Three widespread pitfalls in eLearning

When we talk with HR professionals about SNAPSIM™, we prepare to bust three pitfalls (or myths) about eLearning.

  • First, HR professionals don't understand the difference between final tests and spaced learning in the learning process.
  • Second pitfall is based on the assumption , they instructional designers can not use text to grab a learner's attention and engage people in the learning process.
  • Third myth is the assumption that learners need special motivation to learn.

All three pitfalls are consequences of the lost appeal of eLearning. Most HR professionals think that the only form of eLearning are boring courses which don't change employees' behaviours. In these three articles we try to explain, how pitfalls in eLearning can be avoided to restore the lost appeal of eLearning.

Testing pitfall

This pitfall is often comes in the form of the question: Do you really think that after the course on delegation, employees would delegate more effectively?

In this case we compare oranges and apples - the results of final tests and outputs of spaced learning. Spaced learning and learning agility evaluation based on spaced learning is not about passing tests. Final tests evaluate memorisation.Spaced learning evaluates understanding,which lies at the heart of the learning process.

"Show me how you learn..."

Learning agility is presented through individual metrics of speed and quality of mastering knowledge and skills. We can evaluate learning agility via the number of attempts/amount of time the employee needs to understand and to acquire new information.

In more scientific words, learning agility is the form of general abilities that indicate their cognitive activities.

And it is not important what kind of learning material the employee is working with: it could be French grammar or Physics. The only reason we offer managerial training is convenience: if HR managers have to identify high-potential employees, why not do it while simultaneously providing management training? And in this case we can evaluate how effectively the employees obtain knowledge and skills they need to work better.

As one of the C-Level executive told us: "So you system is based on the simple principle "Show me how you learn and I'll tell you what kind of leader would you become".

This comparison is correct. And we also evaluate ambition and persistence of users. It allows us to have more detailed profiles and provide more food for thoughts for line managers and HR professionals.

What is the connection between leadership potential and learning agility?

So here the question arises: why leadership potential is connected to learning agility? To answer this question, we should note that management - all six zones of it - could be distilled down to two things. Managers should:

  • First, make decisions, choosing the one option out of several after careful assessment while being responsible for it,
  • Second, communicate decisions. Communication should be clear, logical and concise.

Both making and communicating decisions are based on the human ability to understand and process information.

What is the connection between learning agility and intelligence?

The connection between learning agility and intelligence is best summarised by this quote of Aristotle:

"When we get older, our mind becomes stronger, when we are jung, we learn faster"

In other words, learning agility and intelligence are connected , but not directly. We can gain intelligence as we get more experience and knowledge. But this comes with mental bias - we tend to use ready-made decisions that made us succeed in the past. And this hinders learning agility.

Intelligence is more about what we know, learning agility is more about cognitive flexibility and curiosity. In simple words, intelligence is full "body of knowledge", and leaning agility is how fast we gain knowledge. As in the Avatar movie Na'vi people say to Jack Sally that it is hard to fill a cup which is already full? It is about intelligence and learning ability.

Learning agility for entrepreneurs

Richard Branson is dyslexic. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). It seems that this example makes the methodology of using learning agility as a predictor of future success totally unreliable. But first, people with dyslexia have normal intelligence. Second, Richard Branson is more entrepreneur than manager. Entrepreneurs need something different to succeed: vision, passion and risk acceptance.These are more "soft",more difficult to evaluate. and need other tools for assessment, for example assessment centres.

Assessment centres and other forms of traditional assessments are quite expensive and can't be used en masse. Online tests often just show how much employees know about management.

If we don't plan to work with future entrepreneurs, learning agility is an excellent predictor of the future success of managers.

Especially, if the data derived from the learning actions is supported with self-assessments and regular assessments of the employees' managers and performance data. So we answer the question:

"Do you really think that after the course on delegation, employees would delegate more effectively?"

as follows:

We don't think that there is direct connection between the knowledge gained and used in the workplace. To evaluate this, we don't use final tests, but self-assessments and managerial assessments. One of the purposes of our system is to help find employees who are able to be managers.It also includes delegating efficiently.

В общем, наша система — больше про «теплое», чем про «зеленое». Или наоборот. 🙂

Learning agility features

People with high learning agility:

  • ability to understand and review new concepts and generalisations quickly,
  • mental flexibility,
  • ability to offer new ways to solve old challenges,
  • ability to remember generalisations quickly,
  • ability to gain knowledge quickly,
  • high intellectual activity.

Learning agility has the following features:

  • ability to quickly understand how to act in new situations,
  • transfer of old skills into new circumstances,
  • quickly adapt to new circumstances,
  • efficient ways to solve challenges,
  • ability to work with other people to solve challenges.