— Dave Hallmon (@DaveHallmon) May 29, 2014
He also shared a link to an article from Fast Company in 2000, Cisco’s Quick Study that discusses using the Web to reinvent training inside the world’s most Internet-centric big company, Cisco. I have included a snibit of the article below that discusses what Tom Kelly learned about eLearning back in 2000 and how it’s changing the style and the substance of training at Cisco Systems. What great incite Tom Kelly shared in 2000 and these are still trends and issues that we are discussing in 2014.
A Lesson Plan for eLearning
Tom Kelly, VP of worldwide training at Cisco Systems, works inside the world’s most Internet-centric big company. So it’s no surprise that he champions Web-based education — “e-learning” — and that he and his team operate at the cutting edge of the field. Kelly may be in the early stages of his work, but he has already learned some important lessons.
Small is beautiful
One problem with how most companies deliver information is that they expect people to spend too much time at one sitting. We work in a world of limited attention spans, unlimited demands on people’s time, and endless multitasking, Kelly says. Learning programs have to reflect these realities: “Most e-learning is still anchored in the mind-set that learning means going somewhere for 8 hours at a time to study a 40-hour curriculum. We may have a 40-hour curriculum, but we deliver it in 20-minute chunks, or even faster. That makes it easier for people to build learning into their workday.”
Blends are powerful.
“E-learning does not imply the absence of human beings,” Kelly argues. “We recently did a workshop where there were 40 people in a physical classroom, plus 60 people online in other parts of the United States and Europe. All 100 people were engaged in a lesson with a live instructor at the same time. It was a real classroom combined with a virtual classroom. We took the outcome of that, digitized some of the video and audio, and put it online so that people who couldn’t participate could later access the information and ideas. The best solutions are often blended solutions.”
Measure what matters.
“The real measures of success here at Cisco do not involve training issues: ‘Do our people learn better?’ They involve business issues: ‘Is Cisco performing better?’ There’s certainly no arguing the altruistic side of education — that well-trained people are more valuable than untrained people. But that’s kind of esoteric. If customer satisfaction goes up because we have a more knowledgeable sales force, that’s not esoteric. If technology adoption occurs faster because the sales force is better-trained, we have real business impact that’s measurable. That’s the real benefit of e-learning, and that’s what we have to measure.”
New technologies require new leaders.
“One real problem with e-learning is that traditional training people are in charge of it,” Kelly says. “You’ve got people who have spent 20 years in lecture-lab environments, and now they’re deploying e-learning inside their companies. No wonder it doesn’t work! Can you imagine if the post office was in charge of email?”