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HR's future strategy for digital learning | theHRDIRECTOR - The only magazine dedicated to HR Directors

HR's future strategy for digital learning | theHRDIRECTOR - The only magazine dedicated to HR Directors | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
The use of digital tools for learning continues to be an area of both great promise and great frustration for many organisations. With the consumerisation of IT, Google have taught us to search, LinkedIn to connect, Wikipedia to access knowledge and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to access a new wave of free quality online courses. Tony Sheehan, Director of Learning Services, Ashridge. However, the effective integration of these and many other technology concepts into organisational learning strategies remains limited in many cases. Organisations are struggling to develop digital learning strategies that bridge the expectations of the multigenerational workforce whilst individuals are also struggling to learn and make effective business decisions amidst a sea of distracting content on the internet. So how can HR professionals develop digital learning strategies that connect a multitude of learning technologies and are aligned with organisational strategy? How can busy executives find time to learn via the range of mobile devices in their pocket whilst coping with the demands of working practice in our rapidly evolving business landscape? Is there a way that digital learning can help us to learn rather than simply generate still more search results? This paper reviews a five step process for developing effective digital learning practices: Establish the business need for learning technology; Articulate the learning objectives; Recognise the dominant digital culture; Evaluate the learning technology options; Implement the learning technology solution. Each is considered in turn.Establish the business need for learning technology. In the face of a learning technology field full of choice and rich with jargon, clarity of objectives is essential to focus efforts on benefits that will make a difference rather than be just nice to have. In a 2013 survey of over 1000 L&D professionals, Ashridge found that 98% expect to either sustain or increase organisational spend on learning technologies over the next five years. However, 65% of respondents stressed that more effective technology solutions are needed to delivery of business objectives and appropriate return on investment. As a result, it is worth starting any selection process for new digital learning solutions with the end in mind: How would your business look different if a learning technology were successfully implemented? What problem are you seeking to solve? What benefits would result? How could these benefits be measured? How will they connect to your overall business strategy? Responses to these questions can help to both refine understanding of need and assess the level of investment that would be appropriate given the potential impact. It could be, for example, that there is a need to accelerate the speed to competency of new employees in a consultancy practice in order to maximise consultancy rates. This may well, in turn, influence specifications for a content based eLearning intervention. Alternatively, there may be a need to upskill a group of remote workers in order to improve sales. This need could be served with specifications for a mobile learning solution. It could be that a more innovative mindset is needed across the organisation to create new business opportunities. In this case, a virtual conference to share the insights of a world expert in the field may be appropriate. In each case, the optimal learning solution comes into focus following consideration of the need. Most organisations now seek to connect any planned digital learning intervention to a tangible business impact in order to demonstrate value. Approaches to demonstrating that value will vary by organisation; measures such as return on investment (ROI) will be appropriate for process oriented organisations who focus on financial performance whereas value measures (staff motivation) may well be more appropriate in less structured organisations in the design and creative sector. Business needs will evolve, but by starting with need and potential measures in mind, any new digital learning solutions can be evaluated and business cases developed in ways that connect to senior management interests. Articulate the learning objectives After identifying business needs, specific learning objectives and desired outcomes are needed. Basic knowledge transfer on the principles of a subject such as teamwork can be taught effectively via straightforward eLearning and mobile learning tools. If, however, the goal is to apply this knowledge at a higher level – team leadership, for example – a more complex intervention may be required. This will need to embrace the subtleties of dealing with particular types of team member, and may need to connect to performance in practice. As such, any technology solution would need to blend simulation, learner reflection, 360 feedback and mentor or coaching support interventions in order to deliver appropriate results. Questions to consider at this stage therefore include: What learning outcomes are required to best achieve the business goal? How could blended or technology centric approachesdeliver these learning outcomes? What levels of investment are available? Historically, the learning technology space has been dominated by the combination of Learning Management Systems (LMS) and eLearning assets in a controlled, structured manner to track user activity and to assess performance. Such approaches to knowledge delivery and structured training will continue to provide a platform for learning (particularly in provision of health and safety and legal based training). However, the complexity of today’s decision making environment is making it increasingly difficult to understand the ‘right’ answer or the ‘right’ level of training from such structured approaches. Individuals, even at lower levels of organisations, now need to become as skilled in when to pause, think and ask for help as when to push on with decisions. There is an increasing realisation that there is no point having all the ‘right’ knowledge unless it is applied successfully in practice at the right place and time. The learning objective, therefore, may still involve a need for some demonstrable evidence of compliance, but is also likely to be about building professional capability to support effective decision making. Professional Institutions, in evaluating CPD have started to recognise this trend by exploring the potential for self-managed records of continuing competence rather than minimal compliance based assessment. Learning objectives in these cases may lead to solutions that are richer, more context specific, more connected to other reliable sources. Learning may well still be consumed as a ‘course’ but may also be made available as a ‘resource’ on demand to support the needs of urgent decision making in complex environments. Learning objectives may be to provide greater levels of self-managed development, performance support, or on-demand access to learning (potentially via mobile devices) for increasingly busy workers. Clarifying objectives at this stage helps to develop focus in product selection; no learning technology can do everything, but by understanding learning objectives, it is possible to maximise opportunity to deliver what is required. Recognise the dominant digital culture In order to deliver both learning objectives and business benefits, digital learning solutions must connect to the working practices, behaviours and technology preferences of the people within the organisation. In an age of information overload, it is easy for learners to overlook access to learning opportunities. By assessing ‘fit’ between digital learning interventions and the dominant digital culture and behaviours of the organisation, it is possible to maximise engagement between target learners and the proposed solution. The multi-generational workplace has also created a multitude of learning styles and user preferences toward learning technology that need to be consideredwhen selecting digital learning interventions. Some individuals will embrace the concept of self-managed development, but many others will need a blend of reminders and rewards to ensure that learning remains towards the top of their ‘to-do’ list. Some individuals are comfortable with the tools of digital learning, and may well have one or more virtual versions of themselves (avatars) in digital worlds, online discussions or virtual collaborative 'games' such as world of warcraft. In contrast, others are not yet comfortable in such environments and may therefore approach the digital learning environments with greater caution. The field of MOOCs illustrates this effect in practice; many high quality institutions are now producing excellent courses online, but learner motivation, engagement and retention are highly variable. Questions to consider at this stage include: What are the dominant practices, preferences and IT standards within your organisation? Are your IT policies and practices carefully controlled or socially driven by users? What forum exists to share perceptions and communicate understanding of technology projects?User expectations of learning technology will be shaped by factors such as IT policy in the workplace but also increasingly from personal insights gained through use of technology outside work (social media, gaming, music, TV) and consumed through a variety of channels (mobile, tablet and online). To fully understand the digital culture of an organisation, it is important to tap into the separate clusters of technology conversation that will be taking place between champions of, for example:Business Systems (eg Corporate IT Departments); Learning Management Systems, MOOCs and Mobile Learning (eg L&D and Learning Technology Departments); New or emerging technologies such as LRS, Open badges and social learning (eg social media, innovation and R&D Departments); Business benefit and ROI (eg Boards, Clients, Technology Providers and consultants). Learning development, course design, content development and collaboration environments will be shaped by perceptions held within these clusters, and engaging such stakeholders at key points in the project delivery of digital learning solutionswill help to ensure effective understanding of preferred user interface design, appropriate devices that need to be supported and features that are either irritable or ineffective. Many of us are familiar with gratuitous use of animations, voiceovers, quizzes, visualisations and simulations in digital learning. User analysis and involvement across silos through planned project meetings, online discussions and reviews at key points can help to separate the valuable from the novel, can focus resources and can build enthusiasm for the optimal solution. Evaluate the learning technology options. The learning technology landscape is evolving rapidly and is awash with complex acronyms and terms that make little sense without detailed review. Having considered business need, learning objective and dominant digital culture of an organisation, however, a far more effective evaluation of potential digital learning solutions can be carried out. Questions to consider at this stage include: What impact must the learning technology deliver?Where is the evidence it has achieved this before?How could it integrate with the existing technology infrastructure and user preference?What proof of concept is possible? What is the full cost of implementation, integration and maintenance? The types of digital learning solutions adopted will vary considerably according to the responses to the above questions and according to the alignment required to fit with digital culture, learning objectives and organisational need. Where the organisational strategy is about standardisation, organisations may seek to develop consistency, with people complying with good practices that are embedded into daily working practice. The digital learning strategy needs to align with this position, and will therefore tend towards solutions that track compliance with appropriate behaviours. Learning management systems tend to dominate in this case, supported by content (in multiple formats - video, audio, text) with exercises to evaluate understanding of key themes. There may be a strong dependency on subject matter experts and limited debate and dialogue will be present between learners as the organisation seeks to measure the impact of the ‘one best way’. Individual results may both need to be saved and even disclosed in order to prove an organisation has adequately addressed an area of learning. This approach is useful where policy has to be transferred to large groups, where some degree of organisational 'standard' must be assessed (e.g. health and safety or military environments) or in any qualification based programmes where assessment is limited to structured evaluation and summative assessment. This approach to digital learning technology does not, however, apply in all cases. At the opposite extreme, where organisational strategy is more about reinvention and innovation or where few best practices exist, digital learning solutions must move from enforcing past approaches toward supporting decision making and learning in the face of continuous change. In these cases, bite-sized introductions must connect to in-depth exploration of insights, and learning materials must act as stimuli for debate in discussion areas that builds understanding of new knowledge areas and creates impact for the business. Through alignment of business need, learning objective, and user preference, choices can be made from a range of digital learning components can be combined to create an effective virtual learning solution. These components include: Content in multiple formats, validated and classified to feed multiple learning channels; Search and digital design to allow rapid access to learning resources; Diagnostics to signpost individuals toward learning in their preferred style; Blogs and wikis to encourage sharing of individual perspectives and co-create good practices. Web and social media feeds to provide awareness of the external perspective; Digital simulations and animations to ‘rehearse’ application of knowledge; Collaboration via web conferencing and virtual action learning to introduce real context of current practice. Discussion forums to enable asynchronous debate; Gamification techniques to encourage user participation Open Badges and certificates of completion to provide records of activity in a particular development area ePortfolios, learning journals and Learning Record Stores to encourage self-reflection and articulation of individual learning pathways. Experimentation with any of these technologies can result in great insights and inspirations. For lasting impact, however, the blend of technologies selected and precise approach to their implementation must be aligned with the processes and culture of the organisation. Implement the learning technology solution Once a digital learning solution has been selected, attention moves toward implementation and benefits realisation. The causes of project failures are well known and can only be addressed through careful management of people, process and technology related issues throughout the delivery phase of a new technology: How will project deliverables and progress be monitored? How will stakeholders be kept involved, connected and enthused? How will results be measured and used for improvement? Measures of ‘success’ must again align with current practices within the organisation. Some will look at clicks, hits and compliance as opposed to time, impact and competence. Some will assess results using structured metrics such as ROI whilst others will focus on more intangible measures such as value stories, social ratings and user feedback. The growth of data analytics and visualisation now allows assessment of almost any digital interaction to be carried out, but careful consideration is required in deciding what to use and how it will be used. Data protection laws limit the extent to which individual data can be used and individual tracking of behaviour can also stimulate ‘gaming’ of learning activity and create false results. Even once measures of success have been created, it is important to recognise that the field is not static; the end point of any learning technology implementation is a powerful springboard for reflection on overall learning technology strategy and for creation of new perspectives on learning. The future of digital learning The future of organisational learning is likely to see focus shift from theory toward practice, from compliance towards competence, from courses towards resources. Each of these challenges will place demands on the next generation of learning technologies. Content will become more concise, but will always have to connect to relevant sources of insight. Collaborative learning will become more significant which will invigorate interest in new approaches to mobile learning. MOOCs will evolve into a key component of organisational learning strategy and the emergence of personalisation technologies such as LRS and TCAPI will provide showcases of individual competence that will revolutionise the way organisations seek to mobilise expertise and to recruit new people with unique skills.The forecast for the future is one of accelerating change, increasing shift towards self-managed development and resultant demand for digital learning solutions that blend quality content, rich community interaction and application to real world problems. The choice will continue to grow, but with focus on needs, objectives, and users, it will be possible to develop incredibly powerful learning solutions. www.ashridge.org.uk
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This article give great insight into the future possibilities of organisations to utilise technology to train their employees better in many areas such as OH &S

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Gov't pledges to improve safety standards at mines

Gov't pledges to improve safety standards at mines | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
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A good insight into the conditions that Turkish miners have to work under. It does make you wonder how many lives could be saved if every country had safety regulations like Australia, Canada Etc.

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Mandatory Occupational Health And Safety Training For All Workers And Supervisors In Ontario – In Effect July 1, 2014 - Employment and HR - Canada

Mandatory Occupational Health And Safety Training For All Workers And Supervisors In Ontario – In Effect July 1, 2014 - Employment and HR - Canada | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
19 Jun 2014 - Canada - Employment and HR - Mandatory Occupational Health And Safety Training For All Workers And Supervisors In Ontario – In Effect July 1, 2014 - Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP - Starting July 1, 2014, all employers covered by the OHSA will be required to give Basic Awareness Training to all workers and supervisors.
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A good article showing that Canada is taking a pro active approach to OH & S by making training for employees mandatory. Future studies will be interesting to see what effect it has on the number of reported incidences.

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De Leon: The Why in Goodbye: Addressing employee turnover and fostering employee engagement in hospitality

De Leon: The Why in Goodbye: Addressing employee turnover and fostering employee engagement in hospitality | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
EMPLOYEE turnover is an expected reality in hospitality. We are in a dynamic and fast-paced industry, where a bulk of the profession is on a mission to challenge the status quo, innovate and set indus...
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Although only having a little bit to do with OH & S the points that this article raises on the subject are incredibly important as the service sector is on the rise in Australia and is expected to continue to rise in the future 

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CDC under scrutiny for safety lapses

CDC under scrutiny for safety lapses | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
Safety and security problems put the head of the Centers for Disease Control under the microscope at a House hearing. Lawmakers questioned Dr. Thomas Frieden over concerns such as workers being exposed to live strains of anthrax and avian flu being shipped to outside labs, among dozens of other safety violations. Hari Sreenivasan learns more from Alex Wayne of Bloomberg News. Continue reading →
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A scary insight into some of the OH & S faults occurring at CDC facilities throughout America. Although nobody was hurt or got sick from these safety faults their was great potential for a major outbreak to occur.

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Safety lapses in construction: Deadline pressure may be factor, says MOM

Safety lapses in construction: Deadline pressure may be factor, says MOM | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
SINGAPORE — In response to concerns over workplace safety lapses in the construction industry, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday acknowledged that it had received feedback from employers that they are under pressure to complete projects within tight deadlines.
“It is possible that some employers who have not placed enough emphasis on developing safe and innovative ways to increase productivity have begun to cut corners in workplace safety and health (WSH), after finding that they are unable to meet deadlines,” a spokesman said, adding that this was “not tenable”.
The ministry’s comments came a day after stakeholders from the construction industry said the construction boom and shortage of workers to handle the demand could be among the reasons for a spate of safety lapses and accidents in the construction sector.
There were 17 construction-related deaths in the first half of the year, up from 11 fatalities during the same period last year. The number of incidents involving major injuries in the first five months also jumped 15 per cent from the same period last year to 71.
The ministry yesterday stressed that workplace safety is of “paramount importance”.
“Workers’ lives are at stake when employers cut corners and we do not condone poor WSH practices for any reason,” the spokesman said.
Besides the penalties imposed on errant employers, the MOM carries out the Business Under Surveillance programme and the Demerit Point System to “reform the WSH regimes” of construction companies with poor practices.
The MOM also said the companies could tap government assistance on both the productivity and safety fronts. For example, construction firms may tap the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund as well as Productivity and Innovation Credit to support their companies’ workforce development, adoption of technology and capability development.
On the workplace safety and health front, employers can turn to the various programmes offered by the WSH Council, such as bizSAFE to build WSH capabilities and CultureSAFE to foster a strong WSH culture.
“Firms should tap these grants and schemes to find innovative ways to improve productivity, while ensuring work processes remain safe,” the MOM spokesman said.
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Another insight into the all to familiar story of organisation throughout Asia putting deadlines and costs above the price of safety.

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Defibrillators in the workplace keeping your employees safe

Defibrillators in the workplace keeping your employees safe | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
140,000 people a year suffer a cardiac arrest, with 70% of these incidents happening outside of hospitals. Once a cardiac arrest has set in, there is an incredibly short time period to save someone’s life and a defibrillator is key to this survival. In fact, having a defibrillator in your workplace can increase a person’s survival rate from 6% to 74%.
Choosing whether to invest in an automated external defibrillator (AED) device can be a difficult decision to make as a business own
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Not an area that i have ever had much thought on but an interesting insight into the topic of defibrillators in the workplace. As the statistics show in the article it seems like a good idea, provided their is sufficient training.

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Tackling the $51-billion-per-year Problem (Includes interview and first-hand account)

Tackling the $51-billion-per-year Problem (Includes interview and first-hand account) | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
ScholarLab, a Leading eLearning Company Partners with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to help erase the stigma of mental health in the workplace.
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Mental health of an organisation's employees should be of great importance to the organisation as it can have a major effect on the productivity of not only the employee in question but also to others around them. Having an employee with any mental health issue could definitely have OH & S implications.

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Setting the stage for new technology trends and innovation at Manufacturing Solutions Expo 2014

Setting the stage for new technology trends and innovation at Manufacturing Solutions Expo 2014 | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
SINGAPORE - The inaugural Manufacturing Solutions Expo, jointly organised by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and Sphere Exhibits, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, will be held from Oct 8 to Oct 10, 2014 at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre.
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This article offers great insight into the shift of manufacturing to Asian countries. It will be interesting to see what organisation in the region do in terms of OH & S as they have been know to have relaxed rules regarding safety in the past. 

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Workforce sees demand for occupational health and safety employees

Workforce sees demand for occupational health and safety employees | INTERNATIONAL OH & S | Scoop.it
Becoming an occupational health and safety technologist entails learning all of the details and procedures that comprise the primary aspects of workplace safety, such as anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control. The entry-level tier is the technician level; these people do measurements, samples, interviews and inspection aspects of occupational health and safety. "The majority of students who come through San Jacinto's program are getting education gearing them toward entry-level positions," said Alfred Sustaita, program director of occupational health and safety technology at San Jacinto College's Central campus. LSC also offers a course for machinists in safety and manufacturing with regard to safety in welding operations; and a safety, health and environment course for individuals who are going to be working in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries as operators. Expanding and ensuring safety is implemented into the oil and gas curriculum, specifically in safety skills for roustabouts, assistant drillers and tool pushers with the help of the International Association of Drilling Contractors. People seeking safety officer positions should have good interpretation skills, be dependable, possess good ethics, be trustworthy, follow rules and regulations, and should be disciplined, with critical and analytical thinking skills, Galiotos said.
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This article shows that OH & S is  major issue for industries globally. The article does a good job of showing the different levels (tiers) that an OH & S employee can be placed and what responsibilities they may have.

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