Building a learning system (part 4)

The first thing to note in building an inclusive learning system is the need to span all learning styles. Traditionally the focus of learning systems has been two modes, off-line (user driven) or Instructor led. Many companies have built massive IP libraries of Video and Audio to give self-guided students something to do. The rest they pile into instructor led classes.

What is the problem with that? Well the first one is designing a system that supports the user being able to take training off-line. So we need a device checker. As we build the system we have to build into the system a device checker. One because some types of training have hands on labs. Some types of training have competitive advantage information in them, so the type of device they can be viewed on has to be controlled. Finally, some types of training end up being huge and so transferring them to a mobile device isn’t the best idea.

1. Device checker. A tool that validates the user (are you allowed to view the training? Are you allowed to view the training off-line? Are you authorized to have the training on a mobile device?) The three being increasing risk for the organization, but also greatest reward in the more training that can be pushed to more users at all three levels.

2. Central web site (mobile friendly) for the training system. One of the things we talked about early in this process was brain storming meetings. This is where they live. Right here in the learning system. But the web site has to be inclusive of this process. Not lip service to mobile workers but actual support for mobile and remote users. The web site must be of simple design so that it loads easily on a mobile device. It needs to have support for persistent chat built it into the system so that braining storming can be ongoing. Parking lot meetings should also be managed out of this system as well. Finally, the site needs to have categories of learning available easily placed so the users can find what they are looking for how they need it delivered.

So the initial pieces to be built are the device checker and the site itself. The system, once I was introduced to the first component many years ago has been built for 4 different customers. The areas that most organizations need to start in are different than building the web site. The first project has to be creating a roadmap for learning. The value of the site, is greater if it is built around a roadmap. The roadmap being a way I can get from where I am to where I want to be. The roadmap itself should be broken into categories that fit learning systems within the organization.

· On-line learning: podcasts, videos and whitepapers available for users to consume. This would include ILT (Instructor led training) that has been previously recorded.

· ILT (adding live) instructor led live training. This can be handed in three ways. The first is the alignment of the recorded ILT, with an ongoing session of live interacting. The various talks by the instructor are captured, and an instructor kicks off the class and monitors the discussion of the class members. The next would be the academy style where the class kicks off with a meeting and then discuses and works on the problems. Finally, you have the VILT, which has no direct class meetings but off-line email or persistent chat based interaction.

· DLM© search for organizational standards. Companies and organizations do things a certain way. Knowing that way is very important. SME’s can also build mini-sites where unsolved problems are presented (Brainstorm session) and answers are captured and tested. Finally known good answers are provided for known problems. Of course the other side of this is the concept of getting napkin ideas (this is possible) into the system as quickly as possible.

· Off-line learning- the ability to take the information you need training on off-line. Part of this will be managed – your device cannot use this training off-line please connect your company laptop as you need 4 gig of space for this training. Or, you shouldn’t consume this training on a mobile device due to organizational risk.

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Knowledge isn’t something to keep to yourself.