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The quality of the talent within an organization and the ability to retain that talent provides corporations a powerful competitive advantage. Additionally, research shows that well‐trained employees are more productive, more engaged and remain loyal to the company. Therefore, it is no surprise that companies devote a lot of time, effort and money to corporate learning. According to the American Society for Training and Development, U.S. firms spent about $156 billion on employee learning and development in 2011. Although most organizations have internal training programs, for those who rely on external providers, formal training is costly and typically requires paid time off for the employee. More and more companies are utilizing online learning as a cost-effective alternative to traditional training programs for its flexible schedule, easy access to courses and more time efficient way for employees to expand their skills and knowledge. However, despite the focus on training, most companies…

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contract-management

In most organizations, HR has come a long way since the filing cabinets stuffed full of employee resumes, appraisals etc., but many systems in place today are legacy systems that simply transferred those paper processes onto a computer.  Hiring decisions may have been made based on these files, but often in isolation from any other information used by HR. For a long time job roles have been defined by HR leaders and managers to define the “ideal” profile and skill-set for particular role, but this has often been built on assumptions based on past profiles, rather than applying any serious analysis to it. The transparency revolution has greatly increased the amount of information easily available on employees and candidates, with sites like LinkedIn having millions of detailed profiles that are largely publicly searchable, so there’s plenty of data out there to start analyzing. This makes it all the more surprising…

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gerdin

Color me shocked: Student loans: New rates make $700 million more for government A new law regulating interest rates on student loans will put more than $700 million in additional profit into the federal government’s bank account in the next 10 years, an analysis shows. In the short term, the law will ease the burden on student borrowers, but over the next decade it will also generate a total of $175 billion in profits, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says. Experts say that while the new law was meant to lighten the blow to students’ wallets, it was also bound to be “revenue-neutral,” meaning it would have to generate the same amount of money for the government as the old, higher interest rates would have. A very telling quote from one of the beneficiaries / victims of the new lower interest rates: “If everyone else is making a killing off of us, I’m not the least bit…

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incubatorschool

We recently  looked at an app that lets kids create their own games. The founder of the Incubator School, which opened last week in Los Angeles, wants to take it up a notch from there. Already on the record telling kids to make games rather than just play them, with her new school Sujata Bhatt wants kids to build a startup around the games they create — or any other sound business idea: Students at the Incubator School will spend the first two years (sixth and seventh grades) learning the principles of entrepreneurship before actually launching businesses in the eighth grade. It’s too early to predict what kinds of ventures the students will launch, but Bhatt exudes confidence that many students already have a natural disposition for entrepreneurship. Teaching kids to build a business may sound exotic and cutting edge, but the truth is that our economy is rapidly changing, and…

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MIT

This story needs a follow-up. Two years ago we were surprised (or were we?) to learn that a substantial percentage of first-year students at a fine state university in Indiana had no clear idea why they were there. It was attention-getting enough that we ran a survey on it here, which sparked some interesting discussion. Now here we are two years later and it occurs to me that the question “why go to college?” is more pressing than ever. Check out the whole college is  a bad investment meme. Higher education is not the slam-dunk it once was. Whole books have been written. I can’t help but wonder — how many of those 37% are still at Ball State? And of those remaining, how many have figured out why they are there?Read More…

kidwriting

English teachers don’t get much positive press these days. That’s partly because teachers in general don’t get much positive press, and also because there is widespread agreement that reading and writing skills have slipped considerably over the past few decades — which is largely a matter of scapegoating teachers for a set of social trends that would be hard for anyone to try to slow — but also because everybody knows that these days STEM is where it’s at. So it’s interesting to note that the new Pew Survey on student writing shows that English in particular teachers are leading the way in adoption of digital technologies, social media in particular, in support of developing writing skills. As I noted this week on another blog, teachers are learning that writing performance improves significantly when students have an audience, which social technologies inherently provide. But apparently it isn’t all good news….

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CheatingProtests

From the Telegraph: The relatively small city of Zhongxiang in Hubei province has always performed suspiciously well in China’s notoriously tough “gaokao” exams, each year winning a disproportionate number of places at the country’s elite universities. Last year, the city received a slap on the wrist from the province’s Education department after it discovered 99 identical papers in one subject. Forty five examiners were “harshly criticised” for allowing cheats to prosper. So this year, a new pilot scheme was introduced to strictly enforce the rules. When students at the No. 3 high school in Zhongxiang arrived to sit their exams earlier this month, they were dismayed to find they would be supervised not by their own teachers, but by 54 external invigilators randomly drafted in from different schools across the county. The kids in Zhongxiang apparently didn’t take well to their new exam monitors (nor did their parents.) When the…

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TNWeducationtechnologykeynote

From The Next Web: 7 ways that technology is transforming education, with Pearson’s chief digital officer Juan Lopez-Valcarcel provides a nifty overview of coming educational technologies that will  forecast a student’s score on an exam or respond in real time to his or her body language. But before he goes there, he lays out some discouraging facts about what is currently happening (and failing to happen) in the world of education: 46% of students don’t graduate 40% of those who graduate don’t have the skills needed to get a job, per employers 70% increase in tuition over the past few years Lopez-Valcarcel looks at these failings and sees opportunity. He points out that education is a $4 trillion industry, that as a market it is three times the size of mobile and eight times the size of advertising. TNW notes that the “opportunities for investors, technology companies, educators and (most importantly) learners…

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culatta

Richard Culatta discusses a different kind of digital divide:  the divide between those who see digital technology as a means of reproducing education as it currently exists (only in a new substrate) and those who have begun to recognize the potential of digital technology to revolutionize education. There’s a danger in talking about how technology can “revolutionize” education (or anything else.) That’s hyperbole, after all. It’s marketing speak. Well, check out the embedded video starting at about the 8:50 mark. Culatta describes a system that not only provides feedback on whether a student answered a question correctly, it tracks the timing and mouse movements that lead to a student’s choosing the right (or presumably the wrong) answer. With that data, we can begin to distinguish between what students know well and what they’re only guessing at. When a student chooses option B right off the bat and it is the…

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programminglanguages

Kirk MacDonald, president of PubMatic, has some words of advice for fresh college graduates with a none-too-encouraging title: Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won’t Hire You His advice to young people looking to land their first job in “media, technology, or related fields” can be summed up in three words: learn some programming. Generally, I think this advice makes sense. In fact, I find it odd that in this day and age it’s possible to graduate from high school (much less college) without having written some computer code. Assuming there are still some rigorous secondary educational programs out there — the kind where kids have to learn algebra and geometry and how to diagram sentences — a little basic computer programming would fit in nicely. Of course, if we’re really facing the shortage of technically literate employees that McDonald claims, we’re going to need more than that. Fortunately, technical education…

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