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November 5, 2018 - No Comments!

The new age approach for facilitators to stay relevant in the self-paced learning era

Author – Swati Kamath| Product Marketing Manager

The new age approach for facilitators to stay relevant in the self-paced learning eraWords such as teacher, trainer and facilitator have been used interchangeably for decades, to an extent that the true meaning of the words has been lost. I make this bold statement because the way in which teachers, professors, trainers, facilitators and others in this category of professionals engage with their audience is vastly similar – standing in front of the audience as they spew volumes of content, interspersed with a few activities here and there during a session.

Thus far, “facilitators” have done everything from program creation to technical training, soft skill training, leadership development, process training to life skill coaching and progress evaluation. Across the board, the term for individuals enabling this has been similar, if not the same. In the digital age, however, this is not the case.

Digital platforms and the needs of the modern learners have necessitated the “facilitator” to rethink and revamp the learning methodologies they currently employ. In avoiding this shift, facilitators will increasingly find themselves perishing. Why? Information is available at the fingertips and the volume of information increases every millisecond. Learners are increasingly taking to Google and platforms catering to learners’ need for self-directed, self-paced learning. Else, the modern learner receives his or her information from conversations with peers, colleagues, friends, family, and even acquaintances, making the need for a facilitator almost inconsequential:

  1. For learning that is heavy on knowledge development and retention, modern learners are turning to self-paced learning that allows them to learn at their pace and convenience, anytime and anywhere.
  2. For more complex skill development, modern learners seek hyper-personalized solutions catered specifically for their context, ability and pace.

Where does this leave the traditional facilitator?

Facilitators, in the digital age, must evolve beyond the constructs of their current roles and responsibilities. After all, the role of a facilitator is to “facilitate”, the very definition of which is to help another. Therefore, as a facilitator, ask yourself these questions:

“Am I helping my audience with what I do?”

“Am I catering to the needs of my audience?”

“Am I creating the impact and experience that my audience seeks?”

If you ask your audience, their immediate response is likely to be “yes”. On further thought, however, there will be a slew of recommendations in how facilitators can adapt themselves to meet the diverse needs of their audience. One thing is for certain – no matter how good a facilitator one might be, it is impossible to cater equally to every learner’s needs and expectations, unless the entire audience is on the same page. This is rarely the case.

So, what must be done?

In the digital age, the role of the facilitator will split into two:

  • One part of facilitating learning requires great INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGNERS.
  • The other part requires great COACHES.

Facilitating through Instructional Design

With learners increasingly taking to self-paced learning, facilitators must learn to be great instructional designers. ATD describes Instructional Design as “the creation of learning experiences and materials in a manner that results in the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills”. This requires an assessment of needs, designing a process, developing material and evaluating effectiveness, all of which caters to the learner’s needs, expectations, styles and experience. To do so, an instructional designer must develop the capabilities to:

  • Coherently understand how learners learn
  • Connect with the audience on a personal level
  • Empathize with the learner
  • Visualize the learning process and the outcome

…among other technical capabilities.

There are several instructional design models that exist to help designers create the experience and deliver the expected outcome. However, with the world rapidly changing, and inspiration being boundaryless, it is important for an instructional designer to keep learners at the centre of the design and do what is needed to cater to them. (Read: Lessons on Learning Design from Online Television)

Facilitating through coaching

Modern learners are like fingerprints in that no two learners are alike. A learner is a compound of his/her learning style, background, understanding, capability, needs and expectations. Therefore, to cater to the modern learner, a tailor-made solution is best. For whatever Google cannot give them an answer, learners look to coaches, mentors and guides who can make a positive difference in their lives and help them achieve their goals.

Rather than sit in a classroom going through various literature and examples of great leaders, the modern learner seeks someone who can coach them to become great leaders themselves. They’re willing to put in the work, they just need some guidance and a boost to accomplish their goals more effectively. To do so, facilitators, as coaches, must possess the ability to:

  • Be patient and let individuals find their way rather than charting out an entire plan for them
  • Inspire others to take risks and act on their dreams
  • Understand everything about the individuals they coach better than they do themselves
  • Be confident in themselves and the individuals they coach
  • Consistently engage and motivate individuals (and understand that there is no shortcut)
  • Be sensitive and support to the emotions and challenges of the individuals they coach

As fancy a term as ‘coach’ sounds, it is just as difficult to emulate the practices, habits and behaviors of a good coach. It is pertinent, therefore, for facilitators to have strong conviction in adopting the profession, and not treat it as a fleeting fancy or a natural next step.

More than anything, being a great coach means believing in someone – their potential, their dreams and their abilities (Read: Why expressing belief in someone is the secret ingredient to coaching).

There is no doubt that the role of a facilitator is rapidly changing, and with it, so must the facilitator. The question remains – in what direction do you choose to go?

November 2, 2018 - No Comments!

5 Stellar ways leadership simulations drive measurable business value

Author – Swati Kamath| Product Marketing Manager

The illiterate of the

The world was first acquainted with simulations in training when employed by the military. So, other industries like aviation and surgery followed suit. These industries saw significant value in using simulations because this learning methodology allowed for the development of meticulous habit, management of responses in critical situations and develop crucial skills for exponential success, all of which the corporate world seeks to develop in its employees.

As a result, the use of simulations is gradually gaining momentum in the business world by organizations seeking to develop their leaders and build the leadership pipeline quickly yet effectively. Business simulations provide the experience and training to business leaders like a pilot receives his training through hours of simulation flying. The roles of a pilot and a leader are crucial. They both have the responsible for other people who are depending on them and looking up at them for guidance and security.

Leadership simulations drive measurable business value and we are sharing the top five with you here.

#1 – Actionable Insights

For centuries, learning interventions have been significantly people-driven, that is, by facilitators and learning teams. As a result, most of the feedback and insights given have been biased or non-existent. Simulations, however, give objective quantitative and qualitative insights at various levels. According to Vijay Kalangi, CTO and Co-Founder at KNOLSKAPE, “Simulations give a detailed analysis of your performance and help in assessing your pitfalls.  This awareness about self leads to behaviour change.” While learners receive real-time actionable insights on potential, performance and progress, business and HR teams receive learning analytics such as participation, engagement, and improvement.

#2 – Exceptional ROI

While organizations have been investing in learning for decades, they have not been able to measure the impact on learning accurately until the inclusion of simulations into their learning methodology. Business simulations are technology driven and thus reduce the costs for the organizations. Learning impact study conducted by KNOLSKAPE on the impact of our own simulation-driven learning interventions indicated a 33% increase in knowledge retention, a 67% increase in learning engagement, and a 23% improvement in skill post the interventions.

Impact measurement done by clients deploying simulation-based interventions also measure significant business and behavioural impact:

    1. Simulation-powered learning solutions deployed at Philips Lighting to manage business transformation delivered 12.5% increase in employee productivity and 10% increase in sales incentives within the organization.
  • At Kotak Life Insurance, 44 offices reported greater than 100% productivity and the Tied-Agency overall YOY growth on RDM productivity was recorded at 18% with 50 offices showing YOY growth over 18%. Post intervention analysis reported that the first two quarters post the intervention saw the highest revenue generation and productivity for the organization in five years as a result of the simulation-powered intervention.


#3 – Demonstrable mindset change

The adoption of leadership simulations can lead to the development of transformational leadership mindset. At Philips Lighting, the reported behavioural impact has been as follows:

    1. Transformational leadership mindset – from just talking about business and numbers, to focusing on people, increasing motivation, improving productivity, and reducing attrition rates
  • People awareness – Managers are more aware, and consciously make the effort to learn about and implement people management concepts
  • Proactivity – Leaders are becoming more proactive, and clued into what their people managers are doing The learners progress from focusing on numbers and business to focusing on people, employee engagement, reducing attrition and keeping the team motivated.



  • Managers of participating leaders report a 25% improvement in the way participants communicate and manage conflicts, and a 13% increase in the overall competency scores of participants.
  • 23% more participants are willing to take on work outside core responsibilities to help the organization achieve better results
  • Managers reported that there is a 20% increase in the value created for stakeholders by asking the right questions and providing the right solution the first time


#4 – Higher retention rate of simulation-driven training

Albert Einstein once famously said, “Learning is an Experience. Everything else is just Information.” Simulations take this quote to heart. Impact measurement of simulation-driven workshops at a Global IT corporation depicted that 80% of the learners remembered and implemented the learning acquired in the training through business simulations. This comes from the fact that leadership simulations are deeply grounded in immersive experience and instructional design that engage with the learner and help in improved retention. As a result, KNOLSKAPE’s developmental programs have a track of 95% completion where simulations are seated at the core of the journey or program.

#5 – Personalized and context driven

Leadership simulations are significantly impactful because of their contextualization abilities.

  • For one, since a simulation presents a real-life like environment, learners are acquainted with a situation in the simulation that is much like their own real life.
  • Every action taken within a simulation produces a response/feedback on the action. Since the feedback is based on the actions taken by an individual, the experience and learning is hyper-personalized. When playing independently, no two learners receive the same experience as it is personal to each one.
  • To cater to specific cultures and contexts, simulations can also be presented in various languages and different storylines.


Learners derive more value when they can make associations between the learning and what they already know. It is a classic case of Gestalt psychology at play, and simulations cater to this learning need very effectively.

So, if you want to build a strong leadership pipeline, do give leadership simulations a shot.

Simulation CTA

October 31, 2018 - No Comments!

4 Great impacts of self-paced learning for your employees

Author: Mariam Taqui Ali | Senior Associate – KNOLSKAPE Insights Centre

4 Great impacts of self-paced learning for your employees

In an earlier blog, we highlighted some of the top challenges of traditional classroom-based learning. This is an important topic to talk about as traditional learning is not meeting the needs of the modern learner or the modern business requirements. In fact, Ineffective trainings cost businesses 13.5 million U.S. dollars every year. Therefore, organizations are increasingly experimenting with various learning methodologies to cater to learners and justify the investment business is making in learning.

One such methodology that has thrown its hat into the competition is of self-paced learning, and it is rapidly gaining momentum. In 2015 alone, the global market for self-paced learning was $165.21 billion U.S. dollars, and this number is expected to reach $275.10 billion by 2022. While many organizations are still confuddled by self-paced learning, others have made significant investment in this methodology. In this blog, we highlight the impact that self-paced learning creates for the modern learner (Also read: Three reasons your organization should have already implemented self-paced learning)

#1 – Employee resistance turns to Employee Enthusiasm

Self-paced learning garners its popularity from its ability to give learners freedom, choice and control over when, where and how much time they spend on learning. Giving the learners the ownership to pursue and learn at their own pace makes them more enthusiastic. When an employee is entrusted with control for his/her learning, they feel accountable for their own learning, significantly sparking their interest and eagerness to learn. This is because learners often start with different levels of background knowledge, preferred learning models, and end goals. Only by offering a certain amount of choice can everyone’s needs be met.

#2 – Learning is NOT lost overtime

Eliminating the dependency on a trainer or facilitator to conduct a great session in favour of great learner-centric instructional design ensures that all learners going through a self-paced course go through a similar experience, but at their pace and convenience. Learners also have access to cognitive information whenever they require. This entire package is tied together by great instructional design – a solid structure that clearly understands who the audience is, great content that empathizes with the learner’s needs, and provides optimal usability for seamless experience.

#3 – Engagement leads to further engagement

Research indicates that 81% of learners are responsible for managing their own personal development. Self-paced learning being platform-driven, allows for social and competitive learning. Platform-based self-driven learning also provides analytics on not just the learner’s progress and performance, but also that of peers under going the same learning path. Rewards in the form of badges and acknowledgements further add to the competitive and social aspects of learning.

#4 – What’s in it for me?

While learners place significant demands on their learning experience, driving a sustainable learning culture is a result of creating a ‘connection’ – between what they want to learn, what they need to learn, the outcomes and benefits of the learning process, experience, and engagement. The various elements stated above allow learners to realise the connection themselves, with little effort from L&D teams beyond great instructional design.

Therefore, rolling out a self-paced training becomes less of a hassle as opposed to the traditional learning for L&D teams. The cost-effectiveness, scalability, and increased employee engagement are few of the many perks of self-paced. The most important perk, however, is that both creators and consumers of learning are equal partners in the learning process and experience. What greater benefit can a learning methodology present?

Let’s not be fooled into thinking, however, that there are no challenges to self-paced learning. Stay tuned as we discuss the pitfalls of self-paced learning in the next blog.

October 29, 2018 - No Comments!

Implementing self-paced learning – Part 1: Three reasons your organization should have already implemented self-paced learning

Author – Swati Kamath| Product Marketing Manager

Implementing self-paced learning – Part 1

Research conducted by Middlesex University on work-based learning found that 74% of employees believe that the lack of learning is the biggest hurdle in achieving their full potential at work. Yet employees only average about 6 to 12 minutes of management training across 6 months. These statistics indicate a drastic gap between learning need and learning uptake. Clearly, the approach that most organizations are currently taking to learning is not very effective. In fact, ineffective trainings cost businesses 13.5 million dollars every year on every thousand employees.

Where is the gap? It appears that L&D teams are yet to completely understand the needs of the modern learners, who are organizing their work in non-traditional ways to suit their lifestyles. Bersin by Deloitte has taken the liberty of educating us about this elusive bunch of people through a thoroughly researched infographic called “Meet the Modern Learner”. Let’s refresh the key points of the infographic.

The modern learner seeks learning that is:

  • Untethered to time and location
  • On-demand
  • Collaborative
  • Empowering

These four points are non-negotiable to modern learners. Traditional learning such as classroom-based workshops, unfortunately, do not cater to all four requirements. Therefore, learners are looking for options on their own since they are not getting what they need from their employers. In other words, learning today is self-directed, i.e., learners want to be in control of their own learning.

The most popular method of self-directed learning appears to be self-paced courses. Open source platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, etc. happily cater to this need, and employees do not see the need for employer loyalty, given that their own needs are not met. Not catering to the needs of the modern learner, therefore, impacts organizations far more than the learners themselves.

While learners have adapted to self-paced learning far more seamlessly, organizations have been slower on the uptake, increasingly losing out on high potential employees to competitors who cater to their needs. This doesn’t mean that self-directed learning puts L&D teams out of work. L&D teams still play a crucial role in identifying what learners need, something that Google and Wikipedia don’t effectively tell you. What needs to change is the delivery methodology. Let’s look at three important reasons that self-paced learning is the right fit for your organization:

  1. Learners seek to review content more than once

The modern learner is easily distracted and cannot register massive amounts of information in one go. Therefore, they appreciate being able to access content whenever they need it, which traditional classroom-based interventions restrict. While Google offers tonnes of content, however, the self-directed learner often tends to simply chance upon it through various sources, rarely in a structured manner. Even when bookmarked, content may not be easily recalled. Immediately, significant learning is lost, and with it, time, money and effort.
Self-paced courses, however, allow learners to learn at their pace, access content as they need to (on-demand), and significantly increases learning retention and productivity.

  1. L&D teams are expected to do more with less

Logistical constraints such as coordinating with global teams to match schedules for learning interventions, identifying facilitators, arranging for travel and accommodation, arranging spaces to hold workshops, etc are incredibly cumbersome, and account for over 85% of the expenditure on learning. The process and cost of repeatedly booking training venues, travel facilitators, etc to roll out the same training material across different batches of learners is exhausting, expensive and largely unnecessary. Scalability takes a major hit with constant dependency on facilitators and the need for physical proximity. Should learning suffer because of its cost?

Self-paced courses, on the other hand, are highly scalable, transcend time and distance, and still give the modern learner opportunities to collaborate and connect with a wider pool of peers and mentors.

  1. Learners want to own their learning experience
    Human beings have always learnt at their own pace, and in their own style. The advent of technology has facilitated a bigger disparity in the knowledge that modern learners possess, i.e., the access to information at our finger tips has allowed learners to specifically browse topics of their interest. Therefore, no two learners have the same learning need. Unlike traditional classroom set-ups which adhere to one specific topic or a specific pace for covering the material, self-paced courses provide learners with a variety of topics or sub-topics that they can consume at their convenience, even if they decide to alternate between topics.

 With several options for learning available, the modern learner is most receptive to that methodology which most effectively caters to his/her learning need and style. Therefore, organizations can get the greatest return on their learning investment with minimal effort and cost by adopting self-paced learning as a methodology for employee development.

In short, adopting self-paced learning is vastly beneficial for organizations to align the learning needs of employees with business requirements and justify the expenditure on learning. KNOLSKAPE’s exclusive suite of self-paced courses – ‘Path to Performance, powered by Cross Knowledge are created to help your employees undergo deep skill acquisition and accelerate their performance.

‘Path to Performance’ is a perfect blend of experiential learning. Some niche features are videos from experts in the field and top global professors, it provides the learners with exclusive content, curated for their individual behavioural skill development. Experience it for yourself with a one-week trial – Test it out!

In Part 2 of this blog, we highlight some common pitfalls to avoid for successful implementation of the self-paced learning methodology.

October 27, 2018 - No Comments!

Leonardo Da Vinci – A true Digital BLUR™ Leader. What modern day leaders can learn

Author: Kartik Mehrotra | AVP Growth – Knolskape

Leonardo Da Vinci – A true Digital BLUR™ Leader. What modern day leaders can learn

I have been always fascinated by Leonardo Da Vinci. Reading Da Vinci’s biography by Walter Isaacson inspired me to dive deeper into the life of the famous Italian polymath. What I took away from my research were several lessons from Da Vinci’s life and experiences that can just as easily be implemented in the Digital Age. The most important of these lessons, which underlies everything else that we can take away from his life is to be ‘Agile’ which is THE most crucial skill in the age of digital disruption.  As we go through each of the lessons, we will see how Leonardo Da Vinci is the posterchild for strong learning agility.

Lesson #1: Be a lifelong learner

Da Vinci’s curiosity was paramount and his urge to learn was unquenchable. Da Vinci was someone who simply wanted to know everything and thought it might be possible to do so, and therein lied his genius.  While he is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of all time, Da Vinci’s areas of interest and expertise also included sculpting, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology. astronomy, botany, writing, history and cartology. He has been called the father of paleontology, ichnology, and architecture, and has been credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter and armored tanks used for fighting.

Da Vinci’s curiosity shows us just how agile a learner he was. He satiated his curiosity by mastering several different subjects and making significant contributions to them. However, he was also supremely skilled at using that knowledge in creating the masterpiece paintings that the world still admires today.

Lesson #2: Learn by doing

As Isaacson writes in his portrayal of Da Vinci, “Over and over again, year after year, Leonardo lists things he must do and learn”. From his various interests and contributions, it is evident that Da Vinci believed in experience as the best form of learning.

Da Vinci belonged to a time of exploration, discovery and invention, as suggested by the definition of Renaissance – a period of rebirth. From the way he functioned and achieved his accomplishments, there is much that we can also learn about navigating the current age of technological disruption, which demands us to reimage and redefine the way we work and live.

In implementing his learning, Da Vinci demonstrated the second crucial component of learning agility – implementing learning for a positive outcome. His habit of relentlessly iterating was a result of his need to implement what he learnt. Therefore, despite never having been satisfied with some of his own work, he continues to leave patrons spellbound and tongue-tied even today.

 Lesson #3: Navigating the Digital BLUR™

Our point of view at KNOLSKAPE about digital is that “Digital” is not a thing. It is a way of doing things: by leveraging technology to create exceptional customer experience, become agile and unlock new value.

This is an important definition because many crucial lines that have traditionally defined businesses are blurring away in the digital world, necessitating businesses, strategies, leaders, teams and processes to be redefined and reorganized. BLUR™ represents these four crucial lines:

Boundary-less organizations

Limitless digitization

Unbounded innovation

Relentless iteration.

What does Da Vinci teach us about managing this BLUR™?

Operating in a Boundary-less state requires an extensive network. In his book, Isaacson highlights Da Vinci’s perspective on Networked Intelligence. He says, “the ability to make connections across disciplines – arts and sciences, humanities and technology – is key to innovation, imagination, and genius.” Through his life, Da Vinci portrays the epitome of this thought:

  1. He pursued innovative studies of optics, mechanics along with arts and created a drawing of a well-proportioned man spread-eagle inside a circle and square, known as Vitruvian Man -A classic example of his ability to combine art and science.
  2. In the creation of The Last supper, Da Vinci used different perspectives from anatomy and optics.

Da Vinci forces us to ponder about how often we look outside our own industry boundaries and take inspiration.

  • The second crucial line that Digital disrupts is through Limitless Digitization. The advent of technology focusses on rapid digitization of everything around us, producing high volumes of data constantly. The struggle is in ability to derive sense out of this data. The key requirement here is for a leader who possesses the ability to make sense out of the volumes of data constantly discovered. Here again, we have much to learn from Da Vinci:
  1. He once took a trip from Florence to Milan and calculated the exact distance of the trip to be 180 miles. He devised a type of odometer by counting the turns of a vehicle wheel.
  2. All his paintings were inspired with a deep application of optical science and geometry on how light reflects on different faces and surfaces from different angles.

Da Vinci exhibited this genius in a time which was considered primitive by modern standards of advancement. The lesson to take away, however, is that there have always been correlations all around us. Technology and data have just made these correlations blatantly obvious to a point where they can no longer be ignored. Therefore, the ability to make sense is no longer a novelty, but a necessity.

  • The third line that is being blurred is that of innovation. The Digital Age demands Unbounded innovation. Innovation can no longer take place in a secret lab. Rather, innovation is a constant pursuit which requires unprecedented amounts of thinking outside the box. Da Vinci is a role model for the master design thinker who requires to embody the strengths of curiosity, relentless experimentation, keen observation, empathizing with the environment and collaboration among other strengths How did Da Vinci exemplify Unbounded Innovation?
  1. In his early days, Da Vinci worked with multi disciplinarians to create paintings and artifacts so that he could produce a constant flow of marketable products.
  2. For another project of a weapon system, he made more than thirty preparatory drawings (minimum viable product in design thinking parlance)

The final element of the Digital BLUR™ that Da Vinci seamlessly performed was that of Relentless Iteration. In the Digital Age, a state of ‘doneness’ does not exist. Individuals, teams, and organizations need to constantly strive to improve their processes, products and services in favor of constantly supporting positive customer experience.  Da Vinci’s most famous painting ‘The Mona Lisa’ was created with significant effort. To ensure that he got the smile perfect, Da Vinci conducted multiple experiments on skin grafts, and still claimed that the smile had not been perfected. The Mona Lisa was painted over and over again for 4 years, and some claim that the Mona Lisa was never finished. In fact, in his book, Isaacson states, “Leonardo’s unwillingness to declare a painting done and relinquish it: he knew that there was always more he might learn, new techniques he might master, and further inspirations that might strike him. And he was right.”

How often we do this with our products and services?

Leonardo Da Vinci exhibited the qualities and capabilities crucial for the Digital Age at a time far before modern day technological advancements and disruptions, highlighting that the much elusive “Digital Capabilities” are not as daunting as they are made out to be. Rather than focusing on words such as ‘NEED’ and ‘CRUCIAL’ in relation to digital capabilities, we must, instead, focus on striving to constantly better ourselves and explore beyond the boundaries that we are accustomed to. After all, many of the conveniences we relish today are simply results of someone wanting to improve something, even when it wasn’t broken.

In short, Da Vinci teaches us that in order to embark on the journey of becoming a true master of the digital age (we use “becoming” instead of become as there is no end state of capability for a digital leader), one must be in a constant state of learning, absorbing, making connections and identifying patterns, implement and relentlessly experiment to improve ourselves and the world around us. The volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of the digital age may seem daunting, but Da Vinci’s life is a testament to being able to achieve unimaginable outcomes through the pursuit of learning agility.

October 26, 2018 - No Comments!

How simulations help organizations develop their millennial leaders

Authors: Swati Kamath| Product Marketing ManagerMariam Taqui Ali | Senior Associate – KNOLSKAPE Insights Centre

How simulations help organization develop their millennial leaders

For years, there has been a lot of discussion and debate about millennials. Although, the oldest millennial today has been a part of the workforce for over 15 years, conversations on how to manage, lead and empower them still continue to percolate. There are certain perceptions that continue to prevail about this generation – lazy, entitled, overconfident – yet they remain a force to be reckoned with.

As organizational hierarchies flatten, baby boomers and Gen Xers retire, and organizations seek to build robust leadership pipelines across the organization, it is pertinent for them to develop the millennial cohort of their workforce. The largest cohort of the present workforce feels ready and gearing to take on additional responsibilities, even leadership roles as they seek to have a more active voice in driving change and adding value. Yet, research indicates that organizations are hesitant to handover the crucial decision-making power to the young aspirant leaders, leading to vehement dissatisfaction among millennials. A Deloitte survey revealed that 63 percent of millennials feel their organizations aren’t preparing them for the leadership roles.

The lack of confidence is a matter of great worry for organizations. The hesitation to handover leadership roles comes from a perception that millennials lack the experience that previous generations possessed when made leaders. With millennials making up over 65% of the global workforce, this lack of faith can cause massive stagnation in developing a robust leadership pipeline.

Where does the challenge lie?

The business landscape needs more leaders. But, with baby boomers retiring at an alarming rate, and a disproportionate ratio of Gen-Xers in the workforce to leaders needed, it is pertinent for millennials to be handed the mantle of leadership. However, since millennials are considered to not be old enough or not have enough experience, the business landscape finds itself in a Catch-22 situation; And, the transference of power from the well-equipped baby boomers and Gen Xers to the millennial workforce is not a seamless process.

Why? The dynamics of business have changed drastically over the years. Therefore, coaching a new generation of leaders while seasoned leaders themselves battle against the VUCA context bears little fruit.

Millennials bring with them the spirit to tackle challenges head on and the zeal to lead transformation. They are also willing to jump right in and get their hands dirty, just to prove themselves and create a positive impact. Therefore, they can be great assets to leaders and organizations, if given the chance.

What’s a sustainable solution to this problem?

Since the major problems seems to be a general consensus in the “lack of leadership experience” among millennials, why not adopt a new-age solution to accelerate learning and practice? In a previous blog, we highlighted the impact that simulation-based learning delivered for deep learning and accelerated leadership development. This learning methodology is especially effective in developing millennial leaders, who crave immersive, engaging experiences. Where methods like mentoring, coaching, buddy system (where one younger employee is paired with an older employee), traditional classroom engagements are time-consuming and show results only over extended periods, simulations present vast benefits that cater to the urgency of developing high potential millennial leaders.

#1 – Experience

Business simulations provide millennial learners immersive experiences in real-life like, safe learning environments. A typical leadership simulation, for example, puts young leaders in the shoes of a crucial authority, required to lead a team to exponential growth. In doing so, they are expected to cater to the needs of their virtual teams, inspire them, handle conflicts, and develop the team. Learners are expected to fulfil all the responsibilities placed on them in the real world, with only the intent of increasing experience and developing leadership capabilities. The experiential aspect of a business simulation is the key to helping millennials speed up their leadership development.

#2 – Digital

Millennials are digital citizens, constantly attached to technological devices and engaging on social media platforms. Information is readily available to them at their fingertips, and their need for immediacy may be too much of a disruption in developing them through traditional learning methodologies. Therefore, embracing a tool that can effectively build capability while accelerating their time to productivity, significantly increases the uptake on the learning necessary for them to take on leadership roles.

#3 – Ownership

Millennials like to take ownership and stay accountable for their work or decisions. They are hands-on in their approach to learning, work and life in general, as they seek “the full experience”. Business simulations present millennial learners with a virtual environment where their experience is hyper-personalized based on the actions that they take within the simulation environment. They are given the liberty to act as they see fit as well as the opportunity to observe the ramifications of their actions, without real world impact. In other words, they are given complete ownership of their learning experience, and business benefits from their learning.

#4 – Data

Millennials seek mentors who can help them accelerate their career growth. Yet, seeking out mentors in the real world to deliver on their expectations is not sustainable. The mentoring experience is only as effective as the mentor’s interest. Leadership simulations, however, provide millennials unbiased feedback, actionable insights and analytics on their potential, performance and progress in a timely manner. In other words, leadership simulations provide millennial learners with hyper-personalized mentoring experiences at their convenience.

#5 – Time

In the digital age, there is constant change. Therefore, leaders do not have the luxury to develop at their own pace. It is, after all, the survival of the fittest. Therefore, for the uber-competitive millennial leader, there is no other learning methodology that quite as effectively accelerates capabilities as a simulation. Not to mention, the anywhere-anytime learning capabilities of a technology-based simulation, which allows millennial leaders to learn at their convenience to accommodate the constraints of their work schedules. Time is, after all, of the essence in order to effectively take on a major responsibility or role.

Experiential business simulations are the path-breaking solution for organizations keen on developing their millennial leaders. The young aspirants are happy to adopt this new age methodology which helps them to get on their bandwagon of dreams early on and set sail as the leaders of tomorrow. An organization which employs business simulations to train and upskill its workforce can see the results of the training immediately. It is imperative for organizations to let go of their fear or concern about the lack of experience that millennials bring to the table, and there is no better tool to assuage these fears than a simulation. It is finally time for organizations to trust their millennial leaders with decision making power.

Do you agree?

October 25, 2018 - No Comments!

The Top Challenges of Traditional Learning

Author – Swati Kamath| Product Marketing Manager

The Top 5 Challenges of Traditional Learning

Technological advancements such as automation and robotics are causing many roles traditionally performed by humans to become redundant. This phenomenon is happening at a much faster pace than ever before, necessitating employees to rapidly upskill themselves and add value to their roles and the organization. The alarming rate of change and the need for accelerated skill development is also posing a huge challenge for learning and development teams that are still deploying classroom-based, facilitator-led training interventions.  Very soon, these L&D teams are going to find it overwhelming to manage the task of enhancing employee capabilities and improving efficiency, given the pace at which this transformation is required to take place.

In this blog, we address some of the challenges that L&D teams will face if they don’t adopt new-age solutions to develop the workforce. In fact, some of these challenges are already commonplace thanks to millennials, virtual teams, and high-stress roles with heavy workloads and dependencies.

    1. Employee resistance to classroom

      Traditionally, organizations struggled to develop their sales teams because they were constantly on the move and gathering them in the same place at the same time was a near impossible task. Today, this challenge is not limited just to sales teams. A rapidly changing world, increased demands from customers for hyper-personalized solutions, heavy competition, and tight deadlines are just some of the many reasons that keep the modern employee incredibly busy. Each role contributes to a larger process and pausing it for a day or so affects the entire process. Therefore, expecting them to set aside their workload in favour of a classroom-based intervention is not something the modern employee takes lightly to.

    2. Loss of learning over time

    Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German Psychologist who pioneered the experimental study of memory found that when no attempt is made to retain learning, information gathered is lost over time.

    Further research supports Ebbinghaus’ claim as research findings show that when not applied, learners forget over half of what they “learnt” within an hour, and over 75% of information within a week of the learning intervention. With learner attention spans being incredibly short and information overload causing learners to disconnect, traditional classroom interventions don’t facilitate any real skill development. Therefore, modern learners question the need for and impact of traditional learning interventions.

    1. Producing the same experience and learning outcome

      Traditional learning, otherwise known as classroom-based learning, is heavily dependent on the facilitator. The facilitator’s expertise on the subject, experience with facilitating, delivery capability, and ability to keep the audience thoroughly engaged are some factors that determine the success or failure of a training session. Therefore, the learner experience, learning impact and learning outcome are all tied significantly to the facilitator of an intervention. Different facilitators delivering the same content produce different results, mitigating the learners’ opportunity for a uniformly pleasant and fruitful experience.

    2. Dispersed workforce

      The modern workforce is global. Employees of the same organization are based in different parts of the world, and the density of the workforce varies depending on the presence of the organization within that region. Traditional learning, which depends heavily on physical proximity, therefore presents opportunities to appease the masses. In other words, employees operating in regions with a denser workforce are provided with better or more learning opportunities than those who work in regions with a smaller organizational presence. With opportunities for learning and personal development ranking high as a reason for employee retention, engagement and productivity, the lack of equal and adequate opportunities impact organizations in more ways than one.

    3. Engagement

      The average attention span of a human being today is less than that of a gold-fish (conscious memory is less than three seconds). Within a classroom-based learning intervention, a facilitator is tasked with not just delivering a uniformed learning experience, but, also to equally engage all the learners. With a ratio of one facilitator to at least 20 learners, engagement is a tricky task that requires delicate balance. With several other variables thrown into the mix, such as facilitator’s ability to constantly engage learners and learner moods, preoccupations, need for social interaction, varied learner backgrounds and expectations, disruptions, complexity of the content delivered, and the element of surprise, keeping learners engaged in a classroom set-up for the span of a day or half is tricky, if not impossible.

    4. What’s in it for me? (WIIFM)

      A big challenge that traditional learning methodologies present is that learners question the value and benefit they derive from the intervention. In other words, learners question ‘what’s in it for me?’ There are a number of reasons that prompt learners to posit this question:

      1. Inability to address personal learning need – Even in an audience with seemingly similar backgrounds, learner needs and expectations from the learning intervention are varied, as are their learning styles and uptake. Traditional classroom-based, facilitator-led learning interventions do not cater to the hyper personalized needs and expectations of the learner. When learning needs analysis is incorrect, they can fail to cater to the needs and expectations of the entire batch as well.
      2. Lack of objective, actionable feedback for learners on potential, performance and progress – Learners seek training specifically to enhance knowledge and/or skill. Traditional learning interventions often provide biased or blanket assessments, tips and best practices that prove ineffective in addressing challenges and catering to learner needs.
      3. Mandatory training to fulfil personal growth indicators – Several organizations expect their employees to undertake learning interventions as a key performance metric. This is done with the intent of helping employees with personal development and career growth. Often, mandatory training becomes a mere check-mark activity, something that needs to be completed in lieu of a good appraisal and without any real benefit.
      4. Miscommunication of benefit – Learners aren’t always privy to their need for development of a skill. Organizations identify certain key learning interventions that they believe would benefit certain learners. Traditional learning interventions, however, often fail to communicate the importance of a learning intervention for the learner. Case in point, Organization X. After being faced with several escalations arising from a lack of cultural sensitivity, organization X decided that all employees traveling onsite had to undergo a cultural sensitivity workshop. While the intent is commendable, the workshop failed to deliver any real impact because seasoned travellers did not see value in participating. As a result, escalations on the grounds of cultural insensitivity continued to percolate.

    It is evident at this point that traditional learning comes with a fair share of challenges, and in this digital world, sticking to the old ways can be troublesome. Like the age-old saying, “what got you here, will not get you there”. Therefore, it is time for organization to rethink their approaches to learning, and look for the best solutions that cater to learner needs as well as organizational requirements.

    In the next blog, we will address how new-age learning methodologies like self-paced learning can mitigate these challenges presented by traditional learning.

October 24, 2018 - No Comments!

Simulations – The answer for high impact leadership skills development

Author – Swati Kamath| Product Marketing Manager

Simulations – The answer for high impact leadership skills development

Have you ever wondered why pilots spend thousands of hours in simulated practice before entering the cockpit of an actual plane? Or why surgeons spend several years fine tuning their skills on cadavers, before operating on real people and animals? The answer is quite simple. Both these professions have high stakes, requiring incredible precision, and skill. What’s more important is that the entire ecosystem for is set up to support doctors and pilots to be prepared for success.  This is important because the smallest of mistakes can lead to severe consequences – the loss of lives. Unfortunately, we don’t see such dire consequences in the corporate world, yet isn’t is the case? The decisions that are made in the corporate world can make or break organizations, industries even. A bad decision, resulting in the downfall of an organization affects everyone working for the organization, their families and their livelihood. But, who makes these decisions that impact organizations, and everyone associated? That privilege lies with the leaders. Therefore, the question arises – why shouldn’t aspiring leaders in the business world go through the same kind of rigor? Why not set them up for success?

Developing Leadership Skills through New-Age Methodologies

Today, organizations across the globe are fundamentally changing in the way they are structured, and how they operate. This has distinctly created the need for a change in the set of capabilities professionals possess, and in the way that they function within the organization. Building a strong pipeline of leaders has been a key focus for organizations for decades. However, with the changing business landscape, organizations are not realising that the traditional methods of leadership development are not as effective as they used to be. In other words, traditional learning interventions are failing to equip leaders for the modern business world.

Much like pilots and surgeons, business leaders benefit incredibly from learning through experience. Traditional learning methodologies don’t allow much for experiential learning. As a result, pioneer organizations seek out new-age learning methodologies to develop their leaders and high potential employees to take on more responsibilities and deliver greater impact. Simulation-based learning is quickly catching up in the corporate world, given the obvious benefits and positive outcomes they have produced in aviation and medical professions.

In the business world, Simulations ensure that aspiring leaders implement and sustain the knowledge and skill addressed during developmental interventions.  The use of business simulations helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, giving learners the autonomy to make mistakes and test various hypotheses, while providing instantaneous and personalised feedback. Learners and organizations alike obtain several benefits from engaging in simulation-based learning.

Simulations are the present and future of leadership development

Over the last decade, simulations have been gaining momentum as learning tools, and becoming an integral part of corporate L&D strategies of organizations across industries for leadership development. This is attributed to:

  • Improvements and the larger inclusion of technology in the workplace, owing to the Digital Age
  • A seismic shift in power, authority, and influence within the workforce, resulting in flatter organizations
  • A large body of impact studies on the incorporation of simulations into learning, over the last decade

The question remains still – What is a simulation? A simulation is a technique for practice and learning that replaces and amplifies real experiences with facilitated ones. Immersive in nature, simulations replicate significant aspects of the real world in a fully interactive manner, to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes, whilst protecting aspiring leaders from unnecessary risks, in a safe learning environment. They provide structured learning experiences, and measure predetermined competencies and learning objectives.

Most importantly, within a simulation, learners have the

  • autonomy to test their hypotheses and witness the repercussions of their actions on their own,
  • motivation to continue positive response inducing behaviours and change habits that are detrimental to their work and responsibilities. This ultimately leads to mastery over the leadership skills they are learning. After all, practice makes perfect!

However, it is important to remember that the primary purpose of business simulations is not to ‘edutain’, but to transform the way that people think and behave. While this is not an easy task, it is a crucial step to altering the leaders’ mental model, facilitating the process of unlearning and relearning.

The vast benefits of KNOLSKAPE’s gamified simulation-powered programs have shown 33% higher engagement, 67% better knowledge retention, and 23% faster skill development vis-a-vis traditional learning. The inclusion of detailed analytics and reports with every component of the learning program gives the users an insight, to map a professional’s path to leadership skills development.

In short, simulations are fun, and impactful. Not convinced? Try it yourself by connecting with us.

October 11, 2018 - No Comments!

Are your learners banking on Google and Wikipedia for their self-paced learning?

Here’s what you can do to change it.

Author: Mariam Taqui Ali | Senior Associate – KNOLSKAPE Insights Centre

Are your learners banking on Google and Wikipedia for their self-paced learning?

“Hey Paul, do you know about block chain?”, asked his colleague. Immediately, Paul gave him a gist of what he gathered from the ‘all-knowing’ Google; A big grin pasted on his face, happy about having a response at the click of a button.

This scene is all too familiar for most of us. The constant search for answers on Google or Wikipedia is a norm in this day and age. There is no doubt that most of the information is available. An important question, however, is if this information is fostering real, sustained learning! As professionals in the Learning industry, the task of bridging the knowledge gap through trainings is a bigger challenge today where the workforce has a quick fix answer from Google and Wikipedia for everything.

What’s important to remember, however, is that L&D teams provide two crucial facilities that learners often overlook – an assessment of learning needs, and a process for deep, sustained learning and skill building. Learners often know what they WANT to learn, not always what they NEED to learn with it, how to implement their learning, or even know to measure the effectiveness of learning.

The process of effective, sustained learning is initiated with preparation, by determining the intent for learning a specific skill or acquiring expertise on a certain subject. This is a crucial step, that most unfacilitated self-directed learning miss doing.

The second step is a matter of engagement, an important component to drive completion of learning. The elements employed in planning a self-paced course must be interactive and allow learners and instructors/ facilitators to connect and engage in meaningful conversations. The use of webinars, chats, discussion forums etc helps to keep the interest and the learner motivated to work till the end. The chief differentiator between the engagement provided by Google /Wikipedia in comparison to a self-paced course is the element of personalization. The relevance of learning for the learners is what drives the self-paced course towards completion.

Tutoring is the third crucial element. This factor gives learners an authentic experience. The learner receives an explanation and understanding of the information through means which are relevant to his/her understanding. Tutoring empowers and makes the learner independent. It is this element which is vastly customized and curated, giving the self-paced course an edge over Google and Wikipedia. We could also draw an analogy of Google/Wikipedia being a mathematics textbook and a maths teacher as the tutor who helps you understand, interpret and solve those complex problems. In a self-paced course, the tutoring element wins hands down and is augmented by various components like videos, quizzes, cases studies. Thus, driving the learner to delve deeper in the subject and not skim the surface.

The fourth factor that may appear to overlap with ‘googling’ is exploration. The difference is that learners are given additional references that they can use to build their knowledge and explore. It is definitive, curated and directional contrary to a mere ‘search on google’. This helps learners grasp and get more details about the subject or skill and make them ready for the final step, Review.

Learning comes a full circle when a learner can effectively implement what he/she has learnt and practiced. This fifth step in the process is all about getting the learning to work and see the triumphs and errors of it for real. It is then that learning is considered as complete and a success depending on the parameters set in the course.

For L&D professionals, factoring in these five steps of learning in the self-paced courses will ensure that learners are learning comprehensively, and effectively prepared to implement learning. While Google and Wikipedia are the go-to sources for information, learning is only achieved when the learner goes through the process of ‘preparation, engagement, tutoring, exploration and review or the phase of practice. Let’s call its P.E.T.E.R, for short. So, the next time Paul responds to your question, make sure that he’s gone through P.E.T.E.R and not Google!