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What is it?

The way learning content is presented to learners. Possibilities include in-person, lecture, digital, electronic, synchronous, asynchronous, and more.

Why is it important?

Delivery mode is important because the right delivery mode can help showcase content more effectively and facilitate learning and retention. While it is often considered a static concept that is either a designated location or type of technology, delivery mode is neither static nor one size fits all. Instead, the delivery mode should be chosen based on what is to be learned and the needs of the learners. Delivery mode can also be combination of two or more modes, often referred to as taking a blended approach.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

Business professionals need to have an understanding of delivery modes so they can work with learning and development professionals to select the best delivery mode(s) for their needs. Factors to consider when selecting a delivery mode include:

  • Business reasons for requiring learners to complete training
  • Who the learners are, e.g., new staff or experienced staff
  • The learners’ current skill levels
  • Available resources, including people, budget, and time
  • How soon the learning needs to become a part of the learners’ routine
  • Size of the learner population
  • Aspects of existing training that are no longer relevant or effective
  • Nature of the content, e.g., completely new or a refresher
  • Complexity of the content
  • How learner proficiency will be evaluated, e.g., quizzes, proficiency tests, timed drills, observation, problem solving, and so forth.

Knowing the responses to these considerations can help you or your instructional designer assess how best to present the content. Methods for presenting content include the following:

  • Demonstration
  • Distance learning, whether synchronous or asynchronous
  • eLearning
  • Hands-on learning
  • Informal learning
  • Lecture
  • Lab
  • Job aids or performance support tools, e.g., labeled images, checklists, or step-action tables
  • Projects, e.g., individual or group
  • Peer mentoring and coaching
  • Microlearning modules
  • Simulation, whether on the job or using augmented or virtual reality
  • Social learning
  • Solving problems or resolving challenges
  • Video, e.g., tutorial, scenario, simulation, or interactive video

References

About John Vivolo

Photo of John Vivolo

For nearly 20 years, John Vivolo has dedicated his career to online learning. His experience includes being an instructor, instructional designer, educational technologist, director of an award-winning online learning unit at New York University (NYU) and, more recently, executive director at the Katz School of Science and Health. John is currently all-but-dissertation in the EdD program at Northeastern University.

Term: Delivery Mode

Email: johnvivolo@yahoo.com

Twitter: @vivolojohn

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/johnvivolo/

What is it?

Any sequence of planned activities or experiences that enables learners to explore materials, practice what they have learned, and achieve proficiency.

Why is it important?

Central to all learning experiences, a curriculum provides the core structure that guides learners on their path to meet set goals. In other words, a curriculum helps learners learn by creating a framework that communicates performance standards, key learnings, methods, projects, relevant metrics, evaluation plans, etc.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

Imagine trying to assemble a structure without a cohesive plan. Yes, it is possible to build something, but how will you measure progress along the way? And how will you be able to recreate what was built later?

Creating a curriculum is creating a plan that lays out a set of expectations to help learners build towards their goals. The curriculum might include a sequence of courses, internships, mentorships, coaching sessions, or immersive simulations that, in essence, serve as the building blocks of learning.

Establishing a curriculum, in alignment with business or educational goals, provides a roadmap that enables learners to progress along learning pathways in support of their own or organizational growth. Alignment also enables learning leaders to invest in the future of their people in the organization and report to stakeholders on how their educational programs support the mission and vision of the organization.

References

About Bryan Alexander

Photo of Bryan Alexander

Bryan Alexander is an education and technology futurist. A senior scholar at Georgetown University, he helps colleges, universities, libraries, non-profits, and governments think about where education may be going in the coming decades. Creator of the Future of Education Observatory, Bryan publishes the monthly FTTE trends report, conducts the weekly Future Trends Forum, blogs, and runs an online book club. He speaks, consults, and publishes widely. His latest book is Universities on Fire: Higher Education in the Climate Crisis (Johns Hopkins University Press).

Term: Curriculum

Email: bryan.alexander@gmail.com

Website: futureofeducation.us/

Twitter: @bryanalexander

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/bryannalexander

Facebook: facebook.com/bryannalexander

What is it?

Selecting, vetting, organizing, and distributing effective content.

Why is it important?

The amount of information available to workers is increasing at an exponential rate. Business professionals have neither the time nor the expertise needed to identify the most valuable content from this seemingly endless flow. Curation selects and presents the most useful, valuable content and makes it available so others don’t need to repeat that effort. In his book Curation Nation(Rosenbaum, 2011), Steven Rosenbaum describes it this way: Curation replaces noise with clarity.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

Business professionals should care because curation is emerging as an important competency. In today’s world of work the person who knows everything is no longer the most valuable member of the team; the person who can find and share the answer to anything is.

Museum curators don’t create content. They listen, then find content that resonates. They scour the globe for artifacts related to that content and organize artifacts in such a way that guests are taken on a learning journey as they experience an exhibit. Of course, museum curators are highly trained for doing this. It is their specialty.

Business professionals are finding that curation is an important specialty in their world, too. Curation in the business world starts from the assumption that most questions have already been answered and most problems have already been solved. Curation finds the answers to those questions and the solutions to those problems and makes the results available. Good curation can help your organization and its customers become more efficient both in learning and in everyday operations.

How does curation fit into learning and performance? The most visible form of curation comes from informal learning that takes place on the job through coaching, mentoring, experiences, and sharing. But capturing this type of learning is difficult, because it takes place serendipitously and without documentation. Actively seeking to capture that knowledge and pass it on is valuable both to the company and its employees.

Business professionals can also curate the information they provide to customers to ensure that they do not overwhelm customers with irrelevant information. Curation, as a discipline, can help replace noise with clarity and enable you to deliver solutions faster and more efficiently.

References

  • (Rosenbaum, 2011) Curation Nation : Rosenbaum, Steven. (2011). McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN: 978-0071760393.
  • (Rosenbaum 2011) Innovate — curation!: Rosenbaum, Steven. (2011). TEDxGrandRapids. YouTube video.

About David Kelly

Photo of David Kelly

David Kelly is the CEO of The Learning Guild. Before joining the Guild, David has been a learning and performance consultant and training director for over 20 years. He is a leading voice exploring how technology can be used to enhance training, education, learning, and organizational performance.

Term: Curation

Email: dkelly@elearningguild.com

Website: learningguild.com

Twitter: @LnDDave

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/lnddave/

What is it?

Acquiring new information and skills by watching and interacting with others, or on one’s own, apart from or in addition to, traditional formal instruction.

Why is it important?

Social learning is participative and might occur in either/both formal and informal environments. However, informal learning is mostly unplanned and impromptu in nature. Social learning is important because much of workplace learning happens in social and informal ways.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

While the terms social learning and informal learning (also called tacit knowledge) have seen increased use over the past decade or so, the ideas aren’t new at all. Most of what we know we learned socially. Think about how you learned to speak your native language or how you acquired the skills necessary to abide by unwritten rules and norms in a new workplace. While other means of learning, such as operant conditioning, do play a role—​we learn not to touch a hot stove after doing it once—​a great deal of what we know comes from moving in the world, engaging with and watching others.

Likewise, much of what we know is learned informally and serendipitously: our parents typically didn’t sit us down and run through flashcards of verb conjugations. Rather, we learned in the moment, as conversations evolved and new situations arose.

These terms are primarily used in education to distinguish them from traditional, formal instruction delivered as structured, one-way teacher-to-student interactions. While many believe that learning must always look like school, it’s important to recognize how pervasive and valid other means of learning are.

Those responsible for employee development efforts as managers, or in workforce development as learning practitioners, can shore up learning by offering ample opportunities for social interaction—​both in person and via electronic means—​and the time and resources for self-directed acquisition of new information and skills.

References

About Jane Bozarth

Photo of Jane Bozarth

Jane Bozarth, EdD, holds a master’s degree in technology in training and a doctorate in training and development. Over the past two decades, she has worked as a classroom designer, trainer, eLearning specialist, social media specialist, and organization research director.

Dr. Bozarth is the author of many books, including eLearning Solutions on a Shoestring and From Analysis to Evaluation. She is a popular conference speaker and appears at many industry events.

Term: eLearning and mLearning Standards Social and Informal Learning

Email: info@bozarthzone.com

Website: bozarthzone.com

Twitter: @JaneBozarth

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/janebozarth

Facebook: facebook.com/Bozarthzone

What is it?

A method of instructor-led teaching that begins with the instructor providing a lot of support (scaffolding) to the learner, then reducing that support as the learner gains proficiency, allowing the learner to become more and more independent.

Why is it important?

Scaffolding is important because it allows learners to build from their current knowledge and experiences through temporary, but supportive, learning interactions, which act as building blocks towards the acquisition of new knowledge and skills.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

Business professionals who implement scaffolding in learning and development initiatives—​whether at the group, department, or enterprise level—​provide a critical, temporary support that not only enables their workforce to be supported and elevated in their learning acquisition but also provides a metric against which they can measure the effectiveness of those initiatives.

Consider the following:

  • Could a construction and facilities engineer build a multi-story building without building scaffolding to support the construction?
  • Could a project manager manage a multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract, including the schedule and costs, without a work breakdown structure and a framework to support project planning and scheduling?

Not using scaffolding in these contexts can be compared to a learning-and-development professional not integrating scaffolding into learning activities. Without scaffolding, there would be no supports to guide the learner through the learning process.

Most of us need some type of support when learning something new or shoring up our current understanding. When we have learned what is needed, we move up to the next level and don’t need to rely on that support any longer.

Building scaffolding supports into learning and development creates a positive and empowering learning environment.

References

About Jennifer Staley

Photo of Jennifer Staley

Jennifer Staley is SVP of Operations of Shoulder2Shoulder, Inc. a Certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business. Jennifer has been a talent and organizational development professional for over two decades across multiple industries and has an enthusiasm for continued education and lifelong learning experiences. Jennifer continues to shape her instructional design principles and strategies, her philosophy and vision for learning and performance in both her professional and personal lives.

Term: Scaffolding

Email: staley.jen@gmail.com

Twitter: @jennystaley

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jennystaley

Facebook: facebook.com/jennystaley

What is it?

A team, or individual, approach to that encourages exploration along the path to a solution using real-world, complex problems.

Why is it important?

Memorizing the facts and definitions surrounding the knowledge base of a subject is useless if that information cannot be applied in real-world situations. A problem-based learning approach brings real-world problems into the learning process.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

Problem-based learning (PBL) takes place in business situations on a daily basis. A group is presented with or discovers a real-world problem that needs to be addressed. Beginning with the end goal in mind the group decides on outcomes and assessments that will show at the end of the process that the problem has been solved. If a scenario isn’t already apparent, creating a real-world scenario of the problem aids in the process by framing the research and information gathering process.

The history of PBL includes education in medical schools where it was sometimes evident that students were well equipped with medical knowledge but lacking in their ability to apply that knowledge in the real world. This gap between knowledge and practice was filled with common and challenging medical problems solved by a group of medical students using discussion and research to come up with a plan to help the patient.

K-12 schools have also embraced PBL for many of the same reasons medical education did. PBL encourages active learning and creativity and places more responsibility on the students with the teacher guiding the learning path.

References

About Ann Musgrove

Photo of Ann Musgrove

Ann Musgrove, EdD, is an assistant professor of instructional technology at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include best practices in online and face-to-face technology integration, always applied with the philosophy of pedagogy before technology. Some of her ongoing interests include the exploratory installations of technology test kitchens, tools to teach information literacy to fight the propagation of fake news, and exploring 1:1 computing in K-12 classrooms.

Term: Problem-based Learning

Email: musgrove.ann@gmail.com

Website: annmusgrove.com

Twitter: @annmusgrove

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ann-musgrove-ed-d-a4b32916/

What is it?

Digital teaching and learning materials that anyone can freely use for nearly any purpose. They are used as an alternative to college textbooks, which are often too expensive.

Why is it important?

Open educational resources (OER) provide a solution to expensive course materials, especially textbooks, which students often have trouble affording. They are typically licensed under a copyright license developed by Creative Commons that allows creators of OER to legally share their work with fellow practitioners. OER holds benefits for instructors who normally teach with traditional course materials. Instructors who use OER typically follow new processes in course preparation that can lead to innovations in teaching.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

The cost savings realized through open educational resources (OER) are easily understood, but the other benefits of OER are just beginning to have a transformative effect on instruction. Benefits include the following:

  • Learners can access the content anywhere and anytime.
  • OER supplements traditionally used textbooks and lectures
  • Teachers can augment existing content with multimedia content or other formats that enhance the experience of learning
  • It is easy and fast to update the curriculum

OER holds tremendous promise for businesses as well, as they begin to explore opportunities to upskill and reskill their employees through low- or no-cost educational resources and tools. The benefits listed above apply as much to business as they do to education. As organizations look for ways to improve educational offerings and develop new ones, OER can make it possible to offer broader, and more economical, choices for their employees.

Like the Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) phenomena, OER gives businesses opportunities to provide small, discrete upskilling opportunities or large-scale reskilling pathways at a fraction of the cost of traditional training. Additionally, the licensing flexibility of OER allows organizations to legally edit OER content or combine it with in-house content. (See also open access)

References

About Mark McBride

Photo of Mark McBride

Mark McBride, PhD, is currently the associate director for Libraries, Scholarly Communications, and Museums at Ithaka S+R. He is a thought leader in higher education, with a track record of implementing changes within complex organizations. Mark has worked in public higher education for nearly 20 years, focusing on academic libraries and student access to education. He is a learning scientist, focused on investigation implications of open education in the higher education curriculum.

Term: Open Educational Resources

Email: mark.mcbride@ithaka.org

Twitter: @mcbrarian

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/markmcbride/

What is it?

An educational delivery model, primarily through an internet-based platform, in which the learning experience is intentionally designed and incorporates best practices to share knowledge (content, learning activities, etc.) while providing thoughtful and well-structured opportunities for engagement.

Why is it important?

We are a global society and many businesses have operations in more than one country. This means that it is not always possible to bring people together for in-person training. Online learning provides the flexibility to provide needed training in a timely and quality manner. This term is important not only to educators but also to parents, business leaders, politicians, and students.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

While various forms of distance education have been around forever, online learning is a relatively new modality that has seen significant growth over the past several years. This is true not only because of the flexibility and accessibility it can provide but also because it can be employed anytime and anywhere—​even during a natural disaster or other crisis. Business professionals can use online learning to reach employees who are unable to travel to in-person training.

Learners with an internet connection can select learning content that is live at a designated time at a specific internet address (synchronous online learning). Or they can select learning content that can be accessed on demand at any time (asynchronous online learning).

ELearning is a form of asynchronous, on-demand learning. It may be completed online, but you can also deliver eLearning from a Learning Management System (LMS) server that doesn’t require access to the internet.

Online learning is finding its place at all educational levels around the world, including K-12, higher education, university, corporate, and government. Education and training will continue to evolve, and online learning is just one part of that evolution. Understanding its current structure can help you determine the future direction of learning in your organization.

References

About Jennifer Mathes

Photo of Jennifer Mathes

Jennifer Mathes, PhD, is CEO at the Online Learning Consortium. She has over 20 years of experience in both public and private higher education where she has supported online learning initiatives since she taught her first online course. She holds a PhD in education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she wrote her dissertation on Predictors for Student Success in Online Education.

Term: Online Learning

Email: jennifer.mathes@onlinelearning-c.org

Twitter: @DrMathes

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/dr-jennifer-mathes-38a2b6a/

What is it?

The entirety of all the systems, resources, procedures, practices, and people that influence learning for an individual or group, including the interrelationships among these elements.

Why is it important?

In this age of self-directed learning and rapid change, the health of the learning ecosystem is critical. People learn more effectively and contribute more valuably if they can quickly access robust and relevant learning support.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

Leaders can exert considerable influence on the elements and qualities of a learning ecosystem in an organization, thereby affecting how efficiently and successfully people can develop their knowledge and skills.

A leader’s role is to selectively curate the components of the ecosystem, align them toward articulated goals, and troubleshoot any issues that arise. In shaping a learning ecosystem, leaders are very much like gardeners. They select what to plant, ensure adequate water and sunlight, boost nutrients, and prune here and there.

Leaders advocate for elements that enable learning and performance—from training and development programs to searchable databases to enterprise social networks and more. They ensure that people have access to the most useful and relevant resources and facilitate sharing of resources to help spread new knowledge and effective practices. They craft procedures and practices with an eye toward efficiency, productivity, and flexibility for change, and they align them to a common purpose. And leaders bring people together to learn from and with one another.

By managing all of these elements as part of an ecosystem instead of as unrelated pieces, leaders can create reinforcing loops that propel learning and development, positively affecting performance. Just as a biological ecosystem benefits from human intervention to nurture balance and counter destructive forces, the learning ecosystem benefits from a leader’s careful cultivation to support people’s growth.

References

About Catherine Lombardozzi

Photo of Catherine Lombardozzi

Catherine Lombardozzi is a lifelong learning and development practitioner and founder of Learning 4 Learning Professionals. Her work focuses on supporting the professional development of designers, facilitators, faculty, consultants, and learning leaders. She is the author of Learning Environments by Design.

Term: Learning Ecosystem

Email: clombardozzi@l4lp.com

Website: l4lp.com/

Twitter: @L4LP

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/catherinelombardozzi/

What is it?

Connecting in an engaging way by truly listening, having empathy, and understanding the perspective of others such that the learners’ ways of knowing have deepened or changed in a meaningful way.

Why is it important?

Meaningful interaction is needed to effectively manage conflict, collaborate, influence, and create a sense of belonging and community.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

Interaction is a critical attribute for anyone in business. If you are only hearing, rather than listening, you can miss important information, leading to situations such as: developing a solution for the wrong problem, losing talented individuals, or being unable to lead change or move a project successfully forward.

Good interactions also enable you to build human relationships of trust, which you need to effectively give and receive feedback, mentor and coach, and sustain and build business relationships.

In the learning context, some forms of learning content rely on the use of interaction to enhance the experience of learning. Good interaction can also trigger a brain response that aids learners in their ability to absorb and retain content.

The meaning of the term interaction changes depending on the type of learning content experienced. For example, in an in-person class, it might be defined as exchanges between learners, such as group work, role playing, or simulation practice. In a self-paced learning context, it is defined by the way the learner uses or experiences the interface, including interactions such as completing the content in the order that they choose, responding to items or questions, or providing feedback upon completion.

References

About Patrice Torcivia Prusko

Photo of Patrice Torcivia Prusko

Patrice Torcivia Prusko is Director of Learning Design, Technology and Media within the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She leads the design, development and project management of online and technology-enhanced courses, including the school's first fully online degree program. Patrice holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering, an MBA from Union College, and a PhD in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany - State University of New York. She researches and presents on compassion fatigue, supporting women in STEM, equitable and inclusive design practices, and global education.

Term: Interaction

Email: patrice.torcivia@gmail.com

Website: edtechisgorges.com/

Twitter: @profpatrice

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/patrice-torcivia-prusko/