We all know how import learning & development is for our employees and the long term success of our companies, yet there are business situations when there is little or no budget available.
I have had to master situations like this in my career and it was always a highly creative yet difficult task to maintain or even scale the learning & development offerings for the employees. Now lately this has changed dramatically. It all started three years ago.
In 2012 Sebastian Thrun at Stanford University inspired by the Khan Academy opened up the class on Artificial Intelligence for free to everyone with access to the web. Thrun was surprised and overwhelmed by an online audience of more than 160.000 students worldwide.
The new term MOOC* for Massive Open Online Course was coined.
They now fully embraced the idea of open free education resources and started to offer more and more MOOCs. By 2015 there were over 4000 courses available. Additionally this movement was supported by venture capital financing Udacity led by Sebastian Thrun, Coursera and others.
These startups provide services for creating MOOCs to universities. In addition aggregators are now providing platforms for an efficient search and easy access to these open education resources (OER).
Besides MOOCs a lot of investments were made in the area of foreign language acquisition in the recent years. There are several language exchange platforms for people free to use. All they need is internet access and Skype.
Online spaced repetition tools help to memorize vocabularies more effectively. And other platforms allow people to correct each other’s written sentences in a foreign language.
Last but not least there are now a number of mobile apps available. Almost all of these tools are free and support a specific area of language acquisition, either in the domain of speaking, listening, writing, reading or understanding. What makes them now so attractive to users is the application of the latest research in gamification, social learning and neurosciences.
Since 2014 I noticed that more and more employees turn to the internet for their professional development. In a number of cases they were doing it without consulting with their supervisor, HR or corporate learning first. This personally inspired me to look deeper into the available resources on the internet. I was amazed by the available offers nowadays.
In order to support my HR colleagues I have decided to summarize my findings in a whitepaper, called “Education Hacking Whitepaper” Useful Tools & Resources for Corporate Learning.
- In the first segment I give an overview on Open Education Resources. How to find resources and who are the key providers.
- In the second segment I focus on language acquisitions. There are many tools available. And dependant on the learner the best strategy and tools can be selected to achieve results not yet achieved with the traditional language acquisition approach.
For each tool I give an overview of the benefits and the key features, and list the systems requirements and the costs.
(most tools are free to use in a basic version)
I have also tried these new resources myself and was amazed by their effectiveness in regards to learning.
And I guess I am also a good test case, because I am now 50 years old and more or less represent the majority of our current work force in most companies. As a start I set myself the Mission of Reading Chinese Newspaper by the end of 2015. In just 2 months and a net learning time of 32 hours I read my first Chinese book. 7 months later I knew more than 2000 unique characters and I was able to read my first article in a Chinese newspaper. As a comparison Chinese children usually will learn just over 1000 characters in their first four years in school and then it would take them to grade 6/7 before they can read a newspaper.
(c) New To HR.