Skillslive was formed to execute a global commercialisation strategy for the Loft Group Digital Education Platform. Skillslive Pty Ltd was recently acquired by Loft Ventures Pty Ltd. Loft Ventures has a portfolio of technology companies focused on global opportunities though cloud infrastructure and scalable technology.
SKILLSLIVE LEARNING ECOSYSTEM
SkillsLive remains innovative and at the forefront of education technologies. Focusing on corporate learning ecosystems and the benefits that big data will contribute to creating visibility across an entire organisation at a local and global level. Additionally, the utilisation of cognitive systems that are able to exhibit adaptive, proactive and emotive behaviour. When implemented in support of educational activities a connection between communities and the process of learning, content delivery, assessment and collaboration can all be individualised, measured and presented in an enterprise dashboard. What drives this process is a common cognitive framework that humans use to inform their decisions: Observe, Interpret, Evaluate, and Decide.
Since the first iterations of LMS platforms the supporting and surrounding technology has improved far beyond the expectations of the original pioneers of digital learning. These improvements are what enables us to integrate vastly more data, drawing from a range of systems to create a platform that permeates and records what we term as a ‘Learning Ecosystem’.
OVERVIEW OF THE CORPORATE LEARNING ECOSYSTEM DELIVERED THROUGH MOBILE, ON DEMAND AND BLENDED LEARNING (70:20:10) OBJECTIVES:
- E-Learning & M-Learning using a flexible and scalable model to deliver content and assessments to students, managed by educators and supported by accessible administration functionality.
- Educators and Students can arrange content and assessment to follow detailed learning pathways, providing a mobile needs based experience not one size fits all delivery.
- Intelligent semantic and cognitive engines to provide suggestions for next steps in learning, shared interests with people, opportunities for collaboration.
- Detailed scheduling and event management, connecting Educators and Students.
- Integrated social tools to encourage community involvement, build mentor relationships and accelerate collaboration.
- Student and Educator history and reflection is provided in line with social interactions and completion of content.
- Supportive in process analytics presented to Student, Educator and Administration.
- Support for the import and export of existing content and data.
- Third Party Integration with existing corporate business tools.
- Dashboard & Reporting with extensive reach and drill-drill down capabilities for effective and efficient key performance indicator analysis.
- Ability to operate while offline and sync data once an internet connection is re-established.
More than a fixed environment, the word ‘ecosystem’ implies complex interactions, interdependencies, structured communities and a space in which the ecosystem exists. In the case of a Learning Ecosystem, such features may be represented by:
- learning objectives and outcomes (monitor, measure, KPIs, reporting)
- organisation culture, values and hierarchical structure (HR, L&D, global, local)
- a range of participants (e.g. learners, managers, peers, mentors)
- just-in-time performance tools (checklists, quick reference guides)
- social networks (Yammer, Slack)
- processes (continuous improvement, six sigma, kaizen)
- formal learning (tutorials, webinars, workshops)
- technology platforms (LMS, wikis, intranets)
- work based learning mechanisms (action learning projects)
As in the natural environment, a Learning Ecosystems is a rich, fluid environment that continues to evolve based on people’s requirements, organisational needs, continuous improvement and the availability of technology to support job roles.
The introduction of cutting-edge technology to a Learning Ecosystem allows data to be sourced from disparate systems and the creation of a learning experience that is:
Wholistic takes into account multiple touch points at which a learner is able to acquire or demonstrate knowledge and skills.
Engaging implements a variety of tools to maximise engagement and actively encourages intrinsic motivation, showing the learner the benefits of learning engagement.
Reflective encourages the learner to reflect on his/her own work, asking, for example; ‘what have I done?’, ‘what would I do differently next time?’ and ‘what is the key lesson from this?’ (Source: Charles Jennings)
Measurable applies clearly established criteria to the data gathered to vastly improve measurability of learning achievement, including historically difficult to evaluate areas such as soft skills.
Complementary to formal learning seeks to complement – never to replace – formal learning, which may be regarded as the mainstay of knowledge acquisition.
SCENARIO-BASED TRAINING AND ASSESSMENT
Content delivery platforms are ideal for presenting material to a user but work optimally only when paired with practical training. When utilised together, a learner has an opportunity to put their learning into the context of a real life situation which can vary depending on environmental aspects, levels of anxiety and stress, external pressures and so on.
As such, our aim is to create a software-based, blended learning platform that captures both the theory of and the practical aspects of training while placing the user in the driver-seat of carefully crafted, real life scenarios, which can be based on the industry reports and testimonies, in order to develop soft skills and techniques necessary to achieve positive outcomes.
Such training and assessment scenarios will focus on positive outcomes and positive reinforcement of the user’s choices with the sole purpose of teaching practical skills such as de-escalation and peaceful resolution (Healthcare) or appropriate contact with children (Child Protection). Each module will be assessed by a carefully crafted scenario designed to improve the user’s knowledge and techniques as outlined in the learning objectives of the given curriculum.
Using the example of Prevention of Aggression to Healthcare personnel, during each scenario the user would assume the role of a healthcare worker confronted with a crisis situation structured in a series of steps at which the user must choose an option to proceed. Each selected response will either escalate or de-escalate the threat level until the user had either defused the situation or failed to control the situation.
The contents for each module can be developed in collaboration with an accredited training provider with suitable expertise in the field of study. The module structure will reflect the training programs tailored to the requirements of different user groups.
Unlike older generations, traditional training programs alone cannot be expected to have a significant impact on tech-oriented millennials. According to a study by PWC, three-quarters of millennials believe access to technology makes them more effective at work. This generation has grown up with easily accessible, mobile information and considers this a fundamental expectation. In fact, 67% judge their employers based on their technological knowledge and 59% said that an employer’s provision of state-of-the art technology was important to them when considering a job.
Additionally, neither traditional pedagogy nor e-Learning alone are likely to be sufficient to appeal to these learners. In response to a survey within the study, specifically the below question around most valued training/development opportunities, graduate respondents answered the in following proportions:
“Which of the following training/development opportunities would you most value from an employer?” Source: Workforce of the Future, PWC, 2018
- Working with strong coaches and mentors (28%)
- Changes/rotations of role to gain experience (21%)
- Support for further academic training (19%)
- Collaborating with inspiring colleagues on key projects (18%)
- Formal classroom training (6%)
- E-Learning (5%)
SOFT SKILLS IN THE WORKPLACE
The value and relevance of soft skills as a key element in the development of a competent employee cannot be overstated. According to a Deloitte Access Economics report, “Soft skills for business success” (2017), the need for soft skills is not only profound now, but will continue to intensify in the coming decade. The report states that “the number of jobs in soft skill intensive occupations is expected to grow at 2.5 times the rate of jobs in less soft skill intensive occupations.” (p8)
However, the same report also describes shortfalls in tangible evidence of soft skill attainment, citing a reliance on self-assessment and a lack of clear assessment criteria. The application of digital technology provides an opportunity to begin bridging this divide. At the end user level, this can mean the validation of a particular competency, while at the macro level, an administrator may access data and analytics to see improvement in soft skills over a given period.
Given the nature of soft skills in the workplace and an identified gap for capturing or assessing an individual’s competency, experience or compliance then a traditional LMS (teach and test) is simply not capable of meeting the needs of organisations’ learning objectives or outcomes. A learning ecosystem presents the best opportunity to engage across the entire organisation, its sources of relevant structured or unstructured data, which is mostly disparate, and between the individual or the communities in which personnel conduct their day-to-day activities.
CAPTURING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
If we accept that learning occurs in large part (or even primarily) in the workplace through a variety of activities and experiences, then that workplace can also be described as a Learning Ecosystem. To extrapolate this further, the Learning Ecosystem may go beyond the workplace, since the learner may apply knowledge in the mentoring of a peer, or in a discussion on a social media platform. It is now commonplace to search Google or YouTube for answers to questions or challenges: These are examples of learning in everyday life.
Whilst traditional pedagogy aims to instruct the learner explicitly, more often than not the knowledge acquired can only be truly consolidated through practical application. In the Learning Ecosystem, this can mean any number of actions or tasks, from the simple application of a formula on a spreadsheet to successfully managing a strained client relationship. Further, the advent of new technologies in the digital learning space and in machine learning now allows for the capture of many of these learning experiences as they happen.
In spite of ever-changing and attractive learning offerings and evolving corporate learning strategies, many Learning & Development and HR professionals are still struggling with learner engagement. Organisations must refine their learning offering and internal capabilities in order to meet the demands of the modern, connected Learner. The competition for attention is fierce.
Naturally, it is not possible to guarantee the engagement of any individual learner. However, through the application of the Skillslive platform, Learner engagement can be optimised through a number of workflows, strategies and inclusions that are carefully considered in the context of a clients target market. These include:
- Consultation in establishing a unified learning culture, values and cohesion in the development of industry-wide learning standards
- Automated tasks specifically aimed at improving learner engagement (e.g. a push notification / email reminder that is triggered through geo-location and other conditions that are suggestive of a situation where the learner may best be engaged – see “Use Case Examples” flow chart)
- Highly engaging learning tasks, for example:
- eLearning (including a variety of content and question types: e.g. video and sound bites, image-based content, hotspot image questions, drag-and-drop)
- Gamification – Online, game-based learning tools
- Visually appealing User Interface
- Simple, easy to follow and navigate User Experience
- Breaking up and presenting learning opportunities into a larger number of small, bite-sized chunks, rather than a smaller number of epic teach-and-test assessments that are studied intensively prior to the assessment and then forgotten promptly afterwards. (The latter is cognitively challenging and can be disheartening for many learners, whereas the former promotes and celebrates small achievements that contribute to a broader set of knowledge and skills. Additionally failure is presented as an opportunity to explore new knowledge and can be immediately followed by retry opportunities.)
- Methodology based on learner engagement, interactivity, encouragement (e.g. Ways of presenting retry opportunities, learner-friendly instructional design)
- Competency on the job as the basis of validation of the learning
- The fact that the learner does not need to engage directly in the LMS in order to be participating. In other words, as the learner could be contributing data to the system merely by going about her regular tasks, or even participating in discussion on social media or discussion boards, she is building a picture in the Learning Records Store of her application of new skills and knowledge that is quantifiable and visible to her management and to herself.
- Rather than merely using a series of disparate systems with a learning system tacked on top, tying together systems into a single LRS that validates the learning
- Social Media mashups and sharing
- Greater use of Peer-to-Peer learning (and teaching) opportunities and community-sourced knowledge
One of the primary aims is to improve communities through the improvement of communications, connectivity and visibility of information. Doing so enables organisations to support research methodologies, professional engagement and human connections to strengthen the context within which these communities operate.