‘For the most part, what you know about your job, you didn’t learn from a classroom, or from any formal, structured training course. You learned from trial and error, and from doing your own research,” says Marc Rosenberg, management consultant and expert in organizational learning, knowledge management, and performance improvement.

Based on this observation, Rosenberg encourages organizations to integrate a more user-centric set of resources into their employee instruction method. This approach minimizes classroom training, reduces work disruption, and is more time-efficient and cost-effective for both the organization and the employee.

“People don’t have the time to sit in a three-day class. Why go to a three-day class when what you need to know is an hour on day two? The rest of the time you’re getting stuff you’re not interested in and don’t need,” Rosenberg says.

Rosenberg will speak on optimizing technology for learning at the eighth annual Technology Showcase on Thursday, November 6, from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Westin Hotel, Forrestal Village. He will deliver a talk on “Building an eLearning Strategy for the Future: Ten Key Shifts to Watch.” To learn more visit midnj.astd.org or E-mail info@midnj.astd.org.

According to Rosenberg, future employees from the “gaming generation” will have even less tolerance for the classroom setting. In the era of the Internet, most people prefer to go online and retrieve the information they need. To bridge this generational rift, Rosenberg says that organizations need to use a diverse set of tools, such as well-designed e-learning, digital asset libraries, and social media forums.

Rosenberg stresses the need to move away from “push” learning and embrace “pull” learning. In the traditional mode of teaching, content is “pushed” onto students in a sweeping, all-inclusive presentation. The reversed paradigm allows students to “pull” information and instruction that is useful to them.

Rosenberg will offer guidance for organizations looking to use a performance and learning ecosystem that connects people and provides them with the content, processes, and technologies they need to enhance their performance. He this advice:

Put information online. Organizations that want to move away from classroom training should employ knowledge management technologies and databases to build a comprehensive online library of all the organization’s intellectual capital.

Curate content. Content should be collected, organized, and displayed so that users can access the information they need as efficiently as possible. Enable mobility: Support a learning and performance ecosystem that is mobile, immediate, and available at all times. Employees must have 24/7 access these tools.

Facilitate social learning. Social media’s speed, scope, and scalability makes it a valuable resource. Organizations can use social media tools to create networks where employees can exchange content related to the specific needs and interests of their job. These sites should be restricted to the use of the business community so that users don’t have to sift through a deluge of extraneous information.

Control the quality of content: To ensure that sources are credible, choose and certify the legitimacy of content creators.

Rosenberg will also address some of the leading myths and misconceptions that organizations have about E-learning. He says the most common misconception about E-learning is that it’s easy to do well. E-learning involves more than simply uploading and archiving presentations, spreadsheets, documents, videos, etc. When establishing an online presence, he advises organizations to focus on courses that offer instruction rather than information. He said that organizations should cull their course catalogues to eliminate any materials that are not instructionally sound. “There is a science and an art to creating good learning materials, commonly referred to as instructional design. It is to training what architecture is to building,” he said.

Another misconception is that the online transition is the final step of the process. Once that content is available, employees need to be able to travel with it, to “go on a smartphone, pose a question, and get an answer,” he says. This demands the continuous maintenance of both the information and the technologies used to access it.

The son of a men’s clothing salesman and executive secretary, Rosenberg grew up in Long Beach, NY. When he was an undergraduate at the State University of New York at Albany, he wanted to pursue broadcast journalism, but was offered a fellowship in “educational media” instead. He enrolled in a few television courses, and became interested in the educational dimension of technology. He later earned his Ph.D. in instructional design at Kent State University.

Rosenberg is the former president of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) and a recipient of the eLearning Guild’s “Guild Master” award. He has spoken at the White House, Oxford University, and dozens of professional and business conferences.

He is also the author of the books, “E-Learning: Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age” (McGraw-Hill) and “Beyond E-Learning: Approaches and Technologies to Enhance Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Performance.” His monthly column, “Marc My Words,” appears in the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions online magazine.

Rosenberg says that many organizations are hesitant to adopt an E-learning strategy because they believe that it relies on intrinsic motivation that some employees may not have. Rosenberg concedes that a poorly designed E-learning course can be less effective than classroom training because students aren’t able to interact with an instructor and seek answers. To avoid this, online presentations of content should be interactive. Knowledge assets should also be organized in a way that enables users to quickly extract short, digestible pockets of information. This employs techniques such as tagging and keyword searching.

“It’s not about searching, it’s about finding. You can search on Google and get 10,000 hits. Now find the right one,” says Rosenberg.

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