Problem Solving Course for everyone

Everybody can benefit from having good problem solving skills as we all encounter problems on a daily basis; some of these problems are obviously more severe or complex than others. Having good strong problem solving skills can make a huge difference to your career. The Educators Problem solving course will help you to tackles problem (at work or home) in a methodical way.

You will learn a wide range of practical techniques to understand problems thoroughly, generate and develop new ideas and solutions, compare and evaluate solutions and then communicate those ideas effectively.

Course Content:

Creative thinking; Positive thinking, Creative Thinking, Thinking Skills, Brainstorming, Mind Mapping, Critical thinking techniques, Creative Thinking Tools & Techniques

Problem Solving: Types of problem, Identify problems, Identifying root cause, Problem Solving Skills, Problem Solving & Performance Improvement Barriers to Success & How to Overcome Them, Collaborative Teams –roles, rules, and responsibilities

Decision Making: Decision style, Barriers to effective decisions, Causes of poor decisions, Types of problems and decisions, Evaluating different alternatives, Using 6 hats technique, Decision making in groups, Criteria for good decision making, Decision support tools.

Price: £ 50.00
Delivery mode: Online
Level: 3
Credit: 3
Award: Educators’ Certificate

English Language Teacher Training


Shaping the Way We Teach English is a video-based training product for English language educators. It has 14 modules (topics). The videos showcase classroom scenes from around the world and have an accompanying training manual plus additional readings.

The University of Oregon developed and produced the materials through funding from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs ©2007. All materials are free of charge and copyable for non-commercial educational use.

Modules, Introduction and 1-14

Shaping the Way We Teach English” is made up of the following modules and topics.

The Manual is available for download as a PDF file.

Videos are also now available through YouTube-UO (use the word “Shaping” to search for them all at once). You can also click on the links below to access them individually. Turn on closed caption if you would like to see what people in the video are saying. See technical support for online viewing guidelines. If the videos play too slowly online, you can download them by pasting the links in the KeepVid website and then saving them to your computer for offline viewing.

Video Transcripts

Available for modules: Intro * 01 * 02 * 03 * 04 * 05 * 06 * 07 * 08 * 09 * 10 * 11 * 12 * 13 * 14.

Video “See/Don’t See” Viewing Guides

To help identify main ideas for: Intro * 01 * 03 * 04 * 05 * 06 * 07 * 08 * 09 * 10 * 11 * 12 [PDFs].

Supplementary International Video Library Collection

New! Teachers have begun developing locally relevant and specialized training materials around the world. Some examples of this, in alphabetical order by country, include:

  • Russia: Website developed by David Fay, Elena Solovova, Elena Markova through the English Language Office of the U.S. Embassy Moscow (additional videos available in DVD format in Russia).
  • Saudi Arabia: Arabic subtitles added to the original videos, developed by Iqbal Al-Shuhail as part of the T2Reach Channel project (this is a YouTube playlist).

New! In training around the world, teachers have often asked if it would be possible to see full-length versions of some of the classes. Below are videos University of Oregon, American English Institute created in response to this.

  • Watch the Video: Full-length class of a university-level EFL course, Part 1 [Egypt].
  • Watch the Video: Full-length class of a university-level EFL course, Part 2 [Egypt].
  • Watch the Video: Full-length class of a secondary-level EFL course, Part 1 [Costa Rica].
  • Watch the Video: Full-length class of a secondary-level EFL course, Part 2 [Costa Rica].
  • Watch the Video: Full-length class of a secondary-level ESL course, Part 1 [African, in the DC area].
  • Watch the Video: Full-length class of a secondary-level ESL course, Part 2 [African, in the DC area].
  • Watch the Video: Full-length class of a primary-level bilingual course.

New! Teachers and teacher-trainers have also asked to see an example of a trainer using the “Shaping” materials with a group of trainees. Below is a workshop training session from Spring 2007 with co-trainers Leslie Opp-Beckman and Kay Westerfield. The workshop was for University of Oregon teachers who planned to train primary-level EFL teachers from Korea.

Teaching and Classroom Observation Checklists

Available for modules: 01 * 03 * 04 * 05 * 06 * 07 * 08 * 09 * 10 * 11 * 12 [PDFs].

List of Supplementary Web-based Readings

For each module, there is also a list of supplementary web-based readings.

How Cost effective is eLearning?

What Is The Cost Of eLearning Consumption

Let’s imagine you have to build new competence among the 3.000 employees of your company. Considering the scale of such learning intervention, you decide to do it by ordering the design and development of an eLearning course. You have a cooperating, tried, and tested company το create such a course with good quality and timely. You ask them to prepare the course and you receive two completely different offers:

  1. Simple Approach.  
    The first offer is based on a very simple approach. The development company proposes to build a simple presentation based on static visuals and short texts (leads, bullet point lists, catchwords, etc.). Such an eLearning course will be quite short (30 minutes long), simple, with no voice overs. It will get to the point and focus on the most important issues. Your partnering company demands for this service 5.000 USD.
  2. Advanced Approach.  
    The second offer is based on an advanced approach which will cover various high-end techniques like gamification, role-plays, and highly interactive quizzes. The eLearning course will utilize interactive movies and printable materials, and will be supported by audio track. It will cover all aspects of competence to be built from various perspectives and let trainees not only read about it, but also practice it with many examples and exercises. Employees will need about 120 minutes to consume this kind of course. It will cost you 30.000 USD.

How Cost effective is eLearning?

Well; it seems that the choice is quite simple. In the offer No1 you will probably get a boring page-turner. In the offer No2 you will get advanced solutions including all trendy features. The gap of the cost is substantial, but you are ready to pay for a better formula which you consider important.

The Gap 

As offer No2 costs 30.000 USD and offer No1 just 5.000 USD, it seems that the gap between costs is equal to 25.000 USD. Well; it is not so simple… This is just the gap between the costs of course development. What about the cost of eLearning consumption?

If we assume that the whole target group will participate in the course, consumption of the first one will take 1.500 hours, and the second one will take 6.000 hours. Learning requires time which will cannibalize other on-the-job duties. This time will be paid by your company: This is your additional cost.

Let’s take a look at some calculations below:


Adding this value to the easy-to-find development cost changes the game, doesn’t it? If we consider both of these numbers we will get $200.000+ of additional costs related with eLearning course number 2.


I fully understand that course number 2 is better; it has much bigger development power. Its users will be probably more engaged, will remember more important facts and techniques, will have a chance to practice and experience things, etc. But I have seen many situations in which a simple eLearning course was good enough to deliver the promise.

It is useless to pay more for a product with surplus functionalities and features, especially if we have to pay not only for its development but also for its usage.

So if the competence can be built with a simple solution, buy the simple one. What you need to do in such situation, however, is to push development team to create it with passion to make it as good as possible considering its simple form.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

staff training

Training Effectiveness

How To Measure Your Online Training Effectiveness

Regardless the amount of time, energy, and resources you invested on designing and developingyour online training course, you can’t just assume it is effective. Online training is a sound investment only when you are able to measure the results. If you cannot determine whether your online training strategy is improving employee performance or giving them the skills they need, then you won’t know if it’s worth your resources. In order to find out whether your employees actually learned what you offered them, you need to evaluate your online training strategy, and thus be able to review its strengths and weaknesses for making the necessary improvements. In this article, I’ll share 8 tips to measure your online training effectiveness, so that you can make the most of your training budget and offer your employees the training they need to succeed.

  1. Observe on-the-job application of newly acquired knowledge.
    One way to determine whether your audience retained the knowledge you offered them during your online training course is by simply checking whether employees are able to apply newly acquired knowledge and skills to practice. Are they changing their behaviors and displaying that they know how to carry out their job duties on a daily basis, or do they have to ask for assistance when it’s time to perform a transaction or deal with a customer service issue? What were the goals of your online training? Improving skills, acquiring certain knowledge, modifying behaviors and attitudes? To measure your employees’ learning, consider observing them before and after they attend the online training, so that you can compare their results. The true test of a training program’s success is whether the employees have the knowledge and skills necessary to do their job effectively and efficiently.
  2. Use scenarios and simulations.
    If you cannot afford or you are unwilling to take the risk of measuring the effectiveness of your online training on-the-job by observations, you may create scenario-based tests that allow employees to show how to apply what they have learned during the online training. Rather than sending them out onto the sales floor, for instance, you are able to determine if they have the skills and knowledge they need to help customers or carry out basic job related tasks in a supportive environment. This enables you to measure the effectiveness of your online training course without compromising your level of customer service. Ask them to perform specific tasks and observe the outcome of the scenario, to check if the participants pass or fail the test. If they fail, you may need to revise your method, modify certain behaviors, remedy mistakes or to provide additional training content until they master the learning objectives; effective online training means all employees being able to put what they have learned into practice.
  3. Use performance goals.
    Performance goals are a great tool for measuring the effectiveness of your online training course. How to use them? Again, you need to compare performance before and after training. In order to evaluate performance prior to online training, you must analyze your audience and make sure that you know exactly their knowledge base and experience level. Then, you will be able to determine how closer your employees have come to reaching their goals, after they have completed the online training. To keep your audience focused to their performance goals throughout their online training experience, always link your training back to performance expectations. Use assignments that simulate real life processes and help employees put their skills to practice. Moreover, you may consider conducting interviews, or integrating questionnaires that record co-worker complains or supervisor reports into your post-course evaluation. This way, you will be able to accurately measure the your online training effectiveness and determine whether your goals have been met.
  4. Use assessments to gauge employees’ knowledge and skills.
    While assessments can test employees’ knowledge for their own benefit by allowing them to analyze their weakness and fill in knowledge gaps, they also give you the opportunity to determine how effective your online training really is. For example, if a vast majority of employees are not able to pass an assessment at the end of the second module, then you may want to consider reworking this module to improve either its content or the delivery method. You might include more interactive elements or break the online training content down into chunks that are easily digestible. Quizzes, tests and exams on skills assessment will help you get an insight on whether employees benefit from your online training and therefore are developing their skill sets or, if they are falling behind and they need additional help to improve their job performance. Measuring their skills sets prior to and after online training is, once more, essential; when identifying the specific areas in which you want to support employees, it becomes much easier to design an effective online training course. Provide your audience with the same tests that assess their skills twice: in the beginning of the online training and at the end of it. This way, you will be able to compare scores and check whether your online training had any effect on their performance. Finally, always keep in mind that a learner-centered approach will help you personalize the online training experience by focusing on specific skill sets and thus it will make it easier for you to assess your employees’ skill development.
  5. Promote social learning; turn employees into instructors.
    Why not turn your employees into instructors by encouraging them to teach a specific topic or discuss concepts with other employees? There are two benefits in applying the concept of social ownership to measuring your online training effectiveness: First, it engages your audience to teach and learn from each other, which encourages the collaborative spirit in the company and thus motivates your employees to work faster and better together. Second, it helps you determine whether the online training participants have learned what they were supposed to have learned. In order to instruct others, they must first have an in depth understanding of the subject matter. And if they have a grasp on the topic, then you know that the training strategy is actually working, as being able to effectively transfer the “message”, may be considered as a proof that you really own it. Furthermore, by having employees teach others what they have learned will not only help you to check whether your online training was successful or not, but it also helps them reinforce the newly acquired knowledge. It is a win-win situation, but it needs careful planning: in order for employees to be able to teach others about a particular topic, they will need to demonstrate that what they have learned can also be applied to the real world. Incorporate scenarios with real world benefits into your online training course design, so that you can help your audience apply social ownership successfully and become real experts of the subject matter in question.
  6. Gain insight directly from your employees. 
    Employees are in fact the best critic of your online training course. Their perception of and response to your online training will provide you with valuable feedback for measuring your online training effectiveness and thus help you to establish its strengths and weaknesses in order to revise it and improve it. To determine whether your it was engaging and meaningful to them you can use your Learning Management System as an evaluation tool. By programming it to ask questions that determine the degree of employee satisfaction and positive reaction in online training, you can collect valuable data, such as whether your audience believed that your online training course was worth their time, if they would recommend it to their colleagues and what were the topics that they found most interesting and useful. Furthermore, consider holding focus groups, in which employees will be given the chance to inform you about how they feel about their online training experience as a whole and maybe to suggest ways to improve it. Surveys and one-to-one interviews can also offer insight with respect to the online training effectiveness, employee satisfaction, and even help you to pinpoint weak areas of your strategy. You can get an accurate gauge of how employees perceive your online training course and if they are truly benefiting from the activities and exercises you’ve incorporated. Employee satisfaction is key in investigating your online training effectiveness. Beyond everything, if your audience is not satisfied with every aspect of the online training experience, it is unlikely that they will be interested, engaged and motivated to fully commit themselves to it; a situation that is not only alarming, but also an infallible indicator that you are doing something wrong.
  7. Take full advantage of learning analytics.
    Many learning management systems have built-in analytics that give you an overall picture of how employees are progressing, how quickly they are completing each module, and how often they are logging into the system to access their online training. All of this data can help you the opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of your training and custom tailor it to meet the needs of your employees. For example, if you find that most of your employees are taking much longer to progress through a module than expected, you may want to assess its difficulty level to see whether it’s too challenging.
  8. Calculate ROI.
    Finally, to measure your online training effectiveness you need to measure its ROI. Without checking Return Of Investment you will never be absolutely sure of your online training course’s success, as you need to make sure that the performance results you have achieved were actually worth your investment. To calculate ROI you need to estimate costs, such as design and development cost for your online training, as well as the benefits associated with your online training program, such as increased productivity, increased sales, fewer customer complaints, etc. By evaluating costs against performance results you will be able to get a cost-to-performance ratio that can truly help you determine whether your online training was effective or there are still areas that need to be improved.

An effective online training strategy can help to improve your employee retention rates and increase the profitability of your organization. Use these tips to measure the impact of your online training and you will be able to easily determine whether your online training development timeand energy were worth the investment, that is, whether it is really working or you need to identify ways to boost its effectiveness for the future.

No online training strategy is complete without evaluation. After all, how can you know that you are getting a sound ROI if the effectiveness of your online training cannot be measured? In the article, 10 Tips To Effectively Evaluate Your Online Training Strategy you will find 10 online training strategy evaluation tips you can use to ensure that your strategy is in-line with the objectives of your eLearning course.

Developing an eLearning Culture In Your Organization

How To Develop an eLearning Culture In Your Organization

Across the world, organizations spend millions of dollars on eLearning to meet the learning and development needs of their employees. To ensure the success of their eLearning initiatives, organizations rely on various means such as using the latest eLearning technology and creating engaging content. However, in spite of the efforts, organizations still encounter challenges like low rates of completion or low participation in eLearning.

In 2012, organizations across the world wasted nearly $131 billion on unused workplace training. A key reason behind this wastage is the absence of an eLearning culture in most organizations. In this article we will look at some ways in which organizations can develop an eLearning culture.

  1. Focusing on ease-of-use of learners.
    One way to encourage employees towards eLearning is making eLearning highly user-friendly. This includes things like creating learner-centered designs that are easy to navigate, as well as creating shorter duration courses that do not overwhelm the learners. Organizations also need to remember that most employees have a resistance and fear towards eLearning because they are very much used to face-to-face training. This issue can be addressed by providing technical support and guidance on how to use eLearning. When learners know that they have someone to help them when they get stuck, dropouts can be reduced and participation in eLearning can be increased.
  2. Enthusiasm of top management.
    Traditionally, the push towards eLearning has only come from departments that have training as their direct KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These are usually the Human Resources or Learning and Development departments within organizations. However, if eLearning has to get a real boost within organizations, it needs to be embraced by the top management. For example, if the chairman or the CEO of an organization endorses eLearning and regularly uses eLearning to develop new skills, the middle managers also start adopting the same. And this enthusiasm can flow down to all employees.
  3. Creating time for learning.
    While most organizations understand the need for constant learning and development, on the ground they do not provide employees with enough time to learn. In most cases, employees are expected to devote time to eLearning while also meeting their productivity or sales targets. If organizations are really serious about developing a culture of eLearning, they need to look beyond the short-term. For instance, organizations can have separate learning targets and provide attractive incentives for those who meet the learning targets.
  4. Linking learning to appraisals.
    When developing eLearning courses, typically organizations focus on their own goals, such as growth in sales and profits. However, employees have their own professional aspirations as well. Yet, many eLearning courses don’t take into account the professional aspirations of learners. If organizations wants to create a strong eLearning culture, the courses should serve the objectives of both the organization as well as the learners. For example, if eLearning can lead to real career gains such as promotions or pay hikes, more and more people will be attracted towards it.
  5. Creating a learning-friendly environment.
    Be it school education or corporate education, the social environment has a big role towards encouraging learner participation. If organizations can create an environment where there is peer pressure for learning, employees will be driven to put in more effort. For example, organizations should share eLearning success stories on a regular basis.
    Likewise, employees should also be encouraged to share their knowledge with their co-workers. Too often employees like to “hoard” their knowledge, because they fear that sharing their knowledge may put their jobs at risk. Organizations should try and convert the knowledge-hoarding culture into a knowledge-sharing culture by incentivizing employees to share their knowledge and by using eLearning to simplify the process of knowledge transfer.


In today’s competitive times, every organization needs a strong eLearning culture. Organizations need to remember that eLearning is not only about individual courses or programs, but rather more about sustainable processes and systems. Only a strong eLearning culture can pull employees towards eLearning on a sustainable basis, thereby providing long-term benefits to organizations.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning gives learners the opportunity to expand their knowledge base and develop skills through problem solving and investigation. A real world problem or question is at the heart of every project-based eLearning experience, and learners must conduct research and acquire the necessary information to arrive at their own conclusion. Project-based learning also encourages learners to share feedback and insights with their peers in a collaborative group setting, and then use modern eLearning technologies to share their findings.

This approach focuses on the path leading to the solution, instead of just the solution itself. Online learners are able to gain invaluable experience by doing and actively participating in the learning process, rather than just reading the information presented and then taking a test at the end of the eLearning course.

The Characteristics Of Project-Based Learning Activities

When deciding to provide your learners with a project-based learning activity keep in mind to include the following elements:

  1. A problem, challenge, or question.
    At the root of all project-based learning activities there is question, challenge, or problem. This problem should provide a sufficient level of challenge for the learner.
  2. Skills for success, essential knowledge, and understanding.
    Every project you integrate into your eLearning course should be centered on the learning goals and skill sets that your learner needs to develop. They must also focus on self-management and critical thinking skills that help the learner to arrive at their own solution.
  3. Authenticity and relevance.
    The project must include a real world problem or question that is relevant for your learners, as well as tools and ideologies that you would encounter in the real world. It can also address a particular concern that the learner may have, or challenges they face on a regular basis.
  4. Freedom of choice.
    Students must have the ability to make decisions autonomously throughout the eLearning project, such as which strategy they will use, what they produce, and their work process.
  5. Self- Reflection.
    After the eLearning project has concluded learners should be able to reflect upon the experience and their inquiry process, as well as the activities involved in the eLearning project and the challenges they faced while trying to reach a solution.
  6. Feedback.
    Learners must be able to give and receive feedback, including peer-based feedback, to expand their knowledge of the subject matter and to continually improve their work process and how they presented their findings.
  7. Public presentation.
    At the end of the eLearning project, learners should publicly present their findings to their peers or in a public forum. They should be able not only to discuss their findings, but also how they arrived at the solution.

How To Use A Project-Based Learning Approach In eLearning

  1. Do a test-run beforehand.
    You don’t want to spend hours developing an eLearning project only to discover that it cannot be easily deployed or may be too challenging, or too tedious, for your learners. This is why it’s best to complete the online project on your own before you ask your learners to do the same. Make sure that all of the necessary elements are in place, and that it serves the primary learning objectives of your eLearning course.
  2. Encourage peer-based feedback.
    After the student has produced their findings, encourage their peers to share their insights and opinions via online forums and free online project management platforms. This gives them the opportunity to benefit from the constructive criticism of their peers and to improve their work processes moving forward. They also get the opportunity to discover alternative solutions or other problem-solving approaches they can use in future eLearning projects.
  3. Put students in charge of their learning process.
    Give your learners the tools they need and clearly outline the parameters, then let them take control of the process. Micro-managing your learners throughout the eLearning project will not give them the chance to learn from their mistakes, which is doing them a great disservice. If they need assistance, give them access to support. Otherwise, let them navigate the choppy waters of problem-solving on their own or by working collaboratively with their peers.
  4. Integrate interactive scenarios and simulations that require a broad range of skills.
    Scenarios and simulations are custom tailored for project-based learning, thanks to the fact that they immerse the learner in a problem or situation and ask them to figure out the solution. Each branch in a scenario leads to a different outcome or unique set of choices, which allows them to explore the problem without any risk. Every choice they make in a simulation leads to a consequence, good or bad. Create interactive eLearning exercises that envelope them in project-based learning and require a broad range of skill sets, so that they can apply previously acquired knowledge and more effectively retain the information they need to improve their personal and professional lives.

Project-based learning is all about a journey to the solution, and you can use these best practices and top tips to develop an eLearning journey that is powerful, personal, and relatable for every member of your audience.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Cognitive Load In eLearning

How To Reduce Cognitive Load In eLearning

You’ve heard the saying: you can’t see the trees for the forest. We live in the information age and most of us are swamped from the moment we wake up, so it’s important that your eLearning doesn’t add more stress, leaving learners drowning in the information forest.

  1. One concept per page: Make this your mantra. Presenting one key learning concept per page will reduce cognitive load and stop you from creating an information forest. Make it clear what the key learning concept is rather than allowing it to become lost in translation.
  2. Remove non-relevant items: At the end of the day, the goal of eLearning is to educate the audience, not entertain them. Reduce cognitive load by removing media elements not relevant to learning, and be selective when you do choose to use media elements – they should support and add to the learning experiences.
  3. Clear, concise writing style: Ok, so it doesn’t have to be clinical, but make sure the writing style is clear and on point, yet retains a human aspect. Remove excess words and statements that don’t relate directly to the topic. When using anecdotes, keep them short and be sure to create strong links back to learning concepts.
  4. Information access: Clever chunking of content helps to reduce cognitive load by providing learners with smaller, bite-sized pieces of information easily committed to memory. Using pop-ups or click-to-reveal mechanisms will allow learners to drill down and discover content one step at a time. These techniques also reduce the amount of visible content on the screen at any one time.
  5. Consolidate key learning: Tell them what you’re going to teach them, repeat it, and then tell them again. Consolidating key learning points at the end of each topic or module will increase knowledge retention. Consider consolidating processes into quick-reference guides as a way to reduce content in the learning module.
  6. Delivery variety: Cognitive load is reduced when information is absorbed through multiple mediums, for example, text supported with visuals that further demonstrate the concept. This technique is more successful than relying on one medium alone (especially text!) to get your point across and remembered.
  7. Use consistent structure: It’s ok to switch some parts of the brain to snooze mode. Through consistent structure and user experience throughout eLearning, learners will not need to continuously readjust to the experience, leaving more cognitive load available for information assimilation.
  8. Link back to learning objectives: Always create strong links back to learning objectives to reinforce key learning. Strengthening the links will make it easier for learners to grasp key learning points, therefore reducing brain power required to create these links.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Training & Productivity

How Online Training Increases Productivity

The National Center on the Education Quality of the Workforce found in a study of 3.100 United States workplaces that a 10 percent hike in workforce education level resulted in an 8.6 percent gain in total productivity.

According to the American Management Association, programs that focus on future career development or improved work skills are effective in retaining employees and in heightening their creativity. They also increase their productivity.

The Association for Talent Development (ASTD) surveyed firms to discover that companies with the highest productivity levels invested almost twice as much in training each employee as companies with more mediocre performance levels.

Traditional forms of employee training were expensive and difficult to deliver if a company had extensive properties located far from each other. The advent of online courses has changed the ease and availability of training employees and brought it within the limits of most budgets.

A strong argument can be made to suggest that companies embrace online learning as an effective means of heightening their productivity.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. It reaches out to employees who, for various reasons, were often excluded from traditional training venues. That includes the single parent who wants to learn but must leave work promptly at the end of a shift to deal with family obligations and the physically impaired worker who requires specific learning supports that are available on the computer.
  2. Online training can be delivered more generously to all employees since courses generally cost less than bringing in an expert trainer or sending employees off-site to learn new skills and knowledge.
  3. Online courses can be developed with a high degree of customization to deliver precisely the needed skills of employees in specific situations.
  4. They allow for more flexibility. Employees can study during breaks in their workday or late at night or early in the morning from their homes. It is easier to find the time to study.

Companies can create their own courses by developing specific content and delivering it easily through computers and tablets. The material can be easily updated and given to multiple users at once or delivered individually one at a time.

One of the most comprehensive looks into the link between training and productivity was published by researchers Muhammad Mulmuna and Dr. Rashad Yazdanifard in the Global Institute for Research and Education.

They noted that not only does training increase productivity in organizations, but it also enhances employees’ resourcefulness and provides them with an opportunity to learn their jobs and perform them more effectively. It has a beneficial impact on their decision making skills, their ability to function within a team, to solve problems, and to have enhanced interpersonal relations, all of which also contribute to the growth of the organizations for which they work.

Do you believe online training increases productivity? Share with us your opinions and personal experiences. 

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

eLearning Incentives Program

How To Create An eLearning Incentives Program For Your Employees

eLearning is a powerful way to train your employees. The convenience, flexibility, and magnitude of possibilities that Learning Management Systems (LMS) provide can rocket employee productivity.

Incentive programs provide Learning Management System users rewards for what they accomplish in the system. For example, for every module a user completes, they receive a tangible reward. Since rewards are based on how many people use the system, your employees will be more likely to use it as much as possible.

8 Types Of eLearning Incentives Programs 

There are many options for incentive programs available. Actually, incentive programs can be as creative as you would like them to be. The goal is the incentive or reward to be worthwhile. The following are some options you may want to implement into your Learning Management System.

  1. Shout outs.
    Employees love praise, especially in front of their co-workers. When users complete a lesson, send a shout out to them during a meeting or even via email or an interoffice communication system. This will not only motivate users receiving the praise, but also their co-workers who also wish to win acclaim.
  2. Flexible work hours.
    Working from home is one of office employees’ greatest wishes. If your Learning Management System is accessible from your employees’ homes, that might be an incentive you can provide to users. If employees complete a module early in a workday, they can come to the office later in that day. This means employees can relax in the morning completing their training on their couch.
  3. Financial rewards.
    You can pay your employees to take advantage of the eLearning course you’re providing. For every lesson or module users complete, they will receive a bonus in their paycheck. This can be highly motivating, especially during holidays like Christmas.
  4. Days off.
    Employees receive a certain number of days of paid leave, but it’s usually not enough. Additional paid days off for completing sections of the Learning Management System can quickly get users to work on their training.
  5. Gamifying the Learning Management System.
    A gamified Learning Management System can be fun for users. For every module users complete, they will receive a certain number of points – i.e. 10 points. For every 50 points a user receives, he/she will receive a gift card; an hour off work or some other incentive. You could keep a list of incentive rewards that employees can redeem their points for.
  6. Incentivizing a good cause.
    Collaborating to raise money for a good cause can be an incredibly motivating goal. Follow the example of Harrisburg agency WebpageFX, whose employees surpassed their goals in order to raise funds to build a school in rural Guatemala. They were so motivated that they managed to raise the $25,000 needed in just seven months!
  7. Allowing Dress-down Day.
    Employees often like to trade in their suits for slacks and a nice shirt. Those who need to complete training, you can allow to dress down the days they will be working on it. Since they will be in front of the computer all day instead of in front of customers, the difference in work attire shouldn’t affect the company’s image.
  8. Assigning titles.
    Before a new employee completes training, he/she could have a title of Sales Trainee. Upon completion of the Learning Management System training, the employee can have the title Sales Associate. As employees complete lessons in the Learning Management System, their titles can change to ones that gain more prestige. For example, someone can go from Sales Associate to Sales Specialist to Sales Manager.

How To Choose The Best eLearning Incentives Program For Your Employees 

Think about your office’s culture to decide what will be the best eLearning incentives program for your employees. The goal of this type of program is to motivate Learning Management System users to use the system. If the program doesn’t provide anything the employees want, it won’t work.

Many organizations work with their employees in creating the incentives program. They ask them for feedback on what would help them learn more from the Learning Management System. Employees are usually quick to provide their suggestions, because they truly do want to learn but find it difficult to absorb the information when there are so many distractions around them. Focus becomes easier when there is a reward dangling in front of them.

It’s also possible to combine incentives to create a program that encourages everyone to use the system. You may offer choices to employees when they complete a lesson; they may choose a day off, a gift card, or the option to dress down the next day. Providing employees with the ability to choose what kind of reward they want will also empower them, which can increase morale.

Increasing incentives as employees make their way through training can also be highly motivating. You may want to give users a $500 bonus upon completion of all the modules, but for each module they complete, users will receive a smaller reward.

Create an eLearning incentives program today; the faster you have an incentives program in place, the quicker you’ll see your employees log into the system to start using it. Get started with your eLearning incentives program today!

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Lateral Thinking Puzzles

The Top Ten Lateral Thinking Puzzles 

Lateral thinking puzzles are strange situations in which you are given a little information and then have to find the explanation. They are solved through a dialogue between the quizmaster who sets the puzzle and the solver or solvers who try to figure out the answer. The puzzles as stated generally do not contain sufficient information for the solver to uncover the solution. So a key part of the process is the asking of questions. The questions can receive one of only three possible answers – yes, no or irrelevant.

When one line of enquiry reaches an end then another approach is needed, often from a completely new direction. This is where the lateral thinking comes in.

Problem Solving & Effective Decision Making

You can take this course online with The Educators Academy

Some people find it frustrating that for any puzzle it is possible to construct various answers which fit the initial statement of the puzzle. However, for a good lateral thinking puzzle, the proper answer will be the best in the sense of the most apt and satisfying. When you hear the right answer to a good puzzle of this type you should want to kick yourself for not working it out!

This kind of puzzle teaches you to check your assumptions about any situation. You need to be open-minded, flexible and creative in your questioning and able to put lots of different clues and pieces of information together. Once you reach a viable solution you keep going in order to refine it or replace it with a better solution. This is lateral thinking!

This list contains some of the most renowned and representative lateral thinking puzzles:

1. The Man in the Elevator

A man lives on the tenth floor of a building. Every day he takes the elevator to go down to the ground floor to go to work or to go shopping. When he returns he takes the elevator to the seventh floor and walks up the stairs to reach his apartment on the tenth floor. He hates walking so why does he do it?

This is probably the best known and most celebrated of all lateral thinking puzzles. It is a true classic. Although there are many possible solutions which fit the initial conditions, only the canonical answer is truly satisfying.

2. The Man in the Bar

A man walks into a bar and asks the barman for a glass of water. The barman pulls out a gun and points it at the man. The man says ‘Thank you’ and walks out.

This puzzle has claims to be the best of the genre. It is simple in its statement, absolutely baffling and yet with a completely satisfying solution. Most people struggle very hard to solve this one yet they like the answer when they hear it or have the satisfaction of figuring it out.

3. The Man who Hanged Himself

There is a large wooden barn which is completely empty except for a dead man hanging from the middle of the central rafter. The rope around his neck is ten feet long and his feet are three feet off the ground. The nearest wall is 20 feet away from the man. It is not possible to climb up the walls or along the rafters. The man hanged himself. How did he do it?

4. Death in a Field

A man is lying dead in a field. Next to him there is an unopened package. There is no other creature in the field. How did he die?

5. The Deadly Dish

Two men went into a restaurant. They both ordered the same dish from the menu. After they tasted it, one of the men went outside the restaurant and shot himself. Why?

6. The Coal, Carrot and Scarf

Five pieces of coal, a carrot and a scarf are lying on the lawn. Nobody put them on the lawn but there is a perfectly logical reason why they should be there. What is it?

7. Trouble with Sons

A woman had two sons who were born on the same hour of the same day of the same year. But they were not twins. How could this be so?

8. Push that Car

A man pushed his car. He stopped when he reached a hotel at which point he knew he was bankrupt. Why?

9. The Arm of the Postal Service

One day a man received a parcel in the post. Carefully packed inside was a human arm. He examined it, repacked it and then sent it on to another man. The second man also carefully examined the arm before taking it to the woods and burying it. Why did they do this?

This one probably has more variations than any other. A great one to puzzle out. It requires plenty of good questions.

10. Heaven

A man died and went to Heaven. There were thousands of other people there. They were all naked and all looked as they did at the age of 21. He looked around to see if there was anyone he recognised. He saw a couple and he knew immediately that they were Adam and Eve. How did he know?


The Answers 

Please read the questions  first before reading the answers:


1. The man in the Elevator

The man is (of course) a dwarf. Variants of this puzzle include the clue that on rainy days he goes up in the elevator to the tenth floor (he uses his umbrella!)

2. The Man in the Bar

The man had hiccups. The barman recognized this from his speech and drew the gun in order to give him a shock. It worked and cured the hiccups – so the man no longer needed the water.

The is a simple puzzle to state but a difficult one to solve. It is a perfect example of a seemingly irrational and incongruous situation having a simple and complete explanation. Amazingly this classic puzzle seems to work in different cultures and languages.

3. The Man who Hanged Himself

He climbed on a block of ice which has since melted.

This one is often stated with the clue of a puddle of water, but surely this is too much assistance. It is one of several problems which depend on the change of state of water (snow or ice to water or steam).

4. Death in a Field

The man had jumped from a plane but his parachute had failed to open. It is the unopened package.

This is sometimes given with the following rather elegant clue – as he approached the centre of the field he knew he was going to die. This is another of the top classics which is right up there with ‘The Man in the Bar’. If the solver is thinking along the wrong lines (i.e. in the two dimensions of the ground) then the lateral jump to the third dimension can be tough to make.

5. The Deadly Dish

The dish that the two men ordered was albatross. They had been stranded many years earlier on a desert island. When the man tasted albatross he realized that he had never tasted it before. This meant that the meat he had been given on the island was not albatross as he had been told. He correctly deduced that he had eaten the flesh of his son who had died when they first reached the island.

This has something in common with No. 9 below but is in my opinion even better. It is fiendishly difficult to figure out from a standing start. A beautiful aspect of this problem is the subtle fact that he shot himself because he did not recognise the taste of the dish!

6. The Coal, Carrot and Scarf

They were used by children who made a snowman. The snow has now melted.

Another change of state puzzle. After this you should be on the look-out for them!

7. Trouble with Sons

They were two of a set of triplets (or quadruplets etc.)

This simple little puzzle stumps many people. They try outlandish solutions involving test-tube babies or surrogate mothers. Why does the brain search for complex solutions when there is a much simpler one available?

8. Push that Car

He was playing Monopoly.

9. The Arm of the Postal Service

The three men had been stranded on a desert island. Desperate for food, they had agreed to amputate their left arms in order to eat them. They swore an oath that each would have his left arm cut off. One of them was a doctor and he cut the arms off his two companions. They were then rescued. But his oath was still binding so he later had to have his arm amputated and sent to his colleagues.

This is often told with a further twist whereby a doctor pays a tramp a large sum in order to amputate the tramp’s arm which the doctor then sends to another man who inspects it etc. This variation can make for a long night of questioning!

10. Heaven

He recognized Adam and Eve as the only people without navels. Because they were not born of women, they had never had umbilical cords and therefore they never had navels.

This one seems perfectly logical but it can sometimes spark fierce theological arguments!

How to develop effective corporate training programmes

If you are a part of the corporate training world, you create training that is going to be explicitly or implicitly mandatory. In many corporates, management forces employees to take training; this is in itself a major turn-off. Adults do not like to be told what to

Anyone with any knowledge of Adult Learning knows that one of the most important factors of a successful adult learning endeavor is that learners have ownership of their learning. Ownership easily disappears when you tell them they have to learn, because guess what? They will resent it.

Some corporates think that since they pay people in the training department to create courses, they must have all employees take them, often without even considering if it would be useful for all of them. Other times, for quality conformance, standard compliance, or maybe for a certain certification, they have people take courses that sometimes are irrelevant to what they do or that contain information they already know. Do you think this is worth forcing them to take time away from an already busy day?

What to do?

  1. Spend sufficient time doing the Needs Analysis; please do not rush it. Make sure learners actually need the training, and that it is not there just to increase the number of courses on your LMS. If they do not need it, they will not want to take it. Recipe for an un-engaged learner.
  2. Whenever applicable, always start your course by finding out what your learners already know. You can save your learners a lot of time and effort if you customize their individual learning experience based on their needs, and simply skip what they already know.
  3. Also, please allow them to skip ahead; they are not your prisoners. Do not lock the “Next” button to force them to listen. If they do not want to listen to the end of the audio track on a slide, they will not, even if you keep it playing.
  4. Now imagine a virtual gun, and shoot the one-fits-all method in the face. You cannot have all your employees take the same training; it just does not make sense. On the rare occasion that you honestly believe something is really important enough that everyone needs to know, maybe like a safety course in an industrial environment, follow the previous advice, and keep the course itself really short and fun.
  5. Add motivation to the mix. Consider Gamification on a large scale. Do not stop at gamifying your courses, try to turn your LMS into a multiple player gaming website. Give them badges when they pass a course, create levels, put the names of the most active employees on a wall of fame, and have them take little courses or assessments as missions that can unlock courses you think they want to take.
  6. Embrace social networking. Many LMS’s now support the use social networking as a tool for learners to vote for their favorite courses, comment on what they liked or disliked, or tag colleagues whom they think should take a certain course. Add credits to the courses and tag the design and development team that worked on it, allowing learners to interact with them, ask them for help, suggest new courses, or just tell them they enjoyed the course. This can go a long way.
  7. Listen to your learners; make sure you take your courses’ evaluation reports into consideration. If learners do not like a course, figure out why and fix it. A learner’s feedback can be very insightful and can even guide your creative train of thought in future courses.
  8. Last but absolutely not least, make your courses fun so your learners actually want to take it. It is not enough to present the information, make sure you engage your learners, get them excited, get them to relate, make them laugh, ask them for their opinion, and give them ownership over their own learning experiences. Create courses that educate and entertain at the same time.

Your learners think training is a burden because they do not get their way, just give it to them; it’s a win-win.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The 70:20:10 model for workplace learning

The Keys For The 70:20:10 Model To Takeoff

The 70:20:10 model for workplace learning has garnered a lot of popularity in recent years, as the ‘next big thing’  in Learning and Development – there’s even an online community devoted to it, the 70:20:10 Forum!

The biggest challenges companies face with it, is how to fully deploy and encourage the informal or experiential learning in the most effective, practical, applicable, and cost-saving way.

From the outset, it’s absolutely key to remember the importance of technology in really making the model come alive and make sense for the ‘non-converts’.Technology, change in mind-set and tangible evidence for its effectiveness is key for the 70:20:10 model to really take off. Just remember how the 70:20:10 model ratio breaks down:

  • 70% of learning from on-the-job experience
  • 20% of learning from people (i.e. role models, coaches, or managers)
  • 10% of learning from formal training (i.e. seminars, classes, or reading)

Technology and the 70:20:10 Model

And the key way of helping staff to deploy these three components is by managing the content they are given and how it is given to them. That’s where the technology part comes in.

More and more LMSs now link training interventions directly to someone’s role and encourage interaction through social-media-style interfaces and links to internal networking platforms. In this way, facilitators can send out prompts to participants to see whether or not the learning has been understood and noted, or to enable a group discussion by hosting a virtual workshop. And that’s when technology really helps it to come into its own! It helps to deliver and act upon the 70:20 parts of the model- on the job learning and interaction with other people, be they colleagues or the course coach.

And look how this on-the-job learning and coaching is also being made easier thanks to the growth in mobile technologies. Thanks to it, that 20% part of the 70:20:10 model can be delivered to the learners regardless of their location. It’s straightforward and time and cost-effective.

Formal learning continues to stand its ground with companies… well, for the time being at least

There will continue to be a need for formal learning in the future and for a long time to come. This is especially the case where companies want to have their staff well-versed in core competencies and business critical skills. They still want their staff to follow classroom style training programs delivered by professional training companies with formal materials and some kind of formal assessment and evaluation.

Why? Because this gives them some kind of tangible evidence of their staff’s achievements backed by official certification.

Some Learning and Development Departments will still need to have more concrete evidence for the value of the 70:20:10 model and how it will add value to their company and so be a worthwhile financial investment. However, it seems many companies still have yet to be convinced of its benefits, having a blended approach to learning – the traditional and the eLearning – could be a logical compromise and many companies and global brands are already doing this with great success.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.