Shared posts

18 Apr 17:36

Four lessons from 20 years of analysing thought leadership

by Ella-Sian Jolley

Source has been analysing the quality of thought leadership for 20 years and White Space subscribers can access our reports from the past six years. As we pulled together our report for 2018 H2, we reread our comments from earlier years and reflected on why firms have moved up, and down, our table. Here are four messages that stand out for us:

18 Apr 17:32

Ancient History Family Trees Poster

by Randy Krum


Ancient History Family Trees infographic poster from Matt Baker at Useful Charts

Matt Baker from UsefulCharts has launched a KickStarter campaign to release the fourth poster in his family tree series. The newest poster is the Ancient History Family Trees poster and focuses on the time period between 1600 BCE and 100 CE. It includes historical dynasties (shown in color) as well as a few sections based on legend and/or religious traditions (shown in grey).

Help support Matt launch the new poster on KickStarter by Friday, March 29, 2019!

The full list is as follows:

  • Armenia (Artaxiad dynasty)

  • Assyria (Middle and New kingdoms)

  • Babylon (Chaldean dynasty)

  • Carthage (Barcid dynasty & its Phoenician roots)

  • China (Legendary origins; Shang, Zhou, Qin, and Early Han dynasties)

  • Egypt (Dynasties 18-31; Ptolemaic dynasty)

  • Greeks (The Iliad; Sparta & Athens; Alexander the Great & the Diadochi)

  • Hittites (New Kingdom)

  • India (Ramayana & Mahabharata legends; the Buddha; Nanda & Maurya dynasties)

  • Palestine (Selected bible characters, Israel & Judah, Maccabees, Herod the Great)

  • Persia (Median, Achaemenid, and Arsacid dynasties)

  • Rome (Generals of the republic; Julio-Claudian dynasty)

  • Syria (Seleucid dynasty)

You can see the new chart up close in Matt’s YouTube video:

You can see the rest of Matt’s posters from UsefulCharts on the Cool Infographics Infographic Posters page where I have links to over 100 posters from designers all over the world! Once this poster is released and available, I’ll add the link to it on the Posters page as well.

18 Apr 17:12

Do Immigrants Trust Trade Unions? A Study of 18 European Countries

by Anastasia Gorodzeisky, Andrew Richards


Migrants form growing proportions of national workforces in advanced capitalist societies. Yet little is known about their attitudes towards the principal agents of worker representation in their host countries, the trade unions, much less via cross‐national research. Using European Values Survey data, we redress this imbalance by examining migrants’ levels of trust in unions, compared to native‐born. We find higher levels of trust in unions by migrants (compared to native‐born) in general and especially by migrants during their first decades after arrival and whose countries of origin are characterized by poor quality institutions. These findings have significant implications for unionization strategies towards migrants, especially given received wisdom portraying migrants as indifferent or distrustful towards unions.

18 Apr 17:12

Why Do Employers Provide Health Care in the First Place?

by Melissa Thomasson

A historical perspective

18 Apr 17:03

Your Role in Innovation Depends on Where You Sit

by Leading Effectively Staff

It’s obvious that leaders in different levels of the organization have to lead differently—think about how different the leadership challenges are for a line supervisor than the CEO.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that leaders who are looking to drive innovation have different challenges depending on their position. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Given that schedules are too full already, it’s useful to know what to do, and this helps shape what not to do, as well.

Here’s a rundown of the roles and responsibilities by leader level specific to innovation:

Leading Self—Creating

At the level where you don’t have direct reports—but serve as a role model or perhaps a leader of project teams—the responsibilities around innovation fall mainly into the realm of knowing how to generate creative solutions and having a keen interest in participating on a team made up of diverse participants.

Core to this is the ability to find sources of inspiration for new approaches, whether that means looking at other industries, engaging customers and stakeholders, or exploring patent databases for similar challenges that have been solved by others.

Leading Others–Facilitating

Team leaders or line supervisors need to possess additional skills. They must know how to lead the group process, which requires special facilitation skills on top of those necessary for being an effective team leader or project manager.

And for innovation to take root and spread through the organization, these leaders or supervisors need the ability to obtain resources from outside their unit.

Leading Managers—Advocating/Bridging

When you lead people who are leading others, a key value you bring to the challenge of innovation is supporting and protecting the team from superiors or other parts of the organization.

Great leaders create a protective umbrella over their people to ensure that the discomfort, risk, and potential disruption of the business don’t cause others to try to shut down these efforts.  These managers also have to build a case for grassroots innovation and bridge groups that are working on similar challenges to ensure constructive cooperation.

infographic-about-various-roles-in-innovationLeading Functions–Directing/Protecting

Leaders of a function or significant silo need to provide clear direction for the scope of the innovation efforts and also need to manage conflicting demands for resources.

They must initiate strategic and structural changes to accommodate promising innovations and establish a strategy that bridges the silos.

As if that’s not enough, they are critical to modeling behavior and driving communication that sets the organizational tone that determines the support of innovation. They’re also critical in the management of innovation pipeline and balancing the portfolio “bets” that help determine the future direction of the organization’s innovation.

Leading the Organization–Mandating/Fostering

Finally, we have the top of the organization. These are the people who have the critical job of setting a strategy to ensure that the organization has clear direction on where its going.

More than that, they are the keystone for fostering a culture of innovation, a big part of which is modeling behaviors to ensure that the walk matches the talk, which sometimes means showing support for different, new, or disruptive ideas.

Like other top leadership responsibilities, it’s imperative that they communicate the vision over and over and over again.

Perhaps the hardest job is finding ways to hear and see unfiltered concepts, since the further you go up the hierarchy, the less connected to “what’s really true” you become.

For more on innovation and how your organization can embrace disruption, explore our Trends Report.

Emerging Leadership Trends Report

The post Your Role in Innovation Depends on Where You Sit appeared first on Center for Creative Leadership.

18 Apr 17:03

Trends in Project Management

by Nadine Rochester

The latest Project Management Trends for 2019 from Strategy Execution highlight the complexities and uncertainties that many businesses face today. With portfolio, programme and project management being the driving force behind successful business change, it will be the practitioners that work in PPM who will steer organisations through the choppy waters ahead.

In this year’s trends technology features heavily – not just about technology being major deliverables on programmes and projects but also how project-based work utilises tech. There are complexities in business such as outsourcing and supply chain – and adapting to different ways of delivering change as Agile transformations become more popularAgile transformations become more popular and programme management approaches deepen in their maturity.

Here’s to 2019 . . .

Project Management Trends

 This post first appeared on PMO Perspectives Blog.

18 Apr 16:13

Higher education under fire: implementing and assessing a culture change for sustainment

Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 32, Issue 1, Page 164-180, February 2019.
Purpose Leadership development is a significant organizational investment and is considered a foundation for a culture change process. In a highly disruptive environment, higher education administrators are investigating the potential benefits of this investment. Specifically, while the great recession was underway in 2010, and with a backdrop of continuous enrollment decline, a business school in a public university in the USA utilized an experimental design to test a globally recognized business model for leadership development and its impacts on leadership effectiveness. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach The intervention included a two-day training session followed by a year-long process for cementing in learning, while examining ensuing leadership effectiveness. Potential control variables in the model included measures of four dimensions of leadership fitness which were defined as the physical, socio-emotional, spiritual and mental dimensions. When the leadership development intervention showed promising results the business school forged ahead to implement a culture change process based on the leadership development intervention to foster teamwork and innovation. Findings As a longitudinal implementation and assessment process, subsequent results of the culture change process spurred year over year increases in enrollments, student retention, student placement, along with consistently escalating faculty research and academic program rankings. The culture change process spread organically from the business school throughout the university as a whole with similar positive impacts. Research limitations/implications Implications, including an assertion that leadership development is a viable tool for higher education’s organizational sustainment are discussed. Originality/value Future research opportunities of institutional outcomes in higher education due to a systemic investment in annual culture enhancement are also discussed.
18 Apr 16:13

Differences in management styles, levels of profitability, and performance across generations, and the development of the Family Business Success Model

Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 32, Issue 1, Page 32-50, February 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to, first, investigate the differences between generations in family businesses and, second, develop and verify the Family Business Success Model ability to improve the probability of business success measured by perceived profits, growth and meeting the owners’ expectations. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected through questionnaires and personal interviews. Overall, 98 usable questionnaires were collected for statistical analysis with a response rate of 82 percent. Findings One-way ANOVA hypotheses testing of the variables found four significant differences between generations. Regression analysis found the Family Business Success Model to be significant. Family business owners can improve the probability of success by utilizing a team-management decision-making approach, effectively handling conflict effectively, formulating specific succession plans, developing strategic plans, using sophisticated financial management methods, dealing effectively with the founder’s influence and if they seek to grow, they should consider going public. Practical implications This study provides family business owners, managers, educators and public policy makers with the means to help family businesses survive and grow effectively throughout generations by using the Family Business Success Model. In addition, this study can help consultants and advisors of family businesses to understand the differences between the first, second and third generation family businesses from a holistic perspective and help them implement the family business model. Originality/value This study contributes to the literature as one of the few studies in the Lebanese emerging market that examines how the first, second and third generations of family businesses differ. More importantly, it develops a Family Business Success Model that improves the probability of success.
18 Apr 16:12

New model of managerial education in technical university

International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 511-524, April 2019.
Purpose A modern trend in the educational environment in recent years has been the permanent education system with the involvement of online study modes. It is based on multidisciplinarity and adaptivity of educational technologies, starting with the basic level of education – bachelor’s degree, and ending with gaining competences in the field of engineering and economics throughout the whole professional life of a student. The purpose of this paper is to perform a detailed analysis of development of permanent education in Russian universities, focusing on statistical data on popularity of jobs as to professional groups among employers and determining peculiarities of permanent education, based on the distinguished peculiarities of permanent education and requirements of business to develop a model of engineering and managerial education that would integrate two blocks of the educational process – engineering and economic, as well as include modern technologies of teaching. Design/methodology/approach The authors propose the modern model of engineering management education that is implemented in the Russian technical universities. Its distinctive feature as compared to the conventional educational technologies is gaining competences in the field of economics and management at the same time with engineering education at the second stage of education – the master’s program. The proposed model of engineering and management education results in obtainment of two diplomas by the student who is awarded with a master’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in economics. A difference of the offered model from the traditional educational technologies is obtaining competences in the sphere of economics and management together with engineering education at the master’s program. The result of the offered model of engineering and managerial education is graduate’s receiving two diplomas with master’s degree of engineer and master of economics. The paper shows the existing mechanism of implementing the model of engineering and economic education in a technical university by the example of the master’s program in Economics “Evaluation of economic risks during technological decisions (in oil processing and oil chemistry).” Findings The offered model of engineering and managerial education will allow training the engineers of a new type, who will be able to adapt to new tendencies and initiate the changes that are necessary for effective functioning of business in the conditions of digital economy. Originality/value The offered model of engineering and managerial education should be acknowledged as an innovational educational project that raises demand for graduates through their adaptability to employer’s needs and their usage of new tools of management that are based on exchange of information data and that form managerial task for information provision of the process of decision making and their further execution.
18 Apr 16:10

Teaching and Learning with Twitter

by Britt
Yesterday during a web conference with faculty teaching in the Creighton University Interdisciplinary Doctorate in Leadership, we were discussing andragogy – the teaching of adults.  Jeff Miller noted that one practice he used was to add Twitter to his classes.  In an email later following up with me, he shared his rationale that is in… Read more Teaching and Learning with Twitter
18 Apr 16:07

E-learning in higher inclusive education: needs, opportunities and limitations

International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 424-437, April 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to study the limitations, opportunities and conditions for the development of e-learning in the inclusive education system in the universities. Design/methodology/approach The paper reviews the literature dedicated to e-learning, its application and adaptation in higher inclusive education. Systemic and social approaches were applied to the perception of higher inclusive education for the purposes of this study. The principles of evolutionary economics and institutional theory were used for determining the possibility of using e-learning in higher inclusive education. The findings are confirmed by an empirical study of the integration of e-learning into the higher inclusive education system by the example of Russia. Findings It has been shown that the development of e-learning in the national higher education system and its perception by the higher inclusive education system depends on the level of development of social and information interrelation in the society. In addition, e-learning can only be used in higher inclusive education when it is interrelated with traditional learning. The efficiency of e-learning in higher inclusive education depends on the systemic institutional environment which was formed both at the level of the state and at the level of a particular university. In this case, the institutional environment should be focused not only on the development of e-learning and inclusive education, but also on their collaboration. Practical implications The results of the study, which identified special aspects, opportunities and limitations of e-learning in higher inclusive education, can be applied to improve its effectiveness both at the level of individual universities and at the level of formation of national strategies for the development of higher education. Originality/value Given the growing relevance of higher inclusive education in the contemporary world and the limited number of studies of adaptation and the use of e-learning in it, the results obtained can contribute to the implementation of strategic planning of this direction at the national and local levels.
18 Apr 16:07

Application of remote technologies in education

International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 503-510, April 2019.
Purpose At present, the development of information technologies changes the whole system of public functioning. Special attention is paid to the system of higher education, as it forms future highly qualified specialists, who will become the basis of digital economy. According to this, new remote technologies are implemented into the system of education each year, which are a basic prototype of smart technologies. The purpose of this paper is to determine the role of remote technologies in the development of the system of higher education and to form skills with the students. Design/methodology/approach Based on this, it is necessary to solve the following tasks: view the aspects, peculiarities and possibilities of remote education; distinguish the main tools of remote technologies in education; offer electronic final program as a remote method of evaluation of students’ knowledge. Findings In this study, the following methods are used: analysis, synthesis, logical method, abstraction and comparison. Scientific novelty consists in performing research in the sphere of significance and implementation of remote technologies in the system of higher education of the Russian Federation. Originality/value This research could be useful for public officers who form programs of development of higher education and for academic staff of higher educational establishments.
18 Apr 16:06

Confessions of a teacher

by (Steve Wheeler)
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
During the life of the Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference (PELeCon), we tried to be innovative, introducing new features over the ten years the event ran.

One of the most innovative (and perhaps controversial) was the inclusion of a confessional booth during the final PELeCon. The idea was simple, and a counterpoint to the sometimes congratulatory culture seen in many conferences. In many other events, all delegates tend to hear are the success stories, and how great everything is.

But all those of us who have been engaged in education at any level will know that not everything goes smoothly and teaching and learning is not a bed of roses. It can be messy, divisive, disappointing, even heartbreaking.

The idea behind the confessional booth was to introduce some reality and honesty to the conference and to encourage teachers to share. The idea was simple, and my learning technology team made it happen. They built a small booth large enough for a person to sit inside, with a curtain at the back.

The delegates were invited to sit inside the booth, and use a web cam and microphone to record a short 'confession' of something that went wrong - with some commentary about what they had learnt from the failure. If they felt confident, they could then tap a red button, and the entire recording would be published on YouTube. 

Several delegates recorded 'confessions' and posted them to YouTube. Many didn't take up the offer, and it was a one-off event, because my university cancelled funding for any future events, and PELeCon was no more. Who knows what library of confessionals we might have generated. The last element was the most important - we can all learn from success stories, but it is often the failures we learn the most from. 

Sharing is a big component of collaborative culture, and learning from each other should be a normal activity for all teachers. Reading Richard Gerver's latest book Education: A Manifesto of Change triggered further thoughts on this idea. He writes: 

'Collaboration will always suffer if there is an underlining lack of respect and trust. Many teachers feel vulnerable and actually quite insecure about their own practice, even the greatest ones, and this means that as a profession, we are sometimes nervous of sharing.' (Gerver, 2019, p 19)

Gerver documents some of the issues around teachers trolling each other and being openly hostile if they see ideas that they cannot agree with on social media. He maintains that there should be a balance between echo chambers (where everyone agrees with each other and there is no learning) and hostile, fear ridden environments where people feel they cannot speak out for fear of being humiliated by stronger voices. 

Like him, I call for a better, more psychologically safe environment within which educators can discuss and share their ideas, hopes and fears with no fear of ridicule or humiliation. The only way we can achieve this is for all of us to separate ourselves from those who would seek to undermine, threaten and bully anyone who doesn't agree with their own views. We have had too much of this in recent years and it's time it came to an end. 

Teachers - we are all in this together, and we have the same aim in mind - to provide the highest quality learning experiences for our students, our community and our society. Let's be more tolerant of each other's views, and openly share and debate in a civilised, professional and caring manner.

Gerver, R. (2019) Education: A Manifesto for Change. London: Bloomsbury Education.    

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Confessions of a teacher by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's
18 Apr 16:01

Learning Technologies Conference 2019

by Ian Blake
London Skyline

The Learning Technologies Conference in London is always an inspiring event, and this year was no exception.

This year they introduced “The Bridge” – 5 minutes of informal discussion at the end of each talk where we discussed in pairs / small groups “This session has been great, what are you actually going to do and take back to work with you?” A great concept as although being inspired at conferences is important, it is vital to take back and apply something that you have found.

I attended six sessions over the two days, I have summarised in this post the top three for me:

Learning Evaluation: Will Thalheimer

This session was very relevant to the work I am doing in a project as it focussed on how evaluation can be used for continuous improvement and drive learning transfer, the use of new knowledge and skills back at work.

Will has been reading the research done into learning and evaluation for many years and translating it into actionable ideas and tools to push the transfer of learning to people’s work. His talk was about two of his latest contributions to the area of learning evaluation in business:

1. an improved performance-focussed survey to use after a course to get people’s feedback (Level 1 Evaluation or Happy Sheets as it is often called) and a whole new model for learning evaluation,

2.  the Learning Transfer Evaluation Model (LTEM), which focusses on enabling  continuous improvement of learning activities and the application of learning back at work.

My Bridge – connecting the conference to my work:

  • Look at how to use LTEM and a new Level 1 survey
  • Ensure any data collected helps in decision making​
  • Send messages in Level 1 survey questions to nudge learners to the correct behaviour. ​
  • People are not often good judges of their own learning. ​
  • What “brand” do you want your learning and development organisation to have?  Have a question that reinforces this on your Level 1 survey.
  • Use delayed (sent out, for example, three weeks after the course) Level 1 surveys as well​

MOOCs (online video-based courses): Marlo Kengen; Petra Peeters; Gabriel Schaepman

We need to create dynamic and interactive learning activities that focus on adding value. Online video-based courses offer one way to do this.​

MOOCs are a very popular way for traditional universities to open up their learning to everyone, and at the same time earn money from it. They are becoming more common in business as the technology needed to create and host them is becoming cheaper. The speakers were from Han University and Swiss Re, so brought a balanced view of MOOCs.

Gabriel (Swiss Re) shared an important aspect of using MOOCs within a company – that the learners need to be taken out of isolation. Swiss Re achieve this by activating six networks of the participant including their manager and also pairing up people so that they have a learning partner doing the same course. Importantly they also focus on what the leaners will apply following the course, not on what they will learn. They apply three methods for their courses, Structured Learning, Social Learning and On-the-Job Learning with people beginning to apply what they have learnt very quickly in the on-the-job part. Interestingly Swiss Re host their MOOCs on sharepoint.

This way of presenting courses online can offer several advantages: allowing learners to do the course in small chunks when they have the time, letting people do some of the theory before attending a classroom session to allow more time for hands-on practice, and the content can be made available to everyone to use as and when they need it in their work.

My Bridge – connecting the conference to my work:

  • Look at how we can use MOOCs to move from learning to value creation​
  • Make job specific tasks part of any MOOC​
  • Encourage social interaction, it makes all the difference. The experts running the courses must react fast to discussions, but not jump in with expert opinions; this could shut down the discussion
  • E-learning is learning in isolation, use MOOCs to get people out of isolation. ​
  • In commercial MOOCs completion rates is crucial as this is how they earn money (certification). BUT in business we should focus on people cherry picking the information they need and applying it
  • Click bait works – use rhetorical questions in the titles.

Data-fuelled Learning: Lori Niles; Nick Coley; Hannah Gore

In learning we need top “make data our super-power”. To be effective (in other words to help people improve their performance) we need to put the content where our learners are when they need it – looking at data will help us achieve this. One example, given by Lori Niles, of directing content to where people were, was a company that discovered its most popular intranet page was the restaurant’s menu page, and so added links to learning content there – leading to a 30% increase in engagement.

We need to be aware of Digital Body Language: “Every drop-off, click, or share, is a learner shouting their likes and dislikes. These actions are the eye-rolls, smiles and arms-crossed from the classroom, simply in digital format”. This originally comes from marketing, and although learning is not marketing, we are trying to change people’s behaviour through information.

In learning we should be smart in the way we use data – fitting into the workflow, identifying trends, making better design decisions and responding faster to performance needs. Hannah Gore encouraged looking into your company’s strategy to see how Learning and Development can “save the company”!

Nick Coley from Evans Cycles shared that they used to launch all their content on a Friday afternoon ready for the weekend (when the stores were open), however they found that their users were most active on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday around lunch time. They simply changed the launch of new content to Monday morning and saw the impact of that. Another finding was that their video content was usually around 5 minutes, whereas the average user was on the platform for about three minutes – shortening their videos to match this increased engagement and user perceptions of quality.

My Bridge – connecting the conference to my work:

  • Look at business strategy and how to support it. ​
  • Make L&D data relevant to what the business wants to hear. ​
  • Use data as a diagnosis not an autopsy​.
  • Click-bait titles​ work but need to be truthful.
  • Know when and how users visit – and where do they “hang out”- put link to content there​.
  • Remember, high engagement is not the same as good quality content​ and business results.
18 Apr 15:57

The new talent management challenges of Industry 4.0

Journal of Management Development, Volume 38, Issue 2, Page 118-129, March 2019.
Purpose The transformational changes to business environments brought about by the fourth industrial revolution create a perfect storm for strategic human resource management, prompting a need to explore the implications of this context for talent management theory and practice. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach In-depth interviews were conducted with HR directors and senior leaders within engineering-led organisations to explore current challenges experienced across each stage of the talent pipeline: attraction and recruitment, training and development, career development, talent mobility and succession planning. Findings The speed of technological change brought about by Industry 4.0 had created a significant gap between current capability of employees and the rapidly evolving requirements of their roles, prompting a need to consider new and more effective approaches to talent development. Middle managers are increasingly recognised as overlooked critical talent within this context of unprecedented change, given their essential role in change management. In addition, whilst lateral hiring remains a common talent management practice, in the case of Industry 4.0 this equates to fighting a war for talent that does not exist. Practical implications This study suggests that there is a need for evolution of talent management theory and practice towards a more dynamic, systems-thinking orientation, acknowledging the interrelated nature of different talent management activities. Originality/value This paper provides an in-depth insight into the impact of the unprecedented change brought about by Industry 4.0 on contemporary talent management practice, considering how theory and practice might need to evolve to enable individuals and organisations to keep up with the rate of technological change.
18 Apr 15:51

Digital Learning in Organizations

by (Steve Wheeler)
Cover design by Kogan Page
My new book will be published on April 3 by Kogan Page. Digital Learning in Organizations has already been positively reviewed by several leading figures in the world of Learning and Development (L and D), including Jane Hart, Laura Overton, Charles Jennings, Edmund Monk and Richard Gerver, and it includes case studies and interviews with many more, as well as forewords by Donald H Taylor and Shelly Terrell.

The book is aimed at those working as learning and development professionals in industry, but will also be of interest to any, and all, those working in the world of learning technology, knowledge and education. It is available in paperback, hardback and Kindle (Amazon site) formats, and can be pre-ordered on the Kogan Page website (use the promotional code FHRDL20 and get 20% discount on the purchase price). The promotional text is below:

Technology holds vast potential for learning and development (L and D) practitioners. It can improve performance, productivity, engagement and knowledge retention. However, if employees aren't able to leverage the potential of these technologies, any investment in them is futile. Digital Learning in Organizations shows L and D professionals how to make sure that their workforce is 'digitally ready' and has the skills, capabilities and understanding needed to capitalize on the opportunities created by learning technologies and feel confident in their ability to get the most out of them. It includes guidance on how technologies can be used to improve both social and personal learning, how the increased flexibility created by technology enables a multi-located workforce to develop simultaneously and discussion of how to ensure that technology really does facilitate employee development and doesn't become a distraction.

Digital Learning in Organizations also includes comprehensive coverage of the ways in which L and D practitioners can engage with learning technologies and digital capabilities such as mobile learning, wearable technology, learning analytics, virtual presence tools as well as augmented, mixed and virtual reality. Packed with insights from leading L and D practitioners, this an essential read for all L and D practitioners needing to improve employee and company performance in a digital world.

NB: If you are interested in booking me for a keynote, workshop, seminar or corporate event, Kogan Page are able to print bespoke versions of my new book which can include your corporate branding, message from CEO and other company specific text and artwork. Contact me via email at

Update: A Facebook page promoting the new book is now online at this link. Check it out and like it (if you like)! Visit to get a 20% discount on the cover price.

Creative Commons License
Digital Learning in Organizations by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's
18 Apr 15:43

From intranets to digital employee experience (keynote presentation, March 2019)

by James Robertson

I was honoured to be invited (again!) to be the opening keynote of the always-enjoyable Intranet & Digital Workplace Congres, held in Utrecht each year.

In the session I explored the journey that organisations are on, as they deliver increasingly mature solutions and experiences to their employees.

The key highlights:

  • Modern intranets remain vital, as a provider of key content and services, as well as providing an enterprise front door to the wider organisation.
  • The five purposes of intranets provides a framework for assessing your current intranet, and then planning where to devote resources for improvements.
  • The annual Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards share a wide variety of modern intranets that deliver business value.
  • More broadly, the digital workplace consists of all the digital tools, platforms and environments for work.
  • Every organisation already has a digital workplace, since the introduction of email, but it’s in a poor state.
  • So the key question to ask is: what makes a great digital workplace?
  • At the most holistic level, the digital employee experience (DEX) encompasses all the digital interactions within the work environment.
  • A great DEX is required to deliver a great CX.
  • The DEX Survey conducted by Step Two sheds light on the current state of DEX maturity.
  • Every organisation should choose what they’re currently focusing on: intranets, digital workplaces or digital employee experience.

The post From intranets to digital employee experience (keynote presentation, March 2019) appeared first on Step Two.

18 Apr 15:36

Some facts about International GCSEs

by Kate Keating

A student at a desk writing on an exam paper.

Reflecting on recent interest in the comparability of GCSEs and International GCSEs, this blog provides further information about the two types of qualification and how they operate in England.

  1. International GCSEs and GCSEs in England are different qualifications. GCSEs are based on content specified by the government and must be assessed in line with Ofqual’s rules. The awarding organisations that offer International GCSEs each decide the content for those qualifications and how that content is assessed, which may legitimately be different to GCSEs.
  2. In England, International GCSEs have not counted in school performance tables since the corresponding reformed GCSEs became available. In the UK, therefore, International GCSEs are mainly taken by students in independent schools.
  3. International GCSEs are also taken by many thousands of students across the world.
  4. Awarding organisations can decide whether their qualifications are regulated. Our Register of qualifications shows the qualifications we regulate and, where relevant, the date at which we will cease to regulate a qualification. Some International GCSEs have never been regulated by us; some have been regulated by us in the past, but are no longer; and some are currently regulated by us (see list below). By 1 April 2020 we do not expect to be regulating any International GCSEs.
  5. On our Register of qualifications we describe the few International GCSEs we still regulate as ‘Level 1/2 certificates’, although the qualifications are still more generally known as International GCSEs. We cannot require awarding organisations to change the name of unregulated International GCSEs. Our description reflects our view that the qualifications, when regulated, are at levels 1/2, as are GCSEs. Like other qualifications at this level, the grades are not necessarily aligned with GCSE grades.
  6. We accredited new GCSEs to check that they covered the government’s expected curriculum and met the carefully designed rules around assessment we put in place. We can also be confident that grade standards between GCSEs offered by different exam boards align and that standards are maintained over time.
  7. Previously, when International GCSEs were taken by large numbers of students in maintained schools, we had information about their prior performance. We used this to compare some grade standards in International GCSEs and GCSEs for the qualifications awarded in 2015 and 2016. We found differences which varied by grade, awarding organisation, subject and year. For example, in one English/English language specification, the International GCSE was around two thirds of a grade easier at grade A and around a fifth of a grade easier at grade C, while in another specification the International GCSE was closely aligned at grade A and around a tenth of a grade easier at grade C. In English literature, on the other hand, there was a mixed picture, with evidence that some grades were set more generously but others were more severe. There was no systematic pattern.
  8. We cannot re-run this analysis now that students in maintained schools do not take International GCSEs because we do not have sufficient data on students’ prior performance – most students now taking International GCSEs did not take key stage 2 tests.
  9. Results for any qualification will reflect the cohort of students who took each qualification. For example, the most highly attaining students are likely to take physics GCSE rather than combined science GCSE. Proportionately more top grades are awarded in GCSE physics than GCSE combined science. This does not mean that GCSE physics is easier than GCSE combined science. We cannot draw conclusions from the grades awarded in an International GCSE and the corresponding GCSE because we do not have data on the prior performance of the International GCSE cohort. Even if we had such data, differences between the content and assessment arrangements of GCSE and International GCSEs mean that grades in the respective qualifications would not necessarily represent achievement of the same knowledge, understanding and skills.
  10. We have no powers to intervene in qualifications that we do not regulate. Organisations do not have to comply with our rules when they offer unregulated qualifications and we cannot consider concerns or complaints about such qualifications.

Amidst the recent discussion, it is important to remember that GCSEs and International GCSEs are not the same qualifications, and so we believe it is not possible to say with any precision how the standards of the two compare. Awarding organisations may of course conduct their own comparative analysis or benchmarking.

People should be careful when using GCSE and International GCSEs interchangeably if exact comparability matters to them. However, we recognise that such precise comparison might not be an issue for everyone. Universities and employers are used to seeing many different qualifications on applications and deciding what value they place on them.

International GCSEs can have a particular value for students outside of the UK for whom the content prescribed for students in England might be less relevant. We recognise the export market for English qualifications is vibrant and we are pleased to be working with the Department for International Trade to improve the information available to international purchasers about the range of those we regulate.



These Cambridge International qualifications, described on our Register as Level 1/2 certificates, will be regulated by Ofqual until 1 April 2020

Qualification Name QN Number Syllabus Code
Certificate in Art and Design 500/5658/X


Certificate in Music 500/5679/7


Certificate in Information and Communications Technology 500/5649/9


Certificate in Business Studies 500/5702/9


Certificate in Enterprise 600/1959/1


Certificate in Geography 500/5652/9


Certificate in History 500/5656/6


Certificate in English Literature (9-1) 601/5295/3


Certificate in Computer Science 601/3120/2


Certificate in English as a Second Language 500/5653/0 0511
Certificate in French 500/5642/2


Certificate in German 600/0714/X


Certificate in Spanish 600/0769/2


Certificate in Italian 600/6585/0


Certificate in Greek 500/5680/3


Certificate in Mandarin Chinese 600/2572/4


Certificate in Biology 500/5871/X


Certificate in Chemistry 500/5701/7


Certificate in Physics 500/5660/8


Certificate in Mathematics (9-1) 601/5294/1


Certificate in First Language English (9-1) 601/5296/5


18 Apr 15:08

Reform of Functional Skills qualifications in English and maths

by Phil Beach

From 1 September 2019 a reformed suite of English and maths Functional Skills qualifications (FSQs) will be available. This follows a decision made by government in 2015 to reform FSQs in English and maths. While the level of demand for the qualifications will remain the same, the reform process will ensure that these qualifications better meet employer needs in terms of the knowledge and skills that learners achieve. We know that when qualifications change, it can take some time for teachers to get used to the new versions, often because there are fewer resources available. We will expect Awarding Organisations (AOs) to take this into account when setting pass marks for the reformed qualifications so that learners are not disadvantaged. We will be publishing a further blog about how we will work with AOs to maintain standards later in the year.

From September, all new students starting an FSQ in English or maths will be enrolled onto the reformed qualifications. This blog will take you through some of the changes.

Biro pen on sheet of paper with sums written on

Content changes

The Department for Education (DfE), which is responsible for subject content, has introduced much more specific common content.

In this new content, there is more emphasis on the underpinning knowledge and skills that learners need. For English, this includes a focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar, without the aid of dictionaries or spell checks. At Entry levels, there will be detailed reading and spelling expectations based on the structured teaching of phonics. For maths, the content draws upon the underpinning knowledge and skills needed to solve mathematical problems, both with and without a calculator.

You can find the full subject content for both English and maths on the DfE’s website.

Qualification design and structure

We have used the reform as an opportunity to strengthen the design and delivery of FSQs, better securing comparability between the qualifications over time and across different awarding organisations. In order to do this and make sure these qualifications meet DfE’s expectations, we have thought carefully and refined our thinking in response to consultation feedback about how to regulate these qualifications.

Based on feedback to our consultations, we kept some of the features that worked well in legacy FSQs, for example continuing to permit on-demand assessment and using a Pass/Fail grading system. We have also made some changes to the qualifications, including changes to the duration of assessments and, in line with DfE expectations, there will be an increase in the number of guided learning hours to 55. In addition, Level 1 and Level 2 assessments (with the exception of Speaking, Listening and Communicating in English) continue to be set and marked by the awarding organisations. Our rules also allow the context of Entry level assessment tasks to be adapted by teachers to reflect situations in which their students may use the skills being assessed.

Technical Evaluation

All new FSQs are going through our technical evaluation process before being made available, so that they are of high quality and support consistent assessment and awarding.  A combination of independent subject experts and Ofqual assessment experts have reviewed a range of materials against our rules. These materials include the specification and the sample assessments. During this process, we have considered issues such as level of demand, coverage of the DfE’s subject content, and the quality of questions and their associated mark schemes. We have also reviewed each awarding organisation’s assessment strategy, the key document in which they explain their approach to the design and delivery of their qualification.

We have already completed our technical evaluation for a number of qualifications, and many more are nearing the end of the process. The status of each of the qualifications in development is outlined here.


First teaching of these qualifications is 1 September 2019 and, from this date, new learners will need to be registered for the new versions of FSQs. Learners already registered on legacy English and maths FSQs will have until 31 August 2020 to be awarded their qualifications, after which they will be withdrawn.  A number of qualifications have already gone through technical evaluation and are ready to be made available to schools and colleges.  We have contacted all awarding organisations offering reformed FSQs and asked them to publish their draft specifications and sample assessment materials. This will give teachers a broad idea of the overall paper and mark scheme design to allow them to prepare effectively.

We continue to work closely with awarding organisations through our technical evaluation process to ensure high-quality, valued qualifications which learners and users can trust.

You can find more information about the changes to FSQs on our Functional Skills Collection page.

18 Apr 14:50

Exploring possibilities for the ‘critical’ in Learning Development practice & theory; critical academic literacies?

by Lee Fallin

Gordon Asher delivered a very thought-provoking session this afternoon at the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education ALDinHE Conference. Here are my notes (in mindmap format) from this session, with the caveat, that they are but a small representation of what was a VERY deep discussion.

Session mindmap:

See below link for linear, accessible Microsoft Word version
Mind map of Gordon’s session

Broader conceptual framework:

Critical academic literacies are linked to critical university studies, critical/powerful literacies, popular education, critical pedagogy and academic literacies.
Critical academic literacies and the association with other related concepts/frameworks.
17 Mar 16:43

Teesside University hailed for ‘outstanding’ apprenticeship provision

by Olimpia Ades

Teesside University is setting the quality benchmark for apprenticeships having been among the first higher education institutions in the country to have its provision subject to full inspection by Ofsted.

The education watchdog examined the University’s Higher Apprenticeship provision across five categories, rating every area as outstanding, from leadership and management, to learner outcomes.

Teesside is one of the first universities to receive a full Ofsted inspection for its level 5 apprenticeships under the revised inspection framework and is currently the only higher education apprenticeship provider to be rated as outstanding across the board.

Inspectors praised the University’s “senior leaders’ strategic vision for apprenticeships” ‘a culture of high expectations’ and a curriculum that ‘meets the needs of employers and regional economic priorities.’

Teesside offers a varied range of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships across its five Academic Schools.

They provide an ‘earn as you learn’ opportunity, combining vocational work-based learning with study towards a professional qualification and are co-designed with industry to maximise the benefits for both students and employers.

At the time of the inspection, Teesside University had just under 300 students enrolled on Higher Apprenticeships. Just over half of those were studying the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, while others were on Laboratory Scientist or Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeships.

Ofsted categorised Teesside as outstanding in all five areas:

·        Effectiveness of leadership and management

·        Quality of teaching, learning and assessment

·        Personal development, behaviour and welfare

·        Outcomes for learners

·        Apprenticeships.

Professor Paul Croney, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Teesside University, said: “We are delighted with this outcome and are pleased that, as one of the first higher education institutions to undergo a full Ofsted inspection of its apprenticeship provision, the University has received outstanding feedback in every area.

“Our vision is to position Teesside as an international university with a reputation for academic excellence. Higher and Degree Apprenticeships are designed and flourish because of our exceptional work with business and our commitment to providing the very best student and learning experience.”

The Ofsted report praised Teesside University’s resources and learning environments and referred to how apprentices grow in confidence throughout their course.

“Apprentices make excellent progress in improving their skills, knowledge and behaviours – they make improvements to the quality of their work so that it meets and often exceeds industrial requirements,” the report states.

“Leaders and managers have very successfully established a culture of high expectations for apprenticeship provision. They place a high priority on ensuring that high-quality apprenticeships provide life-changing opportunities.”

Professor Jane Turner OBE DL, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement), leads the University’s apprenticeship provision.

She said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive such fantastic feedback across all areas of our Higher Apprenticeship provision.

“The University is passionate about ensuring that what we deliver is relevant and of an extremely high quality. We are committed to helping businesses in the Tees Valley and beyond thrive and prosper and that can only happen with people learning the right skills to enable them to perform to the highest standard in their job roles. I would like to acknowledge the staff who have played such a fundamental role in this outstanding outcome.”

Natalie Harper was among the first students to graduate from the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship.

She said: “I would definitely recommend Teesside University to anybody. Doing this qualification has been an incredible experience. The staff have been really supportive.

“Having the academic support has made a real difference and will really help with the way we work with patients.”

Find out more about apprenticeships at Teesside University –

27 Feb 07:46

Instructional Design Skills

by Christy Tucker

This is post #3 in a series about how to become an instructional designer. Links to the rest of the series can be found at the end of this post.

I know many instructional designers were originally teachers or trainers who changed careers (just like I did). Many of the skills overlap between these fields, so it can be a pretty easy transition. However, just like every other field, instructional design has its own set of jargon and specialized knowledge.

Instructional Design Skills

Free Online Resources

If you’re considering moving into instructional design, I think one of the best things to do is just to start reading about it. Fortunately, many free resources are available online.

Books plus an App

For slightly more than free ($2.99), the Instructional Design Guru app for Android is a mobile glossary of almost 500 terms related to ID. If you’re constantly looking up jargon while you read up on the field, this will save you time.

If you have a little budget, there are some great books available as well.

Online Courses and Graduate Programs

Especially if you’re moving to the field of instructional design from a career in something other than teaching, formal training can be the fastest path into an instructional design career.

edX offers an instructional design “micromasters” program. It’s four online courses. You can take them for free or pay for verified credit.

Open Learning has a free online course on instructional design that includes some solid foundation content and a guided process for creating a project. A paid certification is available too (although the certification may not count for much with employers, you might want it just to have a formal credential).

If you want a graduate certificate or masters degree, Connie Malamed (the eLearning Coach) maintains a list of US instructional design programs. Many of these can be completed completely online.

Other Posts in this Series

  1. What Does an Instructional Designer Do?
  2. Getting Into Instructional Design
  3. Instructional Design Skills (current post)
  4. Technology Skills
  5. Professional Organizations and Career Options
  6. Is instructional design the right career?

Read all my posts about Instructional Design Careers here.

Looking to hire an instructional designer?

I help organizations who need online learning that gets results and changes behavior. Interested in learning more? Check out my portfolio and the services I provide.

Originally published 5/31/2007. Last updated 2/21/2019.

The post Instructional Design Skills appeared first on Experiencing eLearning.

25 Feb 20:34

Web Literacy Across the Curriculum

by mikecaulfield

We’re still teaching history using only print texts even as kids are being historicized online by Holocaust deniers and Lost-Causers. We’re teaching science in an era when online anti-vaxxers gain traction by using scientific language to deceive and intimidate. 

Sam Wineburg, The internet is sowing mass confusion. We must rethink how we teach kids every subject.

Couple good pieces out — one by Sam Wineburg, and an interesting response (expansion?) by Larry Cuban. The point, at least as I read it? Misinformation on the web is not really a subject — or, in any case, not only a subject. The web, after all, is an environment, a domain in which most professional, scholarly, and civic skills are practiced. Yet the structure of how we teach most subjects treats the web as either an afterthought, or worse, as a forbidden land.

If you know me and know this blog, this issue has been my obsession since before this blog was launched in 2007. Back in 2009 I dubbed the practice of ignoring the web as a target domain as “Abstinence-only Web Education“:

…what [the term] expresses [is] my utter shock that when talking to some otherwise intelligent adults about the fact that we are not educating our students to be critical consumers of web content, or to use networks to solve problems, etc — my utter shock that often as not the response to this problem is “Well, if students would just stop getting information from the web and go back to books, this whole problem would go away.”

Now I do believe that reading more books and less web is usually a good decision as part of a broader strategy. But most of what students will do in their professional and civic lives will involve the web.

My younger daughter, for example, is presenting to the school board tonight about how the integrated arts and academics magnet program she is in supports various educational objectives. When trying to understand what those objectives mean — from critical thinking to collaboration — she is not reading a textbook or going to a library. She is consulting the web.

And I am writing this at work as part of being in an informal professional development community, and you are reading it to maybe help you with your job.

These issues seem a million miles away from Pizzagate and blogs that tell you that sea ice is increasing and climate change is really a hoax. But they turn out to be adjacent. What happens if my daughter’s search for critical thinking lands on one of the recently politicized redefinitions of that term, which she ends up presenting to the school board? And you’re here at this blog, trusting me — but there are of course other blogs and articles that are written by people in the employ of ed tech firms, and those by people that have zero experience in the domain on which they write. Giving your attention to those sites may actually make you worse at what you do, or lead to your manipulation by corporate forces of which you are unaware.

Or maybe not! Maybe you’re good at all this.

Still, I keep coming back to that part of Dewey’s School and Society where he talks about the problem of transmission of knowledge in a post-agrarian society. In the first lecture in that work, Dewey talks about the way in which industrialization has rendered the processes of production opaque. In an agrarian society, he notes, “the entire industrial process stood revealed, from the production on the farm of the raw materials, till the finished article was actually put to use.” In such a world a youngster could simply observe, and see what competent practice looked like. To understand where things came from was to understand one’s household, and not much pedagogical artifice was required. With the introduction of complex, specialized and opaque systems, however, there was no opportunity to learn by looking over a parents shoulder, and so a more designed approach was required.

Two things occur to me re-reading that. The first is not necessarily a new media literacy insight. But that networked opacity we deal with — the complex network of actors and algorithms that lead to a piece of information or propaganda being displayed on your screen — is a very similar problem. There’s a part of that lecture where Dewey talks about how students that investigate the production of clothing walk through domains of physics, history, geography, engineering, and economics due to the complex set of historical, geographical, and other factors that have determined the way in which clothing gets made. The point he makes is that you can organize the curriculum around clothing, and the disciplines become meaningful.

I’m not proposing to do a complete retread of Dewey’s progressive education in 2019. We’ve learned a lot since Dewey about how people learn; that’s good and we should use that. But narrowly, what Dewey saw in clothing in 1899 I see in web literacy today. Here is a going social concern that combines sociology, psychology, history, engineering, algorithms, math, political science and so on. You don’t have to adopt unmodified Deweyism to see the opportunities there for integrative education. Elucidate the circumstances of production for this thing students are using most of their waking life. If you’re a high school or an integrative first-year program put together a year on it, and try it out.

The second point is on skills. Dewey noted that when professional knowledge moved out of farms and into factories and offices children lost the ability to observe competence in action. Work — and the skills associated with it — became hidden.

That’s still true today, but there’s another angle on this. Even in offices our skills are quite hidden because of the ways that this work evades third-party observation. Where there is an artifact of work — equations, code, writing, etc., a co-worker can ask “hey, why are you doing that in that way?” And where more ephemeral processes are public — soft skills exercised in a meeting for example — they can also be learned.

But web skills have the double whammy of leaving very little trace, and of being intensely private. And this makes transmission and improvement of these skills much more difficult, and creates a situation where there is a lot of hidden need. More on that in a later post.

25 Feb 09:10

Top 10 Learning Systems for 2019

by Craig Weiss

When ever I travel on an airplane, my typical MO is to get to my seat, turn on my music connect my headphones and ignore the person next to me.  I readily admit this.  On my last flight over here to London, I couldn’t do it, because the person started to have a conversation right after I sat down.   The downside to this, is I wasn’t able to listen to Death Cab for Cutie (a band), but on the upside, I learned that this person was one of the first 100 employees ever to work at Microsoft.  He noted the things he created at the company, who was the guy behind Excel and that everyone was a genius back then. 

But one thing he said to me, okay, two things, really stood out.  First, when our discussion turned to machine learning,  he said, “People forget that computers are really dumb,” and in the end of everything, its all binary  – i.e. 1’s and 0s.  That comment really stuck with me, because in my Top 50 Learning Systems for 2019, the best of the best are listed, so let’s call them 1’s.   The Top 10, you could argue are the cream of the crop, and I wouldn’t disagree, and learning systems is more than just a set of programming components, they are and will forever be – an ecosystem whereas learning and training can co-exist along with various other functionality to deliver top tier learning/training to your employees, customers, members or all the above.  

The key to success though for each one of you isn’t just selecting the best system, but one that truly delivers what you want it to do.  I look at multiple variables and factors when identifying the top 10 systems, and thus, please, please do your due diligence.  Every one of these vendors can be found on my platform, Registration takes about a minute. Then you authenticate your e-mail address and then jump into the system.  In less than five minutes you could enagage with them, and for many, even schedule a demo.  Systems that have “demo” capability will be noted below. 

At the end of all this, I will give you a couple of tips that I strongly and I cannot stress this enough, strongly, recommend you do when it comes to your demo.  And if you find your computer not complying with you, as my fellow traveler once said, don’t blame your machine. They are after all, dumb.

Now on to the rankings.

#10 Brainier LMS

A robust system that contains everything from a perfect score in my learning environment functionaliy to administration (also a perfect score) to content curation, video management (with auto detection FPS) to the ability to accept course standards including xAPI and PENS. UI/UX is above average, implementation on average is about three months. 

The system lacks the ability to import skill dictionaries and job definitions and link definitions to competencies, doesn’t support a couple of languages including Russian and Dutch, and is missing mobile apps (i.e in iTunes and Google Play).  While they accept any size of customer (and the system does come with e-commerce – it does lack subscription bundling though), I see them best suited for mid-size on the employee front.  Their verticals are medical, manufacturing, financial services and professional services.

Support is above average. Implementation time frame (depending on complexities) is about three months.

#9 Coorpacademy (LXP) (DEMO in FindAnLMS)

A secret of a system, from the aspect, you may have never heard of them, since they are in my opinion, an LXP under the radar. A shame really, because this is one heck of an LXP.  Features on the LXP that stand out include

  • The system uses learner’s profile (skills, topics of interest, etc.) to identify most popular content or suggested content
  • The system able to push out higher level of content (learner interest or “recommended”) as learner expands their skill sets/knowledge
  • Can create a learning path based upon recommendations using algorithm over a period of time
  • Ability for development paths or curriculum/learning paths to have content placed in a specific order/hierarchy of learning
  • Ability to move the “recommended”, “trending” etc. to different areas, i.e. your system has “my topics of interest” – last, but we want it to be first, and want “recommended” to be last.

The system thankfully does not support “assignments” and I am so glad.  Many LXPs are accepting the capability or option to offer “Assignments i.e. requried training,” which sorts of defeats the purpose of learner-centric.

UI/UX is quite good and while their algorithim is tied to completed content, a minus in my book, Coorpacademy says it does not penalize or hurt the learner if they do not complete the content. 

Supports a wide swath of verticals, setup is very quick – usually no more than one month. Course standard support is only xAPI (thus no SCORM, etc.).   Support is above average.

#8 Docebo Learn (DEMO in FindAnLMS)

A constant top ten learning system, Docebo is a system that has a lot to offer. The first vendor in the industry to offer one-click content (i.e. you buy or select it – some are free) and click it goes right into the LMS.

UI/UX has always been quite good.  Marketplace is good too. I love their playlists capability and their coach/share module is wonderful (it is part of the Enterprise system version), but you can also purchase it as a standalone if you say, buy just the base version and not enterprise. For example in the module learners can view a list of mentors(tutors/coaches) profiles, and select one or as many as they want, to help them. They can web cam record themselves and share it with the coach too.

The perform, which should be IMO rebranded as Skills module, is very good too. It scored a perfect 100.  Machine learning is there too.  That said, while Docebo has added some very NexGen functionality its weaknesses is in data visualization and analyticals that comes from it.   The admin side is solid, but could use a tweak here and there.  

Setup timeframe for Enterprise is anywhere from one to six months depending on complexitites. They also offer a buy now, go live now option too (i.e. you buy the system with your credit card and zoom, you are live – it is for the base system).  Supports all course standards including xAPI and PENS, and yes, SCORM too.  Pretty much supports all verticals.  System can be employees, B2B and B2C.  Support is average.

#7 TIE – TIE

As noted a few weeks back I ended up with a tie, so rather than the tie covering 7-8 (listed though as seven), I went with both vendors listed as seventh.

#7 Growth Engineering  (DEMO in FindAnLMS)

Multiple winner in the Top 10 Learning Systems for 2019, including one for gamification.

An extremely robust LMS whose UI and UX is very good on the front-end. On the back-end (admin side) it is good, but does need an update, which is occuring as we speak (thus to launch sometime in 2019).  Administration and Learning Environment both scored 100%.  Mobile apps are available and include on/off synch. Compliance management is solid. Competency and Skills components overall, are above average.   Classroom and event management are quite good. 

While the system has a built-in LRS it is not activate (again, why?).  Analytical data tied to data visualization is a weak spot here and the lack of machine learning is a major downer.

They do plan to add a course/content marketplace in 2019. 

Knowledge Arcade (mobile) is very good especially with battles. The bummer factor is that in order to use it with “your content”, you have to buy Genie, their authoring tool, which is a separate price point.  

Implementation time frame on average is about a month.  Supports nearly all verticals, but strong spots tend to be software/hardware technology, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.  Employees, B2B and B2C is doable, although their e-commerce is tied thru Stripe. 

Support is good.

#7 Learn Amp (LXP) (DEMO in FindAnLMS)

Hello. Are you seeking the best LXP on the market today? Wish there was an LXP with a very good – game changer SaaS authoring tool with it?  Hope you had an LXP whose content marketplace continues to add content from vendors who are not the same as every single LXP out there?  Desire one with an outstanding UI/UX front and back-end?  Well, you are in for a treat – because Learn Amp scores 100% across the board in all those areas.

Content curation is outstanding. Scored a perfect 100% in my learning environment and administration functionality.  Offers classroom management not a usual feature you find in an LXP, so for those folks who want your MTV, err ILT, you can have it with this LXP.

Analytical data exists, could be better, and the system is missing an LRS (but it is on its roadmap for 2019).  Supports SCORM, SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 3rd edition. At this time, does not support xAPI. Plans to push to the next tier of skill development and capabilities in 2019, that will really make it shine (expect by Q4). 

While they do have knowledge reinforcement via a m-learning, they are missing mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Implementation time frame is 1 to 3 months, depending on complexitieis, although for the most part, one month is very doable.  Support has been outstanding.

One of my “Systems to Watch in 2019”.

#6 Fuse

Frankly, a very good system.  Perfect score in learning environment, administration, classroom management, manager/instructor capabilities, video management including auto-detection frames per second, notifications – including ability to send text notifications and mobile.

Content curation is good, albeit not perfect. Machine learning exists in the system, as does compliance and skill management. On the skill management side, they scored high, but one of the items they are missing is the inability to import skill dictionaries and job definitions and link definitions to competencies. They have a built-in assessement tool, but are missing a quiz bank, which is really a feature many systems had even back in 2000.

In social, you can’t follow/unfollow folks (not a huge deal for me, but for those seeking that) and in event management they are missing auto waitlisting, which to me, is a necessity for anyone who is doing webinars/F2F seminars.  Analytical data is good. Data visualization is mixed. 

Support is good. System course standards acceptance include SCORM, AICC, xAPI, but no PENS.  Implementation time frame is anywhere from one month to 12 (depending on complexities, with on avg. about three months). 

For those folks who still want their LMS to sit on their own servers (Legacy Activated!) –  Fuse can be self-hosted. 

2019 #5LMS

SumTotal Learning Management (DEMO in FindAnLMS)

I know what you are thinking. How, Craig – how can you pick them to be so high in your rankings, when you repeatedly in the past, noted how they did this poor and that poor. 

My retort is to blame Shakespeare. Actually, I can’t stand his plays – I mean, who really gets the whole thing anyway?  That said, what I have seen with STLM in the past several months, has opened my eyes to really a very good LMS.  I can’t and won’t speak about the other mods that exist in the SumTotal world, but for the learning management piece, SumTotal has done a masterful job in the overall of the whole UI and UX. 

The system has always been quite robust and thus, it is all set on that front.  The Learner side is crisp and very intuitive. On the administration side it has gotten a lot better, but still needs a refresh to it, especially when it comes to the whole data visualization tied to analytical data thing.   I will concur that the data that exists within the system is good, but the view from above as I say, is in need of a new coat of paint err fresheness.

In my second tier level of learning environment features, SumTotal Learning Management scored 100%.

On the NexGen Tier 2 functionality, Big wins include

  • Digital/Electronic signature capability on mobile device (although right now this is only for instructors)
  • Administrator can change weights, points and other items to assist in the deep learning process – more accurate info (YEAH – plenty of systems do not allow administrators this capability in their machine learning, resulting in skewed data)
  • Standalone Support mobile app – YEAH.  Still needs some fixes to it, and too much tech jargon, but compared to other vendor support mobile apps, by far the best.
  • Browser extensions via a bookmarklet availble for Chrome, FireFox, Edge and I believe Safari (but ask on that one).  Ties into xAPI.

Video sharing by Learners is coming in the next upgrade, so another wonderful win.  For folks who want ADA 508, your all set – STLM support that (as do many other vendors, but here’s the kicker – there are way too many vendors who do not. I should note that in the UK they follow the ADA 508 guidelines, and I surmise that in your own country, they do as well.)

Implementation time frame ranges from one month to up to 24 months, but on average around three to six months.  I mean if it 24 months, build your own – ha I kid! All course standards except PENS are supported (so, yes on xAPI and SCORM). 

Support is still average, but has improved quite a bit in just the past six months (I base this on the metrics SumTotal provided me as well as a call with their VP who oversees support).  Oh, and they support nearly every vertical out there.

2019 #4LMS

Unicorn LMS (DEMO in FindAnLMS)

Best LMS for FS period.  (FS means financial services).   Minds-I now comes as part of the Unicorn LMS and is the best knowledge reinforcement tool I have seen on the market. Compliance and regulatory is fantastic on the platform.   Unicorn scored a perfect 100% on learning environment and administration. For fans of vendor built-in authoring tools, Unicorn’s could easily be sold as a standalone, it is that good.  Competency and skill management is very good.

UI and UX is quite good, although a few mini improvements needed on the workflow feature (but many vendors do not offer that feature, so there is that too).  Mobile learning is rock and roll hall of fame level, with apps for iTunes, Google Play and comes with on/off synch.  You can get an on/off synch mobile app for the system, for Minds-I and a mobile app for CPD with on/off synch too.   You also get Quizdom which is fun to play and as you can read from its title is an assessment tool in a game-based learning experience. 

Analytical data is quite good, albeit data visualization could be better. System lacks machine learning at the present time as well as coaching.

Supports all course standards including SCORM and xAPI, although it lacks PENS.  Implementation time frame is one to two months.  Has their own training department (not something you find with every LMS vendor).  Support is outstanding.

2019 #3LMS

eLogic Learning (DEMO in FindAnLMS)

Last year #1 LMS in the rankings, they slide just down from there not because they did anything bad or wrong, rather, the other final two, just did a little bit more.

Super Robust LMS.  They scored 100% in learning environment, administration, event management, classroom management, social, compliance management, competency and skill management, and Tier 1 NexGen functionality.

Reporting and analytical data is fantastic.  Mobile learning is another big win with apps in the iTunes and Google Play stores with on/off synch.

The system is launching this quarter (Feb-March) a brand new UI, which I have seen as was like “WOW”.  For fans of the Netflix UI – somewhat similar with the eLogic twist to it. Each end user can still select their own theme and look for the system – a monster win in my book.

On the Tier Two NexGen functionality, eLogic is well on their way with content curation, machine learning (it exists already in the system) and coming later in 2019 Tier 2 in skill building and development (majority of vendors are still in Tier 1).  

System comes with free content, and they offer a course marketplace.  They have a coaching component (needs some enhancements), and video management is tight.  Analytical data has always been quite good, but data visualization is a need – beyond what they have now.

Supports all course standards including SCORM, xAPI and PENS.  Has an LRS too.  Implementation time frame is one to three months, depending on complexitities. Support is #1 IMO – so let’s say beyond awesome.  Has a training department.  BTW, comes with a sandbox (for free) after you go-live.

2019 #2LMS

CrossKnowledge Learning Suite (DEMO in FindAnLMS)

Robust system that shocks the system – uh, your system, not the system itself, in a great way.  Scores perfect in nearly every category. Scores 100% in administration and learning environment.  The administration side of the house is fantastic. Best data visualization and analytical data capabilities I have seen so far out of the box, despite the fact they lack an LRS (so, just imagine when they add that to the mix, since an LRS pushes metrics to a whole new level). 

Building up their content marketplace, so I place it as average.  Mobile app is now FREE – so yeah on that.  It is available in iTunes and Google Play with on/off synch.  Front end UI is wonderful.  This is just a really, really good system.  Okay, better than good. 

Compliance mangement is strong. Competency and skill management is top tier too.  On NexGen Tier 1 nearly 100% (the lack of an LRS stops it from 100).  For Tier Two I place them at good.  Content curation is solid. Video management is good.  Machine Learning is solid, could be better.  

Implementation time frame is one to three months.  Course standards are SCORM, SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004 3rd edition, thus they need to add xAPI.   Support has been above average.

2019 #1LMS

SAP Litmos   (DEMO in FindAnLMS)

Even though the fine folks at SAP are telling customers at the large enterprise level they should go to SuccessFactors and not Litmos, I’m telling you that SAP is wrong!   Litmos can handle large enterprises, in fact they have one client with 1.5M users.  Normally, this isn’t an area I jump into when identifying a top system, but I’ve heard from folks who are told by SAP this exact scenario, so just be aware that if you have SAP and talk to them, they may pull this with you.   Ignore them.

Now on to the system. 

I often cite robust, but let’s be frank here (may my Dad, Frank, RIP), this is an awesome system.  I could go thru it all, but it would just be a lot of WOW, amazing, great, can I have a free piece of pie with that and so forth.

#1 NexGen Tier 2 Learning System in the industry.  #1 LMS for the mid-size market. You can choose to have the system come with content or not, but I strongly recommend you select “the content option”.  Has a content marketplace which includes additional assets such as workbooks.  Has an app store (think auto-connectors APIs).   UI/UX on front and back end is outstanding. 

Scored 100% on learning environment and administration both at Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels. 100% on classroom management, skill and competency management, event management, social, content curation and machine learning. 

If there was a weakness (and I will admit, no system is 100% perfect), they need to improve on a tiny bit of Tier 2 gamification (which only a couple of vendors have), they need a bit more on coaching/ask a mentor and data visuliation needs to get to the next level (it’s not there yet).  Analytical data is good, but I’d like it go to a bit up, and an LRS, which they have could really do that if it turned out to stream out all those amazing metrics.

Implementation time frame is one to three months. Supports SCORM, SCORM 1.2. and xAPI.  Support has been outstanding.  They do support a wide variety of verticals and employee, B2B/B2C – and now comes with e-commerce as well.

Bottom Line

There they are as Bert Price would say (70’s pagent host, who looked like he smoked about six packs a day). And I say back at him –

Yes, there they are.

The best of the best.

For those of you attending LTUK,  all vendors with the exceptions of Brainier, Growth Engineering and eLogic Learning are at the show.  Based on my unbiased opinion, the best booth is Unicorn – you can win a free unicorn playing Quizdom, but the booth itself it quite nice. SumTotal is nice too, lots of places to sit and people are smiling when you see them. 

Worst is Fuse. I walked around multiple salespeople looked at me, and did nothing, until I kept walking and finally found someone who would talk to me.  Nice booth, but what’s the point of having salespeople, who are not doing anything, except standing there like tree stumps.

E-Learning 24/7

I do want to give a quick shot out to Savannah G. from Udemy, who I saw at their booth last week at ATDTK. Smiling. Extremely nice, knew the product inside and out and listened to each question and was able to answer. If every vendor at a trade show, had someone like her, you would sell a lot.  Udemy needs to give her a raise.

25 Feb 09:08

Learning design – the long haul of institutional change

by mweller

The latest in the seminars that I’m coordinating at the Open University was held recently. I was delighted that this one was presented by my colleague Rebecca Galley, talking about 10 Years of Learning Design at the OU. I was part of this project, building on the excellent work of Grainne Conole. Learning Design is a good example of how you implement institutional change in higher education. The project developed tools, worked with ‘friendly’ course teams, became integrated into the formal course approval process, developed standard workshop and support, refined practice, and then adapted to particular needs, eg using LD to focus on retention.

It is not easy, but we now have a uniform design process across the university, and are one of the world leaders in this approach. It has allowed us to then match analytics against designs, and to develop a common language and representation.

Rebecca talks through the approach, the successes and tensions and possible directions. What this whole project highlights for me is that change in higher education is possible (contrary to the “things haven’t changed in 100 years” trope), but it requires patience and sensitivity. Had we said 10 years ago “everyone is doing learning design now” the project would have met with resistance (it met with enough anyway, I have the scars to attest to this). That’s the price for working with academics and not robots. But by getting people on board, working to solve real problems, talking in their language (not management speak) and being able to demonstrate benefits the OU is now in an excellent place with Learning Design (which is not to say it can’t be a lot better).

Here is Rebecca’s talk:



25 Feb 08:48

Cabinet Office halts apprenticeships over budget cuts

Inevitable given limited caps on apprenticeships.

Training provider says reduction in funding cap means scheme no longer covers costs
23 Feb 14:37

Why students need the ‘skill of learning’ in the 21st century

by Kate T at The IB

Philanthropist and entrepreneur Nenad Bakić talks about the skills needed for today’s world and how his STEM projects have changed the Croatian education system Nenad Bakić has transformed education in Croatia. The entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist is the founder of the non-profit organization IRIM (Institute for Youth Development and Innovativity), which aims to empower all […]
10 Jan 18:20

DfE publishes 20% off-the-job training ‘mythbusters’

by Billy Camden

The Department for Education has published new guidance on the controversial 20 per cent off-the-job training rule for apprentices, which attempts to bust certain “myths”.

The policy, which requires apprentices to spend a fifth of their week on activities related to their course that are different to their normal working duties, has split the FE sector since its introduction in 2015.

Many have complained that the rule is the single biggest barrier to apprenticeship recruitment, but others view it as a vital part of the apprentices’ development.

A lot of opposition to the policy has come as a result of confusion about exactly what the rule entails.

One area of potential confusion is likely have come from a recent calculation change to the policy, for example.

Under original rules, the 20 per cent off-the-job was based on a 52 week year and included annual leave. But the Education and Skills Funding Agency changed this in August and stated that statutory leave should be “deducted when calculating the requirement for all apprentices who begin their programme from 1 August 2018”.

It means that the calculation to determine off-the-job hours is different for apprentices who started before August 1, 2018, compared to those who started after.

To combat confusion, the DfE has today published an off-the-job training mythbusters document. It doesn’t, however, include clarification about the calculation.

One “myth”, according to the guidance, is that off-the-job training “must be delivered by a provider in a classroom, at an external location”.

“This is not true,” the document states.

“Off-the-job training can be delivered in a flexible way. This can be at the apprentice’s usual place of work, or at an external location. It can include for example, the teaching of theory, practical training and writing assignments.”

English and maths counts towards the 20 per cent requirement for off-the-job training is another “myth”.

“Apprenticeships are about developing occupational competency and they are designed on the basis that the apprentice already has the required level (level 2) of English and maths,” the document states.

“Training for English and maths must be on top of the 20 per cent off-the-job training requirement.”

Some in the sector also believe that off-the-job training can be done in the apprentice’s own time, which again is untrue, according to the guidance.

“An apprenticeship is a work-based programme so all off-the-job training must take place within the apprentice’s paid contracted hours,” it says.

“If planned off-the-job training is unable to take place, it must be rearranged. Apprentices may choose to spend additional time training outside paid hours, but this must not be required to complete the apprenticeship.”

The government has continually reiterated that the 20 per cent off-the-job training rule is here to stay, despite protests.

But it has promised to “listen to what’s working, what the challenges are and continue to review how the reforms are working”.

You can read the full mythbuster document here.

13 Dec 18:28

International education in a world of fake news and filter bubbles

by Kate T at The IB

By Louise Badham It has been claimed that we live in a world of “post-truth politics”. Ours is a globalized and interconnected world where the power of social media is embraced in political campaigns and “appeals to emotion are dominant and factual rebuttals or fact checks are ignored”. In the turbulent arena of international politics, […]
13 Dec 18:27

Fortnite is making children aggressive, schools warn parents ahead of Season 7 release

by Nathalie Richards

Oh god, here we go again. Books are bad, radio is bad, video is bad, tv is bad...Fortnite is bad.

Several schools have written to parents with concerns over Fortnite – saying it’s changing kid’s behaviour and creating ‘anger, aggression, attitude and bad language’, Mirror reports.… Read the rest