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Van Kasper Spiro | 27-05-2019 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

How subject matter experts can create more effective learning

An increasing number of subject matter experts are sharing their knowledge in a variety of ways. One of them is the creation of learning content. Facilitating this is the core role of my company Easygenerator. We provide a hassle-free authoring platform for them to share knowledge effortlessly. We know that the software must be so intuitive that anyone can log in and, without any training, can start creating learning material. We also know that we have to guide and assist subject matter experts to help them create effective learning materials. Subject matter experts often start with what we call a “PowerPoint mindset”; they are focussed on transferring the information as if they are creating a PowerPoint presentation. As a result, subject matter experts often create very content heavy courses that are not effective learning materials. In this blog, I will give some tips on how to change this mindset and with that help subject matter experts to create better and more effective learning.

Moving away from a PowerPoint mindset

The main problem with the “PowerPoint mindset” is the focus on content. Because of this focus, most subject matter experts will just start with writing. They will pour out all the knowledge they have in order to share it. While their intention is great, this does not lead to effective learning material. They will create content heavy courses that are not engaging or effective.
  • Set a goal: The start of the process should be setting a goal, or a learning objective combined with determining your audience. This will give you a first indication of which knowledge you have to share and will give you more focus.
  • Define the questions: As a second step, you need to determine how to assess these objectives. What kind of questions or assignments can you give the learner, so they can prove that they have achieved the learning goal.
  • Create focussed content: The third and final step is creating content. But with one important limitation: only create content that the learner will need in order to answer the questions or do the assignment.
We found that with this simple approach courses will be between 40% and 60% smaller. The time to create the materials will be proportionately less and a higher percentage of learners will complete the course. Courses created in this way will be rated significantly better than courses created with a PowerPoint mindset. [caption id="attachment_6781" align="alignnone" width="1394"]Goal - Assessment - Content A simple didactical approach for SME's to make their learning material more effective[/caption]

Beating the forgetting curve and enabling microlearning

The other thing that will have a big impact on the effectiveness of the materials is to create a series of small learning nuggets with a repetitive pattern. I will first explain why. In 1885 the psychologist Ebbinghaus discovered that you will forget most information you learned within a matter of hours. When you receive new information you will store it in your short term memory. But that memory has limited capacity. New information needs to be stored there and therefore your brain needs to remove “older” information. Only information that is transferred to your long-term memory will be saved, the rest is lost. Research shows that you will lose over 90% of that new information. This is called the forgetting curve. One of the most effective ways to beat the forgetting curve is repetition. forgetting curve When you are repeating the information you have better retention that can go up from 10% to 90%. There is a second element to consider, that is that shorter e-learning courses tend to be more effective than long ones. These short courses are called learning nuggets or microlearning. If you combine these two you get a really interesting solution. The rules are simple:
  1. Create courses that will take no longer than 15 minutes to complete.
  2. Build a series of them, making sure every course repeats parts of the previous one
In Easygenerator, for example, we have a feature that will show a page to the learner based on his result (fail or pass). On this page, you can include a link to the next module of the series. This way you can build a string of learning nuggets with repetition built in to beat the forgetting curve.   Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 27-02-2019 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Best practice instead of malpractice

Last month, I required a surgical intervention during which my worn-out shoulder was replaced with an artificial one. During the final preparations, one of the medical staff asked me which shoulder I needed to be operated on and I told her it was the right-hand side. She then got a marker pen out and drew a big arrow on my right forearm pointing towards the shoulder. This was to make sure I had surgery on the correct shoulder, I immediately loved the effectiveness of this solution. By delegating the decision on which arm to draw the arrow to me as the patient, the hospital also more than likely covered itself against a future malpractice claim. A solution brilliant in its simplicity. After doing a little more research, I discovered there’s actually a term called Wrong Side Surgery or WSS. It refers to surgical operations performed on the incorrect side of the body. Although I couldn’t find out the exact origins of the excellent marker pen solution (leave me a comment if you happen to know), I still think it’s one of the ‘best’ best practices that I’ve come across. I love it! These best practices are crucial ingredients when it comes to performance and workplace learning. The way Easygenerator allows informal knowledge to be shared across organizations makes sure that internal best practice is captured and spread as effectively as possible.   Indeed, along with its content curation facilities, gathering best practices is one of Easygenerator’s top features when it comes to informal learning. It provides subject matter experts with a powerful tool for sharing their knowledge in the easiest and quickest way possible. Drawing an arrow on my forearm was certainly simple and fast. But most importantly (and thankfully!), it was also extremely effective – exactly the type of best practice Easygenerator wants to help capture. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 07-01-2019 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Employee-generated Learning is now mainstream

The main takeaway for me looking back on 2018 is that our approach of Employee-generated Learning (EGL) is becoming more and more mainstream. Let me explain why this is the case. Knowledge sharing, social learning, and peer-to-peer learning have become household names driving new knowledge acquisition in the workplace. Most research such as Udemy’s Learning Trends, E-learning Guild’s Predictions, Jane Hart’s Annual Survey, Expert Economy Author’s Insights and so on emphasizes the importance of these learning models. This reinforces their growing demand within the Learning industry.   As EGL is rooted in this sphere of learning models, this emphasis by big players is clear evidence of acceptance and adoption of our approach.

Healthy Competition

Easygenerator started pioneering the Employee-generated Learning approach in 2013. We have been championing this model ever since and have become more and more successful with our growing clientele. We now have over 1,000 customers in 70 countries. This success attracts attention and competition. In 2018, we noticed competitors entering the league of EGL. They try to offer products and services similar to Easygenerator’s. I see that as a compliment and as proof that our approach is maturing rapidly.

No fewer than 3 awards

CLO Award

We won the golden “Excellence in e-Learning” award at the 2018 CLO Learning in Practice Awards, presented by Chief Learning Officer magazine. This award was specifically awarded for how we implemented our Employee-generated Learning model at Nielsen. Screenshot_1

Brandon Hall Award

We won the “Best Advance in Content Authoring Technology” award by Brandon Hall. This one was awarded for the “Easygenerator enterprise plan for Employee-generated Learning” and for our product innovation in creating a subject matter expert-friendly learning tool. Screenshot_3.png

MVP Award

We won a third award for an article titled “Tight Budgets and Small L&D Teams? Time to Embrace Employee-Generated Learning.” The article was published in Training Industry magazine. It describes how the Employee-generated Learning approach will boost your productivity. In addition to this award, most L&D magazines and blogs such as CLO, ATD, Jane Hart, the E-learning Guild, Training Industry and STADA welcomed our articles and insights on the topic of EGL, which attests to the L&D community's growing interest in this trend.

DevLearn presentation

I presented this year at the DevLearn Conference in Las Vegas. The topic was “Multiplying Your L&D Capacity with Employee-Generated Learning.” I got such a huge response that we decided to repeat the presentation in webinar form in collaboration with the E-learning Guild and Aggregate. Here is the recording of that last webinar:

Easygenerator’s growth

And for me, the growth of my company Easygenerator is, of course, an important indicator. This year, we welcomed over 500 new customers (and the year is not over yet), bringing our total number of customers to more than 1,000. We also see significant growth among the customers who joined us before this year.

Quality and service

There is more to success than just the concept. Our product has scored an NPS of 53. The average for cloud-based software is around 30 and the best-performing software companies score around 55. Our 53 is out of this world and indicates that both our product and our services like customer support are on a very high level. If our Employee-generated Learning approach was not solving a real business problem, we would not be so successful. I believe that we are only at the beginning of reaching our potential, so I’m very much looking forward to 2019.   Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 11-12-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Moving learning back to the business

Moving learning back to the business Learning has become too far detached from the business side of companies. In the days of medieval guilds, you would complete your entire education while working and learning the trade and skills alongside a master craftsman. However, times have changed and we've moved learning to schools and universities. At work, corporate HR/learning professionals are responsible for employees' learning and development. I believe this is wrong for many reasons. We need to move learning back to the business. In this blog post, I address a couple of problems I see stemming from the disconnect between learning and the business and discuss some positive trends for the future. Artboard Cost and speed The development process for learning content is complex, slow and expensive because the people who have the knowledge (subject matter experts/SMEs on the business side) aren't the ones creating the content. Companies hire learning specialists and instructional designers to create the training courses. This means knowledge has to be transferred from the business to the learning and development (L&D) department. All the content has to be checked and doublechecked before a course is ready to go live. Maintenance Learning specialists are normally responsible for maintaining the published content, but they don't work on the business side. That means they are unaware of real-time changes affecting the business. As a result, courses often remain outdated. What does this really mean? Organizations end up spending time and money equipping their employees with irrelevant/outdated knowledge and skills. Disconnect from the business The root cause of these problems is the fact that L&D is detached from the business. It's as if there's a wall between the L&D professionals and the SMEs who are working on the business side. This slows down the process of creating learning content and makes it expensive and impossible to maintain. I believe we must make the business side responsible for content creation and maintenance so that learning is fully aligned with and integrated into the business. Trends To counteract these problems, I see multiple trends in corporate learning, all of which point learning in the same direction: toward the business Informal learning and workplace support It's clear that informal learning and workplace support are becoming more important. Trends or hypes like 70:20:10, five moments of learning need, and many others all point in that direction. This shows that learning content is becoming less didactical and more supportive in nature. We're moving from courses to resources. The added value of staffing learning specialists is declining, and real-life knowledge on the business side is becoming more important than ever. Self-directed learning: The learner takes responsibility One very promising development is that the learners are now increasingly taking responsibility for their own learning. In the past, your company could tell you which courses to take or which certifications you needed for your next promotion, but those days are over. People are no longer staying with the same employer for 40 years and that makes them responsible for their own learning and development by default. Still, many L&D departments are stuck in old habits. They still “push” learning content to the business. For a small number of topics (like compliance and security), this continues to be necessary. But 95% of the learning is not about compliance or security and is the responsibility of the learner. The L&D department can only facilitate this, and the best way to do that is to be as close to the business as you can, preferably integrated. Peer-to-peer learning Peer-to-peer learning is growing fast. Also known as knowledge sharing, it’s an everyday part of the workforce already. In peer-to-peer learning, L&D's only role is to facilitate knowledge sharing among coworkers. From LMS to LXP The learning buzzword of 2018 is LXP, which is short for learning experience systems. LXPs are replacing the traditional LMS in part. The difference between the two is captured in two words: management versus experience. A learning management system is created as a tool for the L&D department. It allows them to push courses top-down to the employees and control the whole learning flow from beginning to end. A learner experience system is much more focused on helping learners acquire skills and identify knowledge gaps so they can pull the necessary learning content from a social environment. In other words, it's management versus experience and push versus pull. I believe this is a crucial change and that L&D departments are finally moving into the facilitating role they should have been playing all along. This pull-based learning is another powerful sign of how bottom-up learning strategies that are integrated into the business are gaining momentum. Learning is already moving back to the business and this trend will continue to accelerate in 2019.   Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 29-10-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

#DevLearn 2018: The death of the Learning styles, microlearning, and Millennials

Back home after DevLearn 2018 and the one thing that stands out is the annihilation of three big learning buzzwords:  Learning Styles, Microlearning and Millennials.

Learning styles

The e-learning guild published a couple of new reports, I attended a session on them. One of the reports is "The truth about teaching to learning styles and what to do instead" by Jane Bozarth. Here is the conclusion of the report: [caption id="attachment_6654" align="alignnone" width="974"]leaening styles report conclusion Screenshot from the conclusion page of the e-learning guild report "The truth about teaching to learning styles and what to do instead"[/caption] So it is not that learning styles do not exist, according to Jane they do not have any measurable impact on learning outcomes.


I attended a session by J.D. Dillon who killed MicroLearning on the spot. The essence of his talk was that good learning is about applying "proven principles" and that microlearning is just "noise" and not proven at all. [caption id="attachment_6655" align="alignnone" width="3046"]The end of microlearning JD Dillon Mindmap of the presentation by JD Dillon at DevLearn 2018[/caption]


Unfairly labelled.jpeg And finally, we had the last keynote of the conference: Jessica Kriegel. She killed the effect of generations like millennials on learning (and more). Her Ph.D. study (and book Unfairly labeled) proves that there is no such thing as a millennial for learning. There is a measurable difference in learning and other things when you look at age. But that hasn't changed at all over the past 50 years. Conclusion: Millenials bring nothing new to the workplace, they are just young.  

Keep thinking!

There are two things that also stuck from these presentations:
  1. Jane Bozart did see a correlation between marketing spend on "learning styles" and the rise of the buzzword.
  2. Jessica Kriegel said, "We do read the articles about research, but nobody ever checks the research itself."
Two interesting statements. And it is probably true that all three these buzzwords are the result of a marketing effort and it is also true that I consider it already an achievement if I read the article on a research. But indeed; I have never checked the research itself.  The only conclusion I can draw is: "Keep thinking, stop believing".   Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 26-10-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

#DevLearn Email courses

This session was about a simple but rather cool idea sending out a spaced course via email. I think it is a cool idea if you do not have an LMS or do not want to use it. email courses Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 25-10-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

#Devlearn master panel Learning technology, past present and future

An extremely cool panel made out of no less than seven e-Learning guild masters. Learning technology past present and future.png Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 25-10-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

#Devlearn. New guild reports presented

Jane Bozart at Devlearn 2018 In this session, three new reports from the e-learning guild were presented. Jennifer Hoffman about blended learning, Steve Forman about learning platforms and Jane Bozart about learning styles. The most surprising outcome is on learning styles. The conclusion is" They do not matter. Jane states they are only a 'marketing thing'. Wow!     I would say download the reports and dive into the details. In my opinion, these reports are one of the main benefits of being a guild member. [caption id="attachment_6640" align="alignnone" width="3986"]E-learning guild research trends.png Three new guild reports presented at Devlearn[/caption] Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 25-10-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

#devlearn18 First day review

[caption id="attachment_6636" align="alignleft" width="263"]David Kelly opening #devlearn2018 David Kelly during his opening statement[/caption] Looking back on the first day of Devlearn 2018. The first thing I noticed it has become bigger. I missed last year and in comparisson to 2016 it has grown. There are more attendees, more vendors, more of everything. This year is the 15th DevLearn and clearly, it is alive and kicking. despite the growth, it still is a gathering of a guild made out of learning professionals. I like that spirit and I do hope that that will stay that way.


[caption id="attachment_6637" align="alignleft" width="346"]Ayanna Howard on the DevLearn stage Ayanna Howard at DevLearn[/caption] We had two keynotes on the first day and I have to say I was disappointed with both of them. Both Julie Snyder with her story about Serial and Ayanna Howard about Robotics, AI and the future of learning and work, were nice presentations, but no more. No connection to learning, no big inspirational boost. Which is a pity, I was particularly looking forward to the talk of Ayanna Howard, she is one of the leading people in the world when it comes to robotics and AI, I think she is extremely cool. But her message was "Robots are coming and you better be ready", and that was it. I was expecting way more.


I attended a lot of sessions and covered most of them in separate posts. I'm impressed with the level of the presentations this year, really good. I hope I can match that level with my own presentation on Friday.


In comparison to past conferences, I think the audience has become more knowledgeable. My impression is that there are fewer newbies and that many attendees are looking beyond old-school solutions. In the past, I wrote about the gap between presenters and audience. Where presenters talked about fundamental change and the audience wanted to select a scorm based LMS. I think that gap is way smaller now and that is a great thing to see.   Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 25-10-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

#DevLearn Gary Wise. Point-of-work, new ground zero for learning

Pretty impressive session by Gary Wise. He makes a big point that we spend 80% of our L&D budget on 2.3% of the work time. This presentation was the first time that I saw a complete approach on how to set up and design a workplace support system. I liked "the seven right things" and was most impressed by the details per "thing". I did not cover all these details in the mindmap, but Gary shared his presentation via the conference app. Gary Wise Devlearn   Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 25-10-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

What makes a good Learning eXperience Platform

A session about our latest buzzword LXP (Learning Experience platform) by Ben Betts. He states that we are leaving the era of learning and we are moving towards the era of Performance which in his mind also means moving from an LMS towards an LXP. I also liked his seven habits, it makes it more actionable. What makes a good learning experience platform (LXP) Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 25-10-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

#Devlearn: David Kelly. LMs, LRS, LXP and more

David Kelly Interesting session by David Kelly. It contained also the buzzword for the DevLearn 2018: LXP. A "Learning eXperience Platform". This  new type of learning platform that is making waves. Some call it LMS on steroids, others social learning platforms, but it is a trend as a new platform next to the LMS. David Kelly LMS, LRS, LXP and more. Exploring the learning platforms landscape.png Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 25-10-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Julie Snyder #Devlearn keynote. What makes a story captivating?

Julie Snyder Julie Snyder was the opening keynote at DevLearn18. I have mixed feelings about her presentation. It was a good presentation and a nice story about her successful podcast "Serial". But I missed the relevance for learning. I did not learn what makes a story captivating in a way that I can apply.       [caption id="attachment_6616" align="alignnone" width="3284"]DevLearn 2018 keynote. Julie Snyder Mindmap Julie Snyder Devlearn keynote[/caption]   Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 06-06-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

When Technology is your Friend: Regaining Control of your Content

Dr. Cris Wildermuth

In today's digital learning boom, it's easy for university educators to feel like they're losing control of their own classrooms. As power shifts towards university administrations instead of educators, and e-learning becomes more prominent, learning content is becoming increasingly centralized. Instead of perceiving technology as a threat to their independence, university educators should see it as a chance to share the responsibility for creating e-learning content. A good starting point is to choose e-learning tools that are simple enough to pick up and use instantly. Advanced tools go hand in hand with additional features, but they give less control to third parties who manage the content. Instead of fearing technology in higher education, nurturing an open mind towards different forms of e-learning can help educators take back control of their classrooms and content while also keeping university administrators happy. I chatted recently with Dr. Cris Wildermuth, an associate professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Wildermuth, an avid Easygenerator user, believes that educators can use technology to regain (rather than lose) control of their content and classrooms. In this article, she talks about the journey towards digital learning in academic settings and offers some key lessons she has learned along the way.

What is happening?

I confess: I love face-to-face classes. I love the energy and unplanned uncertainty, where anything can and does happen. I love the elaborate simulations and instructional games I create. Above all, I love connecting with and getting to know my students in real time. You might think someone like me - the incurably sociable professor - would hate e-learning. You may be surprised to hear that’s not the case. In fact, my message today is the opposite: technology is not my enemy. Instead, technology allows me to be the professor I want to be: sociable, creative and, most importantly, fluid and flexible. I would even argue that being comfortable with technology helps me keep control of my content. I’ll start by describing a typical scenario: You are a professor who is tasked with moving your class to an online or a hybrid learning environment. Of course, both you and your university worry about quality. You are nervous about the amount of time it takes to design an online course and may feel that you lack the necessary technology skills. Many institutions have on-staff instructional designers. These colleagues often know the ins and outs of the latest e-learning design tools. The next step, therefore, is to involve an instructional design expert, who will spend hours interviewing you and gaining an understanding of your class. Your university may also bring in colleagues to film you in a studio and record your lectures. The sound is a thing of beauty. The backdrop is lovely. As a result of all these efforts, your new online or hybrid class is now perfect. Unfortunately, if there is one thing we know as professors, it is that a class is never either perfect or finished. Soon, you discover that the textbook used for this class has been superseded by a better one. You open up a new online assessment. You listen to one of your lectures (perfectly recorded, complete with background animations) and hate it. Uh-oh. Sorry, but you won't be able to change your course until three years from now! This is a common occurrence in academia, and many of my colleagues will agree that if we fail to improve our courses, they quickly become stale. The latest research is ignored. Fascinating discoveries are lost. And, as mediocrity creeps in, we lose our sense of teaching adventure. After all, university courses are like breathing organisms - they must evolve to stay alive. So, what does all this have to do with technology? Simple. If moving a part (or all) of my course online requires an army of instructional designers and photographers, change becomes practically impossible. What's the solution? For starters, we need to acknowledge that technology is not our enemy! Instead, we must gain a new set of skills to help us regain control of our classrooms and content. As I worked on improving my technology skills, here are some lessons I learned along the way. Pace yourself. Be realistic. You probably won't have the time to learn how to code on top of all your responsibilities. Pick easy, user-friendly tools (ideally, tools that require no training) and adopt one new "toy" at a time. Pace yourself and have fun along the way! Forget about perfectionism. Are you a perfect lecturer? Do your new discussions and demonstrations always work? No? Well, good news: your online materials don’t need to be perfect either. I discovered my students can be surprisingly tolerant of the sound of my dog barking in the background or my cat's tail suspiciously appearing on the right side of the screen. Forgetting about perfectionism has added speed, efficiency and flexibility to my design process - not to mention, a healthy dose of fun. In fact, my students tell me the imperfections (especially my pets) make them laugh out loud and keep them awake! It’s not "either/or". My love of technology and willingness to try new tools allowed me to create a delightfully fluid environment for the master’s program I coordinate. My students can take the same course online or face-to-face. They can substitute a class for online activities. They get to choose. The benefit? I keep the face-to-face teaching adventures I love so much while still giving my students the flexibility they crave. My students and I have the best of both worlds. So, here is my final message to my colleagues in academia: It’s your class. It’s your content. You are still the professor. By embracing technology, abandoning perfectionism and combining face-to-face with online options you can continue to teach the way you enjoy teaching. Happy technology learning! To expand this conversation, we asked Professor Wildermuth for her advice to creators and publishers of e-learning materials. Here's what she said: Sharing information about your tools with institutions of higher education. University-wide adoption of any tool requires lengthy processes in which multiple committees of stakeholders have a say. That said, individual professors often make their own decisions and, most of the time, have some leeway to do so. The real battle, therefore, is not to get someone like me to adopt a new tool - it’s to make it available throughout an entire university. Helping educators select a new tool. Speed and ease of learning are key adoption criteria. Even a technology-lover like me has no time for a long learning curve. I can’t afford to mess with manuals or take online courses to figure out how on earth to make a fancy authoring tool’s little buttons work when someone clicks on them. I often don’t even have time to watch a youtube tutorial. I would love to learn how to code but I teach graduate level Ethics and Leadership courses, not coding. Therefore, my ideal educational and authoring tool is easy to learn and use. Finally, because I don’t have time to go through complicated instructions or watch videos, the ability to easily get answers to questions is also critical. I don’t necessarily need to “speak to someone” but I do need an easy “chat now” button with some helpful human being on the other side to quickly send me a link to where I need to go. The role and future of instructional designers. Instructional designers have a very important role to play, even as professors gain access to more user-friendly tools! I see instructional designers as (a) designing for those who don’t want to design, (b) helping with the more elaborate processes (creating animations or more in-depth presentations, for example, (c) designing and maintaining adjunct courses, (d) acting as coaches and starters for professors who want to keep control of their content and (e) helping with more elaborate materials we can no longer find in online textbook collections or don’t have time to locate. Collaborative features. E-learning students often crave social contact and interaction. Therefore, any collaborative tool embedded in an e-learning system is likely well received. For example, I would love my students to be able to see each other’s answers to select types of questions or engage in a built-in forum. Tools should also be easily and seamlessly integrated into frequently used learning management systems like Blackboard, Moodle, Canva, etc. Advice for edtech tool vendors. One word: money. Academia is under a lot of pressure to reduce costs. Vendors need to be able to make the case that using their tools will save the university money rather than cost them more. Other than that, the thing that most differentiates academia from the corporate world is complete decentralization and “shared governance.” Making decisions is a lengthy process unless you’re talking about individual professors.
[caption id="attachment_6493" align="alignnone" width="1424"]Dr. Cris Wildermuth Dr. Cris Wildermuth[/caption] Dr. Cris Wildermuth is an Associate Professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she coordinates the Master of Science in Leadership Development. Dr. Wildermuth welcomes comments on this blog at
  Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 11-04-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Six trends that impact L&D in 2018 and beyond

Recently we have published a research report that identified six trends that impact the learning and development landscape in 2018 and beyond. Besides identifying these trends, the paper also gives recommendations on how to react to these trends by suggesting a new learning strategy based on the employee-generated learning model. If you are interested in reading the full research report, it can be accessed here. These trends have been identified through analyzing our own research data (n = 600) and combining it with existing research. We found:
  1. A growing need for creating content quickly. Content creation can be accelerated using a learning solution that facilitates (re)using templates and content.
  1. Employees are create learning content, we refer to this as employee-generated learning. Any employee within an organization creates e-learning courses on topics in which he or she is an expert.
  1. Mobile learning has become indispensable.
  1. Mobile devices are increasingly used to supply small nuggets of learning content through a method known as microlearning.
  2. shift away from traditional learning management systems
  3. Growing awareness of the pitfalls of massive open online course (MOOCs).

The way ahead

These trends are not isolated from one another, they are deeply interconnected and to be considered in unison to form a future-proof L&D strategy. The growing need for rapid content creation can be addressed by choosing a learning solution that facilitates reusable templates and content. Reusing content simplifies content creation. Simplifying the creation process helps to empower employees to generate their own learning content. This method of employee-generated learning is much more cost-effective and enables content to be localized for diverse learning communities in a simple, organic manner. Ideally, this content should be shared with learners in the form of microlearning via mobile devices. Our research reveals that traditional learning management systems are not effective for facilitating fast-paced, employee-generated, mobile learning strategies. Finally, we conclude that MOOCs suffer from lack of learner engagement.       Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 05-04-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

L&D challenge survey: the outcome

259 L&D professionals took part in my L&D survey. In this blog post, you will find a link to the full survey results, along with my initial impressions.

Click here to access the full survey findings

Practically every challenge on the list struck a chord with the respondents. Every challenge scored an average between 6 and 7 (on a scale of 1 to 10). I checked whether managers responded differently to the survey compared to non-managerial respondents, but the difference was negligible. The download contains the detailed results along with some explanations. The survey results guide me on which steps I need to take next. My initial plan had been to interview practitioners, specialists, and gurus about the highest ranking survey topics. However, almost 200 of the respondents were kind enough to add their personal challenges to the list. I divided this input into three categories, and I will dive into each of them separately.

Category 1: Changing the mindsetMy take on the results.png

A substantial amount of the input related the first category: changing the mindset. This was by far the one most mentioned hurdle by the survey participants. The respondents indicated three groups of people whose mindsets they would like to change: upper-level management, direct colleagues, and employees. It is also clear that the mindset of the upper-level management is directly related to the second challenge: budget. To me, this indicates that the participants are not questioning whether they need to change the L&D approach from top-down to bottom-up, or whether to use subject matter experts (SMEs) to create content in a smarter, faster way. The real question appears to be: "How do I change the mindset of my manager, my co-workers, and the employees?"

Category 2: getting started

Practical obstacles

The second category of challenges evolves around getting started. The participants frequently listed alignment with the business as an obstacle. The second obstacle in this category relates to measuring ROI. How do you measure the (business) value of a learning intervention or knowledge-sharing initiative? Another perceived obstacle is the diversity of the audience. The respondents perceived difficulties with creating learning that fits employees spread out across various countries and representing multiple generations with different learning styles and needs.

Different approaches

Performance support, self-directed learning and social learning tied for first place as the most popular learning approaches. The other four approaches were significantly less popular. Respondents mentioned seven additional learning approaches besides the top seven listed above. To me, this is a sign that we are still in the early, experimental stages. We still need to gain more experience and data to prove which approach (or combination of approaches) works best. Possible approaches

Category 3: Production challenges

In relation to producing learning, respondents mentioned four main issues. The number one issue centers around the quality of the learning content. More specifically respondents indicated that they find it challenging to create engaging content. Is the created content attractive enough? Is the content instructionally sound? I understand these concerns, and there are solutions which I will write about in a separate post in the weeks ahead. The second issue concerning the production of learning content relates to tools, technology, and integration. Learning tools focussing on new learning approaches are not as well defined as traditional, formal learning tools. There are many approaches to choose from (or combine). Do you need one size fits all solution or a learning landscape that features multiple tools and components? Other issues are the competencies of subject matter experts and the amount of time they have. You cannot expect every technical specialist also to be a brilliant author. You need to guide and teach them. Production challenges

Change of plan

The results gave such clear indications that I have decided to deviate from my original plan. I will be reaching out to a number of the survey respondents and conduct interviews with them. I want to know in greater detail what is holding them back and what the challenge of changing the mindset means in practical terms. I want to learn more before I start interviewing a wide range of experts. I'm organizing interviews right now. So, I hope to publish a series of interviews shortly. Stay tuned!   Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 06-03-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Start-up growth Challenge

Being CEO of a start-up with triple-digit growth

Every start-up goes through several life stages. At some point, it stops being a start-up and becomes a “scale-up” company instead. That time has come for Easygenerator. This means my role as a CEO is changing significantly. I am writing this blog post mainly to give myself a moment to reflect on what this means. We decided to start developing a very easy, web-based eLearning authoring tool in the spring of 2013, and we launched our first paid plan (our minimum viable product) in 2014. Since then, we have experienced revenue growth of at least 100% every year. That has brought us to our current level, where we are ready to enter the scale-up phase. Blog pic 2

Leading instead of Managing

Today, Easygenerator is a 30-employee company (divided over four countries), and we are still growing. When we started, I was not only in charge of marketing, sales, and finance but was also the product owner and manager, head of HR, recruitment officer and customer success manager. Additionally, I was also our “evangelist,” writing and speaking about changes in the learning landscape. At our current stage, we employ specialists for product development, marketing, sales, operations, customer success, and finance. Last year, we started laying the groundwork to enable us to scale up. I started turning over responsibilities to our new people so I could focus completely on setting the direction for Easygenerator, guarding our company’s values and engaging in the L&D space and HR world as an evangelist, or “thought leader,” if you like.

Setting direction and guarding values in a fast-growing company

My natural skillset makes me better suited to lead (to give direction) than to manage (organizing and controlling things). I am glad we have established a team that enables me to focus on leading.  Before, I was in direct contact with everybody. I “lead by example” and was working closely with almost everybody and I had personal, monthly one-on-ones with all employees. I transferred my vision, beliefs, and values to everybody in person. That has changed now. In 2017, we created a management team (MT). My colleagues from the MT have taken over the direct steering of their teams. That means I no longer work on a daily basis with everyone. We have weekly MT meetings, and I have monthly one-on-ones with my MT members only. As a result, I have to find new ways of ensuring that the company’s values and beliefs remain at the forefront and that we keep moving in the right direction.

Scaling up

Blog pic 1 In Q4 of 2017, we decided to adopt the “Scaling Up” methodology. This guides us and adds structure to our growth process. When you start scaling up, you must define a one-page strategic plan (OPSP). It needs to contain your purpose, mission, vision and core beliefs. Our purpose, mission, and vision were already established and only needed tweaking, but our core beliefs had never been written down. For me, this meant putting our beliefs in writing and prioritizing them. What are the three most important values that you want your company (and your product and service) to reflect? For us, they are:
  1.      Ambition
  2.      Building trustful relationships
  3.      Experimenting
Of course, these terms can be defined in greater detail. To “building trustful relationships,” for example, we added: “Treating prospects, customers and colleagues the way you would like to be treated.” This has turned out to be a very valuable addition. It is a simple line that guides us and helps us make the right decisions.

Leading by example

Although we have grown significantly, we are still a small company. I still interact directly with many of my colleagues, which means I can still lead by example. I still have to make sure that I personally live and act by the rules we have set, but it also means that I will intervene if I see or hear things that I believe are not compliant. I have to guard these core beliefs actively.


We are growing, so we are constantly looking for new colleagues. Getting the right people onboard is important from a business perspective but also from a “cultural” perspective. I need to make sure new employees will share our core values and beliefs. This is why I talk to every candidate. My focus is not on assessing their marketing, sales or development skills, but on checking whether they are a match for our core values and beliefs.

From managing to leading

In day-to-day operations, my role is changing from management to leadership. I am leading instead of managing now. I am only involved in operations when necessary.  


Guarding the company’s direction is another main task. I have an idea, a vision of the direction in which our product and company should grow. We are only at the very early stages of that master plan. I have my product manager, who leads the product development as I supply him with new ideas. I am also involved when he needs to set priorities for development. This way, I can assure that the product development will go in the right direction and support our vision. Keeping our eyes on the long-term goals and not settling for short-term results is a big part of that.

Spreading the word

In addition to the aspects mentioned above, we decided that one of my main contributions to the company is spreading the word: to be the evangelist. I used to do a lot of writing and presenting, but, over the last two years, my focus has been on growing the company. Now, one of my main goals is to write and speak about the changes in eLearning and the direction in which we see L&D heading. I will also be writing more personal notes like this one; you will be hearing and seeing a lot more of me.   Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 15-02-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Employee-Generated Learning, a transcending role for Instructional Designers 

  The e-Learning landscape is fundamentally changing. A while ago I published a blog post about this change. In this blog post, I elaborated on how this transformation boils down to a shift away from content creation by instructional designers. Instead, learning content is often being generated in a more decentralized manner by the employees. I have been referring to this concept as Employee Generated Learning. In my last post, I proposed three major game changers this shift towards Employee Generated Learning will have:
  1.  The evolving role of the instructional designer
  2. The changing function of the learning department
  3. The impending death of the Learning Management System
Today’s post is the first of three blog posts on these sub-topics. Today I will focus on what the implications of Employee Generated Learning are for instructional designers (people who specialize in e-Learning creation).

Employee generated learning: new roles for instructional designers

Empowering your employees to create learning content is a true game changer. Content creation is now being shifted from people who specialize in e-Learning creation, to those who are subject matter experts. Any employee within an organization can create an e-Learning course about the topic that he or she is knowledgeable on. This introduces a completely new dynamic in learning creation. I summarize the major benefits of this change in the figure below 06da2fa4-1e04-4b59-8461-912f2bf13435 (1) Traditionally, instructional designers are responsible for the creation of learning content. The shift towards Employee Generated Learning will result in a transcending role for instructional designers. What I mean by this, is that their role will be less about the creation of the actual content itself and more about the facilitation of content creation by subject matter experts within the organization. As shown in the figure below, the role of the instructional designers will encompass three primary tasks: co-creating, coaching, and managing.  [caption id="attachment_6352" align="alignnone" width="816"]3 new roles for instructional designers The role of instructional design is changing rapidly, moving away from content creation[/caption]

The Co-creating role

It is a shame if the course creation expertise of instructional designers is not utilized. Therefore, ithere remains a co-creation role for instructional designers. This is the first new role the instructional designer will embody within Employee Generated Learning. Rather than focusing on the creation of content, it will be necessary for instructional designers to concentrate on the structural elements. Addressing these elements can be done by setting up learning goals and the course structure. Additionally, more formal and technical creation parts should involve the instructional designers, as that is where their expertise resides.

 The Managing role

The second key role of the instructional designer is to ensure the quality of courses created. The focal point here is not in quality assurance on a content level, but rather on a didactical level. The instructional designer’s strength lies in the deep understanding of how to transfer knowledge effectively. Therefore, it is only natural that they will edit, both during and after the creation of the course. This is needed to ensure there is correct didactical alignment within the learning material.

 The Coaching role

There is a third role which instructional designers should take on. Namely a coaching role. The primary aspect of this role is overseeing and guiding the course creators (employees/subject matter experts) regarding appropriate course creation. This should be done throughout the creation process, both before, as well as during, the formulation of the course. In this respect, the instructional designer ideally fulfills the role of facilitator rather than the role of content creator. Guiding and coaching the subject matter experts leads to more effective and didactically sound learning material.  We at Easygenerator believe that Employee Generated Learning is the way forward. Therefore, we have ensured our authoring tool is well-suited to empower employees to generate their learning. I believe that there are a few indispensable elements a tool must have to enable Employee Generated Learning.
  • First and foremost, it is of importance that the authoring tool has no learning curve. In other words, your learners need an intuitive platform for developing and deploying content. E-Learning software for non-experts needs to be easy and intuitive to use.
  • Secondly, and closely related to the ease of use, is the need for templates and the possibility to reuse content. These elements help to empower your employees in generating learning content without them having expertise in e-Learning creation.
  • Thirdly, the tool must ensure that employees create didactically sound learning. Learning objectives are crucial for achieving
With that, I’ve concluded today’s post. My next post will continue to assess the implications of Employee Generated Learning as I dive into the changing role of the learning department.         Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 23-01-2018 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

What are your biggest Learning and Development challenges?

Trends in Learning and Development - I’ve been writing about them for over 10 years now. Recently, I decided that I’d like to change my approach. Rather than detailing my personal thoughts and experiences, I’d instead like to provide a wide variety of engaging interviews. Whether managers, consultants, or L&D leaders, I want to understand the most significant challenges they face and how they go about solving them. My intention is to publish these interviews on my blog as well as in a podcast series. But first, I need to know what these challenges are. I have put together a list, but it feels incomplete. I need your input! I have created a survey where you can vote on my top 10 challenges, as well as add challenges of your own. It will just take a couple minutes of your time. I will publish the outcome of the survey in a post. Afterwards, I will begin conducting the interviews about these pressing challenges. Click the image to start! start Thank you in advance! Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 05-09-2017 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Return on Investment or “ROI”: pie chart in the sky

There’s a Big Misconception out there about e-Learning, and its sell-by date has passed this long since. It is that the value of e-Learning can be measured as a return on investment (ROI). My contention, simply put, is that it can’t.

Return on investment and e-learning?

Now don’t get me wrong: e-Learning, in my book, is the bees’ knees for a whole host of reasons, many of which I’ve touted in other blogs here. It’s the way to go. But ROI is not (and never has been) the way to measure the value it adds. If you’re reading this and thinking I’m going out on a limb here, then statistically at least, you’re not wrong: Google ROI e-learning and you’ll get 2,450,000 results in .43 seconds. Two-and-a-half million search results surely can’t be wrong. And surely, then, there must be some connection between ROI and e-Learning. There is indeed. But it’s historical, not causative, and it’s based in a simple confusion. Rewind to the 1990s, when e-Learning was starting to make a splash. In those days, a lot of businesses had a physical academy or a training centre, and they would fly people in to take courses in your standard classroom setting. That meant considerable investments on a lot of fronts. And then along comes e-learning, and it almost sells itself because it’s so much less expensive. So, to be clear: we’re talking here about savings: doing the same or a better job for less. return-on-investment image

Cost saving is the ancient Return on investment

And at some point there was a bit of terminological confusion, and talk of savings became talk of ROI. And companies were indeed switching to e-Learning, so the ROI story seemed to be working. And if something works, you stick with it. Take it from me: I stuck with it too, for a long time. But then it dawned on me: the industry’s been right to talk up the value of e-Learning, but mistaken to present that value in terms of ROI. How can I be so sure? Well let’s look at what ROI is: a measure of the efficiency of an investment in yielding a return, expressed as a percentage over time. The first thing to say about this definition is that it has nothing to do with savings—with how much an investor might have had to invest in some other solution. The second thing is that, while ROI can be a form of value, there are other forms—and not all of them are so readily quantifiable.

The value of e-learning is not in ROI, but in...

And this is the crux of the matter: e-Learning is a boon to companies in its own right (and not just because it’s less expensive than in-class learning): it adds considerable value—but not in a way that is immediately quantifiable, and certainly not on a dollar-for-dollar basis. So here’s a modest start to what I think could be a paradigm shift in how we think about the benefits of e-learning:
  • Don't try to link (e)Learning directly to extra revenue. It is not possible.
  • The success of onboarding programs can be measured. It is one of the few points where a return of investment can be established.
But for the rest, it is hard to measure any ROI. This means the bottom line is that e-Learning creation has to be cheaper and it needs to be faster:
  • In our flexibilized labour market, companies will still want to invest in their people, but without naively pouring huge sums into centralized learning only to see employees move on after a couple of years. The decentralized, agile employee generated e-Learning courses can help them do just that.
  • Employee-generated e-Learning is less expensive than in-class courses and than e-Learning courses that are produced by developers and instructional designers—and it’s a lot faster and more flexible.
  • When a subject matter expert creates a course, not only his colleagues will benefit. He will achieve greater master of the subject matter they’re presenting—creation being the highest level of mastery in Bloom’s taxonomy. And that, in turn, creates decentralized pockets of enhanced expertise throughout an enterprise.
Now this model is still a work in progress, and will need plenty of refinement. But for my money (and yours, too), sustainable, employee-generated e-Learning is the best way to keep the process of continual improvement humming along. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 29-06-2017 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

The e-learning revolution is finally there

The global spread of Easygenerator users over more than 2000 cities

We are talking about fundamental changes in corporate e-Learning already for years. But I did not see a real fundamental change for a long time, but now it is finally happening. The world of e-Learning is changing rapidly and fundamentally.

An e-Learning revolution?

I see a fundamental change with our customers in how (and by whom) e-Learning is created. There is a switch from centrally created courses and assessments to decentralized creation; from instructional designers to Subject Matter Experts. And that is a revolution. It changes the role of the learning department (from directive to facilitate), it changes the role of the instructional designer (from creator to coach) and it will change the way companies are using their 'old school' LMS, I believe they will vanish. I believe that that is fundamental enough to call it a revolution.

How do I know this?

At Easygenerator, we are moving companies in this direction every day. and the numbers are growing. We changed our direction towards user-generated learning (instead of facilitating instructional designers) 4 years ago. And after an OK start, things are really taking off. We are signing up small companies, larger companies and really big ones like for example Nielsen, BHPBiliton, and Unilever. Easygenerator now has users (authors) in 165 countries divided over more than 2000 cities. Really cool for us as a company, but I do believe that this is the beginning of a change in our industry that will affect everybody and everyone. [caption id="attachment_6226" align="alignnone" width="1590"]The global spread of Easygenerator users over more than 2000 cities The global spread of Easygenerator users over more than 2000 cities[/caption]

The changing role of the Learning department

Content creation by the learning department (or by third parties) is limited to high-risk compliance and security courses. For the rest, centralized content development is too expensive, too slow and not scalable.

The changing role of the instructional designer

Subject matter experts will create over 90% of all needed learning content by themselves in a couple of years. The role of the instructional designer is changing to a coaching role. Guiding SMES, helping them and maybe advising them on didactical issues. But even that last part is being threatened by the latest development in Artificial Intelligence.

The upcoming death of the LMS

The content that is being created is not only different in who authored it, but also in character. There are more and more small courses (nuggets) and the boundary between learning and knowledge sharing is starting to disappear. An 'old school' LMS that only allows learning from within the LMS from a formal perspective is out of date and will soon be out of order. I talked about the upcoming Death of the LMS 2,5 years ago at DevLearn. I predicted that it would take 5 years. I believe we are on track. In the next few weeks I will write separate posts about the changes I see happening for the learning department, the instructional designer and the LMS in more detail. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 28-02-2017 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

How to support authors that have no experience?

Corporations are moving to 'sustainable e-Learning development'. They are looking for new, more agile ways of creating e-Learning to meet the on-demand requirements from the business side. User-generated content (I prefer to call that employee generated learning) is a possible solution. But how can you ensure that these subject matter experts will create decent content?

Sustainable e-Learning development

I had a couple of conversations with people who are working in large corporations and the term 'sustainable e-Learning development' popped up several times. What it comes down to, is that the old way of creating e-Learning (with instructional designers and through the ADDIE process) is way too slow. It needs to become much faster to meet the on-demand requirements from the business side. Therefore corporations are now looking for new ways to solve this problem. They need to create more e-Learning often with smaller budgets and in less time.

Employee-generated learning

One of the options these corporations are exploring is employee-generated learning. By giving simple tools (like Easygenerator) to their Subject Matter Experts, they can have them create courses, quizzes and knowledge documents. They can do it in the same time or even faster than the time they would need when they assist as an expert in 'old school' e-Learning development projects.

Instructional design and quality?

It is clear that your Subject Matter Experts are no instructional designers. Experience learns that most subject matter experts start with a Powerpoint mindset. They will create very content heavy courses that are not the most effective ones. We built Easygenerator for authors who do not have an e-Learning background, and we know we need to assist our users in creating effective. With proper support, the expert can create publications that may not be as good as a course created by a team of instructional designers. However, most times,  it will be good enough, faster and cheaper. At Easygenerator we are in the process of building in didactical support on different levels. I will give some examples.

Didactical structure

We have defined a didactical process that will help authors to create a better (and smaller) course. It contains three steps:
  1. Define a goal
  2. Come up with the questions to assess this goal
  3. Add the content that will help answer the author these questions.
If content is not related to any questions, it should not be in the course. This simple approach will reduce the size of the course and make it much better structured and more effective. Moreover, there is no point in creating content that does not have a purpose or a goal. If you cannot define a goal, you should not create any content.

Tips, tricks, and hints while creating content

When an author is writing, we can follow his actions and based on them give advice, tips, and tricks. For example:
  1. When an author does not define a learning objective; we can alert him to that and explain why it is important and help him in making one.
  2. When the author makes a very content-heavy course or creates long pages, we can explain why that is a problem and suggest other ways.
  3. When the author creates a question without negative feedback, we can warn him and explain why it is important and how he can provide proper feedback.

The course analyzer

When an author is finished and ready to share his course; we will analyze it for him. We create a report with findings:
  1. Green: well-done nothing to change.
  2. Orange, point where you can improve your course on, with tips on how to do
  3. Critical mistakes that you should fix, and of course, we will tell you how to do that.

Just e-Learning?

The other thing is that you should ask yourself if e-Learning is the proper solution. Creating proper e-learning is hard, and it might also not be the most effective way to solve your problem. Content curation, blogs, other social learning activities, better software, best practices, how to’s are all easier to create. There is a whole range of content types that you can consider instead of a course, and they can even be more effective as well. In my experience, instructional designers will turn to e-Learning to soon, without considering all the other options. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 10-02-2017 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Net Promoter Score: How to engage with your users

Using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to engage with our customers proved to be very useful for Easygenerator. In this post, I want to share my experience and tell you why and how we used it, and how we used the outcome to engage with our users.

Wat is a Net Promoter Score?

The Net Promoter Score is the outcome of a simple question: How likely is it that you will recommend to a friend or a colleague?". The users can respond by giving a mark between 0 and 10. nps-question Based on the responses given, the users are divided into three groups:
  1. Promoters; with a score of a 9 or a 10.
  2. Passives; with a score of a 7 or a 8.
  3. Distractors; with a score between 0 and 6.
Obviously, promoters are your most loyal users. They are called promoters because they like your product or service so much that they will spread the word for you. They are your ambassadors. The passives are still quite content, but the chance that they will promote your solution is not that great. And there is a bigger chance with this group that they will switch to another solution. Distractors are not satisfied and can even spread negative feedback and obviously, there is a real chance that they will cancel their subscription.

How do you calculate an NPS?

How do you calculate a Net Promoter Score? You start with determining the percentages of users in each group. For Easygenerator that is: nps-division You ignore the passive (31.5%). But you deduct the detractors (7.4) from the Promoters (61.1%) and you have your NPS, in our case 61.1 -/- 7.4 = +53.7. An NPS score can range from -100 (only detractors) to + 100 (only promoters).

So what does it mean?

Easygenerator has an NPS of 54 (the average score was 8.8).What does it mean? How will it help the company and the customers?

Compare to the rest

You can use your NPS to compare your company with others. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any NPS of one of our competitors, but I did find this benchmark study: 1610_rangeofindustrynps.png From this report I get that NPS vary from -5 to plus 68 across these industries and that software has an average NPS of 41 and that the highest NPS in the software industry is +55. From this, I get that in comparison we are doing really well. But the real value is not in the score or in this comparison but in a chance to engage with your customers.

Interact with your customers

We contacted all the users that responded. When someone fills in the NPS question we will ask them a follow-up question. When they score a 9 or a 10 we will just thank them, but when the score is a 7 or an 8 we will ask them what we need to change in order to make it a 9 or a 10. When the score is between 0 and 6 we will also ask them why there are not happy and what we need to do to change this. Based on these answers we decided to interact on a personal level with everybody that scores between 0 and 8.

Research your neutral

With the neutral group, there is room for improvement.  We send out individual emails to all of them, responding to their feedback and asking them for more details.There feedback is processed by our product owner and we will take this into account when setting our priorities.

Call your distractors

The distractors also need attention. When you base your business on subscriptions (like we do) your greatest enemy is churn (cancellations). We will email and call all these users and hopefully find out why they are unhappy.

Reward your promoters

Some promoters will give you some feedback at well, but usually, it is just positive feedback. We decided that we want to reward these loyal customers. We started a special community (invitation only) for this group. The can interact with each other, sharing tips and tricks. But we also offer them extra information on our product roadmap, giving them a chance to give their opinion and vote on plans we have. They can submit suggestions for new features or improvements. We will also invite them for a roadmap session with our product owner every quarter.

Work hard and keep repeating

In our case, the Net Promoter score is really good. But it is no reason to take it easy. On the contrary. We have tons of remarks from our users that we need to process and solve. If you update your product on a regular basis (we do that every week) the advice is that you repeat the NPS survey each quarter. If you do not update regularly one or two times per year is sufficient. By repeating the NPS survey you can see how your NPS develops. Before we started with the survey, we set a goal of an NPS of 50. We are already above that which is incredible. We are only doing this for a couple of weeks and maybe our biggest promoters are more motivated to fill in the survey. Therefore it is possible that our NPS will drop a bit. But if it stays like it is we have to set a new goal. Which is great. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 10-02-2017 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

How to use the new 70:20:10 rule for knowledge sharing

Image created by Ansonlobo

I discovered a new rule for knowledge sharing, the 70:20:10 rule. In any given company 10% of the employees is willing to actively share their knowledge. About 20% of the employees is willing to share knowledge if they are invited, and 70% will not share knowledge at all, they are just consumers. I found these figures in working with our corporate clients who use Easygenerator as a way to facilitate knowledge sharing between their subject matter experts by employee-generated learning. So these numbers are not scientifically proved, but they are something to consider when you are investigating or implementing any knowledge sharing project.

70:20:10; The willing

The 10 percent or anyway a mall percentage of your co-workers is willing to share their knowledge. If you facilitate them by offering them the right tools they will dive in. This is the group you have to find and target for any knowledge sharing initiative. They are not only your early adopters; they are your core 'audience.'

70:20:10; The able

The second group is larger than the first. This is a more passive group than the first. You need to activate them to get a contribution from them. When someone else shares his knowledge, they will respond with feedback and comments. When they are asked to participate in a concrete project (for example as co-author), they will. This is the group that is a potential source of knowledge sharers. But you need to convince them and make it very concrete.

70:20:10; The lazy

The vast majority will not actively share his knowledge. They are passive, they are interested in consuming the knowledge shared by others, but they will not contribute to it. I call them 'the lazy', but you can label that more positive and call them 'the consumers'

Important elements

Whenever you get started with knowledge sharing in your company, this is something to consider, for example when you are formulating your goals. But it is also something you can change. The participation of employees in projects like this is very much determined by the corporate culture. If you want to change the participation, you have to change the culture of the company. Here are some suggestions:

Reward participation

When you ask people to share their knowledge, it will cost them some time. The least you should do is not punish them for participating. For example by not counting these hours as productive hours. You should include knowledge sharing in your reward system. As with productivity goals, you need knowledge sharing goals. Reaching these goals will determine a part of your salary raise. You can make these goals very concrete. For example number of items shared or the number of times that colleagues read your contribution.

Lead by example

The senior management should support the process. It can be as simple as the CEO of the company which stresses the importance of knowledge sharing in a new years speech. But what you really want is that the senior management participates in the process and actively share their knowledge. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 03-02-2017 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Easygenerator has made all the right choices

This week the Fosway group published her new 9-grid report about authoring tools. It is nice that Easygenerator is listed again, confirming our place between the leading authoring tools. But even more interesting is that the report confirms all the strategic choices Easygenerator made over the past few years.

Responsive, video and user-generated content

The Fosway report: “Buyers now want responsive design as standard, and to enable video usage and user-generated content”. Easygenerator is on track for each of these points. All publications made with Easygenerator are responsive. Easygenerator is the only authoring tool that has invested in video delivery, offering an integrated free streaming video service of the highest quality. But probably most significant is that Easygenerator is the only authoring tool with a track record for user-generated learning. In 2016 contracts were signed with companies like Nielsen, T-Mobile and Unilever. They use Easygenerator to facilitate knowledge capturing and sharing by their subject matter experts. For me, this shows that we are not only ready for these trends, but our clients have already implemented them with Easygenerator. This gives us an enormous advantage in comparison to other authoring solutions. We are setting the trends.

Desktop versus Saas

The Fosway report: “Desktop tools still dominate but are increasingly failing to meet enterprise needs”. SaaS is the future and Easygenerator is one of the few listed authoring tools that is a 100% SaaS solution. Because we are a SaaS solution from the beginning we are already moving further. We are improving our SaaS architecture all the time to increase security, reach 100% uptime and improve performance. I really do not understand that desktop solutions are still dominating the market, and I certain that that will not be the case anymore in two years time.

More than e-Learning content

The Fosway report: “Authoring tools should encompass the full learning cycle”. With this, they mean that authoring tools should facilitate more than courses and quizzes. The full content generation for knowledge sharing, performance support, and workplace learning should be supported. And Easygenerator is doing this. We already facilitate content curation in a unique way and we will extend the number of content types that we support: best practices, flash cards, how to documents and more. I also noticed a website called Elearning-Software that made a comparison between Easygenerator and Articulate Storyline. It clearly indicates that in a lot of areas Easygenerator is their preferred tool (See e-Learning Authoring Software Comparison).


The Fosway report: “Publishing xAPI is starting to truly differentiate authoring systems”. Easygenerator has built in XAPI from the moment of launch recognizing that this technique is the future of tracking and tracing. Easygenerator even offers free report tracking in her solution based on XAPI; that is unique for an authoring tool. We are ready to implement CMI5 (new SCORM successor based on xAPI). See this post if you want to learn more about xAPI and CMI5. All in all a great confirmation that we are on the right track. When you are developing software you have to read trends before they go mainstream, simply because you need time to built solutions for them.  It turns out we are pretty good at that.

Business is booming

We already knew that we are doing the right things in the right way. Easygenerator doubled its revenue both in 2015 and 2016 and we will at least do that again in 2017. In two years time, we transformed from a company with mainly Dutch clients to an organization that has customers in over 40 countries. 86 % of the revenue is generated outside The Netherlands. [caption id="attachment_5712" align="alignnone" width="480"]Easygenerator's international customer base. Easygenerator's international customer base.[/caption] In 2016 Easygenerator generated 33% of all the revenue in the United States, making it our main market. But also countries like the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia and Canada are fast growing markets for Easygenerator. These figures and the Fosway reports are both confirmations of the bright future of Easygenerator. Do you want to see for yourself? Test drive our authoring tool Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 22-01-2017 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Why are most curators doing it wrong?

When you are curating content without a story you are not sharing your knowledge. You are sharing content. All curators do make a selection and share that. But what I miss is the story, the context. Why are they sharing this content and what is the context? What is there to learn and why?

Curation: the search

Imagine you are the curator of a museum and you have to create an exhibition of paintings of Rembrandt and let's say you can exhibit all existing Rembrandts if you want. If you put them all up you would get something like this: rembrandt This is not curation. It is a search result: a collection, like a search on Google (where this picture comes from). The first step in curating is that a curator makes a selection, and all curators do. But there is a reason for this selection; a rational. Most content curators just present their selection of links without explaining why. As the Rembrandt curator, I need to come up with a selection criterium and tell a story based on that.

Curation: the selection

Rembrandt is famous for his use of light in his paintings so I could use that as a criterium for the selection and as a theme for the exhibition, the story, the context. When I search on Google on the combination Rembrandt and 'use of light' I will get an example of a possible selection. rembrandt-2 And now it becomes interesting here is the chance for knowledge sharing.

Curation: The story

As a curator, I now have the opportunity to add knowledge to this selection by telling the story on the usage of light in Rembrandts paintings. I can organize my exhibition on a timeline, showing (and explaining!) how the usage of light developed during his career. Or I can select 10 typical examples and dive deeper into them, comparing Rembrandt to other artist or maybe telling the story how he innovated painting. There are plenty of possible angles.

Curation: Context

These stories, these contexts are for me the essence of curation. I want curated content because the curator knows more of a certain topic than I do. I want to learn from him; not only see what sources he uses. In short, when you are selecting you are improving your Google search, When you add the story (your knowledge) it becomes knowledge sharing. And for me, that is the only goal of curation. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 29-11-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Dyslexie font improves reading for people with dyslexia

Dyslexia is a big problem if you have it. Not being able to read normally is a big handicap. Dutch designer Christian Boer is a dyslexic himself, and he developed a new font; the Dyslexie font. It makes reading easier for people with dyslexia. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 08-11-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

How to make user generated learning work for you

DevLearn 2016 presentation on how to make user generated learning work for you. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 27-10-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Sharing your knowledge: What’s in it for you?

You are an expert, so why should you share your knowledge with your co-workers or with the rest of the world. I will tell you in this post. It works for me; I'm working in the field of e-Learning for 20 years now, and I'm writing this blog (and sharing my knowledge) since 2010. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 06-10-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

What are the 5 most powerful didactical principles?

What are the 5 most important didactical principles to apply when creating e-Learning? The reason I’m asking is because we are doing a project to support our users (most of them do not have an e-Learning background) in creating more effective and didactical sound content. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 13-09-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

70:20:10 and user generated learning: no way!

I'm talking to learning managers each day about the 20 in 70:20:10. About knowledge sharing and about user generated learning that can facilitate this. there is interest, but also objections. I decided to list the top 10 objections against user generated learning, with my response. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 14-07-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Easygenerator is looking for an International sales representative

Easygenerator is looking for an International sales representative for international corporate customers. Location Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 03-06-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

T-mobile e-Learning hackaton: let your employees do the work

Last week T-Mobile in The Netherlands organized an e-Learning hackaton for its employees in order to find out if they can create e-learning courses without any training. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 24-05-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Want to be successful at e-Learning? Don’t make the mistakes experts make!

Making mistakes and learning from them is a good thing; learning from mistakes that others make is even better. In this post I will show you the pitfalls that e-Learning experts are falling in, so you as a e-Learning rookie do not have to make them. Here are the lessons learned. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 03-05-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Improve your lessons: 3 ways to make them more effective

Do you want to improve your classroom lessons or training? Here are three ways to blend them with e-Learning components. They will make your lessons and courses more effective and more fun. And any teacher, trainer or coach can do it. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 26-04-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

12 e-Learning trends that you need to know about

I like to know what the trends are in e-Learning. I checked 20 posts on trends and selected the 12 trends that are mentioned most. Here they are, from large (most mentioned) to small (least mentioned). Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 23-04-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

My view on the difficult situation in Ukraine

he Easygenerator development team is located in Ukraine, therefore I visit Ukraine two or three times per year. My first visit was in 2010. A lot has happened since then; here is my view on the current situation in Ukraine. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 18-04-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

8 reasons why your authoring tool must be in the cloud

All software and data will move to the cloud sooner or later. In this post I will explain why you should move to the cloud rather sooner than later. I have chosen 8 reasons that should convince you. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 15-04-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Why do searches on e-Learning terms drop dramatically?

Searches on Google on some e-Learning related terms are dropping year by year: searches on Instructional design for example dropped by 80% since 2005. On SCORM the drop is 83%. Is this a decline in interest for e-Learning or is a signal for something else? Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 08-04-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

How to select an e-Learning authoring tool

There are hundreds of e-Learning authoring tools around and they come in many shapes an sizes, so how to select the one that fits your requirements? In this post I will give a global overview of different types of e-learning authoring tools and some questions that you can ask yourself. Your answers should guide you in the right direction. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 24-03-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Crowd source your corporate knowledge

I'm investigating crowd sourcing of corporate knowledge. You can also call it the use of user generated content if you want. Over the past few weeks I have spoken to dozens of training managers all over the world. I found some reasons for companies to consider this option or to reject it. This post contains my findings. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 14-03-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

EU refugee crisis; The European Union is shattered into 500 million egocentric individuals

Mu view on the EU refugee crisis: We are ignoring fundamental human rights and we need to change that Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 08-03-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Put the learner behind the steering wheel: Learning nuggets, paths, maps and GPS

In this article I will describe how you can improve your eLearning by creating smaller modules and tie them together in learning paths. I will add a future outlook as well because I foresee Learning maps and Learning GPS play a big role in putting the learner behind the steering wheel. Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 03-03-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

It is great to have that startup feeling again

This week Easygenerator moved into a new office and that gave me the “startup feeling” all over again. We moved our entire Dutch office with one small trailer and one hour later we were working again from our new office. I realized what we have achieved in a bit over two years. In this post I will explain […] Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 02-03-2016 | Article Rating | (1) reacties

e-Learning course review: This will save you so much time

We added a really cool feature to our eLearning software Easygenerator this week, the “Review option”. You can now invite anyone (they do not need  a subscription) to your course  by sharing a link and they can view the course in any browser. They will see it in exactly the same way a learner will, but […] Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 28-02-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

User Interface lessons applied to eLearning

My lessons learned on how to improve the user interface of an application, applied to eLearning Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 23-02-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Agile tips that will improve your eLearning development

I love agile development. We use it at Easygenerator to develop our software. It allows us to deliver a new version each week, be in sink with our road map and with our customers. You can apply the lessons learned from agile software development to eLearning development as well. This post contains some simple tips that you can […] Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 16-02-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

User generated content; The next trend!

Content created by employees (the subject matter experts) is on a rise. A blog post and a whitepaper on this topic Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 11-02-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Help needed: what are the correct terms for learning elements

At Easygenerator we use terms like Learning path, course and assessment. But we are not sure everybody understands these terms in the same way. We concluded that these terms are probably not the same in a corporate or educational environment, and it looks like that they are different per country as well. We are able to change […] Lees verder
Van Kasper Spiro | 01-02-2016 | Article Rating | (0) reacties

Seven musts for creating effective elearning

Many users who are new to eLearning start creating modules with a presentation (PowerPoint) mindset. But creating a course is very different from creating a presentation. This article contains seven tips that will help you to create more engaging and effective eLearning modules. Lees verder
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