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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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learners

Last week I attended Corporate Learning Week in Orlando. I attended a number of interesting sessions about how to engage employees and innovate the learning process and also spoke to many executives about learning practices and initiatives in their organizations. What was clear was that there is not a shortage of learning content out there, in all sorts of different formats, but many organizations struggle with finding the best way to deliver (and encourage) learning in order to engage their employees. Recent blog posts  by Jane Hart and Norene Wiesen on unwilling learners and how people learn through explaining their thinking respectively make it clear that different learning approaches work for different people, but employees need to understand the motivation for learning. When learners are directed to consume training content, they’re often doing it because they know they have to do it to tick a box, rather than because they…

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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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happiness

Owen Sanders at the Frontier Neuropschology blog presents a highly readable summary of what the field of positive psychology has to tell us about human happiness. The findings aren’t terribly surprising (at least they weren’t to me) but it is handy having everything compiled together in one place like this. First and perhaps most importantly, we need to come to terms with what doesn’t cause happiness. Genetics has something to do with it, accounting for perhaps as much as half of our happiness, but then again, maybe less than a quarter of it. Meanwhile the factor we tend to think of as most closely associated with happiness — life circumstances — accounts for a lot less than we think. It turns out that when really bad (or really good) things happen to us, the long-term impact on our happiness — after the initial shock wears off — is about a 10% bounce…

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learning

Research shows that positive reinforcement for being right is not nearly the help towards learning that we thought it would be . (No doubt it helps towards self-esteem, but that’s a different matter.) What really helps us to learn is realizing that we’re wrong. In fact, reinforcement that we are wrong is the key.  [U]nless we experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong — that surge of Pe activity a few hundred milliseconds after the error, directing our attention to the very thing we’d like to ignore — the mind will never revise its models. We’ll keep on making the same mistakes, forsaking self-improvement for the sake of self-confidence. Samuel Beckett had the right attitude: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” We learn best when we learn to fail better. Cross-posted from Better All the Time.Read More…

serendipity

Alec Nevala-Lee shares this wonderful quote from Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan: [M]aximize the serendipity around you….Many people do not realize that they are getting a lucky break in life when they get it. If a big publisher (or a big art dealer or a movie executive or a hotshot banker or a big thinker) suggests an appointment, cancel anything you have planned: you may never see such a window open up again. I am sometimes shocked at how little people realize that these opportunities do not grow on trees. Collect as many free nonlottery tickets (those with open-ended payoffs) as you can, and, once they start paying off, do not discard them. Work hard, not in grunt work, but in chasing such opportunities and maximizing exposure to them. This makes living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters—you gain exposure to the…

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AmazingThingsTN

Human beings are capable of amazing things. Don’t make excuses. Do something amazing. .                                         UPDATE: From George Takei on Facebook. Another image that really makes my pointRead More…

mortar-board

Last week’s FastForward Radio podcast addressed several topics we’ve been tracking here at TR for the past couple of weeks. Give it a listen. While we’ve written and talked quite a bit about the education bubble over the past few months, a recent announcement from MIT may prove to be a game-changer. Does MITx represent the next stage in the evolution of higher education? Phil and Stephen discuss. Also — does civilization need a better backup strategy? Plus — “tectonic changes” in employment? And, of course, lots of other great future-related topics. FastForward Radio on BTRRead More…

Glabella

We don’t delve much into fiction here at TR, but I’m sufficiently pleased with the following short story to put it up here as kind of a stocking-stuffer. Anticipation I was suffering from kummerspeck, having always been something of a paper-belly, and my dysania was only somewhat offset by the petrichor wafting through the open window. Now some might say I’m oldfangled, but I prefer to think of myself as bit of a pretzel-bender — I engage in badinage with the best of them; I’m proud of my lawn mullet; I love listening to the crwth; basically, I think of my life as one endless punk day. In any case, our meeting the night before was a moment of pure koi no yokan. I glimpsed her first in profile and, fearing bakku-shan (my last few encounters having been several millihelens short of an Illiad) I whirled her around so that…

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libraryburning

One of the tragedies in the history of human learning is the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. There are conflicting accounts of the library’s destruction attributed to various perpetrators, beginning with Julius Caesar in 48 BCE and ending with the Muslim invaders in 642 CE. However it was destroyed, it was a tremendous loss. The Library of Alexandria was the Library of Congress of the ancient world. It is believed that many great works of antiquity —  known to us today only by title, or in quoted fragments, or not at all — were lost for all time. Our knowledge would be richer and, potentially, our path from the ancient world to the modern world would have been shorter and easier, had some of these works survived. This week we see history repeating itself on a smaller scale as another library in Egypt is burned down: Volunteers in white…

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