Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why Not E-learning?

I don't call myself a salesman, but running GCPLearning, I am an entrepreneur - so I'm selling all the time. Evangelizing, really, in the direction of sales.

And of course, when I'm in a conversation that I hope leads to a purchase of our training content, I hear and respond to objections on a regular basis. I find out why companies aren't already doing e-learning, and sometimes, why they aren't considering doing e-learning.

Our top competitor is good old status quo. "We're doing what we're doing - we've always done what we're doing and we probably always will."

Our second-place competitor is fear of loss of control or esteem. "When my boss sees how efficient online training is, we trainers won't be wanted or needed anymore." Of course this one is rarely articulated with such brutally frank clarity.

Third place goes to budget concerns. "We'd love to do that. But we don't have enough left in the budget to take it on." (Alternative: "We don't have a budget.")

The next objection to e-learning is lack of technology infrastructure. "The folks on the line/in the field don't have computers."

What reasons do you hear for NOT adopting e-learning? How do you respond to those objections? Feel free to post in the comments below, or join the conversation on the GCPLearning Facebook page.

None of these objections are insurmountable, and if you're trying to get your company started with e-learning, GCPLearning can help. I'd suggest that you download our free workbook, Assess, Plan and Promote Your E-learning Business Case, to assist you in realizing the improvements in your training program that e-learning facilitates.

And stay tuned - I'll write soon about more reasons people use to argue against e-learning, and explain some compelling and effective counter-arguments.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Training, Hiring, Spending Survey

There's a link at the bottom of this post, but let's just start off with our request: please take our very short survey. And now back to our regularly scheduled broadcast!

The economic downturn of the past couple years has had a significant impact on most businesses, and it has been a particularly rough patch for training departments. The old adage, “When there are cuts to be made, training gets hit first” seems to have been proven true. At GCP, we’ve heard from many clients that their budgets were slashed, and we’ve heard from plenty of prospective clients that training purchases were out of the question.

But the news seems to get better in 2011! Business, media, and government analysts report a turnaround in hiring, as seen in these news items:

"The share of executives who said they plan to hire new workers in 2011 rose to 47 percent, compared with 28 percent who forecast they would add jobs this year..."

"Companies added more workers in February than in any month in almost a year - a turning point for the economy that finally pushed the unemployment rate below 9 percent. Economists say the stronger hiring should endure all year."

"Private employers added 222,000 jobs last month, the most since April. That shows that companies are feeling more confident in the economy and about their own financial prospects. And it bolstered hopes that businesses will shift into a more aggressive hiring mode and boost the economic recovery."

"The labor market is improving slowly. On average, employers are expected to add 178,300 jobs per month this year. The economists predict that 210,000 jobs will be added to payrolls in each of the last three months of 2011."

"Small businesses have ramped up their hiring in recent months, fueled by a recovering economy and more optimistic business owners. That's a far cry from little more than a year ago, when the sector was losing thousands upon thousands of jobs each month."

Training industry reports we’ve seen indicate that this is going to be a big year in training, as well. Companies that have delayed needed training have loosening budgets that should allow them to catch up in 2011.

True for you, too? What’s going on in hiring and training in YOUR business life? Hoping that information would be helpful to you in your training decisions, we're researching for an article to be published in our next newsletter.

Please take this very short survey to help us out with some real-life data. This questionnaire should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

We'd also love to have you join our ongoing conversation on the GCPLearning Facebook page.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Dish Dawg Diaries - What I Learned Elbow-Deep in Scalding Suds

The best job I ever had was washing dishes. It's true. When I was between high school and college, I was a dish dawg and busboy at Kilgore Trout's, an upscale restaurant in Evergreen, Colorado. I was on my feet for hours, my hands were raw and wrinkled from hot water and detergent, and my mom made me leave my wet, stinky work clothes in the garage before I could come in the house after my shifts.

But it was the best job because I *ALWAYS KNEW* I was well-treated, respected, and loved by my coworkers and employers. I appreciated this more with each job I had in college and then on to the steps along the way in my career. I've applied the management principles I learned by example there when I went on to supervise people, and I have even taught my own bosses a thing or two. Or - I have quickly left the few jobs where it was clear that the company was broken in its soul.

Maybe it's because I got these lessons at such a young age, but it all seems like it ought to be common knowledge to any company, common sense even, and I've always been flabbergasted to find that things I expected at work post-Kilgores weren't even on other people's radar. The key things I learned while up to my elbows in suds:

1) Every employee has ideas that could help the business. Employees
are more than just the labor they provide.
1a) The business has to provide a mechanism to bring those ideas out.
1b) The employers have to make sure their employees know how
valuable they and their ideas are. Show them; don't just tell them.

2) Every employee can, should, MUST be held accountable for doing
their job.
2a) The business has to provide the tools to help employees hold themselves accountable.
2b) The employers have to be held just as accountable, and their performance has to be transparent to their employees.

3) Do everything with love. Love of life, love of self, love of your
customers and co-workers.

4) Train early, train often; make learning a real part of every job

Do those four obvious things, and even peeling spuds, washing pots, and peeling grease off the hood vents with the Hotsy will be fun and rewarding.

Not bad for a nutshell business philosophy, eh?

How do you keep yourself and those you supervise accountable? How do you learn from the people you work with? How do you make learning part of every job? Join the conversation at the GCPLearning Facebook community!

Thanks to Frederick Md Publicity for the Creative Commons licensed photo!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

GlobalTrainingPeople.com First Anniversary!

GlobalTrainingPeople Logo
It's another milestone for Global Collaboration Partners! This week marks the first anniversary of our GlobalTrainingPeople site, where we offer a free training program as outreach to anyone, anywhere who wants to work more safely but might not have access to the training that will help accomplish that worthy goal.

We've had a free training program for the past several years, which we hosted at acrosspublishing.com. It has always been a big hit - we've provided training at no cost to way more than 12,000 registered users in over 100 countries around the world. At first our thinking was that people in other countries (who would never be our clients) ought to have access to safety (and other) training, and it costs us very little to put some important courses up on our website and let those folks at it.

What we discovered was that this was an even better idea than we'd imagined. Word spread, links sprouted, and you saw the resulting numbers above. Without doing any marketing of this site whatsoever, it's become known globally as a place to go for free training that isn't just a demo or throwaway stuff - it's actually courses that will send you home from your job with all ten fingers and both eyes intact, or will send you to a performance review armed for getting a promotion.

And not just overseas, as we'd imagined. We get people from US companies registering and taking our free training as well. We discovered a few months ago that a large construction company in the South has a direct link to our free training from their training portal. (You know who you are... and we maintain hope that you'll become a client and get access to more of our courses as well as all the perks of owning your training content, tracking your employees' training, etc.! ;o) Meanwhile, as I said above, the important thing is that people who need this training - who might not have another source for it - are getting it.

One of the cool things about the old acrosspublishing site was that we got letters of thanks and some very helpful feedback from grateful trainees worldwide. What we should have recognized from the start was that we ought to have been giving these people access to each other rather than just corresponding with us - we had the seeds for a worldwide training and environmental health and safety community, and we weren't doing anything with it.

Thus: www.GlobalTrainingPeople.com. A year ago, we redesigned the site, gave it a new name that actually has something to do with what the site is, and built in several networking and community tools. There's a Story Wall where people can post feedback on the courses, a Photo Wall where people can personalize the site a bit, and a discussion forum where we have finally planted the seeds of that professional community we should have been building for the past couple years.

We're very interested to see what happens with one other aspect we built into the site. All our training (except for a 30-title library of safety training in Spanish) is in English. What if we gave people an opportunity to localize the training so that it would be more useful in Uganda, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and all the corners of India where our learners come from? What if we set up a way for entrepreneurs around the world to start a business spreading this training around so more people work more safely and productively? We are already getting some interesting emails from folks exploring the possibilities of partnering with us to expand this thing out into the world in a big way. I can't begin to tell you how exciting this is for us!

Please drop by! Take some training, post a photo, give some feedback, join the community, and spread the word!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Year-end E-learning Opportunity from GCP

If our extremely effective e-learning offerings can't get a Cyber Monday treatment, I don't know; the world's gone topsy turvy and no one Cced me on the memo! It's the perfect storm of opportunity. Everything comes together RIGHT NOW for all sorts of greatness for your training program!
  • It's the opening week of the Holiday Season.
  • We just celebrated GCP's 5th anniversary.
  • The economy is showing signs of improving.
  • It's time to utilize end-of-year money to get training you need now, and next year, and beyond.
To help you get the EHS/HR e-learning courses you need, we have created three special offers that are instantly helpful to you and your training program. Everything we do will add depth, stability and value to your organization! It's the perfect year-end opportunity to add distinction to your program.

We couldn't settle on just one great deal, so we are giving you all three.

Choose one or mix-and-match a couple of them. Remember, all these offers expire at the end of 2010!

Free Tablet Computers
Buy $2,500 worth of courses, and get a new Dell touch-sensitive, Flash-capable Inspiron™ Duo convertible tablet, shipped to any address you like.

Buy $5,000 worth, get two free Dell tablet computers. And yes, $7,500 = three free Dells. Want more? Keep going - NO LIMIT. A free Dell Inspiron Duo with each $2,500 you spend. Purchase a library of excellent training, and outfit a learning center at the same time and no additional cost!

Buy 3 courses, get 2 free
Simple enough math. Get five courses for the price of three. Ten for the price of six. Etc.

Ultimate Edition courses for Business Edition price
Buy Ultimate Edition courses for Business Edition prices.

That's about a 30% savings and a 90% increase in value. Pay for just the course itself, get all source files – everything you need to customize your course any way you want, and a perpetual license – you'll never have to pay for this training again, no matter how many people you train with it!

It's time to make some choices. So we're giving you some great ones!

STEP 3: Contact us today at either of our Support Centers.
Eastern US
Phone: (646) 415-8002
Fax: (646) 216-8021
Email: info@GCPworld.com

Western US
Phone: (303) 325-5889
Fax: (303) 325-5241
Email: info@GCPworld.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

GCP is Five Years Old!

This week, the GCP team celebrated our fifth anniversary as a company!

Not our fifth year working in e-learning and compliance training, not by a long shot. But five years ago, we incorporated Global Collaboration Partners LLC and acquired the training media assets of our former employer. Then we got crackin' on three fronts:
  1. Redefine the business model
  2. Expand the library
  3. Innovate the technology
The first step was a lot of work but a great joy: redefining the business model - for ourselves and for the people we hoped would use our training. We really wanted to make some revolutionary changes to how e-learning content gets bought, sold, and delivered to learners. We redefined it because we knew (from listening closely to client feedback, focus groups, lost sales opportunities, and our own intuitions about how WE like to access or acquire media) that we and much of the e-learning industry were doing it wrong.

We've written about it before, but a quick summary bears retelling. What was wrong was that vendors were guarding their content like it was The Sacred Texts of the Grand Wazoo. The typical scenario was (still is, for most vendors): the content provider rents access to their courses to a client for a limited number of learners, for a limited amount of time. The courses themselves are locked down securely under the vendor's control.

It's not a terrible idea to protect your intellectual property - it costs a LOT to develop excellent multimedia courses. But locking it up like that sure limits how people can use it, in ways that are critically important to companies, training managers, and the learners themselves. This model kills agility.

So our redefinition of how e-learning gets bought, sold, and delivered was all about freedom and trust. We trust our clients to use our training for its intended purpose, and not "steal" it by selling it or giving it to another company. We give them the freedom to use it in whatever way was most productive, effective, and efficient for them. Our way of selling and delivering content is so innovative, no one else is doing it. And it's so simple, I can tell you the whole story in two sentences.
  • We provide an unlimited, perpetual license that allows you to keep the courses forever and train as many people as you want.
  • We provide all the source files behind the finished, ready-to-run course so you can make any changes you want (and own the derivative work you create).
We're so smart! Our clients love it, and it's actually easier for us, at the same time that it's better for them. If we're renting limited access to learner seats, we're signing up for all manner of security, technology, and customer service issues that take time and energy away from important things like growing and improving our library and tweaking our technology. We usually end up taking no more than 10 minutes to answer a couple technical or strategic questions when a client is starting out using our courses. Then we don't hear from them again until they're ready to buy more courses from us.

More courses - our second front. In the five years we've been GCP, we grew our catalog from 76 courses to nearly 300. We added a Spanish safety library, an ADA-compliant accessible library, and a big collection of human resource development titles. We added a library of courses geared specifically for Environmental Health and Safety Managers, and another for energy exploration and services personnel. Most recently, we developed an immediately popular course on responsible alcohol service. And we're still building! Meanwhile, we annually scrub our content top-to-bottom to make sure everything is up-to-date and nothing is stale.

And circles within circles... our ears are always open, and we heard our prospective clients loud and clear. Turns out that hosted, off-the-shelf training is exactly right for some organizations! But very few companies actually need all the features of a full-on, "end-to-end enterprise-wide infrastructure solution" of a learning management system. So we developed our slim g-LMS - Global Learner Management System - to allow companies to assign and track training to their employees. At the same time, our Global Content Player allows the agility of delivery via LMS, company intranet, CD-ROM, and in the classroom.

Five years of growing and changing - through revolution when it's drastic and evolution when we're tweaking as we go - have brought GCP to a point where we can look back with pride and look forward with excitement about what we'll do next!

Monday, July 26, 2010

What do training managers need to know in the age of e-learning?

In the e-learning and organizational development forums I frequent, we all pretty much pretend that effective integration of technology into workplace training programs is a widely-accepted given.

But the truth is, there are plenty of companies who have not yet gone beyond the "it's something we've discussed doing someday" stage. Plenty of training managers who have heard about e-learning, read up on it, maybe even suggested or proposed it to their execs. But for a variety of reasons (a tangent to be addressed in some other post), they find themselves waiting at the edge of the pool.

For those about to dive in, we salute you! Let's talk a bit about a couple key principles to guide you as you get started.

Key 1

First, quite often, trainers and some training managers approach e-learning as an either-or proposition.

But online training isn't monolithic, any more than any other of the 1000 tools in your training toolbox. No one ever said books or chalkboards or PowerPoint will replace trainers, and e-learning won't either.

It's most effective for foundational training, and perhaps the best way to get all your learners on the same page BEFORE the hands-on training starts. Imagine a classroom session where all the learners know why they're there, no one is starting clueless, and no one is spending useless time listening to you answer the questions of the clueless!

E-learning is not about putting trainers out of work or throwing out everything you do and know about training. Ray Clifford of the US Defense Language Institute said it best: "While computers will not replace teachers, teachers who use computers will eventually replace teachers who don't."

E-learning is real. There are good reasons to add it to your training program. Learning how to integrate technological tools into your training program for maximum instructional effectiveness makes you more important than ever.

Key 2

Another crucial initial principle to have in mind. "Build it, and they will..." well, they will have no clue that you built it, and it will sit there and rust until you sell it to your learners and incent them to make effective use of it.

"Anytime, anywhere" has long been a crucial slogan of e-learning: it's super available and very convenient to offer. But that's a double-edged sword. Just because it's super available does not mean it will get used!

Too many times, we've seen implementation get derailed by execs or managers who assume that their job is done when the content is online and the learners' accounts are set up in the learning management system. The two keys to making sure this doesn't happen to your budding program: executive buy-in and involvement, and internal marketing and communication.

A posting much longer than this won't get read - there are a couple other key principles we'll write about later. Meanwhile, please feel free to download Maximize your E-Learning Investment with Change Management, the comprehensive workbook we put together to help our clients with the second point above - a step-by-step strategy for getting your learners to get in and get the most out of your new online learning program.