Training in the 21st Century

Strategic Tuition Assistance

Guest Blogger: Kyle Lagunas, HR Analyst at Software Advice

While there are many potential benefits of tuition assistance programs (or TAPs), the challenge for business leaders is to manage investments in employee education in a way that maximizes returns–both for the employer and the employee. Not only does a TAP need to encourage the development of specific skills in your workforce, it also needs to empower employees to pursue their educational goals.

For companies who want to launch a new TAP—or revamp an existing one—it’s hard to know where to begin. To that end, I connected with John Zappa, CEO of EdLink to identify a few key steps to get you started.

1. Identify Goals, Support with Investments
Work with your senior management team to set quantifiable, measurable goals. Address the question of cost early on, using your goals as a guiding compass. The more critical a goal, the larger your investment in a TAP. Alternatively, you can follow industry standards for less-than-critical goals.

You might consider breaking qualifying coursework into groups. Here is an example:

 


 

 

 

 

 

2. Establish Guidelines, Communicate Expectations and Opportunities
Clear guidelines and qualifications will help to ensure a TAP supports your business goals. As such, they Continue reading →

Getting to the Heart of Gamified Learning Development

Guest Blogger: Kyle Lagunas, HR Analyst at Software Advice

Employee engagement and participation in learning and development programs has always been a challenge. With the rapid development and deployment of new tools and technology in the workplace, though, there’s more to be learned and mastered than ever. Leaders are now looking for methods to tackle this issue head-on and driving demand for changes in learning management. Enter gamification.

The use of game mechanics in non-game environments to improve user experience and participation is rapidly gaining interest as a solution for improving learning management. We’re told it can fundamentally change an organization’s learning and development processes, but many still aren’t sure how—and have questions around what gamification really is.

The Truth About Gamification

Let me be clear: Gamification is not about turning work into a game, or making work fun. As Andrzej Marczewski of Capgemini explains, employees won’t be sitting at their desks, “with Call of Duty-like games on their screens, shooting at reports and running around 3D spreadsheets.” At its core, gamification is a tool for motivating your people to show up and perform to the best of their ability. Continue reading →

Reflections on Colloquial “Bandwidth”: What Does It Mean for Us?

“I just don’t have the bandwidth to go to that meeting tonight,” I said to a friend/colleague at the end of another hectic week. After commiserating, my friend noted that the term “bandwidth” is being used a lot these days to describe our everyday condition. “A few years ago,” she said, “everyone talked about taking things ‘offline.’ Now, everyone talks about ‘bandwidth.’” What does the change in use of terms tell us about shifts in our thinking and concerns, and what do we really mean by “bandwidth”?

Thinking back, the phrase to “take it offline” became widely used at a time when we were realizing that electronic communications could not be counted on to remain private. E-mails could be accidentally, or purposely, forwarded to the wrong people. And with the onset of information overload, it was becoming clear that not every communication needed to be shared with everyone. For trainers, “let’s take that offline,” became a new way to respond to topics that threatened to sidetrack a workshop into subjects that were not relevant to the learning goals.

Today, I rarely use or hear “take it offline.” But I use and hear the term “bandwidth” often—it offers a pithy way to say a lot of things in one word. Continue reading →

Mentoring – Making Beautiful Music Together

Guest Blogger: Kris Schaeffer, CPLP, Kris Schaeffer & Associates

I used to share office space with Titus Dickson.  He was an opera coach and one of his students was the famous soprano Ruth Ann Swenson.  Titus described how opera singers coached each other and passed along their techniques and tips.  He said that the notion that opera singers are high-maintenance competitive performers may be true for only a handful of the most notorious divas.  It’s not the ethic of the profession.  “Opera grows as an art only when the masters are willing to pass along their learning to the next generation.”  With each opera, the cast of singers becomes a team. They help each other master their parts.  They’re all looking for the same things – the critique’s rave review and a packed house.

An entire profession believes that they need to help each other to make beautiful music together.

That generous spirit reminded me of some sage advice I heard in my early years of ASTD – my professional organization.  Peter Lewis looked around the local Chapter meeting room and said, Continue reading →

The Importance of Being (Earnestly) Heard

Years ago, when I attended a 12-week course on Facilitation offered by Community at Work, I learned many valuable skills and techniques that I continue to use in both face-to-face and virtual meetings and training events. One of the most important and valuable insights I gained was something Community at Work’s founder, Sam Kaner, told us during the course, “It’s really hard for people to listen before they feel heard.” I came to realize how true, and how important, that statement was as I gained experience facilitating meetings for groups and teams whose members spent their time and energy trying to get their points across. And no one was listening. Continue reading →


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