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According to analyst Josh Bersin, US companies spent well over $70 Billion for employee training in 2013. Analysts predict that amount is will be significantly greater in 2015.

These are the kinds of statistics one might expect C-suite executives to pay attention to. So it’s odd that they seem not to be paying much attention to the ROI for corporate training.

It’s abysmal.

PHOTO elephant in room

Leading experts have studied the subject at length; the statistics they provide differ. Some say there are too many variables to allow for “one-size-fits-all” statements about how much training is retained, and how quickly it is forgotten. They note the  variety of training goals and audiences receiving the training, as well as differences in training delivery methods.

Having said this, there is general agreement among experts in the field that that corporate training’s success rate is, shall I say, “poor.”

One of these experts is Dr. Art Kohn, who has done a great deal of work on “the forgetting curve” and its effect on training retention. He’s also the recipient of not one but two Fulbright Fellowships for work in Cognitive Psychology and Educational Technology. In a recent article in Learning Solutions, he wrote the following:

It is the dirty secret of corporate training: no matter how much you invest into training and development, nearly everything you teach to your employees will be forgotten…this investment is like pumping gas into a car that has a hole in the tank. All of your hard work simply drains away.

The fact is that this “dirty secret” is really not secret at all.

The research and resulting articles about this have been out there for years. Yet there’s not much evidence that corporae executives are acting upon it, despite its its obvious and critical importance to the bottom line.

Bersin’s research also shows an explosive growth in technology-driven training, including self-authored video, online communication channels, virtual learning, and MOOCs. Worldwide, formal classroom education, now accounts for less than half the total training “hours.”

According to Bersin, mobile devices are now used to deliver as much as 18% of all training among what he calls “highly advanced companies.”

Does this mean that employees are using their iPads to access Udemy courses? If so, is there a significant difference in retention rate for employees who have information presented by a live trainer while sitting in a room with 20 fellow workers… versus those who receive it on mobile phone the subway on the way home at night… compared to someone being trained via  iPad while sitting in the living room after the kids have been put to bed?

We won’t have statistics to provide answers to those questions for some time.

But corporations should be watching closely to see if new methods of delivering training result in a dramatic increase in retention among employees once they’re on the job — because if Kohn is right, even achieving a whopping 400% increase in retention will mean that after just one week, the average employee will still be retaining only about half of what is needed on-the-job.

That’s hardly a stunning success rate.

Research has made it abundantly clear that the basic premise that drives corporate training is fatally flawed.

It’s abundantly clear that the training corporations are currently providing to their employees  is not succeeding in providing them with the information they need to do their jobs properly the first time. So why does corporate America keep throwing good money after bad, trying to find a “patch” or download an “updated version”?

It’s as if a purple elephant with pink toenails is standing next to the coffee table and corporations are only willing to acknowledge that there’s an “unusual scent in the air.”

My next blog will give more compelling facts to show why a major change in corporate training is needed.

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Here’s my daily reading list from which I pick and chose every day. The represent the best minds in the area of learning and learning technology. Enjoy!

Aaron Silvers

Adventures in Corporate Education

aLearning

Allison Rossett

Assets

B Online Learning

Blogger in Middle-earth

Bottom-Line Performance

Bozarthzone

brave new org

Brian Dusablon

Challenge to Learn

Clark Quinn

Clive on Learning

Connect Thinking

Courseware Development

Daretoshare

Dawn of Learning

Designed for Learning

Designing Impact

Developer on Duty

Discovery Through eLearning

Dont Waste Your Time

e-bites

e-Learning Academy

E-Learning Provocateur

E-learning Uncovered

easygenerator

eCampus Blog

eLearning 24-7

eLearning Acupuncture

eLearning Blender

eLearning Brothers

eLearning Cyclops

eLearning TV

Electronic Papyrus

Element K Blog

Engaged Learning

Enspire Learning

Experiencing eLearning

Getting Down to Business

Good To Great

I Came, I Saw, I Learned

ICS Learning Group

ID Reflections

IDiot

Ignatia Webs

In the Middle of the Curve

Integrated Learnings

Interactyx Social Learning

Jay Cross

Jay Cross’s Informal Learning

Joitske Hulsebosch eLearning

Jonathan’s ID

Kapp Notes

KnowledgeStar

Lars is Learning

Latitude Learning Blog

Learn and Lead

Learnability Matters

Learnadoodledastic

Learnforever

Learning and Technology

Learning Cafe

Learning Conversations

Learning Developments

Learning in a Sandbox

Learning Journeys

Learning Next

Learning Putty

Learning Rocks

Learning Technology Learning

Learning Unbound Blog

Learning Visions

LearnNuggets

Leveraging Learning

Living in Learning

Managing eLearning

mLearning Trends

Moodle Journal

onehundredfortywords

Ontuitive

OutStart Knowledge Solutions

Performance Learning Productivity

Pragmatic eLearning

QuickThoughts

Rapid Intake

Redtray

Road to Learning

Rob Hubbard

SharePoint and Assessment

Simply Speaking

Skilful Minds

Social Enterprise Blog

Social Learning Blog

Spark Your Interest

Speak Out

Spicy Learning

Sticky Learning

Stoatly Different

Sudden Insight

Take an e-Learning Break

Tayloring it

The E-Learning Curve

The eLearning Coach

The Learned Man

The Learning Circuits Blog

The Learning Generalist

The Peformance Improvement Blog

The Writers Gateway

Thinking Cloud

Tony Karrer

Trina Rimmer

Twitterpated with Learning

Upside Learning Blog

Vikas Joshi on Interactive Learning

Web 2.0 and Learning

Wonderful Brain

Work 2.0 Blog

ZaidLearn

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NOTE (October, 2012): I first posted this piece in 2004. At the time I was looking at educational theories and methods that had been developed in the early 1970’s and that rather mysteriously became the de facto standard for developing educational programs.

I saw two major problems with ADDIE.

The first is obvious. The way we learned back then was simple and singular. Classroom, teacher, facing front in rows, be quiet, raise hands, take tests and more tests then PASS or FAIL. The ADDIE model worked and perhaps that is why is was adopted as THE standard even though there was no standards body that developed and accepted ADDIE. Thanks to Don Clark‘s research into ADDIE (which I recommend), it was developed by the US Army in 1975, and then copied by corporations, presumably by people who heard about it and experienced it in that environment. The problem is that today – and into the future if the past is any guide – we learn and will learn in dramatically different ways. Ways that ADDIE cannot support as a developmental model.

Second, either explicitly or implicitly ADDIE still is the default for defining, designing, developing, delivering, managing and measuring education. That means – and I still experience this – whenever educational programs are being created, the underlying thinking is A – D – D- I -E. This not only limits the way new educational programs are developed, it hamstrings the creative use of new learning technologies. Technologies that were not even dreamed of when ADDIE became the accepted guideline for development. It precludes many, if not all, of the powerful capabilities technology promises . Learning that is blended, mobile, flipped, social and more. So my conclusion then and now is that ADDIE must die. 

The Premise

ADDIE is the illegitimate child of the Industrial Age, and using it is an addiction that almost always leads to formal training programs that are, in these digital days of rapidly advancing Blended,Mobile, Flipped and Social Learning, close to worthless if not actually counterproductive.

The good news? There is a better alternative …

Note: This is Part One of a two part series.

The future is a foreign country where

they do things differently than we do today…

Preface

I never minded school that much. It was the place where my friends hung-out and occasionally suffered through a class with me. I’m not sure what I learned or if it was of any use, but it was at least social. Learning in the workplace was the same until the computer started to pop-up everywhere. Then learning became lonely, it became anti-social.

Those of us who are trying t put the social back into the learning too often focus on the forest. The Big Enterprise 2.0 picture. This is a look at one of the trees – ADDIE – and it’s contribution to ongoing tradition of cranking out ineffective Enterprise 1.0 formal learning programs.

Change is Hard

Change is the most difficult yet desired state to which people want to move. Yet we live in the past in which habits rule and rules become habits. They don’t even need to be good habits or intelligent rules. Just habits and rules.

You’ve probably heard that expressions “If every problem is a nail, then every solution is a hammer”?

With ADDIE, if every problem is a lack of knowledge or know-how, then every solution is a formal training program …

Now I already know that you are falling into one of several categories of readers.

  • You are so hooked on ADDIE that anyone who tries to show you that ADDIE has no clothes is an instant turnoff, and you are in the process of clicking away as fast as your finger can find your  mouse
  • You think ADDIE is okay, agnostic and can be used ‘back then’ as well as ‘moving forward’ and might consider reading what I have to say
  • You develop really compelling and exciting social learning experiences and have no idea what ADDIE means … you can go.

Hopefully those of you in the first two groups will read on …

The ADDIE Habit

ADDIE.  As you may (or may not) know, it stands for the five linear phases or guidelines for building effective training:

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation,
  • Evaluation.

ADDIE evolved into a more circular model in the late 1990’s and looked like this:

Evaluation became embedded in every part of the model. The variation was often called “Rapid Prototyping” which simply meant you ‘evaluated’ how well it was working at each A-D-D-I step.

There’s only one problem.

It no longer works.

Background Check

Here’s some ADDIE history. After doing an extensive search for the origin of ADDIE¹, I came to the conclusion that no one created the model. It was not the outcome of years of research, or a brilliant point of insight at the intersection of the disciplines that explore how we learn.

This idea is not new. It was, for example, originally published in an article by Michael Molenda of Indiana University, In Search of the Elusive ADDIE Model(Performance Improvement, May/June 2003).

During my halcyon ISD days, I didn’t really care who built the model, or that it was merely “… a colloquial term used to describe a systematic approach to instructional development, virtually synonymous with instructional systems development (ISD).”

Happy New Year 2005 (2013).  Now I do.

When Learning Was a Noun

It was around the late 1970’s when ADDIE suddenly became the de facto standard for developing training programs for the US government and everyone else. ADDIE seems to have been adopted as an acronym in all the RFP’s that were issued by TWLA (Those Who Love Acronyms).

That meant that ADDIE had its roots in the Industrial Economy.  A time when we managed hands and produced things. ADDIE was useful for helping people develop formal education programs in which knowledge was transferred and tests proved that it was ‘learned’.

ADDIE became the cutout you traced, the “paint by numbers” approach to developing and delivering programs that were the formal start – and too often the end – of your education. ADDIE was popular when organizations were bricks and mortar, development of programs was top down, and performance with regard to training was about getting a passing grade not adopting and adapting what you learned and transferring it back into the workplace.

When it came to really learning how to do anything, ADDIE led to the place where, if you were lucky, your informal education began. That was when you really started to learn how to do something².

Learning is Now a Verb

Times change. Take a look at the following chart to see how different the world of work is today:

Shift Happens

Performance, Performance and Performance

Today it’s all about performance. What can you do for me?  How can you do it faster and better? We’re well into the Knowledge Economy (aka Idea Economy), in which we manage minds and produce ideas. We no longer need to focus primarily on knowledge. We need to refocus on know-how and develop a model that supports learning how-to do something. Fix a thing. Make a thing. Come up with a solution. Steps to meet a challenge.

We need to focus on a developmental model that is more than just a “colloquial term”, one that helps incorporate new technologies and new ways of learning. One that enables rather than disables what we now understand as the learning process. A new model that provides knowledge AND  is the launching pad for know-how and real learning in the future.

A model that drives a Social Leaning program.

From this perspective, let’s take a closer look at ADDIE and judge how relevant it is today. In Part Two of this blog, we’ll look at replacement model that enables Social Learning.

WARNING: Boring details and research up next!

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Why build a Spanish LMS?

First, more and more of the schools with whom I’ve spoken this past year, individually and at conferences and meetings, have told me they need one and need one now. So I did some research and that brings us to the second point. The surprising facts: 

Spanish is spoken by almost 400 million people worldwide. Even more compelling, when you realize that about half of the population in the Western Hemisphere speaks Spanish, it becomes the primary language for as many people as English in this region of the world.

Within the United States, Spanish is the second most widely spoken language after English, by a very wide margin, and the Spanish-speaking population within the U.S. is growing as a percentage of the total U.S. population every year.

· According to the U.S. Census, the number of Hispanics in the U.S. grew by 57.9% between 1990 and 2000 – from a total of 22.4 million people to a total of 35.3 million people. This figure means the United States has the fifth largest Hispanic population worldwide (trailing Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Argentina – just barely behind Spain and Argentina).

· Of this group of over 35 million people, well over 3 out of 4 say that Spanish is their primary language.

· Within the United States, a total of over 28 million people speak Spanish at some degree of fluency. A few states have a large percentage of these Spanish speakers – California has 5.5 million, Texas has 3.4 million, New York has 1.8 million, and Florida has 1.5 million.

· In the U.S., the 28 million people who speak Spanish at home is well over half of the approximately 47 million people who speak a language other than English at home. That means that Spanish is spoken by more people than all other languages combined within the U.S.

· The 35 million Hispanics in the U.S. as of 2000 was projected to be close to 40 million people as of 2003. Moreover, by 2050, the number of Hispanics in the U.S is projected to grow exponentially to over 100 million people. At that point Hispanics will be about one quarter of the total U.S. population. That’s over triple the 2000 figure in a 50-year span.

· In the New York City area, the newscast on the Spanish-language Noticias 41 and Noticiero Univision, often have higher ratings than ‘the big three’ network news shows on CBS, NBC and ABC.

· Approximately 5.8 percent of Internet users speak Spanish, making it the 4th most common language among the Internet community, trailing only English (about 50%), Japanese (about 8%), and German (about 6%).

· A recent study of 25 metro markets in the U.S. found that Spanish-language programming was the sixth most popular format.

· It’s increasingly difficult to ignore the spread of Spanish in the United States. Bank ATMs offer instructions in Spanish. The Yellow Pages in many cities adds a Spanish-language insert. And Spanish is working its way into everyday use. Is there an American left who can’t order fajitas with spicy jalapeños using the proper Spanish-accented flair? (Say the J like an H: fah-hee-tas …)

· Over the past decade, the demand for Spanish Language courses worldwide has just about doubled, and the demand is almost as close in the U.S.

According to Paula Winke and Cathy Stafford of The Center for Applied Linguistics rapid demographic changes and an increasing recognition of the critical need for professionals who are proficient in languages other than English (Brecht & Rivers, 2000; Carreira & Armengol, 2001) have led to an interest in developing language programs and classes for “heritage language learners”. These are students who are raised in a home where a non-English language is spoken and who speak or at least understand that language (Valdés, 2001).

The fastest growing heritage language population in the United States is Hispanic Americans (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2010), and the number of Spanish speakers studying Spanish is on the rise. As a result, language educators are developing programs, classes, and instructional strategies to address the needs of these students, which are different from those of native-English-speaking students studying Spanish as a foreign language.

Appropriate instructional materials are essential for these classes, which are often referred to as Spanish for Spanish speakers (SNS) classes. Although the development of SNS materials has a 30-year history, and many new SNS textbooks and materials continue to appear, developing a well-articulated sequence for SNS instruction continues to be a challenge (Peyton, Lewelling, & Winke, 2001).

So is anyone listening? Here is a tremendous opportunity for this large group to learn new career skills using their native Spanish language. Are we so Anglophile that we do not care? Let me know. I always value and look forward to your opinions on these important subjects

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One of the biggest reasons people like learning online, especially late at night,  is that it’s a great way to get to sleep.

Just joking. Not. The following interview was originally written as Brain Rules for Meetings. As I read it, I was struck by the realization that it applies even more so as Brain Rules for Classes. It is right to the point about the ways that we need to be Great Instructors in our classes (which after all is and done are not essentially different than a meeting). What I find amazing is how many Teachers – Instructors – Lecturers do not follow the rules.

For those of you pressed for time, here’s a quick summary of the 3 key rules or “Brain Gadgets” that guarantee a really good class presentation:

  1. Start with the meaning of what you’re talking about, not the details. Details are b o r i n g, meaning is everything
  2. You have 10 minutes before the brain checks out … that means a powerful start EVERY 10 minutes if you want to hold their attention
  3. Key in on the 6 Big Questions everyone asks in any meeting or class that you need to answer … especially Question 5 and 6. I won’t even try and sum those up, so read on ….
Molecular biologist John Medina, speaker and author of the best-selling book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, didn’t set out to become a media star. But he got so fed up with encountering myths about the brain – that you use only 10 percent of it, for example, or that there are right- and left- brain personalities – that he once threw a magazine across a seat on an airplane. (The flight, he notes, wasn’t full.) “So I decided to write Brain Rules,” Medina said, “as an attempt to say, ‘Look, here’s what we do know, here’s what we don’t know, here are a few things you can try that might have an application in the business world – and the meetings world as well.'”

Not that Brain Rules will tell you how the brain operates. “We don’t know squat about how the brain works,” said Medina, who has focused on brain research for nearly three decades. He added: “I don’t know how you know how to pick up a glass of water and drink it. But we do know the conditions that [the brain] operates best in, even if we don’t know all the ins and outs of that operation.”

Which of the 12 Brain Rules has the most impact on meetings?

Well, probably, the biggest one would have to be about attentional states. This rule is very simple: People don’t pay attention to boring things. So if you really want to have a lousy meeting, make sure it’s boring. If you want to have a lousy classroom, make sure it’s boring. And if you want to vaccinate against the types of things that really do bore the mind, we have some understanding of that.

So how do you design a good meeting?

Here are the top three “brain gadgets” that probably have a bearing on the question. First, the human brain processes meaning before it processes detail. Many people, when they put meetings together, actually don’t even think about the meaning of what it is they’re saying. They just go right to the detail. If you go to the detail, you’ve got yourself a bored audience. Congratulations.

Second, in terms of attentional states, we’re not sure if this is brain science or not, but certainly in the behavioral literature, you’ve got 10 minutes with an audience before you will absolutely bore them. And you’ve got 30 seconds before they start asking the question, “Am I going to pay attention to you or not?” The instant you open your mouth, you are on the verge of having your audience check out. And since most people have been in meetings – 90 percent of which have bored them silly – they already have an immune response against you, particularly if you’ve got a PowerPoint slide up there.

How do you then hold attention?

This is what you have to do in 10 minutes. You have to pulse what I just said – the meaning before detail – into it. I call it a hook. At nine minutes and 59 seconds, you’ve got to give your audience a break from what it is that you’ve been saying and pulse to them once again the meaning of what you’re saying.

What is the third “brain gadget”?

The brain cycles through six questions very, very quickly. Question No. 1 is “Will it eat me?” We pay tons of attention to threat. The second question is “Can I eat it?” I don’t know if you have ever watched a cooking show and have loved what they are cooking, but you pay tons of attention if you think there’s going to be an energy resource. Question No. 3 is highly Darwinian. The whole reason why you want to live in the first place is to project your genes to the next generation – that means sex. So Question No. 3 is “Can I mate with it?” And Question No. 4 is “Will it mate with me?”

It turns out we pay tons of attention to – it actually isn’t sex per se, it’s reproductive opportunity. [It is also] hooked up to the pleasure centers of your brain – the exact same centers you use when you laugh at something. Oddly enough, I think that’s one of the reasons why humor can work. If you can pop a joke or at least tell an interesting story, it’s actually inciting those areas of the brain that are otherwise devoted to sex. You don’t become aroused by listening to a joke. I’m saying those areas of the brain can be co-opted. You can utilize them, and a good speaker knows how to do that.

What are Questions 5 and 6?

“Have I seen it before?” and “Have I never seen it before?” We are terrific pattern matchers. There is an element of surprise that comes when patterns don’t match, but the reason why that happens is because we are trying to match patterns all the time.

Is there a Brain Rule that addresses whether you should try to control the use of laptops and phones during a meeting session?

I have this rule response, based on data, and then I have a visceral response, also based on data. In other words, I’m about ready to tell you a contradiction. Are you ready?

Yes, I am.

Alrighty. I do believe what you can show is that there are attentional blinks. The brain actually is a beautiful multitasker, but the attentional spotlight, which you use to pay attention to things, [is not]. You can’t listen to a speaker and type what they are saying at the same time.

What you can show in the laboratory is that you get staccato-like attentional blinks. Just like you come up for air: You look at the speaker, then when you’re writing, you cannot hear what the speaker is saying. Then you come up for air and hear the speaker again. So you’re flipping back and forth between those two, and your ability to be engaged to hear what a speaker is saying is necessarily fragmented.
At the same time, if your speaker is boring, you could have checked out anyway. So you see, in many ways it depends upon the speaker.

How so?

If the speaker is really compelling and is clear and is emotion- ally competent, and has gone through those six questions, letting you come up for air every 10 minutes, I’ve actually watched audiences put their laptops away just to pay attention.

I have a style that is purposely a little speedier. And the reason why is that it produces a tension that says, “I need to pay attention closely to him or I’m going to lose what he’s saying.” I don’t make it so fast that it’s unintelligible – at least I hope I don’t. But I do make it fast, and occasionally I see comments that say, “Great speaker, but you know, you were too freaking fast.”

This interview originally appeared in the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) magazine

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I always knew that it’s all in my head, that my brain ruled and not my heart. It’s taken years of work in the Neurosciences to get to the point where they are realizing that they hardly know anything at all about the way the brain really works. John Medina, author of Brain Rules, is my favorite researcher because he’s honest about the science and at the same time very funny. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak take the time and go.

I always learn something useful about my brain when I read or see John. Since my brain controls my life the lessons are always valuable. For example, in this interview, I learned that the Listener (aka Audience) has no choice but to ask The First 6 Questions as I talk. They are so hardwired into our brains that we don’t even know we’re asking them. There were a lot of other great tips about public speaking, which is essentially what anyone does when they transfer knowledge or know-how to a group.

I often wondered what made John such a great speaker and now I know. He reveals his secrets here,  in this great interview with the Guru of Public Speaking himself. If you want to grab your audience when your speaking you would be well advised to take what John has to say to heart …  er make that brain.

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In the future all learning experiences will be flipped …

“Will the teacher please step to the front of the room.”

 

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