source: America Learning Media (


Warning: fopen(/home1/ql2010/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/wp-google-plus-one/lib/standard.txt) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home1/ql2010/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/wp-google-plus-one/plusone.php on line 104

Warning: fread(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home1/ql2010/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/wp-google-plus-one/plusone.php on line 105

Warning: fclose(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /home1/ql2010/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/wp-google-plus-one/plusone.php on line 106